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Munchkins crack down

By Michael J. Smith on Saturday January 21, 2006 04:10 PM

It's always deeply gratifying when somebody decides you need to be shut up. It shows, as they used to say in a Left sect I hung out with, years ago, that you've "touched a nerve."

Now I'm a modest guy, and I don't like to toot my own horn, but I seem to have touched a nerve over on the Munchkin Democrat site Daily Kos. Used to hang out there a bit, trying to drum up some traffic for the blog, and it was always fun to rile the Aunt Pollies. But the idyll has come to an end. The hammer has dropped. My page there no longer offers me the option of posting an entry or a comment.

Since the Kos thought police didn't bother to write and tell me why they disconnected my phone, so to speak, I can only speculate. Was it the utterly forbidden topic of the Israel lobby and the Democrats' subservience to it? Was it the poll (since deleted from the Kos site) showing that even among Munchkins, 75% believed that if the Democrats won control of the House in '06, it would be by "sheer dumb luck" rather than because they deserved it?

I think that must have been it. Certainly it was the high point of my time there.

Adieu, Kos. I won't miss the obsessive wonkery about which indistinguishable Democrat is more "electable" in some Godforsaken district in Ohio. But I did kind of like the angry responses to my own contributions. Made me feel I was on the right track.

Comments (12)


my lord
do i love this moment

u've made my day maybe my week

Rock on, troublemaker. We're out here.

Michael J. Smith:

That is VERY good to hear!

Tim D:

First of all, I just want to say bravo. However, I do lament your banishment, since you were probably the only voice of reason on that god-forsaken, hopelessly sequacious echo chamber for unrepentent Clintonites.

Secondly, I read your post about Israel and the Iraq War on Daily Kos. Justin Raimondo often makes the same assertions on antiwar.com (a fine website, albeit libertarian). I don't see the point in ranting about the Israel-Iraq War connection. I certainly do not dismiss it out of hand myself, but it's the kind of thing that people on Kos will immediately denounce as a conspiracy theory and try to undermine it with red herrings like, "I think the whole 'JEWS ARE BEHIND ALL WARS!' nonsense is absurd, but there seems to be no end to it." I think it's far more productive (not to mention absolutely incontrovertible) to point out the far more obvious connection between AIPAC money and the near unanimous support in Congress for the slow extirpation of the Palestinians and the impunity with which the IDF may literally bulldoze anyone, including US citizens, that tries to stand up for them (i.e. Rachel Corrie). Unconditional support for that apartheid regime in the Middle East and their undeniably nazi-esque ethnic cleansing practices is a major reason why we are so despised by the Arabs. Speaking of Israeli atrocities, Norman Solomon recently wrote a very cogent letter to the Norwegian government exhorting them to boycott Israel.

Michael J. Smith:

Thanks very much for the thoughtful response.

This question of the connection between the Israel lobby and the war in Iraq is an interesting and obscure one. I don't think there can possibly be any doubt that Israel wanted it, and Israel's strongest advocates within the US government (Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith, etc.) pushed very hard for it. The question is, how big a factor were they? -- And this broadens out into the bigger question of just how rational empires are, to what extent can a secondary, inessential excrescence (like Israel) affect the metabolism of the whole organism, etc. Too big a topic for a comment -- needs a book, really. Michael Neumann has written very interestingly on this subject. It's one I want to revisit in a more thought-out way one of these days.

J. Alva Scruggs:

I don't read Kos, but I do read your blog now thanks to my friend Bruce.

The Israel lobby is interested in using Israel for arms sales to countries that are officially blacklisted, including countries that are hostile, and using the country to keep that area in turmoil. They couldn't care less about the security of Jews. The smarter right wing Israelis know that very well and drive the hardest bargains they can. Both groups, for they are not loyal to each other beyond expedience, push the envelope of acceptable license on a regular basis.

I doubt Wolfowitz et al care much about Israel beyond its utility. They're useful eggheads, like Powell, Gonzales and Rice, who give some ethnic cover to cold blooded power politics. Late stage imperial powers encourage assimilation. It's good for business and distracts critics from a class-based critique.

