Sunday assorted links


The israel Anti-Boycott Act is an attempt to use lawfare against an emerging consensus among the left (the real left, not neoliberals and neocons) that only serious economic pressure will motivate Israel beyond the impasse of coveting Palestinian lands while not wanting to integrate Palestinians of West Bank/Gaza into Israel proper. The hilarious thing is the bind that those who are offended by BDS are in: Either ignore BDS and let it grow or make a big stink about it and expose the issue to people who are agnostic or ignorant about the issue (and who could after the exposure decide to be on the side of the Palestinians/BDS.)

There's also an emerging CULTURAL boycott of Israel.

No one's in a bind except in your imagination. Members of the postside with defensible political principles see revanchist Arab particularism for what it is, and want no part of it. They also see that there is no solution to the conflict between Israel and adjacent Arab populations because those Arab populations want the Jews disposessed or dead, and nothing short of that is acceptable as a 'solution'.

BDSholes come in four varieties: Quaker types whose conception of collective human behavior is fanciful, Arab and Muslim revanchists who want dead Jews, domestic anti-semites who don't care about dead Jews (see the Unz comment boards), and pseudo-pacifists who are among what Thomas Sowell calls the 'one-uppers'. (Chris Hedges is an example of this type). None of them merit being taken seriously by any decent person.

A guy who used the term "BDSholes" without experiencing any shame or self-loathing is trying to tell us who to take seriously?

Self awareness is hard.

Self awareness is hard.

You're stuck in a bubble, and not serious.

Suppose I am politically opposed to Obamacare. Drawing inspiration from the BDS boycotts, I would like to express my opposition by boycotting Obamacare insurance policies. Does the individual mandate violate my first amendment free speech rights? Further, I not only want to boycott Obamacare policies, I would like to express my support of market-based insurance by buying a policy that does not meet the Essential Benefits Mandates and is not community rated. Do the ACA's minimum coverage requirements and pre-existing conditions requirement violate my free speech rights?

US law has long distinguished between "economic freedom" and "fundamental freedom" such as free speech. Some believe that this distinction is artificial, as the anti-Israel boycott and these Obamacare hypotheticals demonstrate. However, if we are going to remove the distinction, then we should to so for all economic freedoms, not just those involving anti-Israel sentiment.


Any human endeavor of sufficient complexity must have a number of internal contradictions to function at all. For instance, freedom of speech can be a lot of things, but it can never be the freedom to decline personal income tax.

What are you referring to with "emerging cultural boycott of Israel"?

"Palestinian lands"

No such thing.

The "real left" hates Jews. BDS is led by Jew haters prettied up as social justice warriors.

I do not follow the Israeli and Palestinian history very closely, so I never state a political opinion. I pretty much stay out of it. I do however hang out with a fair number of American Jews, and one thing I notice is that they do argue, amongst themselves, all points of the political compass. As far as the "real left" some are as SJW as you are going to find. So, I don't think you get out much.

The "real left" has plenty of Jews amongst it.

"Jews". Who hate other Jews. Nothing new there.

Ahh, the no true scotsman. Last refuge of a person cornered into the weakness of their broad, incorrect assertions.

I dont think that is really a no true scotsman argument.

As i understand it, the no true scotsman argument goes like this:

"no true scotsman believes X"
"i am a scotsman and i believe X"
"you are not a true scotsmen then"

That is not what is being said here. The claim here is that you can be jewish and hate jews. That hatred does not make you not Jewish.

I dont know any anti jewish jews personally, but i have met a number of black hating blacks. I would qualify them as black despite their bigotry.

"Ahh, the no true scotsman. Last refuge of a person cornered into the weakness of their broad, incorrect assertions."

That's not a No True Scotsman argument. He's not saying that their Not Really Jews.

"5. I now understand the debate over the Israel Anti-boycott Act."

Okay, I get it now too. I think. It's an argument over whether extending the 1979 law banning American firms from complying with foreign government's demands to boycott Israel should be extended to the UN's demand for a boycott of Israel.

"The ACLU argues, however, that the bill’s proposed amendments to the Export Administration Act of 1979 would change the nature of that law, which they argue was originally intended to prevent American companies from being coerced by Arab trading partners into joining their boycott of Israel as a condition of doing business. In an information sheet on its website, the ACLU writes that the proposed amendments “would significantly expand the 1979 law’s prohibitions, untethering them from Congress’s original concern about foreign governments coercing U.S. businesses into boycotting friendly countries in exchange for commercial relations. Instead, the bill risks penalizing U.S. individuals and companies that support a U.N.-led boycott movement by refusing to purchase goods made by certain companies.”"

