Sunday: Hili dialogue

November 12, 2023 • 6:45 am

Welcome to Sunday, the Sabbath made for goyische cats, and November 12, 2023. It’s also National Pizza With the Works Except Anchovies Day. Yay for the absence of anchovies; whoever had the idea to put fish on a pizza should be beaten and kicked.

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the November 12 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*I noticed a ton of cops in Paris yesterday, but didn’t realize until later that there was a pro-Palestinian rally occurring in the afternoon and evening. According to Reuters, the rally was banned but took place anyway:

French police used teargas and water cannon to break up a banned rally in support of the Palestinian people in Paris on Thursday, as President Emmanuel Macron urged the French to remain united and refrain from bringing the Israel-Hamas conflict home.

Macron’s interior minister had earlier banned pro-Palestinian protests, saying they were “likely to generate disturbances to public order”.

France is home to Europe’s largest Muslim and Jewish communities. The Middle East conflict has often stoked domestic tensions in the past.

“This event is an earthquake for Israel, the Middle East and beyond,” Macron said in a solemn TV address. “Let’s not pursue at home ideological adventures by imitating or projecting.”

“Let’s not add, through illusions or calculations, domestic divides to international divides,” he said. “The shield of unity will protect us from hatred and excesses.”

Macron said the government had acted to boost police protection of Jewish sites, including schools and synagogues, and that there could be no justification for atrocities.

Perhaps Macron said this because there’s a legal march against anti-Semitism today, which has united a lot of disparate groups but has also caused political divisions.  At any rate, while I’m in favor of the government protecting Jewish sites, I’m not keen on their banning demonstrations because they “cause international divides”.  This, to me, seems an abrogation of free speech:

Macron’s interior minister had earlier banned pro-Palestinian protests, saying they were “likely to generate disturbances to public order”.

*The NYT reports that there was a huge pro-Palestinian demonstration in London yesterday, one of the biggest in recent years.

Hundreds of thousands of people marched through central London in a huge pro-Palestinian demonstration on Saturday, a tense day in which the police battled with a small right-wing group to keep order on some city streets.

The large march in support of the Palestinian cause coincided with Armistice Day, when Britain commemorates those who fought in World War I and subsequent conflicts, and followed days of debate about whether the protest should be allowed to go ahead.

A spokesperson for London’s Metropolitan Police Service said by phone on Saturday afternoon that about 300,000 people had attended the march, making it one of the largest protests in Britain in recent years.

Earlier in the day, a right-wing group clashed with the police near the Cenotaph, a war memorial close to the prime minister’s official residence, shortly after a two-minute silence was held to mark Remembrance Day. Videos showed some people bursting through a cordoned-off area.

By late Saturday, the police said that 126 people had been arrested.

*From Alan Johnson at The Free Press, we have “Six myths about Hamas“, a reprint of a speech he gave nine years ago. It followed the “50-day war of 2014,” in which, following rocket attacks, Israel bombed Gaza and foiled Hamas operatives who infiltrated Israel through tunnels, ready to kill civilians. It bore a number of resemblances to what happened recently, except eventually with Hamas unable to invade Israel and facing IDF destruction of their tunnels, accepted an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire and hostilities ended.  The myths, many of which apply today. Read the article to see Johnson’s response:

First Myth: The Israeli Blockade of Gaza Is Motiveless and Cruel, and It Is the Cause of the Hamas Rockets.

Second Myth: Hamas Seeks Peace. They Are a Negotiating Partner-in Waiting Being Spurned by Israel.

Third Myth: Hamas Rockets Are Harmless. Iron Dome Stops Them Anyway. Israel Could Just Ignore the Rockets.

Fourth Myth: Israel Targeted Civilians in Gaza

Fifth Myth: The Media Can Report Freely from the Gaza Strip, So We Are Getting a True Picture of the Conflict

Sixth Myth: Palestinians (and Arabs in General) Do Not Have Agency and Choice, and So Cannot be Held Accountable

Johnson says this about the “Sixth Myth”:

This is the myth that makes all the other myths believable.