I don't think Israel the state is inessential to Middle East ambitions. It serves as constant thorn in the side of questionably loyal regional allies. It's useful as a proxy and when it strikes out on its own. Divide and conquer stuff. The affection for it espoused by supporters of an aggressive, militaristic foreign policy is proportionate to concern over energy security.


My husband bugs the shit out of me by constantly touting Kos, which I find maddening at multiple levels-- not the least of which are his sexism and his bullshit about abortion. I did take heart in the fact that a number of feminists gave him a number of well-deserved brickbats over those little episodes and bailed on him for good-- Now if I could just get them to bail on the Democrats for good. I can't even find enough Left-of-Liberal feminists in blog land to form half a basketball team.

Any plans for some kind of satirical take on the forthcoming Kos-Con in Vegas this year ? My spouse is going. I said that I'd come if I could wear my Nader 2004 shirt and brandish a big bucket of Pruno with Harrry Reid's name on it. "You're trying to get yourself thrown out a window over there," quoth my husband.

"Yeah," said I. "But I'll be wearing those Acme Matress-Spring shoes made famous by Wile E. Coyote, so I'll be okay."

Michael J. Smith:

Satirizing the Kos convention might be a little difficult -- I expect it will be fairly self-satirizing, though. Harry Reid, for heaven's sake -- you couldn't make this stuff up. Kos refers to him as "give 'em hell Harry," without apparently reflecting that the original owner of this nickname remains, among other claims to distinction, the only world leader ever to use a nuclear weapon -- or rather, two of them.


Actually, you have a lot of company in getting quietly sidelined this way. Boards run by diehard Democrats tend to be virulently censorious, particularly as far as Israel/AIPAC is concerned.

Michael J. Smith:

Yeah, there's a lot of group-think going on in those places. Somebody needs to really sit down and dissect the liberal mind-set one of these days. Back in my left-sectarian days we could be quite fanatical but at least we were used to disagreement, and on some level we knew we were making it up as we went along. But the liberals really think their outlook is so obviously correct that only a stupid or a thoroughly bad person would disagree.

Tim Dempsey:

Revisiting the issue of pro-Israeli PAC money and Democrat corruption, Raimondo recently wrote a piece commenting on Hillary's most recent call to arms against Iran. Apparently she isn't even bothering to conceal the fact that we would be invading Iran for the sake of Israel's security:

"But let's be clear about the threat we face now: A nuclear Iran is a danger to Israel...The security and freedom of Israel must be decisive and remain at the core of any American approach to the Middle East. This has been a hallmark of American foreign policy for more than 50 years and we must not – dare not – waver from this commitment."

Speaking of our old friend bi-partisanship, here's George Bush explaining why the Iranian "threat" must be dealt with decisively and swiftly:

"Israel's our ally. We're committed to the safety of Israel, and it's a commitment we will keep."

It's one thing to deceive the American people into draining the U.S. treasury and sacrificing the lives of countless people to ostensibly protect the U.S., but it's another thing to do it to protect a country that is the 5th or 6th (I can't remember) greatest military power in the world!!! How stupid can people be? And how could AIPAC et al be so goddamn influential!!!??!?! And how could any rational, sober human being not understand the relationship between Israel's illegal arsenal of 200 nuclear weapons and Iran's intentions to create such an arsenal (not to mention the relationship between that and the U.S. invasion of WMDless Iraq)? Stop the world, I wanna get off...


I don't actually find the "groupthink" to be any more common in liberal circles than in comparable spaces out there. What I find so maddening (if not again unique) is that it's considered so tacky to keep airing your disagreements and misgivings whenever elections get closer. Randi Rhoades, with a straight face, loves the adage that goes something like "You can be in love during the primaries but you'd better GET IN LINE on Election DAY !" A few weeks before the last national farce, Dan Bern was singing some half-baked Pete Seger rip off in which he joyfully extolled his listeners to "NOT VOTE YOUR CONSCIENCE !!" Arrgh. That shit positively makes my skin crawl.

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