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    As the right wing, self-styled conservatives try to roll back the clock on almost every issue facing us: voting rights, civil rights, labor rights, health care and health insurance, environmental quality, women's rights, Social Security and Medicare, abortion and even contraception, I've come to the conclusion that they are not conservatives. Conservatives want to maintain the status quo. These right-wingers want to go back to a time when they imagined everything was perfect, like a Father Knows Best or Donna Reed episode of the 1950s, or even the 1920s: before FDR was elected, before he introduced Social Security, "Relief" [Public Assistance] and public work projects. They idolize Reagan, who was elected 35 years ago. Home computers were only introduced three years before that, and most homes still had rotary dial telephones; many still had black and white TVs. I could go on.

        My conclusion: they are not conservatives, seeking to preserve what prevails now. Rather, they are reactionaries, wanting to return to an era 40 to 80 years in the past.

        We should stop buying into their use of the term "conservative", with which they identify and pat themselves on their collective shoulders. Instead, we should start using the correct word, the one that more precisely defines them -- reactionaries.

        I'm old enough to remember how that term was used against Barry Goldwater, and the negative effect it had. For many years, they tried to make the word "liberal" pejorative; let's use the English word that perfectly and negatively defines them, i.e.

         R E A C T I O N A R I E S!

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        A petition was started yesterday on to nominate Prof. Anita Hill for the Supreme Court.

       Prof. Hill is an extremely respected, articulate Professor of Social Policy, Law and Women's with expertise in civil rights, international commerce, and bankruptcy. She is presently at Brandeis University, in the School for Social Policy and Management, and is a lawyer with a civil rights & employment practices group. Last year, the Brandeis Board of Trustees unanimously voted to recognize Hill with a promotion to University Professor of Social Policy, Law, and Women's Studies; University Professor is one of Brandeis’ most prestigious academic honors. [1]

        For those of you who are too young to remember her, or were somewhere on a desert island with no communications in 1991, I suggest that you do a bit of reading on the internet. The highlights: as a young lawyer, she had worked as an assistant to Clarence Thomas, first in the Education Dept., then in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. When the FBI routinely called her about Thomas, her conscience would not let her hide the facts: Thomas had sexually harassed her. Afraid of losing her job, she hadn't spoken out at the time. The all-male Judiciary Committee called her to testify, and they subjected her to the worst kind of smears and ridicule. The whole story is summarized nicely on Wikipedia.

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    The summer benefits program is designed to fill a food gap for children who rely on free- and reduced-price school meals for much of their nutrition. After small pilot programs in a handful of states over the past four years, administrators are confident that even a $45 monthly benefit during the summer months can reduce severe food insecurity among low-income children by 30 percent. A nationwide program would benefit 20 million children each summer once fully operational, according to White House estimates. 

    The annual cost is $1.2 billion. Sounds like a lot, but keep in mind that the defense budget is some $600 billion a year!

    The bill has bi-partisan support, but one representative, Robert Aderholt (R-AL), is apparently the only one blocking it. He can do this from his position as Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture

    Not only is Aderholt against abortion, he’s adamantly opposed to cutting the military budget. Other agricultural programs that Aderholt supports are all way more expensive than the summer EBT program, e.g. price supports for farmers and crop insurance; many of these programs benefit corporate landowners, what I call “big farma”. 

    I suggest that everyone read the link in the opening words above; all the details are there.

    I wonder — who was this man’s mother? How was he raised? His father was a part-time minister for Congregationalist churches. I’m not Christian, but I can’t imagine that these are the Christian values he was taught by his parents.

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    A new system designed by Israeli students, who worked with the community in an Ethiopian village, utilizes rain water to provide clean, safe water for a school. For the first time, the 600 kids there can safely drink and wash during the school day.

    We’ve all heard about Doctors Without Borders. But who knew there was an organization called Engineers Without Borders?! The engineers are apparently mostly engineering students, under the guidance of professors and professional engineers, who work with communities in the developing world to provide essential infrastructure for such basics as clean water, sewage, etc.

    In the realm of “a good deed…leads to others”, Israel has a charity named SACH: Save a Child’s Heart. SACH brings children from the developing world to Israel for (free) life-saving heart surgery. One such boy came from the Ethiopian village of Meskele Cristos. When the SACH volunteers visited the boy and his family after his recovery, they discovered that the village had very few water sources, and there was no running water at the school.

