Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

General discussions of interest to readers and fans of Harlan Ellison.

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Robert Nason
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Robert Nason » Sun Feb 16, 2014 5:28 pm

To be honest, I'm surprised that these evangelicals or fundamentalists think that contraception is "unnatural" (which, technically speaking, it is, like antibiotics and air conditioning); such a belief isn't part of their doctrine as far as I know, while it's a basic tenet of Catholic doctrine (even though more than 90% of American Catholics use contraception). I suspect that they're just uncomfortable talking about sex. My few encounters were them seem to confirm this. (I vividly recall having dinner at a Thai restaurant in Georgia years ago with a rather conservative couple, and you should have seen the expression on their faces when I read aloud the names of Thai dishes in a highly lascivious tone. (I couldn't help it -- some of those Thai dishes just sounded so obscene that it was irresistible.) My friend (from New York, who now lived in Georgia) kept kicking me under the table. The couple were, after all, his next-door neighbors.

I must admit I can't bear to talk about Dick Cheney anymore. Just last week in a cafe, a physics grad student was harranguing me about the "unquestionable fact" that Chaney was entirely behind the 9/11 attacks, and in fact acted alone, without even Bush's knowledge. He called me an idiot for not realizing this. (When I told him I'd investigate it further on the internet, he exclaimed, "You won't find anything about it online, except for posts by me! I'm the ONLY one who knows Dick Cheney engineered the whole thing by himself!" Dick Cheney, super-villain -- Lex Luther and Dr. Evil in one.) He also told me that Johnson "obviously" had JFK killed and the evidence is beyond doubt. (Instead of the "lone gunman theory," I wanted to propose a "lone madman" theory -- him.) But he's apparently one of the "geniuses" of the Columbia Physics Dept. Who am I to argue with a genius? But he did keep me from catching my train, and I had to take a taxi home. The cost of the taxi wasn't worth becoming enlightened.

I'm not in any way comparing you to him, however. We may disagree, but you're hardly a conspiracy nut.

Anyway, I'll have to read up on the Roe v. Wade ruling. It might provide me with sone good nuggets for cocktail party conversation.
"Thought is a strenuous art -- few practice it, and then only at rare times." - David Ben-Gurion

Mark Tiedemann
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:15 pm

I'm not in any way comparing you to him, however. We may disagree, but you're hardly a conspiracy nut.

Why, thank you. In fact, I never attribute to conspiracy what can easily be explained by either stupidity, carelessness, or partisanship. :)

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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:22 pm

To be honest, I'm surprised that these evangelicals or fundamentalists think that contraception is "unnatural" (which, technically speaking, it is, like antibiotics and air conditioning); such a belief isn't part of their doctrine as far as I know,

Of course it's not, but as with anything to do with sex I feel their attitude is "Well, it ought to be!" Yes, they are simply uncomfortable talking about sex and the "unnatural" part I think has to do with anything people might do to plan to have sex that will not lead to pregnancy. I think the whole planning aspect---and this I want to point out goes way beyond the confines of fundamentalism and crops in the damnedest places about all sorts of things---is something people find questionable as to whether or not it's anything "god intended." It's a pathology, in a way, the notion that we might apply some forethought to things to mitigate unwanted outcomes. Sometimes I think there's a segment of the antivaccer movement that thinks this way. And of course the entirety of Christian Science embraces that attitude. But when it comes to sex, people seem to think that it ought to "just happen" and if you plan for it, do anything ahead of time as if it's going to happen, well, the range of negative responses goes from "it's anti-romantic" to "an abomination."

This is where people assume their pet discomforts are automatically covered by doctrine. Odd, isn't it, how most of the time it's mainly about sex?

