31 October 2014

Thomas L. Friedman: a change of heart or just a seasonal change of skin?

Just when you think you have dedicated enough time and space to the shenanigans of this NYT best and finest, even to the level where you have declared that there will be no more posts on the subject - here it comes - an about-turn to beat all about-turns:

Israel today is surrounded on four out of five borders — South Lebanon, Gaza, Sinai and Syria — not by states but by militias, dressed as civilians, armed with rockets and nested among civilians. No other country faces such a threat. When Israeli commanders in the Golan Heights look over into Syria today, they see Russian and Iranian military advisers, along with Syrian Army units and Hezbollah militiamen from Lebanon, fighting jihadist Sunni militias — and the jihadists are usually winning. “They’re much more motivated,” an Israeli defense official told me.

That is not a scene that inspires risk-taking on the West Bank, right next to Israel’s only international airport. The fact that Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and Hamas took over there in 2007 and then devoted most of its energies to fighting Israel rather than building Palestine also does not inspire risk-taking to move away from the status quo. Israel offered Hamas a cease-fire eight days into the Gaza war, but Hamas chose to expose its people to vast destruction and killing for 43 more days, hoping to generate global pressure on Israel to make concessions to Hamas. It was sick; it failed; and it’s why some Gazans are trying to flee Hamas rule today.
I will be...

P.S. Don't run into the streets full of joy, though - much of the rest of that piece is business as usual. Still, who knows, the man might be not as hopeless as he seems when you learn enough about him...

John Kerry - translated into Hebrew

A fairly interesting NYT article that offers a titillating glimpse into the inner works of the White House in particular and the current administration in general - warmly recommended. The point of this post, however, focuses on a quite innocuous (well, almost) passage of the article:
White House officials joke that he [Kerry] is like the astronaut played by Sandra Bullock in the movie “Gravity,” somersaulting through space, untethered from the White House.
I bet the author of that article, while it refers to Israel a few times, doesn't know the second meaning of the word "astronaut" in Hebrew. In Israeli slang "astronaut" means somebody untethered not only physically, but also mentally. In short, someone who is not totally at home...cooking on another planet... having too many birds on his antenna... well, you know what I mean.

Oh well, at least I am not an anonymous official of the White House...

Weasel Of The Week!!

Fanfare, everyone!It?s time to present this week's statuette of shame, The Golden Weasel!!

Every Tuesday, the Council nominates some of the slimiest, most despicable characters in public life for some deed of evil, cowardice or corruption they?ve performed. Then we vote to single out one particular Weasel for special mention, to whom we award the statuette of shame, our special, 100% plastic Golden Weasel. This week's nominees were all slime-worthy,but in the end the winner by a nose was....


CNN 'News Anchor' Carol Costello!!

 Nice Deb :Although CNN News Anchor Carol Costello shouldn't have a job after her disturbing antics, last week, she does deserve to be considered for the esteemed title of Weasel of the Week in my humble opinion.

In the shocking segment, Costello could barely contain her glee over hearing new audio of Bristol Palin describing her assault at a party in Alaska a few weeks ago. In fact, Costello called it "quite possibly the best minute and a half of audio we?ve ever come across.?

Costello then proceeded to describe the ?massive brawl? and before playing the audio she told her viewers ?so sit back and enjoy.?

What you were asked to ?sit back and enjoy? was the sound of a tearful and near hysterical Bristol Palin describing to the police the physical assault she had just experienced.

Despite overwhelming approbation from fellow journalists and conservatives appalled by her hypocrisy, Costello has thus far resisted offering an apology on the air for gloating over Bristol Palin's distress, instead opting to offer a weak and weaselly apology to Politico.

Virginia Right! :I am going to go with Carol Costello of CNN who was absolutely bubbly about Bristol Palin  being assaulted.

People that hate Sarah Palin so much ought to be in jail. There is no place in America for such hate by proxy.

Yes, this weeks' honors went to Carol Costello, who yet again proved that the real war on women is being carried on by the Left, and that women who have left the Left's Plantation and think for themselves are fair game for pretty much anything, no matter how vile.We all know that if it was Wendy Davis, Debby BlabberMouth Schultz or Rachel Maddow getting assaulted, you know Carol Costello's jowls would have been quivering in outrage and she'd be yowling like an outraged alley cat.

Actually, considering CNN's ratings, I'm kinda surprised so many people noticed anything this 53-year-old partisan hack was doing, even in morning prime time. But they did. As a matter of fact, there's even a #firecarolcostello hash tag on Twitter, and a CNN Should Fire Carol Costello Facebook page.Apparently a lot of people found Carol Costello's disgusting schadenfreude over the assault on Bristol Palin nauseating, although her network doesn't seem to since they haven't forced her to make an on air apology - yet.

Not only that,but other instances of Ms. Costello's particular brand of hypocrisy have come to light..like her on-air attack on ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith, who she shrieked should be fired or be suspended for  comments he made about the Ray Rice controversy after he apologized for them on the air.

It's the caro Costellos of the world who make awarding the statuette of shame such a gratifying experience.