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    Apple says that it won’t unlock the phone of the San Bernadino terrorists, despite the fact that the government has a perfectly legal warrant, because it is protecting privacy. Of course, given the broad surveillance of other government agencies, many people think that this is a good thing, that Apple is “standing up” for American citizens, and even for foreign dissidents who might be put in danger.

    But I wonder how Apple became the moral arbiter of what is right in this issue. This is the company that is defiantly refusing to bring any of its profits back to the U.S., because, according to Tim Cook, it will be taxed at 40%. So Apple is keeping billions of dollars in offshore accounts, that aren’t taxedin those countries either. Apple is the most profitable business that ever existed: in 2015, Apple’s profits topped $200 billion, and 89% of that is being kept offshore. See: Tim Cook's Headache. Even Apple’s investors are beginning to demand their capital back. 

    Let’s do some quick math. Eighty-nine percent of 200 billion is 178 billion. If Apple brought back only half of that, it would be 89 billion. And if Apple paid 40% taxes on it (which I doubt but don’t know how to check), that would be $35.6 billion going into the U.S. budget. (Money for Flint, perhaps? With plenty left over for …. ) Apple itself estimated  that bringing home the $69.7 billion in earnings on which it hasn’t taken a charge would cost about $23 billion  in U.S. taxes. But Apple has spent $4.1 million in federal lobbying, a lot of it directed at changing tax laws.

    Another point: In 2012 Apple promised to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. I haven’t read anywhere that it did, but Tim Cook promised to spend $100 million to do so at that time. Mind you, that year Apple spent $10 billion on the tools and equipment needed to make its products. The vast majority of Apple’s manufacturing is done in China. Despite Apple’s promises to improve labor practices there, low wages and long hours persist at the iPhone factory. Workers  earn about $1.85, and the standard shift is nine hours a day. Starting in September, staff worked an additional minimum of 20 hours of overtime each week, bringing their weekly salaries to about $753.

    So, my questions are:

    1. By what right does Apple claim any moral superiority to a government to which it brags that it doesn’t pay taxes? In fact, how can Apple cloak itself in morals and ethics, given all of the above?

    2. How can any Bernie supporter enthusiastically support his values and his demand to get corporate financing out of the political process, and simultaneously laud Apple’s practices and its defiance of the government’s legally obtained warrant — to try to prevent terrorism, no less? Many continue to buy Apple’s products, thereby directly supporting Apple’s lobbying. 

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    A study on howler monkeys in the peer-reviewed journal Current Biologysaid that howler monkeys with deep roarstend to also have smaller testicles compared to their peers. Just sayin’.

    Apologies for re-opening a subject that we thought was finally closed, but couldn’t keep this to myself.

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    by Christine Lavin

    Words are unnecessary.

    Just watch this:

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    Two of Donald Drumph’s kids won’t be voting for him in the primary election in New York. Not because they don’t support him. Rather, Eric and Ivanka Trump “waited too long to register”.

    Which means that:

    A) Either they had never registered to vote before, although both of them are well over age 18: Ivanka is 34, and Eric is 32, or;

    B) They had never registered as Repugnicans.

    Mind you, in NY State, one must register at least 25 days before any election in order to be eligible to vote in that election.  So they would have had to register by March 25 to be eligible to vote in the primary. That’s well after Drumph declared his candidacy, and after all of his kids have been “advising” him on his campaign.

    Presumably, they have now taken care of the oversight, and will be eligible to vote in the general election.

    The very model of a family that takes its citizenship responsibilities seriously, right?

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    Paul Manafort, the one who wants to make Trump appear “presidential” was questioned by Cayman Island liquidators about $26.2 million that “disappeared” from an account in which Oleg Deripaska invested. Deripasta is a Russian oligarch who was barred from entering the U.S. because he allegedly had ties to organized crime. The money, supposedly for a deal involving a big Ukrainian telecommunications firm, was invested in the Davis Manafort International company. Davis was McCain’s campaign manager in 2008.

