Plato’s Pow Wow

Plato’s Winter Pow Wow

Media is boring.  There’s been no interesting or serious analysis written anywhere in the past several days – just much predictable tit for tat tedium between oppositions everywhere you look.

Business is as usual in the Middle East.  Israel and its supporters are still committing daily crimes.  ISIS and its supporters are still committing daily crimes.  Yes, the losers in the Mideast wars continue to commit crimes as the noose around their criminal projects tightens.

Meanwhile, back home on the presidential trail… boring.  Even though civil wars are erupting within the Democrat and Republican parties, their battles are so frigging boring that I can’t read past the headlines.

What’s left to say except let’s pow-wow!  Any topic goes…  So long as it doesn’t involve discussing ‘what is a Jew’ – I’ve swallowed enough Mondoweiss articles on this theme to last me a lifetime.



  1. Taxi says:

    I'm currently considering dropping my 'Taxi' handle for another new pseudonym: first and last name included. This will help my analysis articles travel further out to the world. Apparently.

    Any thoughts, anyone?

  2. The Wend says:

    Hello Taxi.

    Don't change your pseudonym. Saker did that last month for a day, when he revealed his true first and last name for the first time ever, and almost nobody liked it.


    But that is just my opinion.

    Cheers, and keep up the good work.



    • seanmcbride says:

      I agree — "Taxi" is by now a well-established brand — the product of a great deal of effort.

      It's like band names — it doesn't matter what the band name is — the band defines the name.


      • Taxi says:

        Sean, I’m in a real quandary about it all. For other sites to republish any of my articles and spread the word out further, I need to provide them with a full name and a short biog along with the article – this is basically a standard requirement.

        The question here is: do I stay ‘underground’ and purist, or do I go commercial and spread the good word out wider – maybe even earn from it?

        I would really appreciate any thoughtful counseling (from anybody) on this.

      • Taxi says:

        “”Taxi” is by now a well-established brand” – Sean.

        This may be so but in a very small circle.

    • Taxi says:

      Thanks, The Wend. What do you think was the reason for so much dislike of Saker’s real name? And why did he out himself? And only for a day? I mean he’s a fast regretor huh?

      • The Wend says:



        Saker was betrayed by one of his Serbian teams – they published his name on their Serbian website adding that he is "a virulent antisemite", believe it or not. (I warned Saker before that about this possibility, because I am Serbian and I know how difficult is for the Serbs to avoid being islamophobic, and Saker provoked them with his brilliant "I am not Charlie" essay.) In short, human stupidity caused Saker to reveal his real name (I think it is Raevsky).


        Anyway, do as you feel it is the proper thing to do. I like your site as it is, and your analyses as they are, and I frequently publish them on facebook, only for the initiated :-). . But if you feel that you can have broader audience with your real name – just go ahead.



      • Taxi says:

        Thanks for the dramatic backstory to the Saker’s outing. Wow. That’s a nasty backstab. Mr Saker didn’t deserve it one bit.

        I don’t have to use my real name at all, btw, but I would have to provide a first and last pseudonym – I would have to drop ‘Taxi’ and adopt a Jane Doe alias of sorts.

        It would seem to be the smart thing to do: to expand, but something inside me is resisting it. My legendary lazybone, probably.

        The pros of changing names is equal to the cons – that’s my dilemma. Which way to go? I haven’t got the faintest. That’s why I thought to ask y’all about it – a consensus might shed light on the right direction to take.

        And I so appreciate your advice, The Wend – thank you so much for that and thank you even more for your vote of confidence.

  3. Bornajoo says:

    Taxi, you deserve a much bigger and wider audience. If adopting a different pseudonym helps that to happen then you should do it. You can always add 'formerly known as Taxi' for a while until everyone gets used to the new name?

    Anyway that's my tuppence ha'penny worth


  4. I think it's a bit of an adventure v. safety trade, Taxi.

    Since you don't/can't know how much additional exposure (income?) you'll get v. the amount of headache/detractors you'll get, it seems to me that this is a question of whether you simply want to see what's beyond your current horizon, or not – win, lose, or draw.

    FWIW… but you never struck me as particularly timid (aka non-adventurous, hint hint…).

  5. RudyM says:

    There has been some interesting stuff on the Naked Capitalism website lately, albeit, partially over my head as usual.

    This post related to Krugman's lashing out at Sanders supporters could be called incestuously polemical, but it touches on some important topics (not that you cover economics per se all that much here):


    Hmmm. Pseudonym. How about Ghada Godot? Just kidding.


    This is pretty nice, from last year:

  6. Taxi says:

    Quick question to everyone:  if you're a subscriber to Plato's, can you please confirm that you've been getting regular email notifications?  I'm just checking to make sure that there are no technical glitches in this department.  Thank you.

  7. Taxi  I really  appreciate your " outsider" status

    I need your untrammelled views and your anger

    i am also absolutely so over

    any discussion on what constitutes jewishness

    so bored of it………

    So irrelevant.

    recieving emails gratefully

    i want you to stay TAXI!



