Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 1067 (since 2010-05-31 18:07:51)


American university faculty member born in Poland.

Showing comments 900 - 801

  • A racist country with too much influence over US -- Israel's new image among Democrats
    • Mooser, this guy is too incoherent even to be a troll. Most people who comment on such issues would not that the size of the "leftist area" does not matter much, it is still one citizen, one vote, not one deer one vote, or 20 woodchuck one vote.

    • Only 53% could locate Missisipi, and 52% could locate India. Mind you, Israel is even smaller than Missisipi, and waaaaay smaller than India.

      By the way, sad news. One of the most steadfast friends of Israel, Micronesia, lost soccer game to Fiji, which is bad enough, but they manage to get largest loss in the history of international soccer games, 38 to 0. And this is because previously they lost 30 to 0 to Tahiti, and Fiji was afraid that the number of goals may decide which team will advance. I think IDF should dispatch planes providing disaster relief.

    • I think that prospects of "Israelis wising up" are dim in the next few years. As Netanyahu correctly observed, Israel is the only place where Jews can be proud. Settlement freezes, and even negotiations were from time to time you have to meet Fakestinians and Hofjuden are all blows to pride and dignity. So here comes a handsome pair of "wiser leaders", Hertzog and Livni, and they solemnly promise to do exactly same thing, but more politely and more effectively (we will charm Americans soooo much that they will cheerfully cooperate in whacking Iran really well), this whole thing made no sense. So instead of Foreign Ministry you get Ministry in Charge of Insulting the Furriners or Explaining the Infidels the Error of Their Ways.

    • As ulterior motives of Frank Luntz are concerned, I guess GOP would like to have a lock on Jewish votes and Jewish political donations. However, they guy seems a professional, and I do not think that the results are manipulated.

      The swing from bipartisan support to GOP support is not a good news for Israeli elite. GOP is a reactionary party in the most literal sense: they organize their message in the form of wedge issues which constitute reaction to change. Almost every one of those issues waned in popularity, but this is not stopping GOP, they simply go for another one. Several election cycle ago, opposition to gay marriage was the centerpiece of GOP campaigns, and so was the readiness to apply any torture necessary to the "worst of the worst". To be more precise, the latter issue had nice contours, as it is often the case with wedge issues. As Democrats tended to say things against water boarding, GOP did not defend the practices like hanging the suspect on his hands for days and kicking until the poor chap expires, NOBODY talked about that, but they stoutly objected to abandoning "almost benign" water boarding. Fast forward, and nobody really urges to renew and expand torture programs, and opposition to gay marriage is moved to sotto voce.

      Support of Israel, be it nice or naughty reaches the popularity of fan-fen therapy for excessive weight. (OMG! it was fen-phen therapy, so popular and now hard to remember). I recall when GOP nominee, certain Mitt Romney, promised to base his Middle East policies on the advise obtained in phone calls to Israeli Prime Minister, thus nearly avoiding the pressure to elucidate details. But he was most clear on his wish to bomb Iran. Needless to say, the results where underwhelming. Apparently, too many independent voters preferred a president who has his own opinions too, and who is not chomping at the bit to spend another trillion dollars on another war.

      To have a better idea about the results of the next Presidential vote, I would commission a poll with that question: do you prefer bumbling foreign policy, or a scary one?


      I just recalled a not-so-succesful GOP wedge issue. A candidate for governor of California offered this choice: do you prefer progress and investments that provide jobs and increase the value of your real estate, or would you cut it down to the benefit of some weird creatures? As the example of the latter, he chose kangaroo rats. He lost. And I do not see campaigns against kangaroo rats anymore.

  • Oren's demands make Israel's liberal apologists squirm
    • I am not sure about this one, Phil: Writing in the Jewish Press, this rightwing Israeli also loves Oren. The title explains it well: "Michael Oren is Tired of American Jews-and So Am I". But check this: About the Author: Vic Rosenthal created to provide a forum for publishing and discussing issues about Israel and the Mideast conflict, especially where there is a local connection. Rosenthal believes that America’s interests are best served by supporting the democratic state of Israel, the front line in the struggle between Western civilization and radical Islam.

      By his own admission, Vic Rosenthal is self-hating Jewish-American. Ouroboros comes to mind. link to

  • Bulldozers poised outside Susiya, right in time for July 4th congressional break
    • I guess that with Congress in session, AIPAC would feel obliged to orchestrate a resolution of both houses supporting Israel as it is unjustly maligned, but right now it is a bother.

  • Oren's memoir reveals Israel's elite is hyper-sensitive to U.S. criticism
    • Hostage,

      as your citations show, if you apply cladistic approach to ideologies, contemporary Zionism is not much inspired by Nazism, instead, both were inspired by 19th-century colonialists and racist ideologies. And so does GOP. And yeah, colonialism is a more benign label than Nazi, but not THAT benign. In the struggle between civilized Germans and savage Herero, should we stand with the Germans?

    • I do not think so. Nazi analogies evoke Goodwin law, and indeed, the history is much richer than that. After terrible XVII century, Europeans started to think about better ways than mass slaughter, largely justified by religion, and that lead to Enlightenment. But colonialism, accompanied with mass slaughter, slave trade etc. became very profitable and created demand for intellectual justifications, and that included racism. The first genocide of XX century (to my limited knowledge) affected Hereros who stood in the path of progress in German South West Africa (today, Namibia). But exploits of Congo Free State (perhaps top oxymoron in history) some decade prior were much worse. Clearly, the concept of Lebensraum was basically the envy of successful colonialist states.

      Colonialism allowed for democratic rule among the members of "top nation" with brutal ways of controlling other people. Balfour Declaration was made five years after South African Act that allowed to formalize the Apartheid and the invention of concentration camps.

      If you want to find sociologically useful analogies, I recommend the evolution of Southern states in years preceding Civil War. Democracy, oligarchy, intolerance (sometimes murderous), and, of course, the subjugation. Yet it started on high intellectual note, as you can see from the record of the Founding Fathers from Virginia etc.

      I guess there are intellectual connections between Revisionist Zionism and fascism from "the good days of Mussolini, before the Pact of Steel". But it was more general Zeitgeist. E.g. every self-respecting radical organization in those times had its terror wing, or perhaps even better, a more radical and more pragmatic wings, each with its own terrorist organization.

    • I have checked the link to Josh Marshal. I stopped reading after this sentence: "The latter[influential Jews] are too conflicted and defensive about their identity as Jews not to give thanks that they were born in the same era as Benjamin Netanyahu, the embodiment of the Jewish people who brings together both Maimonides and Herzl into one unified, deluxe Jewish person. (I hate it when that happens!)"

      I hate it when that happens? Begrudging! Red card! See my explanation of the crime of begrudging.

    • Clearly, it is not anti-Semitic to claim that Jews have power, but to claim that they have too much power. On the list of tough crimes this is "begrudging". Perhaps this is the most widespread and thus insidious crime.

      For example, it is OK to note that Israel has many settlements in occupied territories, but claiming that there are to many gives you a red card in Oren's book. Even if you are a hasbara champion of the caliber of Wieseltier, who also implied that IDF killed too many children.

      In all such instances, the correct mental attitude is to acknowledge that there is a lot of X, so the credit should be given and, crucially, support to have more. Incorrect mental attitude always has a reason, evil and/or feeblemindedness.

  • 'Patronizing Israeli crap' -- more American Jewish responses to Oren
    • I guess he is a liberal according to Chomsky's view: not standing much for anything except tactically passionate advocacy of the most conventional causes acceptable to the establishment, and that included Zionism. Unfortunately, that also entails taking stands that Geller derided as "pretty", like displaying moments of distraction upon learning of the killing of hundreds of children etc. This is roughly what raised Oren's ire, while Wieseltier was clearly very pleased with himself for penning the offending articles. So we got a clash of mindsets: "How could he stab HIS country in the back", versus "How could he fail to appreciate my subtle feelings".

    • Perhaps we see a bunch of camels with a back problem.

    • I am verklempt. First, Israeli cows produce less milk than Saudi cows. Now Israel was not the first to arrive in Haiti, not the second but something like number 10? What next? Do not tell me that it was possible to have cell phones and computers without Israeli help.

  • Palestinian family says alleged attacker being held on false evidence
    • It reminds me a Polish proverb "Na bezrybiu i rak ryba" that wikisource translates "beggars can't be choosers" but literally means "When the fish do not take, crayfish is a fish too". It is amazing how hard it is to translate it into English, bezrybie = [without][fish] = place or time with the absence of fish; Russians have an identical proverb with an additional alternation: "at [without][bird], arse is a nightingale".

  • Oren's criticism of US Jews earns his book five thumbs down: 'slinky,' 'self-aggrandizing,' 'twists reality'
    • I distinctly remember the phrase "Odessa, the star of our exile" from Odessa Tales, written by Isaac Babel in 1920-ties. And in the narrative, the phrase was spoken as a typical thing than an old Jew would say at the very beginning of XX century.

      The problem is that it was Zionist invention that Galut is juxtaposed with Aliyah, and the former are "down there", while the latter "up here". In that mode of thinking, Galut makes sense only to the degree that it plans Aliyah and in the meantime gives full support and deference to Israel. Amazingly, this point of view was largely (but never universally) accepted by "Galut", and this happened quite gradually.

      However, among the "elevated Jews" of Israel a competition ensued who is a better Jew, or more Jewish, or more elevated etc. This competition also exists in USA, but unlike in Israel, it encounters a certain friction and limitations. Oren cannot comprehend that a Jew could refrain from the chance of ever greater commitment to Israel and ever more slavish deference to "democratic choices in Israel" unless having some abnormal, ulterior reasons.

      This inability suggests that he was never a serious historian. But who needs a serious historian? It does not increase book sales, academic prospects etc. Most rewards go to folks who follow the "dominant narrative", even if it is tribalist, triumphalist, self-pitying and, above all, hostile to attempts at an objective perspective.

  • 'Jewish cow' is udderly superior to all other cows in the world, Netanyahu says
    • After checking, it seems that no-grazing is predominant in USA, Israel and Saudi Arabia, and if anything, there is no particular benefit to it except in places where good grazing pastures are scarce. Digesting grass is healthier for cows, but it is somewhat slower, so you get somewhat smaller amount of milk per cow. Israel and Saudi Arabia probably have no grazing pastures whatsoever, both would save a big bundle by importing milk.

