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Posts Tagged ‘Israel

Israel: fifth wave, fifth jab?

Israel famously led the world in getting its population vaccinated, largely due to some solid connections between the Israeli government and Pfizer executives enabling Israel to be first in the queue for millions of doses of that particular C-19 vaccine.

The same goes for their race to “double-vax” status, then the booster shot, and now the second booster shot for four jabs in all.

And the winner is…

… Covid-19 (Omicron).

Ok, so the vaccine isn’t helping with numbers of Omicron cases and hospitalisations, but let’s at least give credit to the Pfizer drug for saving the lives of most of the vulnerable (the elderly and obese) who caught the Delta variant: it may not be much of a vaccine but it seems it is a fairly effective therapeutic drug for those people in the case of Delta.

Of course what those graphs don’t tell us is what proportion of of lives were saved from the Omicron variant (which has been the dominant one for months now) due to the Pfizer drug and how much is due to Omicron just not being very lethal. There may not be enough of an unvaxxed control group in Israel to be able to tell, unlike South Africa with only some 30% of the population fully vaccinated and already on the other side of the Omicron wave. These numbers simply reinforce what’s been known for some months; that the vaccines just don’t protect against Omicron transmission.

Personally I’d go for monoclonal antibody treatments if I caught the virus, assuming I showed any symptoms at all, which most people don’t.

The only question now is whether Israel keeps on boosting, especially in light of this:

“European Union regulators warned that frequent Covid-19 booster shots could adversely affect the immune response and may not be feasible.  Repeat booster doses every four months could eventually weaken the immune response and tire out people, according to the European Medicines Agency.”

Meh! The Euros probably aren’t very good scientists anyway.

Written by Tom Hunter

February 4, 2022 at 11:42 am

Xinese Xi Snot Graphing

It’s been a while since I looked at the progress around the world against Xi Jinping’s bastard child experiment.

Here’s a comparison I’ve not seen before: Israel vs Sweden.

South Korea with yet another demonstration of how masks don’t work against this virus and never have.

Comparisons within the USA.

Here’s a fun one. Try to guess which state out of these two had the tougher policies on social distancing, lockdowns, masks, vaccinations and other policies over the past eighteen months.

Getting away from all those messy continental borders that can’t be completely sealed, here’s the good old island state of Hawaii again, from just over a month ago.

Obviously all these measures need to be tested to destruction.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 19, 2021 at 10:00 am

The Delta and the Vax

Who likes charts?

Of course you all like charts. They provide clear, concise information at a glance. A picture’s worth a thousand words and all that.

Herewith four charts showing four aspects of the Chinese Xi Snot virus across three countries – Israel, Sweden and India.

First up is their vaccination rates (fully vaccinated)

Next are their confirmed case rates.

The result for intensive care (India’s data is not good enough to be included here.

The all important Case Fatality Rate (CFR). The CFR is the total number of deaths divided by the total number of people that have the disease’s symptoms. In contrast, the IFR (Infection Fatality Rate) is the total number of deaths divided by the total number of people that carry the infection.

Unlike the Flu there are no solid estimates yet for national Covid-19 IFRs since the virus has not been around long enough to build the data around that key factor of people who get infected but show no symptoms and do not get tested. In the USA the CDC annually calculates the IFR for flu since it has decades of data that allow it to be confident that its figures are correct. The flu IFR is about 0.1% and there are no age-specific breakdowns of that figure.

Nevertheless, at the end of 2020 the CDC did try to calculate the IFR values of Covid-19 (Alpha) and even break it up into age-specific estimates, which are now very low at:

  • 0.003% for 0–19 years
  • 0.02% for 20–49 years
  • 0.5% for 50–69 years
  • 5.4% for 70+ years.

Israel has the latest Delta variant raging away but with no increase in the death rate, while similarly vaccinated Sweden has seen only a slight uptick in cases, while India moves along seemingly unchanged. Given that Israel pushed early and fast on their vaccination programme, the implication is that the population’s immune systems there are not as well protected against variants of the virus as in India and Sweden, likely because their immunity has been built more from exposure to the disease than to vaccinations.

