21 December 2014

The latest from Hollywood

Via Hube with thanks.

20 December 2014

Victor Pelevin on political correctness and the case of prof Walter Lewin

Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought?

Victor Pelevin, one of the very few best and brightest in modern Russian literature (if not the best and brightest) has the following to say about the malady that consumes the Western civilization nowadays:
I think political correctness is justified when it allows you to preserve human dignity. When it becomes a fetish and a national cult, it is a bit ridiculous. Nobody wants linguistic He-or-shema, as in America, but in any society where different ethnicities live one next to the other, a certain minimum of politically correct clichés will not hurt. Americans are very pragmatic people. They introduced political correctness because it instantly creates a formal bridge across the emotionally charged quagmire. Call a black person a Negro and you immediately acquire a share of responsibility for the slave trade. Call him/her an African-American, and it will be easy to fire him/her. Political correctness creates clear rules, relying on which you can avoid ambiguity, although by itself political correctness is a very ambiguous thing. The essence of political correctness - a social contract in the shortest form. This is convenient because it saves time and effort...
Well, it saves also the necessity to think in many cases, but otherwise: spot on.

Update: this post and its headline updated due to the following news item :
MIT has removed the lectures of a retired faculty member from a popular online learning platform after determining that he had sexually harassed a woman on the Internet, the school’s News Office announced Monday.
I don't doubt that MIT's investigation of the case was thorough:
During the investigation, MIT also looked at additional interactions between Lewin and other online learners. According to the News Office, Lewin, 78, ended his teaching on campus in 2008 and last taught an online MITx course in 2013.
And the measure described below is totally justified, if the allegations checked out:
When the investigation of Lewin began, MIT said it instructed him not to contact any students or online learners, current or former.
However, the additional decision could have been only a rotten fruit of our PC age:
By indefinitely removing his online lectures, MIT hopes to prevent any further inappropriate behavior, the News Office said. The lectures were taken down from MITx and the broader education platform edX.
More in an excellent post by Scott Aaronson.

The Council Has Spoken!

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

19 December 2014

Our Weasel Of The Week!!

Once again, It's time to present this week's statuette of shame, The Golden Weasel!!

18 December 2014

On politicians, elections and other nonsense

The elections are coming, and the pols are getting out (or is it down?) to the mere mortals, to see and, mostly, to be seen. Like that:

Being somewhat of a (very amateur) photographer, I can't miss a superficial likeness of the above and the ubiquitous squirrel shot:

Frankly, here is another one, which I like best:

For full disclosure: nothing personal against illustrious MK and minister Naftali Bennett: his photo just jumped out at me. And, besides, he is a politician, so as such a legitimate representative of the species. Could be any other pol these days.

Watcher’s Council Nominations – Cuba Betrayed Edition

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

17 December 2014

Omar Mahmood and the goddess of Political Correctness

This post is dedicated to my friends of left persuasion, you know who you are, I bet. And I hope (nah, I know) that you'll find it in you to condemn the new generation of left wing cultural fascists that is growing among us.

The story starts with an article by a University of Michigan student Omar Mahmood, who, unfortunately for him (as it appeared to be) espouses conservative beliefs. The guy (to understand his beliefs better, you have to take a look at this article, not related to the subject matter of this post) has a misfortune to possess a sense of humor. It is true that sense of humor is a trait that is not looked upon kindly by the deadly serious promoters of extreme left and extreme right viewpoints. Which is what happened in this story.

Omar has written many other things, among them a rather nice send-up of the PC thought and, especially, PC language with its ugly Soviet-like rejection or mauling of existing words in favor of the PC neologisms. The piece was called “Do The Left Thing”. I read it before the story exploded and had me quite a few laughs. The only fault of the article, in my un-professional opinion, was its somewhat excessive length, it could have been improved by some judicious trimming.

