Monday, August 03, 2015

Sunday, August 02, 2015

She's dead. He killed her. Shira Banki, 16 years old.

I cannot go on today. 5:19 pm.

Words Practiced, Words Preached.

It all comes down to the people, doesn't it? Words, sacred or secular, inspire practice but it is the people who must practice. Most Christians today haven't even read the whole Bible. They are practicing Christians nonetheless. No one in America but some lawyers and scholars have read the whole of the United States Constitution. It is still their governing document. A silk purse can me sewn out of a sow's ear. And the reverse (whatever that might be):

The [Weimar] constitution...was, on paper, the most liberal and democratic document of its kind the twentieth century had seen, mechanically well-nigh perfect, full of ingenious and admirable devices which seemed to guarantee the working of an almost flawless democracy. 

The wording...was sweet and eloquent to the ear of any democratically minded man. The people were declared sovereign: "Political power emanates from the people."  Men and women were given the vote at the age of twenty. "All Germans are equal before the law...Personal liberty is inviolable...All Germans have the right to form associations or societies...All inhabitants of the Reich enjoy complete liberty of belief and conscience..." No man in the world would be more free than a German, no government more democratic and liberal than his. On paper, at least.
"In the heart of the people," cried Oswald Spengler, who had skyrocketed to fame with his book The Decline of the West, "the Weimar Constitution is already doomed."

-Shirer, The Rise and Fall, pp. 56-7, 61.


Airplane door found on Reunion.* Part of a wing, a door, a suitcase, a water bottle...Did the fucking thing land on Reunion? Maybe there was an unscheduled reunion on Reunion? Somebody tell Tony Abbott, maybe he can go find the tail or some seats# or something.

* "An object found on an Indian Ocean island is not part of a plane door but a generic ladder..."-USA Today. Easily confused. Swine Wall Street Journal.

# "MH370: 'Plane seat' found washed up on Reunion Island three months ago." The Telegraph, UK. Somebody call off Tony please.

Limits. "Everything humanly possible." Big time limit, "humanly." BIG time.

Oh God.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Seeking the Soul.

"Remembrance of the past helps us to understand the present."

This is a remarkable afterword, written by Shirer in May 1990. I was shocked. My whole life I have never thought the world had a "German problem." I still don't. But Shirer did; he died in 1993.

And now, as the thirtieth-anniversary edition of The Rise and Fall goes to press, the world is suddenly confronted with a reunification of Germany. Soon, united, Germany will be strong again economically and, if it wishes, militarily, as it was in the time of Wilhelm II and Adolph Hitler. And Europe will be faced again with the German problem. If the past is any guide, the outlook is not very promising for Germany's neighbors, who twice in my lifetime have been invaded by Teutonic armies. The last time, under Hitler, as the readers of this book are reminded, the German behavior was a horror in its barbarism. 

People ask now: Have the Germans changed? Many in the West appear to believe so. I myself am not so sure, my view no doubt clouded by the personal experience of having lived and worked in Germany in the Nazi time. The truth is that no one really knows the answer to that crucial question. And quite understandably the nations that were former victims of German conquest do not want to take any chances again. 

Is there a solution to the German problem? Perhaps. It lies in enmeshing reunited Germany in a European security system out of which it could never break loose to pursue its past policies of aggression. 

In one fundamental sense, the situation has changed since the fall of the Third Reich. The development of the hydrogen bomb...
So maybe the H-bomb...horrible threat though [it is] to the survival of the planet, will, ironically, help, at least, to solve the German problem. No more bloody conquests by the Germans, or by anyone else.

Having read those words again in order to type them I am still in shock. I will be forever in shock. He was utterly wrong. One of the noted qualities of the book is that Shirer does not blame Adolph Hitler solely for Naziism, Shirer blames the German people, for it is they after all who voted for the Nazi Party, who supported Hitler's war on the Jews and on the world, some to the bitter end--and beyond. Shirer returned to Germany in the fall of 1945. Surveying the destroyed country and the desperate civilian population he writes:

Such was the state to which the follies of Adolf Hitler--and their own folly in following him so blindly and with so much enthusiasm--had brought them, though I found little bitterness toward him when I returned to Germany that fall.

