03 August 2017

Is our Knesset barking? Kaya Netanyahu bill, Alan Dershowitz etc

There are lots of law proposals being in process of lively debate, modification and sometimes quiet death on someone's shelf. Some of them outlandish, some reasonable and some (like the hotly debated recently law on state assistance to disabled people) vital for thousands of citizens, eagerly awaiting tangible results.

Meanwhile, the first family which, for reasons* of its own, decided to add to its roster a first dog two years ago, has experienced a few domestic upheavals due to the said canine's tendency to bite all and sundry.
The dog, Bibi assured his constituents, was “gentle and of a good disposition.”

Kaya herself must not have gotten the memo: five months later, during a reception at the Prime Minister’s Residence, she bit a member of Knesset who leaned in to pet her. Three months after that, she struck again, biting one of Netanyahu’s secret service agents. Eventually, she also bit the prime minister himself.
Since Kaya is the first dog, I don't even try to argue that this behavior is unseemly or should be in any way restricted. The first dog sees, the first dog bites. As it should be. There is a small catch, however: if a dog bites somebody inside the Israeli borders, the dog should be quarantined for a period of time (ten days) required to ensure it (the dog) isn't rabid.

Which might be good enough for a regular dog, but not for the first one, apparently. Bibi wants Kaya to stay at home, with its loving family. So, to accomplish this, the Knesset members were yanked out of richly deserved summer break. To vote on an amendment to the law which... you guessed the rest. Yep, Kaya the serial biter will stay at home, thanks to our suddenly proactive lawmakers and the appropriate legal beagles. So much for lawmaking and lawmakers.

Kaya, meanwhile, got more exposure in our media, paired with another member of the first family, Yair Netanyahu, Bibi's son.

According to a Facebook post by Talila Amitai, one of the Netanyahu family's neighbors, Yair Netanyahu took the family dog Kaiya for a walk in one of the local dog parks but failed to pick up her waste. Amitai wrote that when she pointed this out to the Israeli leader's son, who was accompanied by a bodyguard at the time, he stuck up his middle finger towards her in response.
There are different versions of the event (or non-event), but as far as Kaya concerned, it is a moot point. She poops, the rest is history, with its different versions and interpretations of thereof.

But what is the connection between the canine poop and the illustrious legal man, mentioned in the headline, one of the more eloquent supporters of Israel and all around brilliant person?

I happened to hear a summary of an interview Alan Dershowitz granted to Israeli radio and his views on the ongoing investigations into alleged Netanyahu's financial and other misdeeds frankly surprised me. To start with, he somehow concluded that Israeli police, on its own, persecutes Bibi. Of course, the usual culprit that motivates the police is, according to Dershowitz, the leftist media. But curiously, he has decided that police pursues our poor Bibi using its free will and free initiative.

Not to mention the inherent absurdity of the idea of our police being politically motivated, professor Dershowitz obviously doesn't know much about the local police, its authority and its betters, which are not that different from those in US of A. The attorney general here is the person whose authority it is to open (or to close) any police investigation, much as it is in US. Blaming the cops in the various investigations plaguing Bibi lately is missing the point by a mile (or 1.6 km).

I have googled up other opinions on the subject by professor Dershowitz and was surprised to find out that he expressed his deep dissatisfaction by this state of affairs quite a lot of times. Here is one example, from January 2017:
...Dershowitz took aim at the Israeli left and media outlets for what he described as attempts to use ongoing police investigations into the Netanyahu family to hobble the Prime Minister.

"[T]hey can't beat him through democratic means, so they're trying to use these investigations and the media to push him out of office. That would really undercut democracy. He's been elected by a proper method of election in Israel and he should be left to complete his term without interference. If there are issues they should be pursued after he leaves office.”
So, the Prime Minister, according to this, should be granted immunity while in the office. And the reasoning behind the idea is:
"The Prime Minister in this case has to work 24/7 particularly now, between now and the time when President Obama leaves office, to respond to the U.N. Security Council resolution, to the Kerry speech, to try to prevent another Security Council resolution - the idea that the Prime Minister is now going to have to be questioned about what appears to be relatively trivial incidents, really undercuts democracy."
So, Bibi works 24/7 and couldn't be bothered. I would agree if it were not widely known that he spent 5 years fighting the Israeli Broadcasting Authority, which, according to him, is (was) a part of that much hated leftist media that destroys the country and him personally. If the relentless fight for the freedom of canine quarantine described above (2 years only) wasn't so widely know, etc. A good part of these 24/7 isn't spent worrying about the fate of the country, but about the fate and the chair of one Benjamin Netanyahu, unfortunately.

Another poor argument used by Alan Dershowitz in the interview was "this is not how things are done in United States". Really? Kenneth Starr vs William Clinton and Robert Mueller vs Donald Trump - how is it exactly different from investigations of Bibi? Aside of multi-million budgets unseen in Israeli police cases?

