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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Monday, September 26, 2005

No real opposition

Anti-war protests shook America and Britain yesterday - remarkably, today's Sydney Morning Herald completely ignores the events - but where were the Democrats?

Wayne Madsen Report explains:

"Very few Democratic members of Congress to appear. Reason: [leading pro-Israel lobbyists] The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), according to Democratic insiders on Capitol Hill, put out the word that any member of Congress who appeared at the protest, where some speakers were to represent pro-Palestinian views, would face the political wrath of AIPAC.

"According to Democratic sources on the Hill, Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts was the chief conveyor of the AIPAC warning to his colleagues. At the time of this report, three members of Congress were to address the anti-war protestors: Reps. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), John Conyers (D-MI), and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA). The word is that AIPAC will direct its massive campaign support to Woolsey's neo-con and pro-Iraq war primary challenger, California State Assemblyman Joe Nation, who has strong connections to the Rand Corporation, one of the Pentagon's chief war-making think tanks. Woolsey represents California's Marin and Sonoma counties."

22 Comments:

Blogger James Waterton said...

Shook, Antony? If by "shook", you meant "caused a slight ripple that was mistaken by many as a tsunami, and was subsequently widely mocked", then sure - it shook America and Britain. Why, just take a look at the photos of the event. It's embarrassing to see just how small the crowds were.

Monday, September 26, 2005 5:14:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

The tide is turning, sir, in fact, it's turned. Trashing anti-war types may be hilarious for you, but take a look at what's actually happening in Iraq. It's a mess and getting worse.
Any comment? No, didn't think so, much more fun taking the piss out of peace activists.

Monday, September 26, 2005 5:38:00 pm  
Blogger James Waterton said...

Well, I don't agree that it's getting worse. Still, if you wish to stay awake at night fretting about a media beatup, then the best of luck to you.

So, let's shift the goalpost back to its original position. By dodging the substance of my initial comment, I'm assuming that you accept that your talk about America and Britain being "shook" by these miniscule protests was only so much hysterical venting.

Monday, September 26, 2005 6:29:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Don't agree it's getting worse? Oooook then. Good luck with those delusions. God knows where you get that info from, but even US and British officials talk about the gradual disintegration of the country.
As for the anti-war protests, they were important because an ever-widening group of people are protesting and speaking out. And, I was surprised that even Fox News mentioned the rally yesterday.
No doubt, you'll be defending the Iraq war in decades to come as many still defend Vietnam now.

Monday, September 26, 2005 6:59:00 pm  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Monday, September 26, 2005 7:06:00 pm  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

James is right, Ant. Things are getting better in Iraq day by day. Don't pay any attention to things like death tolls. It's all a leftist propaganda trick. And the media beat up continues in this week's Economist - that staunchly leftist new outlet has the hide to refer to the situation as messy and chaotic.

http://www.economist.com/world/africa/displayStory.cfm?story_id=4432958

Monday, September 26, 2005 7:08:00 pm  
Blogger James Waterton said...

they were important because an ever-widening group of people are protesting and speaking out.

Ok, so was America shaken or not? I suspect not. And pray tell, how can this group of protesters you mention be so "ever widening" when they're pulling such paltry numbers to the demonstrations? I'd say they're losing their relevance in the eyes of most. People have picked them for what they are; a bunch of ideology-driven, carping Bush opponents. They're blatant opportunists - a truth captured most vividly in their elevation of the half-crazed "Mother" Sheehan to celebrity martyr status - and ordinary folk have woken up to this craven cynicism.

Also, I never said things are wonderfully good in Iraq; but the reality is the place isn't going to hell in a handbasket. It's a tough theatre, sure, but a civil society is emerging in Iraq, and it's getting stronger. The insurgents will not win, simply because the vast majority of Iraqis desire a quiet life.
But you guys; you're given an inch - one incident in an otherwise relatively peaceful part of Iraq - and you take a mile. Apparently the whole place is collapsing into chaos.

Which, funnily enough is pretty much what you want, right? You're all desperate to see the superpower shamed and humbled. That colours your judgement most of all, and it makes your screeching about the place entirely disregardable.

Monday, September 26, 2005 9:02:00 pm  
Blogger Glenn Condell said...

'It's embarrassing to see just how small the crowds were'

You were embarrassed? Why? Perhaps you were channelling the embarrassment you think we antiwar types must feel when we see the media obediently characterise protests as small, weak, useless. You'd be more likely gloating than being embarrassed, wouldn't you?

The protests may even have been small, weak, useless. It's not really material to me because, unlike yourself perhaps, my conceptions of what's right and wrong aren't determined by how many or which type of people concur with me. Neither the number nor the class of people sharing my beliefs alters them. Believe it or not, there are lots of us. Maybe one day you'll be like that too, but I won't hold my breath.

