17 February 2017

My unsolicited advice for Jen Psaki

I was somewhat surprised (not really) to see Jen Psaki, who used to be White House communications director and State Department spokesperson during the Obama's years in the White House, issue what the headline calls:

My unsolicited advice for Sean Spicer, Kellyanne Conway and the team

In the article Ms Psaki, from her new role as a CNN political commentator and Spring Fellow at the Georgetown Institute of Politics, dispenses free advice to the new WH communication team, advice preceded by a volley of barbs in the general direction of everyone in and near White House.

I was kinda flabbergasted by the whole performance from this totally unexpected direction. One would have imagined that Ms Psaki would do everything in her powers to distance herself from her previous job and to make the public forget about her more conspicuous moments there. I wasn't really keeping tabs on her job history, but here are three examples of her outstanding performance. I shall copy/paste a quote from the last one:
...a reporter asked if the State Department still agreed with President Barack Obama’s September claim that Yemen is the model for his successful counterterrorism strategy.

Spokesperson Jen Psaki answered, “Correct and we stand by that.”
Indeed, Ms Psaki?

Well, here is my totally unsolicited advice: come on, Jen, really. Let's cut the crap.

P.S. On a tangentially related subject: being a sexist pig, I can't avoid mentioning that Ms P. looks much better since she got rid of that previous job. Good.

15 February 2017

Vitaly Milonov and boiled Christians - a purely technical correction

Some, even many, people were discombobulated by Vitaly Milonov, a Russian MP who used his deep knowledge of history and genealogy to produce a memorable soundbite.
A pro-Kremlin Russian lawmaker came under fire Monday after saying the ancestors of local Jewish opposition figures in Saint-Petersburg “boiled Christians in cauldrons,” sparking indignation from Russia’s Jewish community.Vitaly Milonov, a Duma deputy known for his anti-gay initiatives, lashed out at the weekend at two local lawmakers leading a protest against handing over St. Isaac’s basilica, a top landmark in Russia’s second largest city, to the Russian Orthodox Church.

“Christians survived despite the fact that the ancestors of Boris Vishnevsky and Maksim Reznik boiled us in cauldrons and fed us to animals,” ultra-conservative Milonov said at a rally Sunday to support the controversial handover.
Well, I have to disappoint the budding historian: he got the boiling point incorrectly. Being of nomadic persuasion, we, the Red Sea pedestrians, have never wanted anything to do with cauldrons and other heavy kitchen implements. Not to mention the scarcity of water in our corner of the woods (figuratively speaking, there is mostly sand and stones where we are).

Our standard MO is catch it, kosher butcher it (which is a separate issue to be addressed) and cook it on an improvised spit, using spears, long swords or stout enough branch if lucky and there is a tree or two nearby. Of course, in case of emergency, tartar style could be used too. But there is a caveat or two to all this:
  • First of all, the blood: any amateur Jew-baiter knows the blood is the most important part of the deal. Especially in desert conditions, I hope I don't have to expand on this.
  • The game: of course, the preference is for children, as all above mentioned Jew-baiters and their aunt know. And, again, in the field, where a child is not available, a woman would be our second preference, for shaving your game in the desert is not an easy task.
  • And the last but not the least: of course, there are some dietary restrictions. Even such a succulent and well-fed specimen as Mr Milonov will be a low priority game for us, due to his uncanny resemblance to a forbidden (if tasty) creature. If you know what I mean. If not:

So there.

P.S. As for feeding some people to the animals: well, see caveat 3. Sometimes there is no other choice, and the protein is valuable in the field.

Addendum: About Vitaly Milonov.

This priceless interview (in two parts, two and a half minutes in total), short as it is, should be a mandatory watching for a better picture of the illustrious gentleman.

A dollop of scandalous info about the gentleman:
On December 16, 2013 Fontanka.ru, a St. Petersburg website, published an article according to which a regional charitable organization "Orthodox World", which was co-foundes by Vitaly Milonov and his wife Eva Liburkina, was paid 9.64 million rubles (around 300 thousand USD at the time) from the city budget for the activities conducted by the charity in 2012. According to the report, these funds have bought 19,280 units of food packages, the distribution of which took place before the parliamentary and presidential elections in Krasnoselsky, Kirovsky and Petrograd districts of the city in the autumn of 2011 and the first half of 2012. However, the organization "Orthodox world" itself , according to the Federal Tax Service in St. Petersburg, has been registered only on June 5, 2012, thus the contract and the invoice were dated retroactively. President of the organization (and Milonov's assistant) Alexey Knyazev said that Milonov actively participates in the work of his organization and helps it.
Well, a politician...

