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.

The Media Intifada: Bad Math, Ugly Truths About New York Times In Israel-Hamas War

This. Should. Be. Read.

25 August 2014

More about that Izz ad-Din al-Qassam picture of martyrs

Something hidden in my memory kept nagging me since I have published the post with this picture:


Of course, pictures from Mecca with the mandatory bedsheets and happy pilgrims are a dime for a dozen. Take one, do some basic Photoshop job and here you are. But still... and then it clicked.

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, right, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, second from right, P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas, third from right, and Fatah member Mohammed Dahlan.

Aha, now it's clear. So these are (probably) the bodies used for the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam shahids. And then, and oldish Russian joke surfaced in my memory:

A freshly sentenced for the first time young thief tells his new prison mates about his last girlfriend. "You should see her boobs, guys [shows with his hands the approximate dimensions on his own body]! You should see her buttocks [again using his hands to demonstrate the latter on himself]. You should see..."
Here he is interrupted by an old and experienced prisoner: "Listen, mate, don't show on yourself. This is a sure cause of bad luck..."

Dear martyrs-to-be of  Izz ad-Din al-Qassam: you may have chosen the right bodies to use for that demonstration. Or the wrong ones, depends how you look at that. Bad luck, remember.

So there.

This is how it is done, baby!

Wouldn't want to comment on this.

24 August 2014

Turkey - ISIS - US - a tough love/hate triangle for State Department

After the barbarous beheading of James Foley, President Obama responded with a fiery speech:


Oops, sorry, a printing error, this picture should have been placed next, since the speech preceded the golfing affair:


Now that we are settled as far as visual aids are concerned, here is the speech:
This afternoon, an angry President Obama addressed the execution of American reporter James Foley at the hands of Islamic State militants, declaring "no just god would stand for" the group's actions "yesterday and every day." Foley, he said, "was taken from us in an act of violence that shocks the conscience of the entire world."

ISIS (also known as ISIL), Obama said, "has no ideology of value to human beings. Their ideology is bankrupt."

"People like this ultimately fail," he said. "They fail because the future is won by those who build and not destroy, people like Jim Foley."

While Obama offered no specific, altered course of action in Iraq, "There has to be a common effort to extract this cancer so it does not spread," he said. "The United States of America will continue to do what we must do to protect our people. We will be vigilant and we will be relentless."
Etc.

The Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, echoed the sentiment, but with a twist:
At a Pentagon briefing, Hagel called ISIS' extremist ideology "barbaric," but warned that the group poses a dire threat that must be taken seriously.

"[ISIS] is as sophisticated and well-funded as any group that we have seen. They're beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology, a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess. They are tremendously well-funded," he said.
The twist is in that Hagel doesn't mention the expected demise of ISIS, warning instead about sophistication, military prowess and tremendous funding of these barbarians.

And even the foreign policy expert, Secretary of State John Kerry, had said something or other on Twitter...
“ISIL will be destroyed/will be crushed,” Kerry tweeted, using the acronym for an alternative name for ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.
Destroyed or crushed, ISIS or ISIL - at least I hope that all three above mentioned VIPs mean the same outfit, cause both ISIL and ISIS acronyms have many meanings, if you care to google a bit. Be a pity if University of Florida's Integrated Student Information System or Indian Society of International Law get a few Hellfires under their tails because of a misunderstanding between all the departments involved.

Anyway, the intent is clear and all the right words were said. Meanwhile there aren't any specific plans behind these words, but this is why these three gentlemen have the might of the Pentagon and its military thinkers and planners behind them. So, I guess, the dark forces of ISIS should be shaking in their stylish black outfits. Or should they?

But the high and mighty say things high and mighty, they don't have to go into boring details. People on the ground, however, like the State Department spokesman Marie Harf in this story, have to do the dirty work, selling bullshit explaining some difficult angles that their bosses just don't have time for.
In another heated exchange between State Department spokesman Marie Harf and AP reporter Matt Lee, the issue of whether any governments are funding ISIS / ISIL is proving to be a hot button issue. In this particular exchange, Qatar is the focus but other countries – specifically Turkey – should start getting spotlighted soon.
Qatar and Turkey again. How interesting. Be it Hamas with their particular thing about the Zionist entity and its eradication, or ISIS with their universally homicidal agenda, the same names pop up. And not just where generous financing is concerned (Qatar), but where logistics support and even training on the ground (Turkey) is being provided.
Along those lines and independent from Vermeulen’s findings, Shoebat.com posted a video of Terrorists (ISIS) crossing from Turkey into Syria with weapons and walking right past Turkish soldiers:

Last month, Shoebat.com reported on the ISIS fighter who proudly proclaimed that their success would not have happened without the support of Turkey.