In another article (Hebrew), professor Dershowitz went even further:
When asked what he thought of Israel's former prime minister [Olmert] behind bars, he replied, "First of all, the prime minister was sent to prison for things that were done before he was prime minister, and he was not sent to prison during his term of office, only after he left. Attorney general said unequivocally that the issue under investigation was not similar to what was being investigated in Olmert's or Sharon's case, and that suspicions in their cases were much more serious."
First of all, the chief reason Olmert decided to quit was the ongoing investigation. Then, to prejudge the seriousness of the cases against Bibi, when the final conclusions and relevant materials haven't been passed by the police to the attorney general seems to be out of character for a famous legal mind.

Anyway, logical or not, 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.

Besides - wouldn't now be too close to the Kaya Netanyahu bill?

One member of the family at a time, please.

(*) The reasoning is a bit outdated, since the current POTUS, unlike his predecessors, isn't known for his love of four legged beasts.

01 August 2017

A curious case of BBC that forgot to bark in the daytime

What with the unrelenting flow of news coming out of the White House these days, the media is overwhelmed. Their journos are too busy trying to catch up with the stream.

Well, this is the only explanation I have got for the most curious omission in BBC reporting from their favorite corner of the world, I mean the Middle East. In their reporting of a sad case where a British man has been arrested as part of an anti-terror operation while on holiday in Turkey, they have missed an important clue. Not that the clue is relevant to the fate of Joe Robinson, the British man in question. But let's put the things in order. The man first:

Mr Robinson, who is originally from Lancashire, spent five months fighting as a volunteer with the YPG against the so-called Islamic State group and has previously spoken about his experiences in media reports. Although the YPG is not a proscribed group in the UK, Turkey views it as the extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
I can hardly add something to the quote. Possibly a plea to the British government to intervene more forcefully and to save the British subject from an almost certain incarceration by the friendly and oh how democratic NATO member and its leader going from mad to crazy. But it is hardly my business.

The other thing, though, the writing on the wall (no pun intended) is somewhat different, being totally in the domain of the Elders. The fact that not a single BBC employee got even remotely curious about it...

נַ נַחְ נַחְמָ נַחְמָן מְאוּמַן‎‎

This text adorns many a wall and a fence in Israel, being a part of the local lore. A curious person with access to Google could have easily deciphered the meaning, available in English in Wiki:
Na Nach Nachma Nachman Meuman (Hebrew: נַ נַחְ נַחְמָ נַחְמָן מְאוּמַן‎‎) is a Hebrew language name and song used by a subgroup of Breslover Hasidim colloquially known as the Na Nachs. The complete phrase is Na Nach Nachma Nachman Me'uman. It is a kabbalistic formula based on the four Hebrew letters of the name Nachman, referring to the founder of the Breslov movement, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, along with a reference to his burial place in Uman, Ukraine.
But the text evidently was mistaken by the BBC editors for Arabic, most probably related to Daesh/ISIS and not a single man/woman of BBC has caught on the possibility to explore this golden lode of a Zionist plot  - obviously of some import.

Opportunity lost...

Hat tip: P.V.

Update: The mystery resolved, thanks to Gilead, whose comment includes this article:
Timothy Paul Jacobs Wordsworth, speaking to The Jerusalem Post from northern Syria on Monday, said he was inspired to join the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria because he was instilled with the desire to do everything he can to help people.

In the 1990s, he was a soldier for the British military and served as a NATO peacekeeper in Bosnia and Kosovo. However, his life took a different direction as the horrors of Islamic State continued to mount.
And, most important for this post:
Wordsworth has been spray-painting a popular hassidic slogan in places that the Kurdish forces recapture, former Islamic State bases and mosques around Syria. Sometimes the slogan appears alongside the Islamic State flag.
So there:

Many thanks, Gilead!

29 July 2017

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15 July 2017

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14 July 2017

Berkeley's Hatem Bazian - the most dangerous professor in America?

There is a big difference between protecting freedom of speech and providing, like Berkeley does, a well paid platform for a hate preacher with academic credentials of dubious quality*.

This headline might be a tad too sensationalist, I feel, but it is not mine. I am not keeping a list of all dangerous American professors, of course. For all I know, it might be somebody else, a totally unknown one, from an obscure institution of higher education. One that is right now putting the final bits on the Doomsday Machine in his basement.

