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Classic Thag, January 2012: Let’s Put Grandma in an Assisted Dying Facility

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senility

Originally posted January 7, 2012

Let’s not beat around the bush. Grandma isn’t getting any younger, and she’s no longer the independent woman we once knew. It’s time to make her remaining time on Earth easier by putting her in an Assisted Dying facility.

I hate the term “nursing home” just as much as you do, Jared. It’s far too euphemistic a phrase for a place that slowly sucks the will to live out of a person by immersing him or her in an environment characterized primarily by decaying minds and bodies. We should just call a spade a spade – and I do not refer here to the pinochle and bridge games with which Grandma will occupy her afternoons until the endless, grinding routine drives her into depression, malnutrition and death.

We know Grandma has a hard time getting around ever since she broke her hip, and she needs help just to do basic housekeeping. Well, at an assisted dying facility, they have staff dedicated to those tasks just to drive home the point that the residents have outlived any usefulness and might as well croak.

There’s also the matter of her hygiene and medical care. I admire Grandma’s mental acuity as much as the next member of this family, but we must honestly confront the question: can we rely on Grandma to take the right pills at the right times, and watch out for undesirable interaction between medications? And what about foods that make the medication regimen trickier? Would we ever forgive ourselves if she were to make a mistake, or forget she’d already taken that day’s dose, and wrought unspeakable havoc on her already failing metabolism? I doubt any one of us does not see the merit in having someone else watch over her, patronizingly doting on a fiercely independent spirit as if she’s a bumbling preschooler, to the point that Grandma no longer sees life as worth living.

DependsTruth is, Grandma’s been lucky. She hasn’t suffered from incontinence as much as most people her age. So she won’t even have to worry, initially, about needing an attendant to change her and wipe her, what with her restricted mobility and all. But that time will come, and we don’t want our dear Grandma to be left lacking where other seniors have to experience the indignity of surrendering personal hygiene to a condescending, able-bodied assistant who habitually uses locutions such as, “Oh, are we ready to have our diaper changed?”

It’s settled, then. Wanda, you and I should sit Grandma down and try to convince her this is the only realistic option. We have to stress how tough it is on us, having to devote so much time and energy to her care, time we should be using to take care of our own families and needs. She needs to see reason – that we cannot by ourselves make her wish to expedite her exit from this world. We need her cooperation.

That way, instead of squabbling over her estate, we can preemptively spend it on her stay at the assisted dying facility.

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Written by Thag

November 30, 2012 at 8:39 am

McGee Family Also Votes to Grant Palestinians Observer Status

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New York, November 29 (AP) – Following the lead of the United Nations, the family of Mike and Debra McGee of Flushing, New York, voted to grant the Palestinians the status of non-member observers in their household.

The measure passed 3-1 at a family meeting this morning over breakfast, just meeting the 75% requirement for passage of such a proposal. Both Mike and Debra voted in favor, with Alex, 18, opposed , Patricia, also 18, abstaining and Stacy, 15, in favor. Karl, 12, did not participate.

The vote followed weeks of intense debate among the members of the household whether to endorse the evolving Palestinian bid for statehood. While the positions of Mike and Alex were more or less clear from the beginning, Debra and Patricia had oscillated between lukewarm support and skepticism. Both reported they had been subject of heavy lobbying from supporters of Israel and of the Palestinians.

With the motion approved, the Palestinians will now have the right to participate in family meetings and possibly join various committees or groups that the McGees maintain. These include a Wednesday night poker game in which Mike plays a prominent role and a neighborhood watch program that Debra oversees, among many others.

But the status falls short of the full membership that the other family members enjoy. They will not be eligible to receive an allowance, despite the economic challenges facing the Palestinian Authority, and access to the family DVD collection will remain off limits. Similarly, family vacations will not include the Palestinian representative, but the representative will be permitted to sit in the passenger seat when any of the others drive the family car as part of the car pool for Karl’s Tuesday afternoon swimming lessons, if space is sufficient.

Perhaps most important, the delegation will not have a vote in family decision-making, which often covers areas of critical interest to, and impact on, the Palestinian issue: how to balance the individuals’ responsibilities with their privileges. The limited privileges will not offset the Palestinians’ obligation to clean the dishes every Thursday night, to take out the garbage every evening and to walk Sasha, the Labrador retriever, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.

The Israeli and American administrations declined to make any official statements in advance of the vote, trying to project nonchalance, in keeping with their stated interest to minimize the vote’s impact; they believe it will be shaped by perception more than substance. “The approval of this measure would give the Palestinian cause a symbolic victory at most,” said Marshall Law of the Near East Research Department (NERD), a non-partisan think-tank, before the vote. “Of greater concern to the supporters of both sides is how events play out in the long term. If Israel is seen to ascribe great significance to this vote that in itself will cast them as losing ground – but if they shrug it off, ironically, the impact of the approval will be much more manageable.” Privately, American and Israeli sources admitted they were initially surprised to learn of the Palestinian efforts to sway the McGees.

Other analysts echoed the NERD assessment. “The Palestinians can do very little with this tactically,” said Vida Minh, director of the Mediterranean-Occident Research-Outreach Nexus (MORON), “but it can be an important element in a strategic approach that relies on the accumulation of incremental pieces that, in aggregate, will eventually constitute a political fait accompli.” The only thing that would remain, said Minh, is a formal declaration of statehood.

That declaration may have to wait until many more pieces are in place. The McGees are but a small part of the Flushing community, and the Palestinians have historically not fared well among Flushing households, many of whom have professed support for Israel. They may have to settle for isolated expressions of symbolic endorsement in neighborhoods everywhere, a time-consuming approach.

Of greater concern is the geographic and political divisions among the Palestinians themselves, divisions that make any realistic state apparatus farfetched. The privileges that the Palestinians now enjoy in the McGee household will do little to offset the marginalization of the West-Bank-based Fatah faction of the Palestinian Authority if they cannot demonstrate that such privileges can translate soon into concrete advantages. The Gaza-Strip-based Hamas faction has been openly dismissive of the non-violent Fatah strategy, and have called any efforts to enlist the McGee family a waste of time.

The Palestinians have yet to outline their intentions following the acceptance of their application, but analysts widely expect them to focus next on the Fernandez family of Hempstead, Long Island.

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Written by Thag

November 29, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Couple in Failed Relationship Files for Marriage

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MALVERNE, NY (AP) – After three years of on-again, off-again dating, Hector Lopez and Maria Polkowski decided yesterday to put an end to their troublesome courtship, announcing a wedding date of December 31.

At a press conference on the steps of the city clerk’s office, Lopez, 41, and Polkowski, 39, explained that their decision involved a host of factors including their advancing ages, annual incomes, bathroom habits and the complete breakdown of both parties’ relationships with their respective parents. “Hector and I thought long and hard about this, “said Polkowski. “We shouted at each other every night for three weeks. I could have done more, but my vocal cords wouldn’t hold out.”

“A good thing, too,” added Lopez, “because she almost had me convinced it was time to dump that sad sack. But I took a good look in the mirror and asked myself if I’d really be better off with no one in my life to nag me for coming home drunk every day.”

The couple met in the waiting room at the dentist, when Lopez needed a root canal and Polkowski stopped in to deliver her back issues of Newsweek. The two struck up an awkward conversation, as Lopez’s pain prevented him from properly pronouncing most words. Polkowski made repeated unnecessary visits to Dr. Gertler’s practice on the off chance that Lopez would be there for further treatment. “I even took back issues of random magazines and supermarket circulars as an excuse,” she confessed. The dentist agreed to put them in touch, and the pair soon discovered shared interests in Kenny G, UFOs and gambling addiction support groups.

However, Lopez’s financial situation worsened after he was laid off from his pizza delivery job, and the instability threatened his relationship with Polkowski. The relationship petered out after several months, or so they thought: the two wound up on opposing sides of a car accident several months later, and the romance was rekindled. The next two years saw a cycle of co-dependence and enabling of destructive behaviors, primarily Lopez’s drinking and Polkowski’s addiction to daytime soap operas.

At the press conference, Lopez declined to specify how he intends to address the challenges of marriage. “It’s like playing house. I’ve played house before. It’s even more fun when you’ve had a few beers. So that’ll be what we do. Maria, isn’t that what Jack did on The Young and the Restless? Maria? Hello?”

At press time, Polkowski was unavailable, as press time coincides with the opening credits of The Bold and the Beautiful.

