27 March 2015

King Bibi - the one-eyed man in the land of the blind?

Since this post isn't going to be complimentary to our new/old PM, let's start with a disclaimer: Benjamin Netanyahu is absolutely right in his fight against the Iranian quest for nuclear weapons. Even without the nukes Iran is the hub of destructive overt and covert terrorist and expansionist activities in the Middle East and all over the world, pulling strings and sowing seeds of dissent. Nuclear Iran will become a major nightmare, and those who tend to reduce the problem to Israel only are due for a rude awakening. So yes, everything Bibi says about Iran is true. And this more or less exhausts the repertoire of good things to say about the subject.

Otherwise - but this blog was never too kind to various negative traits of Mr Netanyahu. While not being solely focused on Bibi, as some people are (Ben Caspit of Maariv comes to mind immediately, with his almost obsessive coverage of the "royal" family), nevertheless many unkind (but true) things were said here on the subject. Yes, the man is clearly focused on his political survival at any price, his personal vanity is exceeded only by that of his spouse and his adherence to truth, common moral and elementary decency tend to disappear if his political survival is endangered.

Oh, and on top of all that he is a very poor liar. But this is an established fact since times immemorial, probably since his affair with Ruth Bar. The affair has shown how easily Bibi breaks down when a bit of pressure is applied (after all there was no "in flagrante delicto" recording, and Bibi's public confession was for nothing, as it appeared).

I frequently used Ariel Sharon's characterization of Bibi's inability to withstand pressure, but it is time to document the quote, for instance from this Hebrew source (supported by video recording):
This man generally tends to panicking. Netanyahu is a jittery man that every time folds under pressure and loses his marbles.

I have seen him this way several times. Israel is a special country, here you have to manage the country and to stand up to most complex problems, you need common sense and nerves of steel. He is lacking both.
And the above is not the only occasion when Arik characterized Bibi in this way. So why this reference to the opinion of a man who wasn't without faults himself? Just because Arik's description of Bibi's traits appeared to be prophetic, and also because the traits have never before been taken to such absurd heights as in the last elections campaign. 

Starting with the (in)famous visit and speech in the Congress. As I said at the start of this post, the speech was necessary and a real case of speaking truth to power. But - and this is an important but - the timing and the botched arrangement of the speech have done nothing to alleviate the mutual dislike between the POTUS and Bibi. Rather the opposite - it is so close to hatred now as to be practically indistinguishable - indeed a fine diplomatic coup for a man who was for a very long time gainfully employed in various diplomatic roles. A fine outcome indeed, and the whole country will pay for it for a long time. But Bibi was sure it will be a feather in his hat as far as the coming elections are considered, and nothing could deter him from this act...

Is Obama delusional about Iran? Definitely. Are Bibi's shenanigans the way to turn the tide? Highly doubtful.

And then came the famous pre-election polls, showing a significant lead of the center-left Zionist Camp, and Bibi completely lost it - just as Arik diagnosed. His declaration of no more support for two state solution, aimed at the right wing voters, his alarm at (imaginary) buses the lefties use to bring more Arab voters to the polling stations, aimed at the Jewish population, his overuse of Iranian scarecrow - in spite of the polls showing that voters care more (much more) about the skyrocketing housing prices, his hysterical poaching of voters even from the friendly right wing parties... All that and more was a clear sign of panic. Come what may, Bibi was seeing his political demise, and it scared the crap out of him. Hence the results.

Theses days, after the Pyrrhic elections win, Bibi is feverishly - and not very successfully - mending the broken links, but at least one and most important link - that to the White House - stubbornly refuses to be mended, and there is no single lump payment that will mend it. We all shall pay the price - in many installments over the years to come.

And no, I am not saying that the current state of Obama-Bibi relationships is solely Bibi's fault - far from it, the POTUS (I am ready to bet) is only too happy to use (abuse) the situation. But Bibi has done a lot and more to give the White House sufficient reasons for this state of affairs. And a good part of this just because he broke down and lost his marbles and his common sense - as predicted.