This is the myth that provides the sensibility of bias—the instinctive pattern of feeling and response that people adopt no matter what the issue is, no matter what the facts are.

This is the “unconscious,” so to speak, of so much of the surface discourse about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is the deeply buried assumption that says Israelis and Palestinians have dichotomous natures.

It warps our understanding of the conflict.

Palestinians are understood as a driven people, dominated by circumstance and emotion, lacking choice, below the age of responsibility, never to be held accountable. Israelis are the opposite; masters of all circumstances, rational and calculating, the root cause of everything, responsible for everything.

*In this report from Israel, the controversial Douglas Murray argues that Hamas was “worse than the Nazis,” because Hamas was gleeful after killing civilians while the Nazis needed a stiff drink to regain their composure. It’s worth listening to this 11-minute video.

*The WaPo summarizes all the attacks on Trump, by both Democrats and Republicans, based on his “verbal fumbles.” The message is that he lacks the mental acuity to be President.

The DeSantis campaign recently posted a thread of more than two dozen clumsy or confusing remarks by former president Donald Trump, positing that “this is why his handlers won’t let him debate.”

Former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, speaking to Jewish donors, mocked Trump for speaking positively about the leaders of China and North Korea, saying he is evidently “confused” about which countries are American allies and which are adversaries.

And the Biden campaign has also stepped up its posts about Trump’s verbal fumbles, including a minute-long video compilation of various miscues. In press statements, it has slammed Trump for mispronouncing “Hamas” and for musing aloud that the abbreviation for United States is spelled like the word “us.”

As Trump’s Republican rivals face growing pressure to stop his momentum, while Democrats seek to neutralize concerns about Biden’s age, the two sides are converging on a common argument — that Trump’s cognition has declined too far for him to lead the country again.

The Biden-Harris HQ account on X, formerly known as Twitter, sometimes even reposts jabs at Trump from the DeSantis campaign. When DeSantis’s campaign “war room” posted a video of Trump sounding confused at a rally in New Hampshire, for example, Biden’s account shared it.

Biden, 80, has faced a relentless spotlight on his verbal and physical stumbles, and polls suggest his age could be a major political vulnerability in 2024. His team is increasingly eager to point out that Trump, 77, is susceptible to similar missteps, which have sometimes been overlooked amid the other chaos surrounding the former president, including the 91 criminal charges he faces.

I couldn’t find the Democratic video, but here’s an MSNBC summary of Trump’s gaffes. We’re all familiar with them, but it’s scary to see them again. The litany begins at 1:06. “Yosemites” for “semites” is my favorite; I have a teeshirt with the word and a tree on it.  At any rate, no matter what the state of his cognition, I will not vote for him and worry that he’ll be reelected.

*Finally, from the “oddities” section of the Associated Press, we hear of the theft of a valuable solid-goild toilet four years ago, and now the arrested of the alleged perps:

Four men were charged Monday over the theft of an 18-carat gold toilet from Blenheim Palace, the sprawling English country mansion where British wartime leader Winston Churchill was born.

The toilet, valued at 4.8 million pounds ($5.95 million), was an artwork titled “America” and intended as a pointed satire about excessive wealth by Italian conceptual artist Maurizio Cattelan. It was part of an art installation at Blenheim Palace, near the city of Oxford, a few days before it vanished overnight in September 2019.

The Crown Prosecution Service said Monday it has authorized criminal charges against four men, ages 35-39, over the theft. They are accused of burglary and conspiracy to transfer criminal property.

Seven people had been arrested over the heist, but no charges have been brought until Monday, four years after the toilet was stolen. The artwork has never been found.

Here’s the AP photo of the toilet with its caption:

(from AP) This Sept. 16, 2016 file image made from a video shows the 18-karat toilet, titled “America,” by Maurizio Cattelan in the restroom of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. Four men have been charged over the theft of an 18-carat gold toilet from Blenheim Palace, the sprawling English mansion where British wartime leader Winston Churchill was born. The toilet, valued at 4.8 million pounds, or $5.95 million, was the work of Italian conceptual artist Maurizio Cattelan. (AP Photo, File)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili and Andrzej seem to be discussing “life”.

