Trans Mossad Spy Identifies Neo-Nazi ‘Konrad’ From Tablet Article

From The Tablet:  https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-arts-and-culture/287109/mossad-spy-identifies-neo-nazi-konrad

Agents disguised as German skinheads intercepted and disarmed bombs intended to harm Munich Jews in 1986

By Andrew Rosthorn
June 28, 2019

Tablet’s birthday picture of the German neo-Nazi Karl-Heinz Hoffmann has led to his identification by a former Mossad double agent as the man who strapped two radio-controlled bombs on her body in a 1985 attack on the homes of Jews living in Munich.

Olivia Frank, now 63, had just published her life story in England on May 24 when she saw Tablet’s picture of the German extremist she had known only as “Konrad.”

Her book describes how the British-born Israeli diplomat and spymaster David Kimche, leading a team of Mossad agents disguised as German skinheads, intercepted the man she now recognizes as Hoffmann and disarmed the bombs at night in a Munich street in 1985.

Karl-Heinz Hoffmann was jailed later that year for running a criminal organization from his castle in Bavaria. He was never charged with bombing offenses.

In May 2019, Hoffmann posted a YouTube video of a retirement interview. In what he called his “final public appearance” he is seen talking to the German author and journalist Andreas Förster in Hoffmann’s medieval manor house, Schloss Ermreuth near Nuremberg. The video of Förster questioning Hoffmann over coffee in a baronial dining room was referenced in a Tablet article by Sam Izzo, which was seen in England by the former Mossad “combatant” who had spied on him 33 years ago.

Widowed, and now living alone in England, Frank had just published the story of her life as a transgender spy, titled The Mossad Spy, when she saw the Tablet article and then watched the Hoffmann interview, dated by Hoffmann as May 2019, on her home computer.

“My blood ran cold. The Hoffmann in the video is the man I knew as Konrad, a man who might have killed me with the flick of a switch,” she said.

She added: “The grubby flat where Hoffmann took me to fit the bomb and the residential block where I was told to plant it were both very ordinary places. Everything happened at night and I was unfamiliar with the areas. Hoffmann drove me to them in his BMW. He always drove very fast. I was blindfolded on the last occasion.

“I think he leased the apartment and always showed up at night, always keen to hide his prominent beard and always in a great hurry. He always wore the same suit and tie and a scarf to hide his beard.

“He always parked his car well away from where I lived in Schellingstrasse, in the Maxvorstadt university area of Munich.”

***

Olivia Frank’s 491-page paperback, The Mossad Spy, tells the story of how she was born to a Jewish family in Manchester, England, and raised as a boy but left the city as a teenager on a woman’s passport to join the Israeli Defense Forces as a soldier. After being wounded as an IDF officer, she was selected by David Kimche for training at the Mossad’s academy near Herzliya.

Continue reading at:  https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-arts-and-culture/287109/mossad-spy-identifies-neo-nazi-konrad

Athleisure, barre and kale: the tyranny of the ideal woman

From The Guardian UK:  https://www.theguardian.com/news/2019/aug/02/athleisure-barre-kale-tyranny-ideal-woman-labour

How we became suckers for the hard labor of self-optimization.

By
Fri 2 Aug 2019

The ideal woman has always been generic. I bet you can picture the version of her that runs the show today. She’s of indeterminate age but resolutely youthful presentation. She’s got glossy hair and the clean, shameless expression of a person who believes she was made to be looked at. She is often luxuriating when you see her – on remote beaches, under stars in the desert, across a carefully styled table, surrounded by beautiful possessions or photogenic friends. Showcasing herself at leisure is either the bulk of her work or an essential part of it; in this, she is not so unusual – for many people today, especially for women, packaging and broadcasting your image is a readily monetizable skill. She has a personal brand, and probably a boyfriend or husband: he is the physical realization of her constant, unseen audience, reaffirming her status as an interesting subject, a worthy object, a self-generating spectacle with a viewership attached.

Can you see this woman yet? She looks like an Instagram – which is to say, an ordinary woman reproducing the lessons of the marketplace, which is how an ordinary woman evolves into an ideal. The process requires maximal obedience on the part of the woman in question, and – ideally – her genuine enthusiasm, too. This woman is sincerely interested in whatever the market demands of her (good looks, the impression of indefinitely extended youth, advanced skills in self-presentation and self-surveillance). She is equally interested in whatever the market offers her – in the tools that will allow her to look more appealing, to be even more endlessly presentable, to wring as much value out of her particular position as she can.

