15 December 2016

Putin as the big bad wolf of XXI century

This post is a sequel to previous one on the mayhem caused to the 2016 elections in US of A. It is inspired by the article:

U.S. Officials: Putin Personally Involved in U.S. Election Hack

I don't see any reason to disbelieve that claim. Putin has the necessary mentality of a mid level KGB officer, which was his last rank, and of course he would have wanted to be a part of this specific bit of nefarious dealings. And, as already mentioned previously, CIA does have a gift of perfect hindsight vision.

What bothers me somewhat is the storm of indignation coming out from all directions of American political spectrum. It is as if the incessant scandals related to NSA and its various tentacles eavesdropping on everything that goes on around the globe, be it a phone call, an e-mail or an Internet site, never happened. And if you are trying to tell me that no US secret outfit ever performed a B&E on any foreign computer, please pull my other leg.

And of course, the spooks in other countries, friendly or not, are quite busy doing the same to their allies, enemies and everyone in between, so let's stop playing that injured innocence drama, it just doesn't wash. This was re indignation.

About this analysis of Russian motives:
Putin's objectives were multifaceted, a high-level intelligence source told NBC News. What began as a "vendetta" against Hillary Clinton morphed into an effort to show corruption in American politics and to "split off key American allies by creating the image that [other countries] couldn't depend on the U.S. to be a credible global leader anymore," the official said.
I don't have any problems with the "vendetta" point, nor with the "effort to show corruption in American politics" - the true DNC material that was publicly uncovered has done both quite well. Shouldn't all Americans be bipartisanly grateful to Putin for that disclosure? - is another question I've never succeeded to get a coherent answer to.

As for creating the image mentioned above: that objective is really funny: I was quite confident that the 8 years of the last administration accomplished it quite well. Why should Putin bother?

In short: the outfit that usually learns about many key events happening on this globe from TV should really restrict its collective imagination and leave the analysis like this to tea leaves readers.

The list of atrocities caused by the big bad wolf is growing, branching out to things like this one:

Labour MP claims it's 'highly probable' Russia interfered with Brexit

And, once an example of blaming one's problem on somebody else was given, there will be no end to it, obviously. You must check out this inanity as well.

Russia may organise migrant sex attacks in Europe to make Angela Merkel lose German elections, EU experts claim

These same experts who allowed NSA, CIA and, I bet, uncounted other secret services to listen to the phone conversations of their leaders, try to predict the future? Spare me, please.

And now to quote myself, to finish on an upbeat note:

Have you noticed the other positive thing that came out of the Moscow hacking scandal? Lately many transgressions that people were routinely ascribing to the Jooz are blamed on Kremlin.

Kinda breath of fresh air.

On the negative side, we are becoming much less fearsome. Hmm...

14 December 2016

Service announcement: fellow Americans, you are certifiably mad!

Starting the post with a personal conclusion: I am so glad that I've decided a few months ago to sit out the whole US elections process on the fence. Only now I understand how any other move would have been dangerous for the puny remnants of my sanity. And how I would have been raving against my screen these days for or against this or other breach of elections' purity, popular vote, hacking, tampering, dark forces on this or another front etc. etc.

And even sitting on the fence, I have been somewhat swept by the wave of popular wrath directed at Moscow, who, according to so many pundits, swayed the result of the elections into that impossible direction. As a lot of other people, I have missed the point where the popular wrath against the popular and handy big bad wolf totally obscured the info that this bad wolf was (or wasn't, whatever) providing.

The penny dropped for me only after reading this article:

The Kremlin Didn’t Sink Hillary—Obama Did

The author, John Schindler "is a security expert and former National Security Agency analyst and counterintelligence officer"*. He is definitely a man with an agenda, good or bad is not for me to say. I am not even remotely interested (for now) in the main thrust of his peace, no matter whether he is right or wrong. Something else caught my attention. Namely the two following quotes:

To anybody acquainted with well-honed Moscow agitprop techniques, this was no more than old-style KGB Active Measures sped up for the Internet age. That said, the threat posed by this online disinformation offensive is real, as I and other experts counseled years ago (in my case, beginning with the defection of Edward Snowden to Moscow in June 2013). However, it was frankly difficult to get the mainstream media interested in this rising problem—at least until the Kremlin’s disinformation machine went after Hillary, as it did in 2016 with gusto.
Notice the repeat appearance of the word "disinformation". Here is the second quote:
By refusing to debunk noxious Russian lies, Obama encouraged Putin to tell more of them—including about Hillary Clinton. This culminated in the Russian intelligence operation which employed Wikileaks as a front to disseminate Democratic emails which had been intercepted by Moscow—as I told you months ago, and which the National Security Agency has recently admitted.
Notice the words "noxious Russian lies".

