26 December 2017

Anshel Pfeffer‏, RT and Ukrainian corruption...

A list of terms used in the headline first:
  1. Anshel Pfeffer: a nice guy of Haaretz (picture above), prone to bloopers and not always at home, but nice.
  2. RT: a Russian version of Alex Jones' Infowars, but with much more money.
  3. Ukraine: an ex-republic of the late Soviet Union, now an independent country. Mostly, because parts of it are being either "restored" to Mother Russia or are in the process of restoration.
Oh, did I mention that our Anshel is a dork? Yes, I see I did in a way, but no matter: it bears repeating. So here is a new blooper from our poor mixed up Anshelke:

And what do we learn from this Twitter post?
  • That ISIS downed an Egyptian helicopter using a Russian missile.
  • That US sells similar missiles to Ukraine.
  • That Ukraine is corrupt. It is kinda rich, coming from Moscow, but let it go for now.
  • That the missiles sold by US to Ukraine might end up in the grubby hands of Middle East terrorists. Which hands are already full of Russian missiles. Hmm... creates a conflict of marketing interests, it seems.
Er... did I mention that our Anshel is a dork? My memory is not what it was back then.

24 December 2017

Merry Christmas!

To all our friends!

19 December 2017

Uncle Vova - we are with you! Or: Americans, mind Alaska!

I guess there is no need to tell a non-Russian viewer that this is a patriotic song. The performance is staged on a location of historic significance for the Russian people: Mamayev Kurgan.

Here are a few lines starting the song:

The twenty-first century has come, the Earth is tired of wars
The hegemony rides over people of the Earth
In the European Union there is no opinion, the Middle East groans from troubles
Over the ocean, the president is deprived of power

And to us from the northern seas to the southern borders
From the Kuril Islands, to the Baltic coasts
And on this earth there would have been peace, but if the chief commander
Will call for the last fight, Uncle Vova*, we are with you
Of course the patriotic zeal of the children is touching. Not that the words of the song make any special sense so far, but the readiness of a kid to die for Uncle Vova and the Motherland is a sign of uber-patriotic society, ain't it?

And now to a quote of this song that should be of real significance to Americans:
Our Sevastopol and Crimea we will save for our descendants,
We'll return Alaska to the harbor of the Motherland.
As we all (well, most of us, anyway) know, Crimea was already "saved" for the descendants.
Alaska, though, is a new wrinkle in the patriotic fervor, so there is something to think about.

The author of the song is one Vyacheslav Antonov, who, judging by his site, does a brisk business in similar patriotic songs, with hardly intelligible texts but drenched in patriotism.

But the author is much less important in this case. What is amazing is the initiator of (and participant in) the recording, as it is presented in the above YouTube clip. No other than a member of the Russian Duma (parliament), Anna Kuvychko.

So, dear Americans, you have to weigh all the pros and cons of keeping that piece of property. According to Wiki, the price was roughly $1.8 billion in 2016 dollar. Seeing as how the winds are blowing, call Anna and start negotiating. Taking into account all the amenities, infrastructure and all you have built since that purchase, you might get a cool offer... and better hurry before the little green men of Crimea decide it is time to relocate...

More on the subject.

(*) Vova is a endearment for Vladimir (Putin, of course, in this case).

30 November 2017

Social justice advocates' hourly rate

This is really phenomenal: the goddess of Political Correctness in overdrive.

The blow-up involves the university seeking $10-an-hour students who would be responsible to focus on “the mosaic of diversity, multiculturalism and inclusivity,” including creating and maintaining bulletin boards in residence halls.
But the bigger concern is that the successful applicants would be reporting bias, a description that led to comments that students are going to be spying on each other.
Denial level is about 99 in the university:
“The position has been mischaracterized,” Scott told Capitol Media Services. She said the aim is to provide support to students, especially in dormitories.
“It’s an opportunity for students to come to student peers, share their experience, and for that student peer to either counsel them on how to report that bias incident through the Dean of Students’ website, or that the student peer may report the bias incident directly,” she said.
Snitching for $10 per hour, in other words.
What is the minimum wage in Arizona, by the way?
Just asking.

And - wouldn't it be better to pay per each reported microaggression?
We don't want paid underperformers, do we?

29 November 2017

Russia, where blood libel never slept

This here blog rarely deals with the ugly and ancient virus of anti-Semitism. There are several reasons why, but to name the chief one - it will most probably be the uselessness. A/S is usually a part of the person's bloodstream, acquired with mother's milk and not susceptible to persuasion, logic or even a liberal application of 2x4. Hopefully this post will continue to be a rare exception.

Russia, the motherland of the The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, has been one of the countries richly permeated with the virus. Benevolently looked upon by most Tzars, the virus spread quite widely in all walks of life and, like the ubiquitous Protocols, coming up at many occasions, caused murderous conflagrations during the history. Including the history of the USSR, with only death stopping the homicidal dictator from carrying out his plan of removing the Soviet Jews to Siberia in the beginning of the fifties.

Recent years brought another wave of the epidemic, this time coming from an old and temporary made dormant ROC - Russian Orthodox Church. Being suppressed for the 70 years of the great socialist experiment, ROC flourishes and gains popularity, power and lots and lots of its growing flock's money. It has to be said that the A/S virus has by no means infected all of the ROC priests, but a sizable part of them appeared to be ready to return to the old habit of this church.

A Russian liberal site Grani posted an article The Beilis* case lives and wins
The investigation committee plans to appoint a psychological/historical examination to find out whether the execution of the royal family** was not a ritual murder, said ... Marina Molodtsova, senior investigator for especially important cases of the Russian Federation, at the conference "The Case of the Murder of the Royal Family: New Expertise and Materials ... ".
According to her, a council of experts is now being formed to include scientists from the Academy of Sciences, Moscow and St. Petersburg universities, historians, archivists and priests of the Russian Orthodox Church. This research will become possible after the receipt of the conclusions from the historical-archival examination, which is currently being performed by experts.
Other sources name the origin of the libel.
Bishop Tikhon Shevkunov, who is heading a Russian Orthodox Church commission investigating the execution of the Romanov family by firing squad in Yekaterinburg, said at a conference on Monday that many members of the commission believe it was a ritual murder that held special significance for Bolshevik commander Yakov Yurovsky and his men.

“Ritual murder” has in the past referred to a theory that the last emperor was the victim of a Jewish conspiracy, as Mr Yurovsky was of Jewish heritage.
Grani, quoted above, continue with this:
If you delve into the taste of the ritual accusation, you get a very heavy feeling .... Each of us, speaking to a non-believer, must, therefore, remember that, perhaps, at this very moment the non-believer shivers and thinks: "And who knows whether you ever got a sip from a ritual glass?"