Let’s not forget the leaked audio recordings of high-ranking Turkish officials in which they conspired to have ISIS / ISIS launch an attack on a revered Turkish Islamic tomb of Suleiman Shah and then use that event to launch Turkish forces into Syria. The Turkish government was also implicated in the attacks on Armenian Christians in Syria, as Shoebat.com reported.

As for Harf, she has repeatedly asserted that Turkey is a “Close NATO Ally”.
A high and mighty confusion, a "close ally" that is ever ready to stub you in the back and a poor unappreciated spokesperson who is just trying to do her job.

All in all it's probably better to be a POTUS... and the devil may care!

Einstein. Twice.

There is that feature on some sites that, when you are looking at an article, serves up a few links to similar ones. Sometimes it... take a look at this case:


Related or not? You decide.

And, speaking of Einstein:

23 August 2014

Three Hamas chieftains and the eulogy by Izz ad-Din al-Qassam

The three Hamas top dogs that have gone to request their mandatory award of 72 virgins made an interesting trio, being photoshopped by their Izz ad-Din al-Qassam PR branch onto a Mecca background. The following picture is taken from the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades Hebrew Twitter stream:


The verbal part of the eulogy says: "Shahids [martyrs] are heroes who fought heroically(sic!). Prefer paradise among the Palestinian martyrs."

Somebody with a Twitter handle @dkapchino responded to this: "I loath to say this, bro, but it rather looks like they are on the way to a Turkish hamam [bathhouse] to please each other with their peckers".

This is it. We report, you decide...

Re these "suspected collaborators" Hamas kills in droves

Seems to be a popular pastime Hamas encourages in Gaza strip each time something goes pear-shaped there:

Hamas militants killed seven Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel in a public execution in a central Gaza square on Friday, witnesses and a Hamas website said.
...
Another 11 people suspected of collaborating with Israel were killed by gunmen at an abandoned police station in Gaza earlier on Friday, Hamas security officials said.
I wonder: do all these folks volunteer for the duty? Or is there a competition for the role?

Paola Builes Aristizábal rules! Down with the judges!

Unspeakable:


No, it is not the lady in the picture that is unspeakable, it is the amoral behavior of the judges:
A leading contestant for the title of Miss Colombia has been stripped of her local crown and disqualified from further competition after judges discovered photos of her in a bikini and lingerie they felt were too revealing.
Cruel and unfair pervs, all of them. No worries, when the revolution comes...

The Council Has Spoken!

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

22 August 2014

Dear Canucks, we love you anyway

Some Canadian with a chip on his shoulder (because of some Americans) posted this:


You know, looking at this I think about one thing only: where is the closest igloo to get away from this place?

For Louise.

Canadian Journalist Serves as Hamas Propagandist

Saša Petricic works for CBC. He is one of several western journalists, consistently staying "on message" in his reports from Gaza, sticking to Israeli atrocities, constantly retweeting his favourite sources.  He only has 2  twitter favourites, one of which is Al-Jazeera, but he follows a bunch of other "respectable" news organizations such as Russia Today and anti-Israeli NGOs.

Recently Petricic placed this photo on his Facebook profile:


Good stuff. As stated in the comments, "it should win next year's World Press Photo Competition".  
Except that Saša didn't take the photo. He did not provide the source, which is a bit sloppy for a journalist. The earliest version I could find actually comes from this openly pro-Hamas activist. In her more recent tweet, the source of the photo is eulogizing Mashaal and "Hamas Resistance". The "nasty Israeli/brave Palestinian women" shot apparently comes from Nabi Saleh. Nabi Saleh is a well known Pallywood movie set up site.

Here is my favourite Nabi Saleh comedy, complete with a blond child. Note that there are more cameras than "protesters" and how the mother (if I can call her that) is goading her kids to attack armed soldiers for the camera.