The ideal woman, in other words, is always optimizing. She takes advantage of technology, both in the way she broadcasts her image and in the meticulous improvement of that image itself. Her hair looks expensive. She spends lots of money taking care of her skin, a process that has taken on the holy aspect of a spiritual ritual and the mundane regularity of setting a morning alarm.

The work formerly carried out by makeup has been embedded directly into her face: her cheekbones or lips have been plumped up, or some lines have been filled in, and her eyelashes are lengthened every four weeks by a professional wielding individual lashes and glue. The same is true of her body, which no longer requires the traditional enhancements of clothing or strategic underwear; it has been pre-shaped by exercise that ensures there is little to conceal or rearrange.

Everything about this woman has been pre-emptively controlled to the point that she can afford the impression of spontaneity and, more important, the sensation of it – having worked to rid her life of artificial obstacles, she often feels legitimately carefree. The ideal woman can be whatever she wants to be – as long as she manages to act upon the belief that perfecting herself and streamlining her relationship to the world can be a matter of both work and pleasure, or, in other words, of “lifestyle”. The ideal woman steps into a stratum of expensive juices, boutique exercise classes, skincare routines and vacations, and there she happily remains.

Most women believe themselves to be independent thinkers. Even glossy women’s magazines now model skepticism toward top-down narratives about how we should look, who and when we should marry, how we should live. But the psychological parasite of the ideal woman has evolved to survive in an ecosystem that pretends to resist her. If women start to resist an aesthetic, like the overapplication of Photoshop, the aesthetic just changes to suit us; the power of the ideal image never actually wanes. It is now easy enough to engage women’s skepticism toward ads and magazine covers, images produced by professionals. It is harder for us to suspect images produced by our peers, and nearly impossible to get us to suspect the images we produce of ourselves, for our own pleasure and benefit – even though, in a time when heavy social media use has become broadly framed as a career asset, many of us are effectively professionals now, too.

Continue reading at:  https://www.theguardian.com/news/2019/aug/02/athleisure-barre-kale-tyranny-ideal-woman-labour

Robert Reich: The Myth of the Rugged Individual

The Far Right Is Antisemitic — and So Is the Radical Left

From The Algemeiner:  https://www.algemeiner.com/2019/07/26/the-far-right-is-antisemitic-and-so-is-the-radical-left/

by Maddie Solomon
July 26, 2019

I’m sitting in Charlottesville, Virginia — the city where the ugly “Unite the Right” rally took place two years ago that gripped the nation. The sun is radiant and the houses are pretty, but I can’t deny the choked up memories of weapons, white supremacy and violence. It’s my first time here — my dad used to tell me that Jews don’t go to the South. However, I have also spent the past six months witnessing a form of antisemitism on the left: Ilhan Omar, the BDS movement, and the comparison of Jews to Nazis. Internal dissent to these ideas is rarely, if ever, welcomed in leftist spaces — including college institutions on the West Coast.

In college, I experienced Jewish paranoia for the first time — because we seem besieged on all sides.

Donald Trump often uses Israel as a shield to defend his racism. Yet Democrats fail to condemn antisemitism at home; most Jewish voters are already estranged from the party. In fact, we’ve never really had a home; why did we expect our political and academic institutions to provide one?

The right will most definitely not fight for us, but neither will the left. I’m a progressive, and I’m disappointed with the state of affairs in the Democratic Party. My identity is being politicized, and never for the right reasons.

I’m angry at the right for how they unfairly treat minorities, and uphold racial harm. And I’m frustrated with the left for how they ignore antisemitism, endorsing stereotypes about Jewish monopolies and power. A direct correlation exists between anti-Israel and antisemitic activity; when BDS comes to campus, antisemitism thrives.

The right blames immigrants for stealing their jobs, despite the fact that immigrants bolster the economy. The left voices their frustration with capitalism through accusations of Jewish control of foreign affairs, a false idea deeply shared by the right.

And yet this crippling leftist dissociation is also the Jewish paranoia speaking. Our ancestors have fled persecution, genocide and violence. Fear of religious persecution has become fear of political ostracization — and now, we sometimes feel we can’t speak up in our own party.

Too often, we confuse criticism with hatred for the party itself. My peers will assign me names: confused, moderate, conservative, immoral. Most Jewish students, including myself, self-identify as liberal; in fact, Jews are largely one of the most liberal ethnic groups, consistently voting Democrat. And we are in danger, because Trump uses Israel as a shield for his inexcusable actions, which could lead to dire consequences for Jews and Israel.