There are quite sincere people among the rightwingers. These people quite sincerely believe that Jews consume the blood of Christian babies; at least that among Jews there is such a sect ... In general, this whole thing is much more complicated. It is especially difficult because the belief in ritual murders is common not only among the right. In a neutral, non-partisan mass, even an intelligent one, too, this suspicion is far from eradicated ... Of course, nice people express this doubt not in more elegant form. They usually say: "Of course, we do not doubt that you and your family don't know about it, but... maybe your rabbis know?"
Well, what can I add to that? Only that, as part of a ritual, I am sometimes raising my ritual glass. Its contents are usually red and, on the occasions when fresh blood of gentile children is available, especially tasty. And I drink to the demise of Jew haters, among other wishes.

(*) Beilis case
Menahem Mendel Beilis (sometimes spelled Beiliss; Russian: Менахем Мендель Бейлис, Yiddish: מנחם מענדל בייליס‎; 1874 – 7 July 1934) was a Russian Jew accused of ritual murder in Kiev in the Russian Empire in a notorious 1913 trial, known as the "Beilis trial" or "Beilis affair". The process sparked international criticism of the antisemitic policies of the Russian Empire.
And an important footnote:
Around six months before his death, Beilis was interviewed by the English-language Jewish Daily Bulletin. Asked for “one outstanding impression” of the trial in Kiev, he paid a final tribute to the Russian Gentiles who had helped him to escape the blood libel, such as the detective Krasovsky and the journalist Brazul-Brushkovsky: “There was real heroism, real sacrifice. They knew that by defending me their careers would be ruined, even their very lives would not be safe. But they persisted because they knew I was innocent.”
Yes, it is crucial not to paint all Russians by the same color - the color of hate.

(**) Execution of the royal family
The last Russian emperor Nicholas II and his family were shot in the summer of 1918 in Yekaterinburg. In 2000, the Russian Church canonized Nicholas II and his family members as saints, after the discovery of the burial site near Yekaterinburg, the remains of the members of the imperial family were buried in the tomb of Peter and Paul Cathedral of St. Petersburg. In the fall of 2015, investigators resumed the investigation into the case of the deaths of the Romanovs. Currently, there are also examinations related to the establishment of the authenticity of the remains found in 2007, possibly the prince Alexis and the Grand Duchess Maria.

25 November 2017

Comrade Court - a bit of history

Comrade Court: in the USSR an elected public body called upon to actively promote the education of citizens in the spirit of a communist attitude to work, to socialist property, the observance of the rules of socialist community life, respect for the honor and dignity of citizens. The main direction of the work of CC - prevention of offenses and misdemeanors, that harm society, by education, persuasion and social influence.
CC can be created at enterprises, institutions, organizations, educational institutions (by decision of the general meeting of the collective of workers, students), in collective farms, houses served by house management or united by street committees, and in rural settlements (by decision of the general meeting of collective farmers , residents of the house, villagers, with the consent of the respective executive committees of the Soviets of Workers' Deputies).
Warning: A long post.

The term, which in Russian is "Товарищеский Суд", gives one a bit of a headache when trying to translate it. To explain it by an inversion: every offense that wasn't of a clearly criminal nature or wasn't of sufficient interest to the omnipresent KGB, but still required some measure of response, was shipped off to the Comrade Court. Some examples of situations that caused a person to be summoned CC:
  • Underperformance at work, being frequently late for work etc.
  • Adultery
  • Pilfering of small items not warranting police involvement
  • Rudeness to other comrades
  • Alcoholism
  • Violence in the family
  • Political incorrectness: telling "anti-Soviet", jokes, dissing the Leaders, writing "subversive" statements in articles or books etc...
  • Lodging a request to leave USSR permanently for some foreign location, worse of all - a capitalist state or, deity forbid, the Zionist entity.
Of course, the list of people "elected" to serve as members of the CC was approved by the management of the organization or the local party committee, but is wasn't necessarily a permanent appointment, usually an ad hoc selection.

Since most (but by no means all) sessions of the CC must have been carefully orchestrated, the session was usually preceded by a hearing. This meant that the guilty subject was summoned to a meeting with one or several senior employees of his organization, in some delicate (meaning political) cases joined by an outside (party or KGB, depending on importance) representative. It was very important to the powers that be to establish not only the guilt of the subject, but also his/her potential for disruptive and provocative behavior during the public session of CC. Potential troublemakers are not only bad for the organization's image, they are dangerous for the public moral. The mere possibility of such characters gaining even smallest public expression of support among their comrades, present at the CC session, was mightily feared by the organizers.

The "hearing" by itself was designed as a kind of preliminary punishment. Taking hours sometimes, it consisted mainly of a long and exhausting variety of probing questions, many having nothing to do with the specific offense, caused (or allegedly caused) by the subject. If behavior of the subject during the hearing wasn't satisfactory, the big cheeses present were peppering the questioning by direct or indirect threats - such as sacking, transfer to a low paying job, jail time etc. If the case was political and the subject was being stubborn and/or provocative, the case could have been transferred to the "higher authority", with the blessing of that KGB/party member present in the meeting.

But of course, alcoholics, thieves, wife beaters and similar were dealt with quickly in most cases. Eventually, if a person was deemed by the powers that be fit to stand a public CC trial, the employees were summoned to the public meeting, where the members of the CC and the defendant took the places of honor (see the picture). Of course, one of the prerequisites for this gathering was careful selection and preparation of volunteers (yep, don't be surprised by that oxymoron) that were schooled and assigned to raise their arms and come up with some short text fitting the occasion.

Apolitical cases were, in most cases, of little interest (well, possibly aside of the adultery-related ones). A member of the CC read the description of the offense in question, somebody (or the same member) gave a short speech relating the position of the State regarding the offense. Then one or two "volunteers" stood up and spoke briefly about their (negative, of course) feelings about this or another offense and the behavior of the offender. It was not unheard of that one or two of the people's present offered a positive personal characteristic of the offender, to go towards softening of the CC conclusions regarding the potential punishment. After all, adulterers, thieves and alcoholics are part and parcel...

The defendant was given an opportunity to speak, the expectation was for a sincere (depending on the subject's acting ability) repentance. The subject, in most cases an inarticulate victim of the circumstances, mumbled a few expected sentences and benignly allowed to stand down. Then the sentence of the CC - a petition to the management actually - for a fine, a temporary demotion, a record in the personal file etc, was proposed and duly voted "yes" by 100% of the public present (not that anyone counted usually).

Not infrequently, apolitical cases were enlivened by some unintended hilarity, when the questions addressed to the defendant got an unexpected funny result (what can I do, she slipped on the wet floor several times and these bruises, you know how it is...). A warm and fuzzy feeling was enveloping all present at the end of the session, and the accused was not infrequently patted on the shoulder: just don't do it anymore, buddy, although we all understand and know how it goes.

Not so with the "political" offenses. The atmosphere in the room was tense. People were usually quiet, the wooden expressions on the faces of CC members stressing the seriousness of the situation. In many cases the proceedings started with a senior member of CC giving a speech about the "international situation", about the latest capitalists' nefarious anti-Soviet intrigues, about the Zionists' latest aggression, about Soviet Union being the shining lighthouse and beacon to the progressive elements elsewhere in... etc. Then the litany of imperialist cowardly misdeeds seamlessly entered the current case - the obvious rudiment of the bourgeois (feudal... etc.) past that sits here before you, comrades, his/her misdeeds begging for punishment. How could our healthy body have caught this inexplicable disease, comrades? What have we hitherto missed?