    • Taxi says:

      Thank you, Lally – kind words and advice that truly resonates with me. I am much more comfortable as a total “outsider” and as far away from the spotlight as possible. I hate the frigging system. I hate their noise. I don’t wanna cooperate. I have little regard and barely any respect for media’s content and level of intelligence. I’m not a journalist – and I absolutely loathe writing with any intellectual or stylistic restrictions – including which name I choose to write under. I think part of the charm of Plato’s is in its subterranean blues existence. It’s off the grid. But it’s find-able… especially through reader’s word of mouth. A big thank you shout out here to everyone who’s been recommending Plato’s analysis articles to new readers – spreading the word organically. Thank you and please keep linking – widen the chain of knowledge.

      Lally, for some reason your post snapped me out of a horrid little mental inertia – a flash of fleeting clarity unfolded and quickly departed but it was enough to blow the tumbleweed and mind-fog away.

      Taxi stays.

      • bintbiba says:


        I came late to the discussion and your dilemma /quandary.

        I totally agree with Lally and the Wend.

        You are what you are and you would have had to bend … I hate  the mere idea of what would have come your way ….because of what a strong , honest, independent thinker you are ;  so well grounded an individual  that what you have to say is way beyond the sorry 'journalism' of our time.

        We love your style , your candour , your passion and your individuality. 

        I hope as Taxi (Redux ! ) you will go from strength to strength with your ever growing list of cheering admirers right with you !!

        In the end,no matter what you decide to do … we'll still be behind you, Taxi , Always .

        Maybe one day  the book ? 




      • Taxi says:

        Wonderful words from a great lady – thank you bintbiba.

        The “book”? I’m too lazy for long projects. Meh.

      • Danaa says:

        Taxi, my two cents worth:


        I have been struggling with the same dilemma you have. I have been compiling a "secret" little blog of my own that I am thinking of unveiling. But under what name? Danaa is fine for all things Middle east, but my interests range well beyond the ME (who would have thunk) and sometimes I like to comment on other topics altogether, some of which are not even political (is there anything that isn't/ well, that's one of my mini-essays).

        In the end the decision was clear – must split into two or even three, kind of mirroring my personality. The ME is really a limited hang-out for those who are interested. Lots of people aren't and one can't make people be interested if they don't want to be. Splitting into two or even three blogs has one down-side – the extra work (if not expense). The upside is that one blog can be an "open" trail, including items that are cross-published elsewhere, much as lots of other people do (including eg, the Saker who is now published also in The Unz review and Russia Insider). But then keep Plato's Guns as is, under taxi. Can choose to cross-reference the two or even cross-publish but that's an option. Plato's guns can remain the unrestricted free medium you like, and a newstand. The other blog can be just your own original musings (which can then be also imported into Plato's Guns, for those of us who want to engage in a more freewheeling discussion with the taxi we always knew and loved. You may choose whether to have the taxi association open or not (so for example, just us "insiders" will know that the new amazing blogger out there is none other than our one and only Taxi, but others – your new legion of followers will not necessarily know the connection).

        The downside of too much work is not that bad really. The new blog can use even one of the free templates until it catches fire. having said that, obviously it takes enough time that I haven't finished my own little undertaking along these lines.

        The other down-side is that if you choose the new name to be divorced from Taxi for various reasons, then indeed, at some point must be prepared to be "outed". Again I doubt that'd be a big concern unless you see physical threat somewhere.


        The main upside IMO is that you get to be as schizophrenic on-line as you (or really any of us) are in real life. On-line existence means we can be [almost] all that we are – and then some. So what could possibly go wrong?


        PS sorry I haven't been much around lately. So very busy again…..





      • Taxi says:

        Hi Danaa,

        Thank you for taking the time to make some useful suggestions – suggestions that befit robust bloggers and not lazy ones like me, I’m afraid. I can just about deal with a single blog let alone multiple ones. As far as The Saker is concerned, it looks to me like there’s some serious money behind this blog while Plato’s is more of a breatharian, living off the air rising from dew drops. I think I feel most comfortable just being Taxi and I will endeavor to find ways to make the mountain come to Mohammad instead of the other way round. With writing more original articles and with the help of readers spreading the word, I guess eventually Plato’s will get there.

        But I’m seriously looking forward to you launching your multiple blogs – wow – that is really something to look forward to.

        Always fantastic to have you visit, Danaa. Thank you.

  8. bintbiba says:



    Much as I certainly agree with Bornajoo that you "deserve a much bigger and wider audience" ,  which definitely goes without saying …I have such a strong feeling that it would be too heavy a price to pay for a writer / analyst / thinker as independent as you !

    You are an original …no doubt about it.

  9. Taxi says:

    Hey I haven't seen American200 around for a while.  I tried to contact him recently to check on him but all emails bounced back.  ***If you're reading this, American, know that you're missed and I hope you and your family are all doing alright.

    • Taxi says:

      I wanna give a shoutout to others whom I haven’t seen around for a while too:

      Hiya Cloak and Dagger!

      Hiya weareone!

      Hiya cigargod!

      Hiya Abu Malia!

      Hiya Frankie P!

      I love you all – hope it’s all going hunky dory!

      • Taxi says:

        I get the sense that he may have signed himself off blogging – he was getting pretty frustrated and sick of the whole israel-firsters’ shebang.