I’m choosing to critique the radical left’s chosen form of antisemitism not because it is morally equatable with the alt-right, but because it is harder to discern. Academia is normalizing anti-Jewish sentiment once again; backed by professors, these institutions have made it sexy, progressive, and legitimate to target Jews and Israel.

From California to Charlottesville, Jewish paranoia prevails. I am relieved to be leaving Virginia, but it would be ignorant to assume that the West Coast and the political left will offer me and other Jewish students political asylum. Thus, it is up to us to stand up to physical and ideological violence, no matter what party it originates from.

Continue reading at:  https://www.algemeiner.com/2019/07/26/the-far-right-is-antisemitic-and-so-is-the-radical-left/

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Friday Night Fun and Culture: Ace of Cups

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Another Summer of Love

I lived the “Summer of Love”.  Saw it play out in the East Village and on MacDougal Street, at the demonstration outside the Pentagon and the Haight Ashbury and Berkeley.  Hippie men were the heroes, hippie women for the most part were the supporting cast.  The feminist movement was mid-term just waiting to be born.

Women musicians, poets, artists, photographers etc were considered cute but never as good as men who could produce crap and have everyone praise it because after all they had dicks.

I think it is great that the women who played music, wrote and were artists are finally getting attention.  Too little and fifty years too late but still nice.

From The Tablet:  https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-life-and-religion/286743/another-summer-of-love

A half-century after its founding, the pioneering all-women rock band Ace of Cups is back—with a Jewish grandma leading the way

By Andrea Cooper
July 5, 2019

Denise Kaufman can’t help smiling as she belts out her lyrics on stage. “There’s a whole lotta people tryin’ to mess with your mind,” she sings, in “Feel Good.” “When you were just a little child they filled you in with every sin they could find/Tellin’ you it’s wrong to want my good lovin’/One way for you to know for sure/Does it feel good baby? How does it feel?”

She nods in time as bass licks propel the song forward. As she bobs her head, her long, curly, gray hair moves around her face. Kaufman is 72 years old, on tour with her septuagenarian band mates. In November 2018, they released their self-titled, long-overdue first album, and they already have plans for a second. Kaufman is a joyful singer, an unstoppable rocker, a Jewish grandma.

The band is Ace of Cups, which Kaufman helped found in 1967, during the “Summer of Love” in San Francisco. Deeply in the countercultural mix, Ace of Cups opened for Jimi Hendrix at Golden Gate Park and shared stages with the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane. But they had disbanded by 1972: No studio would offer a recording contract to an all-female group, and music gave way to the need to earn a living.

But Kaufman and Mary Simpson Mercy (vocals, electric and acoustic guitar), Mary Gannon Alfiler (vocals, ukulele, bass, percussion), and Diane Vitalich (vocals, drums) never stopped playing, though, all of them gigging over the years with other bands. Now, more than 50 years on, Ace of Cups has reunited, with their double album featuring such guest artists as Taj Mahal, Peter Coyote, and Buffy Sainte-Marie.

“What a debut it is,” Morgan Enos wrote in Billboard, “brimming over not only with great songs, but a formidable guest list … It’s the sound of four maximum-eclectic musical lifers, unfettered by old frustrations in the biz and purely ready to jam.” The band is touring, too, through Aug. 17, when they conclude with a benefit in San Francisco with headliner Jason Mraz. Next year, the band is slated to release another double album, three-fourths of which is already recorded.

It’s been a heady time for Kaufman, a guitar, bass, and harmonica player whose Judaism has “always been central” to her. Her father’s father founded a small synagogue in Boston. Her mother, Golda, born to a Jewish family in London, sailed to the U.S. to visit but ended up staying because England had entered WWII during her voyage, and London was being bombed. In her new country, Golda, a trained soprano, fell in love with Hank, a graduate of Harvard. They settled in San Francisco, where they enthusiastically supported their young daughter’s musical education. There were piano lessons and Pete Seeger concerts and years of Denise’s performances in a teen light-opera company. Golda and Hank were also social activists in Jewish and civic causes.

