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Open Thread 29 Jan - 4 Feb

by Bjinse Mon Jan 29th, 2018 at 09:24:35 PM EST

The colors of the real world only seem really real when you watch them in a thread


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Times of Israel - David Horowitz - How Israel's leaders use targeted killings to try to `stop history'

Ronen Bergman's "Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel's Targeted Assassinations" is a chronicle, he writes, "of a long string of impressive tactical successes, but also disastrous strategic failures."

Tiny Israel, beset by Arab attempts at destruction and the "perpetual menace" of terrorism, developed a highly effective military, arguably the world's best intelligence agencies, and, in turn, "the most robust, streamlined assassination machine in history." And on numerous occasions, it was the targeted killing of potent enemies "that saved Israel from very grave crises." Israel's intelligence community and its political masters, indeed, have relied on these attacks, and the further deterrent that they create, to avert wars and major conflicts, or at least to widen the gaps between such wider hostilities.

But at the same time, Bergman said in an interview to coincide with the book's publication, the very success and potency of what are calculated as over 2,700 assassination operations in Israel's 70-year modern history has sometimes led Israeli politicians to eschew true leadership and diplomacy. They have felt that they have, at their fingertips, he said, "this tool" with which they can "stop history... They can make sure that they achieve their goals with intelligence and special operations, and not by turning to statesmanship and political discourse."

this is a long interview which discusses the issues ivolved to some depth. It's really worth the effort to see the conclusions of how these policies have led to the wrecking of democratic values in Israel.

It's laid out in quite stark terms.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jan 29th, 2018 at 09:35:39 PM EST
Expanded on topic in my diary @BooMan ...

Israeli Art of State-Sponsored Killings

by Oui on Mon Jan 29th, 2018 at 09:40:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wrecking of democratic values? They may have been wrecked in other ways, but state-sponsored killings have been there from at least 1954, with the "Lavon" (maybe really "Dayan") affair, and quite possibly the Bagdad synagogue bombing a few years before.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Jan 29th, 2018 at 10:43:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
no, it's not about the killings, it's about what the use of targeted killings as policy has done. Not just for foreign policy with regard to near neighbours, but specifically with regard to internal domestic politics.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jan 30th, 2018 at 08:22:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But the article was about secret ones (and not recent ones), so wasn't simply about domestic politics or about a change in Israeli policy.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Jan 30th, 2018 at 10:18:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the end specifically asks questions about how this has undermined the very concept of democracy in Israel, and questions the extent to which the current government wish to accelerate this dismantling

imo there never has been a question about whether Israel has a policy of killing people it regards as enemies. So, an article which simply details those killings has no interest. But the implications are much more interesting

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jan 30th, 2018 at 02:05:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I saw an excellent interview of the author on the PBS NewsHour on Wed. - I think. You have described what he claimed to be the chief points of his book.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Feb 2nd, 2018 at 04:59:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But this doesn't explain how a plot to assasinate Arafat (which, by definition couldn't have been done in the last 15 years, when he was already dead) says anything about the current government. Nor how this is different from the Lavon affair, which wasn't exactly democratic either.

You could argue that the reaction to the Lavon affair, which led to getting rid of Ben-Gurion, and, arguably, as a result, to the end, in 1966, of the apartheid regime. But this merely shows that democracy in the 60s was stronger than now, which says something about the lack of reaction to the new  book, rather than the stories in the book itself.

Even that may not be true. I don't think there was a strong reaction to the Lavon affair, since most papers didn't even go into the details what it was about. The strong reaction was probably because Egypt captured and executed some of the would be terrorists. This didn't happen with the latest allegation.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Feb 2nd, 2018 at 06:45:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Very interesting article from inside the Israeli debate on assassinations and their tactical and strategic advantages and disadvantages. Also a lot of detailed description of how the political assassinations were decided.
by fjallstrom on Tue Jan 30th, 2018 at 02:42:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by generic on Tue Jan 30th, 2018 at 03:00:51 PM EST
Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism
While what passes for the ruling classes in the UK has been even more predictable than Trump in its behavior with Brexit, engaging in denialism which is truly impressive in its impenetrability, it is much more worth of amateur psychologist attention. Trump has repeatedly had to contend with not getting what he wanted and having the press go after him. His responses are regularly childish, self-destructive, laughable...but he does engage in a response of sorts to unfavorable reactions, whether to issue a full-of-bluster tweet, lambaste a critic, or, say, try a Big Lie in response. By contrast, the Brexiteers act as if they keep repeating their fantasies, the environment will bend to accommodate their desires. Even Trump is more connected with reality than that.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Jan 30th, 2018 at 11:13:11 PM EST
The Continent is still not bending to Brexiters will.

