31 December 2013

Republican Punk – A Book Review

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton of NoisyRoom.net.

(Cross-posted with permission of the author)

Get your copy today at Amazon.com

I received a copy of Jason Price’s Republican Punk a short while ago. With the holidays, it took a bit to get to it, but once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down. Frankly, the book is a great escape from everything that is going on out there. Well written, with a great plot and characters — I heartily recommend the book.
Here is the overview of the book:
Jack Turner lives a content life as a devoted family man and small-business owner. That is, until the day he confronts a politician at a staged rally. When footage of the encounter goes viral, the self-described “everyday, hard-workin’ American” becomes an unlikely celebrity.
Traveling in a used Winnebago with his family and close friends, Jack leads a national movement to save America from the fat cats and bureaucrats-one city at a time. His overnight fame attracts the attention of wealthy Republican Party financiers; and his popular cross-country tour soon explodes into a full-fledged campaign for the Party’s nomination.
But Jack’s resolve is tested when rumors surface of an internal coup. As tensions rise, and his poll numbers fall, he realizes his greatest threat isn’t a single candidate but the Party itself-a powerful enemy who will stop at nothing to ensure his defeat.
Ah, life imitates art, but with a twist. Whereas Jack Turner is a good guy, John Boehner is not. And an internal coup of the Republican Party is coming, with the Tea Party leading the charge into the fray. If you look at the story from the Tea Party’s point of view in the House, the Republican party is indeed a powerful enemy. So, you can see why I am enamored with the storyline.

Jack Turner could be any one of us… he certainly could be Joe the Plumber. In fact, aside from being a great read, this book should be a clarion call for those who can, to step into the battle and fight now as never before. Either in the political arena, at protests or at a key board… we are all Jack Turner now. The Tea Party is viral and is the basis for a return to Constitutional foundations. This is a book for our times and cheaper than therapy. Seriously.

Buy Jason Price’s Republican Punk today. It will make an awesome Christmas gift or a holiday release valve. Think of it as survival enhancement.

30 December 2013

Holy boobs? FEMEN's female warriors push their protest of Xmas in Bethlehem

This is what the regional pundits from Albawaba say. Being a sympathizer of this wondrous team of Ukrainian ladies, I was eagerly anticipating their appearance in Bethlehem, but it didn't materialize after all, at least not so far. So all I have to offer is a picture from some other holy location, but a recent one, at least:

Hm... I don't know... is a religious cleric allowed to tackle a semi-nude lady in this decidedly un-gentlemanly way?

You tell me. As for the statement "I am God" on the front parts of the lady: could we agree on "Goddess"?

Three F-words in one headline: Fat, Female and French

Wow, this is awesome.

And, digging a bit more in the text, I could find:

  • French Female Figures
  • Fat Feels Free
  • French Fries Fantasy
  • Firm Flesh Fetish

Nuff Fun...

29 December 2013

A little cop taxi that could

Citizens of Tel Aviv were surprised to see this strange hybrid car on the streets:

Aside of saying "Police on the standard police-colored front door and "Taxi" on the rear door, the bottom line says "Choose your drive".

The hood (bonnet for some) carries more information on the difference between the two possible drives:

What is presented here is a list of fines and other financial punishments inflicted on a drunk driver caught in flagrante. Coming up to a round sum of 25,000 NIS (around $7,000). That against an average of 50 NIS for a taxi ride.

The only problem with this PR gimmick I can see is the dearth of the cop taxis promoting this message. A TV and/or Internet campaign could have gotten the message further, I believe. So consider this my personal humble contribution.

Er... and if it counts, please be considerate if in the future I happen to be... you know...

Palestine celebrates the birth of one of its own, Jesus Christ.

By Petra Marquardt-Bigman.

Rule 5: Fernanda Lima vs Ayatollahs - 1:0

One could mix football and nice people. One shouldn't mix football with nice people and medieval fanatics. Here is a fair example of nice people:

This is Fernanda Lima, a Brazilian actress, model and television host. And here is the story:
Celebrities are often abused on social media, but Brazilian supermodel Fernanda Lima got more than her share after she hosted last week's draw for next year's World Cup soccer tournament.

Lima assisted a FIFA official in pulling the names of countries out of a bowl and sorting them into groups. That's probably not controversial — unless you happen to live in a conservative country, like Iran.

The problem: Fernanda Lima was wearing a tight, gold-colored dress with a rather revealing neckline — not a big thing in Brazil and elsewhere. The outfit was quite popular with many viewers around the world.

There were lots of positive comments on social media. But in Iran, it was a completely different story. The Islamic Republic doesn't allow women deemed to be dressed immodestly on television, so every time the camera focused on Lima, the picture was dropped on Iranian TV.

This made for terrible viewing for Iranian soccer fans waiting to find out who Iran was going to be playing at the World Cup.
So, to soothe the feelings of some overly pious football fans and, especially, their spiritual masters, the Ayatollahs, here comes Fernanda Lima in a proper dress:

Take it or leave it, but this is the last offer.

28 December 2013

Turkish blues

Turkey is a turmoil, its strongman Erdogan is rapidly losing his grip on the public opinion. And going to desperate lengths to douse the fire. In his usual maddened bull manner, Erdogan lashes out at anything that crosses his field of vision:
Shaken by a massive corruption scandal sweeping his government, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has publicly lashed out at many diverse groups which he accused of conspiring with foreign elements abroad to take down his ruling Justice and Development (AK Party) government.
While the sweeping accusations, so typical for the character in question, are as usual worthless and baseless, there is one point where Erdoğan could be right:
In several veiled references to the Hizmet movement, inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen who has been critical of the government for trying to derail the corruption investigation, the prime minister claimed that the operation was orchestrated by “gangs” and a “parallel state.”
Fethullah Gülen: this name may appear more and more in future reports about Turkey.

