Archive for November 27, 2018

On the map

November 27, 2018

Source: On the map – Opinion – Jerusalem Post

Sudan, together with Chad, is key to making a direct way to fly from Israel to Brazil, a major world economy.

 NOVEMBER 26, 2018 20:45
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Chad President  Idriss Déby in Jerusalem in November 25

This is another successful week for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s foreign policy. Chad’s President Idriss Déby’s visit marks stronger ties between Israel and the central African Muslim state. And the Czech Republic’s President Miloš Zeman’s visit is a step toward having his country become the first European Union member state to move its embassy to Jerusalem.

On the heels of these visits came reports that Israel is working on expanding ties with other Muslim countries, like Bahrain and Sudan. And this comes after Netanyahu’s historic visit to Oman.

Sudan, together with Chad, is key to making a direct way to fly from Israel to Brazil, a major world economy. And Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, may visit Israel and would like to move his country’s embassy to Jerusalem, as well.

Much is said about what Israel is doing for many of these countries, whether it’s sharing cybersecurity, agricultural know-how, or intelligence and training to fight terrorism. Debby, for example, visited Netafim to see Israeli drip irrigation technology.

It’s true that few of these newly friendly countries have translated into pro-Israel UN votes, but Israel still benefits greatly from these ties, economically as well as in matters of security and international diplomacy.

Chad is also reportedly interested in Israeli military technology. This is where Netanyahu must tread more carefully. We should not allow some of the world’s most abusive regimes to take advantage of their new or stronger ties with Israel to further harm innocent people. Myanmar, which has ethnically cleansed its Muslim minority, is another example of this. Israel does not comment on where it sells weapons, but Myanmar’s military says that it has bought from Israel.

Still, it is important to note that no country in the world cuts ties with all human-rights violators, and Israel should not be held to an impossible double-standard.

Countries like Germany may turn up their noses, but they have continued working to circumvent sanctions on Iran, one of the world’s most prolific invokers of the death penalty, and a country that continually threatens Israel with genocide.

It’s hard to take someone like Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström seriously. She claims to have a “feminist foreign policy” while veiling herself in Tehran and continually condemning Israel, which has a better record on gender equality than anywhere else in the region and was recently ranked one of the world’s top 20 countries for working women.

French President Emmanuel Macron reportedly refuses to visit Israel because of a lack of progress with the Palestinians. But there’s a photo of him hugging the president of Chad, not exactly a beacon of human rights.

It’s clear that double-standard is part of why Netanyahu has sought out ties elsewhere. Europe is Israel’s largest trading partner, but – for better or for worse – the benefits of strengthening ties with countries elsewhere are less likely to come with these kinds of strings attached. A country like Chad is not connecting with Israel because of shared values – it’s because of shared interests. In some ways, these ties are weaker; when the interests end, the ties may end. At the same time, they are simpler.

And with Zeman in Israel, Netanyahu is making sure to maintain the other kinds of ties as well.

These are ties that bind democracies committed to the values of freedom of speech and conscience. These ties are special, because Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East.

The mixed and growing portfolio of international ties that Netanyahu has been cultivating is something that Israel can be proud of. Even on a day when the state prosecution team working on Cases 1000 and 2000 sent their recommendations to the state attorney about indicting Netanyahu, the visit of Chad’s president is an achievement that should not be overlooked.

It, and the other diplomatic inroads forged by Netanyahu, are part of how he will likely be remembered in the future. He has strengthened Israel’s standing in the world and opened new opportunities for Israel to leverage its diplomatic and military power throughout the world.


Tipping Point: Israel And The ‘Community Of Nations’ 

November 27, 2018

Source: Tipping Point: Israel And The ‘Community Of Nations’ – International news – Jerusalem Post

The Jewish state is on the precipice of major diplomatic breakthroughs across the globe.

 NOVEMBER 27, 2018 06:33
Miri Regev (C) visits Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, October 29, 2018

News of the surprise two-years-in-the-making visit to Israel by the president of Muslim-majority Chad broke on the same day that the Czech head of state announced in Jerusalem the intention to move Prague’s embassy to the holy city. This came on the backdrop of reports that the Jewish state is seeking to establish full diplomatic ties with Mali, Niger and even Sudan. Jerusalem is also purportedly eyeing Bahrain and Oman, the latter of which just reiterated that “the Arab states need to come to terms with the reality that Israel is a fact of life in the region.”

