Sunday: Hili dialogue

September 11, 2022 • 6:30 am

Good morning on Sunday, September 11, 2022.  Don’t forget to think about getting a flu shot!  It’s National Hot Cross Buns Day, evincing both cultural and religious appropriation.

It’s also Make Your Own Bed Day, National Emergency Responders Day, National Grandparents Day, National Pet Memorial Day, Women’s Baseball Day, Emergency Number Day (911), and the September 11-related holidays of National Day of Service and Remembrance and Patriot Day.

Stuff that happened on September 11 includes:

Here’s the battle as portrayed in the movie “Braveheart”, with Mel Gibson playing William Wallace. FREEEEEEEDOM!

This may not be precisely true. The Hope, a rare blue diamond may have been cut from a larger blue diamond, the “French Blue”, found in India and stolen in France in 1792. A similar but smaller diamond was recorded in England in 1812, so it’s not clear that the Hope Diamond, or its ancestor, was stolen in 1792. The diamond can now been seen in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.; it’s 45½ carats. Here’s a photo from 1974:

The diamond was sent from jeweler Harry Winston to the Smithsonian in 1958 via the regular U.S. mail, but insured for $1 million (it’s now worth over $250 million): here’s the package it came in. Why didn’t they get someone to carry it?

Here’s an excerpt from that speech; you can hear him blaming Roosevelt, the British, and the Jews (2:36):

Allende killed himself with an AK-47; the gun was probably a gift from Fidel Castro.

Here is video from that horrible day, including transmissions to and from the aircraft and from those trapped in the World Trade Center Towers. As with the assassination of JFK, those of us alive then will always remember where we were when we heard the news.

There is some footage in the video below of the “FOAB”. It’s not a nuclear weapon, but has the explosive force of 44 tons of TNT.

  • 2012 – The U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya is attacked, resulting in four deaths.

Da Nooz:

*Well cut off my legs and call me “Shorty”! All of a sudden the Ukrainians, mounting a vigorous offensive and recapturing 2000 km² of their own land that was held by Russia.

Russia’s front lines have collapsed in a crucial pocket of northeast Ukraine, ceding a wide area to a surprise Ukrainian offensive. Russian forces abandoned a critical logistics hub, the city of Izium, a loss that could lead to a turning point in the war.

While the exact extent of Ukrainian control remained fluid, the Russian Ministry of Defense confirmed the broad retreat from Izium and the town of Balakliya on Saturday, just a day after saying it was reinforcing the area. Russia’s statement framed the loss as a strategic retreat meant to reinforce its position in the eastern Donbas region.

The Ukrainian offensive has reshaped what was becoming a grinding war of attrition. One village after another has fallen, including the west side of the town of Kupianskaccording to George Barros, an analyst for the Institute for the Study of War, and images of Ukrainian troops.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to be dogged by manpower and logistical issues. Russian forces in the northeast left their flanks undefended, perhaps because of growing shortages of troops, exhausted conscripts and low morale.

The turquoise blue area has been recaptured by Ukraine; click to enlarge:

Pro-Russian bloggers, hawks on Putin’s side, are beginning to criticize the Russian army’s failure and weakness—a weakness I can hardly believe, but am delighted to observe .

The outrage from Russian hawks on Saturday showed that even as Mr. Putin had succeeded in eliminating just about all of the liberal and pro-democracy opposition in Russia’s domestic politics, he still faced the risk of discontent from the conservative end of the political spectrum. For the moment, there was little indication that these hawks would turn on Mr. Putin as a result of Ukraine’s seemingly successful counteroffensive; but analysts said that their increasing readiness to criticize the military leadership publicly pointed to simmering discontent within the Russian elite.

“Most of these people are in shock and did not think that this could happen,” Dmitri Kuznets, who analyzes the war for the Russian-language news outlet Meduza, said in a phone interview. “Most of them are, I think, genuinely angry.”