Thomas Paine - Common Sense, 1776

Small islands not capable of protecting themselves, are the proper objects for kingdoms to take under their care; but there is something very absurd, in supposing a continent to be perpetually governed by an island. In no instance hath nature made the satellite larger than its primary planet, and as England and America, with respect to each other, reverses the common order of nature, it is evident they belong to different systems: England to Europe, America to itself.
by Bernard on Wed Jan 31st, 2018 at 07:48:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
it is a truly staggering farce, compounded by the sheer unrelenting dishonesty of the media who have failed to do anything but cheer on the most unrealistic of the brexiters.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jan 31st, 2018 at 08:31:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This isn't new, but it seems an appropriate time to remind you:
The Swedish multi-national furniture company - IKEA claims to offer huge savings to the average cost of a family funeral with the introduction of a new plywood flat pack coffin. Their new self-assembly coffin arrives in 12 `ready to assemble' components and can easily be assembled in `less than 1 hour' by bereaving relatives.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Jan 31st, 2018 at 01:39:30 PM EST
Train Carrying GOP Lawmakers to Policy Retreat Hits Truck, 1 on Truck Killed
"Oh, Jesus, Sorry about that, we hit a bump here"

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Jan 31st, 2018 at 08:51:26 PM EST
republican policies kill hundreds of their own constituents over the period of their tenure in office.

It must have been unusual for them to be so inconveneinced by a death

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jan 31st, 2018 at 09:58:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Poetry in motion.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Feb 2nd, 2018 at 05:03:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The RER stop nearest to my hotel. Am I in one of those famous no-go zones?

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Feb 2nd, 2018 at 02:44:58 PM EST
A Lyotard Minute in US History: "Rosa Parks" is a sign. The sign is a palimpsest in which the methodical and concerted political actions of hundreds of people abused lawful tenets of apartheid in America, leaving the appearance of individual, unintentional civil disobedience. Read no further into it.

Moragn v. VA, legal strategy (1944)
Morgan v. VA, 328 U.S. 373 (1946)
Browder v. Gayle, legal strategy (1955)
Browder v. Gayle, opinion and order (1956)

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Feb 2nd, 2018 at 05:00:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Rosa Parks train station (E line) is located next to the similarly named Rosa Park tram station (T3b line), on the Césaria Evoria street, next to the Rosa Parks forecourt and the Rosa Parks community center and ... a rather large shopping center.
From Wiki:
The station, initially named Évangile because of its proximity to Rue de l'Évangile, is located on the site of the former Est-Ceinture[4][5] and Évangile stations,[6][7] both part of the Parisian circular line "Petite Ceinture".

After the demolition of Évangile station (2011), the following year a new tram stop opened on the Line 3b, and in 2015 the RER station opened.

Explaining the station's name, Annick Lepetit, deputy of Bertrand Delanoë (mayor of Paris from 2001 to 2014) in charge of transport, remarked: "We wanted at least 50% female names. There has been much debate, especially with RATP, which favors existing place names, but for Rosa Parks there was a consensus: this is necessary for a tram station, it is a strong symbol"


Enjoy your WE in Paris; it's going to be cold.
by Bernard on Fri Feb 2nd, 2018 at 07:49:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting compilation of Op-Ed articles.

Commentary on devolution of advanced societies towards tribalism.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Fri Feb 2nd, 2018 at 06:23:00 PM EST
I take a dim view of any statement containing "devolve" and "tribe". I am somewhat surprised Jared Diamond is not listed among authoritative critics of civilizations. Is he dead?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Feb 2nd, 2018 at 08:47:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Still around AFAIK.  Either Bownds didn't pick one his Op-Eds or Diamond hasn't written one.  I suspect the latter.

I used to get upset about the pseudo-anthropology slung around our Infotainment Mass Mediums now I'm all ...

Still around AFAIK.  Either Bownds didn't pick one his Op-Eds or Diamond hasn't written one.  I suspect the latter.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Feb 3rd, 2018 at 03:30:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Huh.  Dunno what happened there


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sat Feb 3rd, 2018 at 03:30:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Current Affairs
None of this prevented Reagan from being treated as an ordinary president in the long run. And not even "ordinary": Reagan is revered. He's not just "a president" or "a good president" but the best president, better than the one who founded the country or the one who ended slavery or the one who defeated Hitler. (Actually 20 million Russians defeated Hitler, but let's not quibble.) The country's five-second collective memory means that in retrospect, Reagan is not seen how his contemporaries saw him, but how he portrayed himself. It doesn't matter what you are, it matters what you pretend to be, and if you stick with it long enough people will probably start to believe it.

Donald Trump would like to displace Reagan as the Greatest President of All Time. I'm sure that's how he'll think of himself, I'm sure that's how he'll portray himself. And why shouldn't the same process benefit him that has benefited all the rest of them? It won't happen this year, or next year, but twenty or thirty years from now? I can see it. The Trump self-myth will have displaced the reality, just as it has through his entire career.

You might laugh. America will never treat some callous and stupid fool as a brilliant man. This country could never venerate a man so silly, one who offers people nothing but myths and false promises. But it's worth remembering what Ronald Reagan's campaign slogan was: Let's Make America Great Again.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Feb 3rd, 2018 at 06:17:13 PM EST


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