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Written by Thag

November 28, 2012 at 6:44 pm

Congress Forms Run-On Sentence Committee It Will Meet Monthly

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Washington, DC (AP) – The House of Representatives and Senate each took up the issue of the run-on sentence this week both houses inaugurated Run-On Sentence Committees to handle legislation written in that form.

Anticipated budget cuts are expected to include office supplies and ink this means the various documents used in legislation will have to use less ink one of the ways Congress will cope with that requirement is the elimination of many periods from the documents paragraphs that under normal circumstances would be divided into several discrete sentences will now be rendered as a continuous, if awkward, sentence.

“This is an important landmark in the evolution of the legislative process,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, “and I would especially like to thank the Republican leadership for demonstrating that we can work together on important issues I hope this is the harbinger of a fruitful period of bipartisan cooperation.”

The stenographers charged with recording the proceedings in Congress welcome the change as well they appreciate the effort it saves them every twelve or thirteen seconds instead of having to reach all the way over for the period key they simply keep on typing, “it takes a little bit of getting used to – old habits die hard,” said Theresa Olssen, a Senate stenographer since 2004, “but once we got the hang of it it was basically smooth sailing I think this approach should be taught in schools that’s how most people talk nowadays anyway.”

To kick off the Committee’s activities in Congress the House of Representatives plans a ceremony over which John Boehner will preside it will introduce the members of the committees on both houses the committees will consist of seventeen members in the 535-member House and eleven in the 100-member Senate the committees will convene on the first Wednesday of each month to monitor adherence to the new punctuation guidelines and discuss ways to improve the performance of any representatives lagging in adapting to the new run-on standard disciplinary measures may be weighed for those who continually revert to the previous format.

Boehner has warned his fellow Republicans to stay in line, as further changes are forthcoming they include a provision mandating other variations from classic grammatical and syntactical forms the dangling participle is already part of a draft proposal to be introduced in the spring in order to further save on explanatory clauses.

Being a new form, Boehner expects the participle, too, as well as the sentence ending with a preposition, to take time to get used to.

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Written by Thag

November 27, 2012 at 10:42 pm

Security Council Endorses Plan to Nuke Africa

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New York, November 26 (AP) – The United Nations Security Council voted 12-3 today to accept a joint European-American proposal to bring the horrific violent conflicts in Africa to an end by obliterating all human life there with nuclear weapons.

Protracted civil wars and terrorism in Congo, Rwanda, Nigeria and elsewhere have proved far too complex and bloody to resolve, explained US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice. “We thought we had the conflict in Congo licked ten years ago,” she said, “but government incompetence, corruption and disorganization, combined with rebel brutality and outside meddling, have made things worse.”

The West bears the lion’s share of responsibility for much of the bloodshed in Africa, said Jan Grauls, head of Belgium’s mission to the UN, and must therefore assume the bulk of the burden for ending it. Though not currently a Security Council member, Belgium’s brutal, exploitative administration of the Congo in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries prompted the nation to lobby council members heavily, in favor of a comprehensive solution. France, also once a colonizer of Africa and one of the council’s permanent members, aggressively took up the motion once it was introduced.

AIDS in Africa.

The Security Council released a statement that read, in part: “The Council has resolved to take one of its most drastic measures ever, in response to one of the most severe humanitarian crises ever. The civil wars, ethnic unrest and rampant disease in Africa cry out for a permanent solution. This decision paves the way for just such a solution, and the Council anticipates that nations with the means to participate in the effort will do so with alacrity. May the nations of the world always reach agreement this quickly when it comes to human suffering.”

It remains unclear when, if at all, the nuclear holocaust will be unleashed. The Council did not set a timetable, nor did it assign specific responsibility. Instead the members split into several working committees to hammer out a roster of participants and a preliminary list of necessary resources, and which countries might provide them.

The United States, Russia and China, as the three largest nuclear powers, are the obvious choices for supplying the materials, while France, Britain, India and Pakistan are far less likely to part with even part of their limited arsenals just to wipe a billion black people off the face of the Earth. Israel has never acknowledged possessing atomic weapons, and given the history of the Security Council’s perceived hostility to the Jewish state, is unlikely to participate. Iran is suspected of pursuing development of a nuclear arsenal, but maintains its nuclear program is strictly for civilian power generation and research; it nevertheless approached the Council with an offer to supply fissible material for the purpose of this initiative.

According to Noah Itall, Professor of International Relations at Columbia University, it is unlikely that any nuclear action will take place before 2014, and even then it will probably not cover the entire continent. “The most unstable, miserable parts of Africa are sub-Saharan, and that’s where the bulk of the effort will likely be directed,” he said in an interview. “That’s also where AIDS is most rampant, and where diamonds are fueling a bunch of brutal conflicts, so this initiative can kill three major birds with one stone.”

Whether or when the rest of the continent gets wiped clean will determine on a host of factors, chief among them the availability of oil and other natural resources in the target areas. For that reason, Egypt and other North African countries are likely to be spared, said Itall. “But East Africa will definitely be second in line – the famines and wars in Ethiopia and Sudan are just begging for this kind of resolution, and the instability and piracy of Somalia will probably mean a double dose of ICBMs.”

The three dissenting votes came from Togo, South Africa and Morocco.

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Written by Thag

November 26, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Misinformed Racists up in Arms over ‘Black’ Friday, Monday

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Boise, Idaho (Reuters) – The Aryan Secession Society (ASS) held a demonstration today in downtown Boise to protest the observance of Black Friday and Black Monday. Thirty-five ASS members held aloft placards proclaiming the United States a “White Christian Nation,” and chanting slogans to the effect that people of African descent do not deserve such a national holiday, let alone two.

The popularly accepted etymology of the terms has them referring to the kickoff of the post-Thanksgiving, pre-Christmas shopping season, when retailers anticipate seeing the red-ink deficit numbers turn to black-ink positive balances in their ledgers. To ASS people, however, any mention of the term “black” in a non-negative context threatens the perception of the world they wish to maintain.

In fact the term began in Philadelphia in the mid-twentieth century in reference to post-Thanksgiving pedestrian crowds, but ASS will hear none of it. “If it’s black, send it back!” read a sign, meaning back to Africa, where blacks, and humanity itself, originated.

“Keep Christmas White!” shouted Anthony LaRouche, who had brought along his four-year-old daughter Eva. “We’re not going to stand here and let some Kenyan turn our calendar into some set of perverted African pagan cannibal festivals,” he explained, betraying monumental ignorance of current events, history, anthropology and basic common sense. When informed that the term preceded Barack Obama’s presidency by several decades and had nothing to do with race, LaRouche called it “that much more insidious, because everyone thinks it’s innocuous.”

ASS founder and Director Skidd Marx exhorted his followers with a megaphone and haranguing passers-by to sign a petition calling for a repeal of the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth Amendments to the Constitution, a measure that they believe would revoke the citizenship of blacks, deny them the right to vote and restore them to slave status. The Amendments were ratified in the 1860’s and have long been a matter of national consensus.

“This nation could have been great, but it lost its way and now honors the wrong people!” Marx told the assembled crowd. “No more blacks in November! That’s all you need to remember!” The attendees took up the chant, making it all the way through five times before losing steam and waiting for Marx to say more.

Marx said he considered the gathering a success, especially in terms of numbers, as the organization has struggled to attract membership and attendance. “Our problem is our name – we don’t really have the name recognition of, say, a Ku Klux Klan or Aryan Nation,” he said. “But this time around we asked our members to bring along any family that might be staying with them for Thanksgiving, and that upped the numbers by at least ten.” Last year’s rally was canceled on account of rain.

Boise residents misunderstood the intent of the demonstration, thinking that the banners reading “ASS” were related to some election campaign, even though election campaign season ended weeks ago. “Isn’t that some environmental group?” asked Joe Whitaker, 38, a pharmacist visiting from Ketchum. “Americans for Safer Sewage or something like that?”

“What a dumb name,” he said, shaking his head as he walked away, holding this month’s issue of Ebony.

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Written by Thag

November 25, 2012 at 11:02 pm

Nate Silver Correctly Predicts Your First-Date Debacle

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New York, NY (AP) – Nate Silver, the statistician renowned for his accuracy in calling the outcomes of election campaigns, showed similar prowess in predicting that your first date with Stephanie would end in disaster.

Silver uses a complicated algorithm to model the objects of his predictions, though the actual code remains proprietary. His influential Five-Thirty-Eight blog, carried by the New York Times, correctly predicted the November 2012 electoral results in all fifty states plus the District of Columbia. In advance of your date, Silver’s analysis concluded with the assessment that the match was doomed from the start, albeit with significant comic potential.