Professor Bazian, if you check his page at Berkeley's website, doesn't look very dangerous:
Hatem Bazian (Ph.D, Philosophy and Islamic Studies, UC Berkeley) teaches
  • AAS 128AC: Islam in America: Communities and Institutions
  • AAS 132: De-Constructing Islamophobia and Othering of Islam.
It is not that I would rush to enroll in these courses, but being one who is into "othering" all religions equally, I might have been inclined to take the AAS 132. To pick up a few useful tips, you know. Otherwise, what can I say: the two courses above are only a short sampler of the myriad of various "studies" that are taught all over US of A and produce hordes of unemployable (with good reason too) graduates with a vague smattering of "ejukayshen" on their pristine brains.

However, some people who do keep tabs on a few selected professors, are not stopping at the Berkeley's website. Canary Mission, for one, has done a sterling job of scrutinizing the good professor, with the result that is a must read. I shall quote only a few selected accomplishments of the man:
Bazian is a leader within the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. He declared September 23, 2014 an “International Day of Action” to call for a complete boycott of Israel on campuses across the United States on the eve of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah.

Bazian has linked the “liberation of Palestine” with Muslim theology and has reportedly promoted a verse in the Hadith calling for the murder of Jews to establish the “Islamic State of Palestine.”

Bazian writes prolifically against Israel, publishing his work on his personal website and in other online sites including Mondoweiss and Electronic Intifada. He is the author of an anti-Israel book titled “Palestine … it is something colonial”.
Of course, there is more, much more in the article, but I don't want to spoil your reading any more. You shall learn that the learned professor should by now teach a most advanced Anti-Zionism course (909 or whatever the number is for such level), so successfully he has erased the thin line between the hated Zionists and the hated Jooz.

The picture of professor Bazian, drawn by the Canary Mission, doesn't require further details, methinks. However, a series of questions should be asked regarding Berkeley this famous institution of higher education, this prodigious production line of genius, second to none**. I realize that Berkeley has been for many (too many?) years a strongly left-leaning institution and goes from the left to more left as time goes.

First of all, seeing as how enormously frisky is professor Bazian in his extracurricular activities: isn't such a talented man, obviously a leader, seriously under-occupied by the university?
Then, if the answer to the previous question is negative, can't he be advised to seek a more fulfilling occupation elsewhere? I understand that he is, most probably, a tenured professor, but there are ways and means - if there is a will.
And, the last but not the least: while freedom of speech should be protected by all means, does such prodigious fountain of hate and incitement fit the requirements of an educational outfit of such a high standing?

To summarize: isn't it time to drum the professor of hate out of his lofty position?

(*) Even if we are talking about Berkeley's own graduate.
(**) If you believe this, for instance:

12 July 2017

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11 July 2017

Natalia Veselnitskaya, Magnitsky Act, Russian hackers, Putin's tentacles, you name it...

It is a long time since this here blog dabbed in the pictures of nice ladies, so... no, this is not really the reason for this picture at all. It is simply that the person in the picture is being presented as one of the more powerful tentacles of the Kremlin in general and Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin in particular. When even our provincial Times of Israel opens its main page with a huge font headline:

Moscow denies knowledge of Trump Jr.’s meeting with Putin-linked lawyer

How can one be not thrilled by that? The point of the (slightly poisoned) arrow is, of course, this "Putin-linked lawyer" bit. How sharp it is? So I let my fingers do some surfing in the murky waters of the 'net, with assistance from the kind Google, may his/her name be blessed.

But first a look back, several days ago, when an allegedly explosive news appeared first in that august bastion of progressive thought, NYT:

Trump’s Son Met With Russian Lawyer After Being Promised Damaging Information on Clinton

Aha, I said to myself, with another few million surfers: finally the Pandora box is getting opened, and the mills of justice are going to start milling much faster. That is, till I have encountered the following pathetic sentence in this "explosive" article:
The accounts of the meeting represent the first public indication that at least some in the campaign were willing to accept Russian help.
What? If anything, this is not an accelerator of the said mills of justice - rather a wrench in the works.

Nevertheless, this kind of the James Bond story, with a nice looking Russian lady thrown in for thrills (the infamous KGB Swallows come to mind, surely), couldn't leave one indifferent. So one googles.

Ms Natalia Veselnitskaya isn't, apparently, hiding in some inaccessible corners of the fast FSB/SVR empire, being at beck and call of Vladimir Vladimirovich. No, she is quite openly active on Facebook, where she presents herself as a managing partner in a Moscow firm of lawyers and quite openly tells all about her fight against Magnitsky Act. More about her in English here and here. While the Magnitsky Act by itself was a good deed of the US government and the fight against it was definitely approved and, most probably, financed by the Russian government, to derive from this a link to Vladimir Vladimirovich is more than just reaching. It is a kind of hyperbole good only for cheap headlines and cheap journalists... but wait, we are talking about progressive press here... oops.

So what could we learn from the whole brouhaha? Nope, it ain't a Pandora box, that's for sure. By the way, the real Pandora box seems to have been a sealed pottery vase. In our case it turned out to be a crock of crapola.