    • I made another check using Google, and this is what I got:

      link to

      Israeli cows are NUMBER TWO!!! And the number one is ... tadah! ... the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

    • Perhaps there are indeed deeper, darker reasons, but perhaps you are a cheapskate. A gallon of milk costs 6 dollars in Israeli stores, under 4 dollars in USA and in yet less advanced Poland, about 2.40.

  • 'We are doing you people a favor by allowing you to be seated here,' Netanyahu deputy tells Palestinians in Knesset
    • “No one has the right to make false accusations that IDF soldiers committed war crimes.”

      I do not know the Basic Laws, but I guess one of them prohibits self-reflection. False accusation of terrorism are practically a civic duty!

  • 'Obama coffee' is black and weak -- racist tweet from wife of Israel's vice premier
    • Some here tried to claim that Judy Nir-Mozes is "just one lady", one cannot generalize etc.

      One fact is that she is a fat checkbook carrying member of financial elite, an opinion maker (in the radio) and not a mere "wife" (the money in the marriage is mostly from her). More importantly, every day I can cull even more drastic story from Israeli media, except for the more stereotypical nature of the targets of the racism. The other day I cited the story about a "cinematographer" who lost it when a flight attendant in Muslim scarf told him that his hand luggage has to be checked for the weight limit. It seems that he was hired for something like filming of a wedding, so not much of an opinion maker. But this is fresh stuff from today: the inter-faith comity in the halls of Knesset (Ynetnews):

      Deputy Interior Minister Yaron Mazuz (Likud) caused an uproar in the Knesset on Wednesday when told Arab MK Hanin Zoabi that the State of Israel was "doing you a favor in giving you ID cards" during a discussion on the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law.


      You can check details at the source. A major brouhaha started, with Prime Minister more or less siding with Mazuz. I see a natural progression from "hateful, but sophisticated" to "hateful, and proud of it".

    • I stand corrected. A supposition that many Zionist have a sense of humor is definitely rash. I found many more example of anger than of humor. But I admit that I have a strong observation bias. For example, I did not found anything funny in Arutz Sheva or ynetnews, while regularly there are funny items at +972 (and less frequently, here). But in the former sites I am only making an occasional spot-check of new and comments.

    • This dispels one meme: Zionists lack sense of humor. Some people have a personality that makes it easy to find something funny, some not. The majority of Jewish Israelis claim that they are happy and probably lough easily, many at the joke of Judy Moses.

      One thing is clear: Right wing Zionists, a large majority of Jews in Israel and probably a minority in USA, hate Obama a lot, and this is definitely a wedge issue. And the chief reason is that their worldview divides the world into "the hated ones", "the friends", and few "neutrals". And it takes very little to make right wing Zionists barking and foaming (or inventing distasteful jokes if they have more sunny disposition). My favorite example is that one Israeli soccer player considered accepting Polish citizenship to qualify for Polish national team (his mother was born in Poland and he played for a premier league Polish team). His former Israeli coach condemned him in a public letter as national traitor, newspapers made it a big story, the young man got a ton of hateful communications, he dropped the idea and there was a jubilation.

      And it is not like Poles were lately blowing up some cafes or buses. For some reasons they are the European nation that Israeli hate most, which does not mean that you cannot find articles in, say, Jerusalem Post, devoted to the cultivation of hatred against, say, Norwegians or the Dutch (always beware of the Dutch!).


      Part of it is the provincialism that was bemoaned by David Rothkopf. A lot of folks are racists, xenophobic and so on, but upper classes and urbane people are supposed to express it sparingly and with a modicum of taste. But in a small community, after ostracizing all differently thinking people, there are much to few people who may spread this modicum of taste, and perchance, a modicum of common sense. But part of it is the right wing concept of championing the common man, the real people, those without taste, common sense and so on (most political movements with wide following champion common people, but needless to say, in different ways).

  • Israeli diplomats 'are not allowed to speak' on US campuses, but North Korean diplomats are, Israeli official says
    • I am not as optimistic as you are, echinococcus. It seems to me that Americans by and large accept that as "average Joe's" they are clueless, so they have to follow their betters, the most able and productive citizens, with net worth in at least 10 figures, and thus it is only natural, and by no means regrettable, that any election is preceded with so-called money primary. The politician who find support among at least some of the ablest and most productive can participate in the subsequent primaries. They are attested as "serious mainstream candidates".

      If echonoccus was right, disclosure that for years Mario Rubio would be bankrupt the instance after Norman Braman would withdraw his largest would make him laughingstock. Mrs. Clinton is definitely more financially responsible, but her family owes a lot to the largesse of the rich. And her donor base is quite decent as well, hence, she belongs to the ranks of serious politicians.

      Of course, such rational attitude is insufficiently prevalent among the youngsters, hence some some campus troubles. Really, Israeli diplomats should count their blessing that they are not in trouble among, say, farmers. Then they would need to attend country fairs and speak just before and just after the something like that:

      "Can you call your husband better than anybody else? What about your hog? Fairgoers who think they can do either of these amazing feats will have an opportunity to display their unique skills when the husband and hog calling contests return to the Clay County Agricultural Fair.

      HOG CALLING CONTEST is sure to get a few laughs out of those in attendance. Three judges will choose the best hog call from among the contestants. … come by the J.P. Hall Livesrock Arena Monday April 6, 2015 @ 6:00 PM" (I guess that each competing wife must have a husband and a hog).

  • 'You have to go'
    • “Those responsible for this despicable crime will face the full force of the law." Reminds me the following:

      I was in no mood to trifle,
      I took down my trusty rifle
      And went out to stalk my prey.
      What a haul I made that day.
      I tied them to my fender, and I drove them home somehow,
      Two game wardens, seven hunters, and a cow.

      The law was very firm, it
      Took away my permit,
      The worst punishment I ever endured.
      It turned out there was a reason,
      Cows were out of season,
      And one of the hunters wasn't insured.

      Read more: Tom Lehrer - The Hunting Song Lyrics | MetroLyrics

  • Does Israel have a toxic personality? Ask Michael Oren
    • That explains why so many Israelis declare themselves to be happy. Allegedly, a while ago a former mayor of Chicago said that he does not know what is fun about baseball (or was it golf), because it that sport "you cannot punch anyone". And Israel provides her favored citizens with tons of fun.

    • Perhaps a minor contribution to the discussion on "Israel spiritual outlook". A member of intellectual elite (cinematographer) was removed from the flight from Vienna to Tel Aviv for unruly behavior and paid a fine of 100 Euros. Excerpts from link to

      “We happened upon a Muslim stewardess who decided to abuse us. I told her: ‘Why do you not weigh anyone’s carry-on luggage but you weigh mine? To what degree can you abuse a person?’ and she said: ‘I learnt it from you people.’ At this point, I lost it,” Davidov told Channel 2 in a clip shown on Saturday evening.

      Davidov’s attorney, Reuven Laviav, said: “My client went to film an event in the Bucharian community in Vienna. On the night of the 12th he called me and said he was arrested along with three other cinematographers. I don’t justify him, but when he went on the plane there was a Muslim stewardess with a headscarf and it seems that because she saw him with a Star of David chain she decided to treat him badly. He was traveling with cameras costing tens of thousands of dollars and he always takes them to the cabin. On this plane, they wouldn’t let him and so he got upset.”

      Davidov was dragged out by airport security, refusing to obey order shouting "I do not understand English", and then "You killed six million Jews and now you want to kill another one?".


      As a matter of personal experience, you can obtain a lenient treatment from an airline by being polite. Before my flight from Brussels to Chennai security check discovered a bottle of liquid in my backpack that exceeded allowed capacity, and I pleaded that this is mosquito spray, necessary to avoid malaria, and a supervisor ask me to spray it on myself, and as it indeed stinked like a mosquito spray (and it was a bottle labeled as such) they made an exception.

    • "The BDS movement is a declaration of nonviolent war against Israel." This is oxymoron. Carl von Clausewitz, in his "On War" brilliantly explained that war is politics by other (violent) means. Hence politics without violence is just that: politics.

  • Israeli leader turns on US Jewish journalists Friedman, Wieseltier, Remnick and Silvers for disloyalty and anti-semitism!
    • It is a bit debatable if the peace process was busted or it was a zombie deprived of the simulacrum of life. Perhaps "busted" is technically good term, as opposed to "killed". The problem with the zombie process was that however harmless to the Zionist cause, it was resented by many as a humiliating aggravation. I guess that in the case of Oren, we can see the results of mental strain induced in a major part by this process.

      The special place of Netanyahu in Israeli right is that he has some modicum of realism, plus mental fortitude to spout some nonsense about two states or stuff like that. Many view this as necessary, perhaps more than admit that. In the last elections his success was to take the votes of "fortified Lidud" parties led by Bennet and Lieberman, and before that, to secure Likud leadership even though rank and file cannot stand even a whiff of the "process" and other forms of liberalism (like letting NGOs exist without being molested). At the end of the day, they appreciate that Israel needs at the helm a face that at least at some occasions is not contorted in righteous anger.

      Mind you, Likud universe has very few such people, as can be seen from their choices to run Foreign Affairs. It became a laughing stock run be zealous idiots, with actual foreign policy run from Prime Minister office.

      By putting together various statements of Oren, one can see that he is surely literate, most probably learned and probably intelligent. However, emotions can take better of him, and venting emotions is a favorite pastime of Israeli right (not that peculiar if you compare to GOP, or Turkish AKP). So on one hand, he finds it foolish to annoy American with untimely requests etc., like Netanyahu's trip to Congress, but on the other hand, he is infuriated that such caution is necessary, while all those rascals like Jews in the media and other prominent positions could do so much more.

      To some degree, I understand Oren. Wieseltier, for all his good works for the Zionist cause, reeks indolence, narcissism and lack of enthusiasm. I wanted to paste his faint critique of the Israeli conduct in the last war in Gaza, but I decided to spare some bytes and nerves of the readers here. Among a usual dollop of propagandistic falsification and a huge amount of empty verbiage, he rather skillfully leads the reader to the conclusions that he, Wieseltier, is the nicest and wisest man, sadly unappreciated by pro-Israeli zealots (swamping him with e-mails).

    • I guess the interesting aspect of Oren's rant was that included Wieseltier among the self-hating adversaries of TODITME (the only democracy in the Middle East) was particularly delusional, but otherwise it is a standard fare, for example the office of Netanyahu once put NYT on the enemy list. Dual loyalty of Jews who have other ideas and attachment besides the veneration of their "only Jewish state" is increasingly perceived as an aggraviation among the political elites of Israel and their approved friends who are free from those "non-Jewish entanglements".