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Robert Nason
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Robert Nason » Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:57 pm

Well, sexual feelings -- both desires and fears -- are incredibly powerful, and are difficult for many people to deal with rationally. I think sex motivates most people even more strongly than money or power (the real perverts, and the most dangerous, are the ones who get off on power). I suspect it eases some people's sexual apprehensions to offload (pardon the expression) sex onto "God's will" -- Anita Bryant (remember her?) used to say that God was in the bed every time a man and woman made love. (So it turns out that fundamentalists are really into threesomes.) If you engage in a sexually questionable act (by religious standards), you can always say, "The Devil made me do it!" (Or was that Flip Wilson?) Every religion uses sexual imagery to spice up their rituals, texts and art (Bernini's sculture of the ecstacy of St. Theresa; the charismatic preacher whipping up the faithful; the 72 virgins waiting in heaven for the good Muslim; the erotic imagery in the kabbalah, and so on. It's a way of saying, These sexual thoughts and feelings are not really mine, they come from God, or the Devil, I have no control over them. Buying contraceptions and using them means accepting responsibility for your sexuality; in short, owning it. That scares a lot of people. So we wind up with folks acting in what Sartre called "bad faith" -- as well as a lot of abortions and unwanted children and unwanted sexual diseases. I wonder when (some) Americans will finally grow up?

Having said that, I'm still not sure I want kids in kindergarten being taught how to put a condom on a cucumber.

(By the way, telling you that I don't consider you a conspiracy nut is the nicest compliment I've given anyone in a long time.)
"Thought is a strenuous art -- few practice it, and then only at rare times." - David Ben-Gurion

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FrankChurch
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby FrankChurch » Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:50 am

The good thing about our intelligence is that we get stuff wrong and fuck up all the time, a good thing to tell any Truther. The government is just not powerful enough to pull off major crimes, at least not any more. Thank the humanizing effects of the 60s.

Nason, your Israel comments are about as bad. :)

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Robert Nason
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Robert Nason » Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:15 pm

FrankChurch wrote: Nason, your Israel comments are about as bad. :)


But I have no crackpot conspiracy theories about Israel.
"Thought is a strenuous art -- few practice it, and then only at rare times." - David Ben-Gurion

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FrankChurch
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby FrankChurch » Mon Feb 17, 2014 6:51 pm

Nason and others, honestly watch this if you can, and I know you can:

http://www.c-span.org/video/?295876-1/p ... lic-sphere

Leon Uris, a shameful fraud.

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Robert Nason
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Robert Nason » Mon Feb 17, 2014 7:58 pm

I haven't watched the video yet, but I must say I loved Uris's EXODUS when I was young and Preminger's film of the book even more. Peak Paul Newman and Eva Marie Saint.
"Thought is a strenuous art -- few practice it, and then only at rare times." - David Ben-Gurion

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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Robert Nason » Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:49 pm

I started to watch the video but clicked it off after reading at the bottom of the screen RASHID KHALILI: FMR. PALESTINIAN PEACE NEGOTIATIONS ADVISOR. That's a little like hearing Al Sharpton described as a "Former Conflict Resolution Advisor on Race," or Anthony Wiener as "Former Marriage Counselor." I guess "former is the operative word here."
"Thought is a strenuous art -- few practice it, and then only at rare times." - David Ben-Gurion

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FinderDoug
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby FinderDoug » Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:15 am

The tenor of Khalidi's speech (which comes off as a gussied-up warning yet again of the Vast Jewish Conspiracy, which has apparently been politically corrected for the 21st Century to "the Zionist Narrative" and which should have its own soundtrack crescendo whenever that's said, like Monty Python's Spanish Inquisition) is fascinating, given what Khalidi said after Campus-Watch.org accused him of anti-semitisim: "I'm a historian, it's not my job to attack or defend anybody."

I guess October 7 was his day off from his job.

In any event, he should probably stop trying to debunk myths with other myths - in this case, the third-hand and unvetted-by-him myth of Edward Gottlieb and Leon Uris. Fortunately, Martin Kramer has done some actual research into that particular nugget:

http://www.martinkramer.org/sandbox/201 ... lpractice/

It's a shame that a department chair at Columbia couldn't figure this one out for himself. But then, the facts would mean he no longer has a launchpad for his claims of popular culture being used to push the Zionist Narrative (DUNdunDUUUUUUN) in the fifties. And who has time for proper research when you're moonlighting to get all that tasty talking head money?

