Fellowship of Punditry

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Cul Heath

Mick Arran

Jeffrey Barbose

Inspector Lohmann

Eric M. Fink

Michael Lane

Rep. Mark B. Cohen

The Fellowship is accepting new members. Inquire within.

The Sages

  • David Weinberger
  • Jon Lebkowsky
  • Jay Rosen
  • Rebecca MacKinnon
  • Nova Spivack
  • Dan Gillmor
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  • Lawerence Lessig
  • Ed Cone
  • Jeff Jarvis
  • Joi Ito
  • The Titans

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  • Jim Hightower
  • Wonkette
  • Political Animal
  • The-Hamster
  • Matthew Yglesias
  • Pandagon
  • Altercation
  • Informed Comment
  • Donkey Rising
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  • Buzz Machine
  • Orcinus
  • Brad Delong
  • Eschaton
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    Distinguished Colleagues

  • Tom Burka
  • The American Street
  • wood s lot
  • Rox Populi
  • Scratchings
  • Blond Sense
  • Cut To The Chase
  • Bad Attitudes
  • Rook's Rant
  • Dohiyi Mir
  • Stout Dem Blog
  • A Violently Executed Blog
  • American Leftist
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  • Post-Atomic
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  • Friends of the Fellowship

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  • To The Teeth
  • Radically Inept
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  • Serial Blogonomy
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  • Blogged In the Desert
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  • In Grown Brain Stem
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  • Blogging Resources

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  • Into the Blogosphere
  • George Orwell

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    Political language -- and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists -- is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

    In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

    If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever.

    But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.

    Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious.

    Whatever is funny is subversive, every joke is ultimately a custard pie... a dirty joke is a sort of mental rebellion.

    In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics.' All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.

    All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome.

    At fifty everyone has the face he deserves.

    Most people get a fair amount of fun out of their lives, but on balance life is suffering, and only the very young or the very foolish imagine otherwise.

    John Stuart Mill

    Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives.

    The amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and moral courage it contained. That so few now dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of the time.

    The general tendency of things throughout the world is to render mediocrity the ascendant power among mankind.

    Whatever crushes individuality is despotism, by whatever name it may be called and whether it professes to be enforcing the will of God or the injunctions of men.

    A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

    Mark Twain

    Don't let schooling interfere with your education.

    All generalizations are false, including this one.

    A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.

    Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.

    Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.

    The Public is merely a multiplied "me."

    Only kings, presidents, editors, and people with tapeworms have the right to use the editorial "we."

    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

    Only one thing is impossible for God: To find any sense in any copyright law on the planet.

    Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.

    Winston Churchill

    The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.

    I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.

    Don't talk to me about naval tradition. It's nothing but rum, sodomy and the lash.

    Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room.

    Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.

    However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.

    In war as in life, it is often necessary when some cherished scheme has failed, to take up the best alternative open, and if so, it is folly not to work for it with all your might.

    Otto Von Bismarck

    When you want to fool the world, tell the truth.

    I have seen three emperors in their nakedness, and the sight was not inspiring.

    Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.

    Be polite; write diplomatically ;even in a declaration of war one observes the rules of politeness.


    A witty saying proves nothing.

    If God created us in his own image, we have more than reciprocated.

    When he to whom one speaks does not understand, and he who speaks himself does not understand, that is metaphysics.

    I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: "O Lord make my enemies ridiculous." And God granted it.

    To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid, you must also be well-mannered.

    Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.

    It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.

    The best way to be boring is to leave nothing out.

    Karl Marx

    Philosophy stands in the same relation to the study of the actual world as masturbation to sexual love.

    All I know is I'm not a Marxist.

    The writer may very well serve a movement of history as its mouthpiece, but he cannot of course create it.

    Thursday, June 24, 2004

    Bruce Hoffman: Analysis of al-Qaeda

    By Nick

    Source: Al Qaeda, Trends in Terrorism and Future Potentialities: An Assessment, Bruce Hoffman, RAND/P-8078, 2003, 19 pp.

