Bannon Is Bad for the Jews
This is by Bret Stephens on
The New York Times. It starts as follows:
The Zionist Organization of America feted Stephen K. Bannon
at a gala dinner in New York on Sunday night. What a disgrace.
What a mistake, too.
It’s a disgrace because no organization that purports to
represent the interests of the Jewish people should ever embrace anyone
who embraces anti-Semites. Jews have enemies enough. To provide those
enemies with moral cover for the sake of political convenience or
ideology corroborates the worst anti-Semitic stereotypes and
strengthens the hand of those who mean us harm.
I say. And
I have a remark and a question on this bit:
My remark is that I selected this article because I agree with
its title, at least in the sense that Bannon is a known
anti-semite, and it seems pretty strange that those who aim to protect
¨the Jews¨ also ¨feted¨ a known anti-semite.
question relates to my quoting ¨the Jews¨: What is a Jew these
to be rather easy before WW II: Jews were people who had the Jewish
faith; non-Jews were those who did not have the faith. Then the Nazis
decided to exterminate all Jews on the basis of completely
insane racism - and one of the consequences of this was that ¨being
a Jew¨ reverted from a statement of faith to
something that was rather close to
a statement on race: One was ¨a Jew¨ if one had the Jewish
faith or one was born into (something like) a Jewish tradition,
also without having the faith.
Both of my
parents were in the anti-Nazi resistance in Holland, and risked their
lives and tortures doing that. My father and his father were arrested
in 1941 and convicted to concentration camp imprisonment, which my
grandfather did not survive.
I think my father had ¨a Jewish¨ mother in some bullshit racial
sense, but in fact her religion was Protestant. I do not know
about my mother or my mother´s parents, and therefore also do not
know about myself (though I deny I am a Jew since I lack the faith and
wasn´t raised in any
Jewish tradition) .
And I am
asking this question in part because I do not know in what
sense Bret Stephens is ¨a Jew¨, and in part because ¨being a Jew¨ has
become at least a bit vague.
back to the article:
Well... I don´t like
Nethanyahu, for one thing. For another thing, I think Israel was
created by Zionists plus the influence of the murder on 6
million Jews. I think therefore one can be ¨a friend to Jews¨ without automatically supporting Israel, especially
But just as there are anti-Zionist Jews, there are also
anti-Semitic Zionists. The Nazis initially endorsed the idea of getting
Jews to shove off to Mandated Palestine. Spencer calls himself a “white
Zionist,” on the factitious
theory that Israel is the sort of ethno-nationalist state he’d like
to see America become.
Simply put, support for
Israel is a necessary but not sufficient condition for being a friend
This is from the ending of the article:
both the socialism of fools and the conservatism of creeps. If the past
century holds a lesson for Jews, it’s to beware every form of
illiberalism, including the illiberalism of those who purport to be on
I agree with
that, and this is a recommended article.
Profound Misunderstanding the Public Has About How the Military Operates
article is by Frank Joyce on AlterNet. It starts as follows:
In one of the
greatest PR successes of all time, close to 100 percent of Americans
believe the United States has a volunteer military. It does not. What
the United States does have is a recruited military.
matters for many reasons, most importantly because overcoming profound
public misunderstandings on this and other realities of the U.S.
killing machine is essential to building a vigorous anti-war movement.
this is a bit misleading: The recruited military in the USA are
volunteers, but the main point that was changed by Nixon, who terminated
the draft that might sent the sons of rich men to be killed,
is precisely that a drafted army recruited by law from the
civilian population (for the most part) was replaced by a
non-drafted army that was not recruited by law from the civilian
But I agree
mostly with the above and one of the (partial) consequences of stopping
the draft that might recruit every man as a military for some
years was the following:
Just as a fish
may not know it’s wet, few Americans have any idea of just how
pervasive militarism is in defining who we are as a nation and as a
people. From the massacre of indigenous people to the suppression of
slave resistance, we are steeped in brutal and relentless slaughter. We
are also utterly and completely immersed in language designed to
confuse and obscure just how much killing and destroying we do.