Those who know Russian might enjoy this brief summary of our hero's life and deeds. I've decided not to translate it, due to the prevalence of Russian unparliamentary idioms that don't easily give in to translation attempts. Juicy.

14 February 2017

Get the cross back in the beak! Please...

The flag in the picture is the national flag of Moldova that undergone a surgery recently in Tehran.
There was a scandal in Moldova in connection with the distortion of the national flag, used during the Moldovan president Igor Dodon's visit to Iran.

The Moldovan leader, who is also the president of the Chess Federation of the Republic, on Friday participated in the opening ceremony of the World Chess Championship for women in Iran. Moldovan flag was presented in honor of the president. On the coat of arms, depicted on the flag, there was no image of the cross in the beak of an eagle and no scepter. Immediately after the ceremony Dodon posted pictures on his Facebook page.

Several media outfits drew attention to the distortion of the coat of arms. Journalists have accused the head of state in profanation of official symbols, recalling that Dodon won the recent presidential election under the banner of protection of Christianity and Christian values.

Pro-presidential media protested that the president has no hand in this, as the hosts are responsible for the flag.

"For reasons of political correctness Muslim countries remove from the flags of other countries crosses and other Christian symbols. It is practiced in many Islamic states and, naturally, the president doesn't have any relation to this practice."

The publication reports that a similar pattern could be observed at the opening of an official Moldovan consulate in Antalya. In the photograph, published on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, there is no cross in the beak of an eagle.
What can I say about it? Isn't it nice when a country leader is an expert in chess, of all things?


11 February 2017

One story, two headlines

The recent arrest of four Daesh-related would be terrorists in France isn't, probably, something outstanding or even surprising these terror-filled days. However, it's interesting to watch how the coverage of the story differs from place to place.

Here is a snapshot of the front page from a French source (English version of France 24):

The gist of the story is succinctly summarized in the lede of the article:
Anti-terrorism forces arrested four people Friday in southern France, including a 16-year-old girl, and uncovered a makeshift laboratory with the explosive TATP and other ingredients for fabricating a bomb.
Nothing of substance was forgotten, even the somewhat secondary in its importance fact that one of the four plotters was a 16-year-old girl. Here is the full article, if you want to know more.

And here comes the front page from CNN, the relevant item circled in red:

As you can see, the 16-year-old girl became the main feature of the story. At least if you, like 99% of the Internet surfers, skim the surface of the front pages. If you are such a busy surfer, you might be also unaware of the sad fact that 16-year-old girls (and younger) are quite able to - and frequently do - push the button of their suicide belt, stick a knife into the back of a human being, squeeze the trigger of a gun etc. Provided sufficient motivation/brainwashing and tools, of course.

But we wouldn't want y'all to become paranoid, would we? Or to start complaining incessantly about the media? Right?

08 February 2017

The outpost law, the lawmakers and the near future

The unbearable lightness of lawmaking in Jerusalem was my personal pet peeve for a long time, as the links show. The recent advent of the so called "outpost law" only confirms this worry.

To those who would like to see it as a political issue: not on this page, please. Whether this law is the death knell for the so far mythical two state solution isn't in the scope of this post.

The hardheadedness of the 60 members of Knesset who brazenly pushed forward a law, condemned even by our own attorney general, that goes against any logic (that is, aside of "this is all our land anyway"), this stubborn insistence of ignoring the basic laws of the state (and the international laws as well) - this is very much in the scope.

To make clear what we are talking about:

On Monday night, Israeli lawmakers passed into law a measure that allows Israel to compensate Palestinians whose land has been taken over by settlers, instead of removing the outposts.

The law applies to 53 outposts and homes within existing settlements recognized by Israel as having been built on Palestinian land without a permit...
Of course, the law was immediately condemned by UN (as expected), France (same) and even by the recently visited* by our illustrious PM Britain, hours after his plane took off. But it is not the issue I want to discuss, not at all.

The coalition has decided to disregard the warning of the attorney general, the man who is supposed to serve as the midwife for the newly hatching laws. The coalition, usually having its far right firebrands and its moderates, this time decided** to follow the firebrands and to present a united stand. If I had to guess the logic of the moderate coalition members, it will be something like this: "OK, we'll show ourselves to be real Zionists and let the High Court shoot this law down, since it clearly wouldn't pass the High Court in any case". To tell you the truth, I much prefer the firebrands, at least with them you have a better chance of knowing what they think.