For its entire history, the state of Israel has been widely viewed as a pariah, a status quo many proffered would persist for as long as its conflict with the Palestinians—and perhaps thereafter. According to conventional wisdom, it would languish forever in a sort of diplomatic purgatory with only the Americans in its corner.

Yet, a simple glance at the world map reveals a growing landscape dotted with countries clamoring for Israeli expertise in fields ranging from defense and counter-terrorism to agriculture and medicine. It seems that the Jewish state is on the precipice of a major, over-arching and perhaps redefining diplomatic breakthrough.

After seventy years, Israel may be on the verge of joining the so-called “community of nations.”

To this end, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu revealed Sunday that he would soon travel to other Arab countries; this, after his October trip to Muscat which immediately preceded Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev’s visit to the United Arab Emirates. Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz this month likewise attended a conference in Oman, while Economy Minister Eli Cohen reportedly received an invitation to visit Manama in early 2019 to participate in a high-tech summit organized by the World Bank.

All of this follows Netanyahu’s alleged secret trip to Cairo in May, which came on the heels of his high-profile public meeting last year with Egyptian President Abdel al-Fattah al-Sisi at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Despite Jordanian King Abdullah’s oft-harsh rhetoric, Amman maintains close security and economic ties with Israel and recognizes the important role Jerusalem plays in ensuring continued Hashemite rule Jordan.

The evolution of this Sunni Arab-Jewish state alliance undoubtedly has been accelerated by the emergence of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who was the first Gulf leader to publicly express support for Israel’s right to exist. Notably, Netanyahu has backed the young Saudi ruler amid a firestorm over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, evidencing the importance Jerusalem places on burgeoning ties with Riyadh as well as the advent of a foreign policy based principally on realpolitik.

“It is abundantly clear that Arab and Muslim nations would love to establish bilateral relations,” Dr. Chuck Freilich, a former deputy national security adviser in Israel and currently a Senior Fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center, explained to The Media Line. “The reasoning is threefold: A common interest in curbing Iran; fatigue with the Palestinian issue; and the knowledge that Israel is the only dynamic and hi-tech economy, especially in the cyber field, in the region.

“Despite this, the cup-half-empty side of the story is that Israel’s international image is at a nadir, as the overall level of delegitimization is increasing. Even in many countries with which Israel has good working relations public opinion is horrible. This is most apparent in Europe and making inroads into the United States.

“To offset the potential severe consequences, Israel will need to change its policies vis-a-vis the Palestinians, as this is the only major substantive issue of disagreement. It is unclear if anything can be done to end the conflict—and people forget the Palestinians previously were offered comprehensive peace proposals—but Jerusalem could halt settlement activity and publicly reiterate support for the two-state solution. This might not fully solve the problem but it would help.”

While the stalemated peace process continues to cause friction with Western European countries, Netanyahu nevertheless has over the past six months received German Chancellor Angela Merkel and was welcomed in both London and Paris. Moreover, to counter what the premier has described as the European Union’s “hostile” attitude towards the Jewish state, efforts have been made to strengthen ties with lesser powers on the continent.

For example, Netanyahu recently was the first-ever foreign leader to partake in a summit of the Craiova Forum, consisting of Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and Greece. In August, he met in Vilnius with the heads of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Before that the prime minister attended a meeting of the Visegrad Group, made up of Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Over the summer, Netanyahu hosted Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

A further examination of the West shows relations with the United States—which along with Israel’s technological and military prowess form the bedrock of its global standing—have never been better than under President Donald Trump; whereas the strong ties greatly advanced and promoted by former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper continue to thrive. In Australia, there is increasing chatter about relocating Canberra’s mission to Jerusalem.

Moving forward, Netanyahu is expected to travel to Brazil for the inauguration of president-elect Jair Bolsonaro, who vowed to make the Jewish state the destination of his first trip abroad. Last year, the premier became the first sitting Israeli leader to visit Latin America, making stops in Argentina, Paraguay, Colombia and Mexico. Israel’s ties to Honduras and Guatemala also appear to be at all-time high levels.

Concurrently, Israel has focused on deepening its connection to many states in Africa, to which Netanyahu has traveled three times in the past two years. Ghana’s foreign minister recently announced that her government is assisting Jerusalem in its bid to gain observer status at the African Union, a potentiality publicly backed by Kenya and Ethiopia. Representatives from Angola, Cameroon, Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, South Sudan, Rwanda and Zambia reportedly attended the opening in May of the American Embassy in Jerusalem. Ties have been re-established with the Republic of Guinea and Tanzania.