This is what we get for "unbiased Canadian media". Shoddy Hamas propaganda, without references to primary sources.  Saša's salary comes courtesy of the  taxpayer.

21 August 2014

My country is sick

The following article appeared in Der Spiegel, however the translation (with kind assistance from Google) was made from a Russian version. The author, Lyudmila Ulitskaya, is a critically acclaimed modern Russian novelist and short-story writer.


In late July, the Russian writer Lyudmila Ulitskaia was awarded the Austrian State Prize for European Literature. In an essay for Der Spiegel, the writer combines the description of the ceremony with reflections on the current state of affairs in Russia and the world.

"The official part begins with the Austrian national anthem - writes Ulitskaja. - All spectators stand up, I do too. Good for you, Austrians, I think wistfully. Text of your national anthem was written in 1947 by an unblemished poet - Paula von Preradovic. And we have long been ashamed by our Russian anthem. The first version of the text to the music by Alexander Alexandrov in 1943, wrote the court poet Sergei Mikhalkov. It had powerful lines: "Stalin brought us up on loyalty to the people, // He inspired us to labor and heroism." After Stalin's debunking the anthem was played without words ... in 1977 Mikhalkov corrected the text, since then the hymn glorified Party instead of Stalin. Then came a new century, and in 2000 a newly revised text was approved: the same Mikhalkov, professional to the core, replaced the "Party" by "God", as we now express our new allegiance to the Orthodox church. Bot the lyricist and and the composer meantime passed away, so it's hard to say who will win the editing job for the anthem next time. Our country in its development maketh such zigzags and spirals that in the new edition of the hymn, God forbid, we will go back to Stalin."

"I live in Russia. I am a Russian writer of Jewish origin, was brought up in a Christian culture. Now my country is at war with the culture, the values ​​of humanism, freedom of the individual and the idea of human rights... My country is sick with aggressive ignorance, nationalism and imperial megalomania. I am ashamed of my ignorant and aggressive parliament, of my aggressive and incompetent government, of political leadership - supporters of violence and treachery aiming at the role of supermen. I am ashamed of all of us, of our people, who lost their moral compass,"- continues the writer.

"I am not politically active, but when people ask me, I say what I think. Due to that I was listed as part of the "fifth column" and accused of hatred of my own country. To justify myself, in my opinion, is useless and stupid. I do not feel hate, only shame and helplessness. Today Russia promotes suicidal and dangerous policy that poses a threat primarily to Russia itself, but can also lead to a third world war. This war, in fact, already begun. Local wars in Chechnya in Georgia, and now in the Ukraine - the prologue. Perhaps no one will be writing the epilogue. "

"Civilization has reached an impasse - believes Ulitskaja. - Science, education, learning and the arts could not tame the inherent nature of human aggression. Previously, it seemed that the culture has enough  power to overcome the desire for self-destruction, but I fear that the mankind is out of time. Civilization and its outstanding technical achievements, sadly, have only led to a situation where we have an ability to mutually destroy each other in a short time... The idea of ​​the infernal nature of evil has become obsolete, people do evil themselves and overcome the devil himself in this activity".

"My country brings the world every day closer to a new war... Farewell Europe, I'm afraid we will never become part of the European family of nations. Our great culture, our Tolstoy and Chekhov, Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich, our artists, actors, philosophers and scientists today just cannot prevent the policy of madmen in authority, as previously they were unable to do anything with the policy of religious fanatics and communist ideas. 300 years we have drawn strength to exist from the same sources ... and never gave up hope. Today we, the people of Russian culture, the small part to which I belong, can only say one thing: Farewell to Europe!"

And here is some very relevant and very bad news:
As a result of the fighting near Lutugino (Lugansk region) Ukrainian military has captured a BMD-2* of the Pskov** Airborne Division with all the paperwork.

It is reported by journalist Leonid Shvets on his page on Facebook.

"The guys asked me to tell: at war with the Russian army. In Lutugino area our [troops] captured BMD-2, reg. number 275, from the 1st Airborne Company unit # 74268, Pskov Airborne Division, the platoon commander sec. Lieutenant Popov. In the car, all the documentation: journal of duties, evening roll call, journal of leaves. Russian-packed rations, produced in March of this year," - wrote the journalist.
(*) BMD-2 - a Russian airborne APC.