It is a sad fact that a small and resource-less country that has nevertheless excelled in science, technology, agriculture etc, has dismally failed in one area - it failed to produce at least a few political leaders with gumption, vision and coolness to take on the many problems it is faced with. And no such leaders in view, unfortunately.

Too bad.

For desserts: Ashamed of Netanyahu, infuriated with Obama by David Horovitz.

26 March 2015

In Latest Column, NYT’s Friedman Mirrors Administration’s Shift on Iran

This The Tower article summarizes aptly the Friedman's about-turn:
Three years ago, Friedman touted Obama’s toughness in confronting Iran. Now he’s justifying the president’s retreat.
Enough said.

Only one detail: is it my eyes or the TF's nose in the picture is somewhat brown-tinged?

25 March 2015

The most striking aspect of the Israeli spying leak: stupidity

I have allowed myself a slight modification of the Business Insider's article headline. Because Business Insider's Armin Rosen put his finger at the aspect of the matter previously not discussed.

To start with, the original WSJ article that caused the whole brouhaha doesn't contain a shred of proof of Israel divulging secret information of any kind to US lawmakers. On the other hand, as Rosen noticed, it provides proof that American intelligence services continuously spy after the Israeli VIPs:

In fact, the only confirmed spying between allies in the entire piece comes in the course of disclosing the alleged Israeli operation (emphasis ours):
The White House discovered the operation, in fact, when U.S. intelligence agencies spying on Israel intercepted communications among Israeli officials that carried details the U.S. believed could have come only from access to the confidential talks, officials briefed on the matter said.
So US officials disclosed a confidential counter-intelligence operation against an ally in order to float a factually vague accusation that that ally was in fact spying on them.
What can I say to that "unnamed senior source" in the current administration that fed the bunkum to WSJ? Only one thing: don't cut off your nose to spite your face.

And what can I say to WSJ editor responsible for the article? Thanks, buddy, but do look for another job. Just in case, you know...

24 March 2015

The rage and loathing in Washington D.C.

The latest WSJ article Israel Spied on Iran Nuclear Talks With U.S. is a triumph of intention over substance, as anyone who read it can testify. The intention in question being that of White House and State Dept: to inflict another painful blow on Bibi.

Let's try to deconstruct the story. First of all, complaints about spying coming from US, whose spying activities were in the last few years discovered everywhere, save (probably) the Antarctic - which is to be still checked with the penguin population - do sound somewhat ridiculous. The people who can't live with understanding that everyone spies on everyone should probably retire to the above mentioned continent. A name of a certain whistleblower that resides in Moscow, if my memory is not deceiving me, comes to mind, as well as names of several European leaders who found a CIA or NSA grubby hand, while trying to retrieve a sensitive document from their own pockets etc. And a face of a certain American lover of photography - but not bird photography, rather that of military objects in Israel, whom I had a pleasure to escort from a military restricted area during my army days - is etched in my memory too... rather an arrogant fellow, if I might add.

But let's proceed with the article: it doesn't (unlike some hotheads initially claimed) state that Israel spied after US diplomats (although it wouldn't have surprised me - see above). It claims that Israel used the intelligence it gained in order to influence U.S. lawmakers against the deal with Iran. Strangely, it offers as proof the facts that could be retrieved from any public source - such as the 6500 centrifuges Iran is allowed to keep - against all reason and sense, it has to be added. And other similar crapola, intended to muddy the waters while the Iranian deal is being criticized by a rising number of Congress members and the tide of criticism is gathering a real bipartisan support.

The last part of the article, unbelievably, delves again into the "insult" caused by Bibi's visit and speech at the Congress. Unbelievably, because it is wondrous to see how long it is considered possible to milk this totally dry cow. And how hyper-sensitive is the current administration to shenanigans of one specific politico out of hundreds.

Amendment: See the comment by Sad Red Earth. I am ready to recognize the fact that Bibi's visit and speech, besides being poorly timed, was a significant insult to the authority and the seat of power of US.  More significant than I estimated from far away.