On a side note the tiny island nation of Iceland, which has something like 71% of its population fully vaccinated has made a similar announcement to that of the Prime Minister of Australia in abandoning a zero-Covid-19 policy:

Icelandic health authorities hoped to achieve herd immunity through widespread vaccination, but those hopes were dashed when the fourth wave of infection began in late summer 2021. Local data shows, however, that vaccinated individuals are less likely to contract the SARS-CoV-2 virus and that vaccines are very effective at staving off serious illness.

Based on this information, the government’s current policy is to curb the spread of infection using mild social restrictions, rather than imposing harsh restrictions in order to eliminate the virus entirely. This policy allows Icelandic society to operate as openly as possible at any given moment.

The implications for New Zealand are clear:

  • Opening up the nation internally and across the borders will mean Covid-19 variations spreading through the population.
  • A vaccination rate of 70% across the whole population seems to be the best that might be achieved.
  • Vaccinations will not provide full protection against the variants, though it will greatly reduce the chances of severe illness and death in the most vulnerable, people aged 70+.
  • Herd immunity cannot be achieved by vaccination alone, especially given the targeted nature of the mRNA vaccines, and that their immunisation potency appears to decline in a matter of months (hence the talk of ongoing booster shots).
  • The death rates for these variants will not approach even the CFR flu-like levels of Covid-19 (Alpha).
  • Therefore future decisions on lockdowns should not be based on case numbers but on hospitalisation and deaths.
  • Push hard for treatments that work against Covid-19 infections, starting with monoclonal antibody treatment, which appears to be very successful.

Frankly there should be no further lockdowns at this point.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 3, 2021 at 3:32 pm

When the MSM works

To say that I’ve been hard on the MSM, both in the USA and here in NZ, would be an understatement given that one of my taglines for the posts has been Die MSM, Die.

So it’s nice to be able to give credit, for once, to MSM sources doing their job.

First up is a rather amazing press conference conducted the other day with a Biden Administration spokesman for the US State Department, Ned Price. This is a daily press conference and the topic of the day was the current US withdrawal from Afghanistan, which is not going well. Price’s spin was that they were simply doing what the Trump administration had negotiated with the Taliban and that there was nothing they could change about that. That spin also did not go well for Ned Price when – of all people – an Associated Press reporter, Matt Lee, got stuck into him about that claim:

LEE: “This administration inherited plenty from the previous administration that it absolutely reversed,”

How about the Geneva protocol on the anti-abortion stuff?

PRICE: This was the point that we have made on any number of steps about the importance of the durability of American foreign policies – American foreign policy across administrations.

LEE: How about the agreements with the Northern Triangle, with Mexico and the Northern Triangle? Those are international agreements that you guys jettisoned.

PRICE: These are … Matt, I think

LEE: I mean, you just challenged me to come up with an international agreement that the previous administration signed that you guys have walked away from, and I just gave you, I think, three.

Wow. A non-right-wing reporter actually challenging some of the Biden Administration’s bullshit. Miracles do happen. I was also mightily impressed by something that came just before that exchange:

LEE:  And then lastly, the thing I don’t understand – well, maybe not understand, but you don’t want to talk about the historic analogy that Said made to Vietnam. Let’s go next door to Cambodia. Are you familiar at all with the letter that Sirik Matak wrote to John Gunther Dean, who was the U.S. ambassador to Cambodia in April of 1975?

RICE: It’s

LEE: If you’re not familiar with it

PRICE: It’s been a while.

LEE:  I suggest you familiarize yourself with it because it may end up being sadly prescient.

So this is not just some lightweight “journalist” like those of the Whitehouse press corp, who aim for fluff and “gotcha” questions of the “When-did-you-stop-beating-your-wife” type – when faced with a Republican. Matt Lee really knows his shit on foreign policy.


Next up is coverage of local news that appeared overseas in The National Pulse, New Zealand Professors Claim CCP Is Planting Spies At Their Colleges:

Dr. Stephen Noakes, of Auckland University, said that non-enrollees showed up to his lectures and “appeared to be gathering intelligence.” On one occasion, an individual whom Noakes had never seen before was in the lecture theater, taking pictures.

“It made me incredibly uncomfortable and I followed it up afterwards. I’ve not seen that person again,” Noakes stated.