*Now get a load of this tweet:

 Okay, now what is the tweet about? First, Bedminster is the New Jersey site of the Trump National Golf Club, with a residence for Trump and another for his daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner. The caption of the video tweet above suggest that perhaps some of those documents Trump removed from the White House and put at Mar-a-Lago were then spirited away to Bedminster.

This was suggested by one of Trump’s former lawyers, as reported by Business Insider:

Michael Cohen, who was once former President Donald Trump’s lawyer, believes Trump likely has copies of the classified documents the FBI seized from Mar-a-Lago stashed in other locations.

Cohen was reacting on Twitter to an article from The Washington Post on the Department of Justice’s recent court filing, in which the DOJ suggested that Trump’s team may have concealed or moved top-secret files when officials were probing the matter.

“I believe Trump has copies, potentially other documents as well, at other locations including his children’s homes, Weisselberg’s florida home, Bedminster, NJ golf course, Fifth Avenue apartment, etc…” Cohen tweeted.

Cohen was referring to Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s former CFO, who in August admitted to orchestrating a payroll tax-dodge scheme at the organization.

. . . Cohen has also posited that Trump may attempt to find a scapegoat for any offenses uncovered by the Mar-a-Lago raid, such as his former lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. He also speculated that Trump likely kept the classified documents as a “bargaining chip,” so he could threaten the release of classified information to America’s adversaries as a “get-out-of-jail-free card.”

Are we going to see the FBI raiding more of his properties now? The show never ends, does it?

*I was hearted to see that British author and journalist Ed West, writing on his Substack site Wrong Side of History, agreed with my view that the NYT’s op-ed on Queen Elizabeth’s death, written by Maya Jasanoff, stunk to high heaven. I wasn’t that bothered by a hit job on someone so soon after their death (didn’t we all love Hitchens’s postmortem on Jerry Falwell?), but rather by the fact that the smear was gratuitous, laying in the Queen’s lap every bit of colonialist crime committed by Brits before her time. Oh yes, and she had the crime of being white, with her pallid visage pasted all over British currency and stamps. West’s piece, “The British Empire lives on. . . in the mind of the New York Times,” includes stuff like this:

Her Majesty’s death was announced around 6.30 GMT. Soon after 9pm the New York Times pops up on Twitter, in its usual sanctimonious, scolding told, telling us that ‘We should not romanticize her era,’ because, according to a Harvard professor ‘The queen helped obscure a bloody history of decolonization whose proportions and legacies have yet to be adequately acknowledged.’

Our Queen has died, a deeply-loved, politically-neutral figure who many saw as being like another grandmother. She was someone we all knew throughout our lives, who felt like a protective figure, associated with the political stability that our island has enjoyed for so long.

Yet for some inexplicable reason, the voice of America’s progressive establishment thought it appropriate to immediately publish this article, with the headline ‘Mourn the Queen, Not Her Empire’, something literally no one even considered or thought about. The British Empire may be long dead but it lives on, timeless and immortal, in the minds of New York Times editors.

. . . The running theme of NYT coverage is that Britain is some ultra-conservative backwater forever looking back at imperial greatness. One piece in 2017 claimed that ‘Brexit is rooted in imperial nostalgia and myths of British exceptionalism’ and that ‘global Britain’ was ‘simply a sanitized version of the dream of a British Empire in which every eastern and southern corner of the globe could be imagined as an Englishman’s rightful backyard, ready for him to stride into, whenever he so chose, to impose his will and make his fortune.’ In fact it was quite the opposite, as was quite clear even at the time if you listened to leading Tory Brexit campaigners.

I’m telling you, this is wokeness. The Queen’s body is barely cold before the paper unleashes a diatribe calling her out for being the figurehead of a country that did bad things in other countries. Never mind that the Queen didn’t do any of that stuff herself, nor publicly approved of it. The NYT just had to sneak in something about colonialism to buttress its progressive bona fides.

* In a long piece called “Jann Wenner wants to reveal it all,” Mo Dowd of the NYT interviews the founder of Rolling Stone magazine, who started it at 21 and is now 76.  A few tidbits, my favorite of which is the first:

Boomers may be a punchline now, but back then, they were groovy. Ralph Gleason, a founding editor of Rolling Stone, wrote that the magazine was predicated on the idea that great musicians were “the true shamans,” and that music was the glue that kept young people in the 1960s and 1970s from falling apart “in the face of incredible adult blindness, and ignorance and evilness.”