'I'd say they're losing their relevance in the eyes of most.'

An inadvertantly revealing statement.

'their elevation of the half-crazed "Mother" Sheehan to celebrity martyr status'

I would like to see you aim your popgun at Mother Sheehan on national television and deliver your hard won independent analysis. She would eat you as breakfast entree. And not because she's a debate-maven; simply becuase she is armed with her own WMD, the truth and the depth of her feeling for her lost son.

James, stop imbibing attitudes crafted just for you, and millions like you. Stop and have a think for once, using your heart as well as your brain. Do you think that, just because low people like Christopher Hitchens and Rush Limbaugh stoop to tar Mrs Sheehans's efforts that it's all right for you? Well it isn't; what that woman is doing is of world historical importance, an importance she never sought, but one has earned with a simple human need to speak truth to and demand answers from power. She is driven by her loss but even so it takes guts to do what she's done, more guts than I and certainly you have access to.

'Ok, so was America shaken or not? I suspect not.'

How can you be shaken by something if you don't know about it? If any reference you happen to come across in the media is fleeting and usually accompanied by a sneer that I think you'd be proud to own. Americans are encouraged to sneer at protestors, urged to do so really. It's the approved attitude toward dissent in the land of the free; you'd fit in no worries.

'You're all desperate to see the superpower shamed and humbled.'

No, once again you are assuming others will behave in the same childish manner as you know deep down you would if the roles were reversed. If shaming and humpbling is what is required to CHANGE the rotting hulk of a country it has become, so be it. It might make a pleasant aside for those of us who have been concerned about it for years, a side dish of cold schdenfreude, but it is not the main game. Changing things for the better is.

We want certain behaviours and pathologies to be addressed so that the future won't look quite so bleak. But you and your fellow travellers see only narkiness and pointscoring, because given it's prevalence in your own lives, that's all you really understand.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 11:11:00 am  
Blogger James Waterton said...

Mr Condell,

You take yourself tremendously seriously, don't you. Okay, I'll spell out the things that, whilst obvious to most, clearly didn't quite click with you.

"You were embarrassed?"

It's commonly known as a figure of speech. Not worth wasting your time critiquing. Although, having said that, it is somewhat embarrassing to watch someone smugly declare a tiny protest has "shaken" a country when said protest's impotence and the marginal nature of its constituents is clearly on display for all to see.

"my conceptions of what's right and wrong aren't determined by how many or which type of people concur with me."

How wonderful for you! As for the "others" you mention - perhaps they feel the same way, however if so, maybe they should stop declaring that black is white and that these protests were earth-shattering. It seems that your allies want to claim as many fellow travellers as possible. Fabricate them if necessary! Now that's laughable. And embarrassing.

"Believe it or not, there are lots of us."

Hey! You do it too!

"Maybe one day you'll be like that too, but I won't hold my breath."

No, that would involve a medical procedure starting with the letter 'l' and ending in 'obotomy'. It's not something I particularly feel like succumbing to.

"An inadvertantly revealing statement."

Um, why?

"I would like to see you aim your popgun at Mother Sheehan...(snip!)"

Sheehan's a puppet controlled by people who don't give a shit about her dead son. She's the biggest dupe of all. I feel sorry for her, and great anger against those who are using a mentally unstable woman as their pawn.

"what that woman is doing is of world historical importance, an importance she never sought yadda yadda yadda"

Condell, you sanctimonious old windbag, heal thyself! Take your own advice; namely, "stop imbibing attitudes crafted just for you". And how about using your brain, instead of your heart. Then maybe we'd be getting somewhere.

"How can you be shaken by something if you don't know about it?"

What do you mean, "if you don't know about it?" The protests made news across the world, and certainly across the States. If you took a look at the website of any of the major American news providers, you would have seen that the protests were a big story. Yes, they possibly weren't portrayed in the light that the protesters would have liked, but that's simply because the protests themselves were so ridiculous! They were farcical in the comedic sense - of course people were sneering, you credulous fool! Compare these pathetic excuses for peace marches with the Vietnam peace marches. Thank you. What did we see in DC last week? A bunch of ageing hippies crying crocodile tears. And Sheehan is part of the reason why so many are treating this movement as a big joke. They're all trying so hard to appear spontaneous, and the whole show is so evidently minutely stage managed, that they're turning their former supporters away. There's only so much cynicism most people can swallow, you know? Believe Mother Sheehan, she speaks the truth! It's all about Zionists!

"childish manner as you know deep down you would if the roles were reversed."

Don't presume to know the first thing about me, Condell. You haven't a clue.

