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1  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Texas shows its ever-true colors on Muslim Capitol Day on: January 30, 2015, 08:34:50 pm
The uniquely American phenomenon of anti-Semitic Zionism is bizarre.

Not at all. They have a common goal: getting America rid of the Jews.
2  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Greece General Discussion on: January 30, 2015, 08:33:38 pm
 I think in the end Tsipras will fold and come crawling back.

I doubt. He was elected on this. And not that he would ideologically object to a bank nationalization.

It will be an awful period for an average Greek, of course. That is why I have long believed that it should have been a "normal" Greek government that should have taken Greece out of the euro: they would have been able to do it more gently. This way, it will be much harder. And dealing with the consequences will take a generation, at least.

My condolences to the Greek public.
3  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Greece General Discussion on: January 30, 2015, 05:58:55 pm
I mean, we should not be making fun of the Greeks. The old parties screwed up badly - the voters had every right to run them out of town. Pity, they chose the Kool Aid crowd instead - but they took a long time to be pushed that way.

Greece should have never adopted the euro. And, of course, once the crisis started, the right thing to do would have been to negotiate the return to the drachma and devaluation. Trying to deflate out of trouble was politically unsustainable - everybody knew that. Well, acting on wish and prayer, the "responsible politicians" responsibled themselves into irrelevance.

Now, of course, Greece´s foreign partners do share some blame. They should have, actually, proposed the way out of euro, and offered to provide means to soften the blow. But, then, again, German negotiators are not supposed to be representing the interests of Greek voters - Greece elects its own government for thos purposes. Unfortunately, it now elected a bunch of idiots, it seems. But, given the last few years, it is easy to see how one can think that even idiots would do better.
4  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Feb 7th Delhi Assembly elections on: January 30, 2015, 05:44:27 pm
Yeah, that seems to be panic mode for Modi. Turning this into a referendum on the BJP government so early in its term... Why?

I think it is more about putting some distance between Modi and this election.  Now that the AAP seem to have some momentum, Amit Shah is coming in to take direct charge of the election and bringing in all these MPs and CMs to campaign.  So if anything what the BJP is trying to do is to make it NOT a referendum on the Modi regime now that victory is not assured.  If the BJP does not do well I am not sure this will work but we will see.


BJP is Modi today. All those MPs and CMs are clear surrogates. It would do damage to lose here, once all stops have been pulled. And all stops have been pulled. Of course, they might still win - but even then, if AAP comes close, it will have a huge platform. They could argue that they are the proper urban secular alternative to BJP, and, if they play it well, this would be a remarkable recovery after the Lok Sabha disaster.
5  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Israel General Election Thread: March 17 2015 on: January 30, 2015, 05:38:14 pm
Is there any tactical voting in Israel i.e. Likud voters voting for Yishai so that they can pass the threshold?!

This is a sort of a question, that can only be speculated on. Israel used to have one of the lowest electoral thresholds anywhere - until some 20 years ago it was 1%. Obviously, with the threshold so low, nobody cared about tactical voting. They raised it gradually, first to 1.5%, then to 2%. Suddenly, this time it jumps to 3.25%. How this will work out, nobody knows. So far, there is obvious tactical coalition formation (at least, on the Arab side). The rest... New electoral systems take time to get adjusted to.
6  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Ukraine:more than 750 Ukrainian soldiers killed. Poroshenko invites NATO officia on: January 30, 2015, 11:53:00 am
http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2015/01/what-did-he-actually-say-a-puzzle-from-berlin.html

Ukraine PM Yatsenyuk said in an interview in Germany that

"We can remember very well the Soviet invasion of Ukraine and Germany.
We have to make sure that this doesn`t happen again. No one has the right to redraw the post war map of Europe."

There is also a separate battle of who liberated Auschwitz.  Yatsenyuk making the comical, in my view,  claim that it was the Ukrainians since it was the USSR 60th Amry of the 1st Ukrainian Front that did this without regard for that fact it was a 1st Ukrainian Front was merely a designation based on geography when the front was formed.   