Catherine Churchman, a professor at Victoria University in Wellington teaching ancient Chinese history, said that, in 2017, a man came to her class and “upbraided her about her lecture content.” When asked why he was in the class, the man claimed to be a “visiting scholar.”

So we’re not just talking about Ann Marie Brady any longer.

It would be nice to think that such events will no longer be dismissed as they have been in the past

I have read Brady’s work, and spoken to her. She is an China alarmist. I don’t agree with her perspective.

… and it seems they’re not since this US article references their information as coming from a Radio New Zealand podcast. They supplied no link but here it is:

Redline: Can we walk the thin line between what some see as an evil empire and others as our greatest economic opportunity? A four-part series investigating China’s growing influence in New Zealand

So kudos to RNZ also.


Finally there’s this, courtesy of MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute), who do a great job in covering various Middle Eastern news sites and translating them for the rest of the world.

It’s quite extraordinary how open some of the Palestinian news sites are about their society.

Written by Tom Hunter

July 13, 2021 at 6:00 am

An important election in Iran

In this case the recent election of a new President of Iran, where whoever is chosen by the Council of Guardians and who has the approval of the Ayatollah Kahmenei – the person actually running Iran – goes on to win the general election.

There have been “surprises” in these elections over the years, but that’s usually been when the Ayatollah has not expressed any favouritism for any one of the permitted candidates. This time he did.

The product of this joke of an election system turns out to be probably the biggest piece of shit that has ever crawled into that position., and that’s saying something considering his predecessors.

Ebrahim Raisi

Both of the following articles should be read.


First, a concise piece by historian Dominic Green, who has a biting wit, Iran’s president, a schreibtischtäter:

Raisi is what Hannah Arendt would have called a schreibtischtäter, a ‘desk murderer’: a functionary who orders dirty work while keeping his own hands clean.

In the 1980s, Raisi was a young regional prosecutor. He was part of a four-man ‘death committee’ which ordered the disappearance and killing of thousands of the Islamic revolution’s enemies. You may be shocked to hear human rights’ groups claiming that due process was frequently ignored during this judicial massacre.

He also has not changed over the decades:

… when protests against the clerical dictatorship broke out in 2019, Raisi, as head of the Iranian judiciary, granted blanket impunity to government officials and security forces responsible for unlawfully killing hundreds of men, women and children, and subjecting thousands of protesters to mass arrests and at least a hundred to enforced disappearance, and torture and other ill-treatment’.

Is it any wonder that Raisi won the presidency with the lowest turnout in Iran’s post-1979 history: 48 percent nationally, down from over 70 percent in 2017, with only 28 percent bothering to vote in Tehran. 

Green argues that with this election the JCPOA nuclear deal is more dead than when Trump withdrew the USA from it. Not that that will stop the Biden Administration from trying to re-enter it:

Raisi has already said he won’t meet Biden. He has issued a ‘non-negotiable’ rejection of the American goal of adding Iran’s ballistic missile program and support for terrorism to follow-on negotiations. The Iranian negotiators will use the prospect of Raisi taking office in August to lever more concessions from the desperate Americans. But the election of Raisi in the first place has already confirmed the futility of returning to the Iran Deal.

It is the Supreme Leader, 82-year-old Ayatollah Khameini, who heads the Iranian regime, and the military-industrial complex controlled by the IRGC that is its arms and legs. Raisi is a product of their interdependence and corruption. He may yet inherit Khameini’s throne. This is one reason why the pro-Democratic ‘echo chamber’ is spinning his merits in sequence with the centrifuges.

That last crack is referring to Obama’s point man on the JCPOA, Ben Rhodes, who boasted in an interview with the New York Times Magazine in 2016 about how he had created a media “echo chamber” to help get the deal passed. An article in the prestigious Foreign Policy magazine, A stunning profile of Ben Rhodes, the asshole who is the president’s foreign policy guru, noted the famous description by Rhodes of the MSM he manipulated:

Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.”


The second article, Ebrahim Raisi, the clerics ruthless enforcer, is longer and goes into more historic detail about his ugly past, including the political games that were going on behind the scenes of the 1988 executions:

The 1988 executions sparked a debate within the regime, just as Khomeini had intended. The supreme leader wanted to separate the true believers from the skeptics. His heir-apparent, Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, objected to the killings, and in a secret recording released in 2016, he can be heard chastising Raisi and his fellow executioners.

