Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cooling off

According to the BBC:

"The Icelandic volcano which has been disrupting air traffic for more than a month is showing a marked drop in activity, new measurements suggest."

All good things must come to an end. According to anonymous sources, the volcano was tired of being followed around everywhere by papparazi, and the last straw was seeing her name linked to Ashton Kutchner.

Quoth the Volcano: "Nobody deserves this kind of treatment from bourgeois pigs who cannot understand art. What does anyone see in that drip?"

The Volcano has let it be known that she is moving to a commune in the South Pacific, to "reconnect with herself and think some things through", and "perhaps write a book".

She was last seen boarding a plane, wearing a fabulous purple blouse, with some lovely Vuitton luggage. It is not known if she is travelling alone.

Friday, January 8, 2010


The following list of people have certain things in common.
[This 'constitutionally protected expression of an opinion' is cross-posted here:
As they say on South Park: "bite me!".]

Fatemeh Abdollahzadeh
Ervand Abrahamian
Ali Abunimah
Gilbert Achcar
Dirk Adriaensens
Amir Afrassiabi
Moji Agha
Michael Albert
Tariq Ali
Khadouri Al-Kaysi
Sima Aprahamian
Anthony Arnove
Hani Y. Awadallah
Barbara Aziz
Afshin Babazadeh
Nellie Hester Bailey
Brian Barraza
David Barrows
Medea Benjamin
Tony Benn
Sharon Black
Hamid Bonyadi
Jean Bricmont
John Catalinotto
Ed Childs
Noam Chomsky
Ramsey Clark

Jeremiah Cohen
Michel Collon
Gerry Condon
Heather Cottin
Tiphaine Dickson
Kelly Dougherty
LeiLani Dowell
Jack Edmonson
Gregory Elich
Nawal El-Saadawi
Eve Ensler
Jodie Evans
Elena Everett
Leslie Feinberg
Lenora Foerstel
John Bellamy Foster
Eduardo Galeano
George Galloway
Peter Gilbert
Steve Gillis
Jim Goodnow
Thomas Gumbleton
Teresa Gutierrez
Samia Halaby
Denis J. Halliday
Bagher R. Harand
Klaus Hartmann
Jesse Lokahi Heiwa
Imani Henry
Sherif Hetata
Connie Hogarth
Larry Holmes
Eric Hooglund
William Hughes
Berta Joubert-Ceci
Charlotte Kates
Nada Khader
Rashid Khalidi
Dal LaMagna
Beth Lamont
Dustin Langley
Camilo Mejía
Robert Merrill
Polly Miller
Monica Moorehead
Gael Murphy
Milan Neuberg
Sara Nichols
Erik-Anders Nilsson
Michael Parenti
John Parker
Pam Parker
Harold Pinter
Rostam Pourzal
Ralph Poynter
Minnie B. Pratt
Anne Pruden
David N. Rahni
Milos Raickovich
Sami Ramadani
Arundhati Roy
Gloria Rubac
Bonnie Rubenstein
Nader Sadeghi
Roudabeh Shafie
Andy Shallal
Cindy Sheehan
Reza Shirazi
David Sole
Nana Soul
Joan Stallard
Johnnie Stevens
Lynne Stewart
Brenda Stokely
David Swanson
Mark L. Taylor
Filipe C. Teixeira
Nadje Tesich
Tony Van Der Meer
Saeed Vaseghi
Paul H Verduin
Michael Viers
Dave Welsh
Walter Williams
Howard Zinn

Some of them are members of academia, some are of the cloth, a few are writers.
They come from diverse backgrounds, and represent differing fields of endeavor.
All of them, however, share one significant and thoroughly repulsive passion.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Palestine TV is a light unto the nations

Sometimes Palestinian politics is all about perks and cushy jobs. Sometimes, rank warlordism.
If the collapse of Fatah in Gaza was due to inefficiency, corruption, and the gangster politics typical of fiefdoms of the Arab world, the eventual social collapse in the West Bank may be due to a combination of limpness, and mis-applied inter-Palestinian force.

Fatah, at times, seems not so much moderate as simply opportunistic.

Consider the recent shenanigans at Palestine TV.

"Abed Rabbo lost his temper last week when Palestine TV failed to dispatch a crew to film Fayad during a ceremony to inaugurate a village water project. [cut] Dahoudi and news editors have long been under heavy pressure from Abed Rabbo to devote much of the news bulletins to Fayad's activities and statements."
End quote.

