31 August 2014

Taking a break

Till, say, Sep. 20. Behave meanwhile and don't take no wooden nickels from no politicians.

Who said about ISIS: 'We Don't Have a Strategy Yet'? Or - on importance of being Earnest.

Right, it was President Obama:

President Barack Obama on Thursday pumped the brakes on the prospects of U.S. airstrikes against Islamic militants in Syria, saying “we don't have a strategy yet” to deal with the growing threat to the Middle East.
Barely a day passes and the strategy is here!!!
The White House is insisting the U.S. is not at war with the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, despite an aggressive air campaign and previously labeling the jihadist group an "imminent threat to every interest we have."

So US does in fact have a strategy now. Not being at war with ISIS, just a bit of bombing here and there. Aha, that does it for me. And a deep bow to Earnest.

(Oh boy, do I hate puns or do I hate puns...)

Galloway get's GBH'ed

Let's all look at the image below and ponder. Is the UK becoming an unsafe home for Joo haters?
Nah, but George doesn't look gorgeous does he? The would-be Calif of Bradford has hit the pavement, not in a good way, and while some may say that he got up close and personal with his past, there may well be a message between the dirt and cracks, of his and the Kingdom's future where many a toerag have trodden.


Be well George.

30 August 2014

Gideon Levy: pimping for more hate - for fame and profit

For three decades, the writer and journalist Gideon Levy has been a lone voice, telling his readers the truth about what goes on in the Occupied Territories.

There couldn't be a better epigraph to this post than the caption under the picture above. Both the picture and the caption were borrowed from an article Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?, written four years ago. Not to forget the absurdity of putting the words "Gideon Levy" and "truth" in the same sentence, the other remarkable thing about the article is its author, one Johann Hari:
Johann Eduard Hari (born 21 January 1979) is a British writer and journalist who has written regular columns for The Independent (London) and The Huffington Post and made contributions to several other publications. In 2011, he was suspended from The Independent following multiple charges of plagiarism and was separately accused of making malicious edits of several of his critics' Wikipedia pages under a pseudonym, an allegation he later admitted to. The exposed plagiarism led to his being forced to return his 2008 Orwell Prize and later was a contributing factor in his leaving The Independent.
Now would you accept a testimony about a liar from another - officially confirmed and appropriately punished - liar? While Independent, for all its faults, had the guts to get rid of this excrescence, Haaretz apparently, cannot clean its stables in the case of its senior liar editor.

Well, here is one Gideon Levy and the sordid story of his life. The man whose proudest achievement was to record what he called "royal wedding" - the marriage between Arafat and Suha, unselfconsciously painting an embarrassing picture of himself in the process:
Once when I dined at Arafat's table, I reminded him that I had broken the news of his secret wedding. The chairman looked at me and said nothing. Another time I phoned the house where Suha was staying in Paris and she answered the phone. Again, I identified myself as the person who had first published news of the nuptials and again my remark was met with distressing silence on the other end of the line, followed by a giggle.
And here is Gideon Levy, aptly named by Ben Dror Yemini "baron of deceit industry"...

But why this eulogy for a man who is so obviously alive and kicking (till 120, please)? This is the reason why: an article What it's like to be the most hated man in Israel (behind a pay wall). The article, laughably or not, starts with a (proud?) reference to the above mentioned piece by Johann Hari.
It was four years ago. The British newspaper The Independent published an interview under the title: “Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?” The question was groundless – I wasn’t the most hated, and certainly not the most heroic. In the summer of 2014 the answer would be more succinct – I’m the most hated, second only to Khaled Meshal. Unpleasant, but not too terrible, at this point. The narrator must not become the story; a journalist is always the means, not the end.

And yet, it’s impossible to ignore the troubling question: How did one journalist – and not the most widely read or the most widely distributed – become an object of such rage and hatred? How is one small cracked mirror, a tiny pocket flashlight, capable of evoking so much fury? How is it that one voice made so many Israelis, from left and right, north and south, blow their top?
Well, you must say: it only proves that Mr Levy is not the most incisive mind in the universe, and you will be right at that. But there is another point: feeling that the audience, once more captive and eager, is slipping away (notice the mention of the left blowing their top with the right), Gideon Levy is still trying to get traction. After all, there is no such thing as bad publicity, and who knows it better than our protagonist?

