What we as a country have not learned from Vietnam (whether we belonged there or not) is that politicians should never tell the military how to wage war. The limits we have put on Israel has only prolonged the war. We are doing the same with the Ukranians. Whether you agree about giving military aid to Ukraine is not the argument. If you do give them or Israel military aid then do not hamper them, do not limit how they wage war if you indeed want them to win. Ukraine cannot win without having air superiority and sending ground based missiles past the eastern border to destroy Russian air bases. The Biden administration has warned them not to do that.

Israel can only win if they kill or capture every Hamas fighter, an obviously difficult task when fighters hide among a collaborative population. Our continued wishy washy support only makes us look weak and divided especially when our enemies see the Hamas wing of the democrats and their useful idiots on campuses nationwide. What a mess.

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This was a very interesting podcast on the tactical aspects of victory over Hamas or Hizbollah, but you never really pursued the key to strategic victory, defeating Iran. Iran is the source of all these problems, funding (often with money given to them by the US) Hamas, Hizbollah and the Houthis. The US and the world community has enabled this by allowing the UN to fund pay-to-slay and children's books that inculcate the fervent belief that killing Jews is not only right, but a duty. Iran is the head of the snake. Hamas must be destroyed, but that is not enough. And not because Hamas is an idea, but because Iran is the source of that idea and funding to advance it around the world.

Iran has a population that is anti-theocratic but is dominated by the security apparatus of the theocracy. The opposition must be supported and encouraged to overthrow the Mullahs. Until then, Iran must be deprived of the resources to extend their vile reach. That, in fact, is the same strategy to enable the anti-theocrats to gain support. We need to start thinking strategically and get above the tactical fight which Israel has well in hand.

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We, the United States, have to decide which side we're on. Our current administration is hamstrung with support from pro-Palestinian terrorists.

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Another great podcast, Bari, and I thought your comments were most salient and need to shouted from the rooftops, i.e., this conflict, in all its theaters, is about defending “the West.” Israel, U.S., et al., with all their faults/flaws are the West. The savages are waging war to destroy us. The “argument” starts and stops there.

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"The administration has little hope that the American people will understand why it is preventing Israel from defending itself against attacks from Hezbollah and Iran. Publicly, therefore, it has drawn the line in the sand in Rafah and screamed about civilian deaths. Privately, however, it has its eyes locked like a laser on the Lebanese-Israeli border. If a full-scale war kicks off in the north, the Obama-Biden policy of achieving “equilibrium” in the Middle East by integrating Iran and its proxies into the regional order comes crashing down." --Michael Doran, Hudson Institute


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It is a good conversation as it explores several military strategies focusing on how Israel “could have done better” in Gaza. Other than that, it misses the mark. When Bari Weiss asks time and time again to explain why the West, and specifically the United States, fails-- time and time again --to help Israel win, how it restrains its military operations, and now withholds the necessary weapons, both guests are unable or unwilling to address the question directly. Oh, it is politicking, oh, it’s, you know, our leaders’ desire to avoid the conflict and assume everyone wants to live in peace. What kind of analysis is this?? Neither Seth Frantzman nor John Spencer could articulate with any degree of clarity why Team Biden behaves the way it does. I recommend next time bringing Michael Doran from the Hudson Institute, Gadi Taub from Tablet, or Jonathan Schanzer from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies to explain CLEARLY what is going on.

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Very interesting and informative discussion. I listened twice. But I think, though, that your questions along with your guests' answers missed the central mark again and again essentially by identifying the war's agency of state actors rather than a much broader on the one side Western Liberal multi-pluralist civilisation and on the other 'intrastate' Islamic religious zealotry. A couple times you asked your guests to zoom out to encompass a broader picture but you hadn't zoomed out quite far enough.

By focussing on Israel's war with Iran's proxies in Hamas or Hezbollah or discussing Iran and its allied states, instead you've all three assumed wrongly that the Westphalian principles of statehood are, in fact, applicable in this expansive conflict. I suggest these are not, in that Islamic state entities such as Iran are merely continually being used by religious fundamentalist leaders to gain ground to fulfil a holy, not militarily strategic, mission. You can only win a war in which you know who you are fighting.