So the timing and the goals of the new Israel-bashing campaign, as all the previous ones - deserved or not - show without a shadow of a doubt that the current administration surely decided to remove the gloves in its treatment of Israel in general and Bibi in particular.

Not saying that it is totally undeserved where Bibi is concerned, but I am afraid that Bibi alone is already too small a goal for the all-consuming rage of some people in Washington D.C.

Interesting times we are coming to, indeed.

Update. From CNN, of all sources:

Members of Congress were both surprised by and dismissive of a Wall Street Journal story that the Israeli government spied on the U.S.-led negotiations and leaked information on the developing deal to legislators.

More than a half-dozen lawmakers in both parties and chambers denied receiving such briefings from Israel.
And even more titillating, by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker:
I think y'all all understand what's happening here. I mean, you understand who's pushing this out.
Indeed, we do.

Just a good story

In 1921, one of the blackest years in Russian history, painter Boris Kustodiev, who was working on a Portrait of Chaliapin at the time, was visited by two penniless youngsters who asked him to draw their portrait. One of the pair was 27 years old, the other - 25. They promised the painter two things: that they will become famous and that they will pay by a sack of flour. The wise guys got the flour by repairing something at a mill. Kustodiev just couldn't refuse the rare at the time merchandise. And the two heroes of our story had to keep to their other promise.

Nikolay Semenov (on the right) got the 1956 Nobel Prize in chemistry and Pyotr Kapitsa got his Nobel Prize in physics in 1978.

That's all. I couldn't check the particulars of the story, but doesn't it sound good?

Lifted from a FB blogger Lilit Abrahamyan.

Captain Obama and the Great White Whale

This article by Walter Russel Mead is a relatively short concise summary of the state of US-Iran nuclear negotiations and the amazing hardheadedness displayed by the current administration in its seemingly senseless drive toward the goal. Where the goal is illusory, the partner is a proven cheat and the Senate and the Congress are growing more and more united in their resistance to the agreement.

There seem to be four leading scenarios on the horizon. One is that the President gets his deal, somehow steers it past (or around) Congress, and the deal works: Iran becomes our friend and the Middle East gets better. At that point he looks like a genius and the doubts are forgotten. The critics look bad as the United States sails into a bright new day, and President Obama goes down in history as a courageous and visionary peacemaker who stuck to his guns when the going got tough. This seems unlikely, but it can’t be ruled out.

The second is uglier, but more probable. In this scenario, Iran signs a deal, and after an ugly fight, Congress gives it a grudging and perhaps partial OK. Then pundits and policymakers argue for years about whether it was a success or not, the public mostly dislikes it, and the Iran deal, like Obamacare, becomes a pyrrhic victory. The President notches up a win but his party stumbles under the weight of the baggage.

The third possibility is uglier and, based on today’s news from Congress, more probable still. In this scenario, Iran and the President strike a deal, but Congress succeeds in crippling it. Perhaps it passes a bill and then overrides his veto; perhaps it refuses to pass enabling legislation that the Iranians say is necessary. At that point, the deal breaks down, some of the P-5 begin to circumvent the sanctions, and the President will have a big mess on his hands as Iran, perhaps, accelerates its march toward a bomb.

The final possibility is that the Iranians walk away from the deal. That is not a worst case scenario for the President; if there isn’t any deal he doesn’t have to consume the next several months of his presidency in an all-out effort to protect it from Congress. The biggest downside: He will then have to start from close to zero on Middle East policy, and presumably head back to some angry, jilted allies for help even as relations with Iran grow worse.

The President himself gives 50-50 odds for a deal at this point; if he’s right, and if we assume that the other scenarios are equally probable, he has about a 17 percent chance of emerging from this process with a clear win, a 17 percent chance of a pyrrhic victory, and a 67 percent chance of an outcome that will be considered a defeat.
Dispensing with the mathematics above, the prognosis is not good for Obama.

But the article is focused on the internal fallout (no pun intended) of the looming agreement on US internal politics, leaving mostly aside the existential nightmare that is nuclear Iran. The fallout in question might be bad for White House political standing. But the possible outcome is even worse for the world in general and the disparate group of countries in the Middle East that heretofore considered themselves to be US allies in particular.

