21 April 2014

He who is unhappy is an enemy of the people

I don't know if all of the readers remember this old Soviet term, "enemy of the people". To hear it pronounced during Stalin's time usually meant a death sentence. Who knows, we may be facing a "renaissance" of this dark era. Here comes an important human document that describes the goings-on in the Russian Federation, now a bit larger with "reunification" of Crimea.

The headline of this post is the one chosen by Frankfurter Allgemeine for an interview of Belarusian writer Svetlana Aleksievich. It German it reads Wer nicht jubelt, ist ein Volksfeind. Volksfeind... sounds good too, doesn't it? So, to the translation: not knowing German, I have resorted to the Russian version of the same article. And a few remarks and links were added where strictly necessary.

Belarusian writer Svetlana Aleksievich describes for Frankfurter Allgemeine the mood in Russia after the annexation of the Crimea.

"I lost many Russian friends" - she writes - " I hate to see this enthusiasm when it comes to the "unification" or "annexation" or to hear that Ukrainians 'will soon have nothing to eat, and then they will beg for a merger'... Restaurants don't have any Crimean champagne anymore - all was drank when they celebrated the victory. One constantly hears the talk that 'we, the Russian people, without a sense of being God's chosen people, without imperial sentiments would not be ourselves'. Russian volunteers crowd before military commissariats to show the 'Banderovites'* what is what."

"I was flabbergasted by Gorbachev - confesses Aleksievich - Even he succumbed to the nationalist wave and said that Crimea should have been returned long time ago. Allegedly, historical justice was restored... So he no longer talks about the European way, about partnership with Europe or common values."

"Normal Russia keeps mum. Just try to say something - somebody will inform on you, and they will throw you in prison... all the liberals** are hated today. Because they were the ones who caused the "dashing nineties", because they caused the loss of the empire. People demand that the liberals' apartments be confiscated, the liberals arrested and shot. Chosen people!"

"He who is not happy is an enemy of the people. Part of the fifth column, one of the State Department*** henchmen. Stalinist lexicon was fully restored; "traitor", "renegade", a "fascists' accomplice" etc. The only difference is that the new Stalinists are now followers of the Russian Orthodox Church. Russia has been unable to accept Western values, Western Christianity. They preach in the [Russian] churches: 'we are again being pushed into the model of progress that is alien to us, that will cause us to lose our spirituality.' I asked my priest friend, what is it, this spirituality. 'Gather all homosexuals in one city and shoot them there!' - was the answer... We, they say, are strong enough now and are able to protect our people in the Baltic States, in Tajikistan, wherever... Orthodox newspapers earnestly call Putin a saint. It turns out that in his previous incarnation he was Prince Vladimir and baptized Russia. Rumor has it that in some churches Putin's icon produces myrrh. Holy! Miracle! He lives like a monk. He is engaged with Russia..."

"There have already been calls to reject American goods. In Ufa they burned an effigy of Obama in response to American sanctions. I spoke with dozens of people about the sanctions and the "iron curtain", and no one is afraid. They remember that in Soviet times they have also lived in isolation. So what? But the life had a meaning then: to help the brothers is more important than to have a sausage in the fridge... They will begin to ask soon why are you going on holiday to Egypt or Turkey, but not to Sochi? Why do you listen to foreign music and not to Russian?"

"There is a feeling that the country is at war - continues the writer - People are wishing each other more victories: 'And what about Alaska?' It is scary to switch on the TV. The TV threatens to transform America into a nuclear dust, discusses occupation of the whole of Europe ... The media is being "cleaned up" according to the laws of war. Any alternative sources of information that allow other points of view are destroyed. Any word of truth or protest is being equaled to calls for the overthrow of government, unwanted Internet sites are blocked."

"Whither Russia? Today we prefer war to reforms. The thirst for return of the lost lands drives the minds of millions crazy. The same intelligent and reasonable people who have dreamed about westernized Russia just yesterday. Today they avow in a chorus: 'For the Crimea we forgive Putin everything!'... We got back not just the Crimea, but the Soviet Union... Putin worked on this for fifteen years. Day after day the TV was reviving Soviet ideas. And we thought they were dead."

"The world will never be the same - convinced Aleksievich - Putin blew up the world order, built after World War II. Will West accept the new Russia or reject it? If the West rejects, it will be left alone with their pipelines ... Generally, where violence again becomes an ideal, there appears your Karadzic, who will convince people that you can do good using a machine gun."


(*) The currently popular Russian myth is that the anti-Russian fraction in Ukraine is led by the followers of late Stepan Bandera. While some of Ukrainians are admirers of the Bandera, far be it from the whole truth.

