Monday, June 14, 2010
In their never-ending attempts to "improve" their services (i.e. stuff their users around), Google seem to be trying to integrate more closely their Blogger.com and Gmail services. Because I divide my use of blogger.com services into two separate accounts (for security purposes) with different passwords, that leads to a lot of difficulties -- and accessing my gmail a/c has become particularly tricky
Fortunately, I have been phasing out mention of my gmail address on my blogs and just giving my hotmail address. So most people using my gmail address will be ones who have it stored from somewhere in the past. As Google get more and more East German, however, it seems likely that I will lose all access to my gmail address, so if anybody reading this uses my gmail address, I would suggest that they change it forthwith to my hotmail address: email@example.com. I also have a backup address that I check only about once a day: firstname.lastname@example.org. I check my hotmail address many times throughout the day.
Most Israelis are indigenous to the region
WHEN HELEN THOMAS sniped that Israel's Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine" and "go home" to Poland and Germany, she displayed more than just hostility for the Jewish state. She also revealed her ignorance of basic Israeli demography.
Contrary to the anti-Zionist stereotype, Israel is not primarily a nation of Europeans and their descendants: The largest share of Israel's population is ethnically Middle Eastern and North African. Some Jewish survivors from "Poland and Germany" did find haven in Israel after the Holocaust, but a far greater number of Israeli Jews were refugees from the Arab world.
"Jews In Grave Danger In All Moslem Lands," reported the New York Times in May 1948, "Nine Hundred Thousand in Africa and Asia Face Wrath of Their Foes." In the years that followed Israel's creation, ancient Jewish communities in Egypt, Yemen, Libya, and elsewhere were decimated as their inhabitants fled from anti-Semitic violence and terror. Israel absorbed most of those refugees, and they and their descendants -- the Jews indigenous to the region -- became the core of the country's population.
Deafening silence from Left as Iranians protest
Proof that the Left stand for nothing but their own self-interest
IT is surely one of the great paradoxes of this age that while many of our cleverest minds have fallen headlong in love with peoples whose causes are more or less entirely alien to us, we can find no stirring in our hearts for peoples whose greatest hope is to become . . . well, more like us.
Thus we artlessly dispatched our hearts on a sentimental journey to Gaza designed for our benefit by the canny Islamists in Ankara and their bloodstained allies in Gaza; people who, in any other context, would treat our Western soft-heartedness and woolly-mindedness with undisguised contempt.
And yet our hearts have no space whatever for the thousands of young Iranian students who, on Saturday, defied the threats of their government, the beatings of the extra-legal militias, and the pusillanimity of their erstwhile leaders, merely to ask for the right to have their votes treated with dignity, rather than being fabricated out of some dodgy Russian software in Iran's Ministry of the Interior.
To the best of my knowledge, not one single person has died at the hands of Iran's green opposition, even as thousands of their number have been arrested, hundreds sexually and physically tortured in prison, and dozens murdered in loneliness, often in the most squalid and humiliating of circumstances. Their cause has been Gandhian, almost to a fault. ("The students will die, but they will not accept humiliation", they chanted at Tehran University.)
And yet their plight leaves us entirely cold. Who knows: if they strapped bombs to themselves, or professed a secret admiration for the racial policies of the Third Reich, would they then become sufficiently exotic to pique our jaded imaginations, and would we then love them a little more?
Fearless Western journalists, we are told, boarded the Gaza flotilla at hazard to their lives, the better to pen florid descriptions of the predations of the Israeli "hyenas"; sentences that could presumably have been written with equal vigour and no less accuracy from the comfort of their computer terminals.
Yet presently there is not one solitary Western journalist, willing to risk the wrath of the Iranian security forces to file a report from Tehran in the open air. And so the job is left to the Iranians themselves: to the anxious young students whose wavering phone cameras record those fleeting snippets of history, floating like sea-wrack across the YouTube ocean in 15 or 20-second fragments. And to the exiles and expatriates, like the courteous, serious-minded and courageous London Guardian stringer Saeed Kamali Dehghan, who have spirited their way back into the country, at genuine hazard to themselves, before the people whose stories they need to tell have disappeared.
Dehghan' s new documentary For Neda - recorded secretly in Iran, using interviews from the family of the young murdered bystander Neda Soltan - will air on US and British television on the anniversary of Neda's death this Wednesday, no doubt to murmurs of polite interest. Perhaps the most touching aspect of this heartfelt documentary is its portrait of a young woman (not in the least political, at least in the Western intellectual sense of the word) who wanted merely to live her life, true to herself as best she could be, and at peace with the world, much in the same manner as any thoughtful Western teenager.
And yet, even before she was gunned down at random by a twitchy sniper, her efforts to follow her own star had been thwarted by laws which view Western popular music as corrupting, Western casual dress as lascivious, and an uncovered head or arms as the grossest of moral provocations. In the Iranian moral-spiritual imagination Neda has already been adopted as a martyr. And yet our Western hearts seem curiously closed to her. Could this be because she reminds us too much of ourselves?
As well as the Iranian elections, and the death of Neda Soltani, we should perhaps recall a third ill-starred anniversary. It was, after all, just one week before the Iranian elections that US President Barack Obama rose in Cairo to deliver an oration on the relations between the US and the Muslim world: a speech, full of generous sentiments and carefully balanced praise and blame for all parties, which for some weeks made him the darling of the political class all over the world. Who knows: perhaps Obama was being merely naive when he spoke encouragingly of a new and optimistic climate of negotiation with the regime in Tehran, even though we must suspect that this signal aided the regime in its decision to overturn the following week's election result, rather than simply to flee to Syria, as they feared they might have to do....