And here it clinched for me. Ladies and gentlemen: when the best and brightest among you, pro-Hillary or pro-Trump no matter, apply the term "disinformation" aka "noxious Russian lies" to a great deal of totally valid information that was delivered into your hands gratis, whether by a well-meaning whistleblower or a bad conniving bastard in Moscow (or both), you all are guilty not only of a crime against an English dictionary, but of monumental, certifiable madness.

Disinformation: Misinformation that is deliberately disseminated in order to influence or confuse rivals (foreign enemies or business competitors etc.)

Information: A collection of facts from which conclusions may be drawn.

So there. I feel much better now. And I continue my fence straddling meanwhile, not that we don't have our own elections looming. Get better soon, Americans, I have some vested interests in your sanity.

Yes: and read this indeed.

Hillary Clinton Lost. Get Over It And Stop Blaming Russia, WikiLeaks And ‘Fake’ News

A rare sign of sobriety in the witches cauldron of madness.

(*) Of course, it is not up to me to verify the pedigree of the man.

Energy Expenditure during Sexual Activity and Political Correctness


I have always been partial to a well turned out, well financed and well documented totally useless research, of which there are so many variations in so many nests of learning in this world (examples in the addendum). Lately, though, with the onset of Political Correctness, one should be more tuned into the whys and hows of the scientific progress and be more attentive to subtle nuances, hitherto missed.

One such questionable research, which I am bringing to your attention, was outrageously conceived and sloppily performed in Université du Québec à Montréal. Its purpose was, ostensibly, "To determine energy expenditure in kilocalories (kcal) during sexual activity in young healthy couples in their natural environment and compare it to a session of endurance exercise". A worthy endeavor by all means, you would say. But wait. Here is the first stumbling block:
The study population consisted of twenty one heterosexual couples (age: 22.6 ± 2.8 years old) from the Montreal region.
I don't even know where to start with this extremely offensive confession of amoral and absolutely politically incorrect choice of the study group. Here comes the (unsorted) list of blunders:
  • Ageism. Where are the middle-aged and senior citizens? Excluded.
  • Anti-multiculturalism: Where are the different religions, sects, atheists etc.? Excluded.
  • Lack of gender recognition. The acronym LGBTQQIP2SAA barely starts to describe the wonderful world of different gender persuasions. Where are all these genders represented in this study? Excluded.
  • Political blindness. It is (anecdotally) known that people of different political orientation have different approaches to expending their energy on sexual activity. Excluded.
  • Lack of control group. Why there wasn't a control group, made out of all the above mentioned folks NOT being able to be sexually active, doing instead something else? Like watching a football game on TV? Excluded.
The list of glaring examples of lack of inclusiveness could go on and on. But even this inadequate study brought at least one result worthy of attention:
Mean energy expenditure during sexual activity was 101 kCal or 4.2 kCal/min in men and 69.1 kCal or 3.1 kCal/min in women.
Of course, it is fruit from a poisoned tree. Still, the measured lack of gender equality, at least in Montréal, Canada, is extremely worrying, and UN should want to address it urgently. While these numbers might explain the longer life expectancy of the female population, the sacred principle of gender equality doesn't care about side effects. So there.

As for the whole unfortunate un-PC research: Redo From Scratch!

Addendum: selected examples of research

Testosterone is what drives men's desire to own fast cars.

Pet owners should swap cats and dogs for creatures they can eat.

Cat owners cleverer than dog owners.

Study links chocolate and depression.

Vegetarian dinosaurs' flatulence may have warmed Earth.

Wet objects are easier to handle with wrinkled fingers than with dry, smooth ones.

Men going thin on top may be more likely to have heart problems than their friends with a full head of hair.

Researchers say wearing bra 'false necessity'.

Monsanto Cucumbers Cause Genital Baldness.

Men with smaller testicles more likely to be involved with nappy changing, feeding and bath time.

A woman's sex drive begins to plummet once she is in a secure relationship.

10 December 2016

Russian hacking of US elections process: for Trump or against Hillary?

After several months of indecision, CIA came out swinging. The result is expressed in a WaPo headline:

Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House

The article leaves at least one line of investigation untouched. It also puts the headline's conclusion (Russians rooting for Trump) as the final one. Of course, WaPo is not a PR branch of CIA, but if in that article WaPo faithfully reproduced the CIA findings, they (the findings) smell fishy. It is not unheard of that this mighty intelligence outfit fails to produce a correct assessment of the goings on. But in most cases it was related to predictions and not to the analysis of the past affairs - the hindsight so far worked OK. More or less.

I am not challenging the conclusion about the Russian involvement, far from it. After all, if European media, talking heads and others were so heavily involved in the US elections process, why would SVR/KGB stay away from the occasion to muddy the waters?

Nope, the point that I still can't agree with is the insistence that Russians rooted for Trump. Russian style of managing their international affairs always favored stable and predictable leaders in the seats of power abroad. Why would Russia work to help out a totally unpredictable and mercurial one like Trump and not Hillary, much more stable and predictable? Highly doubtful.