Now I 'll let the Fox News* to take over:
Omar Mahmood, a junior majoring in literature and anthropology at the University of Michigan, lost his job as a writer for the main campus newspaper and saw his front door tattooed with angry and profane messages after he wrote a satirical column dubbed "Do the Left Thing" for another publication. Written as parody, the column sought to poke fun at people who constantly perceive “microaggressions” -- a new term for small racial or ethnically-driven snubs.
But let's slow down a bit, because there are at least two chapters to the story worth your attention. To start with - details of being fired from the campus newspaper
After his column was published last week, Mahmood tells The College Fix: “I received a call from the editorial editor [of the Daily] telling me that I had created a ‘hostile environment’ among the editorial staff and that someone had felt threatened because of what I had written … The issue had been taken to the editor in chief who procured a bylaw by which I was given an ultimatum to leave the Review or leave the Daily within a week. I was not allowed to know the name of the offended individuals.”
There is more about the bylaw and what they call "the conflict of interests" there. But, after noting the term ‘hostile environment’ (another rotten fruit of PC language), let's proceed to the second chapter. Namely the attacks on Omar Mahmood.
“These progressive students attacked Omar because they felt that he, as a Muslim, cannot also be a conservative,” Derek Draplin, a student and editor of the conservative student paper The Review, which published the parody, told FoxNews.com. "He doesn't fit their social justice agenda so they attack him, censor him, try to get him to shut up.”
The sheer idiocy of expecting a Muslim to be automatically of the left persuasion is hilarious. But the thing that never fails to disturb me: the same people who whine and protest about anything that might be conceivably presented as "muzzling" (that term, startlingly, includes criticism as well, absurd as it may sound) never hesitate to muzzle - in any way, including firing and even physically harming - anyone who thinks differently. But let's set aside the quote by Derek Draplin and move to the physical part.
On Friday night, according to Mahmood, people attacked his dorm room door, egging it and leaving copies of his satirical article with notes on the backs including “Shut the f--- up!” and “You scum embarrass us” and “DO YOU EVEN GO HERE?! LEAVE!!” along with various others, including an image of a creature with horns and another one of him with his eyes crossed out.

FoxNews.com viewed surveillance footage taken early Friday at 1:40 a.m. local time inside of Mahmood's dorm, which is for students but is run independently of the university. It showed four figures meeting in the hallway and one of them handing the other three hooded sweatshirts. The three then put on hooded sweatshirts and go to his door. Mahmood says he believes he knows who the attackers were based on the footage.
“Shut the f--- up!” indeed... this from the folks that will die defending your right to free speech... no, wait, they may have missed that concept in their PC studies...

And the university's response to that incident is by itself a shining example of bureaucratic idiocy draped in PC clothes:
“This off-campus incident has been reported to the university's Bias Response Team for follow-up,” spokesman Rick Fitzgerald told FoxNews.com. “The team will take appropriate action once information has been gathered.”
"Bias Response Team" - don't you get a feeling of total disconnect with real life seeing this? Instead of throwing the four yobs out of the university to get some serious spanking by their parents - this is what happens with barbarians on campus? Bias Response Team? You must be pulling my leg.

Meanwhile the only person who suffers the consequences of exercising his right of free speech is Omar Mahmood - but read the whole story. Shame.

Maybe it's quite the time to add another mandatory course on US campuses - Freedom of Speech 101. A course that will explain what freedom of speech really means and how it doesn't include messing with the freedom of speech of somebody you disagree with? And also explain the possible consequences of such messing?

What consequences? - you may want to ask right now. A good question too...

P.S. And if you want another typical expression of that mix of cultural fascism and idiocy - here you go:
Sir Tom Jones says he is proud that his song Delilah has become an anthem at Welsh rugby games, despite the fact it has been labelled inappropriate over claims it promotes domestic violence.

(*) Strangely or not, not a single big media outlet other than Fox News picked up the story. Which is a shame by itself, you must agree.

Our Weasel Of The Week Nominees!!


It's time again for the Watcher's Council's 'Weasel Of The Week' nominations, where we pick our choices to compete for Award the famed Golden Weasel to a public figure who particularly deserves to be slimed and mocked for his or her dastardly deeds during the week. Every Tuesday morning, tune in for the Weasel of the Week nominations and check back Thursday to see which Weasel gets the votes and walks off with the statuette of shame!