20 March 2015

Marco Rubio: criticism of White House policy on Israel

Whether you are a Democrat or Republican, Likudnik or Labour, whether you support Senator Rubio on other issues or not: here is a brilliant, fact-based delivery of salient points and a scathing response to the propaganda efforts revving up in White House and State Department lately.

Thank you, Senator Rubio.

Dr. Karen Halnon, civil disobedience and FBI/TSA torturers

I don't know how many of you still remember the heady years of (relative) freedom, when a free man and woman were allowed to light up on board a plane. There is a ray of light in the darkness of the anti-smoking repressive world, and the ray is named professor Karen Halnon. Who knows, we may yet see the day when the chains of subjugation are destroyed.

Here is what this courageous woman has done:

And she didn't just make a strike for the smokers, no, she produced a devastating broadside against the imperialism in general:

Here is a summary of what the learned professor taught the public on this flight (and after it):

  • The United States has declared war on Venezuela
  • The United States has previously owned the oil in Venezuela
  • But Hugo Chavez nationalized the oil
  • The United States has declared Venezuela an enemy of United States
  • All of the above was part of a necessary act of civil disobedience
  • They [US] tried to take out Hugo with a coup, and then they took him out with cancer
  • Fidel agrees with Dr. Karen Halnon on all these points
  • The problem is U.S. military global domination. And they want the oil. And they want the water. (Not sure Fidel agrees with this, it was added afterward)
  • Smoking on the plane was an act of identification with the revolutionary cause (I don't know what Fidel thinks about it, Dr. Halnon doesn't clarify, but I am totally with her on this point)
But of course a real revolutionary must suffer for his/her beliefs and acts of courage. And the repressive imperialist powers did cause a lot of suffering to Dr. Halnon. Here I just have to quote her verbatim:
The FBI and TSA tortured me. My voice generally doesn't sound like this. I was put in a room with two fans in the ceiling, it was freezing cold for hours and hours and hours. I asked repeatedly to go to the bathroom. They made me wet my pants. They humiliated me. And then to make matters worse, I have a stomach condition. Everything that comes in goes out. I've been like that for months since I left Cuba. I've lost over 30 pounds. And I was yelling that I had to go to the bathroom. But they ignored me, and I defecated on the floor. And they made me pick it up and laughed at me.
That post-Cuba stomach condition: I wonder whether it is CIA in cahoots with revisionist Raul C. who caused it?

The truth will out...

Hat tip: T.P.

19 March 2015

Kim Jong-un adds American Studies 101 to university curriculum

I know that most people outside of somewhat secretive North Korea are pining for a glimpse of its higher education. Here comes a rare opportunity: a short (only four and a half minutes) lecture, supported by wealth of visual aids, on the life and habits of an average American citizen. Apparently, when not drinking coffee made of snow, your average John Smith is busy acquiring weapons and killing children. And more, but I shall not spoil it for you. Enjoy.

P.S. Judging by the Russian subtitles, the same course will be used by the Russian RT. I hope they will precede the viewing by a lecture from George Galloway.

18 March 2015

Israeli elections: exit polls and exit pols

It is not that you can teach an old dog to perform new tricks, it is just that the old dog has a sufficient stock of old tricks, as it appears.

Once again the hopes of Bibi's aspiring rivals were crushed, in quite a cruel way. The relentless waves of pre-elections polls, predicting a win of the Labor+, were a heady and intoxicating brew - that left a serious hangover after it appeared to be misleading.

So Bibi will play the game of coalition building again, this time quite easily, if the numbers are to be believed (some small adjustments could be caused by remaining 1% of the votes to be counted still). It seems that getting the majority coalition of 67 seats will be a child's play for the time being.