      Assume for a moment that Wieseltier was included because of a simple mistake, like when Honorable Scalia referred to his Honorable colleague Goldberg, who in actuality has name Ginsburg. We still have a group mindset that rejects the possibility that people who disagree can do it for some relatively innocent reasons, like different personal experience, different personal values (which, after all, are personal), or feeblemindedness (most people lack the sagacity and acumen of Michael Oren or our friend hophmi). Instead, those people are either duped by the Dark Forces or themselves are card carrying members of Dark Forces. In recent years, Dark Forces manifest themselves as Worldwide Leftist-Islamist Conspiracy.

    • I have no idea how Wieseltier strayed from the straight and narrow, but Oren should be careful when he casts stones. After all, he himself erred and criticized Netanyahu, and that is not the only sin he committed:

      link to

      Perhaps Oren believes what he wrote, namely that criticizing Netanyahu is a carrier enhancement, and he knows a thing or two about maintaining a carrier. For all I know, it may be true, and that fact should be drummed into all American journalists and politicians.

  • Obscure Netanyahu minister emerges as unsung international hero in latest 'NYT' report
    • I actually find that story surprising and refreshing. Until now, I would never guess that neo-cons or Likudnik (there are differences!!) could see the episode of back pedaling from promises to rain death on Syria as something positive.

      And of course, "Al Qaeda types" are the cherished Hashem's gift to Israel, Netanyahu visits them at the bedside, supports with artillery, airstrikes and probably with supplies and so on. And they did a nice piece of work, disabling Syrian air defenses and degrading the capabilities of Syrian military in general. However, the endgame may turn to be a nightmare for Israel, namely that their favorites are so terrifying to most of the world that massive influx of Iranian troops to Syria will not find any significant opposition. This is how the civil war in Lebanon ended (massive presence of Syrian troops) and this is probably the way the war in Syria will end.

  • Netanyahu likens BDS to Nazi Germany
    • Perusing the link to Hitchhiker wikis I found an actual motivation for destroying Earth that suggests that the plan of hyperspace bypass was not accidental:

      " The very worst poetry of all perished along with its creator, Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings of Sussex, in the destruction of the planet Earth. Vogon poetry is mild by comparison."

    • By JODI RUDORENJAN. 15, 2014

      Dov Lipman, a rabbi and a sponsor of the bill, has had the word Nazi flung at him. Credit Rina Castelnuovo for The New York Times

      JERUSALEM — Israel is on the brink of banning the N-word. N as in Nazi, that is.

      Parliament gave preliminary approval on Wednesday to a bill that would make it a crime to call someone a Nazi — or any other slur associated with the Third Reich — or to use Holocaust-related symbols in a noneducational way. The penalty would be a fine of as much as $29,000 and up to six months in jail.

      Wiser heads prevailed, so Israel can conduct its foreign policy as before.

  • How will Sheldon save Israel?
    • Very close-minded answer, dear talknic. I try, within my modest abilities, to learn something before I criticize. Today I learned something new: Sheldon Adelson = "Jews in Denmark, Belgium and France".

  • Why haredi Jews should resist military service
    • I would give the "Rabbinate" (there are several in Israel) a benefit of the doubt that they know how to interpret Rabbinical law. For example, perhaps Maimonides explained why "The universal obligation of military service in times of emergency" is justified. By admission of the leaders of Israel, there is no emergency, to the contrary, the chief danger is BDS, and hard to see how additional IDF recruits can help. IDF needs manpower to harass villagers more effectively, but quite possibly the current level is sufficient.

      Majority of Haredi rabbis are convinced that prayers and Torah studies are more effective in maintaining the occupation than purely military means. Even that can be correct. After all, however secular Israel is, the justifications for occupation and oppression are in religious zealotry. They may also be correct thinking that IDF service can be detrimental to the preservation of medieval values in their communities.

      In short, extracting moral values that are useful in XXI century from ancient religious texts is a hard effort that can well be futile.

  • Netanyahu government ramps up effort to combat BDS
    • 100 million shekels is a paltry sum when existence of the state is at stake. I think the problem is in finding productive ways to spend it.

      Prime minister hinted at two issues. Jews on campuses have to stand tall and proud, plus they have to be armed with facts. Concerning the first issue, some are vertically challenged. I myself use a plastic stool to reach on top of the kitchen cabinets (from Home Depot, 8 dollars = 25 shekels) but while lightweight, it is not particularly portable for a convenient use at a university campus. Concerning the second issue, apparently, more facts are needed. Both issues can be addressed by much admired Israeli arm industry that could produce better stools and better facts. Thus we need to spend 100 million shekels on R&D, and then sell improved stools and facts to proud Jews at campuses.

      However, from engineering stand point, making convincing brand new facts and lightweight, inexpensive and portable stools are both rather complicated, as they have to perform in adverse environment. My stool somewhat resembles up-side down milk crate and it folds to a rather bulky shape, but any attempt to make it fold more would make it weaker, so you would need to use a more expensive plastic and more intricate construction. Making up convincing facts is even harder, as they can be subjected to scrutiny. An argument like "even Rav Shmuley says so" does not always work (I got a number of e-mails from Values Network).

  • Obama says peace talks are pointless because Netanyahu won't see the 'best' in others
    • You are too cynical. Take the most recent war waged on Yemen. Obama chose a principled position: the first priority is to fill book orders of American arm companies. Badly needed manufacturing jobs for American workers, yea! And some profits too. Sometimes I wish that he was more pragmatic, perhaps noticing that this is pointless s..t that can backfire on us.

    • My take is that poor Kerry broke his leg and now just cannot find enough masochism in his body to suffer extra pain of going through pointless meeting and getting all the hate from Israeli ingrates who did not appreciate American efforts to provide them with a smokescreen. In the same vein, Obama should designate a special officer, preferably autistic, who would take care of all calls from Netanyahu or whoever else wants to call from Israel.

  • Goldberg predicts 'civil war' between American and Israeli Jews as Israel is 'defined as an apartheid state'
    • Glass half empty (of theocracy): hophmi calls Israel "largely secular". The right to marry, divorce, refuse divorce, immigrate is in the hands of state paid clergy that use their own criteria, not regulated by the secular Knesset. Some aspect of lives are controlled by clergy, some are not, like in Iran, and granted, the proportions are different. But why the Ministry of Transportation attempted to ban self-service bicycle rentals in Tel Aviv on days of some religious holidays? Simply put, the Ministry was controlled by religious fanatics. In the new government, fanatics of various ilk control most of the government, although haredi fanatics do not particularly like Modern Orthodox fanatics, the former view compulsory military service as abomination, the latter, as sacred duty to take part in the Holy War.

      Concerning "largely British legal system", Israel inherited the most retrograde parts of the British system, lack of the constitution and colonial artifacts like administrative detention (not used in the home country). USA is using something a bit similar in the case of undocumented aliens, but Israel uses it for domestic oppression, which is worse. In any case, USA ceased to be a normative democratic state.

    • "It is remarkable, the degree to which he holds Israel to standards he doesn’t apply to other American allies."

      This is one of the central tenets of Hasbara, a belief shared by Zionist from most obtuse to most liberal. It is also a very intelligent ploy: deconstruction of that belief gives so much fun to a non-believer that it is really, really disruptive. Even so, I give it a try. First, to what degree "Israel is hold to something"? For example, holding Piotr to some standard basically means that if he does not fit to those standards he is fired. But Israel is a sovereign state, so the rules are different. One rule is for non-allies that cannot do much, then we proclaim that they are no good and impose severe sanctions. With luck, that leads to hyperinflation and total immiseration, like in Zimbabwe, or to somewhat stagnant economy like in Iran. Second rule is for non-allies that can do something. We impose sanctions which cause some degree of inconvenience, but we also foment insurgencies and support terrorist movements that they may find inconvenient. Third rule is for non-allies that we cannot do anything about, lest they stop buying our Treasury bonds, or leave us bereft of such life necessities like shoes, shirts, smart phones etc, surely we do nothing, BUT!! BUT!! we mention their misdeeds in yearly reports compiled by a dedicated federal agency.

      And what rules operate with allies? In good old days if an ally was committing a major atrocity, CIA would provide it with a check list, so they would also murder people on that list. Or provide training how to conduct torture and run death squads. However, occasionally those allies would be mentioned in yearly reports.

      So how does Israel fare in the comparison? Especially within "the region" our allies tend to be a wild and crazy bunch, where check and balances have the form of the nephews and uncles of the current absolute monarch, while Israel was, and remains, the most liberal theocracy in "the region". For example, Israel routinely uses a despotic procedure called "administrative detention". For some reason, the highest per-capita use of that occurs in Jordan (a truly despotic regime does not have to use British colonial laws that Brits would be ashamed to use, would they still have colonies, and no record of administrative detention in Falklands, Gibraltar of Bermudas). Advantage, Israel! However, since the sanctions on allied abusers of human rights range gamut from laughable to inconsequential, it is hard to tell if Israel is "hold" to more or less than the others.

  • ‘They said we drink the blood of children’—Netanyahu goes off the deep end after FIFA campaign
    • , the latest culinary advances.

      I got that from the web, but the quoted cookbook is from 1922. Related historical references exists from ancient Greece. link to

    • Dear Mooser, drinking blood of geezers was never subject of a libel, it just raises the question about the taste. Just imagine this picture with roles reversed:
      link to

      I must also admit that I have heard about the "blood libel", but it was about the use of Christian blood (not necessarily babies) in baking matzos. The origin of that folk legend could stem from the fact that it is very difficult to understand why regular matzos are not good for Passover -- I must admit I do not understand it myself.

      Additionally, nobody in the region would drink something that was neither boiled nor fermented, while blood was used in a number of dishes:

      [After you have killed the pig] cook the lungs, skin, various parings and veins with onions, greens and salt until you get a fine broth. Remove cooked solids and cut finely, and use the strained broth to cook buckwheat groats or barley. Groat may be soft, but not mushy.