It was often said during the Soviet era, and by Presidents and General Secretaries too, that the Cold War was not a conflict between peoples but between governments. I bought that line, that lie, at the time. I have thought much about this distinction between peoples and governments in undemocratic states in my amateur's work on China and in my reading on Islam. I concluded, and have written this many times, that the government of the PRC has the support of the Chinese people and thus however one wishes to characterize the relationship between the PRC and the USA, that relationship is between peoples not just governments. The relationship, as I see it, between the Muslim world and the rest of the world is at the same time even more simple and yet more complex, the latter because of the multiple varieties of Islam, the former because at bottom, the Koran, all of those varieties are hostile toward anything and everything non-Muslim. "Islam has bloody borders." Q.E.D. We are at war with "Islam as it is practiced and preached today," i.e. with most of the peoples of the Islamic world; we were in Cold War with most of the people of the Soviet Union, are still in a Cold War state with most of the Russian people; are in whatever with the Chinese people, and, Shirer is absolutely correct, we were at war with the people of Germany in the Nazi era, not just with Adolph Hitler and his regime.

Never have I thought that war or war-like states are in the nature of a people however. The soul is a mutable thing! Souls change and with them people. Shirer was absolutely wrong to have doubted that the German soul had changed as late as 1990. The soul of the Russian people changed (for the better) after 1989 and with it the form of the Russian government. The same with the Chinese soul and the Chinese government after Mao's death in 1976. The Islamic peoples have the easiest road to change. An ancient, sacred text needs be interpreted in a modern peaceful way. This is small beer, comparatively. Ancient, sacred texts are mutable things: the Torah, the Bible, the United States Constitution. You are always going to have literalists but literalism itself is interpretation. The trick is how you practice and preach. The preaching of Mein Kampf died with the preacher. Not so the other texts. Mein Kamf could not have been put into practice literally without the German people. Peace can be found in the Koran, peace among Muslims and peace between Muslim and non-Muslim.The Muslim people who compiled the hadith and who have written the commentaries have not interpreted the Prophet's teachings in a peaceful, modern way. They can. Islam awaits its Reformation. If they do, the soul of Islam will change, just as the soul of Germany changed. If they do not, as they have not, then sooner or later the peoples of Islam will be destroyed as utterly as were those they so resemble, the people of Nazi Germany.

Shoulda called Uncle Joe.

That night Bormann and Goebbels had a fresh idea. They decided to try to negotiate with the Russians. General [Hans] Krebs, the Chief of the Army General Staff...had once been the assistant military attache in Moscow, spoke Russian, and [once] had even been embraced by Stalin at the Moscow railway station. Perhaps he could get something out of the Bolsheviks...
General Krebs set out shortly after midnight of April 30-May 1 to see General Chuikov, the Soviet commander of the troops fighting in Berlin...

KREBS: Today is the First of May, a great holiday for our two nations.*

Out loud laugh.

*Shirer, Rise and Fall, p. 1135.


Kuala Lumpur:  Confirmation that plane debris washed up on a remote Indian Ocean island is from missing Malaysian airlines flight MH370 appears imminent — representing the first breakthrough in one of the world's most baffling aviation mysteries.
-Sydney Morning Herald.

That's it, folks! There is only a bit of territorial jealousy standing in the way of official confirmation. The Aussies KNOW, the flaperon is from MH370, but the flaperon was found on a French possession, Reunion, and so only CHIEF Inspector Clouseau and the Malaysians can make the official confirmation. The Aussies are peeing themselves they want this so badly so they're getting their toe as close to the line as they can without being official-official which would make the French and Malays go ballistic-ballistic

Case solv-ed. A part of MH370 has been found.

"Talks for Pacific Trade Deal Stall at a Critical Step."-NYT.


I thought this was so done you could stick a fork in it.