Both are old news, and not quite true. The translation of Yatsenyuk's words, in the first place, is not very precise, and, in the second place, the original source is not Yatsenyuk at all, but the Polish Foreign Minister. Naturally, that last is pure trolling - though, not without truth in it: Ukrainians formed a big chunk of all Soviet armies (irrespective of the name of the unit), and modern Ukraine has as much of a claim to being a Soviet successor, in this  particular case, as Russia.

Still, of course both the Polish FM and whoever repeats his words, are trolling - and they know they are. It is just a reminder to Russians that they cannot - and should not - separate their claim to being Europe´s liberators from that of Ukrainians. In other words, it is a response to Russian trolling about Ukrainians being "fascist". Unlike the Russian trolling, this one is, actually, not without a certain class.
7  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Greece General Discussion on: January 30, 2015, 11:45:11 am
Maybe they really are drinking the Kool Aid.

Most likely, they are. Well, you know what happens to those who do.

If I were Erdogan, I would start planning for taking over Western Thrace.
8  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Professor fired for criticizing Israel files suit against University of Illinois on: January 30, 2015, 09:45:18 am
The professor in question here did not have a tenured position. He had been offered one by the American Indian Studies Program at UIUC, but his offer letter clearly indicated that his position would be subject to confirmation by the Board of Trustees. That's the typical form of one of these offers.

The professor's behavior during the time between the offer and the meeting of the BoT was relevant to the BoT decision. They are not supposed to be a rubber stamp for the academic departments. The BoT felt that confirmation was not in the best interests of the university. As it was the BoT has now voted twice to not confirm the offer to the professor. A copy of the BoT press release is here.

Well, if they ever are to get another senior hire, they would need to have board approvals in March - at the latest. At this point the university severely damaged its reputation by rescinding an offer at that late stage. It is still, probably,a legal issue to which extent such an unusual behavior is a breach of the implicit contract - there will be many people (department chair, a dean or two, the provost, etc.)  who will have to testify that they assured the guy, board approval was an empty formality. Elizabeth II has the right to veto bills, but if she did, there would be a major constitutional crisis.

Btw, they now claim to have voted against him AFTER he was supposed to have started teaching. They also claim that his statements about Israel are directly related to what he was supposed to teach in the Indian Studies department. This all looks like extremely bad faith to me. If a faculty member is supposed to start teaching before the vote - so, without a contract - as they imply, and if anything he says may be construed as relevant to his job, there is no tenure at UI.
9  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Texas shows its ever-true colors on Muslim Capitol Day on: January 29, 2015, 10:47:15 pm
I'm confused. Did she want them to pledge allegiance to the United States or to Israel?

To Jesus Smiley
10  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Professor fired for criticizing Israel files suit against University of Illinois on: January 29, 2015, 10:46:35 pm

I refer to the tweet I referenced above where he put "anti-semitism" and "honorable" in the same sentence.


Arguably, he was being deliberately provocative in that statement. There is no suggestion that this was anything but a fairly common rhetorical device. I could understand a computer taking this for an approval of anti-semitism, but an actual human being would have to think first before taking that point of view.

In any case, if tenure was created for some purpose, this was the purpose - to protect unpopular and provocative speach. A university that feels firing is justified in this case should simply abolish tenure.
11  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Professor fired for criticizing Israel files suit against University of Illinois on: January 29, 2015, 10:41:28 pm


I'm not familiar with all the legal complexities when it comes to the case, but assuming they didn't enter a final contract together, I don't see how he "fired" in the legal sense. Of course he was essentially fired, but not in the legal definition, and thus not in a way that the courts could recognize as a firing.