Kaufman drew upon that foundation of activism when she was arrested as a freshman at Berkeley as part of the Free Speech Movement. She spent the next year crossing the U.S. on the bus with the Merry Pranksters, a group of friends led by author Ken Kesey (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) who some credit with launching the psychedelic era. The Pranksters would stop in a community, rent space, and create light shows and music events. “The Grateful Dead would play—that was our band,” Kaufman remembered. On hand were vats of “electric Kool-Aid and not-electric Kool-Aid,” the former seasoned with LSD. In Tom Wolfe’s book about that journey, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Kaufman is “Mary Microgram.”

Kaufman says her ’60s experiments with then-legal LSD and psychedelics allowed her to reach an understanding of the oneness of all people and our common humanity: “It was a deeply spiritual opening for me. I felt like I had tapped into the divine.” The rest of her life, she added, “has been integrating and living from that.” Kaufman had returned to San Francisco by 1966 and recorded a single, “Boy, What’ll You Do Then.” At a New Year’s Eve party, she heard someone playing blues guitar in an upstairs bedroom. It was “this blond girl with shoulder-length hair”—Mary Simpson Mercy—and Kaufman pulled out her harmonica. Mercy soon invited Kaufman to join some female friends who jammed together.

Continue reading at:  https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-life-and-religion/286743/another-summer-of-love

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America’s Real Divide Isn’t Left vs. Right. It’s Democracy vs. Oligarchy.

From Robert Reich:  https://robertreich.org/post/186165252840

Robert Reich
Tuesday, July 9, 2019

I keep hearing that the Democratic party has moved “left” and that some Democratic candidates may be “too far left”.

But in this era of unprecedented concentration of wealth and political power at the top, I can’t help wondering what it means to be “left”.

A half-century ago, when America had a large and growing middle class, those on the “left” sought stronger social safety nets and more public investment in schools, roads and research. Those on the “right” sought greater reliance on the free market.

But as wealth and power have concentrated at the top, everyone else – whether on the old right or the old left – has become disempowered and less secure.

Safety nets have unraveled, public investments have waned and the free market has been taken over by crony capitalism and corporate welfare cheats. Washington and state capitals are overwhelmed by money coming from the super-rich, Wall Street and big corporations.

So why do we continue to hear and use the same old “right” and “left” labels?

I suspect it’s because the emerging oligarchy feels safer if Americans are split along the old political battle lines. That way, Americans won’t notice they’re being shafted.

In reality, the biggest divide in America today runs between oligarchy and democracy. When oligarchs fill the coffers of political candidates, they neuter democracy.

The oligarchs know politicians won’t bite the hands that feed them. So as long as they control the money, they can be confident there will be no meaningful response to stagnant pay, climate change, military bloat or the soaring costs of health insurance, pharmaceuticals, college and housing.

There will be no substantial tax increases on the wealthy. There will be no antitrust enforcement to puncture the power of giant corporations. No meaningful regulation of Wall Street’s addiction to gambling with other peoples’ money. No end to corporate subsides. CEO pay will continue to skyrocket. Wall Street hedge fund and private equity managers will continue to make off like bandits.

So long as the oligarchy divides Americans – split off people of color from working-class whites, stoke racial resentments, describe human beings as illegal aliens, launch wars on crime and immigrants, stoke fears of communists and socialists – it doesn’t have to worry that a majority will stop them from looting the nation.

Divide-and-conquer allows the oligarchy free rein. It makes the rest of us puppets, fighting each other on a made-up stage.

Trump is the puppet master.

He has been at it for years, long before he ran for president. He knows how to pit native-born Americans against immigrants, the working class against the poor, whites against blacks and Latinos.

He is well-versed in getting evangelicals and secularists steamed up about abortion, equal marriage rights, out-of-wedlock births, access to contraception, transgender bathrooms.

He knows how to stir up fears of brown-skinned people from “shitholes” streaming across the border to murder and rape, and stoke anger about black athletes who don’t stand for the national anthem.

He’s a master at fueling anxieties about so-called communists, socialists and the left taking over America.

He can make the white working class believe they’ve been losing good jobs and wages because of a cabal of Democrats, “deep state” bureaucrats and Hillary Clinton.

From the start, Trump’s deal with the oligarchy has been simple: he’ll stoke tribalism so most Americans won’t see CEOs getting exorbitant pay while they’re slicing the pay of average workers, won’t pay attention to Wall Street demanding short-term results over long-term jobs, and won’t notice a boardroom culture that tolerates financial conflicts of interest, insider trading and the outright bribery of public officials through unlimited campaign “donations”.

Continue reading at:  https://robertreich.org/post/186165252840

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