After the speech, the "volunteers" were "asked" to present to the public their wrath and indignation. In most cases, the wrath and the indignation were inspired by the prepared in advance text, pre-approved by the CC. In most cases the relatively short speeches of this kind went down smoothly, a few clearly forgivable mistakes with some overly long or foreign words notwithstanding. However, overzealousness sometimes caused unintended hilarity too. When some of the ultra-patriots, present in the session and especially incensed by the gravity of the anti-Soviet offenses committed by the defendant, jumped up and offered their assistance with execution of the offender. Or, at least, offered a rich menu of punishments deserved by the anti-Soviet vermin. Unlike the apolitical cases, though, no one laughed during such outbursts. Just in case, you know...

The critical moment usually came when the CC master of ceremonies called for the offender to speak. Even after the vetting by the previously described "hearing" committee, politically correct behavior of the defendant was not totally guaranteed, of course. There was a certain element of risk. A cautious defendant, minding his future, usually got over this part with a few mumbled sentences of repentance and apologies of some non-binding nature. As expected by all present. If, however, in spite of all the precautions and threats, the offender went into a defiant counterattack, the situation quickly deteriorated. Such behavior endangered not just the defendant, it stained the lily white record of the people that prepared that meeting and (especially) the people who have been present at the hearing. One of the hearing's goal was to make sure that such eventuality was prevented, after all.

The crowd present, of course, might have started booing and protesting the "anti-Soviet" outburst, but if a friend or two of the defendant, of more fearless nature, were present, expressions of support weren't totally unknown to happen. Havoc sometimes ensued, and the only remaining way for the august committee was to quickly declare the session aborted and done with. Usually in such case the punishment of the miscreant was stiffened. In one specific case of my buddy who was accused of anti-socialist behavior and views, his uppity behavior during the CC session caused a criminal charge being concocted against him later, ending in a criminal court* hearing and subsequent punishment.

Still, on the average, with all the travesty of the public "trial" with a predicted result, with no defense lawyer and no law at all, the absurd ritual no one really believed in and no one really was excited about, was much better than falling into the hands of the criminal court or the KGB. Besides, as mentioned, these CC proceedings sometimes provided some much required hilarity. Thanks for the small favors in the continuous grey reality of permanent lie.

(*) To remind you, there were no "political" cases or political prisoners, everything in USSR was filed under the Criminal Codex.

21 November 2017

When the Holy Inquisition of Political Correctness stutters

Robert Barchi, the president of Rutgers University

Gee how the time flies. The ink on the post The Holy Inquisition of Political Correctness and toxicity has barely dried out, and we are up to a new twist on the subject of Political Correctness and freedom of speech in academia.

That post referred above was about a teacher in university almost crucified for showing her students a clip with an opinion on gender-neutral pronouns that goes against a prevailing PC line. Thus, according to the faculty, creating a toxic environment.

Now some people, as some people's habit, have painted a swastika on the wall of a Rutgers university building. You would expect that the toxicity, introduced in such quantity into the peaceful environment of the august institution, would cause the anti-toxicity mechanisms going at full tilt.

And you would be wrong in your expectations: apparently this is fine in the framework of that elusive and hard to define freedom of speech thingy:
The president of Rutgers University has argued that the recent rash of anti-Semitism on campus is protected by the First Amendment.
Speaking during a student government town hall last week, Robert Barchi said: 'If I'm a Ku Klux Klan member, and I'm going to burn a cross on a vacant lot, that's a constitutionally protected right.'
'You put that cross on my front yard, and you light it, that is not constitutionally protected, that's harassment,' Barchi said, according to Tap Into New Brunswick. 'It's an exception to the First Amendment.​'​
Well, I really don't know what to say about it. Not without introducing some unneeded toxicity into the argument.

One should conclude that the consistent and correct use of gender-neutral pronouns beats a swastika any time.

Or is it the other way around?

P.S. There is more to the good dean than this post shows. Read the article.

20 November 2017

The Holy Inquisition of Political Correctness and toxicity

Watching the goings-on in the modern academia is a hazardous occupation. From the point of view of many actors on that scene, all they are doing is cleaning the scene of "toxicity" - real or imaginary. The viewer, though, gets the full dose of the toxicity directly in his/her face... but it is rather a personal complaint.

Here is a really heart-wrenching example of the juggernaut of Political Correctness squashing under its wheels an innocent and well meaning young person. Because of some overly sensitive human embryo, whose pea brain and overwhelming sensitivity and entitlement don't bear a shadow of debate.
Lindsay Shepherd, a graduate student at Wilfrid Laurier University, said she ran afoul of school authorities after she aired a clip in two tutorials of a debate on gender-neutral pronouns featuring polarizing University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson.
At this point I feel the need to stop for a moment and to explain. Jordan Peterson is a Canadian clinical psychologist, cultural critic, and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. His ascent to notoriety came with his opposition to the use of genderless pronouns and his attacks on political correctness. Here he explains some of his views.

Now, does Lindsay Shepherd share the views of the illustrious professor? Not at all, rather the opposite:
Shepherd said she was trying to demonstrate that the structure of a language can affect the society in which it is spoken in ways people might not anticipate. To illustrate her point, she said she mentioned that long-standing views on gender had probably been shaped by the gender-specific pronouns that are part of English’s fundamental grammatical structure. The clip of Peterson debating sexual diversity scholar Nicholas Matte, she said, was meant to demonstrate ways in which the existence of gender-specific pronouns has caused controversy.
So, her crime was not in expressing support for the professor's views - just in showing a clip where his views are explained to the pupils. That's all, but this was sufficient for the faculty Inquisition** to open a so called "investigation", when one of the students complained.

And here are the results:
She said she was permitted to keep her position so long as she agreed to file copies of her lesson plans in advance and allow faculty members to sit in on her sessions whenever they wished, constraints she said are not standard practice for Laurier.
Mind-boggling, isn't it? And here is what the proud institution says about itself:
“Laurier is committed to fostering a learning environment that is open and challenging, protects academic freedom and freedom of expression, as well as being welcoming, supportive and respectful of human rights,” the school said in a statement.
Here goes* your "open and challenging" and here go your "academic freedom" and "freedom of expression"...

In this article you can listen to a partial recording (made in secret, I understand) of the meeting between Ms Shepherd and faculty. It was quite painful to me for personal reasons, having being present at several Soviet meetings of this kind. The chief interlocutor (the male voice in the recording), with his incessant probing and incessant attempts to detect the crime in Ms Shepherd's words, is chilling. Here is a really toxic character.

I was thinking about historical parallels. It will be a gross exaggeration to compare the treatment of Ms Shepherd to the Stalin's trials. After all, the results were almost immediate execution of the "enemies of the people". But two other similar cases come to mind: McCarthyism and its frequently baseless punishment of innocents. And the Soviet times public (lead by Communist party) denouncements of everyone who crossed the imaginary line, which could be just telling a joke considered "anti-Soviet", or writing a politically incorrect article, or...