At the very
core of our identity is the idea that “freedom” requires that we kill,
kill, kill. “They died for our freedom,” rings throughout the land, not
just on Veterans Day or July 4, but every day. While we say they died,
what we also mean is that they killed. As Donald Trump and General
Kelly put it, “that’s what they signed up for.”
I think the
above is mostly true, but the following is questionable (and
indeed hardly consistent):
myth to the fairy tale that we have a volunteer military is that we
can’t have an effective anti-war movement because there is no draft.
This assumption rests on the widespread embrace of a pro-war talking
point with a long history. Even many who were in the movement that
opposed the U.S. war on Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia are bamboozled by
But make no
mistake about it; the assumption that the draft caused the 1960s
anti-war movement is demonstrably false.
None of this is meant to say that the draft played no role in Vietnam
war resistance. While it wasn’t the cause of the opposition, it did
provide a powerful way to disrupt the war-making machinery.
that the draft played a very important role ¨in Vietnam war resistance¨, for the quite simple and easily
understood reason that every man of the right age risked being
drafted in the Vietnam war, which means that every man of the right age
risked being killed or maimed in a war that he might thoroughly
But I agree
there is ¨a profound misunderstanding the public has about how the
military operates¨, and I would suggest myself that a part of
the cause is that most American families do not worry anymore
that their sons are to be killed or wounded in a war they were drafted
Spreads to Europe
This article is by
Robert Parry on Consortiumnews. It starts as follows:
Ever since the U.S.
$160 million last December to combat Russian propaganda and
disinformation, obscure academics and eager think tanks have been
lining up for a shot at the loot, an unseemly rush to profit that is
spreading the Russia-gate hysteria beyond the United States to Europe.
Now, it seems that every
development, which is unwelcomed by the Establishment – from Brexit to
the Catalonia independence referendum – gets blamed on Russia! Russia!
The methodology of these
“studies” is to find some Twitter
accounts or Facebook
pages somehow “linked” to Russia (although it’s never exactly clear
how that is determined) and complain about the “Russian-linked”
comments on political developments in the West. The assumption is that
the gullible people of the United States, United Kingdom and Catalonia
were either waiting for some secret Kremlin guidance to decide how to
vote or were easily duped.
This week, British Prime Minister Theresa May accused Russia of seeking
to “undermine free societies” and to “sow discord in the West.”
Yes indeed, Parry is quite
right, indeed both on the fact that ¨the Russia-gate hysteria¨ now is spreading to Europe as about the fact that
it is hysteria that has very little to do with the real facts.
Besides, there is
something else that is quite strange: Whereas much of the propaganda
against the Russians seems to be moved by the - extra- ordinarily schematic
- propaganda that was popular while Russia was ¨a socialist country¨  it certainly is not a socialist country for
well over 25 years now, but is in fact - in part thanks to the help
of the USA in the 1990ies - as capitalistic as is the USA.
Then again, the
supposed ¨studies¨ that form the basis of many suspicions that ¨Russia! Russia! Russia!¨ did it are in fact no studies at all but are
and evident (for those who know about scientific methods) deceptions:
Yet, another core problem
with these “studies” is that they don’t come with any “controls,” i.e.,
what is used in science to test a hypothesis against some base line to
determine if you are finding something unusual or just some normal
here is more on the - quite totalitarian
- propaganda that is these days spread by ¨The New York Times, The Washington Post and
the rest of the U.S. mainstream¨:
If you even tried to
gauge the role of “Israeli-linked” operations in influencing Western
decision-making, you’d be accused of anti-Semitism. And if that didn’t
stop you, there would be furious editorials in The New York Times, The
Washington Post and the rest of the U.S. mainstream media denouncing
you as a “conspiracy theorist.” Who could possibly think that Israel
would do anything underhanded to shape Western attitudes?
And, if you sought the
comparative figures for the West interfering in the affairs of other
nations, you’d be faulted for engaging in “false moral equivalence.”