16 December 2014

Dear Amnesty International: fuck you very much

Hardly a week passes by without another broadside from Amnesty International in the general direction of the Zionists. This time, though, this outfit crossed the boundary between irresponsible and biased critic into the absurd hate-mongering.

The human rights group Amnesty International said Israel attacks on four high-rise Gaza buildings during the summer war amounted to war crimes.
This while being forced to confess that:
...no one was killed in the attacks because the Israeli military warned of the impending bombing, but many in the neighborhood were injured by debris.
So where is the war crime? Here:
Amnesty International's Phillip Luther said the destruction "was carried out deliberately and with no military justification."
And how do we know that there wasn't a justification? Just because:
Even if the Israeli authorities had good reason to believe that a part of a building was being used for military purposes, they had an obligation to choose means and methods of attack that would minimize harm to civilians and their property.
And how does Amnesty International know that there indeed was a method like that? They are not saying.

And you know what: if IDF used another method of dealing with tunnel-riddled and booby-trapped highrises that might have endangered a hair on the head of a single soldier, I (and other 99% of Israeli population) would have accused IDF of a crime against its soldiers. That simple.

As for Amnesty International: where were we? Oh yes - fuck them.

Forum:How Do You feel About The ‘Cromnibus’ Spending Bill? What Does it Signify Politically?

Every week on Monday morning , the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher's Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week's question:How Do You feel About The 'Cromnibus' Spending Bill? What Does it Signify Politically?

15 December 2014

Wayne Madsen does it again or How to be had gracefully

It's very easy for me to write another post about the illustrious Wayne Madsen, just because I have the opening ready from many other posts.

The picture above shows some kind of an overweight chipmunk doing his best to contain and suppress a humongous flatus. You can read more about Wayne Madsen here and here and here.

Wayne Madsen, if you didn't know, positions himself as a leading authority on any matter related to intelligence, basing this positioning on his (real or imaginary) experience:

Madsen was formerly a Senior Fellow of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. He has some twenty years experience in computer security and data privacy. He was a communications security analyst with the National Security Agency in the 1980s, and an intelligence officer in the US Navy.
His analytical mind serves him very well in concocting most outlandish conspiracy theories. His talents made him a much desired item on Russian TV channel RT, which specializes in outlandish, in conspiracies and in theories.

The only problem that relentlessly haunts Wayne Madsen is his disturbed mentality, where everything is connected to everything and there is no distinction between sober reality and unbridled fantasy. Of course this (and his obsession with Jooz under his bed and generally everywhere) makes him a kook of the first order. But no one proved yet that kooks couldn't be funny. And Madsen produced another hilarious inanity to beat the previous ones easily.

It started with a brilliant spoof written by Jim Wald in Times of Israel and titled Leaked report: Israel acknowledges Jews in fact Khazars; Secret plan for reverse migration to Ukraine. The article is a doozy, a "fact-based", seriously-looking and well argumented essay on a joint Israeli-Ukrainian venture to set up Jewish settlers back in Crimea and to restore the empire of Khazaria (to be renamed Chazerai - in Yiddish). You cannot lose investing a bit of your time to read it in its entirety, it is hilarious. Of course, there are tell-tale signs of a spoof from the first line of the article (Our Russian and Ukrainian correspondents Hirsh Ostropoler and I. Z. Grosser-Spass also contributed to this story, delayed due to the crisis over the Crimean referendum.) The name Hirsh Ostropoler is so easy to check...