Hili: I’m trying to understand all this.
A: Me too.
Hili: A hopeless case.
In Polish:
Hili: Próbuję to wszystko zrozumieć. Ja: Ja też.Hili: Beznadziejna sprawa.

Masih’s been elected President of the World Liberty Congress that convened in Lithuania. The group comprises dissidents who have united to oppose autocracy and dictatorship. I’m not sure if it will accomplish anything (she has her hands full with Iran), but here’s Masih’s tweet:

This was on my “home” feed, and yes, those are real eyes. “Science girl” is the best!

From Jay, an argument about what it means to “Free Palestine”:

A cat cartoon from Jez. Click to enlarge if you can’t read it:

This would be useful for many schools, among them the University of Chicago.

From Barry, a new show from The Oatmeal in which God takes the form of a cat!

This is about the first time I’ve used Twitter (excuse me, “X”) to take issue with Steve Pinker, who argues, like Dennett, that we do have free will, although everything is still deterministic. He appears to be a compatibilist.

More hijinks at MIT. To read the original article, go here, though you’ll have to give them an email address (h/t Orli):

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a Dutch girl gassed upon arrival, age 11:

22 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. On this day:
    1439 – Plymouth becomes the first town incorporated by the English Parliament.

    1892 – Pudge Heffelfinger becomes the first professional American football player on record, participating in his first paid game for the Allegheny Athletic Association.

    1912 – The frozen bodies of Robert Scott and his men are found on the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica.

    1927 – Leon Trotsky is expelled from the Soviet Communist Party, leaving Joseph Stalin in undisputed control of the Soviet Union.

    1928 – SS Vestris sinks approximately 200 miles (320 km) off Hampton Roads, Virginia, killing at least 110 passengers, mostly women and children who die after the vessel is abandoned.

    1933 – Nazi Germany uses a referendum to ratify its withdrawal from the League of Nations.

    1938 – Nazi Germany issues the Decree on the Elimination of Jews from Economic Life prohibiting Jews from selling goods and services or working in a trade, totally segregating Jews from the German economy.

    1940 – World War II: Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov arrives in Berlin to discuss the possibility of the Soviet Union joining the Axis Powers.

    1941 – World War II: Temperatures around Moscow drop to −12 °C (10 °F) as the Soviet Union launches ski troops for the first time against the freezing German forces near the city.

    1944 – World War II: The Royal Air Force launches 29 Avro Lancaster bombers, which sink the German battleship Tirpitz, with 12,000 lb Tallboy bombs off Tromsø, Norway.

    1954 – Ellis Island ceases operations.

    1958 – A team of rock climbers led by Warren Harding completes the first ascent of The Nose on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley.

    1969 – Vietnam War: Independent investigative journalist Seymour Hersh breaks the story of the My Lai Massacre.

    1970 – The Oregon Highway Division attempts to destroy a rotting beached sperm whale with explosives, leading to the now infamous “exploding whale” incident.

    1970 – The 1970 Bhola cyclone makes landfall on the coast of East Pakistan, becoming the deadliest tropical cyclone in history. [At least 300,000 people died in the storm, possibly as many as 500,000, primarily as a result of the storm surge that flooded much of the low-lying islands of the Ganges Delta.]

    1979 – Iran hostage crisis: In response to the hostage situation in Tehran, U.S. President Jimmy Carter orders a halt to all petroleum imports into the United States from Iran.

    1980 – The NASA space probe Voyager I makes its closest approach to Saturn and takes the first images of its rings.

    1981 – Space Shuttle program: Mission STS-2, utilizing the Space Shuttle Columbia, marks the first time a crewed spacecraft is launched into space twice.

    1990 – Tim Berners-Lee publishes a formal proposal for the World Wide Web.