So, instead of sweating and looking for new ways to attract readers, Gideon Levy tries to further his career by drumming up hate. Hate, after all, makes the front page more frequently than love, admiration, agreement and other positive but comparatively weak feelings.

The only problem is: the hate Gideon Levy craves is not coming from the right quarters. Getting spit upon by  street rabble, about which Mr Levy so verbosely laments in his report on personally visiting Ashkelon and Sderot, only supports the known and not particularly pleasant fact that we, as any other people, have our measure of that rabble. Nothing more, nothing less.

So Levy's lament continues to reverberate - mostly in the largely empty Pantheon he is trying to create for himself:
The spiteful looks in the street, the curses and attacks have made no difference. Nor will they. The thuggish right wing, the complacent, indifferent, doubt-free center, even the always smug so-called left, which claimed that I was “ruining the left,” all joined in one shrill choir, proving that the differences between them are smaller than they had appeared.
The only problem with that, Mr Levy, is that the people who matter, the ones of the right, center and "so called" left don't really hate you. Despise you - somewhat, pity you - somewhat, deride your lying ways - quite a lot. But hate? Nope, sir, this is a sentiment most people keep for more important occasions. Because, and you must try to make peace with this revelation: you are just not important enough. No matter how strong is your desire to put yourself in the same league with one Khaled Meshal - nah... doesn't work.

But let the bygones be bygones. Gideon Levy is slipping into uncomfortable obscurity he so richly deserves, and we all shall keep in mind the following, said by the same Ben Dror Yemini:
...earlier this week I was asked by a young Israeli I do not know personally, how can I sit in a television studio with Gideon Levy, and not boil from indignation. I assured him I was proud to live in a country where there is a Gideon Levy, who writes and kicks freely. Any other option will be worse.

29 August 2014

Russian genocide and the reasons thereof


This memorable note discloses the reasons (usually called "real truth" or similar) behind the ongoing genocide against Russian people. If you haven't noticed the latter, now is the time for you to sit up and listen (read). Here comes the translation, with apologies for possibly garbled scientific terms.

I shall explain why the monstrous genocide of Russians is happening. Russia owns most advanced technologies that allow to cure incurable diseases, even at a distance, multiple the agriculture produce and manage the weather and the geophysical processes. These technologies provide an unlimited access to energy, resources and food via the process of transmutation of quantum vacuum. There are scientists in Moscow that already extract gold from quantum dislocality. The Perestroika in USSR was created because of the Russian technological leadership. Russia has these technologies because indeed Russians are the root of civilization on this planet. Only Russians are able to return to life the technologies of our ancestors. If Russia will be destroyed, the civilization on this planet will be destroyed with it - by a nuclear war or simply by chip [implants] in the brain. The responsibility for humanity's survival lies on us, on the Russians. We don't have a choice besides victory.

So there...

The Council Has Spoken!

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

28 August 2014

Ukraine: A bumpy road to what?

The most inane headline of the week (if not of the year):


For the sake of full disclosure it must be added that the headline above is almost certainly the work of an on-line editor, the real headline of the article is "After 8 months of conflict, what's next for Ukraine?". Which is somewhat myopic too, but at least not that outright stupid.

If you look at another article on the same page of CNN, you shall see what I mean:
Pro-Moscow rebel forces in eastern Ukraine, backed by Russian tanks and armored personnel carriers, battled government forces on two fronts Thursday, a Ukrainian military official said.
And:
Moscow denies supporting and arming the pro-Russia rebels. It has also repeatedly denied allegations by Kiev that it has sent troops over the border.

However, the Prime Minister of the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic, Alexander Zakharchenko, acknowledged Thursday that there are current Russian servicemen fighting in the rebels' ranks in eastern Ukraine.
This thing could very soon erupt in a full scale war, a possibility of WW III not excluded.

And the CNN deep thinkers keep carping about a bumpy road to peace?

A well paved road to war be an apt description. But what do I know about selling news?

Update
: Ukraine crisis: Nato images 'show Russia troops'

FBI, DHS bulletin warns of retaliation for airstrikes against ISIS

Methinks this warning should be added to the plethora of health warnings on cigarette packs, so deep and momentous is this discovery.

US citizens could rest assured that the best thinkers of our generation are vigilantly... er... thinking about protection of the realm and no new development will escape their probing eyesight.

If I may add a humble corollary to that warning: taking one's finger out while suffering a bout of diarrhea may cause severe unpleasantness...