(**) "Liberals" mentioned in the article are not "liberals" in the American sense, rather the people that took part in the demolition of Soviet Union.

(***) State Department is obviously seen as the source of all tribulations that Russia went (and goes) through.

And, for an afterword: Russia's new culture policy a weapon against West.
Russians not only have their own "cultural code," he said, they also have a unique moral outlook -- unlike Westerners, Russians are selfless and prone to self-sacrifice.

"These are the deep roots of our patriotism," Putin said.
Yes indeed, Vladimir Vladimirovich.

Music in some people's life


And more music:

20 April 2014

So, "Jews brought Holocaust on themselves". What else is new in Moscow?

UPI, followed by Haaretz and Jerusalem Post, published an interesting clip from the Russian TV 24:

The transcript of the short conversation, as it appears on America Blog (by John Aravosis):

PROKHANOV: It is strange that Jewish organizations – European and Russian – support Maidan. They do that? They do not realize that they are, with their own hands, closer to the second Holocaust?

HOST EVELYN ZAKAMSKAYA: They also advanced the first [Holocaust].

PROKHANOV: It’s dreadful, it is astonishing blindness — which, apparently, is repeated, because until 1933 in Europe many liberal organizations were feeding Hitler.

Save some insignificant details, it is a precise transcript of this part of a longer interview. However, the four sources linked above made one mistake of judgment: they focused on the wrong side of the discussion, the TV news announcer Evelyn (actually Evelyna) Zakamskaya. Her mindless "They also advanced the first [Holocaust]" is no more than a sign of casual parlor antisemitism of a stupid glitterati, trying to be attuned to her important guest.

Her guest, Alexandr Prokhanov, however, is a totally different kettle of fish. He is a member of the secretariat of the Writers Union of the Russian Federation and the editor-in-chief of the ultra-nationalist newspaper "Завтра" (Zavtra - Tomorrow). He is a man that, especially in these days of nationalist renaissance, Crimea "reunification" and possible additional land grabs from Ukraine and other neighbors, is busily feeding and leading the murky wave of nationalist intoxication.

He is also a diploma-ed raving anti-Semite, and I don't dispense that characteristic lightly. I had the doubtful pleasure to report on Mr Prokhanov twice: once on his raving ultra-nationalist elegy to Stalin and once on his amazingly stupid wet dreams in Gaza. His Wiki entry and these two posts will tell you all you need to know about this character. Keep in mind, though, that he carries a significant weight in Russia these days.

Of course, his reference to second Holocaust could be taken in two ways: a threat (continue to support Ukrainians and see where it gets you) or a (totally false in his case) expression of care (these Ukrainians will turn on you in response for your support).

Taken into account that just recently Putin used the Ukrainian antisemitism (real, by the way) as one of the straws he is grasping in his unwinnable struggle to explain the Crimea land grab, the Jews of Ukraine are facing a stark choice indeed.

Rule 5 corollary: never lose control of the wheel

Because Ernie is waiting:

19 April 2014

Happy Easter

To all our Christian friends. And a set of visual greetings for every taste. Starting with a generic one:

Now a political one:

And one for cat lovers:

Of course, one with some violence (verbal and physical):

And, not to forget, something for old goats (like I):

And for a good measure, an unforgettable Jelly Bean Pooping Easter Bunny - read the comments!

Merry and happy Easter, you all out there!

Rabbi Lau vs Nazis on who is a Jew

That thorny question about who is a Jew is again raising its ugly head. This time the initiator of the squabble is:

Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau
From his recent interview:
Lau says he wants to work with Jewish Agency aliyah emissaries to “get to every corner of the world, to cemeteries, community records, asking non-Jewish neighbors, and you can help people” who wish to convert. However, he says the Law of Return is “problematic,” adding that former religious affairs minister Yossi Beilin “called for its cancellation,” and that “the state of Israel has to decide if it wants to be a welfare state for the Third World, bringing in everyone who has a connection with Judaism, or perhaps only those who are Jews.” As an example, he offered the case of “a grandfather who isn’t even buried here, he’s buried in Russbach, Germany, but because of one grandfather, 78 [relatives] of his wife, grandchildren, everyone gets absorption benefits and all the rights.”
I don't want to get into an argument with a man who can outargue my legs from under me. Just a reminder:
On November 14, 1935, the Nazis issued the following definition of a Jew: Anyone with three Jewish grandparents; someone with two Jewish grandparents who belonged to the Jewish community on September 15, 1935, or joined thereafter; was married to a Jew or Jewess on September 15, 1935, or married one thereafter; was the offspring of a marriage or extramarital liaison with a Jew on or after September 15, 1935.
I know that this opinion of mine isn't going to be popular in some circles, but, unfortunately, I have to say that in this case the Nazi version works for me better.