But then the question about the reasons Bibi started the whole elections process start to surface. Ostensibly, Bibi's chief motivator was the impossibility to keep Yair Lapid, with his rather amorphous and vision-less Yesh Atid ( "There's a Future") toeing the line. Be it as it may, the previous coalition of four parties will be replaced by a seven-party bazaar, where the ultra-orthodox factions, back at the helm after a dry and hungry years of opposition, will do their best to replenish their greedy stomachs. Let's see Bibi forcing these ones to toe the line.

And now I shall go out on a limb and predict the direct cause of the next elections:

Yes, Aryeh Deri, the unrepentant convict, the racist, the liar, one of the last beaters of the dying ethnic political horse and all around scoundrel. You see, the Shas' 7 mandates is rather a painful loss of about 5 seats from the customary 11-12 Shas used to get. This time the fail is due to the internal split, caused by Deri's rivalry with Eli Yishay, previously his deputy in Shas. It is true that Yachad, led by Yishay, failed to gain enough votes to pass the minimum required, but for the moment the voices of Yishay's followers are lost to Shas.

So the post-election festivities by Shas were rather an expression of Schadenfreude than a celebration of achievement. Now, it is almost certain that in a few months or so Mr Deri will decide that the time came to consolidate his power in the Mizrahi orthodox community and to increase his presence in the Knesset. And the only way to do this is... you can see it now.

As for the losers:

Mr. Herzog... too bad. You should have seen in advance that being a nice guy is not the ticket. If in the future some supernatural powers grant you sufficient leadership qualities, including charisma, demagoguery, ability to cheat your way to power and lie unblinkingly, plus... let's call it by its name: a pair of balls, then maybe you'll have a chance. Oh well, we know it wouldn't happen, don't we?

 Mr Yishay... my only regret is that you couldn't have taken your ex-chief, Mr Deri, with you into the wilderness of normal life. It's a pity, since the differences between the two of you are so minor you would have made a perfect pair of snake-oil peddlers somewhere in the boonies. At least this way you can have a early start and then make him your junior partner at some point in the future. Deal?

Ms Gal-on... chiao. Somebody else, no doubt, will take up the job of selling siren songs to our kids. Worthy, even if not very profitable business, ain't it?

Update: due to relentless public pressure Ms Gal-On agreed to continue with the siren song. So consider the farewell canceled.

Oh yes, and re Bibi's despicable behavior during the pre-elections time and the elections day - read this. No surprises there, though. But there is a list of excellent questions in this article, regarding Bibi's future activities. Unfortunately, knowing the subject matter a bit, the answer to most of the questions is "no". The Do Nothing man will keep doing it.

17 March 2015

Suha Arafat wouldn't be able to mine hubby's underwear for polonium, say eggheads

The pioneering quest for the valuable radioactive element was discontinued due to nearsightedness and lack of scientific courage of Russian and French scientists.

"The measly two or three hundred millions US dollars my husband left me barely allow me to survive, what with the crazy prices in Paris," Suha complained, "and the only hope to improve my lot was to start mining polonium from my dear Yasser's remains. Now this hope was dashed."

Clarification: due to shortage of time to presses, the only available picture of Suha was the one above. Suha is on the right. The person on the left... let's just say it's a whole other story.

זעקי, ארץ אהובה Cry, The Beloved Country

יום גורלי היום למדינת ישראל.
האם ימשיך שלטון הלא כלום? שלטון ההפחדות? שלטון ה"הכי חשוב להיות חזקים"? שלטון השחיתויות והשקרים?

בשבועות האחרונים נחשפנו לכמויות עצומות של פוליטיקה. בעיתונים, בטליזיה, בתכניות סאטירה ותכניות ארוח, ברשתות החברתיות ובעיתונים, בשלטי חוצות ובשיחות סלון.
איזה מזל שלפחות זה נפסק.
עכשו כמה שבועות של מתח - מי יהיה ראש הממשלה הבא? ומי יהיו חבריו לממשלה?