All else is confusion, so:

Coincidence?

1. According to the recent poll by the Palestinian Center of Public Opinion, 88% of Palestinians support the firing of rockets from Gaza at Israel.

 2. In February 1941 ... 88 percent of the Palestinian Arabs favoured Nazi Germany. From Benny Morris, "1948" Yale University Press; New Haven and London 2008, p 21.

And how about CNN credibility?

Try to put these three quotes from a CNN article on Ferguson shooting together, see where it gets you:

Dorian Johnson, a friend of Brown's who was walking with him at the time of the shooting, said the officer shot Brown once by the police car and again as he ran away.

According to Johnson, Brown was struck in the back and then turned around and put his arms up as the officer kept shooting.
Struck in the back?
An autopsy showed that all the entry wounds were in the front of Brown's body.
But:
And reports that his friend Johnson had a criminal record that includes lying to police has put Johnson's credibility in question.

In 2011, Johnson was arrested and accused of theft and lying to police about his first name, age and address.

Johnson said Monday night he doesn't understand why some are questioning his credibility.
Indeed. So lying about the officer shooting Mr Brown in the back is fine for credibility, it is the criminal record that somehow throws a shadow on it...

Believe it or not.

Watcher’s Council Nominations – Accountablity Edition

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

27 August 2014

Clueless

Seriously, how clueless can you get???

How naive and ignorant of the real world do you have to be to assume that this guy in Gaza is flashing a sign for peace??? Doesn't like EVERYONE know what this sign stands for in the Arab world?


The answer to my rhetorical question is "Only as ignorant as your typical British journalist from IBTimes".   Apparently this bloke and his daughter are "gesturing peace signs".

When the stereotype of "peace-loving Gazans and warmaungaring Israelis" does not match the reality, all you have to do is make up your own reality.




And a side remark re that victory:

Yair Lapid - still just a pretty face

More than just a pretty face? Dunno...
I don't know how to decipher this:
Finance Minister Yair Lapid visited Kibbutz Nahal Oz along the Gaza border on Monday and met with residents to discuss the current political situation. He told them that in his opinion, Israel should politically disengage from Palestinians in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
Any ideas re this "political disengagement" thing?

26 August 2014

News of the Day

1. Tens of thousands of people became refugees after crossing Nigerian border to escape Boko-Haram's newly declared Califate.

2. Tripoli was conquered by Islamists.

3. ISIS captured the key military airport in Syria by using children-suicide bombers.

4. Russian tanks invaded Ukraine by crossing border in two separate locations.

5. Israel was subjected to 130 Jihadi missiles and whole areas of the country had to be evacuated.

6. ISIS successfully implemented several waves of terrorists attacks in Baghdad and two other Iraqi cities.

7. Ferguson and Sent Louis, Missouri are under the state of emergency. Rioting continues for weeks on end. 

8. Last but not least, President Obama has returned from his Hawaiian vacation. He has already started the countdown to his next Hawaiian vacation.


OK this last link is a spoof, but it feels more related to reality than the news coming out of the official White House.

Yaacov Lozowick's response to Mondoweiss

I hope the colleague Elder will not be angry, but I feel that this exceptional text should be repeated as frequently as possible and disseminated far and wide. So here it goes.

Lozowick's reply (published in full at Mondoweiss, to that blog's credit) is a very good synopsis of how Israelis think about themselves and this war, and why.

1. The Jews: It is an objective and implacable fact that Zionism is the largest and most significant Jewish project in at least 2,000 years, probably more. There are non-Jews who are Israeli citizens, there are Jews who intensely dislike Zionism, there are even a handful of anti-Zionist Jews in Israel. None of these facts can change the fundamental truth: in Zionism the Jews set out to re-create a national existence on the political playing field, in their ancestral homeland, and Israel is its expression, or outcome, or whatever you wish to call it. The fact that about 50% of the world’s Jews live in Israel strengthens this, (the proportion will soon tip over to more than 50%), and the fact that a majority of self-identifying Jews among the non-Israelis are Zionists, bolsters its strength, but doesn’t change it. You can’t have Jews pining for Israel over millennia and then going there, and not have it be the most important development in all those millennia.