After all, whatever the U.S. government and its allies do is good for
the world; whereas Russia is the fount of evil.
And - once again - everything
that was mentioned in the last quote is an example of plainly totalitarian
attitudes, except that according to Wikipedia these
attitudes cannot be totalitarian, because only authoritarian
states with a secret police can be authoritarian, that is, according to
the modern Wikipedia (that lies). 
This article is by Nicholas
Davies on Consortiumnews. This has a subtitle:
Claiming the right to
launch preemptive wars and fighting an ill-defined “global war on
terror,” the U.S. government has slaughtered vast numbers of civilians
in defiance of international law (..)
I quoted this because
I think it is exactly right. This is also the beginning of an
article that is too long to properly abbreviate. The article starts as follows:
people in North and South Korea find themselves directly in the line of
fire from the threat of a Second Korean War. The rest of the world
is recoiling in horror from the scale of civilian casualties such a war
would cause and the unthinkable prospect that either side might
actually use nuclear weapons.
Yes indeed, and as I
have pointed out several times before, 77 million people in the Koreas
are more people than were killed in WW II, namely 75 million
(and all Koreans risk being killed by nuclear arms).
But so does Davies:
The Second World War was
the deadliest war ever fought, with at least 75 million people killed,
about five times as many as in the First World War. When the
slaughter ended in 1945, world leaders signed the United Nations
Charter to try to ensure that that scale of mass killing and
destruction would never happen again. The U.N. Charter is still in
force, and it explicitly prohibits
the threat or use of military force by any nation.
It was not just the scale
of the slaughter that shocked the world’s leaders into that brief
moment of sanity in 1945. It was also the identities of the
dead. Two-thirds of the people killed in the Second World War were
civilians, a drastic change from the First World War, only a few
decades earlier, when an estimated 86 percent of the people killed were
uniformed combatants. The use of nuclear weapons by the United
States raised the specter that future wars could kill an exponentially
greater numbers of civilians, or even end human civilization altogether.
War had become “total
war,” no longer fought only on battlefields between soldiers, but
between entire societies with ordinary people, their homes and their
lives now on the front line.
Yes indeed: Davies is
quite right that WW was in fact the first war
(of that size, at least) that was a total war in the sense that
by far the greatest number of those killed in this war
were civilians. (To be sure, this happened before, e.g,
around 1600, but the sizes of these wars were very much smaller.)
And since WW II in
fact total war has become the face of many ¨ordinary¨ wars, in
the simple sense that it are mostly civilians who are killed (and
tortured, and maimed) and not the
Despite the U.N. Charter
and international efforts to prevent war, people in countries afflicted
by war today still face the kind of total war that horrified world
leaders in 1945. The main victims of total war in our
“modern” world have been civilians in countries far removed from the
safe havens of power and privilege where their fates are debated and
decided: Yugoslavia; Afghanistan; Iraq; Somalia; Pakistan; Yemen;
Libya; Syria; Ukraine. There has been no legal or political
accountability for the mass destruction of their cities, their
homes or their lives. Total war has not been prevented, or
even punished, just externalized.
But thanks to billions of
dollars invested in military propaganda
and public relations and the corrupt nature of for-profit
media systems, citizens of the countries responsible for the killing of
millions of their fellow human beings live in near-total
ignorance of the mass killing carried out in their name in these
“red zones” around the world.
Again this seems
quite true to me. In fact, it is even more serious:
The introduction to
the People on War report noted that 90 percent of
the people killed in recent wars were civilians and that, in today’s
world, “war is war on civilians.” But the report went on:
“…the more these
conflicts have degenerated into wars on civilians, the more people have
reacted by reaffirming the norms, traditions, conventions and rules
that seek to create a barrier between those who carry arms into battle
and the civilian population… Large majorities in every war-torn country
reject attacks on civilians in general and a wide range of actions that
by design or default could harm the innocent.”