How to defeat flatulence


Watcher’s Council Nominations – Drunk And Out Of Line Edition

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

20 August 2014

Qatar: the best friend of... yeah, you got it

Somebody told me this morning that Qatar intends to get rid of Hamas presence on its territory. Wow, says I to myself, Hamas is getting even on their best friend's nerves, it looks like. Then I got to the intertubes.

A senior Fatah official claimed in a conversation with the Al-Hayat newspaper that Qatar recently threatened Hamas' political bureau chief Khaled Mashal that it would expel him if Hamas accepts the Egyptian ceasefire truce deal in its current format.
Now I see it. Now you can see the ugly truth too.

As they keep telling us, in the recent Israel vs Hamas dust-up the outside participants aligned in two distinct camps: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan in one camp, against Hamas, and Qatar, Iran and Turkey (a NATO member, by the way) - on Hamas' side.

So they keep telling us, but they also keep forgetting one player with considerable, but somewhat waning influence in our parts - I mean the US of A.

Let me see, where should US be in that layout?

Oh.

Oh.

Oh.

Go figure...

19 August 2014

Boycotting Israeli circumcision rings? No worries.

I wasn't aware of the story, what with being busy with other kinds of mayhem. Apparently:

The Israeli made, PrePex male circumcision ring is designed to assist in the removal of foreskin by stopping the blood flow to the region, subsequently killing off the skin cells on the tip of the member. The dead foreskin can later be easily removed. Circumcision has been shown to reduce the likelihood of contracting HIV by nearly 60%, according to PrePex.
And, also apparently:
The circumcision ring was set to be introduced at clinics and hospitals in South Africa next year as part of a Department of Health program to administrate 4.3 million male circumcisions by 2016. The launch of the program, however, was delayed since, according to a report in the Global Post, the “male circumcision ring is one of many products in South Africa being targeted by growing calls to boycott Israeli-made goods.”
So here we are: no rings and no solution in view. All this because the Elders' Signals dept is asleep on duty. Because an easy solution is just within reach:
We'll gladly take the humidors off your hands, so you can go with the cheaper option. We need all the humidors we can get out mitts on for.... doesn't matter.

So there, leave these rings alone. DIY is the way to go.

P.S. And, if the above proposal is still too expensive, there always is this:

Interrupting regular programming

To announce that wiser words than these were not uttered yet:

18 August 2014

Andrew Sullivan / Sam Harris debate: making sense of thereof

Sam Harris and Andrew Sullivan decided to convene a phone conversation as a sequel to a blog post from the former followed by a rebuttal from the latter. The purported aim of the conversation is to compare notes in a civilized discussion, which may lead to better mutual understanding.

The notable thing about the dialog is that it is indeed largely polite and that Sullivan, whose hate of Israel is normally so all consuming as to deprive him of elementary logic and common sense, behaved himself in a (comparatively) benign manner.

It is quite a long transcript, but I persevered and read it through. While Mr Harris presents and defends a pro-Israeli position, he has quite frequently let Mr Sullivan's statements slide without serious opposition. There are several examples of such lenience, possibly for another post. I shall restrain myself to one example:

Sullivan: In this current Gaza war, on the other hand, Israelis are all but protected by the Iron Dome, by Israel’s massive superiority in technology, overwhelming military dominance, huge economic superiority, and by being the most powerful country in the entire region backed by the global superpower. And even though the Israelis are protected from any sort of civilian casualties of any significance, they nonetheless have killed an astonishing number of Palestinian civilians in the past few weeks, including roughly 300 children.
This old and tired trope, easily met by any debater rookie, was passed over by Mr Harris, to my surprise. Possibly having in mind the generally conciliatory tone of the meeting of minds, I don't know. But as I went along reading the whole megillah, something in Mr Harris stance bothered me more and more. Andrew Sullivan, after all, is a known entity and, aside of unusual politeness, nothing was surprising in his position(s). His opponent, on the other hand, was somewhat more elusive (for me).