Unfortunately, passing of the law in Knesset bodes ill for the ever strained relations between the lawmaking branch of our government and the judicial one. Many, too many of our MKs, firebrands or not, don't seem to understand or to care about the difference between the law, the justice, the politics and the lawmakers' wishful thinking. It is far from being the first time when the High Court is pushed into another confrontation that could have been avoided, had the firebrands some respect for the law and had they listened to the attorney general.

It is not for nothing that minister Levin "attacked the legitimacy of Israel’s High Court to decide on the constitutionality of laws  (sic!) Tuesday morning, ahead of an expected challenge to a controversial law legalizing West Bank outposts passed late the night before". The minister knows very well that the High Court will be very quickly hit by a load of suits regarding the outpost law and clearly he is already preparing the ammo for the next round of attacks against the court. As for the chances of the law in the High Court, here comes a man in the know:
The bill could however still be challenged, with Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman saying last week: "The chance that it will be struck down by the Supreme Court is 100 percent."
I hope not to see our country in a situation where the future judges of the High Court will be chosen from the members of the Likud Central Committee. Is it too much to ask?

P.S. As heard on the radio: attorney general intends to present to the High Court his arguments against the outpost law, if the law is challenged in High Court (which is practically a certainty). The man who is supposed to defend parliamentary laws in court... almost never happened before.

(*) Bibi, for some strange reason, decided to let the voting on that law go ahead while he was visiting London. Be interesting to know why, although one can easily guess: this is a typical for our hero way to wash his hands of both the future success or the future demise of that law. Not that the London visit itself was a great success...

(**) With the only exception of a man who always has my respect, if sometimes I might disagree with his position: Benny Begin. He called this law "a moral travesty that legalizes theft and leaves a stain on Israel". And Begin is far from being a lefty.

05 February 2017

Trigglypuff comes to New York. A story with a twist.

(For those who have forgotten what Trigglypuff means).

Less than two months ago I have noticed certain signs of madness in the behavior of some members of American public. Since the symptoms of the malady multiplied since, it is impossible to follow every single one. The recent visit of Gavin McInnes (I had to look him up) at New York University appeared to be of a special interest to me, you shall see why if you are patient enough to get to the end of this post.

A woman who claimed she’s a “professor” — although NYU on Friday said they don’t recognize her as a faculty member — stood on a sidewalk and excoriated a large group of New York City police officers. She was outraged that police were “protecting” McInnes and his fellow “neo-Nazis” who came to hear him instead of physically assaulting them. “You should kick their ass!” the woman screamed.
Well, compared to the recent unpleasantness in Berkeley, you might consider this case to be a minor one. But wait.

The appearance of the protagonist mentioned above could be seen live in this clip (after about 10 minutes):

I have also attached the transcript of her "speech", generously offered by The Blaze, at the end* of this post. What else should be mentioned about that story? Well, Mr McInnes got a facefull of pepper spray and a roomfull of quite aggressive protesters as well for his troubles, and you can read about it in the linked above report by The Blaze. So the story could be considered over and done with? But wait.

I was interested in the mysterious professor, unrecognized by the NYU, according to Blaze. So I googled around, and the only source that has done some digging, unearthing the hero, was - believe it or not - Russian RT, the nest of conspiracy nuts, anti-Western propagandists (some of them Western, unfortunately) and other unpleasant characters and activities.

The lady's name is Rebecca Goyette, "an artist and adjunct professor at various colleges in New York" Here is one of her (more chaste, believe me) artistic appearances:

The interwebs are teeming with information about the artist, albeit not about her other occupation as "adjunct professor at various colleges". Here is her site, which can tell (and show) you quite a lot. So yes, quite a strange and wondrous phenomenon, is professor Rebecca Goyette. But here comes:

The Twist.

That same RT article went into the reasons of Ms Goyette outstanding speech. Here is what she has told the RT interviewer:
I saw some of his supporters being actively aggressive against NYU students. It turned into a big melee on his way in. Then I saw this guy, Franklin Right, wearing a red lumber jack shirt, he started a whole chant of ‘Heil Hitler’ with the Nazi salute.
While the question of who it was exactly that started the melee will be ever impossible to resolve, the point of the neo-Nazis appearance and the salute seems to be quite believable. I couldn't find any other confirmation of the mentioned Franklin Right or the salute, but there are some responses in the Youtube comments that provide some indication that this could very well be true. Just it case some zealous moderator erases it**, here is a first comment on that Youtube link:

I realize that as a confirmation of the alleged neo-Nazis appearance and the salutes, this is a very indirect one, but the general atmosphere of the place and the Nazi salutes could have made anyone to snap. So don't be too harsh on the lady, please.

Sad? You bet.

