The dialectic of… what?

idf-selfie

One surely ought to be able to make something of this, but damned if I know what:

A New Facebook Page Dedicated to the IDF Is Being Flooded With Sexy Selfies

Women are stripping down for sexy selfies to show their support for the Israel Defense Forces[ IDF; Israel's euphemistic term for its conquistador armed forces -- ed. ]

Submissions are pouring in from all over the world on the Standing With IDF Facebook page, with women are inscribing pro-IDF messages on their body before snapping pictures. After just two days, the page has received more than 16,000 likes on Facebook.

Most of the pictures feature women with “I <3 IDF” emblazoned on various body parts, but the page celebrated 15,000 likes by featuring a photo of a girl who had written “Fuck Hamas” on her butt cheeks.

Curiously, the page seems to have been taken down, but there are a few NSFW samples here.

I really hate it when people my age wax all moralistic and analytical about the latest youth fad. And really, I don’t disapprove of young people having a good time. In fact I rather like the idea; wish I’d been more fun-loving myself when I was young. Nevertheless there’s something about this nexus that tempts me very strongly to indulge in such alter-kaker ruminations. They pay for a gym to remodel their bodies into some approximation of an arbitrary ideal, and often enough pay for a surgeon to make up the difference. Then without being paid for it, they donate the work product, in the form of selfies, to machines of exploitation and commodification like Facebook. And now we see the hookup of this particular fun business with a project of genocide. Fascism has become much sexier since the PG-rated days of Kraft durch Freude.

The chap who set up the Facebook page also has one for dudes who want to show their support in the same way. Apparently it hasn’t been so popular. A quick look, which I cannot in all conscience recommend, will show why. The Zio-broskys look terrible, and lack entirely the louche Levantine charm of their female counterparts.

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Update: I’m told that the relatively unpopular (and quite unlovely) site for Zio-boyo selfies has been taken down too. Ordinarily I don’t approve of anything Facebook does, but this is really a public service.

Looking on the bright side…

Israelis sit in lawn chairs and eat popcorn while cheering on the slaughter in Gaza

… is normally not my style, but even I get tired of being Eeyore all the time.

It seems rather horrible even to suggest that something good may have come out of Israel’s latest murderous rampage in Gaza, but I think it has.

For some time now I’ve been aware of a steady erosion in the hypnotic power of the Israeli narrative among my fellow Amurricans. But there has always remained a certain reluctance among my Gentile friends to say what they really think. They’re very happy to see Jewish groups like Jews Say No and the like taking on Israel, but there’s been a certain sense of relief in leaving the job up to them. Presumably because Jews are more or less inoculated against the old anti-Semite trope, whereas a Gentile might have to undergo the unpleasantness of being called a Cossack by some crazed, spit-spraying Zionist fanatic.

The latest news from Gaza, however, is so revolting that people who until now would have contented themselves with a furrowed brow and a look of deep concern are starting to acknowledge, in some stumbling form of words or other, that Israel is, well, kind of a horror show.

The image above shows Israelis sitting in lawn chairs and (according to the photographer) eating popcorn, while cheering on the slaughter in Gaza.

Here’s a little item from the other side:

July 1914/2014

haeckel-kriegsbeginn-1914

A little more than a week from now, we will observe — or more likely, not observe — a hundred years since the opening bell was rung for the great serial butcheries of the horrible twentieth century. A hundred years, since then, of unprecedented slaughter; makes the Thirty Years’ War look like a walk in the park. But who remembers July 28, 1914? Indeed, who would want to?

Tell me again about progress.

It’s becoming rather difficult to resist the sense that we are once again circling the same drain. And now as then, it’s hard to understand why. Nobody wanted the World Wars — except the people who did; unfortunately, the people who did were calling the shots, then as now.

There was no good reason — no good reason, that is, that ordinary decent people could understand — why the assassination of an inbred Hapsburg halfwit should have plunged the world into an orgy of bloodletting. The shooting-down of an airplane is, let’s say, 250 times better, as excuses go, than useless unloved Franz Ferdinand’s abrupt quietus; but it’s still piss-poor, compared to the consequences.