We have to look at the timing and the contents of the leaks to understand their purpose. That same WaPo has quite clearly stated at the time what was the intention of the leaks:

Many of the most damaging emails suggest the committee was actively trying to undermine Bernie Sanders's presidential campaign. Basically all of these examples came late in the primary -- after Hillary Clinton was clearly headed for victory -- but they belie the national party committee's stated neutrality in the race even at that late stage.
Lots of other leaks attacked Hillary directly, of course:
Long before Hillary Clinton called millions of Americans a “basket of deplorables,” her top campaign advisers and liberal allies openly mocked Catholics, Southerners and a host of other groups, according to newly released emails that offer a stunning window into the vitriol inside the Clinton world less than a month before Election Day.
The emails, published by WikiLeaks after a hack of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s private account, also show Clinton campaign officials and Democratic leaders disparaging supporters of Sen. Bernard Sanders as “self-righteous” whiners, calling Hispanic party leaders such as Bill Richardson “needy Latinos,” labeling CNN anchor Jake Tapper “a d—k” and even lambasting longtime Clinton ally Sidney Blumenthal.
Yes, Hillary clearly was the target, but was the leaking campaign inspired by support for Trump? The timing doesn't figure. The leaks came when the main focus of Hillary's campaign was one Bernard Sanders.

I would say that if there was active SVR involvement, knowing the Russian penchant for predictability and deeply rooted sympathies for the left and far left, the goal was to help out Bern. And this is the line of inquiry totally neglected by the high and mighty in CIA. Why had CIA chosen to produce a conclusion that seems to be so detached from reality? Beats me. Consider me confused. Like this:


04 December 2016

Glenn Greenwald remains a blubbering idiot

I could care less about the far right and far left. The best deal would have been to place them together on an island and watch them exterminate one another. And yes, I am aware of the sad fact that today they will find so much in common that this unification project will miss its point.

But, as the Hon. Elder correctly writes, there always will be a somewhat pleasurable pastime of checking up on some blubbering idiots, to ensure they are what they are. This priceless quote does it:

Any party driven by antipathy toward Muslims will obviously find common cause with an Israeli government that has spent decades occupying, bombing, and denying basic political rights to Muslims.
I see... so, according to the blubbering idiot, the root cause of the whole I/P issue is Islamophobia (see how adept I am in using the modern lingo?).

Blubbering idiocy confirmed. Now read the whole post, linked above. It is good, I promise.

01 December 2016

Lisa Naomi Goldman vs identity politics

Being a matter of revisiting old friends and ex-friends, this post isn't going to be very remarkable. Just a bit of lazy fisking and confirmation of status, so don't get excited.

I have stumbled on Lisa's remarks re Haaretz' article Israeli Arab ballerina takes crown in Israel's first transgender beauty pageant. Since I'm not very much into beauty pageants, you can read the article yourself, but the headline tells enough. And here is Lisa's analysis of the article:

Can we lose the term "Israeli Arab" already? Imagine if the New York Times referred to Barack Obama as the first coloured president of the United States. So freaking offensive.
And notice that the second 'graf opens with the information that she's Christian. The subtext: More liberal than a Muslim, of course. And, somehow, less Palestinian, perhaps. Less scary. More like us Jews.
Also, I am bracing myself for a whole slew of hasbara articles about how Israel is just the most awesome place in the world for Arabs to live. Because there are no transgender beauty pageants in Egypt or Syria, right. Forget equal civil rights for Jewish and Arab citizens. So unimportant when we have, like, beauty pageants that allow Arabs to compete alongside Jews.
So, to the fisking now:
Can we lose the term "Israeli Arab" already? Imagine if the New York Times referred to Barack Obama as the first coloured president of the United States. So freaking offensive.
To start with, I am not sure what the complaint is about. Living in US of A, the nation of about 97 genders and enough identity tags to split the population into approximately 300+ million separate species, one is decrying that comparatively innocent "Israeli Arab"? Strange, innit?