LAHAINA, Hawaii — Trade negotiators from the United States and 11 other Pacific nations were headed toward failure Friday, with difficult talks on the largest regional trade agreement ever breaking down over protections for pharmaceutical companies and access to agriculture markets on both sides of the Pacific.

Boy oh boy. Never expected that, did you? Look: with negotiations there's always time. GOD! did we learn that with Iran. But you know, the Iran deal is looking peaked, too. These would be terrible blows to Obama. The Iran deal does blow, this one...I think I was in favor of this one but man, outta sight outta mind, baby. I haven't thought about this recently. Can't even remember the acronyms. Alls I knows is this is a surprise and POTUS is concerned tonight.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Israeli Terrorism.

That is the word Prime Minister Netanyahu himself used to describe the murder of a Palestinian baby in an arson attack on the child's home in the West Bank.
"Revenge." I had trouble understanding this, had to read the article (NBC) a couple of times till I got it right. That house, where the baby died, had been an Israeli settler's house. It was illegal, the settlers had no right to construct it and the government kicked them out. A Palestinian family moved in. So, "Revenge" was directed by an Israeli Jew or Jews against the Israeli government! That's messed up.

These are called "price tag" attacks and have been going on for years. Here's another one from 2014:
That says "price tag" according to NBC.

An 18 month old baby. Killed in an attack by Jews against the Jewish state. That is really fucked up. Been a fucked up 24 hours in Israel.


China’s Naked Emperors

Does this guy write every fucking Friday? Krugman, some other color than blue for once, okay? Let's see what he has to say:

Politicians who preside over economic booms often develop delusions of competence.... We’ve seen it in many countries: I still remember the omniscience and omnipotence ascribed to Japanese bureaucrats in the 1980s, before the long stagnation set in.

Words can be hurtful, Paul. I invested in the Japan Fund in the early '80's. Didn't get quite "full return" on my investment.
This is the context...understand...strange goings-on...China’s stock market. In and of itself...shouldn’t matter... But the authorities...chosen...put...credibility on... line...trying to

Yes, they have.

...are in the process...demonstrating...China’s remarkable success over the past 25 years notwithstanding,...nation’s idea what they’re doing.

You can't notwithstand 25 years for godssake. Okay, go on Krugman:

...fundamentals,,,: China...end of an era...era of superfast growth, made possible...large part...vast migration...underemployed peasants...cities. This reserve...surplus labor...dwindling...growth must slow.

That was the part I got tired on before. Don't have enough peasants now, thought there were too many. Not enough. Okay.

But China’s economic structure is built around the presumption of very rapid growth. Enterprises, many of them state-owned, hoard their earnings rather than return them to the public, which has stunted family incomes; at the same time, individual savings are high, in part because the social safety net is weak, so families accumulate cash just in case. As a result, Chinese spending is lopsided, with very high rates of investment but a very low share of consumer demand in gross domestic product.

That is the next paragraph but it doesn't flow. He just ditches the peasants. Don't use "But" then, Krugman. He wrote that before, too. Too much hoarding not enough investment, like the Japanese.

This structure was workable as long as torrid economic growth offered sufficient investment opportunities. But now investment is running into rapidly decreasing returns. The result is a nasty transition problem: What happens if investment drops off but consumption doesn’t rise fast enough to fill the gap?

Gettin' tired again. Isn't that circular? I don't know.

What China needs are reforms that spread the purchasing power...

Said that before, too. I understood it. Can't hoard, gotta buy toys. Gotitgotitgotit. Next.

Meanwhile, China’s leaders appear to be terrified — probably for political reasons — by the prospect of even a brief recession.

That makes total sense, although I've said that before.

So they’ve been pumping up demand by, in effect, force-feeding the system with credit...

Don't get that. If people aren't using the money they have--they're hoarding it--why would they want to use credit to buy? In other words, he's saying the Chinese have some dough, they're just not spending it. In my experience anyway people who stuff money under the mattress aren't going to spend money they don't have, i.e. on credit, incurring interest rates however minimal, when they won't spend the money they do have. The image I have of those people is millionaires living in shacks, driving old rust-bucket cars like mine. 