And the only man that is still laughing is the one in Kremlin. Watching the travesty of the ongoing witch hunts and the administration busy at counterattacking the media, instead of doing what the government is meant to do - how could the man not laugh? At least, from all that we know about his habits, he is not laughing out loud.

Just cackling from time to time.

08 July 2017

Peter Risdon, RIP

Peter and Kate
It is possible to be a friend with a person you have never met. It is possible to grieve when a malady that knows no mercy takes him away.

Peter's life could provide a writer with not a small amount of inspiration, but I am not going to tell the story here. Peter was a man of uncompromising integrity, and his last years were good and full of happiness, largely thanks to Kate. Till the fate intervened.

RIP, Peter.

My heartfelt condolences to Kate.

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04 July 2017

Happy Independence Day!

To all our American friends. And go easy on fireworks!

02 July 2017

Spanish civil war and human garbage

Tosh McDonald - dreck in a T-shirt
There is nothing new in the notion that for a raving anti-Semite in the usual anti-Zionist guise nothing is sacred. As nothing is new in the notion that the British Labour party has lately become a welcoming safe harbor for this thriving mob of progressive thinkers.

For full disclosure: my beloved uncle was one of the many (disproportionately many) young Jews that went to Spain to fight against Franco, losing several of his good friends, enduring the fate of other "displaced persons" in the French camps, joining the Red Army and fighting with distinction till the demise of the Nazi regime.

So when I see how a piece of human refuse uses a solemn and politics-free occasion to throw his feces at Jews, it surely boils my blood. Wish I could have been there... But see for yourself.

For better viewing of the Jewish gentleman's report, click on the image below:

Oh, and accidentally: tell me who your friends are...

More on Tosh McDonald.

And even more.

01 July 2017

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30 June 2017

NASA: We Do Not Have a Child Slave Colony on Mars. Yeah, sure.

Y'all know only too well that when a government department denies something it must be true, right?

Because nothing could be more true than something (anything, in fact) that comes from an impeccable source like Robert David Steele, who is currently a CeO (Chief Enabling Officer - pro bono, no less) of Earth Intelligence Network, a 501c3 devoted to teaching holistic analytics (HA), true cost economics (TCE), and open source everything engineering (OSEE). A man, who in his illustrious past (present) has been (is):
  • a clandestine services case officer at the Central Intelligence Agency
  • a Nobel Prize nominee
  • a co-Founder of the Information Warfare Conference
  • invited lecturer world-wide on topics of Cyber, Open Source Intelligence (OSINT)
  • USMCR Infantry, Adjutant, Intelligence 1976-1996
  • CIA Clandestine Service 1979-1988
  • USMC Civil Service 1988-1993
  • #2 civilian [dunno what it means, tell me if you know] in USMC Intelligence, responsible for creating the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity
  • best buddy of Cynthia McKinney
This list, presented here in no particular order, could go on and on, I am simply afraid to run out of paper.

So when this man appeared on Alex Jones' Infowars, my major source of entertainment, I sat up and listened. Here are some choice quotes of the latest breakthrough into the murky depths of the NWO* inhumanity.
  • NASA established a colony on Mars to which they shipped kidnapped children over a 20-year space ride.
  • Once there, the “kids” have no alternative but to become slaves at the colony, because that’s just how NASA rolls apparently.
  • Not content with just enslaving said children, NASA also murders some of them for their blood** and bone marrow, after terrifying them first so that there’s enough adrenaline in the blood.
  • This, according to Steele, is a form of pedophilia, which is, again, performed on 20-plus year old kids.
And, you might ask, how come that with all these Mars missions whizzing around the planet***, not a single one has transmitted a single picture of the settlement where the kids are forcibly kept? Mr Steele has a good and true answer to this one:
NASA’s machinations includes shutting off space probes, whenever in the vicinity of the slave camps, so that the rest of us don’t see them.
So you can be assured now, all of the above is true. Only one question remains unanswered for me, and I am rerouting it to CIA, specifically to the person responsible for clandestine services: during these undercover operations, does the cover allow supply of oxygen to the agent's brain?

Oh well, I am afraid that no straight answer will be forthcoming soon. Too bad.

(*) And if you don't know what NWO means, I pity you. Wake up!
(**) Once kids' blood is involved, you know who else is behind all this obscenity, don't you?
(***) If there is a planet, you know: this is subject to proof too. For all I know, the Earth is the only one, and flat at that, all other so called "celestial bodies" being only pictures on the glass dome.

28 June 2017

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26 June 2017

Benjamin Netanyahu at his best: zigging and zagging

Whatever they say about Bibi, in one aspect of his behavior he is consistent: he will switch direction at the merest sign of trouble for his ruling coalition, i.e. to his seat of power.