“Netanyahu during the past half-decade has made an effort to reach out to governments that in the past have not been approached,” Dr. Ofer Israeli, a Lecturer and Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Policy & Strategy at the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy & Strategy of the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzilya, conveyed to The Media Line. “These are smaller countries in the international arena but when it comes to the United Nations every vote is equal. So Israel has tried to make as many ‘friends’ as possible.

“This policy is partially the product of ‘liberal’ states like Britain, France and Germany not supporting Israel because of the Palestinian issue. Jerusalem has no other option but to look elsewhere, including to those less democratic in Eastern Europe, Africa and the Gulf. Israel also is trying to create ties with nations such as Brazil, where the leadership [has shifted to the right]. Another main objective is to target whoever might move their embassy to Jerusalem.”

This more-the-merrier attitude has not inhibited Israel from attracting the attention of traditional and emerging powers including Russia, as evidenced by ongoing military coordination in Syria despite the recent crisis over the accidental downing of a Russian reconnaissance plane. Meanwhile, bilateral relations are budding with China, whose most influential vice premier last month spent four days in Israel. The bond between Netanyahu and his Indian counterpart Narenda Modi is well-documented.

Overall, this expanding network of government-government relationships is reshaping Israel’s geopolitical standing, albeit this success has not fully extended to the level of populations. While a concern that needs to be addressed, a country that has what to offer will invariably be courted, respected, and, by extension, accepted. Israel has become a model for this type of modern diplomacy, which has opened up to it potentialities once thought unimaginable.


It’s A Mad, Mad World

November 27, 2018

The Burning Platform

And I find it kinda funny, I find it kinda sad
The dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had
I find it hard to tell you, I find it hard to take
When people run in circles it’s a very very
Mad world, mad world

Image result for the primal scream

The haunting Gary Jules version of the Tears for Fears’ Mad World speaks to me in these tumultuous mad times. It must speak to many others, as the music video has been viewed over 132 million times. The melancholy video is shot from the top of an urban school building in a decaying decrepit bleak neighborhood with school children creating various figures on the concrete pavement below. The camera pans slowly to Gary Jules singing on the rooftop and captures the concrete jungle of non-descript architecture, identical office towers, gray cookie cutter apartment complexes, and a world devoid of joy and vibrancy.

The song was influenced by Arthur Janov’s theories in his book The Primal Scream. The chorus above about his “dreams of dying were the best he ever had” is representative of letting go of this mad world and being free of the monotony and release from the insanity of this world. Our ego fools us into thinking the madness of this world is actually normal. Day after day we live lives of quiet desperation. Despite all evidence our world is spinning out of control and the madness of the crowds is visible in financial markets, housing markets, politics, social justice, and social media, the level of normalcy bias among the populace has reached astounding levels, as we desperately try to convince ourselves everything will be alright. But it won’t.

The opiate of the masses is not just religion, but the propaganda, misinformation, lies and technological distractions designed by the invisible government ruling class to provide the masses with pleasant illusions about their country, society, and material situation. If the masses were to wake up and realize they are being manipulated, oppressed, and corralled like sheep, revolution would sweep the land. People are being driven mad by an overwhelming feeling of cognitive dissonance.

The mental masturbation required by a vast swath of the population who see the evidence of decline, created by excessive use of debt and systematic corruption of government, finance, and the media, has created a society of mentally stressed zombies. They know things aren’t right, but to admit the truth would shatter their delusions and require them to act. It’s easier to self-medicate with drugs, alcohol and losing themselves in their technological fantasy world of social media. They would rather believe comforting lies than deal with uncomfortable truth. They go along with the lies because to do otherwise would produce tremendous mental discomfort.

Image result for mad world gary jules

All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for their daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere
Their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head, I want to drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow

The lyrics can be interpreted differently by different people, but the lyrics above paint a clear panorama of our mad world for me. We are running in circles, getting up early every morning, following the same routine, dutifully going to our work cubicles, seeing the same people, doing the same thing, and pretending it matters, for a paycheck worth less each day. We do this because we are trained like animals to believe buying shit we don’t need on credit is the way to get ahead in life.

Materialism, consumerism, greed, and keeping up with the Joneses has been embedded in our brains through years of government school indoctrination and media propaganda. Very few people succeed in getting ahead. They are just running on a hamster wheel and going nowhere. This is why there is so much depression, anger, and misplaced priorities in our lives.