      Add to the chopped meat and pour the liquid so much blood that the entire mass was not dry, but somewhat thick. Mix all perfectly, add salt to taste, pepper, English herb and marjoram. Stuff loosely in a clean intestines, bind in small section, or fasten with little sticks and simmer slowly for an hour" (F. Gensówna," Little Housewife - kitchen, pantry, medications and friendly advise)

  • StandWithUs invests nearly half a million dollars in ongoing anti-BDS lawsuit against Olympia Food Co-Op
    • Some plaintiffs complained that BDS has nothing to do with the mission of the Coop. However, the coop has this as a part of its mission:
      link to
      One can argue that food produced on land obtained through dispossession of the natives entails oppression, and I guess some arguments of that kind were made. Most importantly, it is only natural that most of 24 thousand active members would be against oppression, and against pro-oppression slogan "stand with the civilized man" (or join us at the Grim Rippers Squad and mow the grass).

    • A question to law literate folks: I understand that the issue is what standard applies to non-jury decisions imposing penalties. Opponents of the boycott are counter-sued as raising a case without merit with explicit intention to create a nuisance. Suppose that Mondoweiss would write in an article about "Piotr who delusionally thinks that he is the Lord of the Universe" and I would file a libel suit, claiming the damage to my reputation and material well-being, since it can decrease the level of devotion and gifts to Piotr with the false claim that he is not the Lord (while he is)". The court can dismiss the case, fine Piotr for making fun of the court or even award damages to Mondoweiss. However, the court has to evaluate the arguments raised by Piotr, and do it in a way that does not impinge on the right of Piotr to have a jury trial.

      So the Washington State stature allowed to dismissed the case under more permissive (and thus apparently unconstitutional) standard, kind of "most people would not believe it" rather than "only few people would believe it". And the judge does not need to present any statistics on how many people in fact believe that Piotr is the Lord of the Universe. But there can be other ways to reason about Piotr's case: if he is indeed the LofU then as a public figure he has no right to damages without submitting the proof that Mondoweiss did not believe in its claim, or his is not LofU and there was no libel.

      I would not be too afraid for Olympia Coop yet.

  • US and Israeli pressure on Nigeria to sell out Palestine at U.N. amounted to 'national security threat'
    • “Israel has been a crucial and loyal ally in our fight against Boko Haram,” Mike Omeri, the chief coordinating spokesman of Nigeria’s National Information Center, told the Jerusalem Post. “It is a sad reality that Israel has a great deal of experience confronting terrorism.

      For all that help, the fight against Boko Haram was going very badly, and it seems to be going better now. Former president was either simply inept, or unpopular in the military. New president is a former general, and apparently the war is more successful. Objectively, both Israel and USA have pretty bad record with counter-insurgency. Of course, if you have almost unlimited superiority in arms and almost total control over the population then even inept leadership and tactics will give a modicum of "positive results", but this does not work in Lebanon or Nigeria.

  • Turning Lebanon into Gaza -- Israel's hole card against Iran deal?
  • 'This land is ours. All of it is ours': Meet the Netanyahu cabinet members focused on fighting BDS & annexing the West Bank
    • Bryan: Finally, outside of the Bible itself their is not a jot of evidence that God has ever engaged in conversation with humans, or snakes, or asses, that God makes promises, or even exists.

      Nothing could be further from the truth. Amaterasu is a very fine goddess and an ancestress of Japanese imperial family, so somewhere along the line there had to be a direct intercourse between a god and a human. Somewhat atypically, Japan was created by gods and then given to the Japanese who did not had to conquer anything. (At least they got central Japan without any problems). I think a god promised Mexico to Aztecs who had to trek from their ancestral Aztlan to get the prize, which they had to conquer. Heracles got the land of Peloponesus from Zeus and promised it to his ancestors, but they were sadly expelled. No worry! Heraclids returned and ruled Laconia, Argos etc. Incidentally, their periods of exile and return are dated very similarly as those of Hebrews. (Spartans were most note-worthy Heraclids and allegedly their story was inspiring to Jews in the last centuries B.C.) Wotan not only speaks to humans, but he also sings very nicely in deep baritone. Indian gods were tramping all around Bharata as avatars. I could fill a library with literary sources, photographs of the respective locations and so on.

      For example, why do we play with a rubber ball? It all started with a ball games between humans and gods of the underworld.

    • I do not think that Hotovely is "ultra-Orthodox". She seems to be Modern Orthodox, which to me is a fascist movement with "religious motivation". Who knows, perhaps her household has two dishwashers, but she struts around with uncovered hair and elbows, poses to photographs etc. She is ultra-nationalist, and clearly an excellent pick for the Ministry of Defiance (formerly known as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

      “Rashi says the Torah opens with the story of the creation of the world so that if the nations of the world come and tell you that you are occupiers, you must respond that all of the land belonged to the creator of world and when he wanted to, he took from them and gave to us.” Is it really an exemplar of Jewish religious scholarship? First, Rashi is surely a revered scholar, but one could expect to consult him on something less obvious than the opening of the Torah. Second, isn't it a bit non sequitur? Creation of the world does not seem very related to deciding who lives where and when. Or perhaps the point is that if the Creator could cheerfully disregard all those fossils and archaeological finds and create the World 5800 years ago, He could also give the Holy Land to Hebrews cheerfully disregarding other folks who live there. My guess is that Tsipi reveres the Torah but couldn't be bother reading more than the first few pages.

  • Netanyahu's new Foreign Ministry aide gets $226,000 from Sheldon Adelson shop in U.S.
    • By the way, Mondoweiss was puzzled why Dore Gold was paid as a consultant by AEI, and that is indeed a puzzle. One of the chief roles of AEI is to support otherwise unemployable right wing folks and give them a label of an "expert" or some such, something that looks good in a business card. However, when Gold got the money he was a full-time President of Jerusalem Center of Public Affairs.

      Similarly puzzling is the fact that was is the President of Center for Jewish Community Studies in Baltimore in the same time.

    • Wikipedia: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

      President: Dore Gold

      Recent initiatives:

      International Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Anti-Semitism

      In May 2015 the center sponsored an event promoting an initiative to make anti-Semitism an international crime through a convention to be signed by participating states. No foreign diplomats attended the event. Of 160 representatives invited, not one chose to attend. The organizers seemed surprised. The Times of Israel reported: "So far, not a single state has indicated that it is considering signing the convention, including Israel.


      The Intitute is located in Jerusalem, but its spiritual home is firmly in Chełm (check Wise People of Chełm).

  • Sam Harris and the dangers of false atheism
    • I guess I am not an atheists because I worship nitpicking. Thus I would pick the following nit: not much evidence was shown for Sam Harris being a "false atheists". That said, I will pick some nits on his luxuriantly hirsute head.

      Sam Harris advances the concept that Noam Chomsky has "dangerous delusions about global jihadism". But what are "sober views on the global jihadism, stripped of any delusions"? That it is a part of a wider international conspiracy aiming to destroy motherhood, apple pie, Second Amendment and all the rest that is good, with Chomsky being one of the main culprits? Or that it is an inevitable consequence of the cult lamentably started by a self-styled prophet in Arabian peninsula, and motherhood, apple pie etc. are in dire danger as long as that cult is not expunged? When you add adjective "global", do you mean that there exists good local jihadism that USA and other Western government can wisely support, like insurgents against Qaddafi, Assad, Russia (in North Caucasus) or Afghan mujahadeens? Or was (or is) the support of any of the above a stupid blunder? It is a fact that fighters in "good local jihadism movements", goodness evidenced by Western support (we would not support bad folks, would we?) were subsequently found as "bad global jihadists". Perhaps jihadism should be considered more comprehensively than the narrow focus on the "global" jihadism, with all arbitrary inclusions and exclusions. Any social study that focuses on "bad folks" as currently defined by the State Department lacks intellectual merit -- why we need Sam Harris if we can read posts on the website of the State Department? Just because we are junkies who need more?

      In other words, the concept of "global jihadism" is not so much delusional as mercenary. tailored to get funding. And throwing invectives like "delusional" is a time-proven mercenary tactic as well. That hints that Harris may indeed be worshipping something. Nevertheless, while the concept is sloppy, what are prescriptions?

      If I understand, the prescription is to focus on the root cause, which is the existence of Islam. This is heavily delusional. Given the numbers of adherents, the dynamics of those numbers and their global distribution, I see no realistic policy based on that assumption. If this is the only way, we should just morosely await the end of our good atheist days, or concentrate on getting some fleeting carnal pleasures while we still can. Or create an international system of death camps to eliminate Muslim minorities in countries where Muslim are not in power (sadly impossible because of carping of lily livered liberals like Chomsky). I do not want to go into details, but outside radical Zionist circles most folks agree that to the degree that "jihadism" is a problem, most Muslim reject that idea, moreover, since "Jihadism" entails mostly Muslim-on-Muslim atrocities, 9/11 being very much an outlier rather than the rule, there is a necessity and opportunity to work with Muslim to reduce it.

      That said, the details are bewildering and crucial (e.g. the support of the fascist rulers of Egypt or absolute monarchies like KSA is not the best way to put it mildly). Rants in Harris style are much more dangerous than any mistakes in Chomskian analysis because they provide surprisingly effective support for very misguided policies. For example, USA supports (with cash and arms) a very bloody and completely fascistic regime in Egypt, and any time there is another news item about, say, hundred death penalties ordered in short proceedings with highly dubious reasons, most commenters approve because the victims are claimed to be "Islamists", And it is not like that fascist regime is "secular", in fact, it is somewhat theocratic, except that this is a form of religion deformed by the puppets nominated by the State.

    • About Turks in ISIS: there was a story about an "ISIS commander" who got wounded and left for his native Turkey for hospital treatment, and nobody bothered him. Unlike policemen who stopped trucks with weapons and explosives that were driving on orders of military intelligence and according to the shipping papers, contained "humanitarian aid"; the poor guys were fired.

      Statistics of ISIS fighters from various countries come from law enforcement in those countries, and zero stat from Turkey does not mean much.

      Concerning reasons for "radicalization and violence", various societies experience crisis situations and "radicalization and violence" is one of the outcomes. And it is a genie that is not easy to put back in the bottle. For example, Colombia experienced something called "Violencia", and it has effects on the society even today. Not much in our media on that. In any case, dependent on the distribution of religions and ideologies during the crisis, you can get "radical and violent" Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Shinto, Anarchists, Marxists, liberal democrats and so on.

  • 'Jerusalem Day' and the sacralization of propaganda
    • Women of the Wall are heretics, as established by the religious authorities in a theocratic state, so they should be grateful that Israel is a liberal theocracy with rather lenient penalties for disobeying the edicts of three chief rabbinates (Ashkenazi, Military and Sephardi).

