Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Temper Tantrum at the Obamas

Benjamin Moser took a picture (left) of his niece's temper tantrum at the Obama family seder pesach dinner. Females are like that, unpredictable and temperamental, and Jewish females more than most. But the scene impressed me for something else: the beauty of the room. The Obamas have the best interior decorators and fashionistas. And social directors: They hosted a very tall Jewish lady so that Michelle could wear high heels. She wears black, which is very courageous for a dark skinned woman. All very elegant and nice. It reminds me Confucius: If the Emperor is virtuous, who would dare to disobey him? Chinese emperors ruled by cultural example. America is doing the same: They are always so neat and well dressed, always standing unassailable on high moral ground. I am serious. We in Israel love America and we want to be like America.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Disapproving Stares Choking Life Out of Black Writers

Mahlatsi (left) writes about White violence:  

"I have been under no illusions about what it means to be black in South Africa. But never has this onslaught been as vivid as it was at the Franschhoek Literary Festival, where the violence that I was subjected to by the white audience left me shaken.

In both sessions that I attended, I endured disapproving stares and shaking heads. In that space, I came to understand that literary festivals exist to create a platform for white privilege to anthropologise black thought. The government needs to build a literary infrastructure for us, because the existing spaces are violent to black voices and threaten to choke the life out of us."

I see her point. Black lyricists need spaces protected from White "violence" to flourish. It seems reasonable. Whites too need spaces free from Black violence. It is wonderful that everybody agrees that separation is the best. She is, in fact, asking for the return of the apartheid.  

    TASE in Mortal Gridlock

    Gridlock can be construed as an incomprehensible situation where traffic is light and the streets are empty, yet traffic flow is blocked and nobody can move. Wiki: "It is cited as an example of the prisoner's dilemma. Mutual cooperation among drivers would give the maximum benefit (prevention of gridlock), but this may not happen because of the desire to maximize one's own benefit (shortest travel time) given the uncertainty about the other drivers' commitment to cooperation." In Israel, there is no uncertainty, there is definite knowledge that people will cheat and harm others.

    Tel Aviv Stock Exchange is in a gridlock situation. The mountain of savings is growing exponentially and thousands of start-ups are hungry for capital, yet the institution designed for mobilizing the capital to productive uses, the bourse, is failing. The number of companies in the exchange has contracted 50% in the last decade, companies are delisting from Tel Aviv. The reason is the burden of regulation: Only to fill all the forms costs about 600,000 dollars per year, which no small or medium organization can bear. Also, the regulation imposes strict rules of management, with directories and assemblies deciding this and that, and no living, dynamic organism can operate following formal, rigid rules. Taxation is discriminative: corporate tax is 30% but dividends are 35% (for some of the owners), and salaries are published and criticised. Given the degree of jealousy in Israeli society, the media (HaAretz) loves to publish shaming articles about inequality - which is the worst crime in this country. HaAretz specializes in comparing the living standards of recently infiltrated Erythrean "refugees" with some wildly successful entrepreneur with a Ph.D. from Standford.

    Thus comes a situation where there are few investment possibilities through the bourse, and excess savings are invested in foreign stock exchanges. Israel generates hundreds of startups listing on foreign bourses, we are number two on the NASDAQ and important in London. Anybody who wants to make money runs away from this country. TASE's turnover is falling all the time.

    Paradoxically, share prices are not collapsing but rising. Apparently, there is enough for everybody even while over-regulation and "the yellow eye" (Chinese for the jealousy disease) is paralyzing the movement of capitals in Israel.

    Sunday, May 24, 2015

    J's Memories

    Feeding Doah to the Palestinians

    It's Shavuot, a Jewish holiday, yet here I am here working on a doah factory for a Southern kibbutz. Only yesterday I had no idea there was such thing as doah, today I'm working on one. What the fuck is doah?

    Enterprising Jews are planning to manufacture this peanut and sesame based granola thing to sell it to the natives, who invented it in the first place. Tomorrow I'm going to Kever's spice market to consult my yemenite expert.

    P.S.: Investigating exotic spices, seredipously (?) discovered Rosh-Ha-Hanut (The Best of the Shop) spice (Ras-el-Hanout in Arabic). This mix may contain: cubeb, grains of paradise, black cumin seeds, belladonna berries, allspice, dried rose petals, dried lavender flowers, long pepper, black peppercorns, mace blades, ashberries, nutmeg, green cardamom seeds, cloves, allspice, cinnamon, Spanish fly beetle, salt, turmeric, galangal and cassia. Have to find out more about it.

    Saturday, May 23, 2015

    Saudi Arabia enters the Middle East General War

    There is a new regime in Saudi Arabia. The first thing it did was to bomb the Shia tribes of Yemen. Yesterday, the boy at the left, Abu Ali, suicide-bombed the Shia Imam Ali mosque on the Gulf coast of Saudi Arabia. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack. The Caliphate had never operated in Saudi Arabia because basically both profess the same Salafi version of the Sunni sub-religion, although Al Qaida always accused the Saudi Wahhabis of being less than pure Muslims. 