Well, we have the Golden Weasel all ready to add to the other souvenirs Carol Costello has undoubtedly collected over her career. However, at the express request of Sarah Palin, we sent the Weasel to the Governor so that she could have the pleasure of personally awarding it to Ms. Costello. From what Mama Grizzly said, if I understood her correctly, she wants to make a point of 'giving it to her good' in person and is willing to come down to New York to spend some private time with Ms. Costello to 'let her have it'.

Seemed like the right thing to do to me..

And BTW, when I happened to catch a clip of  Governor Palin on FOX this week with Stuart Varney she sounded great,  hasn't lost any of the old fire and hinted at running for office again...


Well, there it is! 

Check back next Tuesday to see who next week's nominees for Weasel of the Week are!

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher?s Forum, and  remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted on Friday morning.

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30 October 2014

Amos Biderman? What is Amos Biderman, besides creating a new low for Haaretz?

This "cartoon" doesn't require a lot of interpretation:

By Amos Biderman

Update: an answer in kind, by Orit Koppel:

More on ISIS and pan-Islamism: the correct form of Islam

From a Facebook status of George Szirtes:

Yesterday a meeting with a dear friend, Islamic scholar and historian who gives a very bleak picture of jihadist activity in his part of the world and others. Many joining ISIS. Not just young men but women, senior professors (generally of science). It is the dream of the caliphate that matters. It is not a moral crusade, it is not directly linked to specific religious texts. It is not Islam as such. It is not rational nor has it a focused sense of grievance, he says. It is a climate or current that sweeps people up. It would not be satisfied with regaining old Moorish parts of Spain.

He smiles.

'And they are such gentle, beautiful people,' he adds. He asked one with whom he had had an amiable conversation whether he would kill him if he didn't convert to what the other considered the correct form of Islam. The other smiled shyly and said, Yes.
Now, who is going to tell me again about the minuscule minority?

Peppa Pig as an expression of British racism

Of course the story is stupid, disturbing and so unbelievable that Snopes devoted a special entry to it alone.

A young South Yorkshire couple were kicked off a bus and accused of racism – for singing the Peppa Pig theme to their baby daughter.
Read the whole story, I shall just mention that the baby in question is autistic, the father is epileptic and that the driver forced them to leave the bus - with two miles to their house remaining. The driver also made sure the family wouldn't be picked up by other bus drivers. Nothing to add but this melody - for the baby:

Hat tip: Terresa.

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29 October 2014

Netanyahu: recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, and “Aspergery” chickenshit?

Surely the list is limited and unimaginative, and surely I can add a few choice adjectives to it. However, I always considered that this business of sticking adjectives to my PM is strictly my prerogative. And I want to state it quite clearly that in no circumstances have I resorted to foreign assistance of any kind.

Especially not from a government that seems to have been totally derailed on most matters of its foreign policy. Starting with its mumbling and stumbling on the gradual dismembering of Ukraine by Putin, via gradual surrender to Iranian nuclear ambitions, to its half-hearted treatment of the ISIS Islamofascist menace and its rollback of all achievements in Iraq and Afghanistan, where so much blood of American soldiers was spilled. Not to mention the awkward courtship of the Islamist regimes of Qatar, Turkey and similar... the list is too long.

As for this:
This official agreed that Netanyahu is a “chickenshit” on matters related to the comatose peace process, but added that he’s also a “coward” on the issue of Iran’s nuclear threat. The official said the Obama administration no longer believes that Netanyahu would launch a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities in order to keep the regime in Tehran from building an atomic arsenal. “It’s too late for him to do anything. Two, three years ago, this was a possibility. But ultimately he couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger. It was a combination of our pressure and his own unwillingness to do anything dramatic. Now it’s too late.”
This is not an insult to Bibi, rather a confession of own impotence when dealing with a clear and present danger. And the weaselly attempt to present nuclear-armed Iran as a purely Israeli problem doesn't deserve a courtesy of an insult - it is pathetic. Pity Jeffrey Goldberg didn't see it that way.

We here should brace ourselves. With the two years left of the current administration and its strange chief, bent on golf and the ostrich policy of sticking his head in sand, anything could happen.

And it will happen, I bet.

28 October 2014

Azerbaijan and Israel: a match made in... where, exactly?

The Algemeiner article Israel’s Emerging Muslim-Majority Ally left me with mixed feelings. On one hand, to have a good relationship with a Muslim country, especially one that sits in the middle of the region of high interest to Israel for may compelling reasons, is a boon.

On the other hand, Algemeiner crowing about this achievement leaves one with some bitter aftertaste. Azerbaijan is one of the ex-Soviet republics that didn't make any gains on the road to democracy since leaving the embrace of USSR. The opposite could be said - it became one of the worst dictatorships on this planet. The permanent state of crackdown on civil society, the unbridled crony capitalism and corruption, the repression of independent voices and much more - in short not exactly a state you would be proud to call your best buddy, to say the least.

Yes, I know that politics makes strange bedfellows. However, in this case especial care is indicated. This romance carries a bad STD we'll pay dearly to cure.