And I don't even mean this, coming from Mr Harris (the first post in the sequence):
I don’t think Israel should exist as a Jewish state. I think it is obscene, irrational and unjustifiable to have a state organized around a religion. So I don’t celebrate the idea that there’s a Jewish homeland in the Middle East. I certainly don’t support any Jewish claims to real estate based on the Bible.
I wouldn't argue whether/why the existence of specifically Jewish state is more offensive to Mr Harris than, to take one example, that of Great Britain or many many other states wholly or partially defined by prevailing religion. I could ask why state of Israel is chosen (or mentioned at all) as a prime example of that obscenity, irrationality etc? But Mr Harris himself mentions later, in a disarming manner, that "Israel is actually less religious than the U.S., and it guarantees freedom of religion to its citizens", so I'll let it slide. The two following quotes are more difficult to ignore:
I think my being Jewish is irrelevant. I’ve told you that if the Jews decided to assimilate perfectly and cease to be Jews, I would celebrate this decision. And this is how I live my own life. I’m Jewish only in the sense that when it came time to have children, I needed to get screened for the Tay-Sachs gene.
And:
If all the Jews in Israel woke up tomorrow and said “This sucks. We’re sick of being attacked by religious lunatics. Let’s just move to America and forget about this godforsaken desert,” I would fully support it. In fact, it reflects how I live my own life. I’m a Jew who sees no point at all in fighting for land that an imaginary Abraham sanctified with his imaginary footsteps, in thrall to an imaginary God. And I’m more than happy to assimilate and to forget about my Jewishness. I’m just trying to be a rational human being living on the third planet from the sun. And I think all Jews would be well served to do likewise.
These statements even succeeded to mollify (somewhat) Sullivan, who echoed the sentiment:
Sullivan: Let’s try this non-Zionist counter-factual. Any Jew in the world is free to come to America. American Jews are among the most accomplished, integrated, successful, vibrant contributors to American society and culture. And they are among the most popular religious and ethnic groups in the country. They mercifully have peace, security—far away from this kind of Middle Eastern awfulness. So why wouldn’t that have been a credible alternative, rather than actually going in and seizing land from people who—
Dear Sam,

Your atheism is shared by me too. However, your call to assimilation caused me the strongest "someone is walking over my grave" feeling for many years. This is one deja vu case I can certainly do without. From Soviet Jewry declaring their allegiance to Soviet Russia and hailing their successful assimilation with Russians in the late forties of the last century, when Stalin was already planning the cattle carriages transfer to the East. Through German Jews celebrating their assimilation with the great German culture and German people in the twenties and thirties. Through too many other bloody and painful examples, surely going back hundreds of years. Thousands, if we remember the (popular at the time with Jewish elite) assimilation with Hellenic culture way back.

What is it with us Jews that makes us so blind to reality? Yes, American Jews today are all that Andrew Sullivan says. Today. Only about forty years after the (formal) end of the tradition to reject Jews applying to some private clubs (I wonder how many of those are still practicing it on the sly?). Today, when the muddy waves of Internet carry uncounted examples of the worst Jew-hate ever, a good part of it coming from American sources. Henry Ford is more alive today for a certain category of Americans than he was way back, when still wasting oxygen. And who can tell what would happen if (or rather when) a serious economic upheaval hits the blessed United States? Who will be presented then as a guilty party for all to hate and serve as scapegoats? Make an educated guess...

There is religion and there is nationality. I don't actually recall any Jew-hater checking whether the targeted Jew is an atheist, no sir. And from a long (and sometimes educational) experience I can tell that no Jew-hater was ever hindered in his Jew-identification by the fact that the Jew in question feels totally assimilated. And the only thing that sticking our heads in the sand ever brought is the convenience to our enemies when applying a stick to our collective arses.

Well, but after all I can see the truth of this (last quote, I swear):
Well, I’m still a Jew in the sense that I know a good pastrami sandwich when I see one.
Me too, me too, Sam. Do you like your pastrami with garlic? Lots of garlic?

(Yeah, it is another tricky test of Jewishness, to be sure).

Response to "The Gaza Bombardment" - The Lies You've Been Told

More debunking - quite good. And don't miss the closing statement!

17 August 2014

Spying: get used to it and get over it

What else do you need to make peace with the knowledge that in this here world everyone spies after everyone?

German weekly Der Spiegel reports that the country's foreign intelligence agency eavesdropped on calls made by US Secretary of State John Kerry and his predecessor Hillary Clinton.
Switch to Yiddish, be my advise - cause no one really knows it...