Shades of Mao and his Cultural Revolution designed to purge the CCP of reactionary elements and purify it. All this history leads to this moment:

By 2016, there were unmistakable public signs that Khamenei was grooming Raisi to succeed him. When it comes to personnel, Khamenei has always displayed a keen eye for talent and loyalty. And Raisi’s promotions all required the personal approval of the supreme leader.

Which helps explain why, this year, the Guardian Council disqualified a high number of presidential candidates — not only did “moderates” get axed, but even the hard-line former speaker of the parliament, Ali Larijani, was removed from the ballot. As a result, Raisi ran nearly uncontested, with no real competitors. 

So he’s the next Ayatollah. He’s even been given “management” positions that enabled him to build a legacy beyond that of executioner, being placed in charge of huge sums of money via the Astan-e Qods Foundation in Mashhad, which runs the Imam Reza Shrine, visited by millions of pilgrims a year and with $15 billion in assets. 

The article draws the appropriate conclusions that the US will have to confront:

Raisi’s win in a fully rigged election strips the system of its off-ramps. The once-popular reformist notion that the theocracy could liberalize itself through its own constitutional provisions has died — except perhaps abroad among Western leftists. The Republic of Virtue is drowning in corruption and class divisions that are as pronounced as those in the last days of the shah.

The regime has no answers to the myriad problems the nation faces. Even hooking up with China will not save them in the long run as they continue to disconnect further from the Iranian people, whose protests are answered only by brutality because the Ayatollah’s know it also:

A nation that saw massive protests once a decade now sees them more frequently. In the latest nationwide revolts of 2019 and 2020, sparked by a drop in fuel subsidies, even the working classes joined the protests. Iran’s ethnic minorities, who probably make up 50 percent of the country’s population, have also become increasingly vocal in expressing their grievances.

They have the same conclusion on the nuclear deal as well:

These two clerics, who will likely reinforce each other’s hardest impulses, both understand what Washington appears to have missed: The era of arms-control diplomacy has ended. The Islamic republic’s nuclear trajectory will not be impacted by further negotiated restraints.

The US may succeed in getting JCPOA back, but it will make no difference and ultimately what happens to the Iranian nuclear weapons programme is down to the Israelis.

Written by Tom Hunter

June 29, 2021 at 4:00 pm

The Peaceable President Trump

One of the hundreds of drumbeats against Trump becoming President was that he would get the USA into a war.

Whether it was because of a Giant Toddler TantrumTM (the uncontrolled anger trope, see McCain, John, 2008) or because he’s a Colossal MoronTM (see Bush, George, 2004). And it need hardly be said that he was too stupid and unstable to craft any peace treaties.

Well, as has been the case with most criticisms of him…

The president, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed released a joint statement Thursday, after the three spoke “and agreed to the full normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.”  The statement said that the “diplomatic breakthrough” was at “the request of President Trump,” and that Israel will “suspend declaring sovereignty over areas outlined in the President’s Vision for Peace and focus its efforts now on expanding ties with other countries in the Arab and Muslim world.”

With this peace agreement, the UAE officially recognises Israel and promises to “fully normalise” all relations — including economic relations, direct flights to Israel and so forth. Combining UAE money with Israeli biotechnology, agricultural technology and computer technology will be very beneficial to both sides. Other Gulf states like Bahrain and Oman will likely follow at some point as it’s long been known that they were in an open-secret alliance with Israel and Saudi Arabia against the Shi’a Islamists of Iran. And Saudi will be along as well, although they have more intense domestic Islamic opposition that is only slowly being worn down.

But…, but…., I was told by the Best And The Brightest that Donald Trump was likely to start a yyyuuuge war, as well as being such an incompetent reactionary isolationist that alliances would be wrecked and peace plans shelved and… Well, there were no end to the disasters that would unfold under this brutal, callous, selfish, racist, xenophobic [insert insult of choice] and stupid man.

