Alan Dershowitz’ Long Reach

When Halle’s (Germany) Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Social Anthropology had invited Norman Finkelstein for a public lecture on freedom of expression in academia (see description below) and hosting a closed workshop on his new book project, Gaza – an Inquest Into its Martyrdom, they had certainly not expected an uproar. After all, the controversial, averted scholar on the Israel-Palestinian conflict had calmed down in recent years albeit never silenced. Quite the opposite. Finkelstein is a prolific writer, in his own words a “forensic author”, who constantly corrects much of the powerful propaganda about the 70 years’ ordeal of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank which is created and spread by many Zionists. For that he is still attacked, and Israel has banned the Jewish son of survivors of the Warsaw ghetto, Auschwitz and Majdanek extermination camps, i.e. the holocaust, from entering the country. Now, the workshop is over. As Finkelstein reported,

The workshop lasted five hours. It was normal, just as if I were anywhere else in the world. Hopefully, it will herald the new normal in Germany, which would be good for Truth, good for Justice, and good for Palestine.

The MPI had early on posted a statement on its webpage  with a later addendum, explaining why the workshop was internal. Halle’s obscure Antifa movement and the small Jewish community in the tiny university city in former Eastern Germany had organized a couple of demonstrations outside the complex. But what is important to note is that the event sparked international furor, in particular in Jewish news outlets. In particular remarkable is an article in The Jerusalem Post where retired Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz had been asked for statements. Dershowitz claims that,

“Finkelstein is not a scholar. He is a polemicist who misuses  sources and violates accepted standards of academic integrity.

“That is why he was fired (or not renewed) at universities at which he taught. It would be scandalous for the [Max] Planck Institute to lend its academic imprimatur to so non-academic a person.

“Let me add that the Planck would never seriously consider inviting and anti-Palestinian polemicist with a comparable lack of academic standing. He is invited because of his anti-Israel and borderline antisemitic polemics, not despite them.”

Thus smearing not only Finkelstein but also the MPI in Halle.

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It’s not over yet

As hardly anybody knows how she presently looks, incarcerated whistleblower Chelsea Manning had been portrayed by Katie Miranda at Mondoweiss in a more than humane way. A young and bright, beautiful woman with a future. When immediate past president Barack Obama, on his second last day in the White House, commuted her 35-yr sentence to end May 17, after 7 years of imprisonment, he finally infused sort of Hope he had promised long time ago for the brave American people and those around the world.

But is Manning’s ordeal reallyending soon? Not on his first day in office but couple of days later, in response to an article published yesterday in The Guardian, where she had analyzed Obama’s presidency and legacy, the notorious incumbent president Donald Trump used his unofficial Twitter account @realDonaldTrump to smear Chelsea Manning.

Manning did not mention Obama’s weakness. As she formulates it, she wants to draw a one simple lesson from President Obama’s legacy,

[D]o not start off with a compromise. They won’t meet you in the middle. Instead, what we need is an unapologetic progressive leader.

Ironically, self-proclaimed strongman Trump may even have been meant by Manning when demanding an “unapologetic progressive leader.”

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Faking the Facts

A yelling press secretary, Sean Spicer, a former public affairs officer of the US Navy reserve, bawled the press at the White House yesterday and forcefully tried to set the record straight: his boss’ inauguration was attended by more people than ever. No questions allowed.

The New York Times and the The Washington Post fact-checked his claims of size of the audience on the National Mall and subway ridership and proved incorrect figures.

22 January 2017 @ 6:36 pm

Last modified January 22, 2017.


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While he goes low, we went high

While a funny cartoon published on Truthdig had expected a million MEs in Donald Trump’s inaugural speech, it was rather dozens of WEs. Despite seemingly lining up with millions of American assumed losers, it was factually the majestic plural. Like sheepish schoolchildren, former presidents Carter, Clinton, and Bush jr. had to listen to what had gone wrong in the country (and that, not how) Trump will make America great again. Immediate past president Obama was just smiling. It is said that Trump had worked himself on the speech but it wasn’t anything else than what he had yelled during an endless and extremely profane campaign. Populism at its best. Dangerous and scary.

Inaugural Address 20 January 2017.

By President Donald Trump

Chief Justice Roberts, President Carter, President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, fellow Americans, and people of the world: thank you.

We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and restore its promise for all of our people.

Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for many, many years to come.