There’s no good reason — no good reason, that is, that ordinary decent people can understand — why the US and NATO should have decided to stir the pot in the Ukraine, culminating in the February coup; but they did. And now they seem resolved to stay the course. Dial it up to 11. You can’t miss the barely-concealed relief and rejoicing in Washington and on the pages of the New York Times. At last! A casus belli!

Samantha Powers will undoubtedly be happy. Whether Obie will be happy or not is hard to say; he seems so robotic, so calculated, such a creature of contrivance, that it’s hard to believe he has any real feelings at all.

Oh, I know, I’m Eeyoring again. It probably isn’t quite July 1914 yet. This too will pass. Yet it’s hard to resist that good old deja vu. If not 2014, then 2015, or 16.

The depressing thing is that in spite of the Internet, and the human genome project, and Twitter and so on, nothing of consequence has changed since 1914. What’s old is new again.

Brightness falls from the air

Malaysia Airlines Ukraine crash site

Of course it’s quite unclear, so far, just how, and why, and at whose hands, the Malaysia Airlines jet came to be shot down over the Ukraine. Which has not, of course, prevented the “Western”1 media and even the God-Emperor Obama from hastening to pin the blame on Ukrainian Russophile ‘separatists’ — and by association, of course, on Russia. Samantha Power is practically frothing at the mouth, she’s so eager to send the Marines.

Great stress is laid on the likelihood that the plane was brought down by a certain type of rocket, which formed part of the arsenal of the old Soviet Union. Well, of course it was. That’s all there is in those parts. The “separatists” might well have some of these — though the launchers are fairly big truck-mounted affairs and as I understand it, they also require a radar unit, quite apart from the launcher. Odds are that the Ukrainian government has a lot more of these than the “separatists”, if the latter have any at all, a proposition so far undemonstrated.

Why would the “separatists” shoot down a Malaysian airliner? Sheer bloody-mindedness, perhaps. Or maybe they mistook it for a military plane? The latter is possible, I guess, but the notion that they would do it intentionally seems nonsensical.

On the other hand, it doesn’t seem at all improbable to me that somebody would do this if they thought somebody else would end up taking the blame. The technical term, I believe, is ‘provocation’. Since the “Western” propaganda apparatus was right out of the gate in a microsecond, indicting the Seps and the Russkis, some such expectation might not have been unreasonable.

‘Cui bono’ isn’t an infallible principle, but it’s pretty good.

I can’t help noticing, also, that this story has demoted the Gaza incursion from the top headlines. Just sayin’.

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1 Quite an Orientalist trope, innit, when you think about it?

“Arabs may you be paralyzed & die with great suffering!”

BsLUtMNCIAEfFBp

The title of this post is a tweet from the pouty young thing shown above, one May Levi1, an Israeli, needless to say. A helpful chap named David Sheen, who seems to have a good command of the modern Israeli version of Hebrew, has been translating and posting such demented little billets-doux from Levi and other Ziotrash youth. It makes depressing reading, though not too surprising (especially if you’ve read Max Blumenthal’s Goliath, which I recommend).

These are not wild-eyed, gun-toting haredi loons crouched in a West Bank hilltop trailer park; they appear to be modern, urban, secular, with-it young kids, Twitterers and Facebookers and so on. I stress ‘young’, because unlike their American Jewish coevals, who are increasingly uninterested in Israel or even disgusted by it, these precious pups seem quite ready for staff jobs in an extermination camp – a kind of institution which seems now to be the looming entelechy of Israel’s collective soul. One has the sense of a culture nerving itself, arming itself emotionally, for some world-historical crime. The obvious parallel is too obvious to mention.

It reminds me, uncannily, of a certain type of white person you used to encounter in the South, during the high years of the civil rights movement. These specimens couldn’t open their mouth without working the word ‘nigger’ into every sentence, regardless of the topic of conversation.

Whatever it is that drives this type of thing may well be a universal potentiality of human nature, but its frank expression seems to require a particular kind of political and cultural context. I suggest that the existence of May Levi in itself represents a definitive, and damning, judgement on the Zionist project, whose inner logic has now produced the genocidal Twitterfeed.