(*) Transcript of the rant by Rebecca Goyette.
Who’s protecting NYU from this bulls**t? Why are you here? You’re not here to protect these students from Nazis. No, you’re not! This is completely f***ed up. And these students had to f***ing face them on their own. You should be ashamed of yourselves! You should be standing up to those Nazis! You should be protecting students from hate! This is hate! These are f***ing assholes … you are a joke. You’re grown boys! You’re grown boys … and I’m disgusted! I’m a professor! How dare you! How dare you f***ing assholes protect neo-Nazis? F*** you! F*** you! F*** you! These are kids who are trying to learn about humanity! They’re trying to learn about human rights and against racism and xenophobia and LGBTQ rights, and you’re letting these f***ing neo-Nazis near here! You should kick their ass! You should! You should be ashamed of yourselves! You should! F*** that s**t. F*** that s**t. It’s not up to these students to kick the ass of a neo-Nazi! They don’t have to raise their fist! They were taught to be peaceful! F*** you! F*** you. I’m a professor. God f***ing damn it … you’re here to protect neo-Nazis! So f*** you! God f***ing damn it! Those kids should not have to take fists up to neo-Nazis, and you’re putting them in that situation! Go to hell. F*** you NYPD!
(**) The Youtube moderator has done his/her job indeed, the salvaged page is so far the only, and very small, part of quite a few Nazi remarks of the kind that appeared there in droves.

03 February 2017

The new brave photoshopped world

This story started with an e-mail I got from a good and well meaning friend. Here is a snapshot of the e-mail contents (click to enlarge):

The text says:
It is the anniversary of Stepan Bandera. Kyiv, January 2, 2017.
And, after this New Year procession in the capital's center, Ukraine is dreaming of help from America?
I do not even want to comment on, it's all out there ...
The mind of anyone even briefly familiar with the pro-Nazi sympathies of many Ukrainians during the WW II, with their cooperation with the Nazis and with the name of Stepan Bandera, will be easily triggered. The rightful wrath will follow inevitably, as it happened in my case, of course.

Something bothered me in the picture, though. Was it just too much to be easily believed? Or was it a feeling of proportions that were somehow wrong, if you consider the size of the depicted crowds when compared to the Christmas tree and to the size of the building in the background? I am not sure, but I have decided to do some googling with that photograph as a search item. And here are the results:
  1. It is not Kyiv (the Ukrainian capital). It is Mariupol (map at the end of the post), a city in the Donetsk Oblast, one of the targets of the Russian expansion westward and the Russian/Ukrainian strife.
  2. The date in question is not January 2, 2017 but January 16, 2015.
  3. The occasion for the gathering is not the anniversary of Stepan Bandera. It is a final gathering at the end of the procession in memory of 12 or so Ukrainians, killed in a small town near Volnovakha, on January 13, 2015, during an attack on an passenger bus at a checkpoint. Killed, needless to add, by either Russian soldiers or their allies among the Ukrainian secessionists.
And here is a video recording of the gathering in Mariupol:

You can judge by yourself the real size of the crowd, the size of the place and other proportions.
Notice that the unknown Russian Photoshop fiend used a snapshot from this same recording.

The fake picture spread like bush fire on Twitter and on various Russian and other social networks. Here is a snapshot of a single page from Google, there are many more pages with this same doctored photograph, all in all hundreds if not thousands copies.

What else can I add to the story? Well, it should be said that Ukrainian media frequently does the same to the other side, so it has become literally impossible to believe either, without having a solid confirmation from a third party. Oh, and of course, Stepan Bandera is indeed a sort of a saint for many Ukrainians to this day, and no worries on that account...

Map of Ukraine, with Mariupol accented (and Kyiv present, quite far away, too).

31 January 2017

How men lost the upright micturition war

This post will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the emergence of the whole unisex/multi-gender/inclusive toilet (or so called "toilet war") issue was a clever subterfuge, secretly advanced by militant feminists*. The subterfuge, that eventually succeeded, resulting in the appearance and proliferation of such toilets, was meant to circumvent the resistance of the male population that protected their right to upright micturition (or pissing while standing, in simple words). All this, of course, due to shortsightedness and general slowness of the male population.

A bit of history. Frontal attack.

The war against the male habit of upright micturition started a long time ago. At the beginning (mid-nineties of the previous century) the militant feminists didn't hide the reasons for their irritation with this habit:
Young women in Sweden, Germany and Australia have a new cause: They want men to sit down while urinating. This demand comes partly from concerns about hygiene -- avoiding the splash factor -- but, as Jasper Gerard reports in the English magazine The Spectator, "more crucially because a man standing up to urinate is deemed to be triumphing in his masculinity, and by extension, degrading women." One argument is that if women can't do it, then men shouldn't either. Another is that standing upright while relieving oneself is "a nasty macho gesture," suggestive of male violence.
Of course, the real reason for this attack was the ancient and unabating irritation of the women by the long lines at every public restroom for the better gender. The urinals that cause lack of similar queues at the men's restrooms, in other words.