 ...including fostering a stock market boom....

How does fostering a stock market boom increase purchasing power?

Such measures can work for a while, and all might have been well if the big reforms were moving fast enough. But they aren’t, and the result is a bubble that wants to burst.

There is a bubble! Bubbles aren't good, we know that!

China’s response has been an all-out effort to prop up stock prices. Large shareholders have been blocked from selling; state-run institutions have been told to buy shares; many companies with falling prices have been allowed to suspend trading. These are things you might do for a couple of days to contain an obviously unjustified panic, but they’re being applied on a sustained basis to a market that is still far above its level not long ago.

That's the next paragraph and that is what Zhongnanhai is doing...I don't know why they're doing that and KRUGMAN ISN'T EXPLAINING IT TOO GOOD!

What do Chinese authorities think they’re doing?

I don't KNOWWWWW! 

In part, they may be worried about financial fallout. It seems that a number of players in China borrowed large sums with stocks as security, so that the market’s plunge could lead to defaults.

Eyes glazing over.

But it also looks as if the Chinese government, having encouraged citizens to buy stocks, now feels that it must defend stock prices to preserve its reputation...


...And what it’s ending up doing, of course, is shredding that reputation at record speed.

Indeed, every time you think the authorities have done everything possible to destroy their credibility, they top themselves.

Then why are they fucking doing it if they're shredding their reputation, huh? What, do they think they're creating a market for reputation shredders? Maybe people will buy reputation shredders instead of paper shredders? If you see that they've bird pumped, if even I see that this market intervention is a bird pump, why doesn't Zhongnanhai see it as a bird pump? Maybe Zhongnanhai sees it as keeping 25 years of...What did you say?..."remarkable growth" going? 

So what have we just learned?

I haven't learned SHIT from this?

China’s incredible growth wasn’t a mirage, and its economy remains a productive powerhouse. The problems of transition to lower growth are obviously major, but we’ve known that for a while. The big news here isn’t about the Chinese economy; it’s about China’s leaders. Forget everything you’ve heard about their brilliance and foresightedness. Judging by their current flailing, they have no clue what they’re doing.

Times, do you have to have this guy write EVERY Friday? Is that what we've learned? Who amongst us learned that from this article? All I learned was there aren't enough peasants. Pisses me off every time.
This is from Borat, "The Running of the Jew" scene.

Amazing. Horrifying. Art imitating life imitating art. The Israeli people must be thoroughly embarrassed, humiliated.
This is not the scene I had in mind. This clip is only 19 seconds long. As soon as they saw him they started chasing him! BrunoIsrael
As dressed. He-he-he-he.

And, it's on!

I did not know Orthodontics were so violent in their homophobia. Really, as soon as they see him they go after him.

Psycho Schlissel.

I'm sorry, that is just so absurd a scene.


# UPDATED 7/31, 4:20 pm UTC. I have a question. Sometimes a news photographer is just in the "right" place at the right time and gets amazing photographs. But this photographer seems to have known who Schlissel was and what he was about to do. How else to explain the third photo below of Schlissel at the moment that he is pulling the knife out? Why didn't the photographer at that moment toss aside his Kodak and try to prevent murder? The photographer is clearly focusing on Schlissel, he's maybe three feet in front of him when Schlissel pulls the knife, ignoring the Gay marchers in the background who, presumably, he was there to cover. Why was he focusing on Schlissel?

Second question: The Israeli police are right there, one is reaching for Schlissel just as he stabs the young woman. Kudos, Israeli police. But why didn't they prevent him from attending the march? The weiner just got out of prison after serving a 10 year sentence for an attack at the Gay parade in 2005. Doesn't look like he changed his appearance any! Really sticks out among the rainbows! They should have known who he was and should have been watching him from the time he left his house. They should never have allowed him to get within "striking" distance of that parade.