Ditto this:

"because given it's prevalence in your own lives, that's all you really understand."

As for all that stuff about the "rotting hulk", well that's where we differ markedly on the meaty stuff. I see America's influence on history and its future influence as being, on balance, profoundly benign. When you talk about changing things for the better, I can only imagine what you're getting at. And I reckon it'd be the stuff of nightmares.

Now, I don't discuss all of the above merely to score points. I do it to learn. And I hope I can, in my own small way, push the agenda forward in a direction of my liking. Like you and your ghoulish talk of schadenfreude, pointscoring and entering into debates may fall under that goal, however it's not the main game.

You seem to be arrogant enough to think you can jump inside my head and know what drives me. Well, you're way off the mark on pretty much every assumption you've made about me. I do what I do for reasons that you have shown you're not remotely close to understanding. If you think I'm only here 'cos I enjoy the snark and the pointscoring, well, fine. It's your right to flaunt your presumptuous, ill informed opinions. But just because you say such things doesn't make them so.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 11:39:00 pm  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

The tide has turned over support of the war effort. So many iraqis have brutally murdered so many other Iraqis that the Americans feel it is a total waste of time to try to save an unredeemable people.

But don't mistake that for abandoning their love for Israel and the Israeli people.

That would be a fatal mistake. And most congreess people know it.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005 10:10:00 am  
Blogger Mark Anthony... said...

"Miniscule protests"? What the hell are you on about Waterton? I would not call between 150 & 300 thousand protestors "miniscule".

If the same amount of people had come out FOR the war, you would be pronouncing it as a "victory" for the "silent majority"... right?

I thought so...

But then again, propagandists like yourself can never see the forest for the trees... at least... not until the lynch mob finally arrives.

They're coming for Bush... and Blair... but can you see the writing on the wall James?

Thursday, September 29, 2005 3:48:00 pm  
Blogger Comical_Ali said...

"The protests may even have been small, weak, useless."

I'm glad you acknowlede that Condell. that just basically re- asserts what James Waterton was kind enough to point out -- you are losing your relevance. And even more so when the antiwar crowd is full of bogus conspiracy theorists like yourself.

After making slanderous remarks about Israeli students - re: 9/11 - I'm suprised that you are still able to retain your job at Sydney University.

Yes, Glenn the Zionist Jooz are everywhere and are conspiring to take over the world (with 9/11 like plots)...they have even infiltrated your underwear draw.

Thursday, September 29, 2005 6:16:00 pm  
Blogger Glenn Condell said...

James

'You take yourself tremendously seriously, don't you'

Perhaps I do. I do take this issue very seriously indeed, far more so than you, going on the evidence so far. Protests against illegal wars killing innocent people might strike you as hilarious events (though I'm unsure if the reason for the protest is what you find silly, or if you're one of those people for whom the very idea of protesting produces a titter)with the added bonus of a bit of immature pointscoring to boot, but nothing this war has produced has so far been able to crack a grin from me. What a sad sack I must be.

As for the actual protest, enough already. I agree it was a shambolic affair but I read it rather differently than you. Historian William Lind wriote the other day:

'The danger sign in America is not a hot national debate over the war in Iraq and its course, but precisely the absence of such a debate – which, as former Senator Gary Hart has pointed out, is largely due to a lack of courage on the part of the Democrats. Far from ensuring a united nation, what such a lack of debate and absence of alternatives makes probable is a bitter fracturing of the American body politic once the loss of the war becomes evident to the public.'

It is becoming more and more evident and the War Party is sporting cracks directly related to the growing pressure boiling up from below. It will not be pretty at critical mass.

So a confused, dislocated protest strikes you as evidence that the antiwar movement in the US is a joke and about to be consigned to history's dustbin. It strikes Lind as evidence of a frightened and confused population without any political representation for what is now a majority view. I'm with Lind.

Have you seen the latest CNN and CBS polls James? They might not show much support for the Dems but they sure as hell show that something between 60 and 70% think Bush has fucked it up big time. Lots of 'fellow travellers' eh?

If shit hits fans, or rather increases the rate at which it is already doing so, that schadenfreude of mine that bothers you so much will go into overdrive.

Your comments about Sheehan are beneath even my contempt so I won't go there. As I said, she'd shrivel you in seconds.

'Compare these pathetic excuses for peace marches with the Vietnam peace marches.'

You mean those halcyon days when the American media enjoyed at least a degree of independence from the political establishment and had actual journalists working for them who were willing to take risks and report against the political grain?

'Thank you.'

You're welcome.

'and the whole show is so evidently minutely stage managed,'

How would you characterise Bush presscons, Repug conventions, celebrations of missions accomplished?