The whole thing about peace between Israel and “The Arabs” has effectively been a moot point since the 1978 Egypt-Israel peace treaty, since Egypt was the primary military threat, even more so than Syria. All the rest has been optics weaponised by pro-Palestinian groups to beat Israel over the head as being the source of ME unrest. Only once the Palestinian problem had been resolved in their favour could there be peace: that was the line. And it’s true that even here part of the deal was that in exchange for normalised relations, Israel agreed to suspend its West Bank annexation plans.

For the moment.

In reality the Palestinian issue only mattered where Arab nations could use it to hopefully beat Israel instead of constantly losing actual wars against her. And once those nations began to give up on the Palestinians – especially when the Gulf states saw how they sided with Saddam Hussein in 1990 – this sort of thing was inevitable.

Live by the optics. Die by the optics.

“Trump has been bad for the Western Alliance nations. He has fundamentally weakened the Alliances. Biden will get them working again.”

Naturally some people have their panties in a twist about Trump “taking credit” for something that had been in the works for a while. Here’s former Obama Deputy National Security advisor Ben Rhodes – last seen dismissing journalists as 27 year olds who know nothing (Foreign Policy Magazine), just after he’d manipulated them into his proudly described “echo chamber” over the Iran deal and then slapping them in the face by boasting about how he’d screwed them:

This agreement enshrines what has been the emerging status quo in the region for a long time (including the total exclusion of Palestinians). Dressed up as an election eve achievement from two leaders who want Trump to win.

Shorter Rhodes: Waaaahhhh. My buddies in Iran will be even more isolated. Not only that but the day was supposed to have been a Biden-Harris news day, and instead everyone is talking about a major Trump foreign policy success.

But what really burns the likes of Rhodes is that the paradigms of he and his fellow Progressives can’t explain this success. After all, it if it was so easy how come Hillary, Kerry and Obama couldn’t get it done? Moreover this peace deal didn’t involve sending billions of dollars to Iranian terrorists who love killing Jews and Americans.

BTW – I loved this quote from the Foreign Policy magazine article link:

Rhodes comes off like a real asshole. This is not a matter of politics — I have voted for Obama twice…. But, as that quote indicates, he comes off like an overweening little schmuck.

And of course one can always go full conspiracy theory:

“In late 2015, international dealmaker and current cooperating witness in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation George Nader convened a secret meeting aboard a massive luxury yacht in the Red Sea. Nader pitched to several Middle Eastern leaders a plan for a new pro-US, pro-Israel alliance of Arab nations that would fundamentally alter the geopolitics of the Middle East while marginalising Iran, Syria and Turkey.

To succeed, the plan would need a highly placed American politician willing to drop sanctions on Russia so that Vladimir Putin would in turn agree to end his support for Iran. The gathered leaders agreed their perfect American partner was Donald Trump, who had benefited immensely from his Saudi, Emirati and Russian dealings for many years, and who had, months earlier, become the only US presidential candidate to argue for a unilateral end to Russian sanctions.”

Meantime I’ll just leave this out here.

Written by Tom Hunter

August 16, 2020 at 2:24 pm

A different perspective on Iran

Over the last month I put up a number of OPs on the subject of Iran in the wake of the US killing their top military guy Soleimani:

  1. America “You can’t do anything against us” (آمریکا هیچ غلطی نمی تواند بکن)
  2. USA v Iran: What WON’T Happen.
  3. USA v Iran: What Iran will do.
  4. USA v Iran: What the USA will do
Now over at the Kiwipolitico blog, “Pablo” – aka Paul Buchanan – has linked to two articles he has written for the Australian Institute of International Affairs:
  1. Iran As A Strategic Actor.
  2. The Ideology of Iran.
In both cases Paul brings to bear his qualifications in geopolitics and international relations, plus his experience in the belly of the US military and diplomatic beast and I recommend both of them to be read.
Some key quotes from the first article:

The key strategic concerns of the Iranian state are to ensure the integrity of the nation, preserve the theocratic regime, promote domestic development and economic prosperity, ensure domestic peace and external security and be recognised as a legitimate regional power. 

Iran’s primary external threats come from its western and southern land and sea borders, but cross-national threats emanating from Afghanistan and Pakistan are in the mix as well. 

[They have] 523,000 active duty military personnel…., including 350,000 ground troops, 30,000 air force, and 18,000 naval personnel, plus other constabulary and intelligence services) and another 300,000 in reserve.