      "My daughter in her American history class used Israel as a example of a society with freedom of religion but not separation of church and state." Excellent example! Like the lack of provision for any marriages NOT sanctioned by one of the officially approved religions, and that short list does not include Jewish denomination that most numerous in United States. Or reservation of certain type of jobs, including jobs in power stations, to the members of the official state religion. The latter causes problems because the most pius among the Jews do not want to use state-supplied electricity on Saturdays as it is made with Jewish labor on Sabath.

      Could be worse, of course. Imagine being a non-member of the ruling religion in a state where all, the faithful and non-faithful, have to spend one day of the week hopping on one leg.

      I hope that the summary of your daughter was that the separation of Church and State in USA was not one of the mistakes of the Founding Fathers.

  • Adelson primary heats up -- fawning George Bush gives him a painting of his casino
    • While most paintings of "a previous foreign statesman" were indeed showing houses, he also painted landscapes, and city scenes. While he was "third rated", during his time Vienna was one of the world capitals of art, so the consensus is that he was "not so bad" rather than "awful".
      link to
      I dare say that he also knew a thing or two about gaining the support of plutocrats.

  • Why readers interested in balanced coverage of BDS should avoid the New York Times
    • I am not canceling my subscription yet. Most of the cases of bias cited in this story are in the experience with reporters rather than the report itself, and to be "unbiased", reporters of Mondoweiss should be a bit more intrepid and get some words on the experience on the Zionist side. As it is, the article is almost meticulously "unbiased", at least formally, with paragraphs citing proponents and opponents of BDS on campus roughly equal in number and length. Additionally, the article is open to comments, and they to seem favor the Palestinian side 2:1.

      That said, some lines were of the kind "should one laugh or weep?" "Medina asked if she could be re-directed to another source that had no ancestral ties to the region, implying that being Palestinian made him an unreliable source. " Presumably, immigrants with no ancestral bias would be less biased. ??!!

      Criticising activism for being "divisive" would question if College Republicans and College Democrats should operate (but this was a quote; even so, Zionist celebrations of campus are as "divisive"). But this was a quote. A more interesting angle is why the college administrators are so united, vehement even. Current situation seems to be: economic, political and administrative establishment: 99.9% pro-Israel, media: 50-70? Students seem 50-50, but Israel is definitely trending down.

      In any case, the coverage of the issues of Israel and Palestine is now less biased than most. Check the coverage of Ukraine.

  • In Israel, racism is standard procedure
    • I think that there is an established church in Wales, although it probably does not mean a lot. I got this web search hit (I guess from 1999):

      In her statement to the House of Commons on 11th December on the Government's proposals for Equal Marriage, the Secretary of State said:

      "because the Church of England and Wales have explicitly stated that they do not wish to conduct same-sex marriages the legislation will explicitly state that it would be illegal for the Churches of England and Wales to marry same-sex couples. Mr Speaker, this provision recognises and protects the unique and Established nature of these churches."

      There is also Church of Scotland, a.k.a. The Kirk, recognized by law as the national church (but not "established"), and the majority of Scots who declare a rellgion "adhere" to The Kirk.

      However, those Churches do not have an "oligopoly" on performing marriages, nor they enforce any kind of religious laws, like sales on Sunday, nor they have the power to imprison people who defy their edicts. In Israel you can be jailed to up to ten years for defying the rabbinates (by not giving so-called "get" to the spouse, one of the most bizarre features of Judaism: by the Law, a divorce requires the agreement of the husband, but rabbis can demand the agreement and in Israel, they can jail you for not heeding them; in my logic either the necessity of the husband's agreement is a good idea, and then it should be totally up to him, or a bad idea, and then this agreement should not be required. Something like that happens when a brother of a deceased husbands offers (as required) to marry the widow and she is obliged to refuse (or not obliged? There may be a difference between Ashkenazi and Sephardim rabbinates). As far as I know, no one was jailed for not offering to marry a sister-in-law, or of not rejecting such an offer, but the State of Israel is obliged to jail at least some people pointed by the rabbis.

      Most crucially, unlike the clergy in United Kingdom, Israeli clerics periodically urge the State to wage a Holy War with no mercy shown to the enemy, sometimes with specific recommendations like "going beyond collecting 300 foreskins", which preceded the last war in Gaza, with the State, ably assisted by the Military Rabbinate, conducting the war as bloodily as the clerics recommended. Then our American Jewish clerics issuing similar recommendations to American government.

      At least I know of no involvement of religious figures in the Holy War in Crimea (but the idea of the Holy War is spread surprisingly widely. For example, Pamela Geller invokes the Holy Writ of Ayn Rand to urge crushing the Muslim infidels, I guess she fancies herself as a priestess of the Randian cult. (Ayn Rand recommended that the "civilized people" should make short work of the "savages", and so does Geller).

  • 'NYT' and 'MSNBC' leave Marco Rubio backer's Israel agenda out of the story
    • The newest on the topic from NYT is a bit surprising:

      Norman Braman, the billionaire Miami auto dealer who is prepared to pour $10 million into Senator Marco Rubio‘s “super PAC,” has an unexpected view of campaign donations.

      He hates them.

      “It’s a colossal waste of good money,” he said during a recent interview in Miami.

      “It’s a shame for any of this money to have to go into politics,” he added. “It should be utilized for much better purposes. There’s too many needs out there for this money to flow.”

      But he sees no way around generously bankrolling candidates like Mr. Rubio, given the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United and the rising reliance on super PACs that can accept unlimited donations.

      “In the world of politics today, unfortunately, super PACs are the name of the game,” Mr. Braman said. “The system has it where you have to have it in order to compete.”

      I see a good attack spot against Rubio: "Rubio - a colossal waste of good money, in the words of his mentor and sponsor". Actually, the problem was already described, namely that most GOP candidates got their billionaire friends, so either those fat cats will get to some kind of agreement or they will waste what Braman called "good money".

    • You can rationalize your ugly prejudice against walrus-Americans by saying that you merely oppose psychopaths, but that conveniently ignores the fact that 100% of public figures in USA that resemble walruses both with their mustaches and favoring mode of communication (loud bellowing) are all psychopaths. (A photo of John Bolton link to )

  • Sanders is leftwing on economic issues, but sees Israel as up against ISIS
    • I am guilty of being eclectic. Like I would like to have more rational domestic policy, and less mayhem abroad. Obama delivered semi-rational health care reform (an improvement of sorts) and less enthusiastic support of the mayhem abroad, but what have we got on his watch? Palestinians suffer more or less a before, ISIS goes strong, additional mayhem in Ukraine, Syria, Yemen and Libya where USA is unhelpful AT BEST, and malignant to some degree. Negotiations with Iran are conducted in such a way that I have no idea if Obama wants to fail or succeed.

      On the level of Mondoweiss, ignoring other issues is consistent with the mission, but when we look at the progressive Sanders, and he is "quite progressive", total silence on foreign policy is quite deafening. Apparently, even in the framework of hopeless Presidential run where the only thing he can do is to articulate issues he does not feel that any of those issues should be articulated. Either he does not see anything overly wrong there, or he indeed would rather avoid the entire block of issues as "generators of discord".

    • I checked 12 points of Sander's program. Not too bad, but I would add some points (perhaps removing some redundant ones).

      Nothing about the military, and only implicit promise on foreign policy. The implicit promise is to break trade treaties. But I would add reducing imperialist posture and commitments and make a huge reduction in military spending, perhaps associated with some wider demilitarization. For example, as we insist on antiballistic missile programs and improving missiles, raising fears of "first strike capability" we are getting a renewed nuclear arms race. Annual savings 100-200 billion, and fewer victims of inane policies. (Support for Israel, KSA and terrorist movements would be under "reducing imperialist posture".)

      In reversing global warming, I would advocate substantial carbon tax and international cooperation on that basis. Another 100-200 billion dollars in the budget.

    • I have somewhat mixed feeling. The "constituent" who irritated Sanders was heckling very loudly in a smallish hall, so Sanders had legitimate reasons to get flustered and irritated. However, that happened after one minute of rather inane bullshitting when Sanders enter full demonizing mode, talking about "sophisticated military tunnels". So Israel HAS TO KILL HUNDREDS OF CIVILIANS with 21st century weapons because it was faced with slightly improved Stone Age technology. Number one, it makes no sense. Number two, it revealed the content of his kishkes: barely digested IDF hasbara. Apparently, some people cannot bear the stench.

      And this genuinely raises the question: can you be progressive except on Palestine? USA is ruled by lobbies, and is The Lobby different from all those other lobbies, be them drug companies that loot billions from the sick people (and the healthy ones who are in the same insurance pool or paying taxes), or police unions, or energy companies who want to poison minds to be free to poison the planet? In a way, yes. It used to be that a young girl in a brothel would be initiated to the trade by a "special client". The Lobby serves the role of that client. The habit of unthinkingly absorbing talking points prepared by lobbyists and propagandists becomes overwhelming and governing for the benefit of the majority becomes impossible.

  • David Horowitz to OSU: 'Jews didn't expel the Arabs in 1948' and 'the occupation is a huge lie'
    • Another old geezer here. Back when Howard Dean started to run for president, he had a speech where he mentioned that USA needs a balanced position on the Middle East conflict (there were few at that time), and a large brouhaha followed, from which I learned that "balance" is an anti-Semitic code word.

    • pabelmont: GoUSA constantly reviews and checks the list of terrorists and their supporters. Cuba was downgraded from arch-enemy to still-not-quite-OK, and Venezuela was upgraded. Al-Nusra was approved as a recruiting target (for the "moderate insurgents", but "Khorasan group" was approved as a bombing target, even though no wise person willing to be quoted on record can tell the difference.

    • In my nomenclature, Shavit represents Hasbara piano, while Horowitz is definitely forte. Light beer-type of Hasbara is not proper for the stout throats of College Republicans.

      I am not sure if Horowitz repents anything. Some people are fanatics whatever they do.

      Yonah lacks the taste for undiluted warm bourbon, so he finds Horowitz "unhelpful". Still, the guy runs a well-funded energetic operations that is a part of a major project, making Israel a wedge issue winning votes for GOP. People too deep in "liberal-think" have hard time grasping how it can be helpful, but it is not that mysterious. GOP has a brand image of being decisive, supporting people like us against the other with aplomb and without apologies, and ready for action whenever necessary. Most importantly, when in doubt, one should always ask the most appropriate person for opinion, and it is hardly surprising that this would be the richest person or group that has any opinion on a topic.