In short, McCarthyism that is coming back under a new guise and is promoted by another breed of PC priests.

Too bad.

(*) At least there is a voice of protest from Wilfrid Laurier. Good for you, professor Haskell!

(**) And let's listen a bit to one of the Inquisitors, part of the above mentioned "investigation" committee.
Dr. Pimlott is currently working on an anthology of Karl Marx's journalism as well as developing research on strategic communications and social justice movements in Canada.
Any questions?

Update: Nathan Rambukkana, Assistant Professor, Communication Studies is the chief speaker in the clip, and here is the transcript for your convenience. Shocking.

Update 2: Happy End:
Laurier president and vice-chancellor Deborah MacLatchy apologized to Shepherd on Tuesday after media outlets carried the full audio of a conversation between her, her supervising professor Dr. Nathan Rambukkana as well as another professor, Herbert Pimlott, and the manager of Gendered Violence Prevention and Support, Adria Joel. Shepherd recorded the conversation in secret.
Update 3: Full recording of the meeting.

Update 4: Prof Nathan Rambukkana apologizes in an open letter. Which letter reeks insincerity from the first sentence. Or the second...

Update 5: I sincerely hope that this will be the last update on the subject (unless Mr Rambukkana and Mr Pimlott are fired, then I will be happy to amend this post again).
The lawyer engaged by Wilfrid Laurier University to prepare a fact-finding report into a controversial reprimand of graduate student Lindsay Shepherd has confirmed there was never a formal complaint about her tutorial.

In a letter dated Dec. 4, and sent to Shepherd's lawyer Howard Levitt, from the Laurier-hired lawyer Robert Centa, it reads: "You asked for a copy of the complaint or complaints filed against your client. At this point in my investigation, I do not believe there is a document that contains a 'complaint' made about Ms. Shepherd nor is there anything I would describe as a formal complaint under any WLU policy," wrote Centa.
How do you like them chickens?

Update 6: A fitting summary by Terry Glavin:

In the Shepherd affair, the left has sided with the bosses

Hat tip: M.R.

15 November 2017

The snapshot of our times

Now trending on WoW

Watcher of Weasels

The Persecution Of Judge Roy Moore Shows Why The GOPe Must Be Defeated

Venezuela: Restructuring debt?

Where Sheep May Safely Graze…in Northern Virginia

[VIDEO] The Left uses sex scandals to wage war against all men

Mahmoud Abbas’s Lies On Israel And The Balfour Declaration, Debunked

Judge Roy Moore Receives Multiple Standing Ovations; GOPe Pissed.

Jesse Watters Crashes Liberal 'Scream at the Sky' Event (video)

The Roy Moore drama escalates but I'm not convinced *UPDATED*

Veterans Day – In Honor of Our Vets.

[VIDEO] Michael Medved tells the real story of the Pilgrims

Why Trump was served tea in China’s Forbidden City treasure hall?

Once again, a hypocrisy check, this time about Judge Roy Moore

A Must Read - The Untold Eyewitness Story Of The Paris Bataclan Killings

A Common Sense Solution to Illegal Guns

CNN Fake News from Tokyo

08 November 2017

The Great October Socialist Revolution

will be celebrated here in a quiet and subdued way. By this random selection:

Raisa Bochlen (1917 - 1937)

A typist in the HQ of the Glavsevmorput [Northern maritime affairs HQ]
Date of arrest: September 23, 1937
Sentenced to death by shooting squad by a NKVD USSR committee on October 29, 1937.
Charge: spying for Japan.
Burial site: Butovo [a place of mass burials]

RIP, Raisa.

07 November 2017

Russian biological material and theft thereof

For nitpickers: biological material in this case relates to human tissues, blood, urine and stool samples and any other material produced by a living organism.

When a conspiracy nutcase comes up with a new idea, it is usually both sad and funny. When a head of state does it, it becomes a problem.

A sentence stolen from Wiki, says: "Rudimentary forms of biological warfare have been practiced since antiquity". Knowing how human mind works, one could make a pretty safe educated guess: the conspiracy theories about use, development and abilities of the biological warfare tools started more or less at the same time. Of course, it is a bit difficult to believe that the Biological Weapons Convention is strictly upheld by all the players in that dirty game. After all, the research of the defensive measures is still allowed, so every self-respecting state is researching, and how do you research the defense if you don't have any samples of the offensive substance? A conundrum, isn't it?

Anyhow, to conspiracies. A good example will be an article on a thoroughly bonkers Global Research site, titled Ebola Epidemic Linked to CIA: Former NSA Contractor. The mere name of the author: Kurt Nimmo, "a longtime former editor for Alex Jones' Infowars.com", should ring a loud bell with any connoisseur of a good conspiracy theory. And the opening sentence of the article,
Investigative journalist and former NSA contractor Wayne Madsen told Press TV on Monday the latest Ebola outbreak in Africa may be a resurfacing of an earlier infection linked to the CIA.
where another heavyweight, Wayne Madsen is used as a reference, should really get that connoisseur salivating. Two grand masters of the game in one piece! Oh, and by the way, AIDS is also a CIA invention, as you shall see in that article.

Of course, where the Big Satan is involved, the Little Satan follows (or leads, depending on the speaker). I loath to link to the conspiracy sites directly, so a Wiki entry will do: Ethnic bioweapon.
In November 1998, The Sunday Times reported that Israel was attempting to build an "ethno-bomb" containing a biological agent that could specifically target genetic traits present amongst Arab populations. Wired News also reported the story, as did Foreign Report.
Microbiologists and geneticists were skeptical towards the scientific plausibility of such a biological agent. The New York Post, describing the claims as "blood libel", reported that the likely source for the story was a work of science fiction by Israeli academic Doron Stanitsky. Stanitsky had sent his completely fictional work about such a weapon to Israeli newspapers two years before. The article also noted the views of genetic researchers who claimed the idea as "wholly fantastical", with others claiming that the weapon was theoretically possible.
Whatever. These examples are by no means exhaustive. The 'net is fairly jumping with the blood curdling stories about despicable scientists producing in their deadly vials more and more deadly concoctions, every new one more sophisticated and murderous than the previous.

The last example, the one of that ethnic bioweapon, though, is directly relevant to the matter at hand, the theft of the Russian biological material and the dark goals of that theft.
Director of the "Russian Public Institute of Electoral Law" Igor Borisov told Putin that some foreign forces allegedly collect images of citizens who came to the polls. "The question is: what is the goal of such a number of interested people watching our elections and conducting video recording of the actual image of the voters and how will it be used," he said.

"As for the fact that the images of our citizens and voters are collected and somehow used: images are okay, but do you know that biological material is collected all over the country? Moreover, for different ethnic groups and people living in different geographical points of the Russian Federation. That's the question - what it is being done for?," Putin said in response.

