Wednesday, August 06, 2014


(The important video above is a last-minute addition to this post. It deals with our old friend Moshe Feiglin and the far-reaching influence of his barbaric ideas in Israeli society: "Incitement to genocide is incredibly common right now in Israeli political discourse.")

Phil Giraldi has an excellent piece up on the Gaza catastrophe.
The Israelis are now shifting their propaganda to arguing that they must destroy all the tunnels giving access to Israel. Ah yes, the terrorist tunnels. And just how many terrorists have slipped across from Gaza using the tunnels to kill Israelis? The answer insofar as I could determine it is “none.” The tunnels being used by Hamas with some success to resist the Israeli army are all within Gaza, enabling shooters to move from building to building underground. If the tunnels actually go into Israel, they could be detected by ground penetrating radar, which the Israelis possess.
Not only that. If the tunnels went into Israel, they could be destroyed (nightly, if need be) on the Israeli side without crossing any borders.

Giraldi also has some choice words about the oft-heard assertion that Hamas uses human shields. He writes in response to recent statements by Elie Wiesel...
Wiesel may or may not be aware that the “human shield” narrative comes straight from the Israeli propaganda machine and he might even know that Hamas supporters live comingled with other Gazans in a rather crowded urban environment where there are no “military targets.”
Just so. Most Americans don't realize that Gaza is an open-air concentration camp, with an incredibly high population density -- and no official army or air force. The Viet Cong mingled with the civilian population, dressing as peasants and eating alongside farmers and shopkeepers. I don't see how the current defenders of Gaza can do otherwise.

Giraldi went on to make a point that genuinely astounded me.
But so much for Elie – he’s rarely seen a Jewish or Israeli cause that he couldn’t profit from (his speaking fee is reported to be $25,000). I would however note in passing recent media reports indicating that fully 94% of all Department of Homeland Security discretionary grants go to Jewish organizations and wonder how Elie would rationalize that. As the danger to Jews in the US would appear to be minimal one has to wonder about how it came about that so much public money is being spent to protect facilities that just happen to be owned and operated by the wealthiest ethno-religious group in the nation.
Giraldi cites this story in the Jewish Daily Forward. It is indeed true that nearly all Homeland Security Grants go to Jewish organizations, although the actual dollar figures are rather smaller than you might think:
The $13 million disbursed last week brings to $151 million the amount disbursed since the program started in 2005, most of it to Jewish institutions.
The current funds are allegedly in response to unspecified "threats" against Jewish community groups.

Obviously, no rational person wants to see an act of violence perpetrated against any community group or religious institution. Nevertheless, one may fairly question this allocation of resources. Here in Baltimore, parts of the city look...well, I was going to say "as bad as Gaza does right now," but that would be an unacceptable use of hyperbole. Still, much of this town is in wretched shape. (And I suspect that Gaza will be rebuilt long before anyone invests a lot of money in the urban hellscape called East Baltimore.)

Giraldi is right: Jews, though persecuted once, are quite successful now. Perhaps taxpayer funds would be better disbursed to those who truly need the money?

When one talks to an American Jew who fervently supports Israel, one often encounters delusions of oppression. In their minds, the Holocaust is both a present reality and a near-future threat. No, not a threat -- a likelihood. The signs are everywhere: It could happen again, any day now. That's why the Holocaust justifies the Nakba. Diaspora Jews need a bolt-hole, a place to run to, in case the gentiles once again revert to their Jew-killing ways.

Of course, I would disagree with all of these presumptions. Nothing that ever happened in Europe (or in any Arabic-speaking country) excuses robbing a single Palestinian of his or her home. No-one is going to erect a new Treblinka in the hills of Encino -- not ten years from now, not a hundred years from now, not ever. And the Middle East was probably the least safe place in the world to set up a bolt-hole.

Yes, Jews can point to a uniquely sad history, but history is not Today. Today is today. And right now -- today -- Jews are among the most privileged members of American society. I am not going to argue that these privileges are unearned or unfair; I am simply saying that once you reach a position of relative affluence and influence, maybe you should shut the fuck up about how persecuted you are. If you are reasonably well-off and secure, and if you nevertheless insist on calling yourself a victim -- in a world filled with real victims -- then you are just making yourself look psychotic.

Once again, the best comparison goes to America's fundamentalist Christians, who remain emotionally wedded to similar delusions of persecution. Members of this group are well-represented in Washington and in many state governments. They play a massive role within our best-funded (though not our most popular) political party. Nevertheless, many of them sincerely believe that the government is preparing concentration camps for lovers of Jesus.

It is indeed true that nearly all Homeland Security Grants go to Jewish organizations, although the actual dollar figures are rather smaller than you might think

This isn't "nearly all Homeland Security Grants" - most of the Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP) is targeted towards state and local government. This is a billion-dollar-a-year program ($1.043bn in FY14) - the nonprofit grant program to which you allude comprises only 1-2% of the overall grant program itself. I'm pretty sure Giraldi's failure to mention that is deliberate. I rather hope yours isn't.

I should note that the only list published by the Forward doesn't include the amount received by any entity, merely the fact that a given entity was approved (see: I don't whether their funding figures were derived from another document they didn't publish, inferred from the number of grants (not exactly statistically valid), or just made up.

Assuming that the Forward's 94% figure is correct, the number is still fairly meaningless unless one also knows how many Jewish and non-Jewish organizations applied, were accepted, and were denied. For example, I note several churches (Protestant and Catholic) in the grant list, as well as Mosques, Muslim Community Centers, local governments, local Red Cross chapters, hospitals, etc. I have no idea whether those were the only such entities to apply for the grants, or whether a large number applied and were denied.

A very large proportion of the Jewish grants appear to have been given to Orthodox organizations (CHABAD, in particular). Reform congregations (the most common Jewish denomination in the US) appear to be extremely underrepresented, which leads me to suspect that there were comparatively few applicants for the grants and nearly all were accepted. That's strictly a hunch, however. As the man said, "90% (or in this case 94%) of success is just showing up."

Here's a question for you, Joseph: Giraldi is also a 9/11 conspiracy-mongerer:

Given your opinion of so-called "Truthers", why do you consider his opinions worthy of consideration now? After all, you wouldn't trust him about the WTC, so why would you trust him about Gaza? The same, by the way, is true of Global Research.

Listening to that video is painful also equally painful looking into that reporter's eyes. That is a person with morals
I won't reference Giraldi again.

I don't mind alternative takes on 9/11, but when you start spouting horseshit about thermite/thermate -- you're outta here. I can prove that there were no controlled demolitions, for the following "top five" reasons:

1. The collapses began at the points of impact.
2. The collapses began at the points of impact.
3. The collapses began at the points of impact.
4. The collapses began at the points of impact.
5. The collapses began at the points of impact.

No debate allowed. Not on THIS blog. The nutcases have plenty of other places to romp and stomp in.
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