Silver’s analysis examined your tendency to get lost driving through new areas, no matter how simple the layout or directions. In fact, as events turned out, you went to the wrong entrance of the apartment complex to meet Stephanie, and would up waiting at an unanswered door for ten minutes before managing to contact her on your mobile device.

He also cited your minimal forethought; this was borne out when, on the way to pick Stephanie up, you suddenly remembered to buy some flowers. You neglected to ask the florist for roses without thorns, ensuring that both you and Stephanie would struggle awkwardly to grasp the bunch of flowers. While you were in the shop, the police ticketed your car for parking in a No Standing zone.

This series of mishaps triggered what Silver had already seen as your lack of concentration when events do not go as planned, exacerbating the unease when you finally reached Stephanie’s door and all but shoved the bouquet of thorny roses into her arms. Your clumsy attempts to disentangle your sleeve from the thorns as they ensnared hers could have served as an experience over which to commiserate and perhaps bond, but your predisposition to overreaction made Stephanie more wary than she would otherwise be.

Silver predicted at least one occurrence of your closing the door too soon in eagerness to show gallantry, resulting in part of Stephanie’s clothes getting caught. It happened twice, once on the way into the car from her apartment and once on the way out.

Similarly, his analysis accounted for your impaired sense of humor, indicating somewhere between thirteen and sixteen attempts at jokes that would fall flat; four that would offend; and one that would convince Stephanie that the long-term prospects with a man such as you were grim. The only datum that did not match Silver’s prediction involved the last item, but only because the sweeping, ignorant, bigoted comment you were about to make regarding illegal immigrants was interrupted by a loud sneeze at a neighboring table. As a result of the sneeze you felt more compelled to make a misplaced, borderline vulgar remark instead, and the stilted conversation never again returned to immigrants, or any other topic of substance.

Silver assessed the odds of Stephanie wishing to continue the date after dinner at 27 to 1, in light of his other prediction that you would make a big display of properly calculating the tip down to the exact cent, and your pretending to know more about wine than you do, and doing it badly. Stephanie requested that you drive her home instead of stopping along the beach for a walk, as you had originally intended, and the drive home was wordless.

That last development gave Silver’s calculations an uncanny accuracy, as he has estimated the number of words exchanged between you and Stephanie at 8,775 for the entire evening, with you doing the vast majority of the talking. When you entered the car to drive her home, the total had reached 8,768, leaving only the “Good night,” and “See you” to bring the final total within three of the prediction.

Silver also accurately predicted that you would nearly crash the car in frustration on your way home, where you would kick yourself repeatedly for the cluster of errors. He also gave you a 96% chance of drinking yourself to sleep that night, but not before failing to console yourself with some online porn, an act that would only further depress you by highlighting the gap between fantasy and your soul-crushing reality.

However, Silver did not dare predict anything long-term that Stephanie would do afterwards; his notes explained that empirical analysis has yet to produce a reliable predictive mechanism for female behavior.

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Written by Thag

November 25, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Evangelical Missionary Thinks He’s Accomplishing Something

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Jerusalem (AP) – Scott Carter, 22, of Louisville, Kentucky, came to the Holy Land a year ago after finishing his undergraduate degree in Religious Studies at Bob Jones University. He spends his days plastering flyers about Jesus on various surfaces throughout town, in the bizarre belief that it will result in something.

“It’s my responsibility as a member of the human race to make sure no one is denied the opportunity to accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and savior,” said the inexplicably naïve Carter, whose years in academia should have exposed him to the fact that people really don’t give a damn about his message. “I come with a message of peace and love,” he continued, leaving unmentioned the eternal suffering and shame he foresees for anyone who declines to accept that message.

Carter chose specifically to come to Christ’s old stomping grounds because, ironically, so many of the inhabitants of Jerusalem have not heard the gospel. “It’s such an opportunity for me, and for all the people of this city,” he gushed, either ignorant or dismissive of the centuries of oppression, murder and violence the non-Christians to which he refers have suffered at the hands of Carter’s fellow believers. He also operates under the curious assumption that he offers people succor unavailable to them within their own traditions.

His most recent effort includes a poster with an obscure reference to an out-of-context verse in Isaiah that he and other Christians believe refers prophetically to Jesus; Carter put the poster up in various prominent places throughout the city, including a notice board near the Jerusalem Mall and another near the Central Bus Station. For reasons not entirely clear, he believes the mere sight of the poster will inspire people to visit the url printed at the bottom, when in fact the few people who care enough to react do so by tearing down the posters. Several posters have already been obscured by ads for Kung Fu instruction and a local performance by a mediocre DJ.

In his studies at Bob Jones, Carter received nothing but support for his evangelical dream, not once considering why a merciful God would condemn His creations to perdition for not being born or raised with access to the supposedly crucial acceptance of Jesus as savior. “My professors all shared my ambition of bringing the Truth to humanity,” he recalled, failing to grasp that by triggering the inevitable rejection or ignoring of his message, Carter would thereby damn tens of thousands of people who otherwise might be excused for not encountering it.

“Scott Carter is hardly unique,” says Dr. Hera Tik, who teaches the Sociology of Religion at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. “We get hundreds, perhaps thousands of evangelical visitors every year, each one of whom genuinely believes all it takes to sway Jews, Muslims or atheists is mere exposure to the Christian arguments.”

In fact the few people that Carter and his ilk manage to attract, says Tik, come from backgrounds with little or no religious education, and are ill-equipped to understand the ways in which Christian proof-texts from the Jewish Bible often mistranslate the original Hebrew or interpret verses out of context. Carter has never thought about the fact that no Jew with an actual grounding in the study of Scripture will ever see an ounce of merit in his claims, and no Muslim would give credence to a belief system his tradition regards as superseded.

“For a Jew, it’s an insult to be told that his three millennia of scholarship are somehow supplanted by facile distortions of his texts,” explained Tik. “And no Muslim in his right mind would care about the sophistry of a religion rendered obsolete more than 1400 years ago.”

Carter, however, is pressing ahead with plans to expand his missionary activities. Next week he intends to position himself at the Western Wall plaza in the Old City, distributing leaflets to passers by that attribute the admonishment to love one’s neighbor as oneself to Jesus. The commandment first appears in Leviticus, composed about 1400 years before Jesus existed. At press time, Carter still nurtured the illusion that his activities would accomplish anything.

“My group will be having a prayer meeting on Tuesday evening,” he told a reporter. “You should come.”

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Written by Thag

November 24, 2012 at 10:13 pm

Hitler Disappointed with Hamas Performance in Recent Conflict

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“I’d facepalm, but the German word for that is two pages long.”

Berlin, Germany (AP) – The Führer of the Third German Reich, Adolf Hitler, expressed disappointment yesterday at The Hamas movement’s attainments during Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense, sources close to the deceased German Chancellor say.

The founder and leader of Germany’s National Socialist movement since the 1920’s, Hitler expected Hamas to kill far more Jews than its rocket attacks actually did. Israel’s Iron Dome system shot down hundreds of Hamas rockets aimed at populated areas, and one of the fatalities resulted not from a rocket but a mortar shell. In that attack, an Israeli Bedouin was also killed; Hitler found that achievement of dubious merit, as the Arabs have always been, in the Führer’s mind, important allies in ridding the world of Jews.

“It’s really quite a pathetic display,” said Martin Bormann, a deceased Hitler aide. “The Führer was able to get his followers to kill far more Jews, and with often more meager resources than Hamas has at its disposal. I mean, the Reich didn’t even develop rockets until late in the war, and we still managed to kill the bulk of Europe’s Jews.”

Fawzi Lajjiq, a Hamas spokesman, defended the organization’s performance, citing logistical and tactical factors. “The number of Jews killed was largely a matter of chance,” he explained. “We didn’t have the wherewithal to employ our vintage tactics of commando operations,” Hamas’s term for suicide bombings, “and the cowardly Israelis were too scared to actually begin a ground assault, which deprived our fighters of the opportunity to kill many Jews more directly.” He expressed the hope that with further assistance from Iran, the organization would acquire the means to spill more Jewish blood.

In fact the connection with Iran troubles Hitler, said Bormann. “[President of Iran Mahmoud] Ahmadinijad is a staunch denier of our efforts to wipe out the Jews,” he noted. “He might share our goals in that regard, but we made it our life’s work to free the world of those hook-nosed, dirty, greedy, treacherous devil-spawn, and to have him say we never did such a thing, with just a wave of the hand, is insulting.”