Your guests were correct in identifying the West and in particular the U.S. as the greater targets -- but today, not in some distant future. Instruments of Western Liberal multi-pluralist states such as the press and governments have been, in fact, deeply confounded by this Islamic fundamentalist strategy: the West (let's state explicitly: including the vast majority of Islam along with believers of all faiths and creeds) must endeavour to resist our institutions being co-opted by illiberal forces and thereby giving credence to voices of presumed 'resistance' and 'reason'. Fundamentalism of any kind cannot be reasoned with by definition.

There is no diplomatic compromise to be sought in this war of zealotry. From The River to the Sea is really only shorthand for From The River Around The World and Back to The River. This is the stated mission we in the West have to upset if our principles are to prevail. That the press and Western governments continue to insist publicly that Israel's war is its own full stop suggests that the fundamentalists have got us right where they want us.

Nonetheless, I remain optimistic, because I suspect 'right where they want us' isn't any checkmate. But we may lose our Queen and much more before this round of war-game is ended.

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You deserve a response for such a lengthy, thoughtful comment.

I would add that Bari Weiss should address the new censorship policy on readers’ comments section

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oh boy.

Strap in FP people. I see this is a quiet corner of the site so I am just gonna ramble for a bit like it's my job. Hopefully someone that works for you will see it and help me figure out what’s doin, or at least pat my head and say “There, there, stupid. Use your big boy words.” All that said Bar’ with me :D

Went to play this episode of Honestly in YouTube Music (ugh, I know I am looking for another way to house all my pods, I promise!), and the episode wouldn't play. Then I checked and all the Honestly episodes were present in YouTube, but none of them would play either. I just listened to an episode yesterday so at first I thought it was Youtube, closing the door cause ya'll talking too much Isreal for their tastes, sad that is my first thought these days.

Then I came over here to play it from the source, and the browser pop-over tells me "Failed to play this media: it may not be supported by this browser.". I have experienced this before and it is usually the adblocker built into my browser (Brave browser). This happens sometimes with content that has some form of DRM baked into it. Most small places don’t have the resources for this kind of stuff, so normally you only see it with huge companies. Anywho, I turned off ad blocking and it started playing. However when I started trying to click past the ad reads the slider started freaking out, and it was just hopping all over the place. I could in theory continue to listen to the pod, so I guess case closed right?... why are there all those words below that sentence? Well my friends, let us journey together as Ol’ Uncle Cluis yells at a cloud raining on his parade for the past decade; Advertising.

I wanted to see if I could find a way around so I went to check in the substack app. Many of the other pods and writers I support dump all their content through that portal, including audio. This is something I haven’t noticed before, but I couldn’t find Honestly in there. I can find all the FP stuff like normal, I can click a story and read it there in the app, but not Honestly pods. Maybe Honestly is a different dept? Maybe you have some legacy set up where you are funneling it through Apple or some other large platform… See how I am making excuses, like some kind of media Stockholmn Syndrome, it is because I love you guys, to an obviously uncomfortable level. I just assume you beat me because you love me, or because I need it… or both. It has to be my fault regardless. Certainly not the fault of the alternate media lifeboat that saved me from the dregs of the old media outrage slurry!

So my gut tells me it is one of two likely things; Some clever PM / Marketing person in your office got the idea to disable anything like ad blocking by turning on some kind of DRM in their podcast system to squeeze a few more dimes out of the ad buys OR there was some other technical change in the never ending cat and mouse game between ads and ad blockers and you guys haven’t seen it or it is such a small segment you don’t worry about it. I REALLY hope it's the latter.

I want to be clear here, I get that you guys want to do ads. “Everyone does ads, we are news folk, it’s what we do!” I hear you say (actually I hear Nellie saying this, seems like a Nellie thing to say) And sure it is a good way to supplement your subscriber base. But as a paying subscriber, why am I listening to them? To be fair, I have obviously noticed the ads on the pod since the start. Half the time out of laziness, or because I like Bari’s voice I just let them play. :D But if I am paying attention, or on my computer, I skip them. I don't need to hear about Better Help, or Surf Shark, some kind of gold hoarding pyramid scam or underwear that will make me feel more like a man. This is why I pay the money, to support content creators directly and not get this experience. Did I mention I hate ads? Cause you know what I hate more, PAYING to hear ads.

Normally this is the part where one might shake their invoice at you and be all entitled and such. But I was raised with too much guilt, so I would feel queasy like I was Alex in Clockwork Orange.