“I’m sorry to see it go,” Mr. Wenner said about rock ’n’ roll. “It’s not coming back. It’ll end up like jazz.”

There it is: rock is dead and it’s not a Lazarus artform. What happened to jazz? It was once fantastic, with a diversity of great songs, and now it’s moribund, atonal and boring. The great jazz, like the great rock, is the jazz of yore. But I fulminate. Here’s more:

Now 76, he has written a memoir (“Like a Rolling Stone,” out on Sept. 13) brimming with juicy anecdotes about friendships and feuds with the gods of the golden age of rock. He also dishes on the inimitable writers he nurtured at the magazine, like Mr. Thompson, the avatar of gonzo journalism, and Tom Wolfe, a bespoke wonder in white among the shaggy hippies. Mr. Wenner also provides an intimate — she may think too intimate — look at Annie Leibovitz, the photographer who started her career at Rolling Stone and who took the moody cover shot of Mr. Wenner for the new autobiography.

. . .Running Rolling Stone required special skills. Mr. Wenner had to mold the copy into something readable after drug-fueled interviews, like the one he did with Jimi Hendrix. And he had to edit the work of Mr. Thompson, who loved his cocaine and whose office supplies included Wild Turkey and beer on tap, and an air horn.

Mr. Thompson’s first dispatch from D.C., when he covered George McGovern’s 1972 campaign, began like this: “I feel the fear coming on, and the only cure for that is to chew up a fat black wad of blood-opium about the size of a young meatball.”

This is not a good way to set a record: click to read:

As the Covid-19 pandemic swept across the country in March 2020, the family of Marc Lewitinn, their 74-year-old patriarch, urged him to stay indoors. He had survived lung cancer and a stroke that left him unable to speak, and doctors were already warning that older people with his sort of medical history were especially vulnerable to the virus.

He complied, more or less. But he soon felt cooped up, and one day he ventured into a crowded Starbucks near his home in Cliffside Park, N.J. By March 25, he was feeling lethargic. A pulse oximeter showed his blood oxygen level at just 85 percent.

His son Albert, a TV producer, took him to the emergency room at Weill Cornell Medicine in Manhattan. The hospital was inundated with patients and doctors in hazmat suits, and it took hours for someone to see him. He tested positive for Covid that night. Six days later, with his oxygen level falling further, doctors decided to intubate him and induce a coma.

And that was all she wrote.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has roamed to the end of her world:

Hili: I’m very tired.
A: Where have you been?
Hili: At the other end of the world.
In Polish:
Hili: Jestem bardzo zmęczona.
Ja: A gdzie byłaś?
Hili: Na drugim końcu świata.

. . . and a photo of Szaron sunning himself:

**************************

From Divy, a Mark Parisi cartoon:

A Chase Carpenter “Tundra” cartoon:

From Nicole:

Special Tweetfest for today: all royalty, all the time!

From God:

The rest, save one, are from Matthew:

This is indeed a tradition, and not just for a Queen: see here.

Matthew tells me that Wayne Lineker is “the brother of Gary, who is a famous UK footballer, commentator and crisps advertiser.”

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

20 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. I hope the FBI raids Weisselberg’s Florida home looking for classified documents. I live across the street and arrive back there on Tuesday.

  2. This bit is unusually tendentious:

    * 1973 – A coup in Chile, headed by General Augusto Pinochet, topples the democratically elected president Salvador Allende. Pinochet exercises dictatorial power until ousted in a referendum in 1988, staying in power until 1990
    * Allende killed himself with an AK-47; the gun was probably a gift from Fidel Castro.

    He killed himself surrounded by the troops of a massively US-backed coup[1]. They would establish how they take care of prisoners (“27,255 tortured and 2,279 executed” [2]).