    Originally, the lawyers for the Cayman Island liquidators said they couldn’t find Manafort: “It appears that Paul Manafort and Rick Gates have simply disappeared,” Deripaska’s lawyers wrote in a petition to the Cayman Islands court filed in Dec. 4, 2014. “Deripaska’s lawyers had alleged that Manafort and another of his business partners, Rick Gates (who also recently went to work for the Trump campaign), had failed to respond to repeated requests for audit reports or any other information about the Ukrainian investment funds put out by Deripaska.”

    Now, Manafort’s lawyer said he was deposed by the Cayman Island liquidators in Virginia a few months ago, but the matter is still pending in the Cayman Islands, so of course the lawyer wouldn’t say anything more.

    Manafort had been the political consultant to Victor Yanukovych, the corrupt former president of the Ukraine. During that period and since, he’s had dealings with a number of Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs, many involving accounts in the Cayman Islands, Panama, Cyprus, and other tax-sheltering locations. In fact, the former Ukranian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, Yanukovych’s rival, sued Manafort in a NY court. The suit alleged that Manafort’s business deals were part of a “racketeering” scheme to launder hundreds of millions of dollars through a “labyrinth” of companies owned by a Ukrainian pro-Putin oligarch named Dimitri Firtash. (The suit was tossed out because of lack of jurisdiction.)

    Apparently, this is just the tip of the iceberg concerning Manafort’s dealings with shady Russian oligarchs.

    See: Trump’s campaign chief is questioned about ties to Russian billionaire

    So much for Drumph’s prowess as a business man. Wouldn’t the first order of any business be to vet new employees?

    I think that this story will have more developments soon, and will try to keep an eye on this one.

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    Only six months ago, in January, Trump was trying to get traction on getting Cruz disqualified from running for president because he was born in Canada. In an interview with the Washington Post, Trump said Cruz’s Canadian birth could be ‘very precarious’ for the GOP.

    “Republicans are going to have to ask themselves the question: ‘Do we want a candidate who could be tied up in court for two years?’ That’d be a big problem,” Trump said…. “It’d be a very precarious one for Republicans because he’d be running and the courts may take a long time to make a decision. You don’t want to be running and have that kind of thing over your head.”

    Trump University is facing not one but two class action suits, one of which may entail Federal RICO charges. Trump may even be forced to testify.

    It’s a good bet that these cases will continue for a minimum of two more years; they’ve been going on for at least two years. 

    In addition, the NY State Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, filed a law suit in 2013, for the fraud perpetrated by Trump University.  2013 was long before Trump declared himself a candidate. This had nothing to do with politics; Schneiderman’s a great AG, and really cares about NY’s citizens. In March, a state Court of Appeals panel allowed the suit to go forward. Schneiderman has expressed outrage over Trump’s blatant fraud, and has vowed to go forward with the case. He himself, however, notes that it won’t be finished before election day.

    Nor is that the only case that Trump is involved in at this very moment. Only last week, it was announced that Trump filed suit against ex-campaign consultant Sam Nunberg for ten million dollars for breaching a non-disclosure agreement. Guess this is Trump’s unique fund-raising method, since the big-money Republicans aren’t contributing to his campaign.

    At any rate, this case, too, is sure to run for months, if not years.

    So, Republicans have to ask themselves whether they want to back a candidate who’s running while legal actions , including federal, state and civil suits, are hanging over his head.

    Whadya think — disqualifies Trump, no?

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    When is exposure of e-mails not a good thing?

    When it exposes to the world private information, and puts hundreds of thousands of lives in danger — for no reason.

    We all agree that unrestrained, unlimited and uncensored use of the internet is a good thing. People may have differing views of Snowden’s act, and many admire his bravery and that of the people behind Wikileaks. By contrast, no one likes the idea that the credit-card information and data bases of Citibank and Capitol One, Target and Home Depot — and who knows how many other companies — were hacked. That can result in major money theft and worse, identity theft.

    But such hacks usually don’t put lives in danger.

    It took Wikileaks to do so.

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    I just read this in Salon, and have to pass it on. What if the GOP front runner ... [is] unwell? 