… it follows the doctrine of plausible deniability by allowing proxies and Quds Forces to undertake decentralised, autonomous operations at the discretion of field commanders.

As a balance, Iran maintains close ties with China, Russia, and Syria as well as Shiite groups throughout the world, and cordial relations with a number of other states, including India.

And from the second:

The ideological element in Iran is twofold: it sees itself as a global defender of Shiia Islam, to include defending against “Crusader” and Sunni Muslim encroachments on traditionally Shiite land and people; and it is anti-imperialist in its rejection of distant (again, Judeo-Christian) great power interference in the Middle East. 

The influence of the ideological element ebbs and flows depending on the level of threat perceived by the regime and the specific policy arena in question. 

Iran wants to demonstrate a nuclear weapons delivery capability so as to deter aggression by its enemies, especially the US and Israel. 

Iran has publicly renounced a first-strike option for its nuclear weapons and has instead spoken of using nuclear weapons only if attacked (unlike the US, which has not renounced the pre-emptive first-strike option). However, the international community fears that an Iranian nuclear weapons capability will precipitate a nuclear arms race with Sunni Arab countries and/or a pre-emptive attack by nuclear-armed Israel.

I don’t agree with some aspects of this, but it’s interesting stuff. Most of all I do not agree with the basic idea that we should treat the Islamic Republic of Iran – a nation that has since its inception explicitly advocated exporting its nutty Shiite Islamic Revolution – as anything less than an enemy of the West, An enemy that should not be fought in an active war with, but an enemy nevertheless.
Like any other nation Iran’s leaders may well want to ensure “the integrity of the nation,….promote domestic development and economic prosperity,…ensure domestic peace” – but just as with the old Communists all of that is subservient to the idea of the Revolution, in this case, a religious one.
To that end Iran is willing to sacrifice much of those other things, including the lives of its own subjects. Ensuring “domestic peace” alone has required a domestic body count that was bad during the 2009 protests against the election and even higher in the 2019 protests (some 1500 deaths by most accounts), let alone over the last forty years – and not counting all those souls rotting in prison and tortured before being released.
My main contention with Paul is that such complex and sophisticated analysis, while necessary, often obfuscates the simple differences between good societies and bad societies and leads to detente with the bad in the hope that it will become less bad over time. So with his his suggestion that the Soleimani killing offers:

….an opportunity to test classic concepts in international relations. Notions of misperception, miscalculation, brinkmanship, bluffing, escalation, and reputation, and how they make for the possibility of war, are all at play in the stand-off.

That’s all true. But I’m reminded that the same sort of analysis was applied to the Cold War, the decades-long struggle between the USA and the USSR, and was held to be the only way forward in living in a world with the USSR. And this basic disagreement can be seen with another quote:

… the “all stick, no carrot” approach adopted by the US under the Trump administration ignores the history of successful diplomacy with Iran and encourages the dominance of hardliners in internal debates about how Iran should engage generally and respond specifically to external events and conditions.

I’m not aware of any diplomacy with Iran that ever bent their ideological trajectory in the direction of behaving better internationally, which is surely what diplomatic “success” should be all about.

In any case I heard precisely that reasoning about the USSR in the 1980’s. US actions would strengthen the power of the hardliners – whereas it actually led to the rise of Gorbachev and his policies of Perestroika and Glasnost that, together with unaffordable military spending and a sheer loss of faith in Communism, eventually broke the USSR, which has improved our world greatly.

It was also the main argument about dealing with Russia that Obama used in 2008/2009; poor old Vlad was just reacting to the frightening warmonger Bush, hence the big “reset” button hit by Hillary. I don’t think any Democrat feels that way about Vlad now. Funny that.

The difference with Iran is that there is not even the closed mechanism of a Politburo and an ideology of earthly materialism to allow the rise of “moderates” in the nation. Their government has cleverly played the “moderate” vs. “hardline” argument in everything from domestic elections to foreign policy. Most of the world continues to fall for it.
It is a sham. There are no moderates in Iran that count; examples include former senior politicians Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi who have been under house arrest for years with no trial. The Ayatollah is the Supreme Leader: it’s why the IRGC and proxies such as Hezbollah ultimately report to him rather than the Iranian President, who can only be elected from a list of candidates approved by the Ayatollah and the Council of Guardians in the first place. That Guardian article revealed the sad truth even as it appealed to “President” Rouhani:

While acknowledging Rouhani’s limited ability to intervene in the affairs of the judiciary, which acts independently of his administration, the academics said the president should speak out to protest what they called a “grave miscarriage of justice”. 