Horrific images. Yishai Schlissel, an Orthodox Jew (obviously), knife-attacked six people at a Gay Pride march in Jerusalem today. Stabbed a young woman from behind!
Look at that. An Orthodox Jew running through the streets with an upraised, bloody knife in his hand. It just does not compute. It looks ludicrous. It's almost comical-looking.

Here is Schlissel about to pull his knife. Amazing photographs. 

Schlissel in custody and a cop holding the knife.

Poor kids. Just because they're Gay. It's unbelievable.

In either Borat or Bruno, Sacha Baron-Cohen, dressed in his neon green slingshot bathing suit approaches a group of Schlissels in Israel and begins talking to them. Immediately, one of them takes off after him but Baron Cohen, younger and anticipating an attack, escapes.

*UPDATED, 7/31/15, 1:04 pm UTC: I just saw an article that Schlissel had just been released from prison for a similar attack. Man, incomplete rehabilitation there.

Profile picture for Eliyahu Fink
Eliyahu Fink

Twitter › efink

The way @CNN talks about Malaysian Airlines Flight #370 debris, as if it's actual breaking news, makes me scared for the future of humanity.

Ha-ha! Way to go Eliyahu!
Watch "Vanished: The Mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370" tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CNN.

I was wondering if the Chicken Noodles had gotten the gang back together again. Oh CNN, lolol.

Beijing Awarded 2022 Winter Olympics.

My goodness, only 14 years after they hosted the Summer Games. Congratulations Beijingers and Chinese! (The runner-upper was Almaty, Kazakhstan. Great success. NOT!)
We de-Schlisselfy our header on accounta it's Friday and replace hisself with a beeyou-tee-ful picture of a Blue Moon on accounta it's Blue Moon Friday! Tonight will be the second full moon of the month.
The Blue Moon is Rising, Schlissel (Etihad, A-rab airline :o). Go howl at it.

Everything humanly possible.

“We have long thought it went down somewhere in the Indian Ocean and at last, it seems, we may be on the verge of some confirmation."
-Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot.

Way to pinpoint it, Tony, and you were right. Congratulations. And thanks!

"We owe it to the families...of all on board, we owe it to the travelling do everything we humanly can to get to the bottom of this.”

All you can do.

Check out this headline:

ISIS-led car bomb attack kills seven Nusra militants near Aleppo

...Is that good or bad? Who the fuck are "Nusra militants?" It says al-Nusra Front is al-Qaeda in Syria...So I repeat, is that good or bad?

Islam is so fucked up you can't keep track of all the players even with a scorecard. It's unbelievable, they kill Jews, Christians, Hindus, Chinese atheists, Russians, Americans, French, British, other Muslims. "Islam has bloody borders," Samuel Huntington wrote. Those borders are being constantly re-drawn and they are shrinking to individuals.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Islam as it is practiced and preached today.

For the Mideast, It’s Still 1979

Friedman has come out in favor of the Iran deal but under that headline writes today:

What happened in 1979? For starters, there was the takeover of the Grand Mosque in Mecca by Islamist extremists who challenged the religious credentials of the Saudi ruling family, accusing them of impiety. The al-Sauds responded by forging a new bargain with their religious conservatives: Let us stay in power and we’ll give you a freer hand in setting social norms, relations between the sexes and religious education inside Saudi Arabia — and vast resources to spread the puritanical, anti-women, anti-Shiite, anti-pluralistic Sunni Wahhabi fundamentalism to mosques and schools around the world.

This Saudi lurch backward coincided with Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979, which brought Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to power. That revolution set up a global competition between Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia for leadership of the Muslim world, and it also led to a big surge in oil prices that gave both regimes more money than ever to export Shiite and Sunni fundamentalism. That is why the Egyptian scholar Mamoun Fandy liked to say, “Islam lost its brakes in 1979.”