Hitler actually harbors the hope that emerging world powers will finish the job he started. “The local players in the Middle East are far too backward and fractured to do things properly and thoroughly,” said Rudolph Höss, also a Führer confidante. “We’re banking on such rising stars as Venezuela and China to eventually see things through.” Venezuela has close ties to the various enemies of Israel, especially Iran, but although they play an outsize role in the oil trade, their political clout is limited. China tends to look inward, but in recent years as invested heavily in building relations with African countries, many of which are hostile to Israel.

“The Reich started in 1933, and is supposed to last a thousand years,” mused Höss. “So if it takes a few more decades to clear the world of Jews, that’s not a big deal.”

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Written by Thag

November 23, 2012 at 4:09 pm

With Gaza Fighting Over, World Refocuses on Ignoring Syria Conflict

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Dead Syrians. Let’s face it: you don’t care.

Damascus, Syria (AP) – Now that a cease-fire has taken effect between Israel and the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, international attention is returning to anything but the ongoing civil war in Syria.

The war, which has claimed about 50,000 lives in its twenty months, has reached a strategic stalemate; loyalist air power continues to pound rebel positions and supply lines, while the opposition has gained political backing from players such as France, Britain and the Arab League. But worldwide appetite for actual intervention remains all but nonexistent, primarily because no one really cares.

“It’s one thing if Israel is involved, because everyone can get behind an anti-Zionist initiative,” said a frustrated rebel spokesman in Aleppo. “But as soon as you take Jews out of the equation, it doesn’t matter how many Muslims or Arabs die. Just look at Iraq,” he said, referring to an insurgent campaign of terrorist bombings that gets mentioned in Western media outlets but generates no agitation for intervention of any sort.

Neighboring Turkey, though welcoming to rebels and refugees, is loath to actively intervene. A member of NATO, the country has requested that the alliance arrange for batteries of Patriot missiles be stationed along its Syrian border to protect Turks and Syrians on its side of the frontier from Syrian loyalist air power. “That’s about all we have the stomach for,” said a Turkish diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation. “On second thought, to hell with the anonymity. I’m Mustafa Jarmuk, and I’ll say it outright: we really don’t give a damn about Syria. If Jews aren’t involved, the rest of the world really couldn’t give a crap.”

Egypt has its own challenges. On top of the efforts to broker the Israel-Hamas cease-fire, Cairo is now grappling with increasing unrest over a series of deadly accidents and popular frustration with the perceived lack of systemic or economic change since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak as President. Protesters demanded this week that the Prime Minister resign. Moreover, Egyptians are quite happy to see Syrians suffer, as the two countries have often vied for leadership in the Arab world. Any attempt to resolve the conflict would mean a quicker end to Syrian misery.

Iran openly supports the Assad regime, providing arms, logistical support, training and personnel, but only as a vehicle for attaining regional hegemony. The less the world pays attention to the Syrian war, the more effectively Iran can help Assad wipe out the insurgency, after which he would massacre rebels and their hometowns by the tens of thousands while the world looked away.

Western powers have no appetite for further intervention in the Middle East, following the mixed results of such operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. China and Russia have repeatedly stymied UN Security Council efforts to rein in Assad’s forces, preferring to see Syrians slaughter each other with impunity. Any attempt to intervene would jeopardize that goal.

“Syria has, what, four million people?” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. “It should only take them another few decades to kill one another off completely.”

“We can wait,” he said.

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Written by Thag

November 22, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Unused Grad Rocket Feeling Left Out, Inadequate

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Gaza City, Gaza Strip (Reuters) – GL-5678832, a Chinese- made Grad missile, is the only unit in its lot of 32 missiles to remain unused, and is questioning its self-worth.

“I don’t know what they think is wrong with me,” it said. “I passed Quality Control. I’ve been properly assembled. Somebody even scrawled a boastful, demeaning message to Israelis on my fuselage. I was all set to be loaded into a 122 mm 9P132/BM-21-P launch tube and sent hurtling over the border, but – nothing.”

GL-5678832 was stored with its lot-mates in an underground bunker in the city of Khan Younis, only to be moved last Thursday to a location closer to the border in anticipation of launching. The Hamas crew managed to fire all the other missiles in the lot, but on Saturday the Israel Air Force struck the building in which the rocket was waiting, causing it to collapse. The falling debris buried the building’s cellar, blocking access to the rocket. A separate, simultaneous strike killed three members of the five-man launch crew and seriously injured the other two.

“I still have these visions, these dreams, you know?” continued the missile. “My whole purpose is to terrorize, and maybe inflict some lethal bodily harm along the way. Is it too much to ask that I embed some flaming shrapnel in the torso of some Israeli kid? I mean, I know even some of my buddies didn’t make it all the way – GL-5678844 had a damaged tail fin and fell on a house a couple of miles away, killing a bunch of Palestinian children – but at least they got to try, you hear what I’m saying?”

GL-5678832’s situation is hardly unique, says Tera Risst, an expert on guerrilla movements and asymmetrical warfare. “There are literally thousands of unused rockets strewn about the Gaza Strip. Some were damaged in Israeli strikes. Some were mishandled and couldn’t be fired. Some haven’t been completely unpacked and assembled yet. And some, the fighters simply didn’t get a chance to use.”

“It can be a source of real self-doubt for a rocket to get so close to fulfilling its purpose and then, through no fault of its own, come up short – literally and figuratively,” she continued. “It’s crucial that these projectiles get the emotional support they need, or the Gaza Strip is going to have a crisis on its hands.”

The risks of leaving the emotional turmoil untreated, explained Risst, include depression, suicidal thoughts and unstable behavior. For any individual rocket the situation is risky enough, but if any of the unused missiles spend prolonged periods of time in one another’s company, the effects are compounded. “These units desperately need someone to sit down with them and explain that nothing here is their fault, that there are forces much larger influencing events – and above all, to just give them a listening ear,” she stressed.

Such help is unlikely to be available anytime soon, warned Bura Kratt, a social worker with the nonexistent Gaza City Municipal Welfare Office. Hamas resources, already challenged by the logistical obstacles thrown up by all the recent destruction, are likely to focus primarily on replenishing stockpiles of rockets, and not on maintenance of the older units.

Foreign donors are also unlikely to provide funding or personnel for the necessary counseling. The European Union generally reserves its funding for infrastructure, education and peacemaking initiatives, while Muslim countries such as Iran favor training humans to use more and different varieties of weapons, then providing them. GL-5678832 will have to muddle through on its own.

At press time, social workers were spreading throughout Israel’s south to help residents cope with the aftereffects of the Palestinian rocket fire. No plans have been announced to counsel the unused projectiles in the antimissile Iron Dome system, which brutally shot down hundreds of innocent Grad rockets.

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Written by Thag

November 22, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Peace-Loving Syria, Pakistan Denounce Israeli Aggression

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Jerusalem (Combined News Agencies) – The peaceful regimes of Syrian President Basher al-Assad and Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan issued condemnations of Israeli actions in the Gaza Strip today, calling on the international community to step in to prevent further mistreatment of the beleaguered, innocent Palestinians.

Syria, currently in the midst of a twenty-month-old peaceful uprising against Baath Party rule, is attempting to use its position as a beacon of human rights to lead the Middle East toward justice and security. Estimates differ on the number of Syrians killed as a result of the peaceful civil war; the numbers range from about 40,000 to more than 51,000. Syrian warplanes non-violently bombed Damascus suburbs today, adding to a death toll since the weekend of about 200.

Syria issued a statement that condemns “the crimes of the Israeli barbarians against the Palestinian nation and government in the Gaza Strip.” Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabanni Khar used the term “aggression” in denouncing Israel’s actions, which came as a result of persistent rocket fire on Israeli towns and cities in the south of the country.

Both Syria and Pakistan have histories of harboring peace-loving terrorist organizations and individuals. Syria, until a recent falling-out that resulted from the completely non-violent civil war, hosted the headquarters of Hamas, the Islamist organization that runs the Gaza Strip and instigated the rocket attacks on Israel. For reasons not entirely clear, Hamas is considered a terrorist group by Israel, the United States and the European Union. Assad’s regime has also welcomed the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command; Abu Nidal; and assorted other Palestinian groups, each of which has perpetrated peaceful acts of terror that resulted in the deaths of Israelis and Jews worldwide.

Pakistan has long sponsored armed groups and terrorists in its struggle with neighboring India over the disputed territory of Kashmir; the 2008 Mumbai attacks were but one in a series of bombings and shootings by groups based in Pakistan. The country also harbored the famous pacifist Osama Bin Laden until he was killed in a raid by American commandos in May 2011. Bin Laden’s peaceful activities have sparked nonviolent conflicts throughout Asia and the Middle East resulting in the deaths of thousands of people.