In one of those stolen phone-camera fragments from Saturday's rally, at Tehran University, one of the demonstrators runs towards the camera. Her bright green hijab has been twisted around to cover her nose and mouth, providing protection from tear gas, and a necessary cloak of anonymity. It's an image whose irony, sad to say, would be lost on President Obama, as well as on some of our otherwise clever souls. In that respect, as in others, those brave young Iranians put us all to shame.
The remote man
Far from having a multicultural awareness, Obama doesn't even know or understand America. All he knows is his little Far-Leftist bubble
So a man swept into office on an unprecedented tide of delirious fawning is now watching his presidency sink in an unstoppable gush. That’s almost too apt.
It is hard to imagine Obama wandering along to watch a Memorial Day or Fourth of July parade until the job required him to. That’s not to say he’s un-American or anti-American, but merely that he’s beyond all that. Way beyond. He’s the first president to give off the pronounced whiff that he’s condescending to the job — that it’s really too small for him and he’s just killing time until something more commensurate with his stature comes along.
And so the Gulf spill was an irritation, but he dutifully went through the motions of flying in to be photographed looking presidentially concerned. As he wearily explained to Matt Lauer, “I was meeting with fishermen down there, standing in the rain, talking . . . ” Good grief, what more do you people want? Alas, he’s not a good enough actor to fake it. So the more desperately he butches up the rhetoric — “Plug the damn hole!”; “I know whose ass to kick” — the more pathetically unconvincing it all sounds.
No doubt my observations about Obama’s remoteness from the rhythms of American life will be seen by his dwindling band of beleaguered cheerleaders as just another racist, right-wing attempt to whip up the backwoods knuckle-dragging swamp-dwellers of America by playing on their fears of “the other” — the sophisticated, worldly cosmopolitan for whom France is more than a reliable punchline.
But in fact my complaint is exactly the opposite: Obama’s postmodern detachment is feeble and parochial. It’s true that he hadn’t seen much of America until he ran for president, but he hadn’t seen much of anywhere else, either. Like most multiculturalists, he’s passed his entire adulthood in a very narrow unicultural environment where your ideological worldview doesn’t depend on anything so tedious as actually viewing the world.
The U.N., Greenpeace, Amnesty International, Bono: these are the colors a progressive, worldly Westerner nails to his mast. You don’t need to go anywhere, or do anything: You just need to pick up the general groove, which you can do very easily at almost any college campus.
This Barack Obama did brilliantly. A man who speaks fewer languages than the famously moronic George W. Bush, he has nevertheless grasped the essential lingo of the European transnationalist: Continental leaders strike attitudes rather than effect action — which is frankly beneath them. One thinks of the insistence a few years ago by Louis Michel, then Belgian foreign minister, that the so-called European Rapid Reaction Force “must declare itself operational without such a declaration being based on any true capability.” As even the Washington Post drily remarked, “Apparently in Europe this works.”
Apparently. Thus, Barack Obama: He declared himself operational without such a declaration being based on any true capability. But, if it works for the EU, why not America? Like many of his background here and there, Obama is engaged mostly by abstractions and generalities. Indeed, he is the very model of a modern major generalist. He has grand plans for “the environment” — all of it, wherever it may be. Why should the great eco-Gulliver be ensnared by some Lilliputian oil spill lapping round his boots?
He flew in to Cairo to give one of the most historically historic speeches in history to the Muslim world. Why should such a colossus lower his visionary gaze to contemplate some no-account nickel-’n’-dime racket like the Iranian nuclear program? With one stroke of his pen, he has transformed the health care of 300 million people. But I suppose if there’s some killer flu epidemic or a cholera outbreak in New Mexico, you losers will be whining at Obama to do something about that, too.
In recent months, a lot of Americans have said to me that they had no idea the new president would feel so “weird.” But, in fact, he’s not weird. True, he’s not, even in Democratic terms, a political figure — as, say, Clinton or Biden are. Instead, he’s the product of the broader culture: There are millions of people like Barack Obama, the eternal students of a vast lethargic transnational campus for whom global compassion and the multicultural pose are merely the modish gloss on a cult of radical grandiose narcissism. As someone once said, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” When you’ve spent that long waiting in line for yourself, it’s bound to be a disappointment.
Afghanistan: Vast mineral deposits found: "The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials. The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.”
The Prohibition folly repeated: "It is not my purpose in this essay to debate the merits or demerits of drug use, a question that should properly be left to the individual. … Given the number of turf wars, drive-by shootings, corrupted police and other officials, and invasions by police of the wrong address that are closely associated with the War on Drugs, it should be clear by now that drug laws and the attempt to enforce them cause vastly more destruction to individuals and society — and consume much more time, energy, and money — than the drugs in question ever did. We owe the existence and character of the police state which has sprung up all around us largely to government excesses in the name of the War on Drugs.”
Obama’s failures creating new libertarians: "Despite the damage to the nation, President Barack Obama’s failed presidency has accomplished one thing: more people are embracing libertarian values. While no one should confuse the tea party with libertarianism, the populist movement does embrace many libertarian values, such as smaller government, fewer taxes and respect for federalism, the very core values of this nation’s founding.”
A leak in the presidency: "Leave it to my wife to come up with a jewelry metaphor for Barack Obama. Obama is, according to my bride, the political equivalent of cubic zirconia. Usually sold to people who love the look of diamonds but can’t afford a real one or are fooled into buying an imposter, cubic zirconia is superficially pretty and appealing. But when subjected to the scrutiny of an expert or when placed under great pressure, the falseness and weakness compared to the real thing become apparent. The pressure analogy is particularly appropriate given that the source of Barack Obama’s troubles lie a mile under the ocean’s surface, where pressures are about one ton per square inch. The pressure of the situation is causing Obama’s vaunted reputation as ‘competent’ to crack like the false promise it always was.”
There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.
My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)
Posted by JR at 11:37 PM