His sudden change of heart regarding the plan to establish a pluralistic prayer pavilion at Jerusalem’s Western Wall is just another example of his all consuming passion for that chair.
The cabinet on Sunday suspended a government-approved plan to establish a pluralistic prayer pavilion at Jerusalem’s Western Wall, following calls by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ultra-Orthodox coalition allies to scrap the deal. The announcement was swiftly condemned by Israel’s Reform Movement and the Jewish Agency.
But, Bibi being Bibi, even this decision was half-hearted:
In a statement, the Prime Minister’s Office said that Netanyahu instructed Cabinet Secretary Tzachi Braverman and Likud Minister Tzachi Hanegbi to formulate a new plan for the site.

It also said construction work on the southern edge of the Western Wall plaza — where the pluralistic prayer pavilion was slated to be built — would continue uninterrupted.
Just in case Bibi detects that the damage caused by his sudden about-turn might outweigh the threat of not turning about. But of course.

Still, I tend to think that the ToI headline on David Horovitz' op-ed is a bit of exaggeration:

Netanyahu to millions of Jews: We don’t really want you

First of all, I seriously doubt that there are literally millions of conservative and reform Jews hurt by this zigzag. Besides, there are more young American Jews being indoctrinated by J-Street, JVP and extreme left - the writing is on the wall*. Not that the two cases are completely unrelated.

As a side note: I would dare guess that the case of pluralistic prayer pavilion is quite closely related to the recent brouhaha with the work performed on the railroad during Shabbat. Political horse trading in its typical naked glory.

Yep. As it was said, politicians and diapers should both be changed regularly, and for the same reason.

Quite the time.

(*) This statement of mine must be amended. Apparently the report used and several other articles using it as a base for alarm were quite significantly exaggerated. Not that there isn't a reason to worry, but on the other hand panic doesn't help too. Here it is:

Vast majority’ of Jewish students are connected to Israel, insists Brandeis prof

Hat tip: Elise Ronan.

22 June 2017

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21 June 2017

Trump and how to beat him, according to the Guardian

Not being a supporter of Trump and not being an expert in the internal US politics, I simply enjoy (kind of) the current political game in Washington. Which is mainly a hodge-podge of frenzied attacks on the POTUS, coming from all directions: from his alleged complicity in a bevy of alleged Russian conspiracies to his ice-cream preferences.

A good example of the "let's try it all" approach is this article in The Guardian by one Rebecca Solnit, "a Guardian US contributing opinion writer, an historian, activist and contributing editor at Harper's magazine":

Victories against Trump are mounting. Here's how we deal the final blow

Proclaims the author:
I believe we have the capacity to limit the damage or even bring down the Trump administration through nonviolent resistance and good organizing, and I see extraordinary things happening in this moment. We are off to a good start.

The article is a litany of the various lines of attack I've mentioned above. Some of them are more serious, although in many cases wishful thinking is the main factual material in support of these attacks. A lot of the rest are so pitiful that it makes me wonder about the sanity - either of the author or the originators of the attacks. Here are some choice quotes:
Democrats in the legislative branch of government have been mocking Trump, from the proposed Covfefe Act (it’s an acronym for Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically For Engagement, but also a joke about a peculiar tweet of Trump’s including that word, or nonword) that would ban him from deleting tweets on the grounds that they’re presidential records, to Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer’s videotaped parody of Trump’s cabinet meeting in which all members dutifully praised him.
Earthshaking indeed. On the other hand, laughing is good for you, physicians say.
Senator Kamala Harris has gone after attorney general Jeff Sessions hard (despite male senators who keep trying to hush her up). Congresswoman Maxine Waters is demanding impeachment.
Now, Congresswoman Maxine Waters is, of course, a bombshell argument no matter what the subject is. Trump better seek a shelter asap...
Last week fired FBI director James Comey ripped the president to shreds as a liar, a creep, and an incompetent manipulator of truth and staff, and since then things have gotten worse for the administration.
In the eye of the beholder, certainly, otherwise the harm caused to the POTUS was negligible, not to mention the dirt Comey thoroughly covered himself with.
In the media, Rachel Maddow of liberal MSNBC has beat Fox to the number one spot in cable-news prime time.
This Rachel Maddow? Spare me, please - from what I hear even many of the left are feeling fed up with this overbearing know-it-all.

There is more, much more in that article. But, filtered by slight skepticism, it boils down to a lot of fervent desire and rage that doesn't really have an outlet, not so far.

You don't go against an elephant with a peashooter, ladies and gentlemen. To wipe that smirk from the POTUS' face requires something more substantial than this gibberish.

Final blow? Good luck.

19 June 2017

Nikolai Berdyaev on freedom and equality

Nikolai Alexandrovich Berdyaev, a remarkable Russian religious and political philosopher, in one of his lesser known quotes on the subject:
Freedom is the right to inequality.