And, to bring the point to the extreme: if a man (woman) is crazy (or inspired) enough to wish to join the tribe, knowing all the pitfalls involved: let it be so.

Now you see it and now you don't: does IDF use Photoshop to impress the public?

Well, it comes from a Lebanese paper, they say, but still:

Lebanese paper publishes photos of reported arms depot in Hezbollah-controlled area and images taken 10 days after alleged strike of scorched earth.
I mean it looks like a regiment of grunts with a very tough sergeant did a thorough clean-up job there for a few days...

And that image didn't fail to remind me something I've seen recently:

Oh well, too many questions...

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18 April 2014

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, RIP

"Claro que Gabriel García Márquez no ha muerto." (Of course Gabriel García Márquez is not dead.)

Never. Never.

Kate Upton wishes her breasts were smaller: a case for government intervention?

I am not a communist, but this case of possible neglect makes me wonder: shouldn't the objects in question be nationalized as a national treasure?

They’re two of the biggest stars in fashion, double-billing on the covers of Sports Illustrated, Vogue and Vanity Fair and lusted over by countless admirers — still, Kate Upton can’t stand them, reports The New York Post.
A possible case for EPA? Treasure (no pun intended) Dept?

On the other hand, this may be just a case of Kate scaring up more publicity, after all who can forget this:

Not I, at any rate...

Another book not to read

The blurb that starts with:

A young CIA lawyer uncovers a dangerous worldwide conspiracy, masterminded by forces within the US intelligence community.
and ends (more or less) with:
With the help of a neurotic hacker, ... unravels a conspiracy older than the CIA itself.
Nah... try again, please...

Why would a lawyer uncover... how could these CIA characters mastermind... nah... peace...

Is political barfing a wave of the future?

Apologies for poor and disgusting pun, but truly, what do you want me to do?

Soon in the various parliaments of the world...

17 April 2014

The Donetsk directive: a hoax that reverberates

This leaflet, distributed to the Jews of Ukrainian city of Donetsk* by people alleged to be Russian separatists and requesting that Donetsk Jews register with some ill-defined pro-Russian local authority, has all the telltale signs of a crude provocation. On the face of it, this is a fake intended to present the pro-Russian forces in Donetsk as a dark antisemitic power with the worst intentions.
It orders all Jews aged over 16 years old to register before the government building, which has been occupied by pro-Russian insurgents in defiance of Kiev rule.

Jews would also have to pay a registration fee of $50 (£30) before 3 May and list all real estate and vehicles owned.

The registration and the fee are due because the Jewish leaders "supported the nationalist junta of [Stepan] Bandera in Kiev" and are hostile "to Orthodox Donetsk republic and its citizens.

"In case of failure to register, the perpetrators will be stripped of their citizenship and deported forcibly outside the country with confiscation of property."
To the people with even a smidgen of knowledge of Jewish history this leaflet can't fail to remind a leaflet distributed in 1942 by occupying German army in Kiev, ordering the Jews to present themselves to "authorities" with all their valuables...

Of course, the knowledge that, according to the reports, the leaflet was distributed by "three unidentified men wearing balaclavas and carrying the flag of the Russian Federation", strengthens the suggestion that this act was an intentional (and crude) provocation by the Ukrainian side of the conflict, aimed to paint the Russian separatists in the dirtiest colors.

And of course, the bloody history of the region's political upheavals frequently included Jews as bystander victims, where all sides of almost every conflict felt free to slaughter as many as their mood dictated. From Bohdan Khmelnytsky and up.

The only question is: was that specific provocation a fruit of Ukrainian inventiveness or, taking another step into conspiracy twilight, an even more complicated maneuver by the Moscow tacticians of the dirty tricks? But one can play this game forever, without getting to a firm conclusion.

Meanwhile the Jews of Donetsk will not sleep well...

(*) Donetsk, a Ukraine province with 4.3 million people - 10 percent of Ukraine's population - and 17,000 Jews, is home to much of the country's heavy industry, and is thus the biggest prize of the eastern regions where pro-Russian separatists have captured government buildings in the past week.

Thus does Putin enjoy

A full quote from one and only Terry Glavine:

In these ways, Ukraine’s brave democrats are confronted with an untenable decision. It’s either stand against the Russian bully on their own with nothing to go on but empty talk about “red lines” disgorged as though by some machine in the U.S. State Department’s press liaison office, or surrender their proud country to the status of a vassal state, a satrapy to Russia’s kleptocrats, like Belarus, or Kazakhstan.

Thus does Putin enjoy for his side the unimpeachable evidence for the worthlessness of American friendship in the Age of Obama.
But read it all, by all means.

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