    It takes a while for the author, Prof. Sophia McClennan, Professor of International Affairs and Comparative Literature at Penn. State, to get to the point. But she quotes the Alzheimer’s Association, that if “two of the ...[listed] core mental functions seem impaired, medical help should be sought.” The core functions: “Memory, communication and language, ability to focus and pay attention, reasoning and judgment, visual perception. Alzheimer’s carries other symptoms besides memory loss including: difficulty remembering newly learned information, disorientation, mood and behavior changes; deepening confusion about events, time and place; unfounded suspicions about family, friends and professional caregivers; more serious memory loss and behavior changes.” Among other things, she points out Trump’s poor grammar and speech patterns, and numerous examples of his ignorance of basic facts, including ones I hadn’t read of before e.g. that he wanted to bring Joe Paterno back to Penn State, even though Paterno died in 2012. Despite the length, I urge people to read the article.

    I have personal experience with Alzheimer's: for the last year and 4 years, respectively, of my mother’s and father's lives, I took care of them. Both of them died of Alzeheimer's. Before they required help, they were both widely read, knowledgeable, involved, extremely liberal people who were very well-respected; they both had responsible positions before their retirement. (When it was announced that Reagan was suffering from Alzheimer’s, my mother and I looked at each other and at the same instant, said, “How can they tell?” and we all laughed. Little did we know then….) My parents exhibited many of the lesser-known symptoms described above, but one of the salient features was, for the most part, that their own personalities and characteristics got more extreme. My mother, for example, had a very biting sense of humor and was “assertive” all her life. By the last year, that assertiveness had turned into frequently violent aggression, and her statements had more bite and less humor.

    If McClennan's suggestion is true, and she makes a fairly convincing case, I would go a step further: that Trump does have Narcissist Personality Disorder, aggravated by the beginnings of Alzheimer's. Furthermore, one of the symptoms that are not listed, is that normal sleep patterns are disrupted. As we know, Trump boasts of needing very little sleep, and we see his tweets from all hours of the night.

    The “doctor's note " that the campaign had issued was, as we know, off the wall. Maybe his family, if they truly care about him, should have him examined by a qualified neurologist who is experienced with Alzheimer’s patients.

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  • 08/10/16--08:30: THIS!
  • Re: Elizabeth Warren’s tweet, that Trump is “… a pathetic coward….”, we have this from Occupied Democrats: Warren responds to Trump's death threats

    “Trump’s notoriously insecure and misogynistic towards women. So much so that his ex-wife, Marla Maples, never saw  The Donald naked according to a 1993 biography, “The Lost Tycoon.” The book’s author Harry Hurt wrote of Maples, “She has never seen him completely naked—at least almost never—because he won’t let her. Whenever they’re about to have sex, he makes her go into the bathroom while he gets undressed. As soon as he takes off his clothes, he jumps into the bed and pulls up the covers. She knows that he’s ashamed to show her what a flabby old body he has.”

    “Does this sound like the behavior of a man who would ask his supporters to shoot Hillary Clinton? Absolutely. Sen. Warren hit the bulls eye squarely in her dissection of his behavior. Trump has always been, and will always be, a pathetic coward.”

    ‘Nuf said.

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    ALSO: he apparently doesn’t want to be Vice President after all.

    I had to make sure the article in today’s Huff Post wasn’t written by the Onion. Pence Doesn't Want to Be Called Vice Presidential Candidate.

    Due to religious scruples, Pence doesn’t want to be called the Vice Presidential candidate, because the Bible apparently defines vice as “wicked” and “evil” (if the shoe fits). [BTW, as a Hebrew speaker, I must remind everyone that the Bible wasn’t originally written in English, not even the New Testament. And AFAIK, there is no one-word translation of vice in Hebrew.]

    But the kicker came when he “...was asked during his press conference if he condemned the word “vice” on Christian principles, why then didn’t he condemn the Ku Klux Klan, a white supremacist organization, that openly participates in immoral and wicked behavior?

    “I would,” he answered. “But if we start criticizing deplorables, we run the risk of losing half our voters.” (!!!!!!!)


    The article, by Christopher Lamb, a professor of journalism at Indiana University, goes on to quote a few more goodies from the press conference. When asked, for example, if he’s such a Christian, why he cut off tens of thousands of his state’s citizens from food stamps, instead of feeding the hungry and helping the needy, as the Bible says should be done.

    Pence’s reply was that, “The Bible says that the Lord helps those who help themselves.”

    The reporter pointed out that the phrase was not actually in the Bible.

    And here is where Pence proved that Drumph chose someone just as wacky as himself.  Pence, who