It is almost certain that by that point he had signed some sort of a contract at that point - nobody resigns their tenure just like that without a written contract. Yes, sure, there must have been a footnote somewhere saying that this is conditional on approval by the board. Individual faculty members are NEVER vetoed at that stage - this is something completely unheard of. A provost might veto, true - but he was 6 months past that stage, probably. He had accepted a tenured offer. Few things are supposed to be more binding in the university world. This is a tough contract to break. If they get away with it, they will have a big problem hiring in the future.
12  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Texas shows its ever-true colors on Muslim Capitol Day on: January 29, 2015, 10:14:47 pm
Quote
"I did leave an Israeli flag on the reception desk in my office with instructions to staff to ask representatives from the Muslim community to renounce Islamic terrorist groups and publicly announce allegiance to America and our laws," she posted on Facebook.

This makes zero sense whatsoever. Either she assumed all Muslims are raging, foaming-at-the-mouth anti-Semites who would melt at the sight of a Magen David or she's just one of those AIPAC-ers who thinks Israel is the 51st and most important state in the US.

Most likely one of those evangelical Israel-fetishists who are looking for any opportunity to rile up "holy conflict" between Jews and Muslims. It pisses me off to no end. Most of them are no friends of us.

So, may be they are to blame for anti-semitism?
13  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Texas shows its ever-true colors on Muslim Capitol Day on: January 29, 2015, 10:03:34 pm
Quote
"I did leave an Israeli flag on the reception desk in my office with instructions to staff to ask representatives from the Muslim community to renounce Islamic terrorist groups and publicly announce allegiance to America and our laws," she posted on Facebook.

This makes zero sense whatsoever. Either she assumed all Muslims are raging, foaming-at-the-mouth anti-Semites who would melt at the sight of a Magen David or she's just one of those AIPAC-ers who thinks Israel is the 51st and most important state in the US.

Also, note how SHE used ISRAEL as the red cloth. There are so many things Jewish she could have put out. For that matter, the same star you can find on many objects that are not an Israeli flag - she did not think of anything else. That, actually, is a good reference for that thread about the fired professor on this board Smiley
14  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Texas shows its ever-true colors on Muslim Capitol Day on: January 29, 2015, 09:58:32 pm
Quote
"I did leave an Israeli flag on the reception desk in my office with instructions to staff to ask representatives from the Muslim community to renounce Islamic terrorist groups and publicly announce allegiance to America and our laws," she posted on Facebook.

This makes zero sense whatsoever. Either she assumed all Muslims are raging, foaming-at-the-mouth anti-Semites who would melt at the sight of a Magen David...

Well, isn´t that the predominant opinion in many places?
15  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Professor fired for criticizing Israel files suit against University of Illinois on: January 29, 2015, 09:29:54 pm

And he more than once said that Israel is the cause of anti-semitism (and even described it as "noble" because Israel), which puts him about four thousand years off the mark as to the origin.

Well, as somebody who has experienced anti-semitism first hand - as a victim - and from very early age (growing up Jewish in USSR does that to you), I think I am qualified to respond to this.

Anti-semitism is, of course, not caused by Israel. For centuries - millenia - Jews were the only notable minority in much of Europe (and not only Europe - though, one should note, nowhere were Jews treated as badly as in Christian Europe). When others went to church on Sunday, Jews did not. Jews spoke their own languages, dressed strange, prayed to god in their own way, etc.,etc.  And, as such, they - my ancestors - were the focal point of popular xenophobia. Strangeness somehow attracts hatred. Strangeness is a convenient scapegoat. Uniting against strangeness is a firm ground to build a national identity on. Hence, the massacres and the ghettos of the middle ages. Hence the pogroms and the death camps of the newer - romantic nationalist - age.

That kind of antisemitism still exists today - but it has gotten to be fairly marginal. Jews are no longer strange. It is the "Judeo-Christian" age. My fellow tribesmen (as my grandfather would put it) are now mainstream. In the age where the main difference between us and the rest is that we do not go to the sinagogue on Saturdays while the rest do not go to church on Sundays it is harder to feel hatred than it was when people, actually, went somewhere to pray during the Sabbath. And the Holocaust did, finally, make that anti-semitism a thing to be ashamed of, at least in the civilized word - an inconceivably large price to pay, admittedly, but it has been paid. True, there are countries - such as Russia - where the lessons of the Holocaust have never been properly learned (distorted, really, by the  regime that never viewed mass murder as something shameful) , where the traditional anti-semitims is still alive  - but even there it is losing its virulence (for lack of identifiable Jews, mostly, but that is another matter).