Israel has yet to respond to Pakistan’s and Syria’s earnest pronouncements, presumably because they have been too busy planning a series of brutal massacres in the Palestinian imagination.

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November 21, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Hamas Militant Can’t Wait to Be Killed by Superior Firepower

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Gaza City, Gaza Strip (AP) – Ahmad Kawasmeh, 22, is in many ways your typical resident of the Gaza Strip: young, unemployed, fervently Muslim and uncompromisingly anti-Israel. He also boasts an infectious enthusiasm for being shot, dismembered, burned, crushed or otherwise killed in a looming confrontation with the Israeli Army.

“Ahmad reminds us what it’s all about, with his youthful exuberance,” said Mahmoud Salah, his commander in the Izzedin-el-Qassam Brigades, the main Hamas fighting force. “Most of us walk around with bravado, boasting of the Zionist soldiers we’ll kill, the tanks we’ll blow up, the aircraft we’ll shoot down. Ahmad is different. He’s all about the pure experience of being overwhelmed by superior firepower and dying in a painfully frustrating fashion.”

Salah said Kawasmeh reminded him of a Hamas fighter killed in confrontations with the IDF in 2010. “Hamdi [Al-Tuq] tried to fire an antitank missile at a bulldozer, but an Israeli tank shot the missile,” he recalled. “Then the tank’s turret rotated a few degrees, and bam, Hamdi was in a dozen pieces. I’ll never forget him for that. He lived and died what it’s all about.”

The Hamas militants are keenly aware that their only real option in a ground conflict is to booby trap the hell out of every room in every building and exact as heavy a toll as possible on the invading Israeli troops. They also know that no matter how many soldiers they dispatch, the technologically and logistically superior IDF will kill more of them. They are already getting a taste of the disproportionate capabilities, with at least sixty fighters among the one hundred dead Gazans in the last five days and not a single Israeli soldier killed. Three Israeli civilians have been killed by Hamas missiles.

Kawasmeh. You can see it in his eyes.

Those statistics have made Kawasmeh even hungrier to meet his fate. “You can see it in his eyes,” says Jibril Abu Kluf, a comrade. “He wants to be the one crushed under the rubble of a collapsing arms storage depot. He wants to be the one torn apart by Israeli naval gunners before he can launch that missile at Tel Aviv. He wants to be standing on a rooftop when a bomb lands, flattening him before collapsing the structure like a pile of blocks.”

Gaza has no shortage of young men like Mr. Kawasmeh; it is a veritable breeding ground for unemployment, frustration, prejudice, isolation and radicalism. On track to be unlivable by 2020, Gaza is teeming with Hamas recruits – or potential recruits – itching to take out their frustrations on whatever outside forces can be blamed, and die trying. Anything to avoid actually trying to transform the place into a thriving trade corridor.

“Trying to do anything other than ‘resist’ Israeli ‘Occupation’ would mean admitting that Palestinians’ problems have solutions that do not involve lobbing rockets at Israeli towns and trying to blow up buses full of Israeli schoolchildren,” explained Mustafa A-Salka, who studies what passes for the Gaza economy. “The leadership of Hamas has far too much at stake in terms of its standing to blame anything but the Zionists, and they control what goes on in Gaza. Young men such as Ahmad Kawasmeh will naturally gravitate toward the only career options the Hamas makes available.”

Hamas can and does supply a limited number of positions in propagandizing, but the clumsy performance of the Gaza publicity machine so far in this conflict does not inspire additional candidates to want to be associated with the debacle. “At least with getting blown to smithereens, there’s a clear right way to do it,” says Kawasmeh. “And no Zionist pig soldier is going to stop me from – well, he might, actually, come to think of it. For some reason those Israelis have reasons to value life.”

“It’s not something I can wrap my head around.”

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Written by Thag

November 20, 2012 at 7:56 pm

BBC Reporter Accidentally Files Pro-Israel News Item

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Gaza City, Gaza Strip (Reuters) – Paul Danahar, a veteran correspondent with the British Broadcasting Corporation, erroneously submitted footage and voice-over that could be construed as pro-Israel today, raising tensions with Hamas and calling into question the professionalism of the BBC. The BBC has come under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks over various scandals at home and abroad.

The report, a two-minute clip showing Hamas militants firing rockets toward Israel from within residential areas, included mention of the deliberate targeting of civilians by Hamas and the Israel Defense Forces’ efforts to avoid civilian casualties in aerial attacks on Gaza. It also correctly identified several filmed locations as Israeli cities and towns, instead of using the scenes as a backdrop to the continuing violence within the Gaza Strip.

The BBC was quick to retract the report, noting that such a clear bias toward Israel is unbecoming of a BBC reporter. Official BBC policy calls for Israel to be cast in as negative a light as possible, even if that requires the fabrication or blatant misrepresentation of footage.

“The BBC regrets the harm it may have caused to the public relations efforts of the Islamic Resistance Movement,” said the organization’s statement, using the full name of Hamas. “We will redouble our efforts to prevent such sloppy reporting, including a thorough reexamination of our procedures to ensure that sympathy for Jews Israelis never takes precedence over rage at them for daring to populate the Middle East. Or anywhere else.”

This is not the first time a BBC reporter has mistakenly let the facts get in the way of a good anti-Israel story. In August, an explosion rocked a house in the Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis. Eager to pin the blame on Israel, which denied involvement, BBC reporter Wyre Davies rushed to the scene to interview the father of a boy killed in the blast. But the father refused to cooperate, insisting the explosion resulted from the misfire of a Hamas rocket, and loudly lamented the militants’ use of his neighborhood as a launching point. Davies personally apologized to Hamas for failing to prepare properly, and has since learned to clear every report with Hamas’s Ministry of Information before airing it.

The BBC is not the only network to run into difficulties maintaining a consistent anti-Israel bias. American network CNN must reckon with US public opinion staunchly in favor of Israel, and must tread a delicate line in its attempts to foment anti-Israel sentiment. The network had to issue a watered-down correction for reporting that a boy was killed in an Israeli air strike; in fact he was most likely killed by a Hamas rocket that fell short, and CNN was one of several networks that took the anti-Israel accusations at face value. Only after their dishonesty was pointed out did CNN attempt to backtrack.

Asked about whether he sees a worrisome media trend in these developments, Hamas spokesman Yahya Fakir questioned whether they had even occurred. “Nothing happens unless we say it happened,” he explained. “The missiles that everyone said hit a field several miles south of Jerusalem actually hit the Knesset. And millions of Israelis are cowering in their bomb shelters, urinating in their clothes in fright. The country’s economy is quickly crumbling.” The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange index rose for the second straight day, according to Bloomberg Business News, a notoriously non-anti-Israel outlet.

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November 19, 2012 at 11:14 pm

Hamas: Rocket off Tel Aviv Coast Targeted Sea-Dwelling Jews

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Israeli police at the impact site of a Fajr-5. Abject terror is third from left, between the two humans.

Gaza City, Gaza Strip (AP) – A Fajr-5 missile struck the Mediterranean Sea off Tel Aviv yesterday, in an attack Hamas says was aimed at Jews living in the water. It is but the latest move by the militant organization to strike terror in the hearts of Israelis.

In the rocket salvo, one exploded in the water and the others were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome system, which is deployed to shoot down medium- and short-range missiles that would otherwise hit populated areas.

“The enemy’s weakness is his assumption that we are trying to hit only the cities,” said Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman. “We will hit the Zionists everywhere; they cannot hide.” Over 700 rockets have struck Israel from the Gaza Strip since January, but only over the weekend did any reach as far as Tel Aviv. Another two fell in open areas south of Jerusalem, where, the Hamas spokesman said, there were known to be “Zionist sheep.” Initially, Hamas had said those missiles were aimed at the Knesset, Israel’s parliament building.

The targeting of Israelis living off the Mediterranean coast represents a shift in Hamas tactics, but an adherence to a venerable strategy, according to John Glubb, a military historian at the University of Amman, Jordan. “Already in 1948, when Israel was founded, Arab leaders vowed to push the Jews into the sea,” referring to the Mediterranean, he said.

“Hamas might have been aiming at more densely populated areas in Israel until now, but the Iron Dome system makes it a more logical choice to target the more vulnerable Israelis – the ones that the Arabs have managed to actually push into the sea in the intervening sixty-four years.”