He added that such activities are conducted "purposefully and professionally". "We are an object of very great interest," the president concluded. He called for treating this situation without fear. "Let them do what they want, and we must do what we must," Putin concluded*.
So this passage teaches us about two possible venues the enemies of Russia are exploring:
  • Stealing the images of Soviet Russian citizens. The goal is obvious: to prepare voodoo dolls of the said citizens and to stick needles into them, burn them with matches etc.
  • Studying the genetic code of Russian citizens in order to create a superbug that will kill only Russians.
On the other hand, if one is to believe the epic discovery made by the (in)famous Russian minister of culture, one Vladimir Medinsky, all Russians have a distinct genetic code, characterized by an additional chromosome. So that a virus or a bacteria being developed will have an easy marker to aim at. On the other hand, since the said minister has less than two oars in the water at the best of times, it might be a little more difficult.

Not that there aren't a few problems to resolve for them eggheads. First of all, how will that superbug distinguish between Russians and other Slavs? That same problem that boggles the Zionist eggheads, what with practically identical genetic code of Jews and Arabs. Maybe it's time to focus on finer details? Like a superbug that will be able to home in on the person's passport? Or a superbug that will kill off only Russian speakers?


(*) Here is a video clip of this part of Putin's speech.

01 November 2017

A Mediterranean tragicomedy in two acts and with no comments

Act1: Tragedy
The IDF Spokesperson's Unit confirmed on Monday that the Southern Command carried out a scheduled detonation aimed at destroying a new terrorist tunnel which was in the process of being built. The tunnel was located near the border fence with Gaza, near the South Gaza city of Khan Yunis.
IDF blows up Gaza attack tunnel, killing 7 Palestinians and wounding 12 inside
Most of the dead are Islamic Jihad members.
With an important proviso:
The explosion took place inside Israeli territory....

Hamas response':
“The response to this massacre is to move forward toward the restoration of national unity because the enemy knows that our strength is in our unity and no people under occupation can win if they are not united,” Haniyeh said.
Hezbollah's response:
The organization denounced "Criminal Israeli belligerence and considers it a continuation to the Zionists' policy of aggression and strangulation towards the strip and its residents. This new Israeli aggression serves as testimony to the Israeli enemy's barbarous and criminal nature, as they continue harming the Palestinian people while some try and present them as friends of the Arabs."
Act2: Comedy

Islamic Jihad with its spoiler:
Senior Palestinian militant says detonated tunnel intended to kidnap Israelis
Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant reveals that terror tunnel IDF blew up Monday meant to 'free (PIJ) prisoners,' implying it was intended to kidnap Israelis to exchange for imprisoned terrorists; 'We have the right—blood for blood,' says militant.
And now to the cherry on the top:

Qatar: IDF bombing of Gaza attack tunnel violates Palestinian rights
The Qatari Foreign Ministry on Wednesday said the IDF’s destruction of a tunnel leading from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory earlier this week was a crime against the Palestinian people that hampered their legitimate rights.
Legitimate rights?

Oops, it was almost a comment...

Hat tip: Peter.

A very short dialog with a Dhimmi

American: Using cars as weapons was tried and perfected by Palestinian terrorists in Israel before arriving on our shores.
Dhimmi*: Which proves once again that the Zionist entity is the source and the reason for all our problems.
American: ...

(*) Dhimmi.

30 October 2017

Monsanto and another example of dirty science

I am not a fan of Monsanto or of any other chemical/biological giant. These corporations do not exist solely for the good of humanity. Profit is their other motivator as well, and thanks for the motivators, I guess.

The story, however, happens to be in favor of the above mentioned corporation, be warned. If you are of an especially baleful disposition and cannot abide that name being presented in a good light, click "out".

In the previous post, The neo-Luddites and their apples, which was dedicated to GMO products and their perceived threat to humanity, I have mentioned two odious characters: Andrew Wakefield and Gilles-Éric Séralini. Each of the two accomplished a serious breach of moral contract a scientist makes with his own consciousness and with his colleagues, when entering the field of research. Each of the two faked the results of his research to fit his own preconception (or misconception favored by an influential group of people for some reason).

Wakefield and Séralini, though, worked more or less alone or in small, easily dominated by them, group of junior researchers. For the purpose we may consider them to be lone wolves. The case in question is vastly different. We are looking at a multinational guardian of our health, financed and managed by WHO (World Health Organization) and purported to be an objective and unbribable defense against all who endanger (knowingly or not) our well-being. I am talking about IARC - International Agency for Research on Cancer. And here we are:
The World Health Organization’s cancer agency dismissed and edited findings from a draft of its review of the weedkiller glyphosate that were at odds with its final conclusion that the chemical probably causes cancer.

IARC, based in Lyon, France, wields huge influence as a semi-autonomous unit of the WHO, the United Nations health agency. It issued a report on its assessment of glyphosate - a key ingredient in Monsanto Corp’s top-selling weedkiller RoundUp - in March 2015. It ranked glyphosate a Group 2a carcinogen, a substance that probably causes cancer in people.
It is a big deal for several reasons. First of all, RoundUp is a popular weedkiller, used by thousands (if not millions) of farmers all over the world, including Europe. Then, glyphosate, its chief ingredient, is produced and known for about 40 (yes, forty) years.
In the 40 or so years since the weedkiller first came to the market, glyphosate has been repeatedly scrutinized and judged safe to use.
Of course, the number of years shouldn't be a factor in the results of the study. After all, people make mistakes, don't they?

Reuters found 10 significant changes that were made between the draft chapter on animal studies and the published version of IARC’s glyphosate assessment. In each case, a negative conclusion about glyphosate leading to tumors was either deleted or replaced with a neutral or positive one. Reuters was unable to determine who made the changes.
So how about IARC coming clean with the whole truth and nothing but the truth?
IARC did not respond to questions about the alterations. It said the draft was “confidential” and “deliberative in nature.” After Reuters asked about the changes, the agency posted a statement on its website advising the scientists who participate in its working groups “not to feel pressured to discuss their deliberations” outside the confines of IARC.
In short:
IARC declined to comment.
A suspicious person would have looked at the effect the results of that suspicious study would have on the RoundUp's chances to be still used in Europe:
But IARC’s Monograph 112 has had great influence. It is weighing heavily on a pending European Union decision – due by the end of the year and possibly to be made next week - on whether glyphosate should be relicensed for sale across the 28 member states. France, one of the bloc’s agricultural powerhouses, has said it wants the weedkiller phased out and then banned, provoking protests by its vocal farmers, who argue glyphosate is vital to their business. A failure to renew glyphosate’s license by the end of the year would see an EU ban kick in on Jan. 1, 2018.
Although - even in Europe IARC's output is not met with universal adulation:
In Europe, IARC has become embroiled in a public spat with experts at the European Food Safety Authority, which conducted its own review of glyphosate in November 2015 and found it “unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans.”
But, on the general principle that better be safe than sorry, I guess the fate of RoundUp is sealed, at least in European Union. And the suspicious person, one that is aware about huge chemical corporations of France, Germany, Switzerland etc., would have started to ask some questions, wouldn't she/he? Still:
IARC answered none of Reuters’ specific questions about changes to the draft.
The story smells to high heaven. And it is not the smell of glyphosate, no sir/madam.