    Before Chilean elections in 1970, the USA funded right-wing business groups opposed to Allende, and did so fully knowing their close ties to right-wing terrorist groups. The States mostly supported propaganda campaigns by funding protests, strikes, newspapers and radio stations.

    Covert American activity was a factor in almost every major election in Chile in the decade between 1963 and 1973. In several instances the United States intervention was massive.

    The idea was to first prevent Allende and help a nationalist authoritarian regime into power, through the election, and when that failed, disrupt order enough to provoke military intervention, and get there through a military coup. The US did support the coup directly by then.

    Allende won the election despite US interventions nontheless and sought to nationalise parts of the industry and diversify the economy. At the time Chile was wholly dependent on exports of mainly copper, and it needed US imports to maintain its machinery (cars, tires, spare parts). The US then used economic pressure as well as trusted covert actions.

    The coup succeeded eventually, and America’s local guy Pinochet was in charge, who went on to cleanse even prisons by sending death squads to murder political opponents in custody (this traumatic episode is known as Caravan of Death). US archives[3] note drily:

    Within a year of the coup, the CIA was aware of bilateral arrangements between the Pinochet regime and other Southern Cone intelligence services to track and kill opponents—arrangements that developed into Operation Condor.

    Allende shooting himself has thus a bit of context.

    [1]__web.archive.org/web/20090414183716/http://foia.state.gov:80/Reports/ChurchReport.asp#E.%20Covert%20Action%20During%20the%20Allende%20Years,%201970-1973
    [2] wiki/Human_rights_violations_in_Pinochet’s_Chile
    [3] __nsarchive2.gwu.edu/news/20000919/index.html

    1. Note that that comes straight out of Wikipedia, as do all my “happenings”. (I added the bit about the AK-47, which was also from Wikipedia.) So if you’re aiming to correct it, go after Wikipedia, not me.

  3. National Hot Cross Buns Day? What madness is this? Hot cross buns are a traditional Easter treat. The best ones are the luxury hot cross buns from Marks and Spencer here in England. Accept no substitute!

  4. I am reminded of George Carlin’s take on “hot cross buns”–that’s what happens when a Ku Klux Klansman shoves a burning cross up your a__!

  5. Hope Diamond: Kinda cool that the package seems to still exist, but as we know from Antiques Roadshow, the value is enhanced by having the original packing.

    And how quaint it now seems – postal meters didn’t go above $9.99, and so it took 17 stickers to get up to $145.29 @ 16 x $9.00 + $1.29.

  6. I wasn’t that bothered by a hit job on someone so soon after their death …

    I don’t mind a hit job on someone so soon after their death so long as the writer or speaker said or wrote as bad or worse about the deceased while he or she was alive (and, presumably, capable of responding in kind — not that Liz would have). See, for example, HL Mencken’s postmortem evisceration of William Jennings Bryan or Hunter Thompson’s of Dick Nixon.

    De mortuis nil nisi bonum ought to be observed where the speaker or writer held their tongue and pen during the deceased’s lifetime.

  7. Queen Elizabeth II was a political figure. She didn’t involve herself in disputes between political parties, but she was the head of state and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. So, when the British armed forces fought somewhere during her reign, she was implicated. She could have protested if she wanted to, but she never did, so it’s reasonable to say she supported the intervention, at least implicitly.

      1. She was commander-in-chief of the British Armed Forces. To say that she is not somewhat responsible when the BAF becomes involved in a conflict is trying to have it both ways.

        Some of her predecessors, George VI and Edward VIII, made their political opinions known, so her silence was determined as much by choice as by tradition.

        And we don’t know why she remained silent on political issues. Maybe she stayed silent because she suspected that if she spoke out, it would make her, and the institution she led, less popular. This seems at least as plausible, and more self-interested, as the other explanations for her silence. And since she never explained it, we should be tentative in attributing motives to her.

    1. The Queen was, and the King is, only the titular commander of the armed forces of the United Kingdom (and the Commonwealth), to whom service people swear loyalty, much as American military swear to the Constitution. Unlike the President of the U.S., the King/Queen does not issue orders. The Prime Ministers of the U.K., and those of each independent nation in the Commonwealth, direct their own foreign policy and commit their own armed forces to action. The PMs take full responsibility for those decisions.