      • Taxi says:

        Yeah I saw that but it bored me to even read the headlines. I mean, of course they would – they’re stuck in 1939! And besides, this kind of anti free-speech stuff just makes people hate them even more. And what exactly do they mean by “take action as needed” – lol. I’m sorry, the whole thing might even be a propagandistic hoax.

      • seanmcbride says:

        Was the Bernadotte assassination a propagandistic hoax?

        The deeper level of activity going on here: some pro-Israel activists have the power to pull strings at major Internet companies, federal intelligence agencies, local police departments, etc. — and to use them to run ops against their "enemies" — to pick them off one by one and silence them.

        By the way, Stephen Zunes (a notable critic of Israel) recently went black on Facebook for a few weeks after being subjected to sustained harassment.


      • Taxi says:

        I don’t underestimate the effers – but I don’t think our American200 is a worthy target for them, despite his fiery anti israel rhetoric.

      • seanmcbride says:

        They may look at the world very differently than you do — you shouldn't project your mindset and redlines on them — they are in an entirely different mental and emotional space.

        In any case, perhaps someone will be able to verify that everything is cool with American — and that he just had the good sense to turn his attention to more life-enhancing topics and issues. The Great Mideast Debates are a depressing snake pit — anti-life — truly a lunatic asylum.

        Many Americans and Europeans have been forced to pay attention to these controversies because foreign policy matters to American and Europeans — and increasingly they resent having to deal with this mess. Wouldn't you love to know the private thoughts and feelings of, say, Barack Obama and John Kerry on these issues.


      • Taxi says:

        For sure zionists and myself don’t see eye to eye lol! They don’t scare me one bit – but they disgust me to the core.

        I reckon Obama and Kerry love israel but hate greater israel.

      • seanmcbride says:

        A healthy respect for Mossad wouldn't be misplaced — they are competent (most of the time), very innovative, and can reach out to nearly any point on the planet with the greatest of ease. Some very smart people think they are the best at what they do.


      • Taxi says:

        I p*ss all over the fucking mossad! They’re a bunch of incompetent slops with fancy-shamancy guns and all the hi-tech gizmos under the sun yet they’ve gotten outsmarted by both Iran and Hezbollah for the past twenty plus years. Their ‘arm’ is a lot shorter than you think, Sean – they can’t even reach across into south Lebanon. They’re like pufferfish – you know, the small fish that bloats up to make themselves appear larger than life.

        What they’re good at though is getting people to believe in their unfounded mythology. And no, sloppy political assassinations don’t take the espionage biscuit in my books.

      • seanmcbride says:

        Israeli capabilities supposedly aren't that impressive — but for over half a century Israelis been able to easily overpower and dominate adversaries who greatly outnumber them and who have dismissed those capabilities with contempt.

        Remember when the Arab world was full of bold promises to utterly crush Israel? What happened?

        One needs to look at these issues as realistically and objectively as possible, Taxi — Mossad, in collaboration with Unit 8200, easily ranks among the top 5 intel agencies in the world for effectiveness and fearsomeness. And it is quite smart about leveraging the capabilities of other intel agencies around the world. Its successes have greatly outnumbered its few public blunders.

        It is safe to say that Israel keeps close tabs on anti-Israel activists all around the world at a highly fine-grained level — that is not difficult to do with the right cyber and data mining tools these days. And it has at its command a global network of dedicated covert warriors that reaches nearly everywhere.

        There are also various shadowy independent groups out there without ties to Mossad or the Israeli government that have a quick trigger finger — those may be the ones to worry about most.


      • Taxi says:


        If the USA’s 5th Fleet were not in the Med protecting the Apartheid state of Israel, it would have long expired from the region. USA support is the ONLY reason why Israel remains – nothing to do with the ‘nifty’ mossad or the shifty idf.

        The reason why the mossad has mega info at its disposal is because they’ve infiltrated our global information pool as well as other major European ones.

        The reason why Hezbollah won the 2006 war was because the mossad had ZERO intel on their activities. I wouldn’t call that a “blunder”, I would call it disastrous incompetence on the part of the mossad.

        We’ve had this discussion many times before. You always over-praise israel’s abilities and underestimate its enemies’ abilities despite being provided with plenty of facts on this matter over the years.

      • seanmcbride says:

        Of interest:

        "FailedMessiah blogger signs off after 12 years of haredi muckraking" (Times of Israel)

        "Shmarya Rosenberg, who focused on exposing scandals in ultra-Orthodox community, says he’ll now work on anti-poverty issues"

        Comment: Douglas Kent: "I find it very odd that he is just dropping out after so many years of this. Something is defintely up."


      • seanmcbride says:

        Also take the case of Andrew Sullivan. For decades he was a reliable supporter of the New Republic wing of pro-Israel activism. After the failure of the Iraq War, he had a change of heart and began to aggressively challenge the Israel lobby and the neocons in the style of Walt and Mearsheimer. Then the flood of prolific writing on his blog The Dish came to an end.

        From Wikipedia:

        In January 2010, Sullivan blogged that he is "moving toward" the idea of "a direct American military imposition" of a two state solution on Israel, with NATO troops enforcing "the borders of the new states of Palestine and Israel". He commented, "I too am sick of the Israelis […] I'm sick of having a great power like the US being dictated to". His post was criticised by Noah Pollak of Commentary, who referred to it as "crazy", "heady stuff" based on "hubris".