(No, it's not one of the Robert De Niro's sourpuss moments)

The big question is: what, if anything, does Fethullah Gülen's possible dive into Turkish politics promise? And the answer is: we should be wary.

Turkey is, most probably, a single most important ally of United States and European Union in the area. With its population of 76 million, rapidly growing economy and traditionally strong army, Turkey's strategic location, bordering Balkan states on its European side, Georgia, Armenia, Iran, Iraq and Syria on its Asian side and straddling the only sea route from the Black Sea to Mediterranean, is unique. This location provided priceless service to the Western allies during the Cold War and continues to be extremely important nowadays, even with the courting of Iran by the current White House dweller and his administration. The following statement from a Congressional research paper gives a brief of the Turkey-US alliance.
The United States and Turkey have enjoyed a decades-long alliance. The calculations that led the United States to invest heavily in Turkey’s defense and its military and economic development during the Cold War have evolved as the dynamics within both countries and the regional and global environments have changed. Another change has been Turkey’s decreased dependence on U.S. material support and its increased assertiveness as a foreign policy actor.

At the outset of the Obama Administration, U.S. officials made clear their intent to emphasize the importance of a multifaceted strategic relationship with Turkey. In April 2009, President Obama, speaking of a “model partnership,” visited Turkey during his first presidential trip abroad and addressed the Parliament in Ankara. He said that “Turkey is a critical ally.... And Turkey and the United States must stand together—and work together — to overcome the challenges of our time.”
The next paragraph, however, introduces a rather chilly note:
However, subsequent Turkish and U.S. actions and statements on issues relating to Armenia, Iran, and Israel revealed possible tensions between the United States and Turkey on values and priorities. A vote in March 2010 by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs to report a proposed resolution (H.Res. 252) for consideration by the full House on the question of a possible Armenian genocide led Turkey to temporarily recall its ambassador. A number of events that followed — especially the Gaza flotilla incident and a U.N. Security Council sanctions vote on Iran — led some Members of Congress and Administration officials to openly question Turkey’s orientation as a U.S. and Western ally. They expressed concerns that Turkish leaders’ rhetoric and actions were (1) undermining a top U.S. priority in the Iranian nuclear issue and (2) at odds with the U.S. characterization of Israel as an ally and Iran as a threat.
These critical remarks, which are only a part of a lot more criticism (see the paper), don't reflect Turkish views on the matter. Turkey has its own reasons to be unhappy with the treatment it receives from its Western allies, especially from European Union. The unending saga of Turkey's attempts to qualify for the membership of that august institution is a permanent open sore in Turkish view, one that is made more irritating from time to time by a thoughtless and condescending remark of this or another European politician. And, of course, the rising wave of Islam in Turkey is only assisted by this European behavior in Turkish growing tendency to look Eastward.

But of course, nothing could be considered said about the modern Turkey without mentioning its mercurial and bullish leader, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. A charismatic leader, further buoyed by undeniable strides in Turkish economy during 11 years of his party's rule, he has used these years to get rid of all possible competition, starting with a consistent persecution of the heads of Turkish army. The army that was supposed to be a main part of the safeguarding mechanism, protecting Turkish republic from turning into a Islamic theocracy. Erdoğan doesn't mince words and doesn't suffer any kind of opposition. Turkey is at the head of the list where incarcerated journalists are concerned (70 journalists in Turkey are currently being prosecuted and kept in jail all over the country). And his way of dealing with opposition of a "pedestrian" civil kind became clear after the Taksim park.

On international scene Erdoğan got infamous due to his outbursts, threats and "diplomatc histrionics", frequently using expulsion (or recall) of ambassadors and similar measures to register his displeasure with what he perceives as acts insulting his personal or Turkish honor. During the years of his rule he didn't make many friends abroad, mildly speaking.

The man is nearing the end of his last term as prime minister, and there are persistent rumors that he intends to run for the post of president, with subsequent redefinition of the roles and responsibilities of presidential and PM's positions. No guessing about his reasoning allowed...

And here we come to the mystery of Fethullah Gülen. The mystery is not related to his bio. The first paragraph of his Wiki entry is quite clear:
Muhammed Fethullah Gülen (born 27 April 1941) is a Turkish writer, former imam and preacher and Islamic opinion leader. He is the founder of the Gülen movement. He currently lives in a self-imposed exile in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, United States.
The mystery lies, first of all in the somewhat controversial description of a man as a moderate Muslim:
Gülen teaches an Anatolian (Hanafi) version of Islam, deriving from Sunni Muslim scholar Bediüzzaman Said Nursi's teachings and modernizes them. Gülen has stated his belief in science, interfaith dialogue among the People of the Book, and multi-party democracy. He has initiated such dialogue with the Vatican and some Jewish organizations.
Which description kind of clashes with the next paragraph:
Gülen is actively involved in the societal debate concerning the future of the Turkish state, and Islam in the modern world. He has been described in the English-language media as "one of the world's most important Muslim figures." In the Turkish context Gülen appears relatively conservative and religiously observant.
So, a conservative and religiously observant Muslim, who also denounced terrorism more than once - witness his condemnation of 9/11 attack and his criticism of the Turkish-led flotilla with its tragic consequences. Anyway, it is a rather complicated picture of a man who is allegedly behind the current drive to depose the Erdoğan's government. The picture is made even more complicated by the fact that, while in the U.S. in 1999 for medical treatment, Gülen was charged in Turkey with attempting to create an Islamic state. Notice that charges were brought by pre-Erdoğan, ostensibly secular government.