We will face challenges. We will confront hardships. But we will get the job done.

Every four years, we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power, and we are grateful to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent. Thank you.

Today’s ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one Administration to another, or from one party to another – but we are transferring power from Washington DC and giving it back to you, the people.

For too long, a small group in our nation’s Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost.

Washington flourished – but the people did not share in its wealth.

Politicians prospered – but the jobs left, and the factories closed.

The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country.

Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.

That all changes – starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment: it belongs to you.

It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America.

This is your day. This is your celebration.

And this, the United States of America, is your country.

What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.

January 20, 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.

The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.

Everyone is listening to you now.

You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement the likes of which the world has never seen before.

At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction: that a nation exists to serve its citizens.

Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves.

These are just and reasonable demands of righteous people and a righteous public.

But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system, flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge; and the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.

This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.

We are one nation – and their pain is our pain. Their dreams are our dreams; and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny.

The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans.

For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry; subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military; we’ve defended other nations’ borders while refusing to defend our own; and spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.

We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon.

One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions and millions of American workers that were left behind.

The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world.

But that is the past. And now we are looking only to the future.

We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power.

From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land.

From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first.

Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families.

We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.

It’s time to stop playing nice with those who want to destroy us. To win, politicians must offer more radical dreams

I will fight for you with every breath in my body – and I will never, ever let you down.

America will start winning again, winning like never before.

We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.

We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation.

We will get our people off of welfare and back to work – rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor.

We will follow two simple rules: buy American and hire American.

We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world – but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.

We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow.

We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones – and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate from the face of the Earth.

At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other.

When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.

The Bible tells us: “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.”

We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity.

When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.

There should be no fear – we are protected, and we will always be protected.

We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement and, most importantly, we are protected by God.

Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger.

In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving.

We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action – constantly complaining but never doing anything about it.

The time for empty talk is over.

Now arrives the hour of action.

Do not let anyone tell you it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America.

We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper again.

We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the Earth from the miseries of disease, and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow.

A new national pride will stir ourselves, lift our sights, and heal our divisions.

It is time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget: that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots, we all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American Flag.

And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams, and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty Creator.

So to all Americans, in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, and from ocean to ocean, hear these words:

You will never be ignored again.

Your voice, your hopes, and your dreams, will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way.

Together, we will make America strong again.

We will make America wealthy again.

We will make America proud again.

We will make America safe again.

And, yes, together, we will make America great again. Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.


Inaugural Address 20 January 2009.

By President Barack Hussein Obama

My fellow citizens:  I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you’ve bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors.

I thank President Bush for his service to our nation — (applause) — as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

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Where is Mitribah?


Temperatures the last couple of days in Kuwait and southern Iraq broke long-standing records for Asia with reaching 54 centigrades (129 F) in Mitribah and Basrah (on July 21 and 22, respectively), see here. Weather historian Christopher C. Burt even made the claim that the Kuwaiti reading may be the hottest temperature ever measured reliably on Earth.

In the above table, temperatures are displayed for the previous day. One may observe that Mitribah is right now hit by another heat wave, the third this summer with temperatures beyond 50 degrees.

When I lived in Kuwait between 2001 and 2007, never temperatures rose (officially) to or beyond 50 degrees (122 F). But people distrusted official announcements then. There seems to be a vividly discussed article in the Labor Law that nobody has to work outdoors if it is 50 degrees plus (as if it would make a difference if it was 49), and on one of the tall towers downtown the actual temperature was prominently displayed (in a way cheating the public since at 50 meters altitude it is considerably cooler anyway).

But where is Mitribah?


At the right longitude and latitude, GoogleEarth indicates in fact an outpost in the middle of the desert. It is actually located 34 km west to Highway 80, the road to and from Basrah. On that Iraqi armored divisions invaded Kuwait exactly 16 years ago in August 1990. And on that road the infamous turkey shoot happened six months later, when US and Canadian aircraft and ground forces attacked retreating Iraqi military personnel attempting to leave Kuwait on the night of February 26–27, 1991. Since then, the road is known as Highway of Death.

At the latest, since last year when probably thousands died in devastating heat waves in Pakistan (this year the same happened in India before the monsoon), the hottest places on Earth have ultimately been taken captive by global warming.

4 August 2016 @ 4:16 am.

Last modified August 4, 2016.

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