        In February 2010, Leon Wieseltier in The New Republic suggested that his former friend and colleague Sullivan had a "venomous hostility toward Israel and Jews", and was "either a bigot, or just moronically insensitive" towards the Jewish people. Sullivan rejected the accusation, and was defended by some writers, while others at least partly supported Wieseltier.
        END QUOTE

        One might get the impression that influential critics of Israel are being silenced one by one — when the overt attacks on them begin to surface (like Leon Wieseltier's accusation that Sullivan possessed a "venomous hostility toward Israel and Jews"), the covert attacks may well follow — and we will never know what really happened.

        Shmarya Rosenberg has also been a vigorous critic of Israel.

        What has always impressed me is the high level of verbal violence and even outright threats expressed by many pro-Israel activists in open publications and media channels (see, for instance, the comment sections of the Jerusalem Post, Times of Israel and Ynet News). Where there is that much smoke there has to be fire.

        The playbook for silencing political opponents by covert means is huge and sophisticated — and of course includes state-of-the-art hacking and cyberwarfare — as well as all the old school methods.

        Pro-Israel militants believe they are in an all-out war for their survival against the forces of darkness (Amalek) — the gloves are off — they are not interested in engaging in free and open rational debates about Israeli policies — they are operating on an entirely different plane.

        That, of course, was the attitude that produced the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin.


      • seanmcbride says:


        You are right that Israel largely owes its survival and success to American support — but then one has to look into the role of Israeli organizational efforts and ops in facilitating that support — both overt and covert.

        You wrote:

        "We’ve had this discussion many times before. You always over-praise israel’s abilities and underestimate its enemies’ abilities despite being provided with plenty of facts on this matter over the years."

        You know, Israel's adversaries in the region have been promising to crush Israel since its founding, and look at where they stand now — look at Egypt, Iraq, Libya and Syria. They haven't succeeded in reacquiring a single inch of Palestinian territory — and increasingly they are silent on the plight of Palestinians in general.

        With regard to Russia's emerging role in the region — some strategic analysts have speculated that Russia, taking into account its own strategic interests, may actually place a restraining hand on Hezbollah. It might be a mistake to assume that Russia is going to champion the Palestinian cause.

        My guess is that Israel exerts more influence among Russian policy elites than Palestinians — or Hezbollah. Russia, like the United States and Europe, is becoming increasingly paranoid about Muslim movements in general.


      • Taxi says:

        Again, Sean, I say to you that your data is out of date. This is not 1967. We are not even in the 80’s or 90’s. Israel’s invincibility was broken back in 2000 and again glaringly in 2006 – both times by Hezbollah the underdog and the exception to your old statistics. Plus, numerous other military strategic realities have since been altered to render your view of israel’s power practically obsolete. In a sense, you should hold Hezbollah in the absolute highest regard for managing to break the dragon’s jaw senseless. It is not israel’s fictitious ingenuity or it’s superior courage that keeps it alive, it is all down to the foolish generosity of Uncle Sam.

      • Bornajoo says:

        Howdy Cloak

        I know that inundated with work feeling only too well.
        It's another reason why I think the powerful baddies are so successful. Nearly everyone else is working all the hours to survive. Not enough time, money, resources or energy to resist, question, challenge


      • seanmcbride says:


        You are placing a big bet on Hezbollah — ok. I am more skeptical and cautious. The worldwide pro-Israel lobby (and the Israeli military establishment) is giving much thought to this issue as we speak — and it tends to be creative and innovative — capable of coming up with surprise moves.

        My sense of things is that it may be easy to marginalize Hezbollah on the world stage — the US, Europe, Russia, China and other nations are already in an uproar about the threat of Muslim extremists. Hezbollah may be facing their combined political, economic and military might — not to mention Israel's large arsenal of state-of-the-art weapons.

        I strongly doubt that Hezbollah will dare to initiate a war against Israel — if it were confident that such a war would conclude in its favor, it would have done so already.

        I think it's useful to have differing opinions on these topics — and to explore why we think what we think. I am thinking about your arguments and analysis. You never know when I might change my mind.

        Added note: it just occurred to me that Iran, Lebanon and Russia might share a common interest in keeping a tight rein on Hezbollah.


      • Taxi says:

        First, the hezb are not extremists that the world would want to marginalize – they’re actually killing the terrorists that the west fears in their thousands. Even this little detail breaks down your argument points above.

        Russia only last week was praising hezbollah’s artfulness on the battlefield – more than that, Russia has been supplying Hezbollah with military equipment etc – something that the israelis two weeks ago whined and freaked out about. Top Hezbollah guys are also known to pay regular visits to Russia.

        And just so you know, hezbollah’s leader has actually said on several occasions that they will be the ones to choose the time of the next war with israel, ie they will be the ones to preemptively strike and start a war of liberation and of course, they will do this when the conditions are conducive to a hezb victory.

        The zionist media has painted the hezb black from head to toe and the hezb doesn’t care one bit. Even though Obama removed them from the USA terrorist list (part of the condition of the Iran nuke deal), the zionist media still refers to them as a terrorist organization that’s identical to ISIS. Moreover, our zio politicians have now arranged it for the hezb to be on the ‘narcoterrorism’ list, accusing them of drug trafficking and money laundering – all unsubstantiated lies. Drugs are not hezbollah’s style at all – the opposite is true. They have one obsession only: defeating israel.