    1996 – A Saudi Arabian Airlines Boeing 747 and a Kazakh Ilyushin Il-76 cargo plane collide in mid-air near New Delhi, killing 349 in the deadliest mid-air collision to date.

    1997 – Ramzi Yousef is found guilty of masterminding the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

    2001 – War in Afghanistan: Taliban forces abandon Kabul, ahead of advancing Afghan Northern Alliance troops.

    2003 – Shanghai Transrapid sets a new world speed record of 501 kilometres per hour (311 mph) for commercial railway systems, which remains the fastest for unmodified commercial rail vehicles.

    2014 – The Philae lander, deployed from the European Space Agency’s Rosetta probe, reaches the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.

    2021 – The Los Angeles Superior Court formally ends the 14-year conservatorship to pop singer Britney Spears.

    1606 – Jeanne Mance, French-Canadian nurse, founded the Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal (d. 1673).

    1817 – Bahá’u’lláh, Persian spiritual leader, founded the Baháʼí Faith (d. 1892).

    1833 – Alexander Borodin, Russian composer and chemist (d. 1887).

    1840 – Auguste Rodin, French sculptor and illustrator, created The Thinker (d. 1917).

    1866 – Sun Yat-sen, Chinese physician and politician, 1st President of the Republic of China (d. 1925). [Taiwan, and not to be confused with the People’s Republic of China.]

    1889 – DeWitt Wallace, American publisher and philanthropist, co-founded Reader’s Digest (d. 1981).

    1900 – Stanley Graham, New Zealand mass murderer (d. 1941).

    1905 – Louise Thaden, American pilot (d. 1979).

    1915 – Roland Barthes, French philosopher, theorist, and critic (d. 1980).

    1929 – Grace Kelly, American actress, later Princess Grace of Monaco (d. 1982).

    1934 – Charles Manson, American cult leader (d. 2017).

    1938 – Mort Shuman, American singer-songwriter and pianist (d. 1991).

    1943 – Errol Brown, Jamaican-English singer-songwriter (d. 2015).

    1944 – Booker T. Jones, American pianist, saxophonist, songwriter, and producer.

    1945 – Judith Roitman, American mathematician and academic.

    1945 – Neil Young, Canadian singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer.

    1947 – Buck Dharma, American singer-songwriter and guitarist.

    1955 – Les McKeown, Scottish pop singer (d. 2021).

    1962 – Mariella Frostrup, British journalist and actress.

    1962 – Naomi Wolf, American author and activist. [And conspiracy theorist. Not to be confused with Naomi Klein, who has just written a book, Doppelganger: a Trip into the Mirror World about the two being mixed up in the public mind. In her 10-page introduction, Klein explains how she has been mistaken for the “other Naomi”, with whom she “has been chronically confused for over a decade… I have been confused with Other Naomi for so long and so frequently that I have often felt that she was following me”.]

    1970 – Tonya Harding, American figure skater. [Became embroiled in controversy when her ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, orchestrated an attack on her fellow U.S. skating rival Nancy Kerrigan. On March 16, 1994, Harding accepted a plea bargain in which she pleaded guilty to conspiracy to hinder prosecution. As a result of her involvement in the aftermath of the assault on Kerrigan, the United States Figure Skating Association banned her for life on June 30, 1994.]

    1980 – Ryan Gosling, Canadian actor, producer and singer.

    1982 – Anne Hathaway, American actress. [According to The Daily Telegraph, she was named after Shakespeare’s wife.]

    There is no lonelier man in death, except the suicide, than that man who has lived many years with a good wife and then outlived her. If two people love each other there can be no happy end to it.
    1035 – Cnut the Great, Danish-English king (b. c.995). [Popularly invoked in the context of the legend of King Canute and the tide. Medieval historian Norman Cantor called him “the most effective king in Anglo-Saxon history”.]

    1555 – Yang Jisheng (b. 1516), Ming dynasty official and Confucian martyr. [Remembered as a political opponent of Yan Song, on whose initiative he was arrested and eventually executed. His death, widely perceived as unjust, was followed by significant posthumous veneration of his memory during the late imperial era.]

