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.

22 June 2017

Now trending on WoW.

Watcher of Weasels

Trump and how to beat him, according to the Guardian

Unprecedented Ice: I’m A Denier 

 Republicans Win Georgia 6 Election 

 Not Unity But Civility 

How Cats Used Humans to Conquer the World

Sweden’s Clueless Government Puzzled Over ‘Rise In Islamic Extremism’ 

 The Savage Nation – Michael Savage – June 19, 2017 Full Show 

Ecuador: Odebrecht stoolie turns in tapes of meetings with officials

 Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. 2 

 Was It Terrorism? 

 WoW! Magazine’s Forum: What Will be The End Result Of Mueller’s Investigation? 

 Democrats Place Bounty on Trump Agenda, GOP Leadership Aims to Collect 

 A Few Remarks About the DC Shootings

 Another London Terrorist Attack
Seattle: Taxing The Second Amendment And Reason

CNN's Startling Incompetence

When the Left asks us to “turn down the rhetoric” what they really mean is SHUT UP!

HuffPost Scrubs Article Calling for President Trump and GOP Leadership’s “Execution” Days Before Shooting

Bookworm Beat 6/14/17 — Never give a Leftist an opening

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.

15 March 2017

Mobileye sale and knee biters, large and small

The media, of course, is full of praise for the successful exit of Mobileye, the Israeli maker of safety and self-driving car technology, sold to Intel for a serious amount of money ($15.3B, as the media says). I, like many other folks, applaud and congratulate the company owners and employees with their success and wealth. And, seeing how some of the proceeds of that sale will inevitably end up in our treasury's pockets, I too will expect to make a shekel or two out of it in various ways our inventive ministry of finance and others will undoubtedly devise.

So it was kinda strange to see a sour face on the general background of celebration and joy. The sour face belongs to no other than our progressive Haaretz, via its reporter, one Eliran Rubin. The article in question:

Mobileye Founder After $15.3 Billion Exit: 'It’s Not the Money. We Want to Change the World'

But it is not the headline, it is the lede that caught my attention:

Amnon Shashua defends the sale of the self-driving car technology firm to Intel as essential for the company’s growth.

Have you notice that word that somehow jumped out at me when I've read this sentence? The "defends", I mean? Apparently the sale itself isn't as obviously desired step in a high tech Israeli start-up career as one might consider. Somebody had even asked Amnon Shashua why has he done it, judging by the following response:
Asked why he consented to selling Mobileye when it was riding the crest of the autonomous-car wave, with a market cap of $10 billion and alliances with some of the world’s top auto makers, Shashua said he saw it as the only way for the company to keep growing.
I can only guess who was asking and so can you.

The motive of the sale to Intel needing defence appears once again in the article:
Yesterday Netanyahu and Economy and Industry Minster Eli Cohen defended the move, saying it boosted economic growth and helped lure multinational companies to Israel.
I happened to hear part of that on radio, and the last thing that would have come to mind of the listener was that the speeches were defensive in any conceivable way. You can take it to the bank.

But nothing to do about it, I guess. Knee biters will be knee biters, no matter what. And, since small knee biters were mentioned, here is an example of one:

13 March 2017

Some women...

haven't yet got fully immersed in their newly acquired womanhood, I would guess. Witness this tweet that might cause a serious case of cognitive dissonance to a person not familiar with modern identity politics:

Danielle Muscato, a self-identified lady, looks like this:

(and no, before you ask - it is not a joke). Danielle Muscato has her site:
Danielle Muscato, formerly Dave Muscato, is an atheist activist, writer, debater, pundit, musician, and transgender woman from the United States.
So everything is legit and serious. Only, I guess, our fair Danielle still slips back into a male chauvinist role from time to time, what with the references to dick sucking and all.