      Hence pilgrimages beseeching Sheldon Adelson to bestow a blessing are performed with pride. And if College Republicans are confused why it should be so, Horowitz is always ready to explain Isn't it why his operation is well funded?.

  • 'Israel First'-- for gay couple who hosted Ted Cruz
    • On top of that, the standing of Cruz in republican polls dived, something like 12% to 7%. Contrary to some thinking, not all marriages are made in heaven.

      By the way, State of Israel recognizes only religious marriages, and the list of approved types of religious marriage is short, emphatically excluding all Jewish denominations that approve gay marriages, something that gay Zionist are trained to ignore. Hence, they were ready to ignore little foibles of Cruz.

      The peculiar ecology of GOP politics promotes the wannabe dragons who not so much tell us their views as breath fire. Iran? fry them! then talk to accept the tribute from the chastised survivors? Muslim? fry them! Gays? Frying fellow citizens is less acceptable, hence the search for alternatives, like "religious freedom laws" to deny services to openly gay. Science? Fry them, or at least, fire them! Especially if they badmouth NRA or Israel.

      Now they comment about "fascists of they gay community" who descended on Reisner and Sporn. It always amazes me why they imply that fascism is bad. (It is bad sometimes, like in gay community, but there is also good fascism, like Mussolini before the Pact of Steel, when Betar happily run camps in Italy under the benevolent gaze of Il Duce).

  • Non-Jewish Israelis remain faceless, nameless, voiceless in 'New York Times' coverage
    • As far as I know, one becomes a Chief Rabbi (there are two, like consuls in ancient Rome) in elections with rules about as transparent as elections for the Supreme Leader of Iran. In the second stage of the process there is a long discussion in the press about the bribes, kickbacks etc. that the newly elected Chief collected while having lesser posts in the past.

      And yes, there are differences. ON EDIT: there are three Chief Rabbis, Ashkenazi, Sefardi and Military.

    • Usually, I thinks that Phil piles to much on Rudoren who tries her best, which may be mediocre but not malevolent. This time she seems to be indeed sloppy.

      The article is illustrated with a picture of a bus on a bus stop in Nazareth, an "Arab town", hometown of Haneen Zoabi. Does that bus run on Saturdays?

      Nazareth to Tur’an
      *Departures from Nazareth, not all stops listed

      Sunday: 09:05, 10:10, 10:45, 11:40, 12:15, 13:45, 15:00, 16:30
      Mon.-Sat.: 07:00, 08:00, 08:50, 09:20, 10:00, 10:30, 11:20, 12:00, 12:35, 13:20, 14:00, 15:00, 15:45, 16:30, 17:00, 17:30
      Route: Nazareth Beit HaYedidut, Nazareth Frank Sinatra, Nazareth St. Joseph’s School, Nazareth Pizza Panoramic, Nazareth Tahbash, Reine Nazareth Illit 754, Mash’had Entrance, Kfar Cana, Beit Rimmon Jn., Tur’an, Tur’an Mercantile Bank, Tur’an Regional Council

      Apparently, Nazareth central bus station is reasonably busy on Saturdays, but Rudoren does not mention it, even though the bus that she shows in the picture (complete with a woman in a Palestinian dress) runs on Saturday. That observation could give rise to some investigative reporting. Arab/Palestinian bus companies do exists in Israel, and presumably they could do business on Saturdays in places like Tel-Aviv (where you can break Shabbat by shopping or going to a restaurant, but not by riding a bus), but they do not. Is it because it is too hard to make it profitable, or because it requires permits that are denied?

  • EU must take stronger action to sanction Israel following high court decision banning boycott
    • This is part of the true cost of "canine devotion to Israel". US is constantly negotiating this or that, giving up some points to gain other, and rather that gaining points in the interest of the citizens, negotiators "protect Israel". And by all means, make a trade war with EU!

    • What EU can do? What kind of organization is it? Some raised those questions.

      Mental experiment: 15 of EU foreign ministers proposed that goods from Lugansk and Donetsk should be labeled as such, as the sum total of all steps detrimental to Russia and those republics. It could be a very sensible course of action, but the actuality was different, wasn't it?

  • The moral hypocrisy of American Muslims for Palestine on the Armenian Genocide
    • Interestingly, Iran chides Turkey for not acknowledging Armenian genocide.

      On one hand, classifying atrocities as "normal", "super", "super-super", "genocide" inevitably has a political element. On the other, rejecting honest recognition of the past is all to often associated with nefarious attitudes. Ukrainian nationalists glorify war heroes who committed massacres and do not cringe from committing "little atrocities", mass intimidation, a flurry of assassinations etc. Turkey is arrested in the past patterns if it cannot acknowledge what went wrong.

      And so is USA. During massacres in Indonesia our government did not "stood idle", instead, CIA passed its own lists of persons who "deserved special attention". Now we have "moderately putrid" policies, and only "outside the mainstream folks" acknowledge the stink. Oh, democracy in Egypt could be improved further. Oh, we should help Saudis to make a more selective target list. Should we support one-sided bombardment for more than two months? Let's think about it after two months! (I thought that Saudis want to show that they do less s..t than Israel in Gaza, but apparently they checked with USA and decided to have more fun after all.)

    • School children should learn basic principles on genocide.

      Principle number one: some peoples count a lot, some less, some do not count at all.

      Thus I read at least two articles with the phrase "Armenian genocide, the first genocide of the 20th century". Herero do not count at all!

      New York Times had an article that Armenians should "get over" dwelling on the genocide, and Washington Post, that they should reconcile with Turkey. Hm. Both articles by Armenians, but were they really representative of Armenian opinion? Still, Armenians may cherish the fact that they deserve more mention that the Herero.

      Concerning Turkey, I am all for reconciliation, but shouldn't Turkey cease criminalizing the writing on Armenian genocide? Or refraining from sh..t like providing staging ground for taqfiris to attack an Armenian town from Turkish soil and expel inhabitants (last year, in Syria)? Or from making movies showing fictional Turkish heroes killing Armenian "murderers"?

  • A lesson from the New York Times on how to mislead with numbers
    • Misleading with numbers is relatively ineffective because most of the public is innumerate. Of course, you can write anything and pick a chart as an illustration.

      More typical is flat-out misleading. An article in today's Op-Ed section, "Iran Won't Give Up on Its Revolution" has this sentence: "Iran’s imperial ambitions are not new. Under the Safavids, the Shah and the mullahs alike, Tehran has vied for regional domination." A naive person would think that since this is in an article written by three experts, it must be true, at least to the extend that is easy to check. In fact, during the reign of Safavids (a dynasty in 16-18 centuries), Tehran was an "unimportant village". In any case, this bizarre article find faults in anything that Iran does, say, not cooperating with Azerbaijan and Turkey in the siege of Armenia: siding with Armenians, how vile one can get! Interestingly, most such dodgy Op-Eds in NYT, including that one, have no option of writing comments.

      So citizens, countrymen, we have bombed Tehran to smithereens cause Tehran was ambitious. How rare! How vile!

  • Understanding the Jewish National Home
    • I think that to understand the "holy writ of Balfour declaration" one has to have some picture of the policies and the way of thinking of the British ruling class of the time. For starters, there was a well defined ruling class, to a degree aped by somewhat less defined ruling class in USA. Balfour himself was born in the palace of his noble family (Wikipedia makes no note of silver spoons, but surely there were some in the household). And one of the functions of that class was to rule and expand the Empire, and to treat subject peoples according to their stations. Five years before the declaration South African Act gave the Whites of South Africa the right to rule the country as THEY see fit (whatever the opinions of the disenfranchised Black who promptly got totally disenfranchised). Three years later, a democratic institutions were provided for Kenia, only whites were represented (I am lazy to check, but 1-2% of the population). Arabs were viewed as a cut above the Negroes, except for the Beduin that were "savages", but below the Jews (who were of course inferior to the British, but unlike the British, they had British friend in good social standing).

      And sure enough, the idea that "welfare of the native peoples" should be mentioned here and there was accepted, EVERY colony was supposedly improving the lot of the subjects, but the idea that one should SERIOUSLY consider that welfare was perhaps reserved for jokes in the clubs and some memoranda destined to gather dust.

      That said, "national home" was intentionally an extremely vague phrase, hardly putting any restrictions on ruling the Empire. Support of the Jewish immigration had prominent backers (including Rotschilds) and some critics as it was creating some difficulties in ruling over Palestine, and the settlers, not being British, did not deserve the deference like those in Kenia.

    • I think that to understand the "holy writ of Balfour declaration" one has to have some picture of the policies and the way of thinking of the British ruling class of the time. For starters, there was a well defined ruling class, to a degree aped by somewhat less defined ruling class in USA. Balfour himself was born in the palace of his noble family (Wikipedia makes no note of silver spoons, but surely there were some in the household). And one of the functions of that class was to rule and expand the Empire, and to treat subject peoples according to their stations. Five years before the declaration South African Act gave the Whites of South Africa the right to rule the country as THEY see fit (whatever the opinions of the disenfranchised Black who promptly got totally disenfranchised). Three years later, democratic institutions were provided for Kenia, only whites were represented (I am lazy to check, but 1-2% of the population). Arabs were viewed as a cut above the Negroes, except for the Beduin that were "savages", but below the Jews (who were of course inferior to the British, but unlike the British, they had British friend in good social standing).

      And sure enough, the idea that "welfare of the native peoples" should be mentioned here and there was accepted, EVERY colony was supposedly improving the lot of the subjects, but the idea that one should SERIOUSLY consider that welfare was perhaps reserved for jokes in the clubs and some memoranda destined to gather dust.

      That said, "national home" was intentionally an extremely vague phrase, hardly putting any restrictions on ruling the Empire. Support of the Jewish immigration had prominent backers (including Rotschilds) and some critics as it was creating some difficulties in ruling over Palestine, and the settlers, not being British, did not deserve the deference like those in Kenia.

  • Obama's long & passionate Monday with Saban, Foxman, Hoenlein and other Jewish leaders demonstrates power of Israel lobby
    • There is some dispute if "Iran is a bad actor", so I was curious if there is any way to resolve it objectively. I applied "google test". The search was swamped with a multitude of candidates, so I narrowed it down to "worst actor" in "image" search -- if they are so bad, the point can be illustrated with a photo. This is the top hit:
      link to
      Importantly, it gives a suggestion that bad acting can be inherited. From Darwinian perspective, it means that in some ecological niches bad acting is reproductively beneficial. Do they mate with worst actresses?