The difference is that the original 1979 law gives American companies an excuse to not comply with Arab or Muslim governments that have laws requiring boycotts of Israel for firms doing business in their country: "We totally understand where you are coming from, Sheik, but Congress passed a law saying we can't comply with your boycott-Israel law, so we'll just have to keep doing business with both you and Israel. Sorry, there's just nothing we can do about it." (I imagine some American firms surreptitiously comply with the anti-Israel boycott if they lack market power in dealing with Arab governments [e.g., they have only a me-too product], but it's probably useful for many American firms in the manner I've described.)

In contrast, the proposed law extends the anti-boycott mandate to the United Nations-organized boycott-Israel resolution. But the difference is that the UN isn't really real.

Arab governments have power: armies and police forces and so forth. So it's nice for American companies to have some countervailing U.S. power to give them an excuse to do what they want to do: trade with everybody. The UN, in contrast, doesn't have much if any power. So it seems like an abuse of power for the mighty American government to order Americans to not choose to boycott Israel at their own expense.

At least I think that is what's going on.

What if Arab (or non-Arab) governments that say that, to do business with them, a company doesn't have to comply with that government's boycott but must comply with a boycott sponsored by the UN or some other non-governmental entity?

...clear as mud. need to step back for broader view

If Social Security is the third rail of American politics, Israel is the third rail of U.S. geopolitics.

For most of Israel's short life as an independent state, AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee) has played the role of a political action committee (PAC) defending and advocating Israeli interests in both houses of Congress. It is the single most important organization affecting the U.S. relationship with Israel. In the last 50+ years, AIPAC has nursed through Congress scores of pro-Israel legislative initiatives, while blocking pro-Arab measures Israel deemed dangerous to its security.

It's not a 'third rail'. There simply is not much of a public constituency in this country in favor of the Arab cause. The nature of that cause ensures it.

Well, a ‘third rail’ becomes a ‘third rail’ because the subject is wildly popular. So, he is not wrong but AIPAC is effective because it reflects the broader popular will.

.... there is no such "broad popular will". That false perception is results from an intense propaganda effort in the American media over past half century. Most Americans are deliberately deprived of an honest assessment of Israel & MidEast history and American interests. Americans have little idea of why America is so heavily involved in all these foreign conflicts... nor the true costs to them in blood & treasure.
NeoCons have been very successful.

The honest assessment says the Arab cause isn't worth s***. You cannot sell it because it's rotten. Deal.

....the "Arab Cause" or the "Israeli Cause" or the "Swedish Cause" should not be a concern of the U.S. Government.

As a private person you can do what you want with your time, money and life --but leave the rest of us alone to do the same. Deal ?

As a private person you can do what you want with your time, money and life –but leave the rest of us alone to do the same. Deal ?

No deal, because you're a fraud. You're not trafficking in Chomskyite fictions about 'intense propaganda efforts' because you don't care and don't think anyone non-Arab should care. That aside, there is such a thing as 'international relations'.

"That false perception is results from an intense propaganda effort in the American media over past half century. Most Americans are deliberately deprived of an honest assessment of Israel & MidEast history and American interests."

Americans dislike most Muslim counties because their belief systems and behavior are largely antithetical to ours. Israel may not be perfect, but its a lot closer to us than Saudi Arabia is.


"Okay, I get it now too."

That's a good explanation. I lean towards the ACLU's position on this issue.

3) Not a single person invoked 'Neroli' or 'On Land'?

The horror. ;)

Eno has released 56(?) LPs counting collaborations (and obviously not counting producer credits only) so I doubt hardly anyone has listened to them all!

My favorite unmentioned work is Cluster & Eno, though sometimes it is nice to be a massive troll and play Thursday Afternoon on a bar's jukebox.

Usually these listicles tend to overrate the artist's more recent or trendy works. Nice surprise that there is clear appreciation of the post roxy albums and AGW

2: I'm unconvinced. The researchers seem to be working from a simplistic model where the senses provide correct information and the mind sometimes makes incorrect predictions or has incorrect beliefs. And it's the job of the cerebellum to make us put more weight on our senses

But our senses are less accurate than that. We may mis-hear or miss-see something, and even more importantly have to interpret the sights and sounds that arrive. Our eyes aren't cameras that record the scene; our brains have to interpret the sensory data. And that can be difficult e.g. if we're trying to figure out what someone is saying at the same time that a nearby truck honks it horn.

There's no hallucinating going on in that scenario; sometimes our senses are just plain unreliable.