As for the second sentence, the one that starts with "Imagine...": I've performed a simple search in the New York Times innards, with the search term "obama black president". The first page of the search results is presented below*. Sufficient to say that there were 57,300 results, and even if we assume that 90% of those are false responses... Imagine. Yeah, freaking offensive. Or not, depends how you look at that, I guess.
And notice that the second 'graf opens with the information that she's Christian. The subtext: More liberal than a Muslim, of course. And, somehow, less Palestinian, perhaps. Less scary. More like us Jews.
That notion of Christianity of the Israeli Arab transgender ballerina could be dispensed with by a reference to the previous response. Otherwise there is nothing factual in the rest of the quote for fisking. Still, there are two points worth a notice: clumsy creation of a strawman, by putting into Haaretz'(!) collective mouth some words this uber-progressive media outfit wouldn't dream about; and a practically uninterrupted use of sarcasm.
In fact the whole missive, as it appears at the beginning of that post, is a chain of sarcastic sentences. I am not sure that I agree with Oscar Wilde's opinion that sarcasm is the lowest form of wit. But one thing for sure: overuse of that otherwise fine tool makes - to use some imagery - all the difference between a spitting cobra and a garden hose (under low pressure).
Also, I am bracing myself for a whole slew of hasbara articles about how Israel is just the most awesome place in the world for Arabs to live. Because there are no transgender beauty pageants in Egypt or Syria, right.
I don't know whether the victory of the Israeli Arab Christian transgender ballerina caused a plethora of Hasbarah articles, not following the genre. Possibly, although I tend to doubt it**. I am also not sure whether Israel is the best place for Arabs to live. I would suspect that Saudi Arabia, UAE and similar spots will have some added attractions for a person of Arab persuasion. On the other hand, I can easily mention several Arab countries which an Arab person will definitely shun in favor of Israel.

I guess the last thing Syrians and, to some extent, Egyptians, think about right now is a transgender beauty pageant. With good reasons, too, so I don't think this point needs any fisking.
Forget equal civil rights for Jewish and Arab citizens.
First of all, why? Secondly, even if someone forgets, lots of Arab (and Jewish, by the way) citizens, not to mention extremely attentive external watchers will remind us. No worries.
So unimportant when we have, like, beauty pageants that allow Arabs to compete alongside Jews.
I don't really know... oh, that was another, thankfully the last, spurt of sarcasm. Strengthened to no end by that "like", of course.

So, what could I conclude about that missive by Lisa? No useful content, awkward attempt at a strawman creation, almost criminal overuse of sarcasm; what was all that about?

Yep, another attempt to stick it to the ex-fellow Z...s.

Fail.

(*) That NYT search (click on the image to view in comfort):


(**) After all, I went to google for Ta'alin Abu Hanna, the lady that won that contest. A lot of entries indeed, but most of them non-Israeli, with quite a few articles in the Arab press***. And, verily a wonder of wonders: most of the articles use "Arab Israeli from a Catholic family" or similar. Go figure...

(***) Am I allowed to say "Arab press"? I am not sure anymore /end of sarcasm for that post

29 November 2016

When the cowboy's way is the only right way

There is hardly a modern progressive thinker that didn't burn - verbally or literally - an effigy of President George W. Bush, so despised for so many years by the left in America and without. Of course, the war in Afghanistan is one of the cornerstones of that courthouse of progressive judgement.

But here comes no other than WaPo, with a revealing article on the mind(s) of the Al Qaeda's best an finest. Khalid Sheik Mohammed, one of the 9/11 masterminds - what better horse mouth do you need to make up your opinion?*

Today, some on both the left and the right argue that al-Qaeda wanted to draw us into a quagmire in Afghanistan — and now the Islamic State wants to do the same in Iraq and Syria. KSM said this is dead wrong. Far from trying to draw us in, KSM said that al-Qaeda expected the United States to respond to 9/11 as we had the 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut — when, KSM told Mitchell, the United States “turned tail and ran.” He also said he thought we would treat 9/11 as a law enforcement matter, just as we had the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the USS Cole in Yemen — arresting some operatives and firing a few missiles into empty tents, but otherwise leaving him free to plan the next attack.

“Then he looked at me and said, ‘How was I supposed to know that cowboy George Bush would announce he wanted us ‘dead or alive’ and then invade Afghanistan to hunt us down?’” Mitchell writes. “KSM explained that if the United States had treated 9/11 like a law enforcement matter, he would have had time to launch a second wave of attacks.” He was not able to do so because al-Qaeda was stunned “by the ferocity and swiftness of George W. Bush’s response.”
If this doesn't prove the merit of the quick draw and massive response, nothing would.

But, you might ask, what is the sense of talking about this now? I would say that now, more than ever, the necessity of opposing the (natural) tendency of USA to withdraw from the world's areas of mayhem and strife, is vital. After eight years of gradual and quite open withdrawal, led by a Democratic POTUS, the newly elected Republican one is more than eager to continue and even speed up the process. Including the talk about leaving NATO and, as a result, forsaking Europe to any and all external threats, and there is more than just one (Putin).

While it is true that Europe became too lazy, too fat and greedy, too used to the protection of the American umbrella and unwilling to pony up even the money (it is budgeting to) for its own defense, the move Trump broadly hints about will be disastrous in the long term. You just have to read what KSM says:
KSM explained that large-scale attacks such as 9/11 were “nice, but not necessary” and that a series of “low-tech attacks could bring down America the same way ‘enough disease-infected fleas can fell an elephant.’ ” KSM “said jihadi-minded brothers would immigrate into the United States” and “wrap themselves in America’s rights and laws” until they were strong enough to rise up and attack us. “He said the brothers would relentlessly continue their attacks and the American people would eventually become so tired, so frightened, and so weary of war that they would just want it to end.”

