Plato’s Pow Wow

Pow Wow – An Autumn Conundrum

I’ve woken up this morning with little enthusiasm for the news.  This tends to happen every now and then.  Therefore action will be slow here on Plato’s for the next several days.  I will get busy instead with planting my winter veggie garden and taking nice autumn hikes with my dogs before the serious rains hit the Levant.

There wouldn’t be this gap in action on the site if I had some help.  Or if the model of the site was not so demanding on a daily basis, ie the site being a newsstand and a newsstand’s nature is in providing fresh daily news.

It’s a conundrum.  The site is now fully operational, yet my enthusiasm for running it keeps waning.  It’s not just a time issue, it’s the routine of reading so much media everyday and my head having little room for other internal spectacles or even external spontaneity.   This is why I’m not a journalist – I don’t care to know about everything everyday, day after day – I don’t enjoy that head-space.  I (reluctantly) started this site really as a place to say my thang without muzzle or moderator and now it’s become  like a high-maintenance exotic pet.

Don’t get me wrong:  I love what Plato’s is – my little creation.  But I am in a bit of a quandary.

On the one hand, my original articles get the most hits and cost me the least time.  Yet, one cannot write strategy analysis every day because in real life, political chess moves that change the game happen only every now and then.

On the other hand, even though I do very much enjoy putting the daily newsstand together, I don’t want to concern myself with the upkeep of it forevermore – I’ve done it everyday now for seven months straight.

I’m open to having admin help.  If anyone is interested, please write to me about it through the contact page here.   All inquiries will be confidential.

Maybe I need to change Plato’s model at this stage.

I’m really not sure which direction to take.

Maybe someone has a creative suggestion or two on how I can keep Plato’s going yet be less involved on a daily basis.

I’d love to know what you guys think.

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40 thoughts on “Pow Wow – An Autumn Conundrum

  1. Bornajoo says:

    Taxi. You’ve done an amazing job here in such an incredibly short time and single handedly too. Incredible feat. I was always worried about the intensity that you were having to put into it. It just seems way too demanding to continue like this

    My own two pence worth; cut right down on the articles. Post only when you feel like it or when you have the time. Your own writings are always the star of the show and I would be honoured and delighted to be able to read your own work whenever you had the time and inclination to put pen to paper, whether it was once a week or once a month or whenever you found the urge. In my opinion, Platos doesn’t have to be a full on up to the minute news outlet, but somewhere to come once in a while to read something different and get a different angle on what’s happening out there. In other words, please keep it going, but at whatever your own pace allows, whether it’s one article a day, one a week and one of your own articles every month or so.

    I think we all know what happens when something starts to take over your life too much. It’s a fully understandable reaction. Just cut right down on the intensity and go with the flow. Autumn walks with the dogs sounds fantastic. I love my autumn walks here in the UK and I wouldn’t give them up for anything! Anyway, that’s my tuppence worth

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    • Taxi says:

      Thanks buddy. That’s welcome advice.
      I guess readers will have to subscribe to the site to stay in touch with it’s random activities. It would be good to get a consensus on your suggestions.

      As an aside and BTW, my fave autumns are English autumns.too. Hampstead Heath: know it like the back of my hand and in every season – spent two decades walking it practically everyday come rain or shine – it’s mushroom-picking season there right now – used to love getting there really early in autumn mornings: so beautiful: rolling mist on gold and red carpet of leaves; nose-tingling chill in bursts of wind – beans on toast and a nice cup of tea in cafe afterz. Fond memories.

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      • Bornajoo says:

        Yes I also know Hampstead Heath really well. Used to walk all over it and loved looking for mushrooms there when I lived in Tufnell Park. These days I like to walk around the Kent countryside with frequent stops in gorgeous old English country pubs, as well as Hertfordshire, Bucks and Berks (all close and convenient to London). We find lots of mushrooms, including porcine and chanterelle, especially this time of year.

        Recently I also allowed too many other commitments to get in the way of doing these things more often but I’m in the process of reducing those commitments and getting back to more walking! So I’m with you all the way!

        Since I signed up to get your articles I’ve received them in my inbox without fail so you just need to remind visitors to sign up once and that’s it! They come when they come and we’ll gratefully read them when they do.