That type of psychological warfare has served Hamas well in recent episodes of armed conflict, even extending to claiming that specific shards of shrapnel from their rockets were intended for specific targets. A car destroyed by the falling debris from a missile intercepted by the Iron Dome system was a “Zionist vehicle of oppression.” A call to the Peugeot company went unanswered, leaving unclear whether the entire 307 series should be designated as such, or whether the description referred only to the specific unit that was destroyed.

On many occasions Hamas has vowed to “Open the gates of Hell” in response to various Israeli actions, and indeed the gates of Hell appear to be located in the narrow, crowded, impoverished strip.

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Written by Thag

November 18, 2012 at 10:53 pm

Gaza Strip Dangerously Low on Fake Blood, Agency Warns

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This is what happens when you can’t distinguish between friend and faux.

Gaza City, Gaza Strip (Reuters) – The Palestinian Red Crescent Society has warned that the coastal strip’s supply of fake human blood is close to depleted, and that as a result Hamas must increasingly resort to other forms of media manipulation in the ongoing battle for public perception with Israel.

“Just last week the inventory stood at 40,000 liters, but Israeli attacks both real and imagined have reduced the supply to less than 4,000 liters in a matter of days,” said spokesman Yahya Fakir. “And the ongoing Israeli blockade has made it nearly impossible to obtain a reliable supply.” Israel maintains a naval blockade on the Gaza Strip to prevent weapons from entering the territory. Smuggling tunnels from Egypt are the only other avenue for bringing in goods and materiel, and those tunnels have come under attack in the current Israeli air offensive.

To illustrate the dire circumstances facing the Red Crescent, Fakir pointed to a BBC video of a wounded man being carried by his comrades. The BBC reporter described the man as suffering the injuries in an Israeli air attack, and then the man could be seen getting up walking under his own power, clearly healthy. “This is the kind of unprofessional charlatanry to which we must now resort,” lamented Fakir.

In another case, a young child was brought to a hospital and pronounced dead from shrapnel wounds that Hamas was quick to blame on Israel, even though the IDF did not report a strike in the area at the time and no bystanders reported witnessing an attack. The child’s death resulted from a Hamas rocket that fell short, but the authorities had to resort to quick removal of the shrapnel and other evidence in order to make the accusation less obviously false. “If we had more fake blood our job would be much easier, but our stockpile was mostly destroyed in the first few hours of bombing,” Fakir explained. The Red Crescent’s medical warehouses share space with Hamas missile storage and launching facilities.

The admission statistics at Gaza City’s Shifa Hospital have shifted noticeably from the first day of fighting. While initially large numbers of patients were admitted for puncture wounds and lacerations conducive to the use of fake blood, the shortage of that precious material has forced the Hamas-run facility to document many more injuries of a different nature, such as broken limbs or heart attacks.

Already, some Gazans have taken matters into their own hands, trying to produce homemade blood. One group of activists in Khan Younis creatively made holes in the body of a man they accused of collaborating with Israel, using bullets to the head and torso, and allowed much of the blood to drain out for collection. Others have mixed together brownish-red paint, which itself is in short supply as a result of a relentless postering campaign by Hamas.

Israel has said it will open the Kerem Shalom crossing into the Gaza Strip for the passage of basic necessities such as food and medical supplies, but fake blood will not be included on that list, said a Ministry of Defense spokesman. He declined to comment on Israeli manipulation tactics, which include placing upwards of one million civilians in cities and communities that lie within rocket range of the launching sites.

Joe Goebbels, an expert on international media, expressed surprise that Israel was trying to intercept the incoming rockets with its Iron Dome system. “There would be much more sympathy for an IDF operation if Israel would allow more rockets to get through and cause massive casualties,” he said in an interview. “I just don’t know what they’re thinking.”

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November 18, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Venezuela Geological Survey Finds No Evidence of Hamas War Crimes

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Venezuelan topography. Not a Qassam rocket in sight.

Caracas, Venezuela (AP) – A ten-year, government-sponsored geological study of Venezuela has turned up no evidence of war crimes by the militant Hamas organization. Hamas runs the Gaza Strip and is currently engaged in hostilities with Israel.

“This study proves conclusively who holds the moral high ground,” said President of Venezuela Hugo Chàvez. “It is high time the international community lay the blame squarely at Israel’s doorstep for whatever atrocities have taken place.”

The study, which covered nearly all of Venezuela’s 882,050 square kilometers, examined topography, climate and paleography, paying specific attention to the petroleum-rich deposits under and around Lake Maracaibo. The authors write that despite their exhaustive search, they were unable to find a single piece of evidence linking Hamas with any of the accusations leveled at the organization by Israel: that it targets civilians in rocket attacks; that it specifically launches rockets from heavily populated areas; or that it subjects its prisoners to torture.

Hamas officials welcomed the publication of the study. “The Islamic Resistance Movement has always known it is just,” said an organization spokesman, Mahmoud A-Zahar, using the organization’s full name. “We have always maintained that ours is the side of right, the side of morality, while the Zionist pig-dogs routinely commit horrifying massacres and genocide.” A-Zahar spoke by satellite phone from a bunker in a densely populated neighborhood of Rafah, a city at the Egyptian border.

A narrower maritime study sponsored by Iran in 2009 came to similar conclusions, noting that not a shred of evidence linking Hamas to rocket attacks could be found anywhere on the sea bed within thirty kilometers of the coast of the Arabian Gulf, which Iran calls the Persian Gulf. In 2010 Iran also conducted a study of precipitation patterns near the city of Meshed, and reported finding nothing that would link Hamas to a string of deadly suicide bombings in Israel between 2000 and 2003. The report authors suggested that Israeli media had fabricated those events.

Human rights organizations expressed cautious acceptance of the report. The International Solidarity Movement, which monitors Israeli military actions in the Occupied Territories, issued a statement praising the government of Venezuela for its work in advancing human rights and justice, but fell short of giving the report its unequivocal backing because it did not explore the ways in which Israel can be unfavorably compared with Nazi Germany.

Human Rights Watch also acknowledged the study but reserved judgment, saying that it found some inaccuracies in the data. “While we accept that Hamas is blameless, we wonder why the researchers did not explore the obvious and important evidence that Hezbollah is similarly innocent.” Hezbollah, a Shiite military organization that dominates large sections of Lebanon, has frequently clashed with Israel.

The researchers plan a follow-up study of Arctic Sea plankton, which cannot reach the Gaza Strip because of Israel’s naval blockade.

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November 17, 2012 at 10:09 pm

UN Insecurity Council Denounces Self

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“Are you sure we should make it such a vivid color?”

New York, NY (AP) – Meeting behind closed doors because of what others might think of them, the United Nations Insecurity Council took up the matter of the violence in and around the Gaza Strip, and wound up denouncing itself.

“Who are we to judge the complex situation as if we have a clear perspective?” read Irresolution 4449. “In all likelihood we would end up exacerbating the situation. We call upon – uh, ourselves to look into things better next time.”

“As if we’re capable of that,” the statement continued.

For the third straight day, Israeli forces and Hamas militants have traded fire, after months of persistent rocket attacks from the coastal strip into southern Israel. The Jewish state began its recent offensive with air attacks, and civilians have become casualties on both sides of the border amid the escalation.

Arab nations called for the Council to convene to discuss the deteriorating situation, expecting the body to condemn Israel’s attacks. However, Russia and China, two of the permanent Insecurity Council members, loudly warned they would veto any decision that smacked of decisiveness.

“Although insecurity comes from underlying questions about one’s value, often the sufferer tries to mask or compensate for it by imperious or arrogant behavior,” explained Dr. Sal Fimmage, who teaches Political Science at the University of Maryland. “The nations that requested the meeting of the Council fear that their own failures in resolving the Palestinian question will become the subject of discussion, so they attempt to divert international attention and shift the focus to Israel.”

“But the Insecurity Council is similarly plagued with its own confidence issues, not to mention self-deception and hypocrisy,” continued Dr. Fimmage. As a result, the Council members find difficulty acting decisively in any way that would defy the dominant voices on the Council, he explained. Those dominant voices oscillate between overbearing forcefulness and abject timidity. Israel has never been a member of the Insecurity Council.

The Council has issued myriad Irresolutions, many of them ostensibly addressing the Arab-Israeli conflict, though in reality merely reflecting the grandstanding in which insecure entities engage when they feel their image is threatened. The bluster was most apparent in a series of Irresolutions issued in the late 1980’s, during the first Palestinian Intifada, or uprising: the Council vociferously objected to every conceivable move by Israel that could be interpreted as harmful to Palestinians, while ignoring gross human rights violations by its members, such as China, Russia and a host of African and Latin American countries desperate to keep attention riveted away from suppression of dissent at home.