“Eventually,” KSM said, “America will expose her neck for us to slaughter.”
And from the author of the article:
KSM was right. For the past eight years, our leaders have told us that we are weary of war and need to focus on “nation building at home.” We have been defeating ourselves by quitting — just as KSM predicted.
Surely KSM was right, it is hard to argue this point.

The only remark to KSM's speech above: you might have noticed that he talks about America only and that Europe isn't mentioned. Sadly, we know why, don't we?

(*) Not that I expect that many progressive thinkers will change their minds, being usually too far away from mundane and boring things like mere facts. Still it is worth trying.

26 November 2016

Fidel Castro dead: on the death of a liar

Some news is nicer than the other to wake up to. So Fidel has gone to that section of hell that is dedicated to the tyrants and their able assistants. I swore long ago to dedicate a post to The Beard when he croaks. The waiting, though, became so interminable that I've started to have my doubts regarding the possibility of that post ever happening. What with the incredible achievements of socialist medicine in Cuba, he might have very well survived me, who knew? But I won that race eventually.

And no, I didn't intend this post as a blanket condemnation of the typical Latin American junta hiding behind the fake facade of the quasi-socialism, of starving its citizens, of institutionalized spying by everyone after everyone, of bringing the world to the brink of nuclear war and so many other crimes. Nope, that future post was meant to be a highly personal missive.

It was planned to describe a boy who, proudly sporting a Pioneer's cravat, marched with other snotty idiots, shouting in unison "Yankees no, Cuba yes!", "Yankees, keep you hands off Cuba!" and similar. That boy was absolutely enamored by the Granma stories, by the fearless Barbudos who, being so few in numbers, made the impossible, deposing an evil and (indeed) corrupted Batista. As he was enamored by other myths, songs, pictures from the enchanting island so far from the fairly grey and dreary Soviet existence.

But time goes by and one learns. Among other things, one learns the true story of the so called "Communism" the junta has chosen as a choice of convenience to make the new Moscow patrons happy. About making Cuba a mercenary power, carrying out military and espionage designs of that patron all over the world. About the summary executions, about the racism...

Then the boy's attitude to Castro became kind of personal. Took some years to wait, though.

So rot in hell with your buddy Che, you scoundrel. And may Cuba become libre eventually.

25 November 2016

Julian Assange Jewish?


This is one of the more persistent search strings that brings some surfers to this place. So it is time to satisfy people's curiosity. Here is the picture of Julian, taken recently in the unnamed street in Jerusalem.


Surely you understand that we couldn't let our hero rot in the embassy in London.

As for your next (and expected) question: who is it that is enjoying the Ecuador's hospitality for all these years, the answer is simple. One of the Elders' understudies volunteered to do it. Besides, we have some things to check out re Ecuador, so it is not a total loss. Another 10 or so years, which is nothing compared to the usual lifespan of 180 - 190 years our agents enjoy, and, after a fake death notice, the body will be transported, ostensibly to Australia. Due to an engine trouble the plane will make an emergency landing in Tel Aviv etc... you know the drill.

We promise that the man will be promoted, maybe even to the rank of senior understudy.

Anything else you want to know?

24 November 2016

I apologize to Benjamin Netanyahu if he was offended

by me calling him [place you insult(s) here]. I am confident that he is not [place you insult(s) here], as I called him and I shall refrain in the future from calling him [place you insult(s) here].


From the long history of public insults, scurrilous rumors and deadly innuendo, aimed at public figures, one learns that the best way to deal with such activities is to ignore them. Drawing attention of Joe Public by repeating these insults and raising hell in the media, only to get a backhanded apology of the kind outlined above, is definitely the worst way.

Here are three examples of that second kind of response by Bibi, collected just for year 2016:

March 2016:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, on Sunday filed a libel suit against a journalist for the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth who alleged last week that the prime minister’s convoy stopped on a central highway because Mrs. Netanyahu was angry at her husband and forced him to get out of their vehicle.

September 2016
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has filed an appeal to keep the details of the amount of money his official residence spent on laundry from being made public. The laundry information request is part of a larger request by the Movement for Freedom of Information for details of all state-paid expenses for the family’s private home in Caesarea and official residence in Jerusalem for 2014.
And, to top it all:

November 2016: Netanyahu threatening to sue unemployed citizen over Facebook post
Yoav Salem, 56, said on Sunday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is threatening to sue him over a blog post shared on Salem’s Facebook page. The blog post claims – without evidence – that Netanyahu’s son, Yair, served as a courier to shelter the Netanyahu family’s money in overseas tax havens.
Does Bibi (or somebody appointed by him for the purpose) really sift through Facebook to find out what rumors are being spread about him and his near and dear? Does Bibi or that somebody keep trace of the repeated (true or untrue) allegations by a reporter?