So, both Erdoğan and Gülen are seemingly striving to reach the same goal: Islamic Turkey. While the former is more authoritarian and bullish, the latter is more moderate and considerate, to the point of allowing the secular state to exist, at least for some time.
According to Gulen in democratic-secular countries, ninety-five percent of Islamic principles are permissible and practically feasible, and there is no problem with them. The remaining five percent are not worth fighting for.
However, one shouldn't forget that Erdoğan owes his initial success in Turkish elections to Hizmet movement, created and nurtured to this day by Gülen.
Gulen has been running one of the most influential lobbies in Turkey today, known as the Hizmet Movement. Having been persecuted by Turkey's pre-AK Party government, that had heavily cracked down on all open displays of religion after the February 28, 1997 military coup that ousted former prime minister Necmettin Erbakan, the movement was forced to go underground.

However, with the organization, funding and determination of his followers, Gulen succeeded in raising lawyers, security officials, politicians, lobbyists, diplomats, businessmen and academics who cemented their spot in influential positions across Turkey. With their support, Recep Tayyip Erdogan was voted into office in 2002, under whom their movement flourished both in and outside of Turkey.
Strangely, the first signs of mutual dissatisfaction are ascribed in the same article to the case of Turkish flotilla:
...cracks began to show in the relationship between Erdogan and Gulen in May 2010, when Turkish charity IHH organized an international flotilla to deliver aid to the blockaded Palestinians of Gaza. Following the failed attempt to break the Israeli blockade, which resulted in the killing of 9 Turkish activists when Israeli commandos raided the Mavi Marmara ship in international waters, Gulen expressed his disapproval of the mission.
Since we all know by now how does Mr Erdoğan treat any criticism, the consequences are quite clear. With Gülen, however, the bullying doesn't work. First of all, the man stays in Pennsylvania for now and secondly, he has millions of devote followers in Turkey and tens (or hundreds by now) of thousands of grateful graduates of reportedly excellent Gülen schools, which is a phenomenon worth discussing separately.

Gülen was mostly quiet on the latest developments in Turkey, for reasons of his own, but recently his patience came to an end:
Gülen said there is an “assymetrical assault” on the Hizmet movement and that there is an effort to finish it off. He urged members of the Hizmet movement to stand firm and trust in God.

He said some crimes constitute a “violation of rights of the public” and that the Islamic law and modern legal system don’t allow “tolerance” in these cases.

“The issue is about the rights of the public. If the public property is being robbed, you cannot somehow soften this [crime] by either regulations or demagogy and dialectics. This is the right of the public. ... If someone overlooks this, then they are acting jointly with that thiefs. There you cannot ignore that,” Gülen underlined.
This article is also very interesting because of its hints about the extent of Gülen's Hismet movement and its influence in the country, such as:
Some rough statistics claimed that 95% of the police personnel department belonged to the Gülen movement.
It is early days so far, and predicting how the fight between Erdoğan/AKP and Gülen/Hizmet will turn out is not an easy task. Erdoğan has a lot of rabbits to pull out of his hat, and he is not too choosy about the means used to reach his goals. The wave of purges in the police, since the corruption investigation became public, shows this only too well, and the same fate may be in wait for the members of judiciary too keen on proceeding with this investigation further. Nothing is decided yet.

But there is another issue that keeps buzzing in the back of my mind. Remember this guy?

Remember his (not very uncomfortable) years of exile in all kinds of places, including Paris, France?

Remember how moderate and peaceful it all ended?

Lest we forget.

More nitty-gritty on the current situation in Turkey, from a man in the know.
State Department is getting pissed off.
The site of Zaman, Turkish daily news outfit identified with Gülen, seems to be unavailable most of the time.
From Hurryet: 'Ruling AKP totally corrupt, should allow full probe', says MHP leader
And so far it looks that  Erdoğan may still get the upper hand...

‘It’s Christmas in Richmond Tonight’ – New Christmas Song by Tom White

As already reported on this blog, Tom White, a fellow of the esteemed Council, beside being an eminent blogger, US Navy Veteran, owner of an Insurance Agency and currently an IT Manager for a Virginia Distributor - besides all this, is a mean songwriter and singer as well. And here comes his latest:

With a belated Merry Christmas, of course.

The Council Has Spoken!

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

27 December 2013

Abu Musaab Wajdi Akkari: Saying 'Merry Christmas' Is Worse Than Fornication, Alcohol, Or Killing Someone

Abu Musaab Wajdi Akkari, a Lebanese Muslim cleric, has a pretty strong opinion on that point:

I have me a revolutionary idea: why don't we put this statement to test and try out all four of the mentioned sins for a period of, say, a year or so.

Since I am not of Mohammedan faith, nor any else, for that matter, I offer myself as a non-denominational volunteer tester. Any objections? No, I knew there wouldn't be.

So, to start with: Merry Christmas, everyone!

So far so good. OK, I am off to proceed with the other three sins, in the order of appearance. I will be at it for a while, so be patient.

P.S. Could I get a grant for the research-related expenses? Macca, Tehran, Vatican, Jerusalem - what say?

Black hats, white hats, grey hats...

The news that US (and UK) were spying on Ehud Barak, then minister of defense, only one from the list of Israeli VIPs getting the same treatment, could excite only the most naive by now. The Washington's response, however, should be noted, if only for its entertainment value:

Washington insisted there was no causal link between Barak's appointment and the renting of the apartment, (which they insisted was for a Marine who was working in the American embassy's security team) despite the fact that Israeli intelligence detected sizable amounts of electronic equipment delivered to the US-rented apartment.
So we have a Marine security expert who was dubbing in electronics in his spare time. Nothing to see here, people, move on.

Although, wait a second: Barak is known as a mean piano player. Could somebody, please, upload a few of his home performances for public's enjoyment, while we are at it? I bet there are a lot of tapes that Marine fellow collected...