Many nations clamor for a seat on the Council, which has rotating membership except for the five permanent members, who may exercise veto power. Changing geopolitical balances of power have prompted calls to reform the Council, but its permanent members, ever not-confident, tenaciously cling to any semblance of international influence they appear to wield.

U.S. ambassador to the UN Susan Rice downplayed the significance of the most recent irresolution. “I really don’t want to talk about it,” she said, hurrying down the hall and into the elevator, where she quietly cursed herself.

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November 16, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Environmental Groups Praise Hamas for Recycling Photos from Syria

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Rafah, Gaza Strip (Reuters) – Greenpeace International has issued a statement lauding the Islamist movement Hamas for using old photos of the civil war in Syria as part of its anti-Israel propaganda effort.

“This is not the first time images have been recycled in public relations,” said the statement by Greenpeace International Director Kumi Naidoo. “But the way Hamas reuses dramatic, relabeled photos from the conflict in Syria is worthy of emulation.” He specifically cited a photo of a crying man cradling a child killed in the fighting, which Hamas sent out via Twitter, explaining that the photo depicted a scene in Gaza’s Shifa Hospital. The original photo came from Syria and was taken on 25 October.

Another praiseworthy example, said Naidoo, was a photo of a crater from a rocket that hit the Israeli town of Netivot, relabeled as more impressive, more distant Tel Aviv.

The environmental organization also praised Hamas for efficient use of limited resources, noting that many of the homemade, shorter-range Qassam rockets aimed at the area immediately around the Gaza Strip use materials discarded or repurposed from construction projects. Metal launching tubes and the fuselages of the missiles are often produced by cutting lengths of metal sewer pipe, and other components are similarly scratched together.

The use of sewer pipe is especially beneficial, the organization said, as it means that much less pipe is available for use in removing the sewage from urban areas and into the Mediterranean Sea, where it can harm marine life.

Naidoo, in a telephone interview, said he hopes more countries and institutions follow Hamas’s lead. “One photo of a dead child is pretty much just like any other. There’s little reason to keep manufacturing new ones.” He also expressed concern over the carbon emissions generated by Israel’s Iron Dome missile interception system. “It would be better to just let the rockets land, instead of burning even more fuel to send a projectile at it. It’s going to explode soon anyway,” he said.

The statement also said that Greenpeace acknowledges the efforts by the government of Syria to reduce the number of carbon-emitting human organisms within its borders.

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November 15, 2012 at 9:06 pm

Hamas Accuses Israel of Stockpiling Civilians

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Hamas weapons can currently reach approximately fifteen percent of Israel’s civilian stockpile.

Gaza City, Gaza Strip (Reuters) – The Islamist Hamas movement unleashed a new round of criticism at Israel today, accusing the Jewish state of amassing over seven million civilians.

Israel and several Islamist militant groups, chief among them Hamas, have been trading fire for years, even after Israel withdrew its settlements from the Gaza Strip in 2005. Hamas routed its more moderate rival Fatah in 2007, gaining control over the coastal area. Israel has since maintained a naval blockade of the area for fear that any materials allowed in would permit Hamas to construct weapons.

The new charges come amid heightened tensions, with southern Israel the target of rocket and mortar attacks, and the IDF responding with air strikes, tank and artillery fire. Several Palestinians have been killed, including a number of civilians, and civilian life in southern Israel has been severely disrupted as people are instructed never to remain more than fifteen seconds from a location shielded from rockets.

“The Zionist enemy’s military power comes from its civilians,” said Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh, using the organization’s term for Israel, whose legitimacy it does not recognize. “The enemy has been amassing them for decades, while the international community does nothing to stop it. But the Islamic Resistance will continue to strike at this vital Zionist resource,” he told reporters.

The Islamist focus on an opponent’s civilian stockpile has occurred elsewhere in the Middle East, as well. In Iraq and Afghanistan, militant groups stage sophisticated attacks to eliminate as many civilian personnel as possible. In Syria, where a civil war has been raging for almost two years, government forces have focused on reducing the rebel civilian arsenal, whether by direct destruction or by making the area where the civilians are stored no longer suitable to hold them. In refugee form, the civilians are less threatening to the Assad regime.

Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip limits the number of civilians that Hamas can muster, despite repeated attempts by international activists to break through. Dozens, if not hundreds, of smuggling tunnels connect the city of Rafah to its counterpart on the Egyptian side, but those channels tend to carry trade goods and materiel other than additional civilians, while Israel imports civilians from countries all over the world, including advanced models from the United States and Europe.

That disparity has left Hamas with no options other than mass production of its own stockpile, which it has pursued with alacrity, and attacking locations where it suspects Israel keeps its civilians. Experts have warned that the Gaza Strip may not have enough room to safely store all the civilians that Hamas controls, let alone the resources to safely maintain them, and that it is only a matter of time before a crisis develops in the area.

A number of countries have floated the idea of limiting the number of civilians any state may hold, but developing countries, for whom civilians are an important economic resource, have resisted. Several countries have actively attempted to reduce the number of civilians within its borders: Rwanda, Cambodia and China and the Soviet Union have all undertaken ambitious campaigns to eliminate portions of their stockpiles, with many other countries taking smaller-scale measures.

In perhaps the most successful attempt, in the 1930’s and 40’s Germany conducted a continent-wide project to eliminate certain types of civilians, resulting in the removal of perhaps 50 million of them. But the economic costs of the campaign exacted a toll on the economy, and no such large-scale project has been undertaken since.

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November 14, 2012 at 2:43 pm

USDA Declares Cheese Danish a Vegetable

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Washington, DC (AP) – United States Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon announced today that the Department had issued new guidelines to institutions under its jurisdiction that reclassify cheese danish as a vegetable.

Under its MyPlate system, the USDA uses a plate and cup logo to illustrate that about half a person’s daily caloric intake should consist of fruits and vegetables, with the remainder consisting of grains, proteins and dairy, in descending order. The reclassification of cheese danish removes it primarily from the grain portion of the diagram into the largest section, vegetables.

“This is an important step in making our dietary recommendations effective,” said Concannon. “The effect of this measure, we believe, is that Americans can now use the calories freed up by the reclassification to consume healthier grains,” he continued. A typical cheese danish provides about 400 calories.

The Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, a USDA agency, approved the redesignation of cheese danish after its executive director, Dr. Rajen Anand, reviewed several studies in which the scientists conducted field research at bakeries in New York, Vienna and Copenhagen. The researchers unanimously recommended the danish, though some controversy occurred when two teams disagreed over the benefits of cheese filling vs. pecan-maple. A subsequent meta-analysis confirmed the superiority of cheese filling.

CNPP Deputy Director Dr. Robert C. Post cautioned that the change may take some time to get used to. Dr. Post guided two of the agency’s divisions in formulating the new set of recommendations, the Nutrition Guidance and Analysis Division and the Nutrition Marketing and Communication Division. “Changing the way people think about nutrition and diet is part of our mission,” he proclaimed.

Under the previous Food Pyramid system that the USDA used for nineteen years, until 2011, the cheese danish was similarly considered for reclassification, but the research was not yet conclusive. Eileen Kennedy, CNPP head from 1994-1997, resisted the research efforts because celiac disease disrupted the agency’s data collection procedure, and subsequent directors preferred to emphasize the study of chocolate or confections.

The next step, said Post, is the implementation of the new guidelines in school cafeterias, health education and other programs. The food stamps program will be reconfigured to emphasize the importance of including sufficient quantities of cheese danish in one’s daily intake, in a bid to combat inner-city obesity.

“This thing is big,” said Post. “And now I think I’m going to have a cup of coffee and some vegetables.”

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November 13, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Climate Change Denies Republicans Exist

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ImageNew York, NY (AP) – Global Warming held a press conference this afternoon to affirm its conviction that Republicans are a fiction concocted by the Democratic establishment to justify draconian violations of governmental principles.

The phenomenon, which sometimes goes by the moniker Climate Change, had established a reputation among lawmakers for its fierce resistance to measures intended to prevent the rise of a jingoistic, elitist, borderline racist political entity.

“It is my firm conviction that so-called ‘Republicans’ exist only in the imaginations of political scientists hell-bent on justifying their broad vision for a welfare state that actually cares for its weakest citizens,” the phenomenon said. “Anyone with a head on his shoulders can see that American democracy is as robust as ever, and that is not likely to change for the foreseeable future,” Global Warming continued.