Equality (if it is understood more broadly than purely formal legal term "equal rights") and freedom are incompatible things. By nature, people are not equal, equality can only be achieved through violence, which will always be an alignment to the lowest level.

It is possible to equalize the poor with the rich, but only by taking away from the rich his wealth.
It is possible to equalize the weak with the strong, but only by taking away from the strong his strength.
It is possible to equalize the fool with the clever, but only by turning the wisdom from dignity into a blemish.

The society of universal equality is a society of the poor, the weak and the foolish, based on violence.
For all those who tend to mix people's equality with people's equal rights.

17 June 2017

Yes, peace is just around the corner

1st Sgt. Hadas Malka, z"l
Once again, Jerusalem became a scene of bloody terror, once again the target of the terrorists was a beautiful young woman with her whole life ahead of her.

The terrorists were killed, and the usual vultures are already fighting for the doubtful honor to adopt the martyrs. Daesh vs. Hamas. There are reasons to believe Hamas in this case and to believe their statement about the "political" affiliation of the murderers.
"ISIS's claims is an attempt to muddle the map. The attack was carried out by two Palestinians belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and a Hamas member."
But for me, the fight of the vultures is overshadowed by the response of our alleged "peace partner", the so called Palestinian Authority. Here is what they have to say:
"We condemn the war crime committed by the Israeli occupation forces in Jerusalem tonight against three young Palestinians. The silence of the international community on the continuation of the occupation and its crimes encourages Israel to shed the blood of the Palestinians," said Osama al-Qawasmi, a spokesman for the movement's spokesman, who continued to say that "the crime that took place this evening in cold blood and claimed the lives of three young Palestinians. The victory of the blood of the Shahids will be adherence to the land, the holy places and their protection."
Indeed... three innocent young Palestinians out for a stroll in the streets of Jerusalem (the gun and the knives being just a part of the national attire). Nope, I am not going to comment on this more.

I just wonder about the unabashed optimism of the State Department and their chief.

14 June 2017

CNN's startling incompetence

The dramatic developments (and sometimes lack of thereof) in the unending drama of the Russian involvement in the last US elections are certain to leave an external observer confused. As an avid reader of spy stories and a longtime watcher of the Kremlin shenanigans, I personally would like nothing more than tidily laid out proof of Kremlin's tentacles reaching into the North American continent and doing their usual dirt. Of course, a discovery of a few US VIPs serving as Kremlin moles would be a serious cherry on top of that thriller. Unnecessary to say that if one of these VIPs proves to be the POTUS his own self, it will be not just a cherry but a whole watermelon. Not really, it would be very sad, but still thrilling.

But, not being able to follow the inner workings of the discovery process in the offices of NAS, CIA and other hailed intelligence outfits, I, like all other lovers of the genre, have to rely on the media. And herein lies the yuge problem. Take, for instance, the eagerly anticipated hearing of Attorney general Jeff Sessions. Out of several articles on the subject by CNN, one has totally discombobulated me. The one by Errol Louis, with a headline that (I confess) made my heartbeat speed up:

Sessions' startling admission

I wouldn't deny, I have already seen in my imagination Mr Sessions leaving the room in shackles and handcuffs, mumbling something in broken Russian through his tears. But here is what astonished Errol Louis:
Attorney general Jeff Sessions, sparring with his former colleagues in testimony before the Senate intelligence committee, made a startling and dismaying admission on Tuesday. Despite months of turmoil surrounding Russia's efforts to distort American elections, says Sessions, he neither received nor requested a classified briefing to get up to speed on the threat posed by Russian forces.
That is an incredible statement, given the size and scope of the threat Russia posed to American democracy.
Titillating, isn't it? Attorney general, the man who should be at the frontline of the fight against the dark powers of Kremlin, is ignorant of the threat? But...

But then there is another article, published by CNN on the same day and written by Tom LoBianco, with a much less dramatic headline:

5 things we learned at Jeff Sessions' hearing

Lo and behold: one of these five things addresses that same "startling* admission":
2. Sessions' recusal started almost immediately, and left him blind on Russia's hacking

The chief law enforcement officer of the United States was never briefed on Russia's hacking of one of its major political parties, or any other efforts by Russia to mess with the elections -- past and future.

Why? Because he personally recused himself from all things related to the Trump campaign's ties to Russia the day after he was sworn into office. What Sessions didn't explain is why he waited a month to tell the public -- and his own associates -- that he had stepped aside from the probe.
Incredible, innit? I don't even blame Errol Louis for his glaring incompetence. And I can be hardly surprised by CNN and its editors, playing with half-baked information and producing one hair-raising news item after another, never conceding they were wrong. Nothing to see here, folks, move along, please.

Just why do I always think Keystone Cops or similar when opening CNN? You tell me.