But the war, started at such high and aggressive tones, obviously couldn't be won. The males as a whole stood firm against such crude accusations and didn't budge. Several years later the approach changed and, instead of the crude frontal attack, a note of care was inserted:
Known as a socialist and feminist organization, the party claims that seated urination is more hygienic for men — the practice decreases the likelihood of puddles and other unwanted residue forming in the stall — in addition to being better for a man’s health by more effectively emptying one’s bladder, The Local reported.
Of course, there is more than a grain of truth in the mention of puddles, although the "other unwanted residue" crack will be never explained, I'm afraid. And thus cleanliness and health angle appeared, being more acceptable to some of the men, whose unity started to unravel, if this Guardian article is to be the witness.
If you’ve ever wondered how men achieved their cultural dominance in the world, I’m pretty sure I know what happened.
Yes, of course, it is all due to that accursed upright micturition. You bet. Anyway, even the softer approach failed to rid the world of the urinals.

Change of direction.

Viewing the obvious defeat of the frontal attack, the feminists started looking for other ways to tackle the problem. At its low point, the "if you can't beat them, join them" approach was briefly considered.

But of course, such defeatist attitude couldn't be accepted by the majority of the feminist public and was rejected by all, except fringe pacifist elements, whose survival rate is exceedingly low nowadays. New approach to the permanent abolition of the much hated men's urinals was urgently needed.

And it was found in the swiftly raising self-awareness of the hitherto ignored and oppressed genders. I am, of course, not talking here about the more established and venerable lesbian, gay or bisexual folk, but of more exotic varieties, such as questioning, flexual, asexual, genderfuck, polyamourous etc. If you really want to know how many genders are out there, good luck to you. Googling will show you anything between 31 and 97 possibilities, depending on the source.

And how the emergence of all these genders is linked to the Great Urinal War, you might ask - especially if you are naive or male (which is, apparently, more of a synonym than previously considered). The answer is: by complicating the issue of who is allowed/entitled/wants to use which toilet to the point when it might be simpler to micturate on the spot where you are currently located than to figure out which restroom is a better fit for the gender you currently identify with.

As usual in a complicated situation like this one, the powers that be responded by a simplest possible solution:

Which solution while being touted as inclusive, surely doesn't include the beloved urinal, you can take it to the bank.

Of course, the urinals weren't the main target of the multi-gender awareness campaign, rather a side benefit, but don't let yourself into a false belief that it was an unintended one. Surely some genius was busily at work behind this move, coldly and rationally calculating all the possible and desired outcomes of the campaign. And, as we can see now, winning it.

What is left?

Frankly not much. In a short time all the existing urinals will be a memory. Of course, desperate measures like pissing on the walls, are still out there, but only for the hardcore folks, whose life expectancy is short anyhow. Some of us might count on secluded areas like forests, deserts, swimming pools etc. But technology and roaming gangs of vigilantes will put an end to all such attempts to micturate anywhere but it specially designated facilities. And these gangs will be equipped with all the required technology, no doubt.

And what, you might ask, will prevent the male user from micturating upright in the seclusion of a private stall in these facilities? Ha! - is the most fitting answer to such naivety. Surely these facilities will be soon equipped with enough electronics to prevent such attempts and make the outcome as painful as possible. Not to mention the obvious: enforced addition of needed sensors to your all-seeing and all-hearing smartphone, which will squeal to the authorities the moment you even think of...

So, ze / zir - please join the line**, with all the other LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM... people, and wait patiently for your turn in the stall. And yes - sit down, please!

Or else.

(*) Just to make sure you understand that "feminist" is not a gender designation in any way, sense or meaning in this text.
(**) Unless, of course, you are Brian Eno.

26 January 2017

Secret Service vets shocked. Me too.

Since I pledged to refrain from politics for some not strictly defined time, here is a non-political post, caused by this Fox article:

Secret Service vets shocked at agent's claim she won't take a bullet for Trump

I totally understand the Secret Service people. I am shocked too. After all, why would a person disclose publicly what everyone is thinking? Shame.

And, to illustrate that it is nothing new, here is an old Soviet era story:

Two bodyguards, one of the American president and one of the Soviet premier, meet in the after hours over a beer (a vodka, if you will). "Will you take a bullet for your Man?", asks the Soviet bodyguard. "What, do you think I am crazy? Why would I?", answers the American, "I have a family, children,... And what about you?"