¨large majorities¨ that ¨reject
attacks on civilians in general¨ are completely right in terms of the laws
that were surrected after WW II to protect them - except that the
laws generally were not put into
Illegal U.S. rules
of engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan have included: systematic,
theater-wide use of torture; orders to “dead-check” or
kill wounded enemy combatants; orders to “kill
all military-age males” during certain operations; and
“weapons-free” zones that mirror Vietnam-era “free-fire” zones. A
U.S. Marine corporal told a court martial prosecuting one of his men
for “dead-checking” a wounded Iraqi civilian that “Marines
consider all Iraqi men part of the insurgency,” nullifying the critical
distinction between combatants and civilians that is the
very basis of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
There is a lot more in this
quite good article that ends as follows (after a lot more):
U.S. leaders often raise
the specter of “appeasement” to guilt-trip reluctant allies into
supporting U.S.-led wars. But maybe it is time for world leaders
to recognize that the real appeasement they have been engaged in is the
appeasement of the United States, by actively or tacitly
encouraging it in an illegal policy of militarism and serial
aggression that is spreading violence and chaos across the world.
Surely the real lesson of
the 1930s and the Second World War, now reinforced by the experience of
the past 20 years, is that it is not enough to simply sign
treaties that prohibit aggression and war crimes. The world
must be ready to actually enforce the prohibition against the threat or
use of military force in customary international law, the 1928 Kellogg
Brand Pact and the U.N. Charter – by uniting peacefully and
diplomatically to stand up to U.S. aggres- sion and
militarism before they lead to a cataclysmic total war that
will kill tens or even hundreds of millions of civilians, in
Korea or somewhere else.
I agree with everything I
quoted from this article, but I concede I see little practical reason
to believe that ¨the world must
be ready to actually enforce the prohibition against the threat or use
of military force in customary international law¨, and not because I disagree with
the principle, but because ¨the world¨ has
been mostly silent on these questions during the 67 years that I
But this is a strongly
Demands That We Treat People Fairly, Even When It’s Hard
This article is by Kevin Drum on Mother Jones. It starts
I could have reviewed
many articles about Al Franken, but I chose this one because I mostly
agree with it. Besides, I am not even a feminist as Goldberg is
(who also lied about another woman: see Wikipedia).
After going back and
forth a bit about Al Franken’s sexual misconduct—he was a comedian at
the time and his victim has accepted his apology, but then again,
forgiving him could derail the movement to hold sexual predators
accountable—Michelle Goldberg concludes that Franken
It’s not worth it. The
question isn’t about what’s fair to Franken, but what’s fair to the
rest of us. I would mourn Franken’s departure from the Senate,
but I think he should go, and the governor should appoint a woman to
fill his seat. The message to men in power about sexual degradation has
to be clear: We will replace you.
No. The message to men in
power should be: we will treat you fairly. That should be our message
to everyone, the guilty and the innocent alike. If we get to the point
where we sacrifice individuals just for the sake of movement optics,
that’s where I get off the train.
 I have now been
end of 2015 that
xs4all.nl is systematically
ruining my site by NOT updating it within a few seconds,
as it did between 1996 and 2015, but by updating it between
two to seven days later, that is, if I am lucky.
claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie.
They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.
just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my
ideas. They have behaved now for 1 1/2 years as if they are the
eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I will
from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).
two reasons I remain with xs4all is that my site has been
there since 1996, and I have no reasons whatsoever to suppose that any
other Dutch provider is any better (!!).
 I am writing this mostly to
underline the bullshit I have heard about racial and religious things.
And I think I am right about my father´s mother (which would have made
my father a Jew in terms of the insane ¨logic¨ of the Nazis), but I do
not know that either.
As to my mother´s parents - both of whom were anarchists their adult
lives - I again have no idea whether they had no trace of any ¨racial
Jewishness¨: I just don´t know. (And I also don´t care.)
 I did put quotes around ¨a socialist country¨ for the simple
reason that I deny that the Soviet Union was ¨a socialist country¨ in the sense that
I understand by ¨socialism¨, but otherwise this issue
is too complicated to be dealt with in a footnote.