        All in all, Sean, there is now in the region something called the 4+1 Alliance consisting of four states and one non-state member: Russia, Iran, Iraq, Syria and… Hezbollah. Israel can’t touch this equation. The 4+1 Alliance is solid.

      • seanmcbride says:


        Really strong points there — I hear you. I especially like that concept/term “4+1 Alliance.” Right on the money.

        Two counterpoints —

        +Pro-Israel activists have pulled out all the stops to erase all distinctions between Sunni and Shia Muslims — and to maximize fear of and hostility towards Islam in general in the West (the US and Europe) — you know — the whole Clash of Civilizations script. So far they’ve been quite successful with that propaganda line among many Americans and Europeans who know next to nothing about Mideast politics and Islam.

        +Hezbollah’s relationship with Russia and Iran will come with a price — Hezbollah will not be able to act independently on matters that directly affect Russian and Iranian interests. Russia and Iran have no interest in pushing Israel over the edge into Samson Option mode — they will control Hezbollah’s behavior to a considerable degree.

      • Taxi says:

        Hezbollah is right there on the borders with israel – this means they’re on the first line of defense against zionist greater israel spreading norwards up the Levant and beyond. Hezbollah’s strength in blocking the zionists favors and enhances both Iranian regional hegemony and Russian power in the Levant. Indeed Russia and Iran would strategically support turning hezbollah into a massive military wall to block out the ziocon’s sphere of influence in the region. And if push comes to shove, Hezbollah would do what is necessary to defend its home, right there on the first line of defense, regardless of Russia and Iran’s position or interests. In a life or death situation, the hezb will do what it needs to do to stay alive regardless of Iranian and Russian recommendations or concerns.

        And you keep talking about the hezb being ‘reigned in’ like they’re some irrational wild beast. They’re not, Sean. Their leadership and operatives are sober, patient, clear, precise, focused, rational, informed and highly disciplined as strategists and tacticians. Their victories against israel attest to this.

      • seanmcbride says:

        Another great comment, Taxi — points taken.

        Perhaps what we are looking at here is a Mexican Standoff — in which Israel will be forced by shifting strategic alliances to stand down from its plans to push forward the Greater Israel agenda. It may decide that accepting the two-state solution in earnest is the only available course of action.


      • Taxi says:

        That’s exactly right, Sean. A solution will be imposed on them, and being the entitled cowards that they are (like the aristocrats of old), they will eventually bitterly accept the 2SS imposed on them by the will of the larger world.

        If a solution is successfully imposed on both the Palestinians and the israelis, hezbollah will take a step back from israel – this has been stated by them and by the Iranians: they will accept and respect whatever decision the Palestinians take and if the Palestinians go with a 2SS peace treaty, the loud antagonism between Iran/Hezb and israel will most certainly peter out into a resentful hush.

      • seanmcbride says:


        I think you've just concisely summarized the likely endgame here. If I were Israel, I would accept the inevitable sooner than later — there is no point in dragging this miserable situation out any longer.


      • Taxi says:

        Oh they will drag it till its blue and red in the knuckles, but they will eventually have to submit to the mass imposition.

      • seanmcbride says:

        Update on FailedMessiah:

        "Is There an Orthodox Plot to Silence FailedMessiah?"

        There’s an Orthodox media mystery developing around the anonymous new owners of the muckraking blog FailedMessiah, and growing signs the site’s harsh criticism of the Orthodox community may be permanently silenced.

        Shmarya Rosenberg, who ran FailedMessiah singlehandedly for more than a decade, announced February 2 that he was moving on. Days later, questions about the blog’s new owners are multiplying, and one Orthodox website has suggested that an Orthodox businessman bought FailedMessiah to “pull the plug” on Rosenberg’s hard-hitting reporting on the community.
        FailedMessiah Blogger Quits Muckracking Anti-Hasidic Site
        Josh Nathan-KazisFebruary 3, 2016

        In a post on February 3, the new owners said they were “a group of people dedicated to protecting the reputation of the Orthodox Jewish community,” but did not identify themselves by name.

        That post was signed “Diversified Holdings.” There are more than a hundred companies registered under that name in the United States. It’s not clear that any of them is the new owner of FailedMessiah.

        Reached via telephone at his home in Minnesota, Rosenberg would not say who the site’s new owners were, nor how much he sold the site for. He said that he did not expect the new ownership group to shut down FailedMessiah.

        “It’s certainly going to change the site in some ways, they’re very open about that,” Rosenberg said. “But no, they’re not going to kill it.”

        In their February 3 post, FailedMessiah’s new anonymous owners said they planned to “present articles and conversations that speak to what Hashem truly wants from us” and “continue to pursue and expose people that create a desecration of G-d’s name.”
        END QUOTE


      • chu says:

        Rosenberg is probably  tired of always looking behind his back. I know every time he leaves his residence, he carries a pistol because he fears the worst from the Chabad cult he was once part of.  