Walking along a street in any crumbling urban area in this country you see miserable faces staring blankly as they trudge through their lives on the road to nowhere or wasting time absorbed by trivialities and bullshit emanating from their iGadgets. The lives of so many are a meaningless march of misery and mindless repetition of daily chores. There is an overwhelming cloud of sadness permeating the lives of the masses as our repulsive culture, built on fulfilling desires, consumerism, selfishness and greed, ultimately results in delusional, disappointed and desperate human beings.

This dysfunctional culture has resulted in soaring levels of suicide, drug overdoses, depression, and the formation of mentally unstable people who periodically go on shooting rampages for no foreseeable reason. Turn on the 24 hour news and try not realizing the world has gone mad.

Image result for mad world children

Children waiting for the day, they feel good
Happy birthday, happy birthday
Made to feel the way that every child should
Sit and listen, sit and listen
Went to school and I was very nervous
No one knew me, no one knew me
Hello teacher, tell me what’s my lesson
Look right through me, look right through me

Our society did not become so ludicrous, misguided and defective overnight. It has been decades in the making. And it can be attributed to the purposeful effort by those in control of the government in destroying our educational system and replacing it with a social indoctrination system. Children are no longer taught how to think, but how to feel. Children are being raised by the state as nothing more than cogs in the machine.

The family unit has self-destructed as millions of children are raised in fatherless households, broken households, or dysfunctional households. They are not taught how to act and think by loving parents at home, so they are easily susceptible to the social justice dogma jammed down their throats by low IQ government robots inhabiting the classrooms of our public schools. As Frank Zappa pointed out years ago, you need to educate yourself and not let government schools rot your mind. We didn’t heed his advice.

“Drop out of school before your mind rots from exposure to our mediocre educational system. Forget about the Senior Prom and go to the library and educate yourself if you’ve got any guts. Some of you like Pep rallies and plastic robots who tell you what to read.”Frank Zappa

Children who question authority or do not act in a subservient manner are immediately diagnosed with ADD and drugged into submission. The public-school system doesn’t want high performers, critical thinkers or anyone questioning their government mandated orthodoxy. The ruling class (aka Deep State) wants controllable, malleable, non-thinking automatons to do the menial low paying jobs, buy cheap foreign crap with their credit cards, and be dependent upon the state for their miserable existence. George Carlin figured it out many years ago:

“They want obedient workers. People who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork, and just dumb enough to passably accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime, and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it.  It’s a big club. And you ain’t in it. You and I are not in the big club. By the way, it’s the same big club they use to beat you over the head with all day long when they tell you what to believe. All day long, beating you over the in their media telling you what to believe — what to think — and what to buy. The table is tilted, folks. The game is rigged. And nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care.”   

Unhappy, drugged up, deluded children, who have been treated like a number, grow up to be unhappy, overly medicated, easily manipulated adults, creating the mad world we are experiencing. Children are waiting for the day they will feel good – like their birthday – but the day will never come. They grow up and do as they are told – going into massive debt to get a worthless college education – learning how to be offended – graduating as special snowflakes seeking safe spaces. After being protected and propagandized during their entire youth they are entirely unprepared for the real world of low wages, menial labor, and thinking for themselves. Multiple generations have experienced this despicable process, implemented by those in power.

They enter adulthood just as their keepers desire – enslaved in debt, dependent upon the mass media to tell them how to think – and dependent upon the state for their health and welfare. They don’t know how to think critically as their technological toys and endless absorption of trivialities on social media platforms makes them dumber by the minute. Frank Zappa understood the danger of mass media 45 years ago with his song “I’m the Slime”.

He realized the government and mega-corporations used TV as a tool for their propaganda, molding the minds of our youth, manipulating them into conforming to the ideas, opinions, habits and tastes desired by those pulling the strings of society. Zappa had no idea how much more control the corporate fascists could seize once the internet and social media proliferated around the world. Combining the power of the surveillance state with the devious underhanded methods of Google, Facebook and Twitter has created a social concentration camp with government armed guards and social justice warrior corporations providing the propaganda.

“I’m vile and perverted.
I’m obsessed and deranged.
I’ve existed for years but very little has changed.
I’m the tool of the government and industry too.
For I’m destined to rule and regulate you.
You may think I’m pernicious, but you can’t look away.
I’ll make you think I’m delicious with the stuff that I say.
I’m the best you can get… have you guessed me yet?
I’m the slime oozing out of your TV set….”
― Frank Zappa

Image result for slime oozing out of your TV

The detrimental impact of social media has been documented in a recent study at an Ivy League university. Those who reduced their usage of social media saw a significant decrease in depression and loneliness. The data proved spending hours per day on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media is damaging to the mental health of college students.