    1793 – Jean Sylvain Bailly, French astronomer, mathematician, and politician, 1st Mayor of Paris (b. 1736).

    1847 – William Christopher Zeise, Danish chemist who prepared Zeise’s salt, one of the first organometallic compounds (b. 1789).

    1865 – Elizabeth Gaskell, English author (b. 1810).

    1916 – Percival Lowell, American astronomer, mathematician, and author (b. 1855).

    1955 – Sarah Wambaugh, American political scientist, world authority on plebiscites (b. 1882).

    1971 – Johanna von Caemmerer, German mathematician (b. 1914). [Also known as Hanna Neumann; she and her husband are known for the Higman-Neumann-Neumann construction in group theory, and the Hanna Neumann conjecture is named after her.]

    1981 – William Holden, American actor (b. 1918).

    1990 – Eve Arden, American actress and comedian (b. 1908).

    2007 – Ira Levin, American novelist, playwright, and songwriter (b. 1929).

    2008 – Mitch Mitchell, English drummer (b. 1947).

    2013 – John Tavener, English composer and educator (b. 1944).

    2014 – Warren Clarke, English actor, director, and producer (b. 1947).

    2015 – Jihadi John, terrorist (b. 1988).

    2018 – Stan Lee, American comic book writer, editor, and publisher (b. 1922).

  2. Macron : “The shield of unity


    So presumably in general, everyone has to approve and support the correct ideas – any given ideas – or nobody will be safe ever.

    So if nobody is safe, the shield isn’t working, which must mean someone isn’t thinking correctly, and a reform of those thoughts will presumably fix the big shield.

    The details are fuzzy, but I could swear I’ve heard this before – from some place and time where contradictions among the people had to be handled correctly


  3. A few days ago our atrocious Home Secretary (Internal Minister) wrote an inflammatory article in the (London) Times that, without a shadow of doubt, encouraged the hard-right nutjobs to counter-protest but, in their case, violently. The Met Police said that 126 people had been arrested with the “vast majority” of whom were counter-protesters. (words in quotes from the Met).

    She hasn’t been fired – yet.

    1. It’s worth noting, however, that most of those arrests of the counter-protestors were “to prevent a breach of the peace”, meaning to prevent rival protest groups coming together, not for actual crimes.

      It seems to be the case that if one flies Palestinian flags, calls for the eradication of Israel, or says “Hitler had the right idea about those people”, then the police won’t intervene. But attempting a counter-protest gets you automatically labelled “hard right” and gets heavy-handed attention from the police.

      1. Perhaps the police are just doing what’s practical. The counter-protestors are a very small group easily singled out. The protestors are a large group which they don’t have the manpower or jail space to manage.

          1. Conduct likely to breach the peace. That’s what a London cop was telling a guy he was pushing back across the street away from the Hamas supporters in a phone video that’s making the rounds. At that point he hadn’t arrested him (yet, and in that particular episode he may not have) but when the guy asked what he was doing that was illegal for the cop to be strong-arming him, that’s was the cop answered on the video….”for your own protection.”

            So if you carry an Israeli flag near a mob of antisemites, the police will arrest you because one of them might take a swing at you. (And if the flag staff was stout, you could be charged with bringing a weapon to a public meeting.) The law works the same way in Canada. At one of our innumerable indigenous blockades of roads and private property, a frustrated homeowner who couldn’t get into his house walked in front of the blockade line with a Canadian flag. (A regular Canadian flag, not the indigenous protest versions where the maple leaf is replaced with a red bloody hand.) He was arrested on the concern that the national flag was provocative and might infuriate the natives to violence. (He sued the police and the provincial government and got a big settlement, which is why this case is memorable.)