27 October 2014

The way to abolition of prisons goes via Simon Jenkins

Calling Simon Jenkins "a gift that keeps giving" will be a serious understatement. The man is a natural Horn of Plenty, and I feel sorry I don't follow his writing closely enough. The long and sweet hour of hilarity caused by his ruminations on irresistible attraction caused by what he calls "celebrity buildings" to the terrorists doesn't have to stand alone a whole year, you know.
A World Trade Centre, a Mumbai hotel, a Boston marathon, a Nairobi shopping mall are all enticing to extremists. Defending them is near impossible. Better at least not to create them.
Yeah... sweet as it was, a whole year without something new is too long, so I should make it a habit to check on his output more frequently.

At least one of his recent articles I stumbled upon accidentally, didn't disappoint. The article (in CiF, why not?) is headlined: Oscar Pistorius should not be going to jail and its lede pretty much summarizes the whole:
Pistorius’s life is ruined. No one will be deterred by his sentence. Imprisonment is a brutal response that achieves nothing in such cases.
I want you all to be cautious and to take a few minutes of consideration before you jump in with a harsh response to that statement. Think about it first. And you shall see the light. First of all, it is a cannily crafted and absolutely universal form. The only thing your defense lawyer has to do - to make it a core part of his concluding speech - is to replace "Pistorius’s" by the name of his defendant (you, perhaps). It is the ultimate "get out of jail" card, and I hope you all will print it out and carry it on your body. Because you never know.

Otherwise: I can only sympathize with a commenter haribol there on CiF who said:
This is the biggest load of tosh that Simon has written in a long time. It beggars belief, and I am one of those bleeding heart lefties that think that the criminal justice system is not fit for purpose (worldwide).
No worries, haribol, rest assured Simon will let it rip again fairly soon.

Verily the end of the world is nigh...

Looking at the text, funny enough by itself, I couldn't fail to recall the words of Wonko the Sane* on a very much related subject:
It seemed to me that any civilization that had so far lost its head as to need to include a set of detailed instructions** for use in a package of toothpicks, was no longer a civilization in which I could live and stay sane.
. So there.

(*) If you haven't read "So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish" by late and much lamented Douglas Adams, this is the right time to do so. Wonko the Sane appears in this book.

(**) The detailed instructions on a package of toothpicks Wonko mentioned are:
Hold stick near center of its length. Moisten pointed end in mouth. Insert in tooth space, blunt end next to gum. Use gentle in-out motion.

26 October 2014

Hassan Rouhani - the smiling face of Tehran. Moderation really does it...

Reyhaneh Jabbari is 967th person to be executed since Hassan Rouhani became Iran's president in August last year
Over the last decade, Iran’s regime has typically hanged between 500 and 600 people every year, giving the country the highest number of executions in the world, apart from China. Unlike in China, however, hangings in Iran often take place in public.

The pace of executions has accelerated since Mr Rouhani became president: 381 people were hanged between his accession to office and 31 Dec 2013. Another 586 are known to have been put to death so far this year, including Miss Jabbari, according to a database maintained by the Iran Human Rights Documentation Centre.
Otherwise, everything is cool. Let's do it again:

A veritable Smiley, the man is...

25 October 2014


Russian Minister of Defense and a gay Islamist War Lord from Chechnya are palming North America in front of the cameras.

Seriously, how long do we have to wait for someone with balls in the White House???  I am starting to think that we can even get by with Hilary as the President, but two more years of Obama seem like eternity.

24 October 2014

George Galloway (the Spiv) in a tizzy about disclosure of his income

The Guardian's article on the income of British MPs other than their MP salaries covers about 20 of the solons, Galloway occupying a relatively humble third place with meager BP 265,350.

These came primarily from paid weekly appearances for the Iranian state-owned broadcaster Press TV, for which Galloway received £100,650, and a further £96,000 – not including air fares – for fortnightly broadcasts from Beirut for Al Mayadeen, which does not publicly disclose its financial backers.
The Spiv, however, was irked by the article, which in reality didn't mean any harm*. To a degree that he unleashed his spokesman on the press:
A spokesman for Galloway accused the Guardian of “attempts to smear” the MP, and said “his media earnings are for a few hours’ work a week”.

“His programmes enable him to reach a far greater audience than would otherwise be the case for his views, both domestically and internationally,” he continued. “No one from these TV stations determines editorial content.”
The only point I fail to understand in the above is one of reaching a far greater audience. The Spiv has already appeared in a highly successful venue that brought him an audience one can only dream about, remember?

If the size of the audience is the issue here, there was no reason to eschew this gig for some doubtful Middle Eastern venture. Besides, it was, like, totally fitting...

(*) As for the accusation of trying to harm - no, really, it is a clear misunderstanding. First of all, the Guardian employs the highest percentage of the Spiv's admirers anywhere. It is simply that, being relatively low-paid serfs of that media outfit, these folks are naturally envious of the kind of fees our illustrious Spiv commands. And to add that “his media earnings are for a few hours’ work a week” - no, really, George, be more sensitive next time, please!

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