      • seanmcbride says:

        He may have been maliciously hacked — in numerous ways — in cyberspace, physical space or social space. We know these kinds of operations have been going on for some time — and that they have dramatically escalated during the last year or two.

        Did you see this?

        "Jewish Voice for Peace and Jews Say No! take credit for faux ‘NYT’ highlighting biased coverage on Israel/Palestine"

        "Yesterday we reported on a parody edition of the New York Times being handed out on the streets of New York City. Since then the fake paper has generated headlines around the world and the Twitter account and website associated with the effort have been suspended."

        >>>"the Twitter account and website associated with the effort have been suspended"<<< What?

        It would be good to hear that he has simply become bored with the Great Mideast Debates and decided to tune them out — that would be perfectly understandable. After a while they can become unbearably tiresome and toxic — there are so many other important things going on in the world.


      • Taxi says:

        I know American was having problems with his computer due to some anti-virus program – but that shouldn’t wipe out his email account. I hope no malice of any kind is behind his withdrawal from blogging. I’ve seen this syndrome before, hell I’ve even experienced it: one gets so absolutely fed up to the hilt with the m-effers that one needs to completely cut off for a while.

        And regarding the fake nyt story – I’m trying to post something on that right now – trying to find a non-jewish article on it. Too bad the actual faux site and twitter are down.

      • Taxi says:

        Well of course he’s going to say that with one side of his mouth – while supporting ISIS with the other.

        Sean, you must understand that to Russia, Iran and Syria (plus their security causes) are by far more important to the Kremlin than israel. Israel is but their antagonist’s best friend with limited trust between them both – whereas Russia is bonding itself in real terms to both Iran and Syria, both militarily and economically. And as far as Russia and the Palestinians are concerned, well Russia just stomped all over the Greater Israel project and believes in the two state solution, manifested through UN resolutions. At some stage of the peace process game, you will see Russia voting at the UN to make this happen. Russia does not use its veto to prolong the occupation like the USA does, on the contrary, records prove the opposite.

        I’ve written several articles regarding both current israeli power and the Russo-israeli relationship – perhaps you need to go read them and parse my analysis there in the corresponding comments section.

        One thing’s for sure: Russia is not israel’s poodle, like our congress is. And Russia supports a 2SS, which israel considers to be an ‘enemy’ project.

      • seanmcbride says:


        You are right that Russia opposes Greater Israelism and supports the two-state solution — and that Israel is going to be confronted with considerable pressure from that quarter. And Russian/Iranian ties are probably going to be much more substantive than Russian/Israeli ties.


      • Danaa says:

        There was a very good analysis by The Saker on the complex nature of the Russia-Israel relationship, which laid out the reasons russia cannot and will not act willy-nilly to overly antagonize Israel.

        But Russia's Putin, as we know plays a long game. Right now, it is important to keep israel more or less on the sidelines of the Syrian conflict. What will transpire later, if and when most of Syria is secured, is another story altogether.


        AS usual, I don't have the link ready but I know Taxi knows all about this article because it was posted on PG.

      • seanmcbride says:


        This sounds about right:

        "Putin and Israel – a complex and multi-layered relationship"

        It is clear that Putin and Netanyahu struck a deal when the latter traveled to Moscow: the Israelis don’t interfere in Russian operations in support of the Syrians as long as the Russians don’t interfere in the combat operations between Israel and Hezbollah.  This made it possible for both sides to pursue their main interest even if it was at the cost of their secondary objectives.

        As for Putin, he simply has other priorities than to protect Hezbollah or fight Israel:

        Surviving inside Russia and not being overthrown by the still very powerful Zionist Power Configuration (to use James Petras’ expression) in Russia being a top one. Another priority would be not to give his (internal and external) enemies the political argument that “Russia is attacking Israel”.  Not having a shooting match with Israel and not to have the small and isolated Russian contingent have to fight on two fronts would be crucial too.  Ditto not to be accused of having the Russians contingent turned into the de-facto “Hezbollah Air Force” like the US is the “Daesh Air Force”.  These are all obvious priorities for Putin.
        END QUOTE


      • Taxi says:

        Actually, I didn't think much of Saker's analysis on Rissia-israel.  First of all, Bibi visited Putin and came back long-faced and empty-handed,  Russian mideast analysts were saying at the time that he wasn't expecting Putin to draw red lines and it was aviation red lines for israel that were drawn, not for Russia.   Sean, you're talking about the whole thing like israel is an equal in power to Russia, that it can get equal benefits from a Russian project – this is just simply not the case.

        Secondly, the Hezb doesn't need Russian air cover at all – why would it when it has anti-aircraft weaponry and missiles aimed at major targets in israel – not forgetting that the Syrian airforce as well as the Iranian airforce would come to the Hezb's aid if ever the need should arrive (they do have a military pact between the three of them).

        There is no doubt whatsoever that Russia' s arrival to the Levant has really shafted israel and not hezbollah – and israel being USA's best friend would never be 'closely' embraced by Russia.  And the cherry on the cake:  Russian national security interests are in supporting Iran and Syria, israel's mortal enemies. 

        I've written much about this and again, I refer you to my archives.

      • seanmcbride says:


        The main point that strikes me is that Russia and Iran would be unlikely to permit Hezbollah to pull them into an all-out war with Israel and the West — nor are they likely to make more effort to help the Palestinians than the Arab world itself — which has succeeded in advancing Palestinian interests not a whit.