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      • Walid says:

        “These days I like to walk around the Kent countryside ” (Bornajoo)

        I didn’t like fall even with its magically beautiful foliage simply because for me its grey skies and falling leaves announced the coming cold and snowy winter during which my outside activities except for going out to work to almost zero; I should have taken up skiing. I’d sort of come back to life with the arrival of spring and the budding leaves on the trees.

        From the 60s era of the chansonnier:

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      • Bornajoo says:

        “I didn’t like fall even with its magically beautiful foliage simply because for me its grey skies and falling leaves announced the coming cold and snowy winter during which my outside activities except for going out to work to almost zero; I should have taken up skiing. I’d sort of come back to life with the arrival of spring and the budding leaves on the trees.”

        You’re in Canada right Walid? Well it’s completely understandable in that case. You get such severe snowy winters there it probably makes you feel like hibernating. Here in the UK the winters seem to be getting milder and milder. We hardly see snow anymore and I go walking all the way through. I suppose it’s the positive side of climate change! Most of the leaves are still on the trees and it’s still 15 degrees outside. The winters really do seem to be getting shorter and milder here. I have cousins in ontario who also don’t get to do very much during the winter

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    • seanmcbride says:

      Bornajoo,

      I just noticed this exceptionally lucid paragraph from you (thought I would share here):

      “I thought that once Nutty-psycho got back in, the world would realise the true face of Zionism and it would be the beginning of the end of this disgusting project. But even after his speech in Congress, even after his racist comments during the election, even after stating that there would never be a Palestinian state, even after blaming the holocaust on the Palestinians, even after not arresting the killers of the Dawabshe family even though he knows who they are, even after his incitement at Al Aqsa, even after the appointments of some of the most right wing zealots into powerful positions, even after relaxing the gun laws, even after approving of cabinet ministers to carry guns and encouraging as many Israeli civilians as possible to do the same and the list goes on… Even after all of this absolutely nothing happens. He has proven that he can do whatever he wants and this is the message being passed down to the IOF and the increasingly right wing population. Whatever they do, their enabler, the USA will never actually sanction them in any meaningful way and once Obama is out of the way they will proceed to the next stage, probably with the full blessing of Hillary “psycho” Clinton and her zionist backers”

      http://mondoweiss.net/2015/11/netanyahus-calculated-palestinians/comment-page-1#comment-808283

      One wonders often: how did we arrive at this situation?

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      • Bornajoo says:

        I really don’t know Sean. Sometimes I think I’m living in an alternative reality. It beggars belief how their influence has now penetrated every area of media and political power. They are proving they can do whatever they want and get $5bn a year and unconditional support too.

        And things will only get worse when that bitch Hillary takes the WH. The future is bleak, especially for the Palestinians

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    • Walid says:

      Hi Taxi, I join the others in saying you’re doing a great job. I suggest to cut down on very numerous daily posting of articles. If your intent is to spread the news since you call it a “news stand” you’re on the right track, delivering lots of news but you’re having to do all of the onerous reading all over the place to select a few articles you believe would interest most, sort of a Reader’s Digest. But if you want to encourage comments, dialogue, debate and so on, the large number of articles you are posting is somewhat dizzying and working against this purpose. So I suggest less articles but that they be of the provocative type like the lead article you wrote on the Russians short-circuiting the Zio dream, which has attracted over 125 comments. So it depends which of the 2 options you are pursuing. Whichever it is, thank you for what you are doing.

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      • Taxi says:

        You’re very welcome, Walid.

        I like your suggestion of less articles with the aim of creating more comments. But my problem is not so much the time it takes to put the newsstand together, it’s the head-space I end up occupying through over exposure to media on a daily basis. Like for instance I’d like (for a change) to be able to read 2-3 books in a row non-stop one day after the next without care or obligations to use my computer. That’s how I’ve always read books – in short stacks. Haven’t been able to do that for a few months now. Maybe the occasional shared article will be posted for discussion and commentary – not daily and regularly though, but randomly. But I’d also like it for others to be able to post articles that they’d like discussed as well – I’d like it if others were doing that.