Social media is nothing more than virtue signaling and peacocking by people trying to pump up their own egos. The incessant narcissism broadcast by the “beautiful” people results in others comparing their lives to these shallow egocentric elitists. When normal people spend their days comparing their plain lives to the fake awesome lives of strutting egomaniacs, they become depressed and unhappy with their own lives.

Until people put down their gadgets, spend time living in the real world with real people and stop idolizing shallow faux icons, they will become even more mentally unstable. This seems unlikely, as young children are handed tech gadgets while they are still in their designer cribs. The masses will never willingly put down their addictive devices and deal with real issues in a real way.

Until this selfie society undergoes a drastic reversion to reality, likely spurred by a debt implosion and civil or global conflict, people will continue to mindlessly wander the earth staring down at their smart phones, getting dumber by the minute. This madness will stop when daily survival becomes more important than Kanye and Trump’s latest tweet. Until people are more concerned with where they are going to obtain their next meal than the number of likes they are getting from posting a picture of their latest trendy restaurant meal, the madness will continue.

If you think the general public and our youth are acting madly, the supposedly brilliant Ivy League educated financial minds are saying “hold my beer”. The Intellectual Yet Idiot central banker academic puppets of Wall Street have done what they do best – blow bubbles and create madness in the markets. Their debt creation (aka money printing) since the crisis they created in 2008, due to their easy money/no regulation policies, has created the largest debt bubble in world history.

When you create the biggest bubble in history you will ultimately have biggest bust in history. They created the bubble and the housing bubble in the space of eight years. They have triple downed and created a stock, bond and real estate (aka Everything Bubble) bubbles. It boggles my mind watching the feckless financial world go mad, believing they’ve made billions based on their investing prowess when it has clearly been handed to them by recklessly incompetent corrupt central bankers and government apparatchiks.

As Charles MacKay found throughout history, men go mad in herds, and will only regain their sanity individually based upon their ability to grasp reality when it clubs them over the head with a baseball bat. The recklessness of the highly educated is built upon a false belief they are smarter than markets and have rigged the system in a way that insures they will never lose.

The arrogance and hubris of these delusional masters of the universe during their mad pursuit of riches always leads to their downfall. These are truly mad times when millions of people can fix their minds on provably ridiculous conspiracy theories of Russians throwing a presidential election to the candidate of their choice. So many people are so easily convinced of the most ridiculous ideas (aka socialism works), that folly has become the national sport. This level of idiocracy will surely end badly for this nation.

Image result for madness of crowds

“In reading The History of Nations, we find that, like individuals, they have their whims and their peculiarities, their seasons of excitement and recklessness, when they care not what they do. We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first.”Charles MacKay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

As a born skeptic, I feel uncomfortable living in this land of delusions, illusions and confusions. I don’t fit in. I don’t want to fit in. Does that make me abnormal or normal? I don’t want to be part of any team. I will not blindly cheer for Democrats or Republicans. I intensely dislike the worldviews and ideas of Obama, McCain, Romney, and Clinton. I have found Trump to be endlessly entertaining and agree with his pushback on the press, the GOPe, and left wing open border lunatics. The only politicians I’ve ever had any real respect for were from the Paul family.

I’m all for lower taxes, but Trump’s tax cuts for mega-corporations and the rich did little for the plight of the average American, while allowing corporations to buy back billions of their stock at market highs to keep the market bubble inflating. Cutting taxes while drastically increasing government spending nine years into an economic recovery is pure lunacy. Trump created a one year reprieve on the recession with this debt financed adrenaline injection, making this Potemkin economy appear strong, when in fact it is on the verge of collapse.

Driving deficits past the trillion dollar level at this point in the economic cycle is a recipe for disaster, but talking heads on the TV screen act like it is perfectly normal. Keeping real interest rates below zero nine years into a supposed economic recovery is insane, but the intellectual yet idiot central bankers and their criminal banking cartel owners, who profit from this insidious policy, act as if this is normal. It’s not normal. It’s about as abnormal as you can possibly get.

This madness and abnormality is clear to me. I can’t understand why it isn’t clear to others. Am I mad? Am I the one who is abnormal? How can so many millions of people be oblivious to the facts and reality of our situation? They just seem to sleepwalk through life believing what they are told, thinking the way their keepers want them to think, doing what they are told to do, not questioning authority figures, and fulfilling their infinite appetite for distractions with their technological gadgets. As Huxley predicted in the late 1950s, the fact people have adjusted to this profoundly abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. Being normal today is considered abnormal.