        Israel probably feels nervous and uncertain about Russia's aggressive new role in Syria and the region — but I doubt that it feels too threatened. It may be worried more about Iran's increasing economic power.

        Israel's grip on the occupied territories is still firm — and you can imagine what might happen if someone like Marco Rubio wins the presidency — or even Hillary Clinton — who is a belligerent and bellicose neocon warmonger.


      • seanmcbride says:


        See this:

        "Israel and Iran Could Share a Border if Syria Beats ISIS, Israeli Minister Warns"

        Senior Israeli minister Yuval Steinitz warned Saturday that a victory for the Syrian regime in in the country's civil war could mean Iran would straddle the border with Israel. The minister, who is part of Israel's security cabinet, said the threat dwarfs that posed by Hamas in Gaza.

        "I'm afraid that the price of a victory [by the Syrian regime] against ISIS would be Iranian military presence on our northern border. This would be a real danger to us, and the Turks and Cypriots are also concerned, because no one wants to see Iran wading in the Mediterranean," the national infrastructure, water and energy minister said at a cultural event in the city of Be'er Sheva.

        The cabinet minister's remarks were delivered against the backdrop of a massive offensive against the rebel-held city of Aleppo in northern Syria. The regime assault, backed by Russia and Iran, appears to be one of the most determined offensives in five years of civil war.  
        END QUOTE

        Does this mean that Israel is siding with ISIS against Syria, Russia and Iran? The very same extremist group that has vowed to terrorize the US and Europe?


      • Taxi says:

        Iran is already in Syria, Sean – they’ve been there for at least a good two years. Israel is finally dealing with ‘reality’.

      • seanmcbride says:


        I think Israel is feeling panic because it sees nearly the entire world turning against it — but the irony is that many pro-Israel activists and militants — especially religious Zionists — have actively sought out a state of maximum tension and conflict between "the chosen nation" and "the nations." There are psychological and ideological issues rooted in ancient Judaism that still need to be sorted out in this peculiar situation — but not even progressive anti-Zionists are up to the task.


      • Taxi says:

        Israel is panicking specifically because it’s been militarily checked by Iran-Syria-Hezbollah and to attempt to change this strategic equation risks the destruction of tel aviv. The days when israel could just strike at its neighbors without accountability and consequences are well over – they’ve been over since 2006 and only now, ten years later, are the zionist leaders letting their brainwashed voters know about the critical squeeze their warmongering colonialist greed has got them into.

        The violence and racism in the Talmud will become common knowledge when the msm is out of the hands of the jewish mafia. Don’t expect any miracles till then – not even from progressive anti zionists who are supra PC when it comes to discussing jewish religion. But to be fair, most of this block probably don’t know what you know – they haven’t explored and parsed the talmudic aspect of zionism and they probably don’t feel comfortable/confident to speak about it.

        One must be patient and continue the education of the public through civilized discourse.

      • seanmcbride says:


        It's an urgent matter for the Jewish establishment — and the Jewish religious establishment in particular — to take a critical look at how some core ideological elements in Judaism are contributing to reckless intransigence among many Zionists. Until that process is worked through, this situation will continue to deteriorate. I don't see much progress occurring on this front — even many progressive Jewish anti-Zionists dig in their heels and become defensive when this issue comes up — they feel an emotional need to compartmentalize Judaism and Zionism in their minds.

        At the same time, it is an urgent matter for mainstream and traditional Christian denominations to clearly identify their ideological and doctrinal differences with Christian Zionism. Christian Zionists have succeeded in hijacking much or most of the Christian evangelical movement that now dominates the Republican Party.

        Ideas matter — ideas rule the world. Ideologies and core beliefs form and propel policies.


      • Danaa says:

        Taxi, I did not mean to imply total agreement with everything described in The Saker article (thanks for the link). He often builds a very wide arc and as a result, key details that can be very significant are buried in the margin. What I did like about the article is that he went through lots of elements that together make the Russia/Israel situation "complex". However, it is in through the relative importance attached to those elements that prognosis can be made, and there, I tend to agree more with you than with Sean. Assuming I understand your disputation correctly.

        In my own analysis I tend to try and look beyond the mere facts or speculations of the day to the large picture, which can include elements now hidden from view. Needless to say this kind of exercise involves both intuition and speculation. And so I’ll plead fallibility, as a mere human, but, barring indications to the contrary, continue to believe in my own prgnostications.

        And on that front, I think you, taxi are closer to the reality – as it is shaping up, even as Sean ably points out the reality as it currently is. So, to me the difference is in the timeline, rather than any facts. This is, BTW, similar to the line I take when discussing sanders' "hidden zionism" or lack thereof (put up a comment just recently on MW about that).

        Upshot is, the way I see things transpiring in the ME, with Russia now firmly entrenched in a "bridge-head" in Syria, is that things will irrevocably change in the coming future. There is no doubt that Russia played a good game in Syria, using its own sovereign interests as rationale. Putin correctly read that Russia cannot simply sink into some kind of post-Soviet isolationism and live happily ever after. Not when there is a hegemon run amok around, trying to rearrange an Empire according to its own global/neoliberal tastes (which, IMO are bound to doom its expansion in the long run). In Russia, if one follows closely such translations as are available, there are people already thinking about how to deal with israel when the time comes. because deal with it is something they'll have to do eventually. I happen to believe (and I think taxi will agree) that the alliance with hezbollah and Iran, even if it is not touted from the every hill top, is part and parcel of the shift in the power game that will come, as sure as day follows night.