    In the long term, the Caliphate and Saudi dynasty represent competing extremisms of the Sunni branch, so the mutual jihad is a question of time. On the other hand, there is a wideranging war going on along the Sunni-Shia axis, where both Sunni powers are aligned against Shia Iran. America should make sure that none of the parties is left short of ammunition.

    Friday, May 22, 2015

    Protected by Vino Tinto

    (1)  Alcohol consumption has beneficial effects on health. These include decreased risk for heart disease and mortality due to heart disease, decreased risk of ischemic stroke (in which the arteries to the brain become narrowed or blocked, resulting in reduced blood flow), and decreased risk of diabetes.

    (2) In Western countries where chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease (CHD), cancer, stroke, and diabetes are the primary causes of death, results from large epidemiological studies consistently show that alcohol reduces mortality, especially among middle-aged and older men (=J) — an association which is likely due to the protective effects of alcohol consumption on CHD, diabetes, and ischemic stroke.

    I bought a bottle of Tempranillo (pic) Wine for 20 shekels and went to sleep a siesta. In my dream I re-acted one of Judge Dee's episodes, and decided that he was a cruel, torturing, disagreeable figure. I tried to reconstruct his personal living compound with his three wives and many children, and the Oriental despotism, terror and tyranny he imposed over them. If that was dynastic China, the Revolution was justified.
     

    Thursday, May 21, 2015

    When Hollywood was really Jewish

    Comparing this summer's Hollywood products with those fifty years ago, when Hollywood really was ruled by Jews, I am amazed by the senseless car chase violence of today (a-la-Mad Max) as against the talkative, argumentative films of then. For example, in the Star Trek universe violence was inexistent and the story line always had a syrupy, witty and satisfying ending. 


    The Mudd story is resolved through the attemp to confuse the strictly logical androids. The crew engage in illogic, clownish activities that causes the androids to go into logical lockup loops. Kirk and Mudd pose the chief android the Liar paradox, where Kirk claims everything Mudd says is a lie and Mudd declares that he is lying. Unable to resolve this logical contradiction, the computer-android overheats and shuts down. Without a controlling leader, the other androids freeze up. Mudd is paroled to the android planet (pics), a prospect which he finds enjoyable until he discovers to his horror that not only has the nagging android Stella (his human wife's doppelganger) been reprogrammed not to respond to his command to "Shut up!" but there are now 500 of her.

    The Islamic State Consolidates

    It appears that the political entity calling itself the Islamic State with a black flag is consolidating itself and imposing its authority on the areas it has designed for itself. The former Iraqi province of Anbar has been incorporated into it and a few days ago Palmira (the Biblical Tadmor) has been conquered. It has a regular administration and its soldiers are paid on time, an unheard of phenomenon in the Middle East.

    Western media presents ISIS as barbaric and clitoris-scissoring but behind the beheadings there seem to be a rational plan. Palmyra was the Roman capital of Syria and the ruins left over 2000 years of looting and decay, are now in risk of total destruction by these image-hating Mohammedans. I dont really care for the temple of the Babylonian god Bel and Islam carries no emotional connotation for me. ISIS has not touched Jews or Israel till now (I discount terror attacks against Jews in Europe, I think European Islamic terror has no relation with the movement trying to build a territorial state in the Sha'am).

    Amazingly, in ISIS communiques and theological teachings Israel/Palestine is marginal, they mention "Crusaders" but almost never Jews and I hope they can distinguish between a Jew and the Franks of the Holy Sepulcre. Thus, in the senseless violence of the Middle East, I think ISIS works for us. For now.

    The Black Blog comments:  "The obvious continuation is not to dampen the sectarian conflict, but to exacerbate it to the greatest degree possible. America, like Britain in the Napoleonic age, should adopt the policy of supporting first one side then the other, or preferably both at once, so that the combatants inflict the maximum degree of damage on each other. What follows next is quite simple: stand back and watch while the Arabian peninsula, Levant and North Africa destroys itself. Take every opportunity to make it worse. […] If you can stomach it, it works like charm. "
     

    Wednesday, May 20, 2015

    Riots in Northumbria after an unarmed cow is shot by the police

    "It wasn't doing anything, it was just eating a bit of grass - it probably got sick of the grass it was eating elsewhere, it heard about a nice new patch, went down and started grazing, and the next thing is police turn up and start firing at it.

    The BBC reports "massive police presence" with more than 15 police vehicles, a helicopter hovering overhead, and three or four officers in sniper gear.  People thought it could have been terrorist-related, rather than, as then realised, a "docile little brown skinned cow standing unarmed and unsuspecting in a field".

    "We were going to light candles and say a little prayer for her, " said Photographer John Millard witnessed the cow being shot dead, and described the scene to BBC Radio 5 live. "Then we were ruthlessly attacked by the racist/specieist Terror Squad and the youth had no choice but sack the liquor stores and carry home some insignificant souvenirs.

    Signore Porco Rosso, the famous Italian war hero, confirmed that British police is known for its brutality and use of excessive violence against brownish minorities. "I am red-haired and pink, but at night, all the swines are black."

    Project Pumped Storage in Mount Gilboa



    I'm going to explain later this interesting water project. Years ago, when it was only a concept, I used it as a class exercise in Ariel University. We calculated water flows and pipe diameters, and the engineering economics of the project. My students - now engineers - are working in it.