    First and foremost (and at the risk of stating the obvious), it must be said that we are in a transitional state, with our counterterrorism measures improving and becoming stronger while al Qaeda constantly scrambles and struggles to adapt itself to the new, less congenial operational environments in which it must exist. During this period of adaptation, there will be continued low-level attacks and, as has been the pattern of late, mostly against accessible, soft targets. Particular emphasis will continue to be laid on the exploitation of local causes with which al Qaeda’s ongoing propaganda efforts will be realigned to fit its pan-Islamist ideology.

    The main challenge for al Qaeda, however, will be to promote and ensure its durability as an ideology and concept. It can only do this by staying in the news; by elbowing any would-be terrorist competitors out of the limelight; and through new attacks promoting its continued relevance to Muslim affairs. Violence will continue to be key to ensuring its continued presence as an international force. Critical to this will be its ability to mount a guerrilla-cum-terrorist campaign against American forces both in Iraq and deployed in support of those operations throughout the Middle East. If, six months
    from now, this promised campaign has not materialized and we experience no more significant al Qaeda terrorist attacks anywhere (e.g., along the lines of even the October 2002 Bali bombings), only then may we begin writing al Qaeda’s obituary.

    Accordingly, it may be useful to look at recent trends in terrorism in Israel for the clues and insight they potentially offer with respect to threats other Western countries—and especially the United States—might face. In this regard, there are least four potentially significant developments of which note should be taken:

    1. The sustained campaign of suicide bombing that has convulsed Israel since the start of the Second Intifada in September 2000. Although this tactic surfaced in Israel in 1993, and thereafter became a regular security problem, fully 70 percent of all such incidents have occurred during the past 20 months. Indeed, of the approximately 700 Israelis killed since then, suicide bombers are responsible for the deaths of nearly half.

    2. The attempt to bomb a large gasworks on Ramat Ha-Sharon, a Tel Aviv suburb,that would have a potentially catastrophic impact, not just on the city and its inhabitants but on nearby vital, sensitive government installations whose destruction was considered the attack’s secondary goal.

    3. The use of SAM-7 surface-to-air missiles in an attempt to shoot down a charter Israeli passenger aircraft as it took off from the Mombasa, Kenya, airport.

    4. The growing use of poisons in suicide bomb attacks and attendant increase of interest in chemical warfare among some Palestinian groups.

    Worse still, between and beyond the above attacks, one can conjure up immense concerns that fit uncomfortably with the capabilities found across the terrorist technological spectrum. The Israeli concept of “mega terrorism” is particularly instructive in this respect. This concept embraces not only the obvious—terrorist use of WMD or more discrete CBR weaponry, the targeting of infrastructure, and mass casualty events—but arguably more prosaic types of incidents such as suicide bombings; terrorist attacks on kindergartens and primary schools; and the assassination of a range of political leaders below that of presidents or prime ministers, including mayors, high court judges, or leading parliamentarians, in ways that while perhaps not causing extensive human loss of life or physical damage would nonetheless have profound, far-reaching psychological repercussions on the targeted society. In other words, a deliberate and calculated
    infliction of sharp, almost unbearable pain—but in modest amounts—that would nonetheless be designed to attempt to bring society to its knees. The sniper incidents in and around metropolitan Washington, D.C., last fall provide an uncomfortable example of the comparative ease with which such societies can be profoundly affected and unsettled.

    In conclusion, whatever the future holds for bin Laden and al Qaeda, it is indisputable that they have had a seismic effect on the United States and the entire world. Bin Laden is in fact one of few people alive who can claim to have fundamentally changed the course of history. And, in this respect, the epic battle that he launched is not over yet. The multiyear planning period of all previous al Qaeda spectaculars alone suggests that it is too soon to write off either bin Laden or his jihadists. Accordingly, some monumental new operation may have been set in motion before 9/11 that is now slowly and inexorably unfolding. Indeed, because of the destruction of the Taleban and
    because of what al Qaeda sees as America’s global “war on Islam,” the movement’s sense of commitment and purpose today is arguably greater than ever.

    posted by Nick at 6/24/2004 04:54:00 PM |

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    "Netpolitik is a new style of diplomacy that seeks to exploit the powerful capabilities of the Internet to shape politics, culture, values, and personal identity. But unlike Realpolitik — which seeks to advance a nation’s political interests through amoral coercion — Netpolitik traffics in “softer” issues such as moral legitimacy, culturalidentity, societal values, and public perception." - The Rise of Netpolitik

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