Not just any temper tantrum, Abed Rabbo's hissy fit erupted into the abrupt dismissal of
Muhammad Dahoudi, director of Palestine TV.

"......said that the official Palestinian news agency, Wafa, was also under immense pressure from Abed Rabbo and his staff to give more prominence to Fayad in its news coverage."
End quote.

Apparently Mr Dahoudi is not accustomed to being treated like a dog.
Hence his disobedience, and Yasser Abed Rabo angrily firing him.

But it could've been much worse. Much, much worse.

"This was not the first time that Abed Rabbo has made a controversial decision regarding Palestine TV. A few weeks ago, he issued an order banning the station from covering news related to Tayeb Abdel Rahim, a member of the Fatah Central Committee and a top aide to Abbas. The row between Abed Rabbo and Abdel Rahim later escalated to an exchange of gunfire between their bodyguards and aides. "
End quote.

Source (Jerusalem Post, article by Khaled Abu Toameh):

As an example of 'Freedom of the Press', the soap-opera-like tumult at Palestine TV is not in the top ten. Unless under the file-heading of 'Banana Republic'.
As an illustration of "how not to advance the cause of modernity", however, it is absolutely in keeping with the traditions of many of the neighboring Arab countries.
Positively orthodox, in fact.

Stay tuned to this channel for frequent updates on the cheerful bumbling, zany highjinks, and 'boys-will-be-boys' romantic comedy over at Ramallah's favourite television station.
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll swoon!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Amnesty International's Gaza War

Just about two months ago, Amnesty International issued its own proforma condemnation of Israel, in the form of a predictably biased and unreservedly pro-Palestinian report on Operation Cast Lead.

If you expected Amnesty International to condemn indiscriminate rockets at the civilians of Sderot, you would have been disappointed. If you expected a balanced and open-minded view followed by incontrovertible conclusions backed up by solid evidence and reason, you were disappointed.

If you expected a dense block of bafflegab critical of Israel and supportive of the revolutionary types so beloved of Europeans and citizens of the People's Republic of Berkeley, your guess was spot on, and you win the grand prize!

"On 2 July Amnesty International published the most comprehensive report to date, titled Israel/Gaza - Operation 'Cast Lead': 22 Days of Death and Destruction. It suffers from a number of flaws, like neglecting the context of the war and the nature of the Hamas regime in Gaza, an uncritical approach to Palestinian witnesses and sources, selective use of Israeli sources and disregard for sources which contradict the opinions of the investigators, and a disputable view of ambiguous international laws and conventions. "
End quote:


"Amnesty's definition of a civilian is rather broad. For instance, police officers are part of the Hamas control apparatus in the Gaza Strip and its military infrastructure, and many were also involved in armed groups like the Al Qassam Brigades. The entire armed branch of Hamas, including the diverse security and guerrilla forces, should be considered a legitimate target in a war, as are its political control apparatus, propaganda institutions and infrastructure.As a matter of fact Hamas censured the media for reporting about the death of Hamas fighters, so the number of reported deaths from Hamas' side may be lower than the real number of their casualties."
End quote.

Commissars, interrogation officers, torturers, goons, strong-arm Johnnies, religious extortionists, bomb makers, and every other badly dressed erratically armed functionary of the Islamic Revolution is perforce a civilian - only people wearing acknowledged military uniforms and pointing something heavy caliber at another person wearing a uniform is a 'non-civilian'.
I mention this because it is symptomatic of the thought processes of all the Europeans and citizens of the People's Republic of Berkeley when they condemn Israel.

And just so you know, wearing a kippah is an act of naked aggression, and marks the kippah-wearer as a member of the Zionist-Imperialist Aggressor - a legitimate target, in other words. As so often blandly stated by Europeans and citizens of the People's Republic of Berkeley.
[And, just as in Ramallah, Cairo, and Gaza City, wearing a kippah in Europe and the PRofB may get you killed. Or at least revolutionarily roughed up.]

"It is unfortunate that an organization as renowned as Amnesty International, which engages in defending human rights worldwide, publishes a report as biased and unfair as the one discussed here. "
End quote

Unfortunate, yes, but surprising, no. It was entirely predictable that they should do so, and it is likewise certain that whenever the cause requires it, they will publish more. What is lamentable is that an organization which, on paper at least, has such a laudable purpose, has become the reserve of the usual crowd of armchair - coffee shop - lectern revolutionaries.

