…of courage and cowardice in the us – gaza? oh, that…

…in the face of atrocities, acquiescence, silence for some is anathema, complicity; for others, the path to acceptance and reward…

How does this story start? Well, we have an academic who states, I’m joining Norm Finkelstein tomorrow to commit civil disobedience in protest of Israel’s war on Gaza. Unlike some Western politicians who state and assume that any mere statement of principle is, ipso facto, its fruition, the academic does join the protest. And how do we know? On crooked timber where Corey Robin blogs, we read, Corey arrested. That point of ‘enough is enough’ can be gleaned in this earlier post, The Higher Sociopathy, where we have,

The Gaza war, you see, is not a war over tunnels. It’s not even a war in defense of Israel. It’s a war about…war, a war in defense of just war. Once upon a time, crackpots thought they were fighting a war to end all wars. That was its justice. Now they’re fighting a war in order to make just war possible. That is its justice.

The theory of just war is supposed to impose limits upon the launching and fighting of wars. It’s a condition of, a constraint upon, war. But here it becomes the end—both the aim and the justification—of war. Because that is the aim of Israel’s war, “civilians cannot be used” to make such a war “impossible.” They must instead be used to make it possible.

Clearly, Prof Robin is unworried about deeper moral issues such as jeopardising any votes or any contribution to  any Presidential ‘Library’ or any contributions to corporate party campaign coffers.

The patriotic performance of principled politicians? Well, just over a week ago, we had, Gaza crisis: Palestinian death toll climbs past 500 as hospital is hit. From that news report, we would get,

Speaking to the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, by telephone early on Monday, Obama expressed his concern over the deaths on both sides, the White House said in a statement.

In their second call in three days, Obama “reaffirmed Israel‘s right to defend itself” and called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

David Cameron also spoke to Netanyahu, reiterating “the UK‘s strong support for Israel‘s right to take proportionate action to defend itself from” Gaza rockets, while expressing condolences over the Israeli deaths and concern over the “mounting civilian casualties in Gaza“.

Cameron agreed with Netanyahu that the way out of the “spiral of violence” was through the Egyptian ceasefire initiative, a spokesman for the British PM said.

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…habsburg, 28 july; uk, 4 aug1914; ww 1 and all that…

…and, yes, the US on 17 Dec 1917…

As the march to insanity continues in quickstep and we await a happy failure to make that grave misstep, we take a look back – with some humour, albeit black. Crooked Timber does us the good deed. In this most folk would remember one actor in particular who had headlined a tv show in the US but famous in the UK for stuff like Jeeves and Wooster. Of course, Rowan Atkinson as Black Adder, priceless…

Even in the humour, a lesson. Wouldn’t want to face a machine gun without this. Poignant stuff.



…to be or not to be… a mook or a…


Since the proponents and exponents of misinformation and disinformation have so excelled in, and dominate, the former category, some of us have safely opted to strive to be in the latter. And we find some ways for keeping in shape or staying in shape, intellectually, that is.

Over at crooked timber John Holbo issues his invitation, Reason and Persuasion On Coursera – or – Look, Ma, I’m a MOOC

Over at simply statistics we have also all been invited to join the club, Data Science

And from the overall coursera menu we  can look at some popular offerings, Coursera Specializations: Focused Programs in Popular Fields

And to add the audio-visual to the brew, we have over at youtube an econ offering, Economics 1 – Lecture 1

Similarly, for those of us seeking to build or sharpen the stats skills, we have a taste of the open source R Studio with this sample, R Studio.

Of course, online learning is no replacement for actual class room learning with the personal interaction. But neither is it a futile effort, a time waster as some have suggested. In any case, the journey into curiosity and questioning can be rewarding in and of itself, leaving enough valuable time for enjoyable distractions.