So it's not as simple as the cerebellum telling us to believe our senses because they're providing correct information. The senses provide only imperfect information, and moreover we cannot assume that our senses are correct because we have to rely upon our interpretation of the sensory data, and those interpretations may be correct or incorrect.

I was about to write the exact same thing.

4. 'Lestrade now shows that Zipf's law can be explained by the interaction between the structure of sentences (syntax) and the meaning of words (semantics) in a text.'

Well, that explains neatly why we can continue to ignore the frequency of something like LOL compared to OMG, and ignore emotji completely.

To to put it a bit differently - ZIpf has likely joined Newton when it comes to creating useful laws that only apply within certain conditions, while accepting the fact that in an absolute sense, they are less than accurate when explaining the world that actually exists around us

On #1: A couple of thoughts...Most such experiments in marketing, drug development, and all such fields offering interventions fail. We only need some to succeed, that is how progress occurs.

In some social intervention studies, even randomized trials struggle because overtime people in the control group get offered other social interventions. Eg. people from denied pre-school in a randomized controlled study end up in pre-school elsewhere or get additional help in kindergarten.

on #5: How is banning the boycotting of Israel any different from banning discrimination against ethnic groups in housing, banking, etc?

Because "Israel" isn't an ethnic group? That would seem like a straight-forward difference, even if you have doubts about the strategy (like me) or think it's flat out wrong. Would you say the same thing about boycotts of South Africa in the 80's? (Leave aside the differences in the policies in the countries for a minute, if you think they are important.) If not, then that's already your answer. If so, then we might wonder if your view of anti-discrimination is too wide. (Again, all of these points are independent of whether such a boycott is a good idea on the merits.)

'Because “Israel” isn’t an ethnic group?'

I know one Israeli citizen who would completely disagree. But then, he is not allowed to serve in the military due to his ethnicity, though still an Israeli citizen.

Israel is most distinctly a society with ethnic distinctions - 'The Israeli Declaration of Independence stated that the State of Israel would ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex, and guaranteed freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture. While formally equal according to Israeli law, a number of official sources acknowledge that Arab citizens of Israel experience discrimination in many aspects of life. Israeli High Court Justice (Ret.) Theodor Or wrote in The Report by the State Commission of Inquiry into the Events of October 2000:

The Arab citizens of Israel live in a reality in which they experience discrimination as Arabs. This inequality has been documented in a large number of professional surveys and studies, has been confirmed in court judgments and government resolutions, and has also found expression in reports by the state comptroller and in other official documents. Although the Jewish majority’s awareness of this discrimination is often quite low, it plays a central role in the sensibilities and attitudes of Arab citizens. This discrimination is widely accepted, both within the Arab sector and outside it, and by official assessments, as a chief cause of agitation.'

The Arab citizens of Israel live in a reality in which they experience discrimination as Arabs. This inequality has been documented in a large number of professional surveys and studies,

The income differentials between Arab and Jew (Arab pci is about 1/3 lower) are quite unremarkable for a culturally fissured society and require no discrimination to maintain. You see the same differentials in Malaysia, which has had for 60 years official favoritism toward the (less affluent) Malay majority. You see the same differential between Wales and the rest of the UK.

"But then, he is not allowed to serve in the military due to his ethnicity, though still an Israeli citizen."


He isn't Bedouin nor Druze, and he is around 45. It does seem to be true that under Rabin, changes were made in various ways to the framework involving service to Israel. However, information concerning Israeli Muslim Arab - though not Bedouin nor Druze - IDF service is essentially not to be found.

But thank you for pointing out that no one in these discussions is to be trusted, even if they are repeating their own life experience.

Nonetheless, do you have any information concerning enlistment by Israeli Muslim Arabs in the IDF - though not Bedouin nor Druze - ca. 1990?

There is no question that in the last decade or so, Israel has made a serious effort to attract Israeli Arabs that are neither Bedouin nor Druze, and that such efforts are given prominent media play (which makes sense when using google - the results will be of major media sources).

As is typical, you ignored the question.

The answer to the question, likely due to the number of links, has shown 'Your comment is awaiting moderation.' since 6:22am

As noted below, actually.

What ethnicity is banned from serving in the IDF?

None. Arab Muslims and Arab Christians are not subject to conscription. The IDF does recruit some among them however (notably Negev Bedouin). Druzes serve in the military on equal terms with Jews.

"Israeli" is definitely an ethnic group, and national origin is a protected class.

Any US advocate of an Israeli boycott should be expected to turn over the deed to their own property to the nearest native American.