ובינתיים, מזג האויר בארצי האהובה הוא הכי נעים שיכול להיות. סביב 20 מעלות ביום.
השמיים כחולים כחולים, והאדמה ירוקה ירוקה עם מיליון כתמי צבע של פריחות. כמויות הגשם העצומות שירדו החורף הביאו לפריחות חריגות בעצמתן.
יום של טיול בטבע מזכיר לנו עד כמה הארץ שלו יפה. עד כמה החיים שלנו בה יכולים להיות נפלאים.
לו רק היינו נותנים לטבע לזעוק את זעקתנו לחיים שלווים, לחברה מתוקנת, לשלטון שידאג לעם ולמדינה.
ועד שזה יקרה, קבלו דוגמיות ליפי הטבע.

16 March 2015

I Have Morgellons and So Do You

Yesterday, while putting finishing touches on the post on chemtrails, I have missed an exquisite recording on the subject. Very much recommended, and besides getting tons of knowledge for free, you get to see a boob (partial image only).

More on the Morgellons.

And, as a bonus: Everything Is a Lie

To read or not to read?

Probably the most oblique description of a horse arse I have seen so far:

Behind the glamorous exterior of horse racing, lies the gritty reality of the backside.
Or was it about something else? Cannot figure it without reading the book...

15 March 2015

Chemtrails over Swedish parliament

Well, it escalated quickly. Nah, it is a wrong beginning for this post.

It has escalated for years. Years ago the first yahoo looked up at the sky and, seeing a vapor trail from a passing jet, scratched his unkempt head. Since the scratching caused his few brain cells to bump together, the result was a moment of enlightenment that spread like wildfire through the conspiracy-mongering community. Today the term "chemtrails" is one of the mainstays of the said community, so much so that it has become a recognized term, for instance in Wiki.

Chemistry being a boundless field of different compounds, every conspinut could fill the chemtrail by the substance (or substances) his/her particular imagination fears the most. Add biology with its plethora of bacterial and viral menaces, and chemtrails become a rival of the most powerful conspiracies, getting comparable even to (I don't believe I am saying this) the House of Rothschilds!

Still, all these were the juvenile years. True, the numbers of chemtrail conspinuts grew and the Internet presence of the ubiquitous photographs of the trails became a daily affair, but so far not a single "official" voice was raised in support of the chemtrail menace from the skies. Unlike the 9/11 conspinuts who count in their midst quite a few government officials and politicos, poor chemtrail sufferers were, so to say, orphaned. They felt like fringe folks and, to be sure, behaved like ones:

My heart goes out to them, really. It is a shame that no one was there to explain that the tinfoil beanie should cover the ears and the back of the head down to the neck to be of some (limited) effectiveness against the Elders' mind control rays. In short, they are alone in the desert of life, exposed to the uncounted dangers, chemtrails only one of these.

Until now. Because the deliverance is nigh and a new wind is being broken - in Swedish Parliament, no less!

Er... something went wrong with the previous sentence, I am afraid, but no matter, I shall get to it at some later stage. To the article at hand:
So persistent is the chemtrail theory that US government agencies regularly receive calls from irate citizens demanding an explanation. Pernilla Hagberg, a Swedish politician, even raised the issue.
A Swedish politician, no less! Now the chemtrail conspinuts have a powerful backing and are able (deservedly) to come out with headlines similar to this:
Swedish Official Admits Toxic ‘Chemtrails’ Are Real, NOT a Wild Conspiracy Theory
There are some reedy voices claiming the Ms Hagberg is not a politician, at least not a "Swedish Green Party leader", as it is claimed:

Too little and to late, Mr Blomberg: the intertubes will ignore your lone cry and, in fact, already are ignoring it. Conspinuts are celebrating this unexpected reinforcement all over the world. And here is the final blow to the reactionary forces of chemtrail producers and coverers - a rousing speech about Pernilla Hagberg.

Warning to the faint of heart: whether the speaker is or isn't Green, she is Green not only ideologically. Be ready for it.

I watched the above recording till the end and highly recommend it. Probably the voice and the general hue of it are psychedelic, since after about 30 seconds of watching I have totally lost the thread of the subject matter, but after it ended I was filled to the brim with an indescribable euphoria. I shall definitely watch it again.

I am confident that the recording might serve as a remedy against the poisonous chemtrails. So groovy it made me feel.