When Ayatollah Khamenei dies he will be replaced by someone like him, just as he replaced the murderous thug Ayatollah Khomeini. That process presents only a faint hope for an Iranian Gorbachev to arise: depending on his age the likely conservative successor will maintain the same theocratic ideas for many years to come and push hard for them throughout the Middle East, with their violent proxy terrorist groups like Hisbollah as the stick.
By contrast, as I noted in an OP celebrating the fall of the Berlin Wall, The People Win, President Reagan had a different take on the matter of dealing with such enemies:

“I’d like to tell you of my theory of the Cold War. Some people think that I am simplistic, but there is a fundamental difference between being simplistic and having simple answers to complex questions. So here’s my strategy on the Cold War:  

We win, they lose.”

Given the tensions of the day Reagan never said that in public. But it was an absolutely necessary idea in order to shake up an establishment that had, like the rest of us, grown used to the notion that Communist nations were forever.
Same with Iran. My take is also simplistic in that the Iranian people will be much better off once the current theocratic regime is destroyed and that the US and other nations should enable that to happen via sanctions and other non-military methods. Just as an aside, after all the gays they’ve publicly hanged from cranes over they years it would be justice to see the same thing happen to a few of the Mullahs and senior IRGC officers.
After Iran, Saudi Arabia and company come next, starting with cracking down on their export of the Wahhabist theology to the West as a way of keeping the fundamentalist knives from their own throats at home.
But with the same ideological objective to be kept at the forefront: we win, they lose.

Written by Tom Hunter

February 9, 2020 at 4:28 am

Posted in New Zealand

Tagged with , , , ,

Worst. Nazi. President. Evah!

I was intrigued by this comment made by one “Toad” (not the original Kiwiblog Greenie I’m sure) over on the OP, “Here’s Why Boris Will Bolt In“. The comment purports to show President Trump’s anti-Semitic thoughts over the years, as a comparison to Corbyn, to argue that it is Trump who is the real anti-Semite while Corbyn is not.

Anyway, I decided to look into this and came up with a list of things that President Trump has done over the years with regard to Jews. It’s basically the difference between jokes told with the usual New York in-your-face brashness – and actions.

Trump moves US Embassy to Jerusalem. Based on an law passed with massive bi-partisan support years ago this is an action promised but not taken by the three Presidents preceding Trump, always because of “fears” about outbreaks of violence across the Arab world that would damage Israel-Palestine “peace process”. Naturally, nothing like that has happened since the move – which Trump also made sure to force in terms of physical action, just to make sure he was not stymied by the State Department wallahs.

Hanukkah at the White House. Including eight survivors of the Holocaust.

First Ever Sukkah at the White House.

President Trump To Have Lunch With 100 Orthodox Jews In NYC Next Week.

Trump Targets Anti-Semitism on College Campuses. This was actually argued by some of his opponents as being an example of anti-Semitism. I know, right?

Trump nominates openly gay man to federal appeals court. Actually on this last one, 40 Democrats voted against the gay person of colour. Thank goodness President Trump is there to override the homophobia and racism of the Democrat Party.

Note also that of these actions, only one could be argued to be concerned with Israel directly, and the mighty, mighty AIPAC that supports it in the USA. The rest are domestic actions, which likely won’t budge many of the 80% of American Jews who vote Democrat every election – and Trump knows that.

Of course the most obvious aspect of Trump and anti-Semitism is that his daughter converted to the Jewish faith in order to marry a Jewish guy.

Man, those Nazi’s who voted for President Trump must be unhappy with him.

Meanwhile, Corbyn can’t even bring himself to boot open Jew-haters from the British Labour Party.

Perhaps he likes their English sense of irony.