(*) Here is what I would call really startling (among other things).

04 June 2017

Surely we'll do it right this time

This post is "inspired" (a wrong word but what can one do?) by the coming elections in UK. In a few days, it looks like, Brits are going to make a step that, according to what my British friends were repeating since Corbyn became the Labour's leader, is simply impossible. Which is electing a relic of the old quasi-socialist era, one that has yet to miss a dodgy terrorist gang in the whole wide world he didn't find a kind word for.

Leaving the affinity to the terrorist groups aside, I am somewhat astonished by the fact of Corbyn being a kind of moldy sloganeering prophet of a dreamy let's-tax-them-rich-bastards-and-nationalize-all-the-rest demagoguery, while succeeding to get more than a passing attention from the British public, especially the young ones. The nation, so widely known for practically inventing common sense*, is buying unrealistic promises, proved by history again and again to be lies. Sounds hardly credible, does it?

But let's look at another part of the world for a minute. Here are Russians complaining about their Orthodox Church (translated by yours truly):

Wondrously (or not), the promises of a religion are similar to the promises of quasi-socialists of all times and all nations, ending in rivers of blood, mayhem and replacement of the hierarchy of those who have money by a hierarchy of those who have power (money comes to them eventually too). The equals get split into equal and more equal, the latter become the new chieftains, greedily acquiring more and more power and stepping over the bodies of their comrades, and the wheels of history will grind again - the bodies of the hopefuls.

But I learned with time that it is virtually impossible to warn the new generation of starry-eyed seekers about the realities of true and fair socialist heaven. Humans simply don't learn from their history and the old moldy slogans succeed again and again. The only answer one gets when imploring the people to look back is "yes, we know, but we'll do it right now, no mistakes and no worries". Which is, of course, patently wrong - it will go sideways the same way it has gone so many times before.

I wish I had some magic words that will wake up the dreamers. But there apparently aren't any, and better people than I am tried and tried again.

Too bad.

(*) But then, look at how so many intelligent and supposedly sane Brits sung paeans to the other piece of moldy dreck.

03 June 2017

An enemy of two states or Move Over, James Bond!

If you are a lover of spy thrillers, you will be astounded reading this article. The slight difference this time is that the article tells a real story of a real spy. A man who, according to the other pro, was
"...the most completely colorless and nondescript person I had ever seen; he could have faded into any crowd and never been noticed." Short, with alert eyes, a receding hairline, a pronounced limp, and a Brooklyn accent...
Different sources describe the man quite differently. Here comes Amazon, where Joseph Katz left a trace, compiling a book of his letters to his brother, poet Menke Katz:
Joseph Katz is the former Chief Executive Officer of Saltzman Enterprises, producers of the James Bond films in London. Living out a kind of nomadic odyssey, Mr. Katz spent time in France, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Japan and Africa, finally settling in the State of Israel. He was instrumental in the formation of the Kibbutz industries in Israel, and he served in the U.S. Merchant Marine.
And here what someone who bothered to put a short blurb in Wiki says:
Joseph Katz (1912—2004) worked for Soviet intelligence from the 1930s to the late 1940s as one of its most active liaison agents. Katz was assigned management of the “First Line,” that part of the NKGB mission aimed at recruiting selected members of the Communist Party USA. He was an agent/group leader (gruppovik) and co-owner of a Soviet front company that manufactured gloves.
Like that parable of the blind men and an elephant... Traced briefly, his life story will look like this (highlights only!): US citizen - Soviet superspy - Merchant Marine seaman - Israeli citizen and founder of kibbutz industries - British resident and inventor - a minor movie industry mogul - one of creators of James Bond character... - etc.

And through all this: Never Done Any Time In The Nick!

Well, read that darn article. Don't drool.

Hat tip: J.Z.

01 June 2017

Read and share this, so says Bibi

Our illustrious leader should seemingly be buoyed by the warm rays of sunshine directed at him from the White House, by the total absence of opposition leaders of note at home, by the unending strife among the potential enemies, by the tolerably well doing economy etc. But to rest on his laurels is not Bibi's lot, apparently. In the best tradition of various chieftains of the past, Bibi is always on guard and always looking out for the enemies who aim to dethrone him, be these enemies real or imaginary.

We all have barely recovered from the intolerable noise of his multi-year battle against the late Israel Broadcasting Authority, eventually replaced by the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation - a move that doesn't make any visible sense, having only an explanation: Bibi's unrelenting hate of the media. A man, who has a free (you don't pay for its paper version, it is free) newspaper practically of his own, could not tolerate criticism, coming out of the media owned/financed by the government, spending a good part of his valuable time for several years fighting that criticism. The fact that this media is financed by the taxpayer, who might want to hear this criticism, didn't phase Bibi at all.