Why? The Seneca had no cadastre.

Well, not the first time it has occurred, but interesting to see how things change.

6:22am, it iwlll be interesting to see the time lag.

Possibly due to some term/weighting of terms leading to an automatic shunting - not that any comment here more than a way to pass time in front of a screen, of course.

Ah - likely the number of links, which was more than 3, that used to be the automatic cut-off in this comment section. And a limit generally followed when posting, though not in this case.

Enquiring as a foreigner, is there any likelihood that the Israel Anti-boycott Act is unconstitutional?

And an entirely different question: is there any likelihood that SCOTUS would rule it unconstitutional?

The session law proposed is a disjointed series of additions to the U.S. Code. ("add [phrase] to paragraph [x] of Section [302]"). Understanding just what it's implications are requires you have the sort of mind adept at understanding what a written instrument allows the other guy to do to you. That's quite challenging for someone who does not practice law. I've looked at the text and beats-the-hell-out-of-me what it means.



You are welcome to read what the ACLU wrote, though it is certainly intended for an American audience - is blatantly non-Constitutional, but the Constitution is merely an occasional minor impediment to Presidents/Congress/SCOTUS ... and their political objectives.
SCOTUS will ignore this issue if it should drift their way.

5. I see what you did there...

1. Law enforcement works; sometimes it's done more efficiently than other times; general income transfers work, provided there's a certain amount of buy-in required of the recipient class. Some other sorts of interventions have achieved certain ends but with a mess of disagreeable side effects (e.g. public financing of medical care and long-term care; public schools). Some are adept at providing employment to social workers, but not much else. Some reduce social welfare in a pretty obvious way (open-ended cash doles for the abidingly incompetent, public housing, social-work-in-lieu-of-imprisonment).

"Law enforcement works" ... whether the law is just or not. Depends how big your bludgeon is.

Power grows out of the barrel of a bludgeon.

State penal law and rules of criminal procedure could benefit from some incremental adjustment, as could state courts. The biggest problem is excess discretion awarded prosecutors and judges, as well as comprehensive immunity. That large swaths of the penal law are 'unjust' is Spicoli's fantasy.

1. They don't do as good a job spelling this out as they might, but it's possible that more social programs (broadly transferable to other new ideas, as the article suggests for clinical trials and new tech products) have negative effects than positive ones, once you take the 10-20% which initially show significant positive effects and then dock 5-10% for "green jelly beans" and p-hacking. And then of course all social programs cost money to implement, so the percentage of programs that are true positives and cost-effective dwindles further. And *then* you get to think about scalability problems.

Ideally this wouldn't matter because you would shut down new ideas once the evidence begins pointing towards a lack of positive effects, which is of course what Google and Microsoft and venture capitalists and (most) drugmakers do, but that seems to not happen when politics demands that there exist some solution to a problem. Which is not unique to government programs, see the history of research into "a safer cigarette" for example.

2. Everyone suffers from an inability to distinguish reality from perception. Sure, not everyone is as extreme as a schizophrenic, but one need only read the comments on this blog to see that this a pervasive problem. Consider the man who drove into the crowd in Charlottesville yesterday. Law enforcement initially said that the man felt threatened by the crowd and drove into the crowd accidentally (i.e., he intended to back up from the crowd but in his fear mistakenly drove into the crowd). Was he hallucinating in either his fear of the crowd or when he drove into the crowd while believing he was backing up from the crowd? Or was the law enforcement officer hallucinating when he came to the conclusion that the man intended to back up from the crowd?

This was a terrorist attack in my opinion. Yet it is funny in a sad way to see the media finally care about violence at these events. CNN didn't even cover Eric Clanton.

Ahh yes, the bike-lock guy. Both sides, etc etc.

A Democrat attempted to commit mass murder against Republican Congressman set to a chorus of Democrats on Twitter demanding violence and resistance. The media stopped covering that within days. This will be covered forever.

If you go to my ancestral village in Europe, there is a plaque remembering a reprisal massacre. The Nazis rounded up men and boys and shot them in retaliation for resistance activity.

Maybe they thought the resistance was too violent.

"Everyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi and should be killed"

I cannot relate to anyone who puts on a helmet, chest plate and police gloves to go to a protest. To that extent Trump was right, about problems on both sides. But if you ask me to choose between anti-fascists and f****** Nazis I will make the right choice. Will you?

You cant relate with armor and shields, but you can relate with black bloc, knives, explosives, and bike locks? If you are a conservative at a political event there is a real chance a cowardly communist dressed in black will attack you. The antifa don't only attack Nazis and if they could succeed in their revolution, millions would be murdered. They are a real threat with real institutional support and the support of people who want to conservatives to be killed, like you and Moo cow.