“The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. “Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives, that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does.” They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted.”Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited

I refuse to accept the ideology perpetuated by the Deep State and their collaborators in the media, financial industry, academia and corporate board rooms. I would rather be estranged from the general population than sacrifice my integrity by adapting my thinking to a pathology of lies, delusions, and denial. I already feel like an outcast among family and friends. Meeting old friends for drinks and seeing how they have been brainwashed by the media and political class is depressing.

Sometimes I’ve doubted my own sanity when watching the stock market soar, year after year, to the most overvalued level in history. Shouldn’t I have gone along with the crowd and ignored facts and reality? Groupthink has enriched millions of lemmings. But, I’m a stubborn bastard and will never go along with the crowd. I believe my facts are right and expect to watch millions of lemmings get slaughtered over the next year or so. It’s already begun, but they are too brainwashed and will be paralyzed as their faux wealth evaporates once again.

I feel I’ve psychologically and emotionally suffered from being a sane man in an insane world. I’ve been alienated and shunned, but I’ve retained my dignity and self-respect. I’ve got my family and preserve my ability to think critically, question everything, and refuse to go along with the crowd. It’s a sometimes lonely position, but I’ve made this decision with my eyes wide open and a willingness to accept the consequences.

I will not adapt myself to a sick society where vices are considered virtues, lies are considered truth, feeling overrides thinking, fiction passes for fact, enemies are created to instill fear, and insanity is considered sane. It’s a mad mad world, but I choose not be overcome by the madness. What is your choice?

Image result for erich fromm sane society

“The fact that millions of people share the same vices does not make these vices virtues, the fact that they share so many errors does not make the errors to be truths, and the fact that millions of people share the same form of mental pathology does not make these people sane.”Erich Fromm, The Sane Society

EU, Iran commit to uphold nuclear pact despite Trump

November 27, 2018

Source: EU, Iran commit to uphold nuclear pact despite Trump | The Times of Israel

European Union Energy Commissioner Arias Canete says deal is ‘crucial for the security of Europe, of the region and the entire world’

Iran’s vice president and head of the Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi (left) and European Union Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Arias Canete during a joint news conference at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, November 26, 2018. (Francisco Seco/AP)

BRUSSELS — The European Union and Iran affirmed their support for the international nuclear deal and said they aim to keep it alive despite US President Donald Trump’s decision to abandon the landmark pact.

Ahead of EU-Iran talks on civil nuclear cooperation in Brussels Monday, EU Energy Commissioner Arias Canete said the deal is “crucial for the security of Europe, of the region and the entire world.”

He said the agreement curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions is working and that “we do not see any credible peaceful alternative.”

Iranian Vice President Ali Akbar Salehi said: “I hope that we can enjoy the niceties of this deal and not let it go unfulfilled.”

Should the deal break down, he said, it would be “very ominous, the situation would be unpredictable.”


US condemns ‘outrageous’ Rouhani ‘cancer’ snipe as Iran continues to bash Israel 

November 27, 2018

Source: US condemns ‘outrageous’ Rouhani ‘cancer’ snipe as Iran continues to bash Israel | The Times of Israel

Trump’s Mideast envoy accuses Iranian president of spreading ‘hateful & destructive ideology’; Islamic Republic’s supreme leader tweets: ‘To hell with’ US, Israel

In this photo released by official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, President Hassan Rouhani attends an annual Islamic Unity Conference in Tehran, Iran, November 24, 2018. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

In this photo released by official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, President Hassan Rouhani attends an annual Islamic Unity Conference in Tehran, Iran, November 24, 2018. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

The United States on Monday joined the European Union in denouncing remarks by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who, on Saturday, called Israel a “cancerous tumor” established by Western countries to advance their interests in the Middle East.

“We condemn the outrageous comments by Iran’s Rouhani,” Jason Greenblatt, US President Donald Trump’s envoy to the Middle East peace process, said in a tweet.

“Rouhani continues to spread the Iranian regime’s hateful & destructive ideology instead of improving Iranian lives,” Greenblatt added.

Addressing an annual Islamic Unity Conference on Saturday, Rouhani said, “One of the ominous results of World War II was the formation of a cancerous tumor in the region.”

He went on to refer to Israel as a “fake regime” set up by Western countries.

US President Donald Trump’s Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt addresses the American Jewish Committee’s Women’s Leadership Board Spring Luncheon in New York on April 24, 2018. (Courtesy / Ellen Dubin Photography)

Iran’s leaders frequently condemn Israel and predict its demise, but Rouhani, who is cast as a relative moderate, rarely employs such rhetoric.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded the same day, saying in a statement that “Israel knows very well how to defend itself from the murderous Iranian regime.”