        And about the article you mentioned, ‘Russia Destroys the Greater Israel Dream’ – it’s got over 20.000 hits on Plato’s and still counting – the daily hits have slowed down on the article by now though.

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  2. I sure understand Saturation Syndrome. No such thing exists on google, but I’m sure everyone has experienced it even if they never put a name to it. I also have to step back from the disapointment in my fellowman, once in awhile. As the poet said: We are not a rational species, but a rationalizing one. It’s very difficult to witness the promotion of inequality and murder. It is drepressing to realize we all have that potential in us.

    Another poet said something about the loss of passion and creativity that happens when ones avocation becomes ones vocation.

    So, I’m with Bornajoo.
    You are a real, well-rounded human voice that made it’s way through the dark noise…and have become important to us.

    Finally, the photo art. Always amazing.

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  3. american200 says:

    Yea taxi you do need some help…its too much for one person.
    I, for one, do like the news articles (objective ones at least) because I think we need to be up the latest info for things to hit our politicians with.
    The TTP trade deal is a good example of things we need to see and have explained so we can oppose it—just as is news of Israel’s demand for an increase to 5 billion in US aid.
    When I see info like that is when I am hot on the phone to my politicians—-and as I keep saying getting the politicians is the only thing that is going to produce change in anything, especially Palestine.
    I don’t have the patience or time to sit down and write a coherent article but plenty of the other members here do. Cloak and Dagger is also someone you could recruit to do takes on news articles.
    The thing is we all get saturated and worn out–but that is exactly why we need info that fires us up and makes us pick up the phone and rant to congress as well as passing it on to people we see in our every day off the net lives.
    I know that not a week passes when I don’t engage some friend or acquaintance or even a stranger on something/issue I have seen—and watch them be shocked and get enraged over what I told them—-and that is what the country/world needs—-informed and enraged people.

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    • Taxi says:

      Thanks American. I too enjoy the newsstand articles. There’s definitely value in sharing info. But if I don’t get help, then I might have to cut down on shared newsstand articles – I mean a drastic cut down. C&D is too busy to commit regularly. I kinda need several people’s helping hands really if it’s going to work.

      On another note. There’s a moderation glitch with your name that my techie can’t seem to be able to fix – Chu had same glitch too – I don’t have any moderation settings in place so it’s not coming from there – Chu yesterday said that he re-signed in without using his email address (using his avatar name instead) and that seems to have worked – got rid of the glitch – maybe you should do same – this will get you instantly published instead of waiting for me to eventually see your ‘pending’ comment. Thanks.

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      • You are right that I am really busy these days, but will gladly help, if sporadically for now. I will have more time in the New year (I hope) and should be able to do more if you need me to. I usually have time during the weekends these days and should have more as my lawn and garden will need less tending with the onslaught of winter and wet weather (I hope).

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      • american200 says:

        Taxi, yes, several days I find I cant even get the comment box to work–assumed it was on my computer’s end but will try re signing in and see if it clears up…there seems to be some kind of ‘lag’ where the post commdnt lags in showing up.

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      • Taxi says:

        Yes, the “lag” is basically the length of time your comment sits in the moderation box till I eventually see it and manually approve it. Yes, I hope this glitch gets fixed with a re-sign. Just so you know, I’ll be going to bed soon and so if you want to comment tonight and be published immediately, best then to re-sign in sooner than later – otherwise, your comments will just sit in moderation for the length of my sleeping cycle.

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  4. seanmcbride says:

    With the right software tools, sifting through and prioritizing thousands of new news items on any topic requires no more than 30 minutes a day — or less. Let AI do the hard work.

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      • seanmcbride says:

        If the routine can be limited to 30 minutes a day or so, it can perhaps become bearable. I totally get the necessity for freeing up one’s mind for a wide range of activities that have absolutely nothing to do with Mideast politics. The folks who devote themselves to Zionist/anti-Zionist melodrama 24 x 7 strike me as being quite mad — trapped in a small prison cell. The entire topic tends to be a black hole that is utterly void at the core — mind-numbing and spirit-draining — anti-life.