All quotes taken from :
From this article: Gaza War: Reviewing Amnesty International's Report on Operation Cast Lead
Authors of that article, Ratna Pelle and Wouter Brassé, can also be read here:, or here: , where there is also an excellent and informative selection of backgrounders on the Arab/Israel conflict.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Trip across the Sinai

So here I am on my porch, enjoying the cooling of the evening with a nice cup of tea, when I chance upon a lovely item forwarded to me be a concerned friend. She knows that I am due a vacation, and that work has been wearing me down.
So she e-mails me a lovely notice of a journey that surely I, of all people, should enjoy.

Vi azoy:


Sunday, December 27 Orientation meeting in Cairo at 7 pm.
Monday, December 28, Leave Cairo for Al-Arish at 9 am; overnight in Al-Arish.
Tuesday, Dec 29, Enter Gaza from Rafah border.
Wednesday, Dec 30, Visit areas most devastated during Israeli invasion.
Thursday, Dec 31, Meet with civic organizations and community leaders, evening peace event.
Saturday, January 2 Return to Cairo (arrive Cairo 11pm).

All of this and more at www dot gazafreedommarch dot org.

[There are several other groups and individuals on board with this ridiculous adventure, not just Code Pink. All the usual suspects, in fact. Including the Corries, Chomsky, and several veterans for peace keen to revisit the Middle East. I do not know if they will all be wearing pink - it may not be the best idea in the Sinai, even during the cool season. Ruffled pink just stands out too much, and makes you a target, besides looking very silly.]

Wow! For just $250.00 I can stay in a camping in Gaza, or for $400.00 I can enjoy the comforts of a modern hotel, probably with airconditioning, pool, roomservice, and a lovely sunset view of the beach.

What should I do? What should I do?!??!

Should I tell her that my people have ALREADY made the journey through Sinai? Been there, done that, it was rewarding at the time, but has been the source of several silly movies since.
Should I tell her that I doubt that any hotel in gaza has a reliable Hechsher? Or tofu?
Should I tell her 'no thank you, the hummus in Tel Aviv is MUCH better, and doesn't come with a side of kalashnikov'?

Should I tell her that bunking with a bunch of ferkrampte antisemitische Berkeley earthmother types and butterfly huggers would drive my tension level through the friggin roof, even if they didn't find out that I was normal (ie, not "selfloathing twisted pro-terrorists coz they're really like innocent little children oh those fluffy huggable third-worlders in touch with nature waaah!"), which would force them to hand me over to the local goombas for re-education and a bonfire?

Or should I let her think that I am really a patsy, and encourage her to send me more interesting stuff from her mailing-list buddies?

Hmmmm. I think I'll do the sensible thing.
My, this tea is good! Time for another cup.
Pink isn't flatteing, by the way. It makes the skin look flat and sallow.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A view to kill for

From the garden in the hills you can see the fog covering the city. How strange, the sun here is bright and warm, and San Francisco is shrouded in mists, but NOT mystery - I shall not be guilty of so glib and plastic a phrasing.

Nor will I make any metaphoric attempts at eloquence regarding the various bridges visible from this vantage point. The bay Bridge, Golden Gate, and S'Rafael are NOT, and I repeat that, NOT spider-webbing, nor fairy necklaces, nor at night garlands of glittering light.
They are bridges. They do not "gird", they merely connect.

This view does not inspire me to poetry nor song. Whatever romance might be intrinsic to such a sight is negated by the realization that that bump over there, the one overlooking the road, would make a lovely machine-gun emplacement. This is a very defendable position.
And that corner in the shade needs a bunker. Plus sandbags. Oh, the beauty of it all!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Shabbat shalom

I found a tin of his tobacco which he had not finished. After so many years the smell has gone away, but I remember it. I went on to the internet to see if it is still available - for some reason, and I cannot clearly explain why, I need to smell it in full strenght again.
Perhaps I'll burn little bits of it on a plate.

His mother always made beef chunks in a paprika sauce for him when she visited. That was one dish I fund utterly repulsive. And those little boiled pasta gobs in lieu of potatoes that she insisted upon! That, too, is a remembered smell.

The bone of contention between us having disappeared, I get along better with the old cow now. Especially as she is in San Diego. Still not good and nice, but, better.
Maybe I'll send her a tin of tobacco one of these days.

Have a good Shabbat, you old cow.