You make a lot of the conversation up for yourself. A good friend was mugged, had his skull cracked with a bike lock. It is definitely a lethal weapon. He got surgery in time, and was ok.

But like Moo cow says, you are using that to wave away actual Nazis on the streets of America.

The American Nazi party filled Madison Square Gardens in 1939. These organizers today would like to do that again. Peaceful opposition should be the goal, but don't lose sight of the fact that opposition is the correct side to take.

I'm not waving away anything. I hate Nazis, holocaust deniers, and anti-semites. What makes me different than you is that I also hate anti-white racists, anti-semitic BDS, and violent communist revolutionaries, and those groups are loud and proud in academia, Congress, entertainment media, everywhere. The Nazis are a sad little group. Antifa includes the son of the Democrats last VP nominee.

Explicit racism and sexism and the gleeful expressions of hatred from the left were bound to radicalized the fringe white males. I'd hope that you all would have learned something about scapegoating but alas.

I think you are at the stage of bargaining where you say things like "antifa would kill millions" to balance the books. Sad.

" But if you ask me to choose between anti-fascists and f****** Nazis I will make the right choice. Will you?"

How brave of you. If it comes to it, all the play acting revolutionaries will melt away like ice cream on a summer day.

None of these people mean anything, they are just children pretending to be heroes. On both sides, by the way.

I think MOFO needs to re-read.

"The American Nazi party filled Madison Square Gardens in 1939. These organizers today would like to do that again. Peaceful opposition should be the goal, but don’t lose sight of the fact that opposition is the correct side to take."

I dont need to reread anything, i recognize a nothing burger when i see it. All of this is so that people like you can feel heroic while risking nothing. The 'nazis' arent going to take over, they are just a bunch of impotent idiots. The antifa arent really fighting fascists, they are just using this all as an excuse to beat their chests.

The only real danger here is that this constantly escalating rhetoric will be taken seriously by someone and that person will drive a car though a crowd or try and shoot some politicians or something. Stop legitimizing all of this, the Nazis arent taking over, they are no more a force than they were 20 years ago.

You just opposed nonviolent opposition to Nazis, the KKK.

No, i opposed blowing things out of proportion until people start killing each other.

Your free to oppose the KKK all you like, just dont act like their some kind of existential threat. They are not.

Self-described psychics indeed! I'm an expert dowser and I see auras. More importantly, I can teach other people to see auras. About 90% of people are teachable. I do hear voices sometimes, but I can never tell what they are saying. It's like overhearing a conversation that's outside the house and 100 feet away.

1. Skepticism is necessary to solve problems. Poverty, crime, homelessness are more complicated than social programs will admit. "We can have an impact on people’s lives and that we don’t yet know how to have a good impact. That that’s a reason to put money into finding out what makes the difference." -

2. David Engleman's The Brain deals more in depth with perception and reality. "Each one of our brains is different, and so is the reality it produces. What is reality? It’s whatever your brain tells you it is." -

5. Our government has always dealt with this conflict in a heavy-handed manner. Israel is ranked as one of the happiest countries (11th) while behind the barrier Palestinians are destitute. Perhaps we should all join the boycott.

The Palestinians, whoever they might be, are kept as zoo animals by the Arab/Muslim world to demonstrate to everyone how evil the Jews are while their phony gangster leadership reaps the rewards of international charity. If the conflict were to be resolved parasites like Arafat and Abbas would be forced to actually work for a living instead of sending millions of dollars to foreign banks.

3. My Life in the Bush of Ghosts -- how can there be any question?

Yeah I had to read the intro twice before I figured out they are selling four reissues.

"It’s this which shines to the fore in the quartet of new reissues honing in Brian Eno’s early albums, the 1974 debut Here Come The Warm Jets, his follow up on Island Records Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy), 1975’s iconic Another Green World and Before and after Science originally released on Polydor in 1977."

2. How your brain protects you from hallucinations.

Constructing a workable reality is a lot of biological work. We have to reality test. The act of focus, hard work,but require in a reality model. Focus is mainly about reality testing, and that is a search process. We cannot 'hear' the cell phone until we reconstruct the model, where is the cell phone likely to be? That has to be answered. Isolating the sound, seem easy but it take biological energy and careful muscle control. There is no pattern matcher for images, no NVDIA graphics processor. Your barin has to repeat the eye muscle sequence over, successively selecting something close to the scene in front, then reality test it. A constant orientation problem.

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