Written by Tom Hunter

December 13, 2019 at 9:25 pm

The Mouse That Roared

Who remembers that wonderful Peter Sellers comedy?
From Wiki, the plot:-
The minuscule European duchy of Grand Fenwick is bankrupted when an American company comes up with a cheaper imitation of Fenwick’s sole export, its fabled Pinot Grand Fenwick wine. Crafty prime minister Count Mountjoy (Peter Sellers) devises a plan.  Grand Fenwick will declare war on the United States,
Fast forward from 1959 to 2016 and NZ’s very own pint sized comedian, Murray McCully, declares war on the incoming US administration by sponsoring a UN resolution to help the Islamic  enemies of Israel crush the only democracy in the Middle East.
Image result for count mountjoy 
Image result for murray mccully mp
Perhaps I don’t read the right reports but I’m yet to see any careful and dispassionate analysis of the potential short, medium and long term effects of this extraordinary episode on the fortunes of New Zealand.  I doubt they will be positive.
I have some questions.
1  Did the cabinet approve the sponsorship of the resolution?  Was the PM kept informed the whole way through?
2  Was this resolution, and NZ’s pivotal part in it, a factor influencing PM John Key to resign?
3  How is it in NZ’s interests to sponsor a resolution organized by the lame duck Israel hating Obama administration in its dying days?
4  What effect will this episode have on NZ’s relationship with the incoming Trump administration? (Cast your mind back to the time when a surly and bitter NZ PM publicly opined that the loser would have been a better president than Dubbya.  Said loser went on to become the world’s most infamous shyster and bullshit artist.)
5  What effect will it have on NZ’s relationship with Israel.?  Will Israel stop sharing intelligence with NZ?  
6  Will there be adverse electoral consequences for National or is this just another beltway issue?
(This morning, Whaleoil carries a piece by one MohamedHassan from Radio NZ in which one is informed trade with Israel is around $100m while trade with major Arab states is 4.8b.)  That’s not a bad starting point.
Surely there must be some retired diplomat/MFAT staffer who has the intellectual grunt to produce a decent column on the subject.   Clearly, there are no journalists who are capable.
By the way, for what they are worth, my answers to the above questions are:-
1  I don’t know.
2  I don’t know but I wouldn’t be surprised if it did.
3  It isn’t. 
4  Adverse.
5  Severely adverse.
6  I think National will suffer a significant loss of votes.  Let’s see what the next polls have to say.

Written by adolffinkensen

January 8, 2017 at 12:57 am

Posted in New Zealand

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No Bargains in Gaza?

From the Wall Street Journal comes the news a Chinese company has agreed to pay $4.4 billion for an Israeli online gaming company.


SHANGHAI—A Chinese consortium led by Shanghai Giant Network Technology Co. and joined by a fleet of financial moguls including a private-equity arm set up by Alibaba founder Jack Ma has agreed to purchase an Israeli games business for $4.4 billion in cash.
The consortium of 11 investors—including Giant Investment Ltd., Yunfeng Capital, a private-equity firm co-founded by Alibaba Group Holding’s Mr. Ma, China Oceanwide Holdings Group Co., China Minsheng Trust Co., CDH China HF Holdings Company and Hony Capital Fund—will purchase a 100% stake in Caesars Interactive Entertainment’s subsidiaries, including mobile-games unit Playtika. A statement announcing the deal was released Sunday by Shenzhen-listed Chongqing New Century Cruise Co., a shell company bought by Giant Interactive Group last year.
Caesars Interactive Entertainment is a subsidiary under a joint venture between Caesars Acquisition Co. and Caesars Entertainment Corp. It has developed casino-style games including Caesars Casino, Bingo Blitz and World Series of Poker. The deal doesn’t include World Series of Poker and CIE’s real-money online gaming business.
The deal, underscoring the Chinese game developer’s ambition to expand overseas, is another big Israel-focused move by a Chinese firm. China National Chemical Corp. paid $1.44 billion for a 40% stake in crop-protection producer Adama Agricultural Solutions in July and last year Shanghai Bright Food took over Tnuva, Israel’s largest food producer, for more than $2 billion.”

Apparently Chinese investors have little interest in enterprises from Gaza.

Written by adolffinkensen

July 31, 2016 at 9:24 pm

Posted in New Zealand

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