It looks like, instead of growing more layers of thick skin, as appropriate for a politico, Bibi is doing just the opposite, getting more and more hysterically sensitive to various allegations bandied in the press. True or not, and there is the rub, of course, but it is another matter.

With all that hypersensitivity, isn't it a good time, you know... ?

22 November 2016

Has somebody checked on Norman Finkelstein's well-being lately?

I used to actively despise the man, but now I am only concerned. His obsession has transformed him into a really sick victim - of his own hate, of course - but nevertheless a victim. Check this out:



Pitiful.

20 November 2016

Haaretz and the Elders of Zion. Also - a sensational confession by an Elder.

Remember: you have read it here first!

***

OK, now I shall take a lungful of air and go for it. You see, my dear reader, I don't subscribe to the printed edition of Haaretz, the most progressive Israeli newspaper. Never did. Probably never will, although no one knows what might happen next.

Yeah... I already feel better. Such a load off my shoulders...

***

Thus I have missed a significant event several months ago, related to an article by the inimitable Gideon Levy, aka Self-Appointed Conscience of Israeli aka Baron of deceit industry. But this post here is not about Mr Levy: I think I had enough of that character, at least for the next few months. Anyway, the article, when I stumbled on it in the on-line edition, had the following headline:

AIPAC Is Destroying Israel, Not Safeguarding It

As usual for the above mentioned scribe, the article is full of venom, and I am sure the following (first) paragraph is sufficient to get the article's drift:
The enemies of Israel will gather here Sunday for their annual conference. Almost 20,000 people will flock to the city’s Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Almost all are Jews, and almost all are not friends of Israel, despite their organization’s name and pretensions.
Etc. So I've browsed through that wretched piece, wondered a bit about the poisonous pen and the inevitable hateful result and then promptly forgot about the whole. It was March 2016.

Yesterday, November 19, I have found something curious. Seth J. Frantzman posted this snapshot of the printed article on Facebook:


Not recalling the anti-AIPAC screed described above, I have started to google for the text of the headline, namely "The conference of the Elders of Zion". All my googling left me empty handed, if one doesn't count endless essays on the Protocols of... you know. Unwilling to confess my defeat, I have started to google for the pieces of the article's text and, eventually, voila: the Haaretz article of Mar 20, 2016, titled: AIPAC Is Destroying Israel, Not Safeguarding It. Of course, then I've recalled reading it.

So now it became obvious: The original printed article went out to the subscribers under "The conference of the Elders of Zion" headline. After that, somebody in the Haaretz' editors hierarchy (where Mr Levy himself occupies an editor's position, by the way) got cold feet. Besides being unwilling to deal with us (the Elders), that pathetic headline reeked too strongly of Der Sturmer and had the potential to become too damning in the near future, should it have spread all over the 'net.

Yellow cowards of a similarly colored tabloid. Well, it fits.

18 November 2016

Now that scares the crap out of me


And how about yourself?

Update. I think I've found the source of that picture. The article says:
As reported IA "Tiras"* a billboard has appeared in the Montenegrin town of Danilovgrad and this billboard completely blew up the Internet. In it the Russian leader Vladimir Putin and US President-elect Donald Trump stand shoulder to shoulder against a background of flags of the two countries. But most of all Internet users were impressed by a slogan in Russian and English that reads: "Let's make the world great - again!".

Montenegro - the country. which is economically strongly connected with Russia, however it is committed to integration with NATO. Montenegrin hopes for mutual understanding between Washington and Moscow in this sense are not surprising.
(*) IA "Tiras", where "IA" stands for "Information Agency", the source of the news, is a media outfit that is located in the Transnistria, "a self-proclaimed republic on a strip of land between the River Dniester and the border with Ukraine, recognised only by three non-United Nations (UN) states". In other words, a Moscow puppet.

16 November 2016

Smoldering America and the Wesleyan's genderfuck

I didn't want to be too negative, so I could't call America burning. It is certainly smoldering, what with the wild behavior, both verbal and physical, of many of its citizens, inflamed by incendiary rhetoric coming from both sides of the growing political/social divide.

Of course, the rest of the world is in a shape that leaves even more room for improvement. While the self-centered Westerners keep their unwavering attention on the future White House inhabitant(s), the Russian bombs keep falling on Aleppo and other Syrian cities, ISIS continues their bloody work all over the place, Mosul is being torn apart by both ISIS and the righteous coalition, not to mention (purely humanitarian, of course) bombing air raids by that coalition, the refugees boats keep overturning in Mediterranean, the bombs - manned or otherwise - keep exploding in mosques, churches and restaurants etc. etc. - you get the picture, I bet.

But - all is well in the American institutions of higher learning. As it should be, the uber-green lawns of the campus are isolated from the rest of the unhappy world*. And the young ones, just like birds in love, keep adding more and more stalks of grass, branches, clay, saliva and whatnot to their nests, creating, to the best of their ability, their home away from home.