Rule 5 corollary: be ever vigilant


Al-Qassam Brigades on their goals and their wishes

Remember that fancy dresser from the other day's post?


Apparently the decision of their Hamas chiefs to reject the latest Egyptian ceasefire proposal inspired the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades warriors, who came out with this tweet:

I really don't see a good reason why their goal (to meet Allah) and their wish (to die for him) couldn't be accommodated.

The order of the requests, though, should be reviewed, I suggest...

16 August 2014

Do you still claim it's because of Gaza?

Check this out (but click to enlarge first):


If you still claim it's all about Gaza - oh well, here you are then - you are either a dupe or something much, much worse.

The Council Has Spoken!

Full text of the Council week's summary here.

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

15 August 2014

Lisa Goldman or: How I learned to stop being a journalist and love propaganda

Now this is what I would call jaw dropping. Or eye-popping. Or outright mind-boggling.

But to the details. Since some of you may be unable to see the Facebook post in the above link, here was a snapshot of it. Unfortunately, the snapshot was removed due to Lisa's insistence that it is her private domain. Here is her position:

Hi there -- You do not have my permission to take a screenshot of my Facebook page. As per my privacy controls, it is meant to be viewable only by friends. Please delete the image right away. Lisa
Be it as it may - the text remains indefensible. But, since I can't use the original text for the reasons of above mentioned lawfare (or lowfare, whatever), the only way I can go is to give the reader a hint: the ideas for reporting on Gaza, as provided by Lisa are nicely overlapping with the guidance dispensed by Hamas Interior Ministry. As for the difference between the two: I shall leave here an empty space, which, if Lisa so desires, will be used for the text she demanded to be omitted. Of course, if she is willing to prove the difference. Update 8/20/2014: apparently she is, her behavior lately precludes any coherent thought, so here it is back where it belongs:
Did Hamas prevent journalists from reporting accurately or not? I think the FPA has muddied the waters here, partly because none of the people who claimed they were intimidated spoke for attribution. I don't doubt their claims at all. But for the port to carry weight, it needs to be solidly sourced. The main takeaway should be, as every journalist who's worked on the ground knows, that soldiers and authorities in Israel and in Gaza *both* try to control the message. They do not succeed, although they do often anger the reporters they try to intimidate. But the *most important* point is this: the claims that foreign journalists were intimidated by Hamas into presenting a sympathetic message in exchange for the dubious privilege of reporting from a war zone, MUST STOP. This claim speaks to the desire to ignore and deny what happened in Gaza.
The tirade as a whole could be considered a lesson in illogical thinking: “FPA has muddied the waters” but “I don’t doubt their claims at all” but “it needs to be solidly sourced” but “soldiers and authorities in Israel [do same]” etc. Who muddies the waters indeed?

But, but, but – but of course that is not the jaw-dropping point. This is: “…the claims that foreign journalists were intimidated by Hamas into presenting a sympathetic message in exchange for the dubious privilege of reporting from a war zone, MUST STOP. This claim speaks to the desire to ignore and deny what happened in Gaza.” [Emphasis mine].

The jaw-dropping part is not the complete perversion of the claims about Hamas intimidation (they don’t intimidate journos to get “a sympathetic message”, rather focusing on cutting off the stream of unsympathetic ones, of course). It is the call, made by a person who was a journalist and – as I stated several times – a good one, to other journalists – to STOP (in capitals, too) publishing truth harmful to Hamas.

I don't know whether journalists have some kind of a secret oath, pledging to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but. Also - I don't know whether they are taught that half of the truth is most probably a lie. But I am sure someone at some stage must have mentioned that point of "the whole truth" - otherwise what is the point of journalism?

And here we have a journalist (or ex-journalist?) demanding that her colleagues quit telling the whole truth, leaving out parts that may damage the otherwise lily-white reputation of the murderous outfit, Hamas. Because it may interfere with the pictures of dead children (frequently copied from other places far from Gaza) and destroyed buildings.

Because in their all-consuming righteous fervor to blame the barbarous Zionists, the progressive "journalists" are ready to make us forget the force of darkness that thrives on these pictures, that practically begs for more of that - willingly supplied by the legion of the immensely stupid fellow travelers. 

Shame...