But I tell you what, if this is how the pod is going to be moving forward I am just not going to listen anymore. This will not effect you one bit I suspect, and I obviously will continue to support the FP and read your articles and the like because you guys are the tip of the spear for our new media landscape. Lol, on a side note I already paid up for the year so even if I wanted to bug out, it looks like you already got my money.

Actually now that I am looking, I am just now noticing how little I pay per year, and if you ask me $50 a year is laughably low compared to the yearly bill I pay to others here on substack. All told I spend about $2k a year on pods across here, Patreon, and Youtube. Aside from Hand Tool Rescue on Patreon you guys are at the bottom of the cost tier. The guys at the Fif have convinced me that 6x that is what I owe them, but again, clearly I have a disability. I would pay $50 a month for TGIF alone! Oh I love my TGIF. It is my fault! I am the reason you have chosen this path! I knew it…

Anywho, back to the subject, I HATE advertising.

More and more you see all the streaming services double dipping by putting ads in content you already pay for. It will start with skippable ads about shows the company (Netflix, Amazon, Whatever+) is producing internally. Fair enough to most folks, like amazon putting “other customers bought this” next to your cart at checkout. But then after a while those ads will turn into the unskippable sort. They roll that one out by markets so an outrage doesn’t build. Then sometime after that they will offer you a buyout “pay extra and we will give you a MOSTLY ad free experience!” or they will only put unskippable ads in content that is truly novel or that has a wide audience like Sportsball or Live events. People into that kind of content are used to drowning in ads. Last time I watched a sportsball match at the bar as far as I can tell half the air time was ads. Not to mention the ads on the field, in the graphics, on the players etc. God bless sportsball fans, such docile cows for slaughter save the rest of us from the ravenous hunger of the advertising hoards! The last step is just you are paying to get advertised to, partly because there are no alternatives, partly because resistance is futile.

Very soon there will be no such thing as an ad free experience when it comes to content on the internet. What’s even more troubling, my gut tells me soon you will have things like ad supported cars. “You can have this 2025 Ford Behemoth for as little as $5000, supported by ads!” And then you just don’t get to choose what plays on the radio, or on that giant display every car now has that everyone seems to think is just there for navigation and rear facing cameras. Sure like the process noted above there will be a way to pay out of it at first, but that isn’t going to last. In theory you could just buy the car and rip all that out, but as the push for more Uber like and driverless services become ubiquitous, who is really going to do that?... what was I talking about again? Oh yeah, Honestly!

If you guys rely on, or wish to pursue an ad based model, I think you have every right to do so. I do honestly wish you all the success in the world, we are all kinda counting on you to survive and not end up being a repeat of the blogging boom / bust.

IMHO if you guys are in fact the “new media” I offer this suggestion. Maybe part of being new is you don’t do the easy, dumb thing the old media did that ultimately led to their demise. The attention economy has proven that A: It is profitable and B: It is cancerous to society. I wager someone around your office is smart enough to figure out a balance. Or at a minimum giving us people who prefer just to pay money up front the privilege of a functioning player portal to allow for skipping stuff we prefer not to hear.

Being a tech guy, and familiar with this dance I know I will find a work around. Hell I was a Rogan fan for years and once he went to spotify and they were all “Oh it's our business model to put ads in podcasts even for premium members” I dropped not only Joe’s pod, but the entire Spotify service as a whole. It only took a week for the episodes to start showing up in their entirety on the high seas, and about 2 months for someone to build a script to index and archive them. Even though Joe is back on all platforms, I will never go back to them for him. They and Joe have enough money already, and god knows I paid my fair share. I am guessing I will be going through this wack-a-mole process for most things, and that is one me.

So I guess whatever, 1700 words later wtf am I on about? I guess it comes down to I wanted to sit down to my pod list and get some stuff done today, and as always I looked forward to my Honestly pod. I got side tracked, grumpy, and screamed my piece into the void because it was something I could do over a cup of coffee. As a willing participant in this likely massive waste of time it's all on me. But if there is one thing I have picked up on during this Substack / podcast / alternative media boom, it is that in spite of what my gut tells me I am not actually all that weird. I am just maybe one of the few folks with the luxury of time to bitch about things most folks are too resigned to bother with.

P.s. Tell Nellie I bought her book, everyone I know has bought her book, I may be buying her book in bulk and handing them out to people along the highway before summer is over. So she can stop the book tour and get back to writing TGIF and raisin’ them keeds. :D

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The ghost of 9/11 will be visiting you this Chanukah...

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