“Rouhani’s slander, which calls for the destruction of Israel, proves yet again why the nations of the world need to join in the sanctions against the Iranian terrorist regime which threatens them,” charged the prime minister.

On Monday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei lashed out at Israel and the US, saying, “to hell with the US and Zionist regime for threatening the Iranian nation.”

Today, to hell with the U.S. and Zionist regime for threatening the Iranian nation. Their threats and atrocities have so far failed and will continue to fail; the sanctions will also be defeated by the grace of resistance.

A day earlier, Khamenei said Israel was now “weaker” than it was 10 or 20 years ago, listing a number of military “defeats” he said the Jewish state had suffered over the years.

In a tweet, Khamenei claimed that Israel was defeated by Hezbollah in the 2006 Second Lebanon War, and that it had been beaten by Hamas in 2008’s Operation Cast Lead, 2012’s Operation Pillar of Defense, as well as the recent flareup in violence on the Gaza border.

All of those conflicts ended with both sides claiming victory.

The Zionist regime is clearly weaker than 10, 20 years ago. A few years ago they fought Hezbollah for 33 days and were defeated. They were defeated 2 years later in the 22-day war on Palestinian resistance; in 8-day war on oppressed people of Gaza and recently in the 2-day war.

Khamenei routinely calls Israel a “cancer” in the region that must be removed. He has previously branded Israel as “barbaric,” “infanticidal,” and the “sinister, unclean rabid dog of the region.” Recently, he blamed “Zionists” for the anti-government demonstrations held across Iran earlier this year.

The European Union on Sunday slammed Rouhani’s “cancer” remark, with a spokesperson calling it “totally unacceptable” and “incompatible with the need to address international disputes through dialogue and international law.”

“The European Union reiterates its fundamental commitment to the security of Israel, including with regard to current and emerging threats in the region,” the 28-nation bloc said.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz similarly condemned Rouhani on Saturday, likening his comments to anti-Semitism.

“I strongly condemn the recent unacceptable statements by President Rouhani relating to Israel. It is absolutely unacceptable when Israel’s right to exist is questioned or Israel’s destruction is being urged,” he tweeted.

Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (L) give a joint press conference at the Chancellery in Vienna on July 4, 2018. (AFP Photo/Alex Halada)

“Because of our historical responsibility, the decisive combat against all forms of anti-Semitism and the support for Israel are especially important to us. For Austria, Israel’s security is non-negotiable,” Kurz added.

The EU has trod cautiously on Iran as it seeks to save the beleaguered nuclear deal with Tehran, after the US withdrew from it earlier this year and reimposed sanctions.

Iran supports terror groups like Lebanese Hezbollah and Palestinian Hamas that are pledged to Israel’s destruction.

Netanyahu has long identified Iran as Israel’s greatest threat, pointing to its nuclear program, calls for Israel’s destruction and support of terrorist groups.

Agencies contributed to this report.


US reportedly tells Israel it will press IAEA to probe Iran’s nuclear archives

November 27, 2018

Source: US reportedly tells Israel it will press IAEA to probe Iran’s nuclear archives | The Times of Israel

After Israel complains to envoy, Trump administration to push UN agency to examine documents retrieved in Mossad op in Tehran

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a speech on files obtained by Israel he says proves Iran lied about its nuclear program, at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, on April 30, 2018. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a speech on files obtained by Israel he says proves Iran lied about its nuclear program, at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, on April 30, 2018. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration has reportedly told Israel that it will lean on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to examine findings Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented to the world earlier this year that outline Iran’s attempts to build a nuclear arsenal.

According to a report Monday in Axios, State Department officials have said that Washington will pressure the nuclear watchdog to examine the trove of documents that Mossad agents extracted on a covert mission in January.

US Special Envoy Brian Hook visited Israel two weeks ago and, in a meeting with Israeli officials, was told that the IAEA was “dragging its feet” over Israel’s revelations, Axios reported.

Moreover, the political director of the foreign ministry, Alon Ushpiz, was angry that Israeli intelligence was not being taken seriously.

A warehouse in Shorabad, south Tehran, where Mossad agents discovered and extracted tens of thousands of secret files pertaining to Iran’s nuclear weapons program (Prime Minister’s Office)

Hook reportedly responded by saying the Trump administration would pressure the agency to look into the disclosures, with State Department officials saying that America’s new ambassador to the IAEA, Jackie Wolcott, would “work aggressively to make sure the IAEA seriously addresses all information provided by Israel, the US and other countries regarding the Iranian nuclear program.”