"What, do you think I am crazy? I sure would. I have a family, children,... ", answers the Russian.

As for the public acts that should be shamed, here is another old joke, this time an Israeli one.

Swimming pool lifeguard shouting at a customer: "Sir, I know that everyone pisses in the pool, but why do it from the diving board?".

So there.

19 January 2017

Man, do your duty! Or else...

The notorious State Duma Deputy, Yelena Mizulina, has already appeared on these pages. Twice, and I've used the same picture of her twice, which is really doing an injustice to the lady. So here is another one:

This time Ms Mizulina turned to a new domain for her unerring sense of problem solving: the male performance in their marital beds. Here is the article, translated mostly by Google, with some nudges here and there from yours truly.
State Duma Deputy, Yelena Mizulina from the party "Fair Russia", Chairman of the Duma Committee on Family Affairs, Doctor of Jurisprudence proposes to introduce a penalty for men for failing to perform their marital duty.

- The family is a social unit, - says Mizulina, - evasion of execution of marital duty is an evasion of duty to the community. If a man for no apparent reason (eg health-related.) systematically fails to fulfill his conjugal duty, or executes it carelessly to get done with it - he must pay a fine to the State. This measure will further strengthen the family and improve the morale in the country. And adultery must be punished as treason - by imprisonment. It is proposed to set the quota of execution of marital duty in Russia for men aged up to 45 years - to 1 time per week. For older people, this rate can be reduced.
The idea looks good, but I would suggest that for the public to get into the spirit of the thing, a few public executions here and there, from time to time, would be helpful.

So there.

15 December 2016

Putin as the big bad wolf of XXI century

This post is a sequel to previous one on the mayhem caused to the 2016 elections in US of A. It is inspired by the article:

U.S. Officials: Putin Personally Involved in U.S. Election Hack

I don't see any reason to disbelieve that claim. Putin has the necessary mentality of a mid level KGB officer, which was his last rank, and of course he would have wanted to be a part of this specific bit of nefarious dealings. And, as already mentioned previously, CIA does have a gift of perfect hindsight vision.

What bothers me somewhat is the storm of indignation coming out from all directions of American political spectrum. It is as if the incessant scandals related to NSA and its various tentacles eavesdropping on everything that goes on around the globe, be it a phone call, an e-mail or an Internet site, never happened. And if you are trying to tell me that no US secret outfit ever performed a B&E on any foreign computer, please pull my other leg.

And of course, the spooks in other countries, friendly or not, are quite busy doing the same to their allies, enemies and everyone in between, so let's stop playing that injured innocence drama, it just doesn't wash. This was re indignation.

About this analysis of Russian motives:
Putin's objectives were multifaceted, a high-level intelligence source told NBC News. What began as a "vendetta" against Hillary Clinton morphed into an effort to show corruption in American politics and to "split off key American allies by creating the image that [other countries] couldn't depend on the U.S. to be a credible global leader anymore," the official said.
I don't have any problems with the "vendetta" point, nor with the "effort to show corruption in American politics" - the true DNC material that was publicly uncovered has done both quite well. Shouldn't all Americans be bipartisanly grateful to Putin for that disclosure? - is another question I've never succeeded to get a coherent answer to.

As for creating the image mentioned above: that objective is really funny: I was quite confident that the 8 years of the last administration accomplished it quite well. Why should Putin bother?

In short: the outfit that usually learns about many key events happening on this globe from TV should really restrict its collective imagination and leave the analysis like this to tea leaves readers.

The list of atrocities caused by the big bad wolf is growing, branching out to things like this one:

Labour MP claims it's 'highly probable' Russia interfered with Brexit

And, once an example of blaming one's problem on somebody else was given, there will be no end to it, obviously. You must check out this inanity as well.

Russia may organise migrant sex attacks in Europe to make Angela Merkel lose German elections, EU experts claim

These same experts who allowed NSA, CIA and, I bet, uncounted other secret services to listen to the phone conversations of their leaders, try to predict the future? Spare me, please.

And now to quote myself, to finish on an upbeat note:

Have you noticed the other positive thing that came out of the Moscow hacking scandal? Lately many transgressions that people were routinely ascribing to the Jooz are blamed on Kremlin.

Kinda breath of fresh air.

On the negative side, we are becoming much less fearsome. Hmm...

14 December 2016

Service announcement: fellow Americans, you are certifiably mad!

