The Death Star’s new secret weapon…

obama-friedman-full-videoSixteenByNine540

… to wit, the Boredom Bomb, which seems to be a beefed-up version of the old hot air blast ordnance known affectionately as Tubby Tommy. The new model appears capable of boring whole nations to death at one stroke.

I happened to pick up a copy of last Saturday’s NY Times today on the subway and was gobsmacked to find a mighty piece by the apparently retooled, neobionic Thomas Friedman occupying almost the whole of the op-ed page. The online version runs about 2,300 words. Never have I seen a neuron-buster on this scale dropped by the Times, even on a test range, much less in combat. The effect was devastating. As soon as the page was exposed to the air, people all around me began to lose consciousness and snore sterterously. I don’t know why I was spared; perhaps I used to read the Times enough when I was younger to develop an immunity.

But even I didn’t dare read this damn thing of course. There are limits. I cherish what scraps of sanity I have left. A quick browser word search — eyes averted — revealed that this is clearly not the old Thomas Friedman, since there is no reference to a cabdriver anywhere in the text. Prompted by a hunch, I searched for the word ‘Shiite’ and sure enough, found that it’s all the Shiites’ fault, according to Obie:

The fact is, said the president, in Iraq a residual U.S. troop presence would never have been needed had the Shiite majority there not “squandered an opportunity” to share power with Sunnis and Kurds. “Had the Shia majority seized the opportunity to reach out to the Sunnis and the Kurds in a more effective way, [and not] passed legislation like de-Baathification,” no outside troops would have been necessary. Absent their will to do that, our troops sooner or later would have been caught in the crossfire, he argued….

“[W]hat we have is a disaffected Sunni minority in the case of Iraq, a majority in the case of Syria, stretching from essentially Baghdad to Damascus. … Unless we can give them a formula that speaks to the aspirations of that population, we are inevitably going to have problems. … Unfortunately, there was a period of time where the Shia majority in Iraq didn’t fully understand that. They’re starting to understand it now. Unfortunately, we still have ISIL [the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant], which has, I think, very little appeal to ordinary Sunnis.” But “they’re filling a vacuum, and the question for us has to be not simply how we counteract them militarily but how are we going to speak to a Sunni majority in that area…”

So it’s still all about encircling Iran, apparently. ISIL, that Golem ginned up by the Gulf States, no doubt with help from the US and Israel, may be a somewhat dangerous and problematic tool; but what’s a Death Star gonna do?

When the big bombs go off, one doesn’t ordinarily pay much attention to the popgun, but a kind, or perhaps unkind friend forwarded me a cri de coeur from no less than Louis Proyect, that keeper of the Fourth International flame and great friend of the Sunni. (I don’t normally see Louis’ stuff any more since I finally unsubbed from his Marxmail list. This, also, in aid of protecting the abovementioned scraps of sanity.)

Louis, as far as I can tell, is indignant that what he calls ‘the “anti-imperialist” Left’ — the embedded quotes are important — isn’t leaping to the defense of ISIL:

For days now, the US military has been launching air strikes against the reactionary Sunni-fascist group Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS, or just IS now) in Iraq. Yet, strangely, not only have I not seen any evidence of anti-war demonstrations, or organising for them, I have also not seen the entire faux-“left” cybersphere full of fulminating attacks on US imperialist intervention, with everyone repeating and slightly re-wording the same half-baked, evidence-free article, like we saw last August during the alleged build-up to an entirely imaginary US attack on the reactionary, secular-fascist regime of Bashar Assad in Syria.

I say “as far as I can tell” because Louis has an uncanny capacity to tie himself in intellectual knots that any topologist can prove are impossible in the ordinary 3-D world, so being hit by a Proyectile of this kind gives one a queasy, churning sensation, like looking at one of those puzzle pictures by Escher.

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Update: I’m told on good authority that my topology metaphor misfired (see comments). A Valuable Prize to the best suggested replacement for it.

Another smarmster heard from

wiesel

Elie Wiesel, who else? A recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, along with the likes of Menachem Begin, Henry Kissinger, Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt… Blessed are the peacemakers.

I’ve always loved Elie’s overdone woebegone basset-hound look — a soul filled with Weltschmerz, or at any rate with Weltschmaltz.

He’s weighed in recently with a comparison between the Palestinians and the ancient child-sacrificing Moloch-loving Canaanites. It’s a damn shame Edward Said isn’t still around to comment on this one:

Elie-Wiesel-Hamas-Child-Sacrifice

Elie has teamed up on this occasion with that entertaining and indefatigable self-promoter, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, shown below, author of Kosher Sex, among other notable works of scholarship and divinity. One hopes that coarsely-ground salt is not involved.

rabbi-shmuley

Academe strikes again

wise

Shown above is one Phyllis Wise, chancellor of the University of Illinois, and the most recent entry in a long illustrious parade of academic poltroons who have caved in to the Israel lobby. Wise recently created a stir by abruptly changing her mind about the offer, already extended and accepted, of a tenured position to Steven Salaita, supposedly because of his “uncivil” and “uncollegial” tweets about the ongoing atrocity in Gaza.

No doubt Wise, or her boss, president Robert Easter, heard from a number of individuals and organizations. Easter is shown below. Apparently before he became a university president he was an expert in swine nutrition, which seems eminently appropriate.

CT  MET-AJ-ROBERT-EASTER

The stercoraceous Simon Wiesenthal center went public with its own persecution of Salaita, which took the form of a letter to Easter from the center’s executive director, Rabbi Meyer May. This man of God is shown below, apparently looking for anti-Semites.

meyer

There are as many varieties of hypocrisy as there are of beetles, but surely one of the more fragrant stinkbugs in the entire order is the academic hypocrite. All that gaudy patter about free inquiry and so on, from people who would lock their own grandmother in an attic if some Meyer May told them to.

RTP

israel-poursuit-bombardement-ghetto-gaza-L-2

There was a time there when we were hearing a great deal about the Responsibility to Protect. But RTP appears to be on holiday as far as Gaza is concerned.

Oh Samantha, where are you? Shown below receiving an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Brown University. “Humane” is good, don’t you think?

I had occasion to attend a Brown University graduation recently. Samantha Power did not speak on that occasion, but the President badly mangled the two or three phrases of Latin she was called upon to utter. That, and the general air of smugness and self-congratulation, were the only strong impressions the festivities made on me.

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The hasbara manual…

hasbara

… has always been findable online, but I thought I’d do my bit to make it a little more findable. Click on the image above. It’s a biggish file and sometimes the download gets stuck, somehow; just hit ‘reload’ and sooner or later you’ll get it.

I’ve taken to responding to Zionists with page references: e.g., “Hasbara manual, page 4 et passim“, for the various rear-guard actions that begin with the phrase ‘Both sides…’

I do mean passim, by the way; the phrase occurs 71 times in 116 pages.

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!”

m4s0n501

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