            It’s more than just lack of manpower, Rick Longworth. In these blockade cases, the natives are already ignoring court injunctions obtained at great expense by the property owners and, by law, the police must disperse them. Yet they won’t, because they fear being pilloried if anything goes wrong and a native person gets hurt. There are people you can hit with a baton or shoot, and there are people you can’t. It depends who’s agenda the higher-ups sympathize with and how afraid they are of what the mobs/gangs might do if they got really fired up. Simple as that. The British cops certainly know the score, too.

        1. Is doing what is practical, easiest, or safest for the officers themselves, the primary function of police?

          The police seem to be acting as collaborators for a hostile occupying force. More than that, the Mamas/Isis folks do not seem to have much power beyond that which comes from the police harassing their critics or covering for their crimes, as when they threatened rape gang victims.

    2. Here’s an archived copy of Braverman’s article in The Times, so that readers can judge it for themselves:

      I don’t think it’s as simple as a right/left thing, but it’s undoubtedly the case that some groups (e.g. republicans trying to protest at the coronation, who were arrested before they could even unload their placards) are policed more harshly than others.

      FWIW, I’m no fan of Braverman but I don’t agree with the characterisation of her Times article as “inflammatory”.

  4. Alan Johnson’s comment:

    Palestinians are understood as a driven people, dominated by circumstance and emotion, lacking choice, below the age of responsibility, never to be held accountable. Israelis are the opposite; masters of all circumstances, rational and calculating, the root cause of everything, responsible for everything.

    … applies throughout woke ideology. You could equally replace the words “Palestinians” and “Israelis” with “black Americans” and “whites”.

    That’s why, for example, the fact that the black American crime rate is a factor ten higher that that of Asian Americans is either studiously ignored by the mainstream media or attributed to “whiteness”.

    1. “never to be held accountable. ”

      That ^^^ also – it’s not down to any individual, it’s all group struggle.

      There was a video of a drunk driver arrest on eXtwitter the other day showing this denial of responsibility, perhaps we all saw it.

  5. From David Bernstein, cited above:

    “Another reminder to Jewish university students. “Hate speech” in general is not illegal. However, other students blocking your way to class, harassing you individually, physically intimidating you, or otherwise engaging in actions that are illegal are in fact illegal, even if they are done for political reasons. Document, take pictures and video, and file a criminal complaint. Don’t rely on university police, who often see their jobs as making sure no one gets into trouble. Call the local county/city police and get them to come to you, and file a report with the FBI, as much of this conduct violates federal law.”

    I have long thought that students should go directly to the police or FBI when harassed. Don’t go to university security and don’t file a complaint with the 24/7 Help line or Ombudsman. Go to the police. The university is not equipped to deal with crime—which is what Bernstein describes above—and police involvement will make university administrators pay attention. University administrators want problems like this to go away, and they will act in their own interests to make that happen. Go to the police.

    1. If there are threats of violence, they should be reported to both the police and the university. But the “crime” here was “unauthorized protest.” I object to any interim suspensions of students for nonviolent offenses. We should respect due process, and never punish anyone without proof in a fair hearing.

  6. I don’t care for anchovies on pizza either, but I do like canned chunked tuna with capers, along with tomato sauce, onions and cheese. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.
    And Douglas Murray controversial? Maybe at Pharyngula but not here, surely.

    1. I’m sure that would taste great. I’ve had damn good shrimp pizza as well… But if you like anchovies, like I do, they’re fine on pizza (you have to know what to pair them with…mostly veggies). If you hate anchovies, like Jerry does, you won’t like them on pizza or anything else, so it’s just a personal preference, not a universal rule, like, anchovies with ice cream.

  7. The story about the golden toilet reminds me of the ancient joke:

    Did you hear someone broke into the police station and stole all the toilets?

    The police have nothing to go on.

  8. They ought to arrest the people who put art installations in locations like Blenheim Palace. The installations, usually of the most garish modern art, inevitably clash with the surroundings. And they’re often so big it’s impossible to avoid photographing them. When I visited Blenheim I was irritated at how much space the damn things took up. I came to see Blenheim Palace, not to see parts of it covered up with modern art. Put that stuff in a gallery and don’t inflict it on people who paid to see something else.

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