But of course, being a bit slow and extremely eager to stick it to the Jooz, Wayne Madsen couldn't be bothered with boring pedestrian fact checking, and thus a screeching opus Israel’s Secret Plan for a "Second Israel" in Ukraine was born. As a lede, the article has the following:
The role of Jewish figures and that of the State of Israel in the Ukrainian crisis has not gone unnoticed considering that this community represents less than 1 percent of the population. However, a secret report in the hands of the Netanyahu administration confirms that Ashkenazi Jews do not originate from the Levant, but are the descendants of the Khazars. This little-known population founded a Jewish empire in the tenth century on the banks of the Black Sea. Therefore, some Zionists see in Ukraine a possible second Israel.
And its first sentence says:
The Times of Israel, an independent Israeli newspaper that counts among its staff a number of former reporters for the Israeli daily Ha’aretz, published a fascinating but largely overlooked story datelined Jerusalem and Zhitomir, Ukraine, March 16, 2014, and which was written by its respective Russian and Ukrainian correspondents, Hirsh Ostropoler and I. Z. Grosser-Spass, citing a secret report provided to the Israeli government.
I bet the late and much lamented H. Ostropoler is doing the ROFLMAO exercises in his grave since the day this phenomenal opus was published.

Of course, poor and easily duped Wayne Madsen wasn't alone for long. The incomparable David Icke, he of 6 ft lizards dominating the world, he that calls us "to fling open the door of the mental prison we build for ourselves and to walk into the light of freedom", wasn't far behind, inspired by the "expert on intelligence" and joined the fray.
Only yesterday came news that Syrian rebels plan to give Israel the Golan Heights in exchange for creation of a no-fly zone against the Assad regime. In an even bolder move, it is now revealed, Israel will withdraw its settlers from communities beyond the settlement blocs—and relocate them at least temporarily to Ukraine.
Yes, talk about mental prisons... There are many, many others who swallowed the whole story - hook, line and sinker - such as the nice folks of Stormfront who came to the yarn independently from Madsen and after a few posts were warned off by some of their more astute members.

But a special notice should be made of a Turkish poster Aangirfan, already mentioned on this blog. Well, he was mentioned as a moron, albeit not, strictly speaking, negatively. And this time he didn't disappoint too. First of all, he prefaced his post by the following colorful sentence:

A number of people suggest that the following Wayne Madsen story, which appeared at voltairenet, is based on a HOAX that appeared in a The Times of Israel blog.

However, even after warning us all about the possibility of a hoax, he, probably eager to prove he is a moron (but in a nice way, mind you), concluded his post this way:
The ultimate plans of Ukrainian Zionists ... in addition to such American allies as Assistant Secretary of State ... Victoria Nuland and U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, is to establish an autonomous Jewish region of Crimea and restore to the peninsula the original Khazarian name of Chazerai.
Chazerai* indeed... original Khazarian name... tee hee.

In short: congratulations to Jim Wald with job well done. And many happy returns. Keep the morons busy!

(*) Some of you, who don't know the meaning of this word, shouldn't be kept in the dark. So here: chazerai.

The Truth Will Out...

And there wasn't anything truer than this:

14 December 2014

Hamas appeared to admit...

After several months of blaming Israel, after proudly displaying to the world their killed and wounded (all "civilians", of course), supported by chorus of news outlets, Daily Mail itself included, we are starting to see some truth seeping through the layers of propaganda.

In a veiled confession that comes two weeks after the end of the Gaza war, a senior Hamas official said the group's fighters had no choice but to use residential areas from which to launch missiles into their neighbour's territory.
No choice indeed?  That from BBC:

Keep lying, "Hamas official". Keep swallowing this, all the rest...

The ‘Jewish state’ bill and its legitimacy

I still think that the wretched bill was wretched. Its timing and its motives didn't have a lot to do with its contents. But I never said that it was racist or that it was promoting "apartheid" (the mere use of the term usually unmasks an anti-Israeli moron).

Seven EU states have constitutional “nationhood” provisions, which typically speak of the state as being the national home and locus of self-determination for the country’s majority ethnic group.
But these seven aren't Israel...

A good review of the bill and its contents by Eugene Kontorovich.

Did Gerard Depardieu eat two lions?

He says so:

Gerard Depardieu has claimed he ate two lions after shooting them dead in self-defence in Africa, according to reports.
On the face of it:

Where was I? Oh yes, on the face of it there is no reason to doubt his words. Even if he said he ate two elephants I'll believe it. The man has it in him.

Since he is going to open three restaurants in Russia, I only hope for his clients he doesn't feed them the first animal he sees passing by the restaurant. Who knows...