That competition was further fueled by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 — which spawned the Sunni jihadist movement and eventually Al Qaeda — and by the Three Mile Island nuclear accident, also in 1979, which basically ended all new building of nuclear power plants in America, making us more dependent on fossil fuels.
So the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal marks a big change — but because it will lead to an end to economic sanctions on Iran, it could turbocharge 1979 as easily as end it...Will the nuclear deal empower the more moderate/pragmatic majority inside Iran rather than the hard-line Revolutionary Guards Corps? The reason to be worried is that the moderates don’t control Iran’s nuclear program or its military/intelligence complex; the hard-line minority does...
A lot will depend also on Saudi Arabia moderating the anti-modernist trend it imposed on Sunni Islam. On Tuesday the Middle East Media Research Institute released a translation of a TV interview by the Saudi author Turki al-Hamad about the extremist discourse prevalent in Saudi Arabia. “Who serves as fuel for ISIS?” he asked. “Our own youth. What drives our youth to join ISIS? The prevailing culture, the culture that is planted in people’s minds. It is our youth who carry out bombings. … You can see (in ISIS videos) the volunteers in Syria ripping up their Saudi passports.”

On the Meaning of the Disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Yeah, I mean it. I'm gonna do an "On the meaning of..."

This has been exasperating, no? Why has it been exasperating? Because a frigging Boeing 777 full of passengers just...disappeared!

And how did it "just...disappear?" Didn't we learn something about radar in this whole thing? Yes, we did. We learned that there are gaps, big frigging gaps, in radar.
"Data from Malaysian military radar showing Flight 370 (green) crossing the Strait of Malacca and Andaman Sea to where it was last seen by radar. The left of the two segments of the flight track follows air route N571 between waypoints VAMPI and MEKAR; the white circle appears to highlight a section where the aircraft was not tracked by radar." (Wiks)

Who amongst us knew that there were big frigging gaps in radar? Not many of us general public usn's.

We learned that there is civilian radar and military radar and "secondary" radar,  which relies on blips or beeps or tweets emitted by a plane's transponders. Who knew? I thought there was Radar, singular and it worked on a green screen with like a clock second hand sweeping around and around and you could "see" the frigging thing's--a plane's, a UFO's--second-by-second progress across your green screen. I didn't think the object had any say in it but with secondary radar the object does have a say in it, if the transponder doesn't...transpond secondary radar doesn't "see" it. Who the fuck knew?

And with at least three kinds of radar we still lost a Boeing 777 passenger jet.

We can't even find one of those things after it stops movin'! Look at this map today from the Quasi's:
On the right, where we've been lookin', the search area. On the left, where that chap here is,

lookin' at part of the wing of MH370!...Have had at least one view pager from Reunion in the past, maybe that's him.

We're not all that.

Radar, satellite tracking, in-flight communications--the image we usn's have is that a plane never really "leaves," the plane is redundantly tethered to terra firma by all of this invisible technology. It is impossible in the 21st century for a plane to just disappear.

Well, it did. We're not that good. We're not good enough in the 21st century to not lose a big passenger jet. That's pretty bad!

Modernity has been a grievous disappointment to humanity. We think we're doin' good, it's the age of Progress, we think we're making progress and BOOM! World War I. We think that's the "War to End all Wars" and then BOOM!

Lotta booms in the 20th century, lotta wars, different kinds of wars,--Who knew?--we thought there was just War, singular. No, there's hot war, cold war, conventional war, guerrilla war, unconventional (nuclear) war. All of our progress, all of our enlightened thought, all of our technology couldn't prevent the 20th century from becoming the bloodiest in mankind's history. We were not that good.

Redundancy: Built-in redundancy. It's impossible for the space shuttle to fail, it's got all that "built-in redundancy."

Gotta keep them rubber O-rings from freezin' up, bubba. Who would have thought that something so mundane, so technologically primitive, could be the cause of THAT?!

The internet. The "wild, wild web," remember that? Totally "free" speech, impossible to control. Oh, heads of state can simply pull a plug and boom, no more internet free speech, no more internet. Apologize for any misunderstanding.

Limits. We are limited; mankind is limited, we're not as good as we think we are. That to me is the meaning of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.