      This second hit suggest how Iran would look like as a worst actor (but the oriental in the photo is actually from India):
      link to

      Can we objectively evaluate the acting skills of Israel as "tiny abused state with millions of square miles of sand seething to exterminate it"? I would say that they lines perhaps stink, but the acting is superb.

    • The formalistic attitude to "expiration date" is not applicable in most situations. Here is an annotation to English translation of "Master and Margarita" by Bulgakov:

      "They supplied sturgeon of the second freshness"

      Sturgeon of the second freshness or, in Russian: Осетрину прислали второй свежести became one of the many popular sayings from Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita after its first publication. It was common in the Soviet Union to classify things into grades, by which the lesser categories could have a positive name anyway.

      That said, only few guests availed themselves of the highly regarded fish (if a little past its prime), and those who did, had reasons to regret. But for those with well trained stomachs, anti-Semitism accusation can be digested without diarrhea, vomiting etc.

  • Marco Rubio and AIPAC allied in effort to insert poison pill into Iran deal
    • The fact is that Pakistan does not recognize Israel, the official position is that they can recognize Israel only after the establishment of the state of Palestine. And it get sales of weapons from USA, plus an alleged transfer of nuclear technology from Israel (in Wikipedia, "Israel-Pakistan relations". I am lazy to check, but I think that Saudi Arabia has the same position.

      Official positions of the three states are quite similar, what is different are unofficial and disputed news about cooperation with Israel.

    • China has a simpler way of forcing Israel to heed to their interests. Recall that there is a racket of extorting money for alleged support of terrorism with Israeli victims, with testimony provided by Mossad. When a Chinese bank was so accused, Mossad did not show up. May have something to do with a certain businessman who could be very badly hurt by, say, investigations into details of running of some casinos in Macao, and who happens to have the prime minister of Israel as his personal tchotchke.

      OTOH, I think that it would be beneficial for USA economy to get rid of the role of the dollar as the main reserve currency. While good for the financial sector, it is a disaster for manufacturing, because USA can never run out of money for imports, while the domestic consumption is to a large extend possible because of consumer credit. The sooner this artificial prosperity ends and the country switches to a larger share of consumption consisting of domestic products made by people getting decent wages, the better.

  • Stanford Hillel defied Hillel guidelines by hosting Gottlieb -- 'and no one burst into flames'
    • This is a complicated issue. Why people crave approval of their communities, say, "Log Cabin Republicans", GOP activists who crave to be approved as gay people by their GOP brothers. It would be to facile to dismiss them "apparently, the gays have their share of masochists as well."

  • Who cares what Jeffrey Goldberg and Netanyahu don't like about the Iran deal?
    • Goldberg proposed modest half-measures. I would start by giving him a veto power in UNSC, as we clearly cannot trust Obama, and other permanent members were disappointing as well.

      The second measure would be to remove lies from school textbooks. So-called "solar system" consists of bodies that rotate around Benjamin Netanyahu, so it should be Netanyahu system. All attempts to deny the obvious truth and brainwash the school kids are simply caused by anti-Semitism prevalent among the leftists in charge of school programs.

      The third measure ... [I am out of ideas at the moment]

  • Iran is 'congenital cheating' 'Islamic power bent on world domination' -- Netanyahu tells US media
    • Well, there is time to weep, and there is time for laughter. Sometimes Israeli police sees nothing wrong with group sex on a city beach, and sometimes they test if your matso sandwitches were made of matsos that are proper for Passover. And what is it? Pastrami AND cheese in your lunch box?

      However, the city fathers of Afula have a real problem. Before Passover you are suppose to sweep away all crumbs of chametz, and then G..d fearing citizens go to the city part to enjoy nice weather and rest after all that pre-Passover cleaning. And their shoes get contaminated with chametz crumbs that are subsequently carried home. So it is not like eating chametz in a public park during Passover is a victimless activity.

      However, what I found truly interesting is that benevolent Interior Ministry impose Chametz Law solely on "Jewish parts of the country", so perhaps there are maps of those parts.

    • This story of carpet seller is not entirely baseless, what I see that it does not support the point at all.

      Should we renounce purchase of carpets, and bomb the merchant (who may be an Armenian, but Jews tend to loath the Armenians so it is fine)? Or invade and take the carpets?

      And how it differs from Israel as a negotiator? The main difference is boorishness, totally uncivil behavior toward the other party (Palestinians) and even the "honest broker", hapless American diplomats badmouthed for "being obsessed" etc. just for attempting to make the negotiations look a bit less like a mockery. Forget about the caps of tea, or ever getting anything, except for a grudging agreement that is promptly broken.

    • According to Catalan, Iran is an economically feebly country, so the loud fear of Iran in Israel is basically a bad case of vapors and paranoia.

      On the other hand, the metrics chosen by Catalan are misleading. Because of sanctions, Iran had to conserve foreign currency, resulting in low exchange rate. On PPP basis, GNP/person in Iran is about 1/2 of Israeli level. Iran also produces many industrial products and has decent agriculture so it can survive the slump in oil prices without a major crisis. Before the slump, Iran's exports were 3 times larger than that of Israel, now perhaps twice larger (and the share of non-oil export is of course nearly doubled).

      Sanctions were a "mixed curse" because the unrestricted access to the global financial system and free trade is a "mixed blessing": ask Greece.

  • Conservative revolutionaries and the echo of German fascism
    • My comment would be that the only reason to stress German fascism and proto-fascism is that it is best known, especially in USA. Interestingly, Revisionist Zionist Movement was initiated shortly after National Fascist Party took power in Italy.

      The combination of social factors in continental Europe in the aftermath of WWI was somewhat unique, the perfect storm condition for radical movements that were usually fascist in nature. However, to me it is more disturbing that USA has its own tradition of right wing radicalism which is different than fascism, milder if you will, but it has strong native roots. I call it ante-bellism, the conditions in the American South prior to the "War Between the States". The prevalent attitudes among Southern Whites were more libertarian than authoritarian, but in the same time, violently intolerant. Abolitionists were the enemies of the free people, their tracts forbidden, removed from mail, speeches violently suppressed, occasionally mobs would cross Ohio river to burn down an office of an abolitionist periodical (say, in Cincinnati).

      This culture of "rugged individualism" had no cult of leaders, but a deep reverence of the elite , the local rich people that privately despised the "white trash" that voted for them. Unfortunately, the political patterns did not evolve as much in the last 160 years as I would wish. One thing which is essential for that political culture are the enemies that require solidarity, resistance and vigilance. And it is not terribly important what those enemies are, so they change over the years. Liberals took place of the abolitionists, but it is not as easy to revile the Blacks as in good old days. But immigrants with darker skins, homosexuals, Muslim etc. can be reviled with more frankness. "Love for Israel" strikes a deep chord, furnishing "good folks" to support and "bad folks" to deride, and per chance, to kill. And why not protect the God-blessed state of Nebraska from liberal attempts to impose Sharia? Anything that can induce the trash to vote for the elite is fine.

  • 'NYT' addresses pro-Israel donors' influence over Congress
    • My theory is that "GoldmanSachs/Citicorp", i.e. major financial companies, investors and executives, is not opposed to a negotiated settlement with Iran. It is not even directly related to increasing or decreasing the supply of oil, they can prosper in either case, or to the improved trade opportunities in the Iranian market that is largely closed to American companies -- not peanuts, but not huge in a global scheme of things. However, proliferation of sanctions -- not just on Iran -- imposes risks of draconian penalties imposed on banks, insurance companies and so on. A leading French bank was forced to pay 9 billion dollars in fines.

      There are even companies specialized in extorting funds from real and imagined violators of sanctions. This is really not good for business. And if the effects are worse in Europe, that is not a lot of consolation to folks who invest globally. Therefore I do not foresee East Side plutocrats suddenly abandoning Democratic Party out of the dismay how the good poor old Netanyahu got treated. Perhaps to believing and practicing Zionists, Mr. Netanyahu is the embodiment of collective will of those Jews who achieved elevated status and to whom lowly galut should bow. To financial plutocrats, Mr. N. is a personal tchotchke of their obnoxious colleague from Las Vegas, a bumpkin who probably could not tell Verdi from Puccini.

      The reason that there exists a modicum of democracy in United States is that "big money" is not united on all issues. Some hate "Obamacare", some appreciate. The very form that that step toward universal health coverage has taken is dictated by the need to bestow a boon on some sector of capital, while getting a vehement opposition to another. We see a similar split on Iran. On Palestine -- I guess, not yet.

  • Now Obama needs to 'compensate' Netanyahu -- NYT pipes Israeli propaganda (Update)
    • I would complain less about Rudoren's piece. This is a report on thinking of Israeli establishment, and while it could present a wider selection of perspectives, it does not endorse any of the described opinions. Personally, I found one passage cryptic:

      The situation reminded Mr. Eiland, the former Israeli national security adviser, of an Old Testament tale in which King David fasts for seven days after Batsheva bears him a very sick son. Once the baby dies, the king asks for something to eat, explaining, in the book of Samuel: “Why should I fast? I can’t bring him back to life.

      Does it mean that Eiland thinks that Netanyahu should follow king's David wisdom and ask "for something to eat" once his beloved baby, nixing negotiations with Iran, died (it was a sickly baby from the start)?

    • I found two things curious.

      One was the seeming total absence of pro-Israeli comments for the article in Guardian, after more careful check, there were two very short comments supportive of Netanyahu (in some way) out of 43. Israel is facing a dangerous deficit of trolls. One possible reason is that there is a number of cabinet positions with hasbara responsibilities, but right now they may be preoccupied with negotiations to form a new ruling coalition. Distractions, distractions.

      The second was a concept that is totally new to me, the proposal to ban some countries from developing (and deploying?) "international missiles". They should be limited to missiles that stop at national borders! It is a fascinating concept, and perhaps it would be even more helpful if Israel decided where the uncrossable borders should be (in addition to one-way borders).

    • Donald: "But it is precisely the logic that has had the US helping our “ally” Israel by siding with them in the UN, supplying them with weapons, and saying they have the right to “defend” themselves when they blow up Palestinian families. There was never any sanity in this."