And then there is this, of course:
Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz addressed the reports, saying "We do not monitor the president of the United States, the White House or the US Secretary of Defense. We need to reach a settlement with the United States."
Now pull the other one, please.

So who was clipped? AP or AFP?

From the same page of Yahoo News:

Go figure...

But at least we know now who is making all these giant waves:

 As suspected all along.

26 December 2013

Arafat died healthy, after all

Or so say the Russians. They would know.

Laurie Penny and my struggle with English

Sometimes, in rare moments of total complacency and self-satisfaction, I allow myself to consider my level of English to be - well, OK. Not a mother tongue level, but I could get by in a blog post or in an e-mail to Amazon customer service. This kind of OK.

Then I stumble on an article like This isn't 'feminism'. It's Islamophobia by Ms Penny, who is "a journalist and feminist activist from London" and also "a contributing editor at the New Statesman, and the author of Meat Market: Female Flesh Under Capitalism". And all my previously described conceit about my English is destroyed in a jiffy. And I don't mean my reading comprehension problems with sentences like "I am infuriated by white men stirring up anti-Muslim prejudice to derail debate on western sexism". After a while this sentence settles down in your stomach and even grows on you as time goes by.

No, it appears that my troubles start on more basic elements of the language. Take this passage, for example:
This month Student Rights, a pressure group not run by students, released a report vastly exaggerating a suggestion by Universities UK that male and female students might be asked to sit separately in some lectures led by Islamic guest speakers.
This one sent my poor mind reeling. First of all, was there a "suggestion" or wasn't? All right, there was, and it wasn't a suggestion but a guidance, as one could learn easily. So, possibly, only some of the female students should be asked to sit separately (for instance ones whose eye color doesn't match the university standards or shoes are somewhat kitschy)? Nope, it appears that all ladies should be asked to sit separately, according to same guidance.

So where is the element of exaggeration, mentioned by Ms Penny, hiding? I was transported to a moment many years back when the sentence "The report of my death was an exaggeration" was understood by me to be a joke.

Is it possible that  Laurie Penny was aiming to make a joke?

Dunno, you tell me. Meanwhile I will remain confused. Speaking of which... yeah.

7 Reasons the TSA Sucks

As a seasoned traveler through many of US airports in the past, I could, probably, add a few reasons of my own. But enough is enough.

But at least you know Janice Whittaker of Tempe, Arizona, hasn't been radicalized by al-Qaida.

Of course, Ben Gurion airport experience can't be copied to huge American airports, and the author of this article knows it. However, the comedy of absurd played out by TSA is unsustainable in the long run. As he shows exceedingly well.

Watcher’s Council Nominations – Christmas Day Edition

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

25 December 2013

Are they or aren't they? Talking, that is. Who? The Israelis and the Saudis.

You may or may not remember those rumours back in November that the Saudis (and the other Gulf states) were cozying up to Israel, particularly in view of the imminent "agreement" between the 5 + 1 group and Iran (now a fact). The Saudis (and the other Gulf states) felt badly let down by the US failing to intervene in Syria, at least to any good effect. The rumours were to the effect that, should push come to shove, the Saudis would not be averse to letting the IAF overfly Saudi airspace ("strange air movements? We see no strange air movements in our air-space. Oh, and those are our long-distance bombers we're refuelling in mid-air").

Of course, all this was hotly denied (wouldn't you, in their place?). For the Israelis, it would inevitably create an air of uncertainty in the minds of the Iranians: would the IAF overfly Saudi to Iran? Or would it be via Jordanian air-space? Come to that, Greece was their new best friend in Europe, now that relationships had broken down with Turkey. And hadn't Azerbaijan agreed refuelling rights with Israel? All this inevitably gives military planners nightmares. Just what the Israelis want!

However, now, via a Palestinian paper and then via The Times of Israel we get new reports that an unnamed Gulf official from an unnamed Gulf state has been in Israel, meeting Bibi, no less. The reports even suggest that it's a Saudi official.

If nothing else, it keeps the Iranians dancing as though on hot coals, which can be no bad thing.

By Brian Goldfarb.

And this is in The Guardian!?

It's interesting that this turned up, via The Times of Israel, in The Guardian. Yes that Guardian. It's a nice Ramachanumas kind of tale, how the falling to pieces, Moorish style, Reform synagogue, the last in Bradford, was saved through the intervention of a local Moslem who serves on the Board of a nearby mosque.

The story itself is no longer that remarkable: I'm sure lots of folk in the UK could tell similar stories of cross-cultural assistance. After all, the vast majority of people anywhere aren't any sort of extremists and, left to themselves, will find ways of getting on with whoever they happen to live near.

It's just that it' in The Guardian that I find it difficult to get my head round! Maybe I'm the one who's not so liberal after all. Or maybe the editorial folks at The G. had a rush of Christmassy feelings, or something. Anyway, the full story is here, and it is, despite its provenance, quite heart-warming.

By Brian Goldfarb.

24 December 2013

Yes, raise your possum, good people of Brasstown!

About two years ago I have reported on the feud between the mighty PETA and the people of Brasstown, North Carolina. The chief protagonists of the story were: the possum, which is raised to the top of the tree and lowered down as part of the local tradition, to be released afterword to attend to its usual business:

and a colorful leg that belongs to a PETA Director Delcianna Winders, a chief meddler in the Brasstown affairs:

In that post I have offered to replace the possum by that leg (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) to raise and lower as a local totem.

But the tradition won for now:
A North Carolina judge ruled on Monday that a mountain town's New Year’s Eve celebration can include the lowering of a captured possum at midnight as planned despite protests from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
So: Merry Christmas and happy New Year to the folks of Brasstown, NC. May all of you and your possums be healthy and happy!

Merry Christmas!

To all our Christian friends. Enjoy your holiday and then rest up for the New Year's Eve.

And now:

Now this - a mandatory one from a cat lover:

And now, the Ultimate Merry Christmas from the one and only:

Bibi's sign language, Mandela and more dots to connect

The news that Bibi is being spied on by NSA came with a yawn already attached.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu routinely assumes that he is being spied upon and therefore goes to extraordinary lengths to prevent his work being compromised by foreign agencies, Israeli TV reported on Friday night, in the wake of revelations that US and British intelligence services intercepted emails in his office and that of his predecessor Ehud Olmert and also spied on former defense minister Ehud Barak.
However, Bibi seems to be prepared to this eventuality.
Netanyahu has no computer in his office, does not use email, and does not maintain a private phone, Channel 2 reported.

More dramatically, when discussing especially sensitive issues even at his home, Netanyahu and guests sometimes resort to “gestures” rather than speech, because of concerns that they are being listened to, Channel 10 reported.
So, good luck with that spying...

However, for the connoisseurs of cheap thrillers, there are a few dots to connect. First, the Mossad roots in South Africa:
Mossad (Israel’s espionage service) provided weapons training to Nelson Mandela in 1962, just a few months before he was arrested by the apartheid regime.
And, of course, the next dot is (almost) clear to all now:

Nelson Mandela memorial sign language interpreter denies he is fake.
Of course it wasn't fake and of course, there is no schizophrenia in the picture. Just Bibi's special sign language, developed about 3.5 thousands years ago by the Elders' Signals Dept.

Another book not to read

If I had a dollar for every book with the sentence "If he is to stop the killings, he must confront the truth about himself . . ." in the blurb...

Nope, thanks but no thanks.

23 December 2013

Hillary has bigger balls than Kerry

I have said (elsewhere) that I suspected that Hillary Clinton, the former US Secretary of State, would have been much more forceful (read "against") the "agreement" between the 5+1 group and Iran. That is, she would have argued for a maintenance of sanctions against Iran until the latter proved their good intentions (if possible) re nuclear research/uranium enrichment.

The article Hillary Clinton Says Israel’s Strong Stance on Iran Has Helped the U.S. demonstrates, in my view, the truth of this contention. That is, Obama and Kerry are less than interested in a real agreement and more interested in strutting over their statesmanship...whatever that means.

Does it mean, in a very real male way, "mine's bigger than yours"?

By Brian Goldfarb.

Israeli apartheid in pictures

Phillip Pasmanick on his Facebook page Israel & Stuff published a picture with this caption:

Apartheid, I think not. Israeli Jew & Palestinian Arab share a shower after 'floating' in the Dead Sea, Israel.

No, Mr Pasmanick, this is where you fail: the picture is just another proof of the typical Israeli apartheid. Ask yourself: why don't the two use the same shower head?

So there.

Children beware: this Santa by ANL Choco is here to shake the foundations!

This Santa is really a special one, as you shall see in a minute*. I have tried to trace this specimen, and apparently succeeded. As you can see in the picture, it is produced by ANL Choco. Google brought me to this page that locates ANL Choco in Istanbul, Turkey. Promising to shake the foundations, the site points to an exciting clip, where unwrapping of surprise gifts is amply demonstrated:

Besides this PR effort, ANL Choco owns a Facebook page, liked by one person (so far). OK, now to the shaking of the foundations, where the Santa is unwrapped.

(*) Proceed at your own risk - and only if you are 21 yrs old or more!

22 December 2013

Obama-Pajama ads: not my business, but...

but still funny, like this:

And more from Michael.

Sweden's conflictual relationship with issues of tolerance

The term "conflictual relationship" is not my invention, it was lifted from this article.
A nude painting named Juno, which was painted by baroque artist G E Schröder and has hung in the dining room of the Swedish Parliament for 30 years has been taken down for fear of offending the sensitivities of feminists and Muslim visitors, Swedish newspaper, The Local reported on Thursday.
The similarity in Muslim and feminist sensitivities surely warms the cockles of your heart, doesn't it? I wonder whether at the end of the day Swedish feminists will persuade Muslim men to urinate sitting, agreeing in turn to don burqas. All in all, not a bad deal.

On the other hand* - and this is where the conflictual relationship shows up forcefully:
A Swedish prosecutor said a court's decision to acquit a man who masturbated on a public beach makes it "OK to masturbate on the beach."

The 65-year-old man had been charged with sexual assault after he took off his shorts and masturbated at Stockholm's Drevviken beach June 6, but the Sodertorn District Court ruled the man could not be convicted of sexual assault because his masturbation was not directed at a specific person, The Local.se reported Thursday.
Since there is no mention of a feminist or Muslim outcry, I guess that activity is not disturbing these two groups, not as Juno in the dining room of the Swedish Parliament does.

But conflictual relationship doesn't stop there, it continues to other domains:
Sweden's excellent English language newspaper, The Local, is reporting today a story that many will find shocking. It transpires that a country well known for its left-Liberal attitudes is now allowing convicted rapists of young children to adopt.

The man, who is in his 60s, has been found guilty of more than 90 crimes, mostly different types of fraud. The regional Helsingborgs Dagblad (HD) newspaper reported on Friday that the man was also convicted of molesting his neighbour's then five-year-old daughter in 2004, and was also suspected of raping a young teenage girl.
Tolerance, shmolerance: you call it conflictual relationship, I call it brain softening.

(*) I really didn't intend that "on the other hand" to become a pun. Apologies to all concerned.

Police encounter of the third kind

Quite a few moments to make an unprejudiced viewer happy:

21 December 2013

Now, what is the tissue?

Make your own day. I did.

Another case of Zionist washing: education-washing

Them Zionists are busy and frisky again: after the pink-washing and vegan-washing they proceeded straight away to education-washing.

Guess who graduated first in this year's medical school class at the Technion, Israel's version of M.I.T.? The answer will surprise you. It's a 27-year-old stereotype-buster: a charming, feminist, smart, open-minded and observant Islamic woman named Mais Ali-Saleh who grew up in a small village outside of Nazareth, in Israel's Galilee.

Ali-Selah's academic excellence not only marks her own personal achievement but also proves that contrary to propaganda spouted by proponents of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) Movement -- whose latest convert is Stephen Hawking -- an academic boycott of Israel is the wrong approach to solving the Israel-Arab conflict. Moreover, it ultimately hurts the very people it claims to help. Ali-Selah put it best when she said, "An academic boycott of Israel is a passive move, and it doesn't achieve any of its purported objectives."
But the right people (or is it left people?) see right (or is it left?) through the stratagem...

So there.

Daryl Davis: not an ordinary man

Today, Davis is not only a musician, he is a person who befriends KKK members and, as a result, collects the robes and hoods of Klansmen who choose to leave the organization because of their friendship with him.
There are a lot of lessons to learn from this story.

Rule 5: Scarlett's little secrett

The Council Has Spoken!

Council Winners

20 December 2013

The catalog of crimes by Jang Song-Thaek, the traitor and despicable human scum

I have decided to prepare a detailed list of the crimes ascribed by the light into all nations, dear respected Marshal Kim Jong Un, the First Secretary of the WPK, to Jang Song-Thaek, now deceased, a traitor to the nation for all ages and despicable human scum. Since the service personnel and people throughout the country are eagerly promoting and expecting a wave of tourism, it is vital for you, my dear reader, to know which activities should be avoided when traveling in the Juche country. Especially since NK leaders decided to erase the mention of the traitor from written history. Soon it will be impossible to learn from his mistakes (traitorous deeds, in fact). So I have decided, with revulsion and disgust, to wade into the cesspool of this despicable human scum's bio, so you will not have to do it.

These two NK documents were used in compilation of the crimes. In addition, this unique document by a British group Anglo-Peoples Korea/Songun served to complete the picture. So here comes the list:
  • Counter-revolutionary
  • Anti-party
  • Factional
  • Schemed in a most two-faced manner to restore capitalism
  • Aimed to make the DPRK either a colony of the US or a satellite state of a certain big power
  • Sabotaged parts of the DPRK independent national economy
  • Selled off the resources of the DPRK at a low price
  • Disrupted the production of Juche steel, Juche fertiliser and Juche vinalon(!)
  • Weakened the party's guidance over judicial, prosecution and people's security bodies
  • Committed irregularities and corruption
  • Led a dissolute and depraved life
  • Tried to overthrow and destroy the DPRK from within and restore capitalism
  • Gnawed at the unity and cohesion of the party
  • Disturbed the work for establishing the party unitary leadership system
  • Perpetrated such anti-state, unpopular crimes as doing enormous harm to the efforts to build a thriving nation and improve the standard of people's living
  • Pretended to uphold the party and leader but was engrossed in such factional acts as dreaming different dreams and involving himself in double-dealing behind the scene
  • Shunned and obstructed in every way the work for holding President Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il in high esteem for all ages,
  • Behaved against the elementary sense of moral obligation and conscience as a human being
  • Desperately worked to form a faction within the party by creating illusion about him and winning those weak in faith and flatterers to his side
  • Prompted by his politically-motivated ambition, he tried to increase his force and build his base for realizing it by implanting those who had been punished for their serious wrongs in the past period into ranks of officials of departments of the party central committee and units under them
  • Did not sincerely accept the line and policies of the party, the organizational will of the WPK, but deliberately neglected their implementation, distorted them and openly played down the policies of the party
  • Made no scruple of perpetrating such counter-revolutionary acts as disobeying the order issued by the supreme commander of the Korean People's Army
  • Weakened the party's guidance over judicial, prosecution and people's security bodies, bringing very harmful consequences to the work for protecting the social system, policies and people
  • Seriously obstructed the nation's economic affairs and the improvement of the standard of people's living in violation of the pivot-to-the-Cabinet principle and the Cabinet responsibility principle laid down by the WPK
  • Put under control the fields and units which play an important role in the nation's economic development and the improvement of people's living in a crafty manner, making it impossible for the economic guidance organs including the Cabinet to perform their roles
  • By abusing his power, he was engrossed in irregularities and corruption, had improper relations with several women and was wined and dined at back parlors of deluxe restaurants
  • Ideologically sick and extremely idle and easy-going, used drugs and squandered foreign currency at casinos while he was receiving medical treatment in a foreign country under the care of the party
  • And the worst of the worst (thanks to Yitzchak): half-hearted clapping when Kim Jong Un was unanimously elected "vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea at the Third Conference of the WPK". Takes the cake, that one...
This list really boils one's blood, I have to say. Thankfully, dear respected Marshal Kim Jong Un has struck a telling blow at the traitor.

Now, dear reader, you know what not to do while you enjoy the hospitality of dear respected Marshal Kim Jong Un, the First Secretary of the WPK. And if an urge (to take one example) to obstruct the nation's economic affairs and the improvement of the standard of people's living in violation of the pivot-to-the-Cabinet principle and the Cabinet responsibility principle laid down by the WPK grips you - think again.

19 December 2013

Israel controls the weather

It's official: Hamas says so.

Have you heard the one about how "Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said, “Israel is the one to blame for what is happening in the Gaza Strip. The Knesset’s restriction on bringing building materials prevents us from fixing infrastructure and that is why we have floods.” No? Then you need to read this.

It would appear that Israel now controls the weather. Snoopy, do the Elders know this? And if so, why did Israel get so much snow?

Actually, of course, if they didn't use so much building material in shoring up tunnels designed to attack Israel, they might have had enough to maintain or improve their infrastructure.

But then they couldn't blame the Israelis, could they?

By Brian Goldfarb.

By the editor: surely they can. And do. And more:

Hamas’s Disaster Response Committee chairman Yasser Shanti told journalists on Friday that Israel opened dams just east of the Gaza Strip, causing a flood in the area of Moghraqa near the town of Deir El-Balah.
There is one small problem with that claim: there are no dams east of the Gaza Strip. But for the anti-Zionists of the world, this is an insignificant detail, I guess.

Merry Christmas - a first early entry

First of all, Merry Christmas to all our Christian friends.

Now to the reason I have started with this today: this.

When even Fox News, that bastion of conservative opinions, breaks down and wishes its readers/viewers some dumbed down “Happy Holidays” instead of Merry Christmas, it is time to be worried.

Being Jewish and an atheist, I am not heavily invested in any religion, but I can't abide the artificial veneer of political correctness, the new religion practiced by fake progressives and sourpuss flat-assed bureaucrats. And I don't mind calling Christmas, Eid Al-Fitr, Hanukkah (Chanukah, Chanukkah), Rama Navami etc by their real names, political correctness be damned.

So: Merry Christmas again, and we'll be back at the right date.

Update: and, in related news: The Silencing of the Ducks.

The real face of a BDS supporter

When you click a lot, you see a lot: it is the curse of the Internet. For example a personal page (masthead, whatever) of a BDS-hole on Twitter:

Check it again: "...to isolate Israel until justice prevails from the river to the sea". No, not all of them are that open and direct. Many, if not the most, call their wet dream "one state solution" - meaning, of course, the same.

So there.

Will somebody tell him he is adopted, please!

Watcher’s Council Nominations – Snow In The Holy Land Edition

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

18 December 2013

ASA boycott of Israel: "one has to start somewhere"

This is so revealing:

The bias expressed by the ASA, a body not versed in the complexities of Middle Eastern affairs, stems from the proposal to boycott only one country, Israel. Even the current president of ASA, Curtis Marez, Professor of Ethnic Studies at UC San Diego whose main interest is U.S. Latinos, appeared troubled in explaining his tortuous logic on the issue.

He confessed that many countries, including Israel’s neighbors, are generally judged to have human rights records that are worse than or comparable to those of Israel, but “one has to start somewhere.” 
Revealing and sad, that's all.

Higgs Boson, doomsday of the universe and Zionist roots of it all

It started sometime in the spring of 2013 with a side notice, related to the eventual measurement of Higgs Boson in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, with one of the results showing some interesting side effects, not having to do with the experimental part of LHC, rather with calculation of boson mass. The result - potential instability of our universe (that we don't know but like nevertheless) didn't bother many people at the time, suffice to read the article to this point:

Most theorists don't seem to be too worried about the destruction of our universe, because metastability would not manifest itself anytime soon—if ever.
So there.

But later, some other physicists got into the theoretical part of the Higgs Boson business, and more results have started coming out. Showing that:
It could be in a billion years, it could start tomorrow, but physicists have long predicted that the universe may one day collapse, and that everything in it will be compressed to a small hard ball.

Sooner or later a radical shift in the forces of the universe will cause every little particle in it to become extremely heavy. Everything - every grain of sand on Earth, every planet in the solar system and every galaxy – will become millions of billions times heavier than it is now, and this will have disastrous consequences: The new weight will squeeze all material into a small, super hot and super heavy ball, and the universe as we know it will cease to exist.
According to eggheads, we will apparently have a ball. The only problem so far is that no one knows (yet) when exactly it will happen, which lack of knowledge severely impacts (to take one example) my personal outlook re financial, health and alcohol intake matters.

And then the inimitable Daily Mail came up with this headline:

Could the universe collapse TODAY? Physicists claim that risk is ‘more likely than ever and may have already started’

And of course, Daily Mail has shown the culprits behind the whole collapsing into a ball business.

Peter Higgs: an anti-Zionist Brit, which nowadays is de rigueur in some circles. But look who is his silent partner: a Belgian pro-Zionist Jew Francois Englert!

They have already tried to get us all using their black holes. Now they have gone for the jugular with that darn boson, and fixing to succeed.

OK. I am investing the whole bundle in Glenmorangie. And don't call me, the phone will be disconnected.

Update: someone has already got onto us:
The God particle is a hoax and a fraud perpetrated by Rothschild Zionist funded CERN

Just so they can maintain their nihilistic and atheistic view that God doesn't exist and that we are insignificant in the universe, they will disclose that they have "found" the God particle when really the whole thing is a hoax and a fraud cover for something else i.e. BLAZAR or portal to let evil interdimensional entities to come through.

17 December 2013

Obama's handshake with Raul Castro: the alternatives

This post is dedicated to Yoani Sánchez

Cuba is a somewhat personal subject for me, for reasons having to do with my youth, Cuban post-Batista history and Soviet propaganda of the sixties and seventies of the last century. From time to time I revisit the subject in my mind, having made a promise to myself to write about it more when The Beard croaks - which act he, unfortunately, keeps delaying. Possibly to outlive me and make me break my oath.

The article by Joshuapundit on the related subject caused me another round of mulling. The first task of that mulling was to define to myself what the issue is. Definitely not the handshake as such. Of course, Joshuapundit is right on the Democrats being prone to hobnobbing with the most disgusting and murderous dictators. In fact, the inimitable President Carter alone easily outshakes and outkisses any given bunch of politicos on any given continent. And the man is really, but really omnivorous in this activity. A person barely has time to put on dictator's regalia and to kill a few citizens of his nation, and here comes Jimbo, ready to kiss and forgive.

Besides shaking hands with Baby Castro being a shameful act, and I totally share the sentiment, there is something missing in the attitude of the conservative wing of the American politics to Cuba. I really can't consider this outburst by Sen. John McCain to be anything but foolish posing:
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) criticized President Obama for shaking the hand of Cuban leader Raul Castro at the memorial ceremony for former South African president Nelson Mandela, comparing the gesture to Neville Chamberlain's handshake with Adolf Hitler at the start of World War II.
To start with, Baby Castro is not Hitler. This comparison is demeaning to many millions of people in Europe who died as a result of the evil and murderous regime led by the latter. Neither do the circumstances of the handshake warrant such deluge of ire. But of course, Sen. John McCain could do with a serious improvement of his diplomatic skills and general understanding of what is going on outside of United States, as his lame article in Russian Pravda confirms.

The problem is not the handshake, but a very long period of misunderstanding what is going on in Cuba and being unable to come up with a solution for this simmering pot of trouble on American doorstep. Mr McCain is just an extreme example of stereotyping the dictatorial regimes (and Cuba still is one, no doubt about it) and applying the same rhetoric and the same "rules of engagement" to every single one, as his Chamberlain/Hitler faux pas shows. But the main fallacy of his approach is shared by too many people in power.

Cuba is indeed still in the hands of an evil regime, but a very tattered and weakened one, especially after the demise of Soviet Union and cessation of Soviet assistance. Paradoxically, one of the main forces still keeping the country afloat is the money transfers from US Cuban community. As far as the communist propaganda is concerned - hardly anyone, the leaders of the regime included, believes in all this nonsense. Let's not forget that The Beard himself, after taking over the country from the corrupt and rotten Batista regime, was hesitating on the question of choosing between US and USSR as the most fitting patron, and only ineptness of State Department stood in the way of a totally different outcome... but this is already spilled milk.

It is important to understand that the time of the stick is gone. Not just because the stick will hardly work with Cubans, proud and strong people as they are, but because it is not needed. The infamous embargo against Cuba must be rescinded, no matter how many hotheads in Florida blow their gaskets as a result. The flow of American and other Western goods to Cuba will inevitably be accompanied by information flow. And the Cubans currently living in US, visiting their home country in droves, will only increase the information supply - no matter how vigilant the guards of the regime are.

There is no need, deity forbid, of another Bay of Pigs fiasco, nor of poisoned cigars and other similar rubbish. The regime is crumbling, its teeth are almost gone and a lot of kindness, patience and understanding will do the trick. And I am confident that just as CIA was surprised by the fall of the Berlin wall, it could be surprised again - by the fall of the Castro's junta. Bloodless fall, I want to stress.

And then it will be up to Cubans. I hope that enough of them understand what Yoani Sánchez* says here:
One day we will look back and realize that the Castro regime fell or simply ceased to exist, taking with it the best years of my mother, my best years, the best years of my son. But perhaps it’s just as well, not having another January first, no photos of Greek-profiled gentlemen with pigeons perched on their shoulders. Perhaps a change that goes through the waters of apathy is better than another carnivorous revolution that devours us all.

Afterwards, afterwards there won’t be much time for festivities. The bubble of false statistics will pop and we’ll be struck by the country we actually have. We’ll realize that the infant mortality rate isn’t what we’ve been told all these years, that we aren’t the “most cultured people in the world” and that the nation’s coffers are empty… empty… empty. We will hear a chorus of “with Raul Castro everything was better.” We will have to start to change the name of the Stockholm Syndrome and relocate it to this tropical geography.
(*) And if you don't know yet who Yoani is, it's time for you to link to and to read her site.



Forum: Whom Would You Name For Person Of The Year?

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 topics of daily life. This week’s question: Whom Would You Name For Person Of The Year?

16 December 2013

Money doesn't smell, right, Mr Weiss?

In preparation of this post, I have learned that the sentence "Money doesn't smell" was coined by Romans, as in "Pecunia non olet", which is the only useful tidbit from the whole story. Otherwise:

They say that there is a rich man with interesting progressive ideas (himself being kind of conservative):

The conservative Silicon Valley millionaire behind a new campaign to raise the minimum wage in California has received approving coverage from left-leaning media outlets despite his long history of funding anti-Israel activism and inflammatory racial research.

Unz’s minimum wage campaign has led to favorable coverage in the New York Times and ABC News and has garnered praise from some on the left, including the Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky.
Peculiar, ain't it? But it is only an appetizer, because:
Unz has also contributed a combined $60,000 in 2010 and 2011 to Mondoweiss, an anti-Zionist blog, and awarded a $108,000 grant to Paul Craig Roberts, a former syndicated columnist accused of promoting anti-Semitism by the ADL.
Mondoweiss is a popular blog, founded and managed "from a progressive Jewish perspective" by a peculiar life form known as Philip Weiss. There are more recipients of Mr Unz's largess you can find in the article, but the most significant one for the purpose is If Americans Knew:
He contributed $10,000 in 2011 to If Americans Knew, an anti-Zionist group that advocates against U.S. aid to Israel...
The author of the article is doing a great favor to If Americans Knew (no links to that place, you can easily look it up), calling it simply anti-Zionist. It is led by one Alison Weir, an obsessed Jew-hater, whose likes are few and whose poisonous teachings and poisonous lies would be welcome (actually are welcome) in any neo-Nazi publication.

So, yes, Mr Weiss: Pecunia non olet indeed. Just don't inhale.

Hat tip: Adam Holland.

Kerry negotiates standstill agreement with Obamacare

The Secretary of State (extreme left) fits into the negotiations nicely, perhaps helped by the backdrop rug, part of the "redecoration" of the Oval Office.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry brought welcome relief to the spate of negative publicity for the Obama administration by negotiating a six-month standstill agreement against further deployment of Obamacare. But the opposition said it falls far short of complete disarmament.
The rest of the news here.