And Wesleyan's, to use one example, are doing their administrative best to assist the young ones in creating a variety of nests houses for every youngster's desire. Like this one:

Open House is a safe space for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Queer, Questioning, Flexual, Asexual, Genderfuck, Polyamourous, Bondage/Disciple, Dominance/Submission, Sadism/Masochism (LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM) communities and for people of sexually or gender dissident communities. The goals of Open House include generating interest in a celebration of queer life from the social to the political to the academic. Open House works to create a Wesleyan community that appreciates the variety and vivacity of gender, sex and sexuality.
Now don't get me wrong. I am all for variety and vivacity of gender, sex and sexuality. I can't abide bigotry of any kind, including bigotry toward the sexual minorities of (almost**) any kind.

But, admittedly belonging to less celebrated and less vivacious heterosexual majority, I would still dare to inquire: aren't we getting overboard a bit? What with all the smoldering, burning and other warning signs that this here XXI century is going to hell in a handbasket? Isn't all this coddling and cuddling going a very long way to raising generation after generation of spoiled snowflakes? That are not only unable to cope with the larger fires mentioned re the rest of the world, but unable even to cope with the mundane American smoldering?

Isn't the Genderfuck*** going to turn to a clusterfuck as we watch helplessly?

Just asking.

(*) Unless it is that time of the day when the obligatory Zionism-bashing or anti-T-Rump or similar ablution is to be ritually performed, of course.
(**) Pedophilia will be one clear exception, I hope any reader could live with that. If not, go and boil your head.
(***) Genderfuck: no, it is not a swear word added by me for color. It appears in the Open House statement above and, apparently, is a legitimate form of the gender dissent variety****:
Noun

genderfuck ‎(plural genderfucks)

The conscious effort to subvert traditional notions of gender identity and gender roles.
(****) In their haste, the youngsters forgot other forms of gender dissent, such as Aromantic:
An aromantic is a person who experiences little or no romantic attraction to others.
Nu, fine... more nest building is clearly indicated.

For documentation purpose, a snapshot from that linked page (just in case):

15 November 2016

About the recalcitrance of Israeli public and the role of the media

This post (see below ***), originally written in 2014, became relevant again.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is backing a proposal to quieten calls to prayer, saying he has received complaints from all quarters about "noise and suffering".
I don't know who exactly complained directly to Bibi (Sara?), and I don't doubt that, aside of the worry about the citizen's eardrums, the opportunity to stick it to the mullahs is also an element in the decision.

On the other hand, the ever increasing levels of noise irritate not only the sensitive Zionist ears, but Iranian ears as well, as was shown further down there in this post. The Saudis joined this trend too.
Saudi Arabia is cracking down on overly loud loudspeakers used to call the faithful to prayer, as mosques increasingly drown each other out, the official SPA news agency said Saturday.

Islamic Affairs Minister Sheikh Saleh al-Sheikh ordered teams to inspect mosques in the holy city of Mecca, in Riyadh and elsewhere around the kingdom for too powerful speakers.
Of course, it is always educational to see how the other side presents the initiative. Here comes Kamel Hawwasha, Professor in the School of Civil Engineering at University of Birmingham, with his (not especially unique) version of events.
Something is in the air in Jerusalem and if Israel has its way it soon won’t be; the Muslim call to prayer – the adhaan – is under threat. The state which is built upon the ethnic cleansing of the majority of the indigenous Palestinian people is inching its way towards banning the call for prayer, which was probably first heard in Jerusalem in 637 AD. That was the year in which Caliph Umar Ibn Al-Khattab travelled to Palestine to accept its surrender from Patriach Sophronius, bringing a six-month siege of the Holy City to a peaceful end.
So again, "banning the call for prayer" is the definition of the measure. Well, what is good for Telegraph (see below) is surely good for one lying Professor of Civil Engineering.

Well, what can I say: shut them down.

***

A day usually doesn't pass without another article bewailing the unstoppable shift of Israeli public to the right. The shift to the right, as it is measured for Israelis, is usually referring to the attitude of Israeli public regarding the impassable Israeli/Palestinian conflict, which is simmering for a long time. Without any signs of abating and without hope for resolution.

Being one of the several millions that indeed have undergone a significant shift to pessimism and a significant loss of hope for the resolution of the conflict, I could quote many reasons for this change of heart. Indeed, from the heady days of Oslo accords via the years of Arafat's double-tongue speech and encouragement of "resistance", via lack of leadership on both sides of the conflict, via emergence of Hamas with its genocidal agenda (different from that of its rival Fatah only in more open and frank definition of goals, to be sure) etc. - it was difficult not to lose that optimism.

Be it as it may, the international media knows to put its collective finger on the reasons. Of course, depending on the particular bend of a specific media outfit, the apportioning of the blame will be different. From blaming the bloodthirsty ZioNazis to accusing the bloodthirsty Arab world and/or Islamist culture of death, you will find the whole gamut of opinions, emotions and hyperbole in the unending stream of what passes these days for reporting and editorializing.