And even the material of the Haaretz article that Lisa Goldman is using as a reference, was used by her selectively, while she completely ignored some damning information. Like this:
Some reporters received death threats. Sometimes, cameras were smashed. Reporters were prevented from filming anti-Hamas demonstrations where more than 20 Palestinians were shot dead by Hamas gunmen.

In perhaps the most serious incidents considered by the FPA, Hamas began firing mortars right next to the location of foreign reporters, in what may have been an effort to draw Israeli retaliatory fire.

Several foreign correspondents said the FPA had been right to issue the statement. One European reporter told Haaretz how Hamas officials prevented photographs being taken of any wounded or dead fighters at Al-Shifa hospital, even though their presence there was common knowledge. Only images of wounded or dead civilians were permitted.
The whole truth, indeed...

And here are some excellent questions Alan Johnson is asking. Don't look to Lisa for answers, though.

Obama administration's attitude to Israel: make it "operation" for now, OK?

I have stumbled on that piece by John Podhoretz in Commentary:

Obama Administration Makes War on Israel

What on earth? In the middle of a war this country’s president publicly says is justified owing to the relentlessness of the rocket fire against civilian populations, U.S. officials proudly tell the Wall Street Journal, they are holding up weapons transfers to Israel:

They decided to require White House and State Department approval for even routine munitions requests by Israel, officials say.

Instead of being handled as a military-to-military matter, each case is now subject to review—slowing the approval process and signaling to Israel that military assistance once taken for granted is now under closer scrutiny.
I really don't know what to say about the contents, besides the story is being a) confirmed and b) denied by various sources every half an hour or so, so let's wait for a while. Besides, delaying some specific weapons for a while is not yet a war. But then, stopping the flights to Israeli for a day or two is not a war. And stopping USPS delivering mail to Israel is not a war. And calling poor Bibi names (which I thought is my personal prerogative only!) is not a war as well.


I would propose to follow the lead of our maverick minister of finance, one Yair Lapid, who, while not being exactly schooled in finances (or any other science or trade or craft for that matter), learned how to say "NO" to all those who wish to stick their grubby hands in the nation's treasury. Proof:

State asks High Court to not declare Operation Protective Edge a war
The state asked the High Court of Justice on Tuesday to reject a petition seeking to force it to declare Operation Protective Edge a war.
And all that why? Cause our darling Yair aims to save a few shekels in compensations for various losses, which will be lost to the treasury if Protective Edge is declared a war.

I hope you see where I am leading. Yes, in both cases declaring whatever is going on as a war will have a deleterious effect - on that same treasury Yair Lapid is sworn to protect. So let's tone it down a bit, why don't we? Cal it operation.

There, there...

14 August 2014

Robin Williams - murdered by Mossad for playing a gay Jew. Or something.

My conspiracy generating mate Aangirfan is a busy bee, I suspect he never sleeps. And keeps giving.

So here is the story. Enjoy (or not, as the case may be).

The "George W. Bush and Dick Cheney did it" syndrome. Ain't enough enough?


I am reading the WaPo Article Paying for Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq with a sense of growing wonder. The author, Eugene Robinson, starts the article with a sentence so transparent you might as well confine your reading of the whole to this quote:
As President Obama struggles to deal with the crisis in Iraq, it’s useful to remember who gave the world this cauldron of woe in the first place: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
The rest is obvious: litany of mistakes made by Bush and his administration in 2003 and afterward. I bet you all have read it about a thousand times.

Should I state at this point that I was against the whole deal in 2003, for simple reasons that proved to be true in the end? Probably, but this is not the point.

The point is that today is August 13, 2014. We are 11 years removed from 2003. We are in the middle of the second term of the current POTUS. 6 years on the job, that is.

And instead of asking what the heck the said POTUS was doing for the last 6 years to resolve the issues created, between other things (but not solely by all means), by the mistakes of that insidious pair (Bush/Cheney), Mr Robinson still peddles the tired old crapola?

WTF, Mr Robinson? Nothing worthy your pen anymore in the whole big universe? Possibly a trip to the Mount Sinjar, to take a peek at how Yazidis are doing? Or visit the Kurds, who do their best to save the Yazidis?

Instead of carping about the Bush/Cheney mistakes, that is...

Watcher’s Council Nominations: ‘There’s A Riot Goin’ On’ Edition

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions