A place to relax and socialize - to muse, think aloud and suggest

Re: Letters to the Government: I don't want to fund TV faker

Postby hoi.polloi on June 17th, 2016, 9:04 pm

Since this topic risks getting derailed by a different understanding of what money is, I'm moving it to bank discussions once we can settle on some kind of agreement here in the DERAILING ROOM.

To continue the discussion here, I want to remind you that using terms that imply money is inherent to biology is a rather weird way of introducing the concept that we can discuss what money is.

I wasn't aware money grows from anything. It's a human invention used to shorten value systems into transactions, no?

Engraving false understanding of what money is and how it works in our minds is one of the major dumbing down tactics performed on us by TPTB.

Engraving "false" understandings of what money is would be pretty much any description of what money is besides a common understanding about it. Beware of psy-opping yourself.

Money is fiction. It is a collective agreement based on actions and verbal, oral and tacit agreements, no? You're saying it's endogenous to humans. Really? That's the word you want to use? I think then you might want to break down what exactly you're talking about. Last time I checked, my cells were not engraved with anything like "Federal Reserve Note".

So when you say "money", you must be referring to one of three things we talked about in the money issue of The Clues Chronicle:

1. An agreed value from a value system
2. The abstraction of such in any form — be it symbol or index
3. The material of that symbol or index, like a coin or bill

I would say none of those are actually "endogenous" to humans, unless you are talking about the first realm: tendencies of people to create value systems.

Telling me a parasitic bank is inseparable from biology is playing loosy-goosy with your definitions. No need to argue about that, we actually want to distinguish between concepts here.
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Postby ICfreely on June 19th, 2016, 7:03 pm

ADMIN NOTICE (simon) : You're sounding more and more like that clown "ozzybinoswald", IC.

Et tu, Shackus? Ninja please!
Not good.

Not good at all. We needn’t lower ourselves to the level of deeply confused trickster ‘gods’ of destiny.

Cluesforum readers get a one-month respite from having to read your increasingly vapid tripe of late. Happy vacation.

It’s funny you say that. Of late I’ve caught myself saying, “GIVE ME A FA-KING BREAK!” in response to many of your & Hoi’s posts. And you finally did! :lol:

It’s like you read my mind. That’s so kind, thoughtful and considerate of you guys. :P

So thank you, sirs, I’ll have me another (I need it!). It’s the very least I could do.

The summer is short…

Tabestoon Kootahe – Zedbazi

full link:

Torch of Freedumb: check
Obligatory Tramp Stamp: check
Dysnification Status: Rebel Without a Clue

Where’s Walty?

Creep alert! (Stalker smile behind moped visor)

Did you spot the girl without a nose job & 10 layers of makeup?

Me neither. ^_^

BTW, Zedbazi is Iran’s answer to NWA (comin’ straight outta London). This is what the mainstream media in the west is promoting as Iran’s first ‘generation normal.’ <_<

As the kids in Iran are trying to prove their ‘westernization’ the kids of the Iranian Diaspora are trying to hold on to their eastern heritage (kind of). :)

Persian dance by Iranian students of University of Ottawa and Carleton University.

full link:

Ugh, what’s the point? No one understands unsere kampf!



Let me put it this way; if there’s a restaurant that provides shitty food/service, people may initially complain but eventually they'll stop patronizing it – forcing its inevitable closure. But seeing as there’s a line of people (around the block) waiting to get in, it’s worth pointing out to them that the health inspector is ‘asleep at the wheel’ I suppose. If that makes me a ‘cynic’ in your eyes – If that is the charge (that I have "cyn’d"), I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.
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Postby hoi.polloi on June 19th, 2016, 9:41 pm

ICfreely wrote:Hoi,

Let me put it this way; if there’s a restaurant that provides shitty food/service, people may initially complain but eventually they'll stop patronizing it – forcing its inevitable closure. But seeing as there’s a line of people (around the block) waiting to get in, it’s worth pointing out to them that the health inspector is ‘asleep at the wheel’ I suppose. If that makes me a ‘cynic’ in your eyes – If that is the charge (that I have "cyn’d"), I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.

I have no idea what you're on about, because I think you have gotten to the point where you are conversing largely (and lengthily) with yourself. What is the bad establishment you are saying people are frequenting? Any establishment at all? Or one in particular? The State? Then we may have a place to begin a discussion.

I don't blame you for not being clear. It's the fate of many artists and creative minds to succumb to grandiosity.

I don't think your ideas are "out of order" or wrong-headed. It's just that it seems you've lost the ability to communicate with other people in a clear, concise way lately.

That could very much tie into a "cynicism" but I think it's more like the problem is just what it appears to be: you are talking to yourself and you don't really care if people understand you or connect to what you're saying. "Nobody understands me!" is an amusing plea in King Missile songs ...

full link:

... but not necessary on sites like ours where we are already aware of how shallowly this information can sink in for people.

That lack of care is more the pity, because you have organized some really great ideas that could benefit others, and it would only be a matter of tuning a little bit of your ridicule of people into a bit more explanation of your ideas.

I mean this kindly — you should start a blog or web site of your own! You have a brilliant and fun creative flow. I was thinking lately of doing something a little different, soon, too. Something like a pure news parody site. Appeal through humor.

But here on this site, before we "flame" something we must examine it and explain what we've examined, and do so patiently.

Demonstrate and make connections.

People say, "Oh, it's just a web site. The Internet says lots of things."

But this information is not just a web site; it is only how we've organized things that anyone can have a conversation about.

The sad truth is CluesForum is a less extreme example of the very same issue. If our emotion can be a regretful angst instead of a gleeful antipathy, the result is the same: we are too obscure for most to read or understand. Let's not make it worse!

But if we — forgive me if I consider you a fellow human being — are going to collectively maintain this platform for people to discuss high minded ideas (and ideals), and keep it free of the garbage SacredCowSlayer is warning us about, then we do have to try to collectively muster our will to communicate with others in a clear and concise manner, sacrificing a little of one art for a skill in the other.

That is, we should be exercising the art of communication over the art of flag planting and flag burning, on this forum. This is why I strongly feel it is of particular interest to the forum to neither endorse nor promote a belief system, and to always appeal to the most people. We all have different belief systems, anyway.

As for earlier posts of yours dismissing the idea of asking the government to do something, would you be surprised that people burn out after a single good accomplishment achieved through "government"? We have found time and again that there are people with clear and interesting ideas, put in very plain writings and indexes, who are following religions peacefully. Such it is with the followers of the crypto-Masonic religion of the State.

If we were writing the Pope and Rabbi heads of Zionism, it may mean the same thing. Nothing ... or ... maybe something. It really depends who is reading.

If you've given up on humanity, definitely don't post here just to point and laugh at people. We are here to help people reconnect to their natural senses. To pick up on the things we've noticed. It takes many different forms. And a great deal of patience.

I hope I have reached out to you and spoken to you for real, but if not, I understand. Please really do enjoy the "vacation". If you like enjoying things.
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Postby simonshack on June 20th, 2016, 12:05 am

ICfreely wrote:Not good at all. We needn’t lower ourselves to the level of deeply confused trickster ‘gods’ of destiny.

What does that even mean? :huh:
Could you explain this to us, mere mortals? Please.
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Same man in Istanbul, Orlando, EgyptAir

Postby corsarino on July 7th, 2016, 7:55 am

This unlucky man was killed in Istanbul airport, in Orlando gay bar and in the EgyptAir air crash ... .e9f50apon
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Re: Same man in Istanbul, Orlando, EgyptAir

Postby nonhocapito on July 7th, 2016, 9:13 am

Whatever is the reason for this, this stuff has already been "debunked" by MSM as "twitter accounts trying to get attention". So, why should we discuss it? Let's not help them. <_<
(Or rather, perhaps I would help if I knew that this was someone fed up with fakery who is "trolling" the media. Instead, this is probably nothing more than the MSM polluting the discourse on media fakery, so we might as well not take the bait.)

[Also: this is not an Italian forum! so, please, if you link to an Italian page also provide an exhaustive description or translation of some of the content, or links to international pages, such as this.]
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Postby ICfreely on July 26th, 2016, 4:47 am

aa5 » July 25th, 2016, 4:40 pm wrote:I hadn't heard of that book, it sounds very interesting. Perhaps they need the comparison to appreciate what the present is. While also needing the past to be virtuous, so that their state was always the good guys?

Well, nobody likes to think of themselves as the bad guy. I think it’s safe to say that people have a tendency for romanticizing the past. Be that as it may, those virtuous tales can and do serve a purpose. They give people noble ideals to live up to. I don’t see anything wrong with that.

For example, five guys could claim that their wife/girlfriend is the most beautiful woman in the world. If you put them all in a room would you expect a brawl to break out (with every guy trying to prove his wife is the prettiest)?

Of course not! Each guy would know exactly where the other guys were coming from. In fact, their mutual understanding/shared values would make it more likely for them to get along.

I’m pretty sure most readers (Hoi for example) probably think I’m an ethnocentric elitist who’s blinded by Golden Age tales of my people. But it’s really not like that. The media has so unjustly vilified Iranians for so long that I (and others like me) feel compelled to set the record straight. Noblesse oblige!

I will not hesitate to stick up for a fellow Iranian in distress.

And this dress… And this dress… ;)

Persian Wedding Baba Karam Dance

full link:

Seriously, do these people look like they need lessons in civility?

The dance of Baba Karam is a tribute to Jahels (literally means the ignorants) who were a specific cult of usually undereducated urban youth or middle aged men with their own way of dressing (black suits, white shirts, black hat and some type of a scarf as you see in the video), their own style of speaking Farsi and and their own code of behavior. Generally they did not have legitimate jobs therefore were intoxicated often and were known to get into knife fights. They also supported a specific but unspoken code of honor amongst themselves.

Baba Karam may have been a renowned Jaheh or purely a fictitious character to exemplify the characteristics of this group. Jahels are also referred to as Kolah Makhmalis (the velvet hatters).

There is a certain affection for the imagery of the Jahels in Iranian hearts.

You see, Hoi, if baba karam is haram (a sin), then this lefty doesn’t want to sit at the right hand of Allah! :)
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Re: Why a topic about a conspiracy dominated by Jews

Postby ICfreely on July 26th, 2016, 3:23 pm

A while back I mentioned that there’s a bond between Iranian expat Jews & Gentiles. I forgot to mention that there’s a cultural divide between Iranian Jews and Western Jews. I’ll let Gina take it from here.

How Iranian Jews Shaped Modern Los Angeles

Gina Nahai

November 4, 2014

In no time at all, we went from being unknown to notorious. When I moved to Los Angeles in August 1977, perfectly intelligent, well-meaning Americans would ask me if we had roads and automobiles in Tehran, or if I had taken a camel to elementary school every day. [ :lol: ] The ones who did know Iran wanted to talk only about the ruins in Persepolis or Queen Farah’s jewels. Most people just couldn’t tell Iran from Iraq, Arab from Iranian, Shiite from Sunni. And they certainly couldn’t fathom such a thing as an Iranian Jew.

Oh, what a difference a year can make. By the summer of 1978, the high-rise condominium buildings in Westwood were filled to capacity with Iranians, and the kosher businesses in Pico-Robertson were tending to ever-increasing numbers of new customers. You would think this was a good thing.

Say what you will (and believe me, people do) about the way Iranian Jews have changed the social and economic landscape of Los Angeles; the place is a hell of a lot more interesting because of it. I know because I was here for the “before” pictures. My parents had a house in Trousdale since 1976; they had family in Pasadena and Beverly Hills. That’s how I learned about cream cheese, broccoli and “All in the Family” — we spent summers here, watched a lot of TV, and ate McDonalds a few times a week.

Before the Iranians came, Beverly Hills was a sleepy little village populated by cranky Eastern European Jews and polyester-clad Episcopalians from the Midwest. Hollywood was an embarrassing slum. Santa Monica was a communist enclave, downtown one large skid row. The food was rich, heavy and unsophisticated, fancy department stores catered to 80-year-olds, and you couldn’t breathe the air without risking lung cancer on any day of the week.

[You tell ‘em, G! B) ]

We can’t take credit for cleaning up the air, but with everything else, the sudden rush of a largely educated, well-off, and worldly people was a spark that lit up the region with much needed verve and color. The Muslims, who far outnumbered other Iranian immigrants, scattered across the state, from San Diego to Irvine to Palo Alto, from JPL to Google. The Armenians rebuilt Glendale. But, as for the Jews…

[There’s a similar cultural divide between Iranian Armenians and Armenians from Armenia as well as Iranian Assyrians and Iraqi Assyrians.]

Not that the Ashkenazim see it this way, but Iranian Jews just about saved Jewish LA from the slow, quiet decline into which it had been pushed by increasing assimilation and growing indifference on the part of younger generations. In the early and mid-1970s in LA, the major synagogues on the West Side and in the Valley were beset by shrinking memberships, their day schools half full; Shabbat dinner was something you ate at Junior’s Deli on Pico or Nate ’n’ Al’s on Beverly Drive, and you had to be seriously observant to fast on Yom Kippur or eschew leavened bread on Passover. I exaggerate, of course, though not by much. And I generalize, but only to make a point.

Iranian Jews are the oldest population in the Diaspora. Neither Sephardic nor Ashkenazi, they’re correctly referred to as Mizrahi, or easterner. Iranian Jewish history dates back to 587 B.C.E, when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the First Temple and brought the Jews as slaves into the area that was then Babylon and that, in time, became the great Persian Empire. When, in 539 B.C.E, Cyrus the Great issued the first declaration of human rights, giving the Jews freedom to return to Palestine and rebuild the temple, about half took his offer. The rest scattered across the empire, to the lands we know today as Turkey, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan and many, many more.

Most of the Jews in Arab countries were forced out by their governments at some time between 1920 and 1970. By contrast, the lot of Iranian Jews improved greatly in that period. Protected from the mullahs by the Shah’s father and later the Shah himself, they were, for the first time in 1,400 years, allowed to live freely and to prosper alongside other Iranians. Their exodus occurred in 1978; their chosen places of exile were New York and Los Angeles. You would think this was a good thing.

It was. For most of us Iranian Jews. It saved us once and for all from an existence that had been precarious from the start and remained so, even during the best of times — the reign of Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi — because even then, we were dependent for our safety on the good graces of one man. The Iranian Jewish migration came at an exorbitant cost — emotional and otherwise — to the first generation, and though that’s not to be taken lightly, in the long run we are all better off for it.

For us it was a blessing in disguise. We would hear many Ashkenazim say:

There’s too many of them, they have too many relatives, their kids are spoiled, their wives too entitled, the men are too competitive in business, they’re all looking for a bargain and when they get one, they ask for even bigger discounts and concessions.

There’s too many of them and they’ve taken over Beverly Hills and Brentwood and Encino and Sherman Oaks and all the schools and synagogues, they turn up in the hundreds every time one of them dies and clog up the parking lot at the mortuary then they sit shiva for a week and receive hundreds more every day and clog up the street with their Bentleys and Maybachs.

There’s too many of them and they know they’re not liked so they pretend they’re anything but Iranian, they started out telling us they were Greek or Italian and some still do but the rest have moved on to claiming they’re Persian as if that’s different, but it’s like saying you served sausage for dinner instead of hotdog.

Note, please, that I said “many,” not “all” Ashkenazim feel this way. I know because they’ve told me, more than once, that this is how they feel. They usually start it with, “Don’t take this the wrong way but…”

So what if every other physician in LA happens to be Iranian, they say, when I try to point out some of our better qualities, and that many of them are world famous for their contributions to research and treatment in their field; most of them are useless to the larger Jewish community because they marry Iranian girls and boys. So what if these doctors’ kids ace the SAT’s and land in the top universities of this country without the benefit of parents who are big donors or legacies; they’re dark skinned, their mothers speak Persian to each other, they eat dinner late, and have too many parties. So what if Sunset Plaza was just a few dry and dilapidated blocks east of the Roxy and the Rainbow until some Iranians developed the area and filled it with sidewalk cafes and shops; the place is crawling with sleazy old American sugar daddies and their young, blonde, Christian Louboutin-wearing Russian protégés.

For the record, I do believe we eat dinner late, and that our parties are too noisy and would go on till 3 or 4 in the morning if the cops didn’t come. Then again, the same natives who complain about Iranians having too many relatives and throwing too many large parties count on these traits in all their fundraising efforts. They’re always “honoring” one Iranian Jew or other, regardless of the real qualifications of the “honorees” because, wouldn’t you know it? You’ll fill up half the ballroom with his or her cousins, and the other half with his or her party friends.

The fact is, few people like having their backyards suddenly occupied by throngs of strangers, and all the more so if these newcomers look and act like nothing the locals have seen before. In the case of LA’s Iranian Jews, the culture shock to the natives was greater because the newcomers were unlike any previous group of immigrants: They weren’t poor, uneducated, lost and ashamed. If anything, they were too assertive, too proud of their cultural heritage, too determined to remain distinct and separate from the rest.

There were other differences, too: American Jews showed up on time for an invitation; anything else was considered rude. Iranians expected the guests to start arriving at least one hour late; they deemed being on time an imposition at best, irksome and inconsiderate under any circumstances. Americans ate dinner at 6 or 7 p.m.; Iranians started at 9 p.m. on a weeknight and 11 p.m. or later on weekends. So American guests left Iranian dinner parties hungry, and Iranian guests showed up when everyone else was on their way out.

And there were more serious grumblings: that Iranian Jews are cunning, sneaky, materialistic, vain, rude, intolerant and unwilling to assimilate.

I will say right now that some of us are those things.

I’m painfully aware that I’m about to raise the ire of many an Iranian Jew by merely admitting the obvious — that we are not individually, or as a community, perfect in any way — but that’s only because they know what I’m saying is true. You become like this — reluctant to show the laundry — when you’ve lived in hostile territory for 1,400 years. The world judges us harshly enough, you think, without one of our own giving it reason to. Except of course in this case, “the world” whose judgment we fear is other Jews.

So Iranians don’t talk about themselves in public unless the news is good, and Americans shy away from going on record with their feelings about Iranians for fear of appearing intolerant. At the risk of offending both sides at once I will go ahead and say that some Iranian Jews are deeply flawed, but so are some Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews, and some Catholics and Protestants and Baptists and Unitarians.

What are the ultra-Orthodox, if not unwilling to assimilate? The bankers on Wall Street if not greedy and dishonest? All the East Coast “old money” if not vain, the West Coast “new money” if not materialistic?

You would think Jews know better than to condemn an entire community for the sins of one member. You would think Americans realize that, as with most things — good and bad — they do greed, dishonesty, and intolerance bigger, better, more spectacularly than anyone else.

“All the trouble in this town started,” an American Jewish woman said to me one night before a packed crowd, “when the Iranians came and started to build those big houses.”

The person who said this was hosting a literary event at which I was the speaker. We were at her house in Brentwood Park, one of those neighborhoods where zoning laws require that every lot be at least an acre in size. The house itself was easily 10,000 square feet. I asked her if it was built by an Iranian. It wasn’t. I asked if Brentwood Park was developed by Iranians. It wasn’t. I asked if it wouldn’t be fair to say that the natives like big houses as much as the newcomers.

:lol: :lol: :lol:

“But they’re buying everything up and down the street,” the lady said.

Not all native Angelenos are as provincial as this person, of course. Many are warm and welcoming and eager to find common ground with newcomers. There are a number of good and wise Ashkenazi and Sephardic rabbis in this town, as well as a number of fair and tolerant Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews, who have made it a mission to help the natives understand and accept the Iranians. I think their efforts have yielded results. Progress has been made; peace and reconciliation are within the realm of possibility. But it’s slow going — like the traffic in LA and, come to think of it, in Tehran.

The truth is, the Ashkenazim and Sephardim who dislike the Iranians do so not because of our differences, but because of our commonalities. We, Jews of all backgrounds, are not the easiest people in the world to live with. Many a Jewish comedian has made a living by pointing that out to us. We scramble and strive and aspire and resist. We’re resourceful and resilient. That’s the key to our survival and, often, our accomplishments. For whatever reason, the world has always held that against us and we, in turn, have held it against each other.

I don’t happen to care much for the entirety of the sentence, ”It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” of that very famous novel. It’s much longer and less elegant than these few words would have you believe, and the more it goes on, the less interesting it becomes. Dickens would have done well to stop at a good thing but he got paid by the word. Nevertheless I do appreciate the universal truth in the opening salvo — that good and bad, triumph and dejection, joy and heartbreak all exist within the same moment in every one of our lives. And I especially like the book’s title, “A Tale of Two Cities.” It reminds me of Jewish LA — the way I know it, and the way it must seem to the natives.
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Re: Why a topic about a conspiracy dominated by Jews

Postby Flabbergasted on July 26th, 2016, 6:43 pm

Very interesting essay.

ICfreely wrote:We scramble and strive and aspire and resist. We’re resourceful and resilient. That’s the key to our survival and, often, our accomplishments. For whatever reason, the world has always held that against us [...]

I must be stupid, stupid, stupid, because, try as I might, I fail to see the justification for the plurimillennial "Jewish problem" in those commendable qualities.
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Re: Why a topic about a conspiracy dominated by Jews

Postby ICfreely on July 26th, 2016, 7:40 pm

Growing up in LA, I had several Iranian Jewish (and Muslim) friends. One Iranian Jewish mom once asked me what my ethnicity was. I told her Assyrian/Armenian & she immediately froze up. I could sense the fear in her eyes. Later on I found out that me being part Assyrian scared her seeing as Assyrians allegedly massacred Jews way back when. Once she got to know me everything was fine. But I still remember how horrified she was. Regardless of whether or not the massacre happened the fear was real!

As for Gina, I've had to scramble and strive and aspire and resist - be resourceful and resilient. So I can relate to her.
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Re: Why a topic about a conspiracy dominated by Jews

Postby ICfreely on August 5th, 2016, 12:41 am

Chanukah in July 1979
Disc 108, Program 431

Event Date:
During the first summer of the Iranian Hostage Crisis, Chief Rabbi of Mexico Abraham Hershberg was selected by the United Nations to visit the Jewish hostages. Before leaving, the Rebbe gave him an important instruction: “Be sure to light the Chanukah menorah with them.”

1:11 – One of the organizations, I think it was in the U.S., put pressure on the UN to include a Rabbi, because three of the hostages were Jews.

2:08 – Now I want to share something very interesting; this has to go down in history… When the Iranians agreed to this delegation’s visit, it was summertime. Rabbi Hershberg came to the Rebbe, and told him he is about to travel to Iran, and asked for his blessing and guidance on what to do there, and how.

The Rebbe instructs him: “Kindle the Chanukah menorah for them-” It’s the middle of summer, what Chanukah menorah…?

Then some issue came up and they couldn’t go - …and thing were delayed until Kislev – December.

They arrived the 23rd, 24th of Kislev, a day before Chanukah.

And there we understood what the Rebbe meant when he told him, in the middle of summer, to kindle the menorah.

Was the Rebbe a ‘psychic,’ à la Dr. Georg Sieber?

Or was he full of $chitt?

Teheran, 1980

Afterwards, it became clear. Rabbi Hershberg's mission in Iran took longer than expected, during which time he developed a relationship with some Iranian officials. He knew that there were six Jews among the hostages in the American embassy and he asked permission to light the menorah with them. "Just as we have granted permission for a priest to meet with the Christian hostages on their holiday," the Iranians replied, "we will allow you entry as well."

And so it was in the barricaded American embassy in Iran that Rabbi Hershberg lit the Chanukah menorah that year.

From To Know and to Care by Rabbi Eliyahu and Malka Touger; published by Sichos In English

Were there three or six Jews among the 'hostages'?

Inquiring minds want to know!
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Re: Why a topic about a conspiracy dominated by Jews

Postby Flabbergasted on August 5th, 2016, 3:06 pm

ICfreely » August 4th, 2016, 8:41 pm wrote:
Were there three or six Jews among the 'hostages'?

Perhaps there were three Jews and three Crypto-Jews :rolleyes:

In any case, if true, it´s not a large proportion (5.8% or 11.5%, as the case may be) considering the usual 30-70% prevalence of Jews in US/international strategic positions.
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Re: Why a topic about a conspiracy dominated by Jews

Postby ICfreely on August 5th, 2016, 10:23 pm

Flabbergasted » August 5th, 2016, 6:06 am wrote:Perhaps there were three Jews and three Crypto-Jews :rolleyes:

Perhaps there were zero God fearing Jews, my good sir!
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Re: Why a topic about a conspiracy dominated by Jews

Postby ICfreely on August 14th, 2016, 9:27 pm

Here’s an Israeli’s take on the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

Before the Revolution Explores the Sheltered Fantasy Lives Led by Israelis in Iran

Dan Shadur talks about his new documentary about life under the Shah, and his parents’ golden years in Tehran

By Samuel Thrope

June 5, 2013 • 12:00 AM

The unexpected moment in Israeli director Dan Shadur’s new documentary, Before the Revolution, about the Israelis who lived and worked in Iran at the end of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi’s rule, comes just as the revolution succeeds. In archival 8mm footage, found and remastered by Shadur and producer Barak Heymann, triumphant demonstrators celebrate the Shah’s departure in January of 1978, [1979] the culmination of months of mass protests against his regime.

What’s surprising is not the images themselves, but the music that Shadur has provided for them: Rather than the threatening minor-key soundtrack that usually underscores Israeli depictions of the Islamic Revolution, a rumbling doom that signifies the birth of an existential threat, the music that plays as the smiling crowds celebrate is upbeat and free. As people shout “Khomeini, Khomeini, we wait for you!” in expectation of the ayatollah’s impending return from exile, the music is joyous, inviting the Israeli viewer to celebrate along with them.

“That was the catharsis of the film for us,” Shadur told me when I spoke to him after film premiered at Tel Aviv’s Docaviv festival last month. “The point when you identify with the demonstrators: What is melancholic and sad for us Israelis is—very short and tragically—a happy moment for them.”

Thirty-five years after the Islamic Revolution, today Israel and Iran seem natural enemies. But during the shah’s rule, Iran had deep, if never official, military, diplomatic, and economic ties with Israel. For the thousands of Israelis who lived and worked there in the 1960s and ’70s, Iran meant opportunity: Oil to be bought, weapons to be sold, and, through lucrative development projects, money to be made. Though some had contacts with the upper echelons of Iranian society, most Israelis were cut off from the growing opposition to the Shah among everyday Iranians, and, when the revolution came, they were caught by surprise: The shah’s government, Israel’s closest ally in the Middle East, suddenly vanished, almost without a trace.

Using archival film, much of which was recorded by Israelis themselves, and interviews with Israeli former diplomats and expatriates, Before the Revolution seems at first to rehearse the standard Israeli story about Iran—“We built them a country,” [Meshuga please! :lol: ] as one interviewee, Ofer Nimrodi, puts it—everything was great until the Islamic Revolution came.

However, in scenes like the one described, Shadur subtly undermines that narrative, and the viewer is left with more questions than answers. What really happened in Iran, outside the camera’s frame and the unreliable reminiscences of the Israeli protagonists? Was the Israeli alliance with the shah good? Was it justified? And what does Shadur, who has succeeded in making a political documentary both captivating and subtle, really think of it all?
Dan Shadur, 35, spent the first year of his life in Tehran. His parents were among the Israelis living and working in the city, and the film includes their snapshots, home movies, and excerpts from their letters. In the family mythology, Tehran is remembered as the setting for a golden age and not only because Shadur’s parents were young and in love. Soon after the family’s return to Israel, his father suddenly collapsed and died during a basketball game; his mother passed away from [allopathic?] cancer ['treatment'? :( ] some 15 years later. But Shadur goes far beyond a recounting of his own family tragedy. His search for his parent’s lives becomes an exploration of the cultural and political moment of which they were a part. “I kept their memory very personal,” he says. “In that way the film benefits and my family benefits. The film benefits because the family story doesn’t overpower it.”

The political story the film tells is of an Israeli community insulated from Iranian society and shocked when the shah’s regime begins to crumble, refusing to believe, until it was almost too late, that their time in Iran was over. The interviewees paint a picture of an easy life in the posh neighborhoods of North Tehran—of wealth, material comforts, and imported Western products that were unavailable in Israel.

This lifestyle was underwritten by Israel’s intimate diplomatic, trade, and security relationship with the shah’s regime. Iran was then Israel’s largest supplier of oil, and, in turn, Israel sold weapons, developed agriculture and built infrastructure, advised SAVAK, the dreaded secret police, and even helped launch Iran’s nuclear program—the same program that, in the hands of the Islamic Republic, so bedevils Israeli politicians today.

While interviewees describe being invited to sumptuous dinners with the royal family and hobnobbing with generals, none mention having middle-class friends, or even the existence of Iran’s then-growing middle class. As several interviewees admit, most did not understand the divisions and tensions in Iranian society, or recognize that masses of people were left behind in the shah’s top-down industrialization. While many were aware of the repression and fear inspired by the omnipresent secret police, none took it to be a matter that merited their concern.

“We lived on a different planet,” said Nili Yanir, a friend of Shadur’s parents and one of the film’s interviewees. “We didn’t really know, we weren’t involved in their internal politics. We were not really interested. We were very young.”

Some Israelis living in Tehran did break out of the bubble, studying Persian language and culture, and making connections with everyday Iranians. Before the Revolution also leaves out Iran’s sizable, and then influential, Jewish community, as well as the Iranian intellectuals who, from the early 1950s until sentiments turned after the Six Day War, admired Israeli socialism and even visited the young country. The most prominent of these was Jalal Al-e Ahmad, one of 20th-century Iran’s leading writers, who came to Israel in 1963. In the travelogue he wrote on his return, Al-e Ahmad expresses his admiration for the kibbutz and Israeli education and argues that the Jewish state should be the model for Iran’s own political development.

However, if these aspects of the Israeli-Iranian relationship are left out, it is because Shadur does not aim at comprehensiveness. Before the Revolution uses a particular history to explore the Israeli character: that mix of naiveté, hubris, good intentions, and isolationism exemplified by the decades-long support for the shah’s repressive regime and the refusal to accept the regime’s impending fall. “I did think about putting Iranians in the film,” Shadur recalled. “In the end, I felt that I shouldn’t. The film is about Israelis, their state of mind, their psychologies, and their fears.

[Therein lays the problem! Israelis in Iran didn’t live in a fa-king vacuum. They lived among Iranians. How could one put the Israelis state of mind, regarding the Iranian Revolution, in proper context when one ignores the state of mind of Iranians?]

One scene, among others, illustrates Shadur’s point. On Sept. 8, 1978, months into the protests that eventually toppled the regime, the Iranian army opened fire on a peaceful demonstration. Yossi and Sara Shtainman, friends of Shadur’s parents, recall that their maid was convinced by rumors circulating at the time that Israeli soldiers, not Iranian troops, had perpetrated the massacre. “I said to her, ‘Zohara, look at us, we are Israelis,’ ” Sara Shtainman remembers telling the maid. “ ‘You know us. You know how we behave. Do you think we could do something like that?’ ”

[The mossad, and radical zionists could do something like that, no?]

“In Germany, the average Jews were victims of the Zionist elite who worked hand in hand with the Nazis. Many of those same Zionist Jews who, in Germany, had worked with the Nazis, came to Israel and joined hands with the Zionist/Communist Jews from Poland and Russia. It is the two faces of communism and Nazi-style fascism that rule Israel. Democracy is merely an illusion.”Jack Bernstein

The Jews of Iraq - Naeim Giladi
Zionist propagandists still maintain that the [1941] bombs in Iraq were set off by anti-Jewish Iraqis who wanted Jews out of their country. The terrible truth is that the grenades that killed and maimed Iraqi Jews and damaged their property were thrown by Zionist Jews.

“For me this is a beautiful moment because it contains so much,” Shadur said. “It shows you the anti-Israeli propaganda: Israel does a lot of stuff, but they didn’t send helicopters to shoot people. [ :o ] It also shows you the naiveté. You did sell weapons, you did train SAVAK. When you do this you have to think of the consequences; don’t be so surprised that people hate you and that you’re isolated.”

For Shadur, the attitude characterized in this scene is also representative of Israelis’ perception of the world today. “Everything around us is still burning; it doesn’t matter that we’re not in Tehran anymore. If you go 10 kilometers from here,” he said, referring to the West Bank and Gaza, “there’s crazy stuff going on. We still live in this bubble.”

Before the Revolution has a critical agenda, but Shadur’s touch is light, never directly challenging interviewees’ statements, leaving room for a degree of confusion between the filmmaker’s perspective and that of its protagonists. Sheila Moussaey, who immigrated to Israel from Tehran in 1994 and now teaches at Haifa University and Ben Gurion University in Beersheva, was incensed that interviewees depict Iranian society as divided between rich and poor and leave out the country’s substantial middle class, as well as their failure to mention Iran’s native Jewish community. As Moussaey said, this centuries-old Jewish community, which supported the shah and was close to the royal court, “helped the Israelis to be awarded projects. They don’t talk about how the Jewish community served as a bridge that helped them make connections and corrected their errors in behavior, manners, and dress.” When told that Shadur himself saw the film as critical of this Israeli perspective, Moussaey responded: “That is what he thinks; I don’t see any criticism at all.”

[Neither do I!]

However, for Haggai Ram, author of Iranophobia and professor at Ben Gurion University, its subtlety is the film’s great achievement. As he saw it, Shadur’s directorial discretion allows a subtext of regret to come through in many of the interviews. Though at the time interviewees believed that they were working for Iranians’ benefit, Ram said, “now in retrospect they get the idea that perhaps there was something terribly wrong in Israel’s decades of working with the shah.”
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Re: Why a topic about a conspiracy dominated by Jews

Postby ICfreely on August 23rd, 2016, 7:34 am

I'm posting the following article because I think it may help explain Dan Shadur's biases and logical fallacies.

The politics of Jewish ethnocentrism
Yakov Hirsch on August 17, 2016

How can Bret Stephens, who is so sensitive to any slight he perceives against his own people, use the phrase “disease of the Arab mind” when writing about hundreds of millions of other people? That is what Stephens, the Pulitzer prize winning columnist for the Wall Street Journal, did in his recent article about the Egyptian Olympic athlete who refused to shake hands with with his Israeli opponent.

Lisa Goldman @lisang
"The disease of the Arab mind"? Total disgrace the @WSJ publishes horrifically racist language by @StephensWSJ ... 7866356736
7:11 AM - 16 Aug 2016

Similarly, how can David Horowitz, who like Bret Stephens, is so quick to assign prejudice when Jews and Israel are criticized, write something like this?

David Horowitz @horowitz39
There has never been a people as dishonest, immoral, bloodthirsty & unworthy of respect as the Palestinian Arabs. ... 2781295616
1:19 PM - 11 Aug 2016

How do we have a culture that allows these type of moral and ethical contradictions to go, without even a discussion about it?

I think a good place to start in solving this riddle is with a recent Judi Rudoren quote (that Adam Horowitz pointed out). The deputy international editor and former Jerusalem bureau chief for the New York Times said that Israelis are
“blunt and racist in a way that’s just different from America… It’s blunter there, but it is also more rooted in experience. It’s not based on some stereotype. It’s based on, ‘Every Israeli I know has acted in this way.’ Or, ‘My cousin was killed by a suicide bomber.’ It’s not based on kind of an idea, it’s based on experience.”

Let me unpack that. Rudoren said there is a lot of prejudice and racism in the world but unlike other people who are racist and prejudiced the world over, we Jews are justified in our prejudices. This sophisticated editor turns out to be so ethnocentric she can’t separate her subjective reality from reality itself. When she feels pain when Jews are killed after a Palestinian attack that pain she experiences makes her understanding of what happened totally “prejudiced”. But according to her it isn’t prejudice it’s reality. This in spite of every racist thinking exactly the the same way Rudoren does, that they have a REASON for their own racism, that their prejudice is warranted by the real world. (Just listen to David Duke some time.) But Rudoren believes that what goes on in her head, unlike the fantasies of the racists out there, is objective reality. And remember she is considered one of the “good guys,” a liberal from the liberal NY Times.

This is not just the view of one top Jewish editor at the New York Times. It is a powerful force in the world and an Orwellian force in U.S. culture. It allows the obscene double standards practiced by the two Jewish fanatics above.
It’s the same ethnocentrism Jeffrey Goldberg exhibited when Jews applauded Donald Trump at AIPAC. “Stop being surprised,” he ordered his twitter followers.

Jeffrey Goldberg
✔ @JeffreyGoldberg
Those of you who are surprised a pro-Israel audience likes a pro-Israel speech by Donald Trump should stop being surprised.
3:53 PM - 21 Mar 2016

Nothing to see here. Because Jews are always allowed, according to Goldberg. And don’t make Goldberg tell you why. All delirious Trump crowds must be looked at askance, except when Goldberg’s people do it. It’s how he experienced the world from when he was young.

Jews are always better! And so Jeffrey Goldberg fit every experience in his life to make himself feel comfortable as an ethnocentric Jew in the modern world. Actually more than comfortable. His whole career is an attempt to defeat “reality” with an ethnocentric Jewish reality.

And since, unsurprisingly, in Jeffrey Goldberg’s reality, he represents “moral clarity,” and since his own identity is what is ultimately at stake here, he becomes a Torquemada type figure in all his “debates.” He makes people who see the world as it actually is defend themselves to Goldberg, because Goldberg is such an insecure Jew.

The result is an Orwellian world where Goldberg is publicly assessing whether Andrew Sullivan is an anti-Semite.
Because when an Irish-Catholic raises his voice when speaking about Benjamin Netanyahu, it somehow makes Goldberg feel like it’s Kristallnacht all over again.

Goldberg and others have been telling themselves the same preposterous self-serving story for many years. And meanwhile tormenting people who see the world as it actually is. That’s how Jeffrey Goldberg deals with his cognitive dissonance. Why go to a shrink like everyone else does, when Jeffrey Goldberg can drive everyone else nuts instead.

Not only is it necessary for him to convert other people to the Goldberg ethnocentric view of the world, he does it by the sword. He will defame anyone who disturbs the childlike equilibrium he has in his brain. So utterly clueless about the world, yet not letting that ignorance restrain his pomposity one bit, he must bully/cajole/convince “reality” to fit into the view of his delicate Jewish psyche.

When the AIPAC Jews applauded Trump, Peter Beinart reacted in a justly angry way in Haaretz. He was inspired right from his headline: “Trump at AIPAC: A Jewish betrayal of the U.S.”

“Thank you, Donald Trump. Unwittingly, you’ve done something important. You’ve exposed AIPAC’s indifference to the well being of the country in which it thrives. My country. The United States.”

Peter Beinart is not living his life worrying about phantom neo-Nazis celebrating every bad bit of publicity Jews get, the way Jeffrey Goldberg is.

But then Jeffrey Goldberg doesn’t consider himself like every other journalist who merely reports the news. He is a historical figure who was put in this world to help the Jewish people. So he tries to censor reality with his tweets because it sure looks bad for the Good and Moral side, the Jewish side, Jeffrey’s side. And like all fanatics, personal ethics mean little to him.

Censoring reality is also what the late A.M. Rosenthal did when he famously censored Thomas Friedman’s report of “indiscriminate” Israeli bombing of Beirut in 1982. Rosenthal and Goldberg know the truth: Israel and the Jews are “good,” their enemies “evil”.

So if they to have to cover up certain nasty facts that give a mistaken impression about what “the overall context of the events” actually is, and what their moral clarity tells them, well, that ain’t a decision at all.

“The overall context of the event” may be familiar to you as the words of another leading voice of Jewish ethnocentrism. It was how Benjamin Netanyahu reacted to the video that came out of an Israeli army medic executing in cold blood a prone and wounded Palestinian in occupied Hebron in March, a man who had minutes earlier injured another Israeli soldier with a knife.

Netanyahu said this:

As the father of a soldier and as Prime Minister, I would like to reiterate: The IDF [Israel Defense Forces] backs its soldiers…. Our soldiers are not murderers. They act against murderers and I hope that a way will be found to balance between the action and the overall context of the event.

And he said this:

“Questioning the IDF’s morality is outrageous and unacceptable… IDF soldiers, our children, maintain a high moral standard when they deal with bloodthirsty murderers… IDF soldiers deal with bloodthirsty murderers under difficult operational circumstances.”

The question that immediately comes to mind is what possible “overall context of the event,” or mitigating circumstances argument, can possibly be made with a straight face to even to the most sympathetically inclined judge? This is what is called an open and shut case. Thanks to the video, we see the crime from beginning to end. We even have the bonus footage of the murdering medic shaking hands with his Hebron Sabbath host Baruch Marzel (who Larry Derfner tells us is “monster in chief… the leader of a movement that produces and glorifies Arab-killers.”)

But Netanyahu’s meaning was clear to those it was intended, his Israeli audience. The extenuating circumstances in the murder seen in the video are that our children including the murdering medic are good and their children are bloodthirsty murderers.

This is part of the elephant in the room, the 21st century “Jewish question” that so many people now have a hand on, but don’t know what they’re actually touching. The lack of personal ethics shown by these ethnocentric Jews, while lecturing and condemning far and wide, all under the banner of “moral clarity,” has caused perplexity and rage. Robert Wright expressed both after they smeared Chuck Hagel for having used the words “Jewish lobby.”

“These people are blinded by their passions, and the fact that their smears are wild and unfounded doesn’t mean they’re insincere.”

I say that this blindness is Orwellian because it is everywhere and uncontested. So Rep. Hank Johnson uses the word “termites” to describe the settlements, and to him it is just a word. It means nothing to anyone in the room in Philadelphia he is addressing, and the whole world understands “termites” exactly the way he used it.

But the next thing a bunch of ethnocentric Jews are explaining what a terrible thing he said.

This is also the untold story of the Iran deal a year ago: the head-on collision between actual reality and ethnocentric Jewish reality. Between every leading country in the world and honest journalists like Andrew Sullivan and James Fallows and an almost unanimous chorus of Israeli security experts on one side, representing reality– and Netanyahu and Goldberg and Jamie Kirchick and other ethnocentrics representing what is only in their head, on the other.

What a circus it was. Netanyahu was allowed to make the world crazy over the non-Iran threat to Israel. Why? Because the ethnocentric Jewish “perception of reality,” even if it is as far removed from reality as it often actually is, gets to sit at the table with reality. In fact at the head of the table.

And it is a fascinating story. To my mind the most humorous collision between the real world and the Jewish ethnocentric fantasy world was the breakup of Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and his “soul friend” Senator Cory Booker after Booker came out for the Iran deal. Booker lives in the real world. He got all the briefings. He knows that Iran, as ex-Mossad head Efraim Halevy put it, is “1000 years” away from threatening Israel’s existence.

But Booker had to contend with a totally deranged tribal fantasy. I love how Booker refused to meet the late Elie Wiesel and Ron Dermer. Few politicians would do that. He deserves respect for that.

This was what Booker was subject to non-stop from his former friend. On Facebook, Boteach wrote that it was “troubling and tragic” that his “soul friend” chose to support the deal despite the fact that he went to Israel at 25 and visited the holocaust museum in Jerusalem, “a trip that I arranged trusting that he would absorb the never-ending Jewish struggle for survival in a world inhabited by the kind of evil represented by the Iranian regime.”

How many public figures can even afford not to be indoctrinated in Jewish ethnocentrism? The exceptions are the brave ones. I believe Jewish ethnocentrism is a unique threat to American political life today. It has been ignored for way too long, and that is the story I am going to keep on telling.
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