'that they're turning their former supporters away'

The main reason for that is the involvement of those arseholes from ANSWER. Ramsay Clark is the man who had a hand in the whitewashing of the deaths of the 2 Kennedys and MLK - and we're supposed to believe he had a total eclipse of his political heart to become a Nation style radical? I don't buy it. Lots of naive do-gooders work for him, but I think his or rather ANSWER's agenda is to dissipate real opposition by fracturing it (signs about Mumia Abu Jamal or Greenpeace or whatever; hard left issues which detract from the antiwar message. I wish they'd piss off but hey, it's a (relatively) free country!

'There's only so much cynicism most people can swallow, you know?'

Oh I don't know. You seem to have ingested bucketloads without noticing.

ibrahamav

'the Americans feel it is a total waste of time to try to save an unredeemable people'

Don't tar innocent Americans with your own racism.

'But don't mistake that for abandoning their love for Israel and the Israeli people.'

That sounds more like hope than expectation.

'That would be a fatal mistake. And most congreess people know it.'

And that sounds like a threat.

Comical ali

'you are losing your relevance'

Thank you for inferring that I once had some. Made my day.

'I'm suprised that you are still able to retain your job at Sydney University.'

A vague whiff of threat in that too, not for the first time from your cowardly quarter. They keep me because I do a good job. Email the VC to complain if you like. But assure me first that had I written something that implied Palestinian skulduggery that you'd have taken the same action.

Dare ya.

Thursday, September 29, 2005 7:27:00 pm  
Blogger Comical_Ali said...

"Thank you for inferring that I once had some. Made my day."

your right - you never had any in the first place, silly me! thanks for correcting me.


"But assure me first that had I written something that implied Palestinian skulduggery that you'd have taken the same action."

whats the relevance? And why dwell on hypotheticals here? Fact is - you made slanderous remarks against a group of people. A pure blood libel and nothing more.

Yes I'm sure your doing a great job, just like that lunatic of a proffessor at Macquarie Uni who made racist remarks about African refugees.

Conspiracy theories and blood libes belong with the Adelaide institute and stormfront...not the mainstream public. And thats why you and people like Lowenstien are irrelevant to the rest of society.

Thursday, September 29, 2005 7:55:00 pm  
Blogger James Waterton said...

Glenn Condell: If finding something beneath contempt is adequate grounds for refusing to tackle an issue, then great! I can ignore your whole silly post.

Mark Anthony : 150 000 - 300 000? Um...where was this crowd located?

Comical Ali : Thankfully our friend Mr Condell doesn't do anything that imparts knowledge to impressionable minds. There are enough hack lecturers at unis across Australia already. No, the most exciting part of his job is when he gets to call out "pencils down!" at the end of exams.

Thursday, September 29, 2005 8:00:00 pm  
Blogger Glenn Condell said...

'I can ignore your whole silly post'

Of course you can. Your lot always do, eventually, once the callow insubstantial nature of your positions becomes clear enough to make engagement an unwise move.

See ya.

Friday, September 30, 2005 11:07:00 am  
Blogger James Waterton said...

Glenn, it doesn't surprise me that you're stupid enough to mistake my unwillingness to engage as acquiescence. The simple fact is that that I realised I've wasted enough of my precious time on you. Engaging you in the first place was my only unwise move. To paraphrase the bible - why feed pearls to swine? Cheerio!

Friday, September 30, 2005 9:58:00 pm  
Blogger John Humphreys said...

Observing the message to noise ratio I became curious as to why you people were unable to have a mature conversation.

I tried to go back and pin-point the time at which the conversation stopped having a point, but it was hard to identify.

Some of the blame should go to James for kicking off the debate in a way that encouraged a confrontation instead of a discussion... but at least James mixed his childishness with substance. In subsequent responses, substance was an early casualty to the greater theme of moral grandstanding until the debate (sic) deteriorated into "you want the west to lose" and "try to use your head/heart".

And of course nothing was learned.

Shook was an over-statement. But it seems Americans are increasingly turning away from the war. The place isn't falling apart yet, but things aren't going very well.

Friday, September 30, 2005 10:23:00 pm  
Blogger anthony said...

And just when I thought the internet couldn’t get any lower- along comes a freelance psychologist. Thankyou for that rather clinical insight, John.

Saturday, October 01, 2005 4:12:00 am  
Blogger James Waterton said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Saturday, October 01, 2005 7:27:00 am  
Blogger James Waterton said...

Anthony : look, the guy likes The Smiths. Wanking on is his stock in trade.

Saturday, October 01, 2005 7:31:00 am  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

Waterton, grow up.

Monday, October 03, 2005 1:30:00 am  

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