And happy Halloween to all, kids and adults!

29 October 2017

A virtual portrait of a virtual stranger

People of the Internet... it is a strange transformation that some of us undergo when posting on the interwebs. Every one of us has at least one friend who, while being a perfect, polite and considerate person otherwise, becomes a bloodthirsty and vengeful dragon when he gets behind the wheel of his car. Something similar happens to otherwise nice and well behaved people when they get to the keyboard. Well, I don't know anything about the person described here, aside of his appearances on the net, but I prefer to think of him as if he is that perfect and considerate man (or woman, but since he presents self as a male...).

My acquaintance with Peter (not his "real" Internet moniker, which is also invented, I guess) is relatively fresh, starting with posting an article on a new for me site, where I was invited. The identity of the site will be not disclosed too. It is my first attempt to document that phenomenon, so bear with me - as far as you are able to.

I don't know much about Peter's real persona. Aside from hinting about some kind of education in economics, not much is known about his background, his current occupation and, indeed, his whereabouts (probably somewhere down under, maybe in New Zealand, but not sure about it). Besides publishing seven short and not very intelligible posts on that site, Peter spends most of his time (literally full days, judging by his prodigious output) by issuing unbridled in its toxicity critique of other people's posts. Of course, you might wonder why have I chosen to describe one of the legion? After all, the murky waters of the 'net are full of this kind of fish. But this was exactly the reason - kind of a case study.

Pegging the interlocutor

In most cases, Peter's appearance on a new post starts with him pegging the author to a political/personal position. Why is it so important for him, I am at a loss to explain. After all, people tend to be of mixed beliefs on a variety of subjects, besides, doing so tends to alienate the person being pegged, but here we are*.
... is a classic fascist.
... is a right of centre liberal.
... is a zionist islamophobic nutcase
(names omitted here, of course)

Criticism style

Peter very rarely extends his critique of other people's posts or comments to more than one or two lines. His efforts to provide a detailed response are very few and drown in the sea of one-liners, of a kind you shall observe below. The examples are not sorted in any special order.
  • Nutter.
  • You haven't made any point worth shit. There is NO PEACE PROCESS you utter clown.
  • Actual arguments seem beyond you and your vile ilk.
  • I have no clue of what your point is anymore. You're just repeating the same ad hominem shit over and over again. Grow up idiot.
  • Well I can't stop you being a knuckle dragging moron.
  • No, this is saying that you and your ilk are like a cancer to any leftist movements...
  • LOLz at that zionist fraud.
  • I was referring to ... gobbledegook response to me. It is unintelligible.
  • Right wingnuts that complain that argument against their talking points are 'only insults' are pathetic cry babies.
  • Genocidal nut jobs like ... [this one is a fave, being repeated frequently]
  • You're an utterly repellent racist scumbag. [another fave]
  • Pathetic scum.
  • You lack ethics, morality and humanity. You are a racist propagandist for a vile ideology [probably Zionism is meant here] every bit as inhuman as Nazism.
  • That makes you a hypocrite. Fascist retard.
  • [In one single comment]:
    ...you are too much of a racist
    ...poor confused chap
    ...it's the combination of all your failings and ignorance
    Indeed you are a grade A moron in so many ways.
I assure you that this collection is an infinitesimal part of Peter's comments, collected in a few minutes and not selected to indulge the reader. It is just a part of typical "stream of consciousness".
His use of labels is quite free and doesn't necessarily have any relevance to the subject at hand. I have seen him pegging a person as a "racist" just for asking why petroleum-rich Muslim countries don't accept fugitives from other, war-torn Muslim neighbors. Just like that - go figure...

Complaints about ad hominem

Seeing the style of Peter's dialog, you might be hard put to believe it, but one of his incessant complaints is about people's responses to his, fairly unique, approach to "criticism". I don't know whether the man fully understands the meaning of "ad hominem", but each time someone tries a more muscular approach to Peter's style of attack, he starts whining about their "ad hominem" answers. Mighty strange.

Personal beliefs

Peter's views on the ideal society aren't difficult to guess. Socialism and people's obligation to seize the means of production are his frequent refrain, although he is very economic with details, not offering his recipe on getting there. His other views, though, including his penchant for conspiracy theories, are a doozy, and here come a few examples.
  • Every socialist movement has created greater equality.
  • Democracy inevitably leads to socialism. That's just a fact.
  • Socialism is a result of democracy and freedom.
  • Zionism is racism.
  • The USA is no better than Nazi Germany.
  • Fascism IS capitalism.
  • US meddling killed about 5 million Russians in the 1990s under the Harvard Boys of Jeffry Sachs (who largely created the oligarchy that Putin has fought to rein in)
  • Russia didn't occupy Crimea.
  • Liberals are the petit bourgeoise. The receivers of crumbs from the capitalist class that have traditionally been the circuit breakers that ensured the oligarchs and banksters didn't get hanged from lamp posts.
  • Saddam was suckered into invading Kuwait in 1990. Bush Sr instructed the US Ambassador April Glasbie (sp?) to tacitly OK the invasion. That gave cover to putting troops and more bases in the ME and the process of destroying all the ME states that could conceivably run independently of the empire and possibly threaten Israeli dominance.
  • 9/11 - of course inside job, with CIA and Mossad leading [no source would be given, the subject is linking to conspiracy videos]
  • Anyone who believes the official conspiracy theory of 9/11 is either asleep or stupid.
  • I oppose all forms of racism and class war. Zionism is both. It is a cancer on the world of people.
  • The US doesn't have allies. It has vassals. Japan is a US occupied vassal state.
  • Just living in NZ brings out childish racist abuse from a number of the crazier fascists that post here.
  • [On somebody saying something about Soviet bloodbath.] Yes, Russia was nirvana prior to 1917. Not to mention the 1990s under Jeffrey Sachs and the Harvard boys.
  • ...CIA believes Israel will collapse and disappear by 2030. One can only hope.
  • I stand for a single state. Don't talk to me about humanity you racist filth.
  • ISIS didn't throw gays from tall buildings, didn't burn people in cages, didn't drown people... All these are the fake Western productions. Those ISIS videos are fakes.
  • ISIS and Al Qaeda were both created and sustained by the USA. They are being protected and transported by US troops in Syria even as the Syrian Arab Army makes gains against them.
  • GMOs are entirely about profits for their elite owners. They are attempting to control the world's food supply. This is an evil that we should all be up in arms about. Unfortunately the brain dead will believe the corporate propaganda.
  • Your problem is that you cling to the myth that taxpayers fund the government. The reality is that government funds the taxpayers. To believe otherwise is irrational.
  • It's because you're a slimy neoconservative who resorts to ad hominem because he can't defend his conspiracy theory about magic muslims in caves. Of course, being an islamophobe, the magic muslim theory is especially double plus good.
  • None of you understand the actual nuts and bolts of the system.
This is a brief (believe you me) glance into the activities of Peter, one interesting character, whose name is Legion**...