Starting the post with a personal conclusion: I am so glad that I've decided a few months ago to sit out the whole US elections process on the fence. Only now I understand how any other move would have been dangerous for the puny remnants of my sanity. And how I would have been raving against my screen these days for or against this or other breach of elections' purity, popular vote, hacking, tampering, dark forces on this or another front etc. etc.

And even sitting on the fence, I have been somewhat swept by the wave of popular wrath directed at Moscow, who, according to so many pundits, swayed the result of the elections into that impossible direction. As a lot of other people, I have missed the point where the popular wrath against the popular and handy big bad wolf totally obscured the info that this bad wolf was (or wasn't, whatever) providing.

The penny dropped for me only after reading this article:

The Kremlin Didn’t Sink Hillary—Obama Did

The author, John Schindler "is a security expert and former National Security Agency analyst and counterintelligence officer"*. He is definitely a man with an agenda, good or bad is not for me to say. I am not even remotely interested (for now) in the main thrust of his peace, no matter whether he is right or wrong. Something else caught my attention. Namely the two following quotes:

To anybody acquainted with well-honed Moscow agitprop techniques, this was no more than old-style KGB Active Measures sped up for the Internet age. That said, the threat posed by this online disinformation offensive is real, as I and other experts counseled years ago (in my case, beginning with the defection of Edward Snowden to Moscow in June 2013). However, it was frankly difficult to get the mainstream media interested in this rising problem—at least until the Kremlin’s disinformation machine went after Hillary, as it did in 2016 with gusto.
Notice the repeat appearance of the word "disinformation". Here is the second quote:
By refusing to debunk noxious Russian lies, Obama encouraged Putin to tell more of them—including about Hillary Clinton. This culminated in the Russian intelligence operation which employed Wikileaks as a front to disseminate Democratic emails which had been intercepted by Moscow—as I told you months ago, and which the National Security Agency has recently admitted.
Notice the words "noxious Russian lies".

And here it clinched for me. Ladies and gentlemen: when the best and brightest among you, pro-Hillary or pro-Trump no matter, apply the term "disinformation" aka "noxious Russian lies" to a great deal of totally valid information that was delivered into your hands gratis, whether by a well-meaning whistleblower or a bad conniving bastard in Moscow (or both), you all are guilty not only of a crime against an English dictionary, but of monumental, certifiable madness.

Disinformation: Misinformation that is deliberately disseminated in order to influence or confuse rivals (foreign enemies or business competitors etc.)

Information: A collection of facts from which conclusions may be drawn.

So there. I feel much better now. And I continue my fence straddling meanwhile, not that we don't have our own elections looming. Get better soon, Americans, I have some vested interests in your sanity.

Yes: and read this indeed.

Hillary Clinton Lost. Get Over It And Stop Blaming Russia, WikiLeaks And ‘Fake’ News

A rare sign of sobriety in the witches cauldron of madness.

(*) Of course, it is not up to me to verify the pedigree of the man.

Energy Expenditure during Sexual Activity and Political Correctness

I have always been partial to a well turned out, well financed and well documented totally useless research, of which there are so many variations in so many nests of learning in this world (examples in the addendum). Lately, though, with the onset of Political Correctness, one should be more tuned into the whys and hows of the scientific progress and be more attentive to subtle nuances, hitherto missed.

One such questionable research, which I am bringing to your attention, was outrageously conceived and sloppily performed in Université du Québec à Montréal. Its purpose was, ostensibly, "To determine energy expenditure in kilocalories (kcal) during sexual activity in young healthy couples in their natural environment and compare it to a session of endurance exercise". A worthy endeavor by all means, you would say. But wait. Here is the first stumbling block:
The study population consisted of twenty one heterosexual couples (age: 22.6 ± 2.8 years old) from the Montreal region.
I don't even know where to start with this extremely offensive confession of amoral and absolutely politically incorrect choice of the study group. Here comes the (unsorted) list of blunders:
  • Ageism. Where are the middle-aged and senior citizens? Excluded.
  • Anti-multiculturalism: Where are the different religions, sects, atheists etc.? Excluded.
  • Lack of gender recognition. The acronym LGBTQQIP2SAA barely starts to describe the wonderful world of different gender persuasions. Where are all these genders represented in this study? Excluded.
  • Political blindness. It is (anecdotally) known that people of different political orientation have different approaches to expending their energy on sexual activity. Excluded.
  • Lack of control group. Why there wasn't a control group, made out of all the above mentioned folks NOT being able to be sexually active, doing instead something else? Like watching a football game on TV? Excluded.
The list of glaring examples of lack of inclusiveness could go on and on. But even this inadequate study brought at least one result worthy of attention:
Mean energy expenditure during sexual activity was 101 kCal or 4.2 kCal/min in men and 69.1 kCal or 3.1 kCal/min in women.
Of course, it is fruit from a poisoned tree. Still, the measured lack of gender equality, at least in Montréal, Canada, is extremely worrying, and UN should want to address it urgently. While these numbers might explain the longer life expectancy of the female population, the sacred principle of gender equality doesn't care about side effects. So there.