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1 Correction: An eagle-eyed reader notes that the quote was actually from Shira Agiv, shown below. May Levi wrote “Death to these fucking Arabs.”

shira-agiv

Another voice crying in the wilderness

tumblr_inline_n0jkpuxfqA1r0v59w

Very nice item from John Halle:

Of course, there would be nothing wrong and a great deal right in achieving the gender negationist utopia Frase describes. However, there would be nothing socialist-or even necessarily just or decent about it; to see why, all we need to do is imagine Mr. Burns in a skirt. Frase along with an alarming number of others on the left completely miss this obvious point: exploitation without discrimination is still exploitation. As a result of their conflation of opposition to discrimination with opposition to exploitation, the essence of their proposals amounts to a multiculturalist restatement of the underpants/gnome theory which here take the form 1) elimination of gender binary 2) ???? 3) expropriation of the expropriators.

The Times, they are a-Kagan

kagan

The Times piece about Hillary and the neocons, which was mentioned in the previous post here, contains a link to a long1 piece of thumbsuckery2 by the cherubic sage shown above, one Robert Kagan. Kagan of course is a second-generation neocon of impeccable pedigree, but he’s been lodged at the Brookings Institution for the last four years or so, a fact which in itself exhibits the convergence between traditional US Democratic Party liberalism and ‘neo-conservatism’. Perhaps we should start calling it neo-colliberalism.

In this piece Kagan is concerned to make the case that neoconservatism represents the continuation (assisted, perhaps, by judicious use of performance-enhancing drugs), not just of Cold War liberalism, but of Rooseveltian and even Wilsonian internationalism. It’s an easy case to make, and little Podge succeeds in making it — could have done, probably, in a quarter the length.

What is mildly interesting, and novel, in Kagan’s essay is the insistent way he links the concept of ‘realism’3 in foreign policy with the concept of isolationism. Of course isolationism is supposed to be a thoroughly discredited outlook, so ‘realism’ gets tarred with the same brush.

Now the recent dust-up over whether or not to attack Syria was seen by some (including myself) as a showdown between foreign-policy realists and neocons, in which (for once) the realists came out on top. Then too the Teabagger strain in the the Republican party apparently carries a whiff of isolationism which seems rather ominous to neocons and all their interventionist fellow-travelers. (That was pretty much the burden of the Times piece aforementioned.)

Is it possible that the arch-aggressors are feeling — politically — a bit on the defensive? How I would like to think so.

Kagan’s New Republic piece was headed by this wonderful graphic:

sam

Looks pretty good to me, but I don’t think that’s the intended message.

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(1) 13,000 words and change.
(2) In The New Republic, where else?
(3) He uses the word, or its adjectival form, twelve times.

The MUCH greater evil

hillary-binoculars

Might be time to get off Facebook. Already, otherwise sensible people I know are beginning to talk up ‘Hillary in 2016′. I shouldn’t be surprised; it must take some effort, and some practice, to persuade oneself into a state of enthusiasm for this monster. You’d want to get an early start.

These aspiring auto-hypnotists are, of course, some of the same people who delight in making fun of the poor Teabaggers. Now admittedly, the latter are rather silly. But if — it doesn’t seem likely, but if — somebody like Rand Paul is the Republican nominee in 2016, then although I don’t ordinarily buy the lesser-evil argument, as applied to duopoly electoral politics, I might make an exception in this case. There can surely be no reasonable doubt that Rand Paul would be a much lesser evil than Hillary.

Here’s the New York Times:

Are Neocons Getting Ready to Ally With Hillary Clinton?

WASHINGTON — AFTER nearly a decade in the political wilderness, the neoconservative movement is back, using the turmoil in Iraq and Ukraine to claim that it is President Obama, not the movement’s interventionist foreign policy that dominated early George W. Bush-era Washington, that bears responsibility for the current round of global crises.

Even as they castigate Mr. Obama, the neocons may be preparing a more brazen feat: aligning themselves with Hillary Rodham Clinton and her nascent presidential campaign, in a bid to return to the driver’s seat of American foreign policy.

The idea that neocons have been in the ‘wilderness’ during the Obie years seems rather strange to me, though of course Hillary is and always has been much more deeply committed to the neocon program than the pathetic outgunned nonentity who currently lives in the White House, desperately trying to split all the differences he can find. Even stranger, then, is the idea that an alliance between neocons and Hillary might be something to express in the future tense or subjunctive mood. The Clintons — and Hillary in particular — have always been committed, aggressive interventionists and sedulous water-carriers for Israel. From a neocon point of view, what’s not to like?