(*) I haven't used any of the titles Peter used for me, but you can guess that "racist Zionazi" was some of the mildest...
(**) But, hard as it might be to believe, all the quotes are collected from one single character.

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25 October 2017

Kaya Netanyahu, Bibi and our barking lawmakers

A short time ago I, together with a lot of other Israelis, experienced a jaw-dropping event. A bunch of Knesset members were recalled from their vacation to vote for a new law that will... yes, that will allow Kaya Netanyahu, the First Dog, to stay at home after biting somebody (again).

We'll never know whether it was an isolated event of ridiculous ass-licking by some eager Likud mandarins or a trial balloon, meant to check the limits of that sanity envelope that is supposed (oh well...) to rule the behavior of our lawmakers. In any case, I have written then:

... I can already see a bill granting immunity to the incumbent PM being pushed through the Knesset by Bibi's faithful, whose number is legion. And I sincerely hope this attempt will fail.
And here we are, less than three months after that post was written, and the law is already in the works:
The proposed legislation to shield the prime minister from police investigations would constitute an amendment to Israel’s Basic Law: The Government. The new bill stipulates that criminal investigations against a sitting prime minister cannot be conducted for corruption, fraud or breach of trust.
MK David Amsalem, who proposed the bill, and Prime Minister Netanyahu
And yes, we know that the idea for the law in question isn't exactly new and stems from the so called "French law". The French law protects the incumbent president of France from investigations - while in the office. At least from investigations not directly related to his duties as a president. Why should we adopt a bad law here, remains unclear, though.

As you will be able to see in the linked Ynet article, not all coalition members are happy with the idea. Some MKs realize that it is not the usual left vs. right dogfight and are firmly (for now) against the law. Several amendments that allow a few investigations of Bibi, that are looming, to start, were added to mollify the objectors.

The opposition to the law, outside of the solid ranks of Likud, is quite strong. Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit is a staunch critic of the disastrous idea.
"A complete bar on the ability to investigate a serving prime minister, such as MK Amsalem proposes, fails to strike a balance between the various public interests and ignores the special mechanism currently stipulated in the Basic Law: The Government," Mandelblit writes, and warns that "the result to which the bill leads is extremely severe and unacceptable – there will be no power to investigate a serving prime minister, even if clear, specific evidence has come to light that gives rise to a suspicion of a serious act of bribery, for example, or other serious offences."
A scathing rebuke to the incessant mad lawmaking was voiced by no one but a loyal Likud member (in the past), president Rivlin.
Rivlin accused political leaders of weakening state institutions by attacking them for narrow political gain. “From the ‘political’ professional bureaucracy to the ‘political’ state comptroller, the ‘political’ Supreme Court ‘politicians,’ the ‘political’ security forces, and even the IDF, our Israel Defense Forces are ‘political;’ the whole country and its institutions – politics,” he said.
This doesn't seem to deter the boiling mad solons of a few ruling parties.
“There are judges in Jerusalem who have forgotten that there is also a government in Jerusalem,” said Bennett
Well, maybe it's time to create a new ministry, something in the line of "Netanyahu family laws Ltd"?

With Kaya Netanyahu as a minister?

Afterword: yes, and read this too.

22 October 2017

No more borders? Imagine that...

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too

I guess I don't have to comment or interpret these words, everyone and his cat know where it comes from. Let's all pray for the New World Order where nations, prejudices, religions etc. are eliminated, the lion lies down with the lamb and happy vegan children apologize to carrot or cabbage before partaking of its holy body.

And here comes Gary Younge, the Guardian's editor-at-large*, with this poignant illustration of his revolutionary idea:

End all immigration controls – they’re a sign we value money more than people

It is a very long and somewhat rambling essay, but the gist could be best conveyed by this quote:
The map of my utopian world has no borders. I believe in the free movement of people. As a principle, I think we should all be able to roam the planet and live, love and create where we wish. I could squander the rest of this column parrying caveats and concerns regarding everything from security to wages.
Of course, this article being one of the so called "peak Guardian" products, the author avoided going into such small and insignificant details as "caveats and concerns regarding everything from security to wages". Probably one of the perks of being an editor-at-large. Instead he laid out a highly emotional and thus persuasive recipe for a dream.

On a personal note: I have always have been a sucker for the Utopia. Not only does Gary Younge's proposal resonate quite strongly within my shriveled heart, so does The Communist Manifesto and (especially) the Constitution of the Soviet Union - an unparalleled example of social engineering. Well, at least on paper. The sad fact that the jackbooted "more equal" goons carrying the red Party cards trampled that constitution into dirt, blood and excreta is somewhat different.

But meanwhile

Meanwhile I keep asking myself why did Gary Younge choose the subject of the free borders right now. Because:

The Brexit is only the first, more dramatic, step on the almost assured way of disintegration of that powerhouse of enlightenment called European Union. Other members, like French, Dutch, Czechs, Italians and others, are watching on the sidelines, weighing pros and cons.

But there are more troubling signs of further division, based on ethnicity, that should be of even more concern. Of course, Catalonia is the most recent example of a secession attempt that borders on becoming bloody, but Europe knows several others, such as the late Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Soviet Union, of course, etc. And the future doesn't bode well for the grand idea of a borderless Europe (to start with). The Scots are not exactly letting go of their thirst for independence, while the Irish are flabbergasted by the idea of a border springing up between them and their northern neighbor. The Northern Italy wouldn't mind having a go at their own country and Bavaria isn't far behind. And nothing will make Flemish and Walloons happier than Belgium split in two... I guess that the Basques, heartened by the Catalonian example, might restart their own saga again, with the usual bloody results.

United States are also showing signs of disunity. And I am not referring to the powerful drive of the identity politics that is threatening to split the nation into about 300 millions separate entities. Rather to the several states, like California, Texas and a few others, raising the issue of secession from time to time.
Canada, with their Mouvement souverainiste du Québec...

But of course, it is not only ethnic issues that facilitate the separatism. Religions are quite busy, doing their thing. Asian countries, including such similarly impervious behemoths like China and India, do have their problems as well: the former with Xinjiang province, with its Uyghur population and the latter with their Muslims in general and Kashmir in particular.
And the smaller countries, such as Thailand, Myanmar, Philippines and others, are struggling with the issues of their minorities' separatist dreams. No one is immune.

And, when it comes to Africa, where both religious and tribal conflicts come together, any words will be superfluous. The blood is flowing too freely for words.

To conclude

So what is the reason for publishing the dreamy and not very coherent article in the midst of the upheaval that, instead of getting rid of existing borders, keeps adding more and more new ones?

Virtue signalling? Daytime dreaming for fame and money?
Just being a Guardianista?
You tell me.

(*) I went for Wiki with this term:
An editor-at-large is a journalist who contributes content to a publication. Sometimes such an editor is called a roving reporter or roving editor.
Unlike an editor who works on a publication from day to day and is hands-on, an editor-at-large contributes content also on a semi-regular basis and has less of a say in matters such as layout, pictures or the publication's direction.
Rather disappointing, I was hoping for something more swashbuckling.