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  5. american200 says:

    I am not adverse to anyone posting articles or even opinion pieces– even people like Jones and others that I dont agree with –as long as we can argue the merits or lack of and not turn things into personal attacks.
    Sean is fast at this kind of thing and you could ask him to cross post some of his stuff from his Facebook to Plato’s.
    You might even consider asking some MW commenters you like if they want to do some post here instead of just being confined to the comment section at MW—there are one or two left there that still have intelligent things to say.

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    • seanmcbride says:

      Good ideas, American.

      What I look for in a publication, forum or feed: the most original new thinking on the most important breaking news stories. The lightning bolts that illuminate the landscape — and that transcend the mediocre daily mainstream media drone.

      What I continue to like about Phil Weiss: he has a sharp eye for quickly spotting the most strategic new information on Mideast controversies — and a talent for analyzing and interpreting that information with focused thinking and impeccable prose.

      But I’ll bet that even he gets sick and tired of being forced to wrestle with Israeli Sturm und Drang (much of it neurotic and narcissistic) day in and day out. There is so much more going on in the world that is of long-term interest for humanity as a whole.

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  6. Frankie P says:

    Taxi,

    I see a logical way you can grow the site and make it better. Encourage commenters and visitors to submit articles to you, and you decide what to post on the site. Make a guest article area of the site. Ask people to focus on issues that originally caused you to want to start the site; we need people to write commentary and analysis on the topics and issues that are often disdained or downright banned on Mondoweiss and other such sites. If you wanted to free yourself from the shackles of moderation, and I know that many others and I felt the same need to find a place to express verboten opinions, we should continue in that direction.

    I have been thinking of an article that I have wanted to write for your site for some time; laziness and a busy schedule have prevented me from finding and getting the elusive round tuit. Maybe your call here can motivate me to write my thoughts out and send them to you. I wish we could get Hostage, Sean, American, and so many others to write articles that interest them and release them on your site.

    Frankie P

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    • Taxi says:

      Thanks for your suggestions, Frankie. Good advice regarding stimulating more commentary. And regarding publishing community-based writers, I’m all up for that – in fact I’ve asked for and welcomed reader submissions on several threads already. And I take this opportunity to reiterate the invitation for submissions from readers out there – on any topic of their choosing.

      The thing is that I am trying to cut out daily site duties so I don’t think it helps me to make a ritual of daily postings, be they original material or shared newsstand articles. But for sure I would post submissions by readers whenever they’re submitted – they will not be just sitting there waiting on my whimsy.

      Frankie I would love to publish something by you – anytime the inspiration takes you – just do it!

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  7. ‘Maybe I need to change Plato’s model at this stage.’

    Taxi, to relieve the production of daily articles, I’ve always
    liked the Friendfeed format, where perhaps there’s a page that allows approved(?) commenters to post articles of interest. Sort of a generator where people can put articles up and get a dialogue going. Since the new dotcom site, I feel like the comments have slowed.

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    • Taxi says:

      Thanks Chu. Re: creating an FF posting facility: I’d have to either change the whole theme design or just have readers link to articles in the comments section to an open daily page. The thing is, it’s not the time, it’s the daily mindset ritual that I don’t dig. And just so you know, we’ve had more comments since dotcom, according to the stats. I’m kinda letting the comment section grow organically – but definitely I could do more commenting myself – maybe more commenting and less posting.

      (On a side note, your moderation glitch is back aaaaaargh! I’m sorry. I don’t know what to make of it or what to do about it and neither does my techie. American is having the same prob too – the bastard in the machine is targeting you both).

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      • Chu says:

        I was logged into WP. But I logged out now.

        I understand the mindset ritual, as I am glad to not look at this bleak situation for a few days. It’s draining to watch the criminals get away with murder. I look at a variety of news posts from a cross section of blogs, so I can see all the angles, and having a few good posts here may be more important for dialogue.
        FF was nice, because you could scan quickly the topics and see what thread was getting comments action. That was the strength of it, this kind of group text chatting. Anyhow, I’d say give yourself a break – post from Monday to Thursday and then the weekend off, unless something is crucial or you want to engage in the comments.

        Also comment on MW a bit and get back in it. At least there are some people who enjoy a dialogue there and debate – and if anything gets too R-rated for MW, there’s a place here to finish the debate.What happened to people like north cascadian, or hostage? They made good points on WP. More ebb & flow I guess.