The Times item itself implicitly acknowledges the fact — as usual with the Times, you get to the good stuff around paragraph 17 or so:

Max Boot, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, noted in The New Republic this year that “it is clear that in administration councils [Hillary] was a principled voice for a strong stand on controversial issues, whether supporting the Afghan surge or the intervention in Libya.”

… Mrs. Clinton voted for the Iraq war; supported sending arms to Syrian rebels; likened Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, to Adolf Hitler; wholeheartedly backs Israel; and stresses the importance of promoting democracy.

The Hitler comparison is like a Masonic handshake for the neocon brotherhood. Here he is again, folks! Good old Adolf Hitler! What would we do without him? And of course we all know what ‘promoting democracy’ means in this context; it means aerial bombardment, and often enough it means boots on the ground — though never, alas, Max Boots on the ground.

My friends — the ones who will undoubtedly work themselves up into a lather of hysterical enthusiasm for this Lady Macbeth, by the time 2016 rolls around — will surely point out that Hillary is relatively gay-friendly and favors abortion. Which is undoubtedly true. These are good things, and might arguably tip the scales if she weren’t also an aspiring mass murderer.

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Update — July 9

I spoke too soon, of course. Even a Teabagger can be smart enough to sell out. Here’s young Rand in National Review recently:

How many times must Israel hear this call? Children are murdered — please show restraint. Cafés and buses are bombed — please show restraint. Towns are victimized by hundreds of rockets — please show restraint while you bury your dead once again.

I think it is clear by now: Israel has shown remarkable restraint. It possesses a military with clear superiority over that of its Palestinian neighbors, yet it does not respond to threat after threat, provocation after provocation, with the type of force that would decisively end their conflict.

But sometimes restraint can work against you. Sometimes you just have to say, enough is enough.

So back to Square One. The lesser-evil theory is as dead as it’s always been.

MJS, MIA

A few correspondents have been kind enough to wonder where I’ve been. Thanks!

Part of the answer is preoccupation with other, more personal matters; and another part is wondering whether there’s any point at all in saying, again, things I’ve said a thousand times before.

I admire people like Chomsky or Cockburn who never get discouraged, and just keep slugging away as long as they have a breath in their body. But maybe I’m not made of that metal.

Still, it’s nice to know one is missed. So thanks again.

The Nation awakes

RipVanWinkleStatue

Rip van Winkle starts to his palsied feet and stares wildly about him:

The Left Ought to Worry About Hillary Clinton, Hawk and Militarist, in 2016

[I]t ought to worry progressives that the next president of the United States is likely to be much more hawkish than the current one…

She’s … taken a more hawkish line than Obama on Ukraine and the confrontation with Russia….

Clinton joined Panetta, CIA Director David Petraeus and the military in proposing that the United States go to war in Syria. (That the United States didn’t act more aggressively in Syria back then was entirely due to President Obama’s decision to resist Clinton and the other hawks.)

… Clinton—joined by several other administration officials, including Samantha Power and Susan Rice—pushed hard, and successfully, for the United States to go to war in Libya….

…[T]here was far more tension between the White House and the State Department under Clinton than is usually cited.

And on and on and on. What a strange narrative. The writers — Bob and Barbara Dreyfuss — seem very determined to keep Obie untarnished, and blame Hill for all the Bad Stuff.

Why? Who cares about Obie, that tiresome, overexposed, played-out lame duck? Is there some retrospective self-justification at work? Were Bob and Babs Obamanauts back in the day? Are they feeling a little… well… sheepish about it now?

don-mccullin-sheep-to-slaughter

I particularly loved the bit about how “President Obama” — as The Nation always refers to the God-Emperor — “resisted” Hillary’s push for war in Syria. I don’t remember it quite that way. I seem to remember Obie being balls-to-the-wall for war in Syria, until it became clear that not even the British House of Commons would go along with it. At that point, any fool could see the cause was lost.

For the time being, anyway. Don’t think it won’t be in the headlines again, probably as soon as the imbecile Ukraine adventure blows up in Hill’s — and Obie’s — face. Assuming it hasn’t already.