As for the whole unfortunate un-PC research: Redo From Scratch!

Addendum: selected examples of research

Testosterone is what drives men's desire to own fast cars.

Pet owners should swap cats and dogs for creatures they can eat.

Cat owners cleverer than dog owners.

Study links chocolate and depression.

Vegetarian dinosaurs' flatulence may have warmed Earth.

Wet objects are easier to handle with wrinkled fingers than with dry, smooth ones.

Men going thin on top may be more likely to have heart problems than their friends with a full head of hair.

Researchers say wearing bra 'false necessity'.

Monsanto Cucumbers Cause Genital Baldness.

Men with smaller testicles more likely to be involved with nappy changing, feeding and bath time.

A woman's sex drive begins to plummet once she is in a secure relationship.

10 December 2016

Russian hacking of US elections process: for Trump or against Hillary?

After several months of indecision, CIA came out swinging. The result is expressed in a WaPo headline:

Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House

The article leaves at least one line of investigation untouched. It also puts the headline's conclusion (Russians rooting for Trump) as the final one. Of course, WaPo is not a PR branch of CIA, but if in that article WaPo faithfully reproduced the CIA findings, they (the findings) smell fishy. It is not unheard of that this mighty intelligence outfit fails to produce a correct assessment of the goings on. But in most cases it was related to predictions and not to the analysis of the past affairs - the hindsight so far worked OK. More or less.

I am not challenging the conclusion about the Russian involvement, far from it. After all, if European media, talking heads and others were so heavily involved in the US elections process, why would SVR/KGB stay away from the occasion to muddy the waters?

Nope, the point that I still can't agree with is the insistence that Russians rooted for Trump. Russian style of managing their international affairs always favored stable and predictable leaders in the seats of power abroad. Why would Russia work to help out a totally unpredictable and mercurial one like Trump and not Hillary, much more stable and predictable? Highly doubtful.

We have to look at the timing and the contents of the leaks to understand their purpose. That same WaPo has quite clearly stated at the time what was the intention of the leaks:

Many of the most damaging emails suggest the committee was actively trying to undermine Bernie Sanders's presidential campaign. Basically all of these examples came late in the primary -- after Hillary Clinton was clearly headed for victory -- but they belie the national party committee's stated neutrality in the race even at that late stage.
Lots of other leaks attacked Hillary directly, of course:
Long before Hillary Clinton called millions of Americans a “basket of deplorables,” her top campaign advisers and liberal allies openly mocked Catholics, Southerners and a host of other groups, according to newly released emails that offer a stunning window into the vitriol inside the Clinton world less than a month before Election Day.
The emails, published by WikiLeaks after a hack of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s private account, also show Clinton campaign officials and Democratic leaders disparaging supporters of Sen. Bernard Sanders as “self-righteous” whiners, calling Hispanic party leaders such as Bill Richardson “needy Latinos,” labeling CNN anchor Jake Tapper “a d—k” and even lambasting longtime Clinton ally Sidney Blumenthal.
Yes, Hillary clearly was the target, but was the leaking campaign inspired by support for Trump? The timing doesn't figure. The leaks came when the main focus of Hillary's campaign was one Bernard Sanders.

I would say that if there was active SVR involvement, knowing the Russian penchant for predictability and deeply rooted sympathies for the left and far left, the goal was to help out Bern. And this is the line of inquiry totally neglected by the high and mighty in CIA. Why had CIA chosen to produce a conclusion that seems to be so detached from reality? Beats me. Consider me confused. Like this:

04 December 2016

Glenn Greenwald remains a blubbering idiot

I could care less about the far right and far left. The best deal would have been to place them together on an island and watch them exterminate one another. And yes, I am aware of the sad fact that today they will find so much in common that this unification project will miss its point.

But, as the Hon. Elder correctly writes, there always will be a somewhat pleasurable pastime of checking up on some blubbering idiots, to ensure they are what they are. This priceless quote does it:

Any party driven by antipathy toward Muslims will obviously find common cause with an Israeli government that has spent decades occupying, bombing, and denying basic political rights to Muslims.
I see... so, according to the blubbering idiot, the root cause of the whole I/P issue is Islamophobia (see how adept I am in using the modern lingo?).

Blubbering idiocy confirmed. Now read the whole post, linked above. It is good, I promise.