      Britain’s four submarines embarking Trident ICBMs (with British-made warheads) carry in their safes sealed secret letters from the Prime Minister, not from the Monarch, giving advance instruction to their captains about what to do if communication with London is lost. (Writing those four letters will be one of Liz Truss’s first official duties.). The instruction could be to launch their missiles on their own initiative. The Monarch has no official role in what the PM writes in her letter.

      It is a complete [Edited and struck as uncharitable] misreading of the role of the Monarchy to think the Queen had any culpability for foreign or domestic policy you disagree with. That’s what elections are for.

      1. The oath US military members swear to the US constitution is far from symbolic. It gives them the right — nay, imposes upon them the duty — to refuse to follow the order of a superior officer (all the way up to the commander-in-chief) that violates the constitution.

        This is why the US military would not have gone along with the plan, floated by Donald Trump and his most wacked-out advisors (such as Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell) after the 2020 election to seize voting machines. And it’s why Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, felt the need to apologize to the American people for allowing himself to be used as a political prop during Donald Trump’s waddle across Lafayette Square for a photo-op with a bible in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church.

        1. True. But remember, the oath is understood since Charles II as not to the King personally, although the oath names the Monarch, but to the Crown, the British (or Canadian etc.) State that the Monarch embodies. Even though the President is Head of State, he is not the State, merely a temporarily elected employee who gives voice in the form of military orders to it. The American State, the Constitution, has no voice of its own. The British (and Canadian) Crown does. But to prevent tyranny, the British (and Canadian) Crown speaks only through HM Governments which are responsible to (and drawn from) elected Parliament. The Government falls if it loses the confidence of Parliament—the House of Commons, specifically. But the state lives on.

          Can’t speak for the UK but there have been rumours that senior military commanders advised our current PM that under their oaths they would have been obliged to refuse hypothetical orders which, in their view, would have violated King George’s Royal Proclamation of 1763 concerning duties to aboriginals. “The Honour of the Crown” is part of our modern constitutional law. Queen Elizabeth’s contemporary personal views would have had nothing to do with it.

      2. I know that the British monarch does not issue orders to members of the military, or write contingency plans for the launching of nuclear weapons. But Elizabeth voluntarily accepted the position of commander-in-chief, and chose to retain it. It is a matter of judgment if one then considers her responsible, as the titular / symbolic / nominal head of the armed forces, for its actions. At the very least, it is reasonable to argue that she bears some responsiblility for its actions (as the NYT writer thinks). And even if one considers her responsible to some extent, it would not exculpate the PM, or anyone else, of responsibility for their behaviour.

        To take the position that the monarch bears no responsibility is possible too, but it’s by no means a knockdown argument.

  8. And he [Jann Wenner] had to edit the work of Mr. Thompson …

    As the publisher of Rolling Stone, Wenner probably retained some right to final edit over Thompson’s pieces that appeared there. But, IIRC, HST’s main editor was Alan Rinzler. He was known around the RS offices as the stone-cutter (or maybe the “stonemason”) due to his tendency to work slowly (when time allowed, which it rarely did) and with great precision. Rinzler was the only person that Thompson actually trusted to edit his copy.

  9. Regarding the Queen, I think what is being pointed out, both by the NYT piece and a related one by Karen Attiah in WaPo (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/09/10/britain-colonial-brutalities-queen-elizabeth-death-commentary/) is the inescapable fact that as monarch, she represented the imperialist tradition of Britain, going back to at least Elizabeth I. Whether she could have taken steps to move away from that tradition is debatable (my guess is probably not much), but the fact remains that the monarchy remains a potent symbol of the imperialist past.

  10. I read that Izium is a rail center and I can imagine contains much military hardware being shipped by the Russians. I’m always looking for more reasons to be hopeful for Ukraine, so I can also imagine that the Ukrainians may have confiscated tons of Russian stuff which they will now use to further their offensive. Happy dance!

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