      This is precisely the way a hegemon deals with cranky vassals who have influence at the court. Note that KSA is another dear ally of USA that is upset, so USA helps the King to sooth his nerves by whacking Yemen. This time, Israel can enjoy the show only vicariously, but they do their best by cheering loudly on the sidelines.

  • When occupation becomes apartheid
    • Israel had one "non-Apartheid year", from ending the military rule over Arab citizens to the imposition the the military justice on the newly conquered population about a year later.

      The very formation of the State has genetic affinity to Apartheid. South African Act gave the Whites of South Africa the right to rule over other folks there any way they please, and five years later another colonial project was promised by Balfour Declaration. The idea that as land can be cleared from weeds to facilitate crops, it can also be cleared from undesirable types of people was of course yet older, and I am not sure if it was seriously criticized in the West before 1950. By "seriously" I mean members of Cabinets and other Established members of society. No wonder that Nakba did not make big waves in Europe and America.

      My point is that Nakba was, to a degree, following de facto international norm back when it was committed. During the subsequent 68 years, the world made some progress, but Israel seems to be increasingly harsh, sharing values with people who long for the good old days when we did not had "these problems".*

      Trent Lott was a Senate Majority leader for a while, and he said those warm words on December 5, 2002 at the 100th birthday party of Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, a long time conservative leader. Thurmond had run for President of the United States in 1948 on States' Rights ticket ("Segregation forever"). Lott said: "When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over the years, either."

    • Israel had one "non-Apartheid year", from ending the military rule over Arab citizens to the imposition the the military justice on the newly conquered population about a year later.

      The very formation of the State has genetic affinity to Apartheid. South African Act gave the Whites of South Africa the right to rule over other folks there any way they please, and five years later another colonial project was promised by Balfour Declaration. The idea that as land can be cleared from weeds to facilitate crops, it can also be cleared from undesirable types of people was of course yet older, and I am not sure if it was seriously criticized in the West before 1950. By "seriously" I mean members of Cabinets and other Established members of society. No wonder that Nakba did not make big waves in Europe and America.

      My point is that Nakba was, to a degree, following de facto international norm back when it was committed. During the subsequent 68 years, the world made some progress, but Israel seems to be increasingly harsh, sharing values with people who long for the good old days when we did not had "these problems".*

      Trent Lott was a Senate Majority leader for a while, and he said those warm words on December 5, 2002 at the 100th birthday party of Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina. Thurmond had run for President of the United States in 1948 on States' Rights ticket ("Segregation forever"). Lott said: "When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over the years, either."

  • The epic season of spinning Iran deal begins!
    • That reminds me a joke about bald men. Some lack hair in front, they think, some lack hair in the rear, they are very attractive for women, some lack hair both in front and in the rear, they think that they have very attractive for women (sorry for a bad translation).

      Of the multitudes of people who think that they are smart, some are actually smart. The average self-assessment of the intelligence in Israel is probably quite a bit higher than in the Exile. Genetic make-up is similar, but the outcomes like smart/stupid are caused more by the environment rather than genetics. In some environments it pays to be smart, in some, it does not.

      Sixty five millions years ago dinosaurs ruled the earth and made large dignified strides, while mammals were rat-like creatures skulking around and hiding in burrows. For the size of their bodies dinosaurs had remarkably small brains, which is exactly what they needed given the abundant resources. Then a comet hit the Earth and no amount of strength was sufficient to secure enough food for the huge bodies.

      Being in elite position or in a ruling majority approximates the conditions of the late dinosaurs. You get strength, strength translates into resources.

  • How Obama won on Iran
    • "Anyone want to host a 'Depend' fundraiser..."

      No amount of diapers will help without proper application. What we observe is a condition in which diarrhea and gasses emerges from the orifice (can you say oral orifice?), so one would have to apply diapers on the head, and just hope that a person that is so completely reversed can breath through anus. But would it really solve the problem, or just prove that the subject can spray around fecal matter from both ends of their alimentary tract?

      I conclude that cheap palliatives are unlikely to work. Instead, I would send the victims of this mysterious malady to high Arctic, so they would cool their feverish heads, and supply with copious amount of marijuana. After several weeks one could move them to more temperate locations, switch to methadone and start behavioral therapy. Full recovery from severe ziocaine addiction may take months.

  • DEAL!
    • The "deal" has a potential of improving Iran's economy, but also the economy of Pakistan and also India. Congress can sabotage lifting unilateral American sanctions, but it cannot re-impose multi-lateral sanctions, and those are the only sanctions that matter. USA was imposing unilateral sanctions on Cuba with rather small effect.

      Iran will play a larger role as a result, and this disturbs Israel, because it improves the position of so-called "resistance" in ways that are TOTALLY unrelated to nuclear weapons.

      Thus the interests of Israel would be served better if there was no deal, even if the deal would include Iran totally dismantling of everything that even smells "nuclear". And the current sketch of the deal indeed includes deeper Iranian concessions than expected, and the government of Israel opposes it, as it would oppose any conceivable deal. However, it stands to reason that regardless of their preferences, government of Israel has to find a way of satisfying the security needs in a way that would not contradict interests of every single permanent member of Security Council.

      That leaves Plan M, which is coming of the Messiah, but Plan M can succeed whether Iran has nukes or not. Consequently, GoI should restore the role of Torah studies to its previous position, and the new members of the Israel Cabinet will have many constructive suggestions how to do it. By the way, Iran has Plan HI (return of the Hidden Imam) which is quite similar, and this is precisely why it does not pursue nuclear weapons.

    • If financial industry was dead set against the deal with Iran, there would be no deal with Iran. I would not worry about the future funding support of Schumer.

      While many harp on "Jewish influence" in finance, the attitude of tycoons like Bloomberg to Israel is quite nuanced. At the end of the day, Israel for them is a cherished hobby, but they also need to make a living.

    • Perhaps giving Schumer a strong chance at the leadership is more astute than I have previously thought. Schumer can sound like (former senator) Lieberman at times, but he cherishes his place in party hierarchy.

      And it is not like his most beloved constituency, the financial industry, is gung-ho for WWIII.

      PS. Lieberman gave impression that given a choice of following the needs of insurance companies (big thing in Connecticut) and Israel, he would not hesitate for a microsecond. And do not even ask about the considerations important to ordinary voters.

    • The mental framework of anti-progressives and progressives is so different that I do not know where to start an answer to hophmi.

      Perhaps with the fact that we should deal with the world as it is, rather than as it should be. Any country has its list of imperfections, and U.S.A., Iran and EVEN Israel have their lists.

      The second is that very, very few wars improved the world, and decreasing the restrains on the movement of people, ideas, goods and funds, more often than not, has positive effect.

      Thus avoiding the "military option" and decreasing the restraints on trade through diplomatic effort is a-priori a good thing, and one needs very solid arguments to object.

      Going away from sweeping generalities to the concrete case at hand, hophmi argues that the singular iniquity of the regime in Tehran should make us cheer all attempts to replace it, be it sanctions, confiscations of property, and outright war, and jeer all attempt to liberalize trade, return confiscated property and eschew war. In the same time, apart from Israel, the closest allies of U.S.A. in the region (warmly courted by GoI) are Egypt and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. A short explanation how government of Iran is worse than the governments in Egypt and KSA would help understanding hophmi argument.

      Otherwise, my tentative diagnosis is that to hopmi, 'good' means unconditionally supporting Israel, or at least cooperating on the most crazy schemes and priorities, and 'bad' means critical of Israel, and any of the schemes and priorities of GoI, however vile or insane. Whenever GoI and KSA agreed on something, without fail it was something like that.

  • Netanyahu to stage hunger strike against world peace
    • In the aftermath of the DEAL, this April 1 story does not seem improbable. Say, declaring a national day of mourning in Israel, or ratcheting reaction to more extreme, declaring that PM of Israel will not eat ice cream until the vile regime in Tehran is removed from the page of time.

  • Leaked Clinton fundraising memo reveals presidential campaign strategy
    • To me, a give-away is the stress on "information". Like Hillary would be less secretive than Obama. If the "I" was for "inclusiveness" I would perhaps not see anything special in the scoop.

  • Tipping point?
    • If you say that the Guardian has anti-Israeli bias, it explains more about you than about the Guardian -- they actually evade the issue of Israel, but it is hard to report on American politics without noticing it, at least if you want to show some connection of your reporting to reality (however small).

      I think that Edwards has a chance. Of course, it may be easy to exaggerate her progressive position on Middle East. But there exists an interesting indirect connection:

      [Politico]: "Edwards, who’s preparing for a difficult primary against fellow Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen, said in a two-minute announcement video that she wouldn’t compromise on the entitlement programs — “no ifs, ands, buts or willing to considers.” It’s a likely preview of the way she’ll hit Van Hollen, who progressives have argued has been open to cutting Social Security because of his support for a federal budget deal like the now-defunct Simpson-Bowles plan."

      The problem with "progressive except Palestine" is all to often that they are not that progressive. Those that loose their virginity in interactions with one well-funded special interest group evolve to veritable tramps.

    • It may explain her dim view on Republicans, although I swear to heavens, I never dated a Republican and my esteem of them is "not as high as it could be." My favorite sub-species are moderate Republicans, who balance the few intelligent planks they favor is a variety of ways: Guliani -- with personal viciousness, New Jersey governors -- with utter fiscal responsibility, with some thuggery added in Christie edition, and so on.

      Then come less moderate cohorts, including "Rednecks for Israel". The latter are almost amusing, because they regurgitate talking points of Zionist extremist (think ECI rather than AIPAC), but they garble them in ways that tell me that they have no idea what is going on. For example, they would proclaim that "we should demand equal rights for all people between the sea and the Jordan river" after being explained that Jews are being discriminated upon, and denied the right to settle in the West Bank. That was when Obama was trying to raise the point of the settlement freeze. Or they would proclaim that Israel should have logical borders, which means, borders described in the Bible. Good luck finding the Wilderness of Zin. (Just because those folks believe every word in the Bible does not mean that they read much of it with comprehension.)

      The few Republicans that have reasonable views on foreign affairs, those of libertarian bent, tend to be total nuts on domestic issues. Some of that is relatively harmless, like gold standard.

      That said, the best thing one can say about Democrats is that a candidate like Donna Edwards actually has a chance. In other words, the reality is "so-so", but the potential is there. Unlike in GOP. I think I will follow Munger's advise.

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