The effect, which scientific consensus posits as resulting from the buildup of atmospheric carbon in the atmosphere, has accelerated with the continued reliance on fossil fuels and from  human-produced threats to carbon-reducing ecosystems such as the ocean and rain forests. It reacted angrily when a reporter mentioned politicians who question whether it can be attributed to human activities. “I don’t like that term,” it said, referring to Republicans. “By using it you basically accept its existence without questioning. Where’s the evidence? What credible scientists who aren’t in the pocket of the alternative politics industry have endorsed this alleged GOP?”

The effect further accused populist politicians of fear-mongering and stifling American political industry with unnecessary limits on campaign spending and personal health care liability by invoking a bogeyman. “Where is this party everyone’s been talking about that wants to cut off immigration? That uses a crusade against voter fraud as a thinly veiled attempt to limit the number of minorities and poor people eligible to vote? That encourages candidates to spout homophobic, anti-woman rhetoric? It isn’t. You can’t prove it exists. Now stop using it to justify your policies,” the phenomenon warned.

ImageGlobal Warming also rejected the existence of politicians so out of touch with reality that they openly spout embarrassingly asinine statements. When a questioner invoked Donald Trump, the phenomenon reacted with a clipped, “Never heard of it. And if I hear one more mention of this alleged Tea Party I swear I’m going to flood Lower Manhattan.”

Please Like Mightier than the Pen on Facebook, where you’re free to vote Republican. We won’t tell anyone.

 

Written by Thag

November 12, 2012 at 11:05 pm

A Clueless Loser Blogger Reminisces about the ‘Glory’ Days

with 4 comments

Originally posted August 4, 2011

In today’s follow-up to the smash-hit post How to Blog Like a Clueless Loser (a Firsthand Account), we present a list of tips to help you, the novice veteran experienced wannabe writer, maintain your coveted Clueless Loser Blogger™ status, the Golden Sombrero of written communication.

1. Refuse, on principle, to engage in self promotion, believing that the glory you deserve will come to you based on the merits of your writing alone. Marketing is evil! Conveniently, this attitude dovetails with your lazy approach to life in general.

2. Turn people off by finding a way to mention your blog in every casual conversation. Oh, by the way, I have a post about that.

3. Console your self with the thought that while your ineffectual blogging has contributed exactly nothing to your bottom line, at least you have amassed a body of work to which you can refer potential employers, clients, romantic partners, et al. (on this point, see tip number 2). Maybe somebody will discover your blog and offer you a lucrative book deal. Maybe some of your posts will go viral and attract the attention of a major player in online media, and you’ll land a gig with a well-paying client! Maybe you should write fiction, because you seem to be good at coming up with imaginary scenarios.

4. Keep forgetting that you have already blogged about something; when you revisit the topic, do so without realizing that not too long ago you pontificated endlessly on the same subject.

5. Try to provoke readers into commenting or sharing your post by expressing opinions or taking positions so offensive or far-out that people must react. Or at least you think they must. Remember that what you think people must do includes the unlikely showering of attention on your blog specifically, out of all of the millions of repositories of narcissistic ramblings out there. So your gauge of what people must do needs some recalibrating. Don’t despair, however, at least not right away; rile up your tiny audience with outrageous pronouncements in favor of rape, child abuse and rank ethnocentrism. Those things always make people want to hear more from you.

6. Write some fake news stories in the hope that some gullible reader will get excited or alarmed enough to spread the story like wildfire, drawing attention to your skills as a rumor monger, and maybe earning you an appearance on snopes.com. There isn’t enough fake news out there, you know; The Onion and Jon Stewart would be so much bigger if they only knew how to crank the stuff out.

7. Make some of your posts into games or contests inviting readers to showcase their own creativity or cleverness in the comments. Submit most or all of the comments yourself, but feel good about how popular those posts appear to be just based on the number of comments.

8. Choose tags only marginally relevant to your post’s content, on the off chance that some dude browsing the WordPress page for posts about Business will be moved to peruse your post about your weekend fishing trip, which reminded you of the time that your uncle Harry once got his lure caught in the spinning motor of a Kawasaki outboard engine, and since Kawasaki is the name of a company, the “Business” tag is appropriate; also that the random dude who happens to click on your post, despite having the time to browse the pathetic musings of a bunch of semiliterate bloggers, is actually important enough to maybe give you our big break. You know, because people with that sort of influence have nothing better to do than look for witty post titles to click on.

9. Make a game of your stats: see whether you can keep the number of posts and the total number of tags equal. Pretend either of those numbers has any significance whatsoever.

10. Artificially inflate your traffic by constantly referring to posts that attracted better than average traffic, because maybe you missed somebody who actually cares. In the meantime, you can annoy your handful of regular readers by shoving in their faces the stuff they already read and deemed worthy of forgetting.

Glad to be of help. Maybe next time we can discuss where to shove those dreams of what you’ll do when you’re rich and famous, and which bodily orifice is the right choice for you.

Please Like Mightier than the Pen on Facebook, and get measured for your golden sombrero today!

Written by Thag

November 10, 2012 at 10:45 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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The Clueless Loser Blogging FAQ

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1. How long does it take to become a Clueless Loser Blogger?

Contrary to what many people believe, Clueless Loser Blogging is not strictly a function of time. A blogger can spend hours at work on a post and still not achieve CLB status. To qualify as CLB behavior, the time spent must include at least:

– 10% staring at one’s work and wondering whether the results so far justify the effort
– 55% engaging in unrelated activities in the vain hope that inspiration lies elsewhere, such as a game of online Spades.
– 30% fuming at the world for not acknowledging your manifest greatness RIGHT NOW.

Some people can attain these numbers right away. Others spend weeks or months unlearning the work ethic they were trained to adopt earlier in life, and some never get there. We call such people “normal.”

2. Can one forfeit CLB status?

Theoretically, CLB can be revoked if one ceases to blog entirely, but that’s a mere techincality: all it means is that the loserness has been transferred to a different medium, much in the way Yasser Arafat continued to be a Nobel Peace Laureate even after fomenting an unsuccessful armed uprising. [ed: the analogy needs work; not politically offensive enough]

3. What are the advantages of Clueless Loser Blogging?

There is no risk of having to deal with a higher tax bracket or too many friends.

4. Who are some famous examples of Clueless Loser Bloggers?

The question demonstrates cluelessness, which means the inquirer has hope of achieving CLB. By nature, CLB people do not achieve fame.

5. Should I include photos of my cat?

Yes.

6. How important is it to ask the viewers of my blog to click “Like” or share the content on other social media?

It’s a common misconception that the mere presence of a Facebook “Share” or “Like” button is enough to put a blogger on the road to CLB. There are two important additional factors: the frequency the button is clicked and the pathetic begging the blogger does so that viewers do click. In addition, the relationship between those doing the clicking and the blogger plays a role.

Shares that come from non-relatives or viewers unaware of your personality, if they occur more than once or twice a week, can remove you from CLB status. But you can cement your Loserness with sympathy shares. A sympathy share occurs when a viewer knows how crushed you would be if your post went completely ignored, but doesn’t genuinely believe your content deserves the attention. Any clicks that occur as a result of: multiple share buttons; more than a token or understated request for a Like; or sending around a link to your contacts and asking them explicitly to Like or Follow, qualifies as a sympathy share. One sympathy share can offset up to six sincere shares.

7. How long can I go without blogging?

It’s not the frequency or regularity of the blogging that determines Clueless Loser status, but the obsession with the frequency. The Clueless Loser Blogger, despite all the evidence to the contrary, believes that his or her success depends on churning out something every day, or every two days or whatever, regardless of demand. In fact nothing the blogger does will ever amount to anything, but the Clueless Loser Blogger lacks the internal fortitude to accept that, and insists on maintaining delusions of adequacy.

8. How do I find my unique voice?

Check behind the sofa. Otherwise, the dog ate it.

9. Should I buy my own domain name?

No, that requires actual investment that might make you work hard enough for things to work out well. If you want to become a Clueless Loser Blogger you must live as if the quality of your work will bring you attention and financial success all on its own merits, without your having to lift a finger away from the keyboard.

10. What should I write about?

It doesn’t matter, as long as you do it in mediocre fashion. “Mediocre Fashion” would be a perfect Clueless Loser Blog name.

Please Like Mightier than the Pen on Facebook (this request included to maintain CLB status).

Written by Thag

November 9, 2012 at 11:27 am

I Think This Means We’re Supposed to Postdate the Gift Check

with 6 comments

Please Like Mightier then the Pen on Facebook, where, rest assured, you will never have to attend a Picklehonker-Sweathouse wedding.

Written by Thag

November 8, 2012 at 2:35 pm