In any case, the traditional European anti-semitism - the type that gave me the bloody nose in my young years - is on its way out. When people in the civilized world have encounters with anti-semitism today it is, more often than not, a very different phenomenon. When a Palestinian teenager says that he "hates Jews" he does not express xenopohbic hatred for a stranger. His feelings, in fact, are much closer to those of a Jewish kid a hundred plus years back who, having had enough, joined - or, at least, sympathized with - a revolutionary organization. In fact, he IS the Jewish kid of modern Israel. For my fellow-tribesmen have managed to take on the role their ancestors rebelled against in the old Empire: that of the majority oppressor.

Now, do not get me wrong. I am not an admirer of the old revolutionary hatred, nor do I think that today's Palestinian "hater of Jews" is anything but an idiot. What I am saying is that this "anti-semitism" is a very different phenomenon from that of old. And, well, yes, this new anti-semitism has its own causes: for instance the fact that my fellow-tribesmen decided that what they always hated was not that the ispravniks cut the beards, but that they were not the ispravniks.

The nearest parallel to that old anti-semitism today is the anti-migrant - or, for that matter, the anti-Muslim feeling too many people in the "civilized world" do not feel a need to be ashamed of. That is the old hatred of the stranger, the one who goes for his own prayer at his on time.
16  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Feb 7th Delhi Assembly elections on: January 29, 2015, 08:26:40 pm
In fact, 120 BJP MPs and all BJP CMs will be campaigning in Delhi to ensure a victory for BJP.  By over-investing resources like this Modi will now almost have to win and by a significant margin.  If they do not then the Modi-Amit Shah aura of invincibility will be broken.  To some extent now by taking Kejriwal so seriously, the dynamics of the campaign has changed to Kejriwal's benefit where a low key campaign would have had the BJP base turnout should have given it a solid chance of winning.  BJP has to win now even as their changes of winning is going down.

Yeah, that seems to be panic mode for Modi. Turning this into a referendum on the BJP government so early in its term... Why?
17  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Professor fired for criticizing Israel files suit against University of Illinois on: January 29, 2015, 07:52:57 pm
Also, he wasn't actually fired. Given that fact, I'm not sure he actually has a case. Too bad such a big fuss needs to made over so irrelevant a figure.
There's a dispute over whether he was actually fired.  The university is claiming he hadn't been, since the paperwork wasn't final and it would make their case stronger if he hadn't been.

That is the University's only claim that seems to be, at least somewhat, valid. Then, again, though it might be legally true and take care of this particular case, that something like this can ever happen at a university would make pretty much any academic upset.

Universities function, to a large extent, on trust. A formal offer, once it is given, is, generally, viewed as binding on the offerer. Once it is accepted, it is viewed as binding for the faculty member as well - even though it cannot be binding legally (there are no slavery contracts in this day and age). Academic markets work slowly - being notified in August that you are not employed means you pretty much will be unemployed (or, at best, a temporary visitor somewhere) for the next 13 months. If a university may rescind an offer on this short notice, it cannot, really, give any offers which anybody would trust. This will create hiring problems, unless they can convince everybody and their grandmother that this is an exceptional case, that can never happen again. And it would be a tough convincing.

This is aggravated by the fact that the guy had been tenured, was offered a tenured position, resigned his tenure at the other school to take it - and then this happened. I could, possibly, understand the university if in the meantime he had been convicted of a serious crime - though, frankly, even in that case I would prefer if the university followed procedures it uses in such cases for existing tenured faculty. Simply reneging on a tenured offer at that stage - for whatever reason that is not materially related to his job (he has not been caught plagiarizing, or faking his credentials, for instance) - is a very serious breach of trust.
18  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Professor fired for criticizing Israel files suit against University of Illinois on: January 29, 2015, 07:37:01 pm
The guy advocated mass murder and put the blame for anti-semitism on the victims. He can go to hell, and the hypocrisy of the far left has never been clearer when it comes to "speech has consequences".