If your argument is that Exodus was a PR stunt that "did more to disseminate these and other fanciful ahistorical myths [about Israel] then did all english-language publications up to that point combined, and, I would argue, all english-language publications up to this point" and it wasn't?

If you claim Uris was employed to specifically write propaganda when he wasn't?

If this is the bedrock upon which you weave your entire pitch about how popular culture has deliberately been used to "sell" Israel to people?

Then you're EITHER:
-- a slovenly academic who attained tenure and now needs a refresher on forming, researching and presenting a thesis; or
-- a political shill who uses the guise of an academic to push your own agenda

I suppose the third possibility is that you're someone with a valid concern, but if you come at me with hyperbole and then it's shown your scholarship is poor, I'm probably not listening to you much anymore. Please see "Wolf, comma, The Boy Who Cried".

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FrankChurch
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby FrankChurch » Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:08 pm

Stellar, Campus Watch, a censorship group alligned with the noxious Daniel Pipes:

http://www.thenation.com/article/war-academic-freedom

Doug, you didn't fall for this I hope.

I'd hope you were for academic freedom. Pipes is like a red scare commissioner.

There are two books Khalidi used for the sourcing, one being Jack Sheehan's Reel Bad Arabs. It may be a simple mistake by Khalidi, which is not a crime against humanity, since most scholarship has minor mistakes.

You should see what Pipes thinks of Obama.

I emailed Khalidi, since I cannot find any rejoiner from him. I do know Gottlieb was a pr expert. What's insufferable is how minor that subject was to the entire talk, which is a hair raising report of crimes against Palestinians, which I'd think would offend you.

You do know Khalidi is a major expert on the middle east. While Pipes is an arab racist.

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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby FrankChurch » Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:09 pm

He gets most of his evidence from Bennie Morris, one of the leading historians in Israel.

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Robert Nason
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Robert Nason » Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:40 pm

Frank, it's impossible to be "an Arab racist," because the Arabs are not a separate race but a subset of the Caucasion race. (Modern anthropology recognizes only three races.) And Pipes has just as many objections to Iran, whose people and language are not Arabic but Iranian and Farsi. You might counter that Pipes "dislikes Islam," but I've read much of his work and can attest that he is not against Islam tout court but troubled by currents of radical Islam. I fear you do not actually read the work of some of the scholars you misrepresent.
"Thought is a strenuous art -- few practice it, and then only at rare times." - David Ben-Gurion

Mark Tiedemann
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Wed Feb 19, 2014 6:53 am

Robert,

You're being disingenuous. You know "racism" really has nothing to do with actual phenotype and everything to do with "being different." Following your logic, no one could ever be called a racist because, really, there's only one race---homo sapiens sapiens, quite well established right down to the chromosomes. Arabs traditionally are about as bad anyone else. Tribal distinctions were once and may still be firm markers and taken as signifiers of a people.

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Robert Nason
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Robert Nason » Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:49 am

Mark, I'm not being disingenuous, I'm being descriptive. Anthropologists today delineate three primary races: Caucasion, Negro, and Asian. These are strictly physiological categories -- they have nothing to do with cultural or intellectual characteristics. In the nineteenth century nearly every ethic group was called a "race": the French race, the British race, the Armenian race, the Jewish race, etc. -- until the term had beome not only meaningless but, in the last two, a warrant for genocide. Today I hear college students say that every group is a "race," and to express dislike for any group is "racism." (They make an exception for people over 30 or 40, for whom they freely express contempt.) It's absurd. It's gotten out of hand. I'm doing my humble best to stop it.

The "human race" is a misnomer -- we're not a race, we're a species. And one possibly heading for the endangered species list.
"Thought is a strenuous art -- few practice it, and then only at rare times." - David Ben-Gurion


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