You can rail against this for every remaining day of your life (until 120, as we Jews say), and it still won’t make the slightest difference, not even if you gather around you thousands or tens of thousands of like-minded American Jews. I think it was Abe Lincoln who once said in court something about the strength of a fart in a blizzard or some such. Live with it, Phil, because there’s nothing you can do to change it. Nothing.

(Apropos numbers: there were more Jews at the funeral of Max Steinberg last month, which I blogged a bit about, than all the committed Mondoweiss Jews together, and it was just one funeral).

2. Will defend themselves: Look, I know you’re convinced Israel is the once and always, perpetual aggressor. Of course this doesn’t explain how if we’re such aggressors the Palestinians keep multiplying and acquiring new assets such as the PA, parts of WB, all of Gaza, international standing etc etc. We must be really really bad at getting our job done. But as we both know, you and I can’t agree on the basic facts of this point, so let’s leave it as I said: A majority of the Jews worldwide and a total majority in Israel know we’re defending ourselves from enemies who would eagerly destroy us if they had the power, just as happened in the past. (Lots of non-Jews agree with us, by the way, either because we’ve got them under our thumb as you see it, or because it’s a simple fact, as I see it).

3. Even if it means killing: My PhD was about Nazis, and I know more about them than most people, so Godwin’s Law doesn’t apply to me. I can speak about Nazis as a scholar, not a demagogue. So here’s a thought experiment. Say that in order to end Nazism you had to kill 70,000 (not a few hundred) innocent, non-German civilians, Frenchmen, say. Would that be defensible? 70,000 dead French civilians, all innocent, many children, to end Nazism and as a by-product also end the Holocaust? Would that be moral? Permissible? Defendable in some later discussion? I ask because it’s not a thought experiment, it’s what the USA and UK did in 1944 as they went through France so as to destroy Nazism in Germany. Some goals, my friend, justify even horrible side effects, or collateral damage, or whatever you wish to call it. The reason being that the alternative, of allowing Nazism to stay in place, would have been far worse.

So If Israel has to chose between its own safety or refusing to kill any innocent bystanders whatsoever, we’ll choose to defend ourselves. You bet. Of course, we can seek shades of gray, alternatives of greater or lesser destruction, and we can argue about those and indeed, we must seek them and argue about them. But the basic framework remains solid. Our safety is to be assured even if there’s a price to it, even if some innocents die. As few as possible, hopefully, but the inevitably some, yes.

4. Just like every warring nation in history: Simple. Every single nation in human history, including in the 21st century, which finds itself at war, has one of two options regarding the moral dilemma in the preceding paragraph. Either it accepts that it will kill some inocents in order to protect ts goals, or it doesn’t care. The Syrian don’t care. ISIS certainly doesn’t care. The North Vietnamese probably didn’t care, so far as I can tell. I don’t think the North in your Civil War much cared. The US in WWII didn’t care at all when it came to German civilians in bombable towns. Hamas certainly doesn’t care – well, actually it does. It regrets it doesn’t manage to kill more Jews and Arabs who live among them.

Americans nowadays do care, as do the British, and a small handful of other mostly enlightened nations, Israel among them. Yet whenever they chose to go to war, they also accept they’ll be killing at least some innocent bystanders – and they then do. In Serbia in the 1990s, in Kuwait in the 1990s, in Afghanistan and Iraq in the 2000s, and yes, I’m sad to tell you, against ISIS in 2014 (and 2015? 2016? 2025?). No-one has existentially threatened the US since the 19th century, or maybe even ever. Which isn’t to say the US hasn’t fought just wars. But they were never about its very existence. And in every one of them they have killed civilians. Tragic, but true. And as long as the US continues to be at war, for whatever reasons, it will continue to kill civilians. As few as possible, one hopes, and one assumes they’ll take great efforts to limit the numbers, but to pretend you can go to war and not kill civilians is being willfully blind.

Israel, unlike the US, faces enemies who proudly broadcast their intention to destroy it, in the most basic meaning of the word “destroy”. So Israel must choose: will it defend itself even if thereby some number of innocent civilians die, or will it not defend itself, and thereby large numbers of its own civilians will die.

The answer is clear. Any other answer would be immoral.

So, that’s it. I know your methodology, and that of your fans. You’ll now turn to all sorts of other objections and whatabouttery. But I’ve responded to the questions as you posed them, and that’s enough. The whatabouttery is, by definition, about other matters.
The comments, of course, are exactly as Lozowick predicted.