        That being said (and I don't want to belabor the point too much here) I still think that for now, Russia will concentrate on liberating Syria from the clutches of the crazy "idiots-de-jour of the Empire" (yes, I mean, Erdogan and KSA among others). Putting them in their place is absolutely essential before undertaking any geopolitical dealings with israel. So fro now, keeping the israeli dog from barking too much (though they can snarl, and now and then must get a little "bone") is the thing to do. There'll be world enough and time to deal with the jewish state, but to ultimately succeed, racking up some military victories is a good starting point. Ultimately, israel does understand that language all too well.


        IOW, were I to advise Putin, I'd say "carry on!".


      • Taxi says:

        Thanks Dana. Apologies but I didn’t mean to be knocking the Saker off his perch – I respect his views and I get much out of his articles, but I just didn’t get any new insights out of this particular article linked above.

        Yes, we are witnessing the sands of the middle east shifting – parts of the old status quo have already died, others are in the process of dying.

  10. re Taxi @ 7:13pm: "[Hezbollah's]  leadership and operatives are sober, patient, clear, precise, focused, rational, informed and highly disciplined as strategists and tacticians. Their victories against israel attest to this."


    Iran trained them.

    Suleimani is not a preening Sir Bernard Montgomery; he's disciplined, strategic, focused, precise, rational.

    The touchstone I use for background on Hezbollah (in addition to Taxi and Platosguns on-the-scene insights) is Augustus Richard Norton

    • Taxi says:

      You’re absolutely right, chas. They took crucial and immensely beneficial lessons from the anciently clever Iranians. But the fledgling Hezb had to be rational and open-minded in the first place to be able to appreciate and follow someone else’ seasoned rationale. Actually, the hezb leadership/council is highly educated in academic subjects as well as theology – their combined knowledge of the history of warfare has also taught them much about soldiering and the practice of war. Above all, one must remember that Hezbollah was born out of truly humble origins: literally, south Lebanese men from villages under israeli occupation, with no prior experience or knowledge of fighting in wars, organized themselves undercover of forests in a south Lebanon mountain, trained themselves to fight a-symmetrical warfare and intelligence-gathering, eventually ‘operating’ and managing to push the occupying idf army pretty much out of the whole of occupied south Lebanon. They kicked off their liberation project without the help of anyone, not even the Iranians at that time in the very early days – the Iranians came into the picture when localized hezb operations against the idf occupiers were hitting regional news.

      Chas, Hezbollah knows what living under israeli occupation is like – they will never, ever, ever, go back to that again. You can bet on that.

      • Pat Lang's blog is keenly tuned in to military maneuvers by people who have extensive knowledge of Syria-Turkey-Iraq etc. terrain.

        Key participants are ex-military or even still active military; ex-intelligence, etc.  They talk a lot of lingo that I don't understand, but they also deal in stern reality — facts, maps, weapons, etc.

        They think the R+6 is working on a major maneuver around Aleppo that will cause major hurt to "jihadis," cutting off their supply lines and constraining the territory where they can be safe.


      • Taxi says:

        Yes what Lang’s blog is saying is correct and happening right now. This morning, Arab TV news channels were showing live footage of 2 Syrian towns erupting in joy on their streets as the Syrian army moved in to liberate them – 40.000 Syrian people were today liberated and released from the brutal clutches of ISIS and ongoing hunger. Everyone interviewed on the streets joyfully declared the liberation to be a “victory for Syria”, not a victory for ‘Bashar’ or sunnism, shiism or whatever. Syrian Army soldiers were being pulled at and embraced and congratulated everywhere by excited civilians with worn-out faces. One woman with a baby in her arms was breathlessly praising a soldier and he said to her, “I did what I did for the future of my baby and yours”, then he kissed her baby on the forehead.

        After three and a half years of being held hostages by ISIS, these poor people’s mass kidnapping ordeal was finally over. It was really emotional to watch live.

    • Danaa says:

      Chas, I know you flock with the geese and the ganders. Up above, Taxi and Sean have been wondering about American, which got me concerned (I get easily concerned. I want all of us to live forever whether in fight, flight or kumbaya). Have you guys (I know you are all guys. just a hunch) seen him around by any chance? Taxi says his e mail is bouncing back, and that's concerning. Seen no evidence of him for quite a while on MW either (not that I follow the comment section religiously but I do check in and do post now and then, if only to let people know I'm around, even if busy).

      IF you know anything please share – me, I am just hoping he is in good health and that his cat(s) are well taken care of.



      • Taxi says:

        American last posted on GFTG back in November 2015 – I looked it up the other day. Without his email account working, he’s untraceable.

      • chu says:


        I'm sure he fine. He's probably given up on kvetching about this ever expanding problem, and after some time, you realize that there is little to no progress. He's surely tired of looking into the void and having it stare back at him. I know the feeling… 


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