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      • seanmcbride says:

        “FF was nice, because you could scan quickly the topics and see what thread was getting comments action. That was the strength of it, this kind of group text chatting.”

        That’s the truth. There is still nothing out there that matches the agility, speed and power of the FF interface.

        “What happened to people like north cascadian, or hostage? They made good points on WP. More ebb & flow I guess.”

        After a time, the endless controversies about Israel’s battles with the rest of the world become the most boring topic on the planet — round and round and round and round on the same handful of issues, the same points coming up again and again — the very definition of debilitating neurosis. It’s no wonder that many people burn out.

        And yet there is this problem: unless the United States frees itself from Likud’s ironclad control over the American political system — triumphs in these tiresome debates in terms of prevailing in real-world politics — we are truly and royally screwed.

        The Israel lobby has prevailed in these debates so far (in terms of practical politics) because it has been able to wear down the opposition through sheer fanaticism.

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      • seanmcbride says:

        What’s bubbling beneath the surface in US/Israeli relations:

        BEGIN QUOTE
        During Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, she said “the administration really felt like they were really humiliated and undercut by the Israelis during the war… And you heard people say out loud, fight loudly in the stairwell in the State Department, saying ‘We are the United States of America – we will not be ruled whether it’s by domestic constituencies or Israelis!’

        “And Obama was saying things to his advisers like ‘well, maybe I ought to accept this but I don’t want to be a ‘freier’” – a Hebrew slang word meaning “sucker.”
        END QUOTE

        “Ex-Obama official: ‘Jewish power bubble’ has popped”
        http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/203137#.VkDWKr-yhCA

        And here is the typical language one sees from pro-Israel activists in response to these developments:

        BEGIN COMMENT
        Here are my thoughts on Blumenfeld: A bubble should burst in her head and put an end to this miserable b**ch’s existence. Where do this administration find these cockroaches?
        END COMMENT

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      • Chu says:

        “the endless controversies about Israel’s battles with the rest of the world become the most boring topic on the planet”

        True. If Israel were tried in a court of law, international or any western gov’t, they would be found guilty. And today Yahu and their gov’t are planning to build 2200 units as he plans to meet Obama. But the Dems and Repubs are getting played by foreign/domestic agents for Israel.
        I see the future of US foreign policy where the US can be the next Sisyphus, pushing that rock up the hill for eternity, until we are stripped of all credibility and treasure defending illegal occupiers born with a major chip on their shoulder.

        and fyi.

        http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Star-studded-LA-fundraiser-rakes-in-31-million-for-IDF-432285

        “More than 1,200 supporters of the Israeli military attended the sold-out Friends of the Israel Defense Forces charity event at The Beverly Hilton hotel.

        The FIDF Western Region Gala ushered in various A-listers, including Mark Wahlberg, Liev Schreiber, Antonio Banderas, Jason Segel, Jason Alexander and Israeli-born KISS front man Gene Simmons. The event featured a musical performance by the Beach Boys.”

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      • Taxi says:

        I don’t want a set routine for working the blog, Chu. The ‘routine’ is like the fly in the ointment for me.

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  8. creek says:

    agree w/ Bornajoo:

    “My own two pence worth; cut right down on the articles. Post only when you feel like it or when you have the time. Your own writings are always the star of the show and I would be honoured and delighted to be able to read your own work whenever you had the time and inclination to put pen to paper, whether it was once a week or once a month or whenever you found the urge. “

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  9. Walid says:

    Taxi, did your cook make some “new” olives for you? ’tis the time especially if you like the bite of bitterness or hot peppers in them.

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    • Taxi says:

      Walid, I’m eating this year’s pickled olives already everyday. My current cook is from the Philippines and doesn’t know her olive from her shmolive so I got a nice lady from the village next door to pickle olives for me using the traditional Levant methods. She made two batches: one pickled in brine and chillis and slices of lemon with a few cloves of garlic – topped with a cup of olive oil (to stop white decay film from forming), and the other cracked and pickled in salt and nothing else.

      If you came to visit me, I would send you home with a jar of pickled olives and a bottle of extra-extra-extra virgin olive oil. Southern-style hospitality.

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