A State Department official contacted by The Times of Israel neither confirmed nor denied the Axios report. “We don’t comment on the details of diplomatic conversations,” that official said.

The Islamic Republic has never admitted to seeking a bomb, but Netanyahu attempted to ignite outrage and galvanize the international community into action when he said “Iran lied” to the world, while revealing that Mossad agents had unearthed Iran’s nuclear archives, which showed a long history of trying to build a bomb, going as far back as 2003.

Proponents of the Iran deal were unmoved by the documents, which they said affirmed the assumption behind the landmark pact — that Iran had sought nuclear weapons and an agreement was needed to curtail its path to the bomb.

Netanyahu’s presentation came as US President Donald Trump faced a deadline to keep America as a party to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the deal is formally known.

Both Trump and Netanyahu had harshly criticized the deal, taking aim at its “sunset” clauses and saying it did not address Iran’s ballistic missile program or involvement in numerous regional conflicts.

Trump, days later, withdrew the United States from the accord.


Citing heavy cost of war, PM defends choice not to strike Hamas in Gaza

November 27, 2018

Source: Citing heavy cost of war, PM defends choice not to strike Hamas in Gaza | The Times of Israel

Meeting with new Israel Defense Forces recruits amid criticism for accepting ceasefire, Netanyahu says there are no ‘free’ military campaigns

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to a group of new recruits at the army's Tel HaShomer induction center outside of Tel Aviv on November 26, 2018. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to a group of new recruits at the army’s Tel HaShomer induction center outside of Tel Aviv on November 26, 2018. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday defended his decision not to launch a large-scale military campaign in the Gaza Strip in response to a massive barrage of rocket and mortar attacks earlier this month, saying that doing so would be too costly for the country.

The prime minister, who also serves as defense, foreign, health and absorption ministers, made his remarks to a group of new recruits to the Israel Defense Forces at the military’s main induction center, Tel Hashomer base, near Tel Aviv.

“As prime minister, what preoccupies me is the fact that I know there’s no ‘free’ wars or ‘free’ casualties. There’s always a price to pay, and the price is very high, and I always thinks about this price,” he said.

The prime minister faced harsh criticism for the government’s decision not to launch a larger military campaign in the Gaza Strip after terrorist groups in the coastal enclave fired some 500 rockets and mortar shells at nearby Israel cities and towns, killing one person and injuring scores more.

In response, the Israeli military bombed some 160 targets connected to the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups, killing seven people, most of whom were later identified as members of terrorist groups, some in the process of launching projectiles at Israel at the time they were killed.

Avigdor Liberman announces his resignation from the defense portfolio during a Jerusalem press conference, November 14, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Then-defense minister Avigdor Liberman resigned a day after a de facto cease-fire went into effect, specifically citing the government’s policies toward Gaza and its Islamist rulers — Hamas — as the reason.

Prior to this month’s flareup, Netanyahu told reporters that he saw another war in the Gaza Strip — what would be the fourth in 10 years — as unnecessary and that he preferred reaching a long-term cease-fire agreement with Hamas.

However, speaking to new recruits for the Israel Defense Forces’ Armored Corps, the prime minister stressed that Israel also had to be prepared to attack.

“When a war is unpreventable, we will use all of our force and all of our power and do so in the best way possible,” Netanyahu said. “We know that the ultimate goal of the military is first and foremost to defend our country and if we are required to do so — to win in war,” he continued. “Ultimately, you win not just by defense, but rather we win by attacking.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets a group of new recruits at the army’s Tel Hashomer induction center near Tel Aviv, November 26, 2018. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

As of Monday, the de facto cease-fire reached on November 13 appeared to be holding, with only comparatively small-scale violent incidents occurring along the border.

The Egyptian military, as well as the United Nations and Qatar, has played a key role in these negotiations.

Likud MK Tzachi Hanegbi at a meeting of the Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee in the Knesset. November 19, 2015. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Netanyahu’s Likud ministerial colleague, Tzachi Hanegbi, indicated last week that a major offensive in Gaza would cost 500 soldiers’ lives.

When it was put to him, in an Army Radio interview, that one Hamas rocket hit an empty kindergarten, Hanegbi replied: “The empty kindergarten — that’s always talked about. But those 500 coffins — of the Israeli youths that would come back if we sent them into [Gaza’s] Jabalaya [refugee camp] — would not be empty.”