There is one thing, though, you will never find in the media - blaming itself for what is going on. And I don't mean the incendiary articles by anti-Zionist or anti-Arabic gurus, not at all. Just the usual, run-of-the-mill daily reporting, dull and unremarkable, that seeps through the brain matter of the reader, leaving in its wake a few weak emotions, only to be forgotten the next day. But not completely forgotten. Because if, before reading the article, you didn't know anything about the subject, your knowledge will be increased only a tiny little bit. However, your opinion on the main actors of the unfolding drama - Jews and Arabs - will change - slightly, but it will definitely change. And not in favor of the Jews, things being (mis)represented as they frequently are.

And if you are a Jewish Israeli citizen, this reporting will increase your general irritation level, your sense of being wronged, your feeling of alienation and your sense of enmity the outside world displays. Slightly, granted, but increase all these feelings will. Eventually, with the passage of years and accumulation of these small jabs, one can't help but distance oneself from any hope of rapprochement - neither with one's Palestinian cousins nor with the rest of the world.

And to illustrate this long rant, I have chosen an unremarkable example from a newspaper that is not known for being especially anti-Israeli or anti-Jewish - The Telegraph. Robert Tait produced for The Telegraph an article
Israeli Right-wingers have revived highly contentious plans that could effectively silence the Muslim call to prayer, known as the adhan.

In a move that risks stoking already simmering tensions in Jerusalem between Jews and Arabs, a member of Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition is tabling legislation that could put strict limits on Islamic prayer calls from mosques in the city and across Israel.
So where do I start? With the headline, of course. No one is trying to "ban" the prayer call, to start with - this is the first small "inaccuracy" of that report. And as for "effectively silencing" that call, there is a grain of truth in that sentence, but only... how to say it gently - half of the truth. Because - but you will not find the full truth in the article, search it as you like. Let's try another source - Washington Post. WaPo presents a misleading headline as well, but slightly less misleading:


At least, this headline doesn't use the totally untrue "banning", choosing "to silence", which is somewhat closer to the reality. And in the article itself you may find the first glimpse of truth:
The song of the muezzin is a fixture of urban life in many parts of the world where there are Muslim populations. But for Ilatov and others, it's a problem of noise pollution. The proposed bill would give Israeli authorities the right to decide whether public address systems can be placed in mosques -- a de facto right to muffle the muezzin.
In this quote you can see that, first of all, the incendiary "to silence" is replaced by true version: "to muffle". Which, together with the first mention of  "public address systems", starts to resemble the truth (you wouldn't find any mention of PA systems, which are in reality humongous loudspeakers, in The Telegraph's article).

Now we can proceed to a local view of the same issue - by Jerusalem Post.

The bill, originally drafted in the previous Knesset by then-Yisrael Beytenu MK Anastasia Michaeli, calls for a ban on the usage of a PA system to complete the call to prayer – called the idhan in Arabic – and any other sound emanating from a religious institution that is deemed noise pollution.

The idhan is recited five times per day, including at dawn, and muezzin in Israel use loudspeakers to call Muslims to prayer.
You can say what you will about the whole idea. But, first of all, did Prophet Muhammed, PBUH, require use of loudspeakers for idhan?


I, personally, tend to doubt it, but then I am not a scholar of Islam - or any other religion, for that matter. I only know that for Israeli citizens living in cities with mixed population, the 4AM wail, equal in the decibel count to an air raid siren, produces an unwelcome and unasked for wake-up call. And sometimes the same "PA system" continues to transmit the whole sermon. Why should Jewish and Christian neighbors be subjected to this unsubtle punishment, only Allah knows...

And finally, if the question of comfort and well-being of the Jews and Christians shouldn't in your opinion trample the religious rights (what religious rights, by the way?) of our Muslim brothers and sisters, consider this:
Calls to prayer have become rare, too. Officials have silenced muezzins to appease citizens angered by the noise. The state broadcaster used to interrupt football matches with live sermons at prayer time; now only a small prayer symbol appears in a corner of the screen.
This quote refers to... yes, take a seat: Islamic Republic of Iran, for crying out loud. Apologies for emphasizing, but it was irresistible...

Now to summarize: you can see how a relatively simple case gets a skewed and, eventually, anti-Jewish angle when presented by many Western sources. Imagine the interpretation of the same case by the Muslim ones, multiply this case by tens or even hundreds on the daily basis... you get the picture now, I bet.

So how do you expect us to keep our equanimity and our desire for peace, understanding and all things dear to any right-minded progressive Western bloke going?

You tell me.

P.S. To prevent a certain type of responses: no, I am far from blaming the media in everything that is going on, but at the end of the day, when the blame is to be apportioned, some media hacks have to own up to their fair share.