21 October 2017

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14 October 2017

The neo-Luddites and their apples

Just to dispose of some inattentive readers' attacks: Neo-Luddism is defined quite well.

The above diagram (click to enlarge) includes a lot of known pseudo-sciences, superstitions, conspiracy theories etc. It mentions one of the most dangerous: the anti-vaxxers, the people who one of these days could be the undoing of us all, among many others. One addictive religious cult is missing from the list: the anti-GMO folks.

Not many people these days dare to say something in favor of genetic modification of any living thing, be it a carrot or a human being. The snowball of so called public opinion made any defense of this scientific domain an unhealthy business. Not that the work in this field stopped (I hope it never will), but the level of histrionics in the public discourse on the subject is so high, that it doesn't allow defense to be heard.

To state up front: I don't think that there isn't any potential danger in genetic engineering. Like many other sciences, it should be supervised, checked and rechecked. Thankfully, the institutions to do so are in place. In fact, the paranoid attitude of the above mentioned public made these institutions overbearing, increasing tenfold the time and effort in developing new products. Just as in the big pharma, where it takes about ten years and about half a billion dollars to develop a new drug.

Of course, cases like the Nuedexta or, much worse, Thalidomide, will remain as painful reminders of the need for careful study and implementation of every new compound. But making it a cause for Luddites? And no, these two examples don't have anything to do with GMO products. So far there has been 0 (zero) cases of proven deaths by GMO foods.

The fascinating subject of genetic engineering could be a source for a thousand long posts, but I have to be choosy for the purpose of relative brevity. It will be a long post anyway, so I shall start with:

Bad news for Neo-Luddites.

Dear GMO-haters: when you proudly stick your teeth into a certified non-GMO and (definitely) organic apple, brought to you courtesy of your certified organic non-GMO farmer (and paid for thrice as much as one would pay for a regular supermarket apple of same or better quality, of course), you should be aware of one thing. Your apple is a product of a long, probably hundreds of years long, chain of genetic engineering.

And, for the purpose, I am disregarding the genetic engineering as it was (still is) done by the evolution of the apple trees. I am talking about the selective breeding, performed by uncounted generations of apple growers all over the apple growing world. If any one of you, dear neo-Luddites, thinks for a moment that you are partaking of the virginal proto-apple, as it was created by nature/higher being, perish the thought. You are chomping down on a perfect example of genetically engineered fruit - if not of molecular biology with its frightening tools, then of many years of our forefathers selecting the trees with genes* most suited to produce your perfect "non-GMO" apple. Which apple, while being genetically engineered, will definitely keep the doctor away**.

Lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons
[Michael Jackson]

I would dare say that when lies carry a negative charge, they tend not just to run sprints but fly like rockets. The pernicious lies produced by one medical charlatan, Andrew Wakefield, literally kill or maim people for life all over the world, where communities of anti-vaxxers keep popping up and condemn their children (as well as innocent bystanders) to many deadly dangers. Debunked? Yes, he was debunked and punished. Forgotten and not believed anymore? Far from it, the vermin is thriving and the followers of his false religion are quite frisky and multiplying...

Back to genetic engineering. Europe this days presents almost wall-to-wall united front against this branch of science. This in spite of a huge investment on safety studies:
In 2010, the European Commission published a detailed report on fifty research projects carried out between 2001 and 2010 through scientific grants from the European Union. 200 million euros were spent on these studies, they dealt with the impact of GMOs on the environment, the safety of GMO use in food, the use of GMOs as sources of biomaterials and biofuels and so on. 400 research groups participated in the project. The main conclusion of the report: "Biotechnologies and, in particular, GMOs do not carry greater risks than traditional technologies for breeding new varieties". The US, Russia and many other countries also financed  the studies of GMOs from their budgets, concluding that these products are no more dangerous than conventional ones.
But here comes another charlatan, this time from the field of biology.
The Séralini affair was the controversy surrounding the publication, retraction, and republication of a journal article by French molecular biologist Gilles-Éric Séralini. First published by Food and Chemical Toxicology in September 2012, the article presented a two-year feeding study in rats, and reported an increase in tumors among rats fed genetically modified corn and the herbicide RoundUp. Scientists and regulatory agencies subsequently concluded that the study's design was flawed and its findings unsubstantiated.
Following widespread criticism by scientists, Food and Chemical Toxicology retracted the paper in November 2013 after the authors refused to withdraw it. The editor-in-chief said that the article was retracted because its data were inconclusive and its conclusions unreliable. In June 2014 an amended version of the article was republished in Environmental Sciences Europe, and the raw data were made public.
Especially worthy of notice:
The journal did not conduct any further peer review; reviewers checked only that the scientific content of the paper had not changed.
And the results:
The press conference led to widespread negative media coverage for GM food, especially in Europe. Le Nouvel Observateur covered the press conference in a story called, "Yes, GMOs are poisons!".
The actions followed immediately:
At the time of the initial release, French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said that, if the results are confirmed, the government would press for a Europe-wide ban on the maize and The European Commission instructed the EFSA in Parma, Italy, to assess the study. In late September 2012, Russia temporarily suspended importing GM corn as a result of the study and in November 2012, Kenya banned all GM crops.
As it can be, unfortunately, seen, it takes one politically motivated charlatan to undo the good work of thousands.

These days European leaders not only prevent the entrance of genetically enhanced crops into Europe, they also sabotage introduction of such in Africa, in effect killing people.

The saga of ludicrous accusations, false "discoveries" and dirty politics around GMO issue could continue indefinitely, but there are limits to a post's length.

Strange that...

Suffice to add, that, strange as it is, the paranoid behavior of a good part of the public plays into the hands... of big corporations that produce GMO. What really happens is that the impossibly high thresholds, established for approval of GMO-based products reduce the number of competitors to those whose financial resources allow them to survive long enough to satisfy the necessary checks and controls.

So Monsanto***, which you so love to hate, gets that much stronger when you help to eliminate the competition.

Too bad.

(*) That, of course, if you believe that there are genes in your apple. Because:

According to the sociological survey published on the website of the Analytical Center of Yuri Levada, the question "Is it true that ordinary plants do not contain genes, and genetically modified plants - contain?" The correct answer "no" was given by only 29% of the respondents. By curious coincidence, the proportion of people who do not know the correct answer to the question about genes in tomatoes is roughly equal to the proportion of people who consider GMOs to be hazardous to health and subject to prohibition.

This and other tidbits were picked up by yours truly from an excellent book Summa Biotechnologiae (Сумма биотехнологии) by Dr. Alexander Panchin.
I hope the book will be translated soon enough.

(**) The biotechnology companies are perfectly aware of the nature tinkering with genes of its own babies. To avoid the enforced necessity to mark their products as GMO, several companies do something different: they analyse the plants' DNA, select the seeds that carry the preferable traits and grow and sell the seeds, without introducing any man-made modifications. Clever? Yes. Of course, it limits the ability to add some desired qualities, but what can you do with a hostile market?

(***) And no, Monsanto is not the biggest. Check this.