And now Bibi turned his main turrets in a new direction: the enemy within. The repercussions of his recent snubbing of the German foreign minister are still not fully known or understood, but Bibi isn't stopping at this doubtful act. His rhetoric ratchets up continuously. And now he's introduced a new term into his repertoire of battle cries: "putsch". Just to make sure we are on the same page:
Putsch: A sudden and decisive change of government illegally or by force.
Here is a snapshot of his recent Facebook post:

To be fair - Bibi didn't say it by himself, he just endorsed an article (in Hebrew) from the Internet outfit called Mida. "Read and share" adds Bibi. So what is there to read and share?

The headline of the article says most of it directly:
Leftist putsch attempt: "We encourage harm to government institutions"
The article claims that the left is trying to carry out an illegal coup, with cooperation between organizations and leaders of various protests. The article also claimed that the demonstration outside the attorney general's house exposed this "truth".

Yep. A demo by a few largely irrelevant fringe elements of our generally right-leaning society is qualified as a "putsch" by a delirious journo, and our glorious leader unsubtly endorses and recommends this "slight" exaggeration. Nothing more, nothing less.

But wait, this is not all. Besides presenting several reprehensible characters who took part in the demo and were duly arrested for some excesses, the article points a finger at a person who, according to the author, is the real engine behind the "putsch". No one else but Ehud Barak, a warrior, a Chief of Staff, a PM and a defense minister in his past. Go figure...

What next? Is the next term to be introduced by Bibi to be "enemies of the people"? With all the expected consequences? Where does the paranoia of a ruler stop indeed?

Just to make it clear (in case some polite people in civil clothing come by to question me in the future): the "Leftist putsch" article referred above does describe several revolting characters of the leftie fringe groups I largely despise. I don't harbor especially warm feelings towards Mr Barak as well - for reasons not having to do with this post.

But paranoia is surely a big step on the road to madness. And Valium is not a name of a computer game, but a fairly useful medicine in many cases.

So there.

24 April 2017

Saudi Arabia - now a champion of women's rights

This is no joke, as the headline here says:

Saudi Arabia, with its dismal record on women’s rights, has been elected to the Commission on the Status of Women, a United Nations (UN) agency that is “dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women”.
The august organization in question is the most humorless bunch of bureaucrats ever, so to suspect them of perpetrating a joke will be doing them a great injustice.

But the event itself is less interesting than the reaction to it in the media. Which is close to nothing. Not a single big media outfit (so far, at least) bothered to mention the travesty. Aside of the linked above Indian source and two Israeli newspapers.  Not.   A.    Single.    One.

Deal with it as you wish. Or don't deal at all.

02 April 2017

Yevgeny Yevtushenko, RIP

No, the power of his words didn't change history. Poetry and literature never do.
He lived a difficult life, he somewhat compromised with the regime, he too "stepped on the throat of his song" from time to time to sing paeans to the devil.

But he never betrayed his friends.
But he helped many in their hour of need, saving them from under the jackboot.
But he raised to greatness time and time again.

And there weren't many like him


01 April 2017

Jeremy Corbyn as a potential savior of the Dead Sea fishermen

I am pretty sure I don't have to add any comments to the story presented in this link. And whether the author of the petition, one Ian Brown, is a successful prankster or a dimbulb of the first degree, is quite immaterial, although quite interesting by itself. His petition (snapshot below) is being supported by a number of fiery anti-Zionists, like that one:

Oh well... whatever floats their (fishing) boat.

The petition snapshot (click on it to embiggen):

17 March 2017

Nike's Pro Hijab as a stepladder to XXI century

The new foray of Nike into the Islamic fashion would have passed unmentioned on these here pages. Whatever I am and whatever I do, fashion of any kind isn't of interest to me. Normally. So, if Nike people want to expand their market to the Islamic world, more power to them. Whatever.

However, this article on this same subject (some well meaning friend sent me) suffers from so many dumb superlatives that I couldn't resist. Starting with this headline:

'Pro Hijab'​ Nike's Latest Stroke of Marketing Genius

But wait, it is just an aperitive, so to say. Here comes a pearl:
No, the hijab and accompanying "What Will They Say About You?" ad campaign is far more about Nike marketing itself to the 1.6 BILLION Muslims across the world and winning their loyalty as the Islamic world rapidly modernizes in the 21st century.
"rapidly modernizes in the 21st century" - believe it or not. Seriously?

And if you want to know what is it Nike stands for and against, here is another good one:
We are seeing a wave of Islamophobia in the United States and across the world that is unprecedented in its scale and explicitness, as Donald Trump continues his attempt to institute a "Muslim ban" and French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen talks about outright banning the hijab and "burkini" swimsuit in public.

Well, Jim Weber is the Founder & CEO at Weber PPC - Marketing and Advertising, so he knows all about selling stuff, I guess. We better listen.