Did he? Neither, surely, follows from those tweets cited above.
19  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Israel General Election Thread: March 17 2015 on: January 29, 2015, 04:33:13 pm
He did this last time, ended up returning to Raam-Taal.

It seems that Bibi gave slot 11 to Benny Begin. A lot of people turned him down.

It's not the same, last time he threatened to split but ended up being in the fifth spot (they got 4). This time the lists have already been submitted, and The Joint list has given one in without him, and he has given in his own list. At most he could theoretically drop out, but he can't be put on the Joint List in any case, so he will probably continue his run.

Well, the question is, if he has a reliable personal vote or not. There will be a strong communal pressure to ignore him otherwise.
20  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Israel General Election Thread: March 17 2015 on: January 29, 2015, 04:32:12 pm
Bad news for the joint list (Arab). Taleb Al Sana, a former MK for RAAM, will lead his own list that will compete with them for Arab votes. He won't pass the threshold but all the votes he gets will be instead of the joint list.

Does he have any independent support? Who would be voting for him?
21  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Greece General Discussion on: January 29, 2015, 12:44:02 pm
Amateur Hour Keeps Traders Guessing. Bank stocks in Athens lost about $11 billion of their value after ministers in the newly formed government made some populist proclamations, namely, pledging to increase the nation’s minimum wage and halt privatizations.  Deputy Prime Minister Yiannis Dragassakis told people to essentially ignore those comments today, saying they were the product of inexperienced officials speaking out of turn. Greece is, he said, “interested in attracting investors.”

Russian investors, I presume.
22  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Israel General Election Thread: March 17 2015 on: January 29, 2015, 12:31:24 pm
Aren't Arab-Israelis actually something like 20% of the population of Israel? I realize that some of them vote for "Zionist parties" such as Meretz or Labour etc... but I think the vast majority of those who do vote vote for Arab parties meaning that if Arab-Israelis actually voted at the same rate as Jewish-Israelis - the Arab Alliance party would likely be getting something like 20 seats - which would have HUGE implications for government formation in Israel.

Any thoughts?

Well, yes, Arabs do not vote at the same rates as the Jews. Also, many Arabs do vote for Zionist parties. Also, "Arabs" here includes the Druze and the like, who vote for all sorts of parties. On the other hand, a few Jews vote for Hadash - though, at this point, far too few.

It would be interesting to see if the Arab turnout goes up - and if the pollsters would be able to take account of it beforehand.

And, yes, 20 MKs on the Arab slate would make government formation in Israel interesting.
23  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Israel General Election Thread: March 17 2015 on: January 29, 2015, 11:44:19 am

Channel 10 poll had Liberman on 4 yesterday, Karma will be a darling if she makes Liberman stay out because of the threshold he raised

It would be fun. Especially if he comes in at something like 3.2%, with some of his wasted vote electing an extra Arab Smiley
24  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Greece General Discussion on: January 29, 2015, 11:25:54 am
Tsipras appointed as his External Affairs Minister a well-known Putin admirer with ties to the infamous Aleksandr Dugin.
Splendid.

Well, this is going to be entertaining Smiley
25  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Greece General Discussion on: January 29, 2015, 11:23:38 am
That is pretty damn clever.  So far Tsipras has played his hand very well.

It is clever, but dangerous. Because they could call the bluff and tell him to go get his refinancing in Moscow. Hitching himself to a sinking ship is dangerous. Also, that brings into the conversation not merely the eurozone, but EU itself - the others might decide that European collective decision-making would be better without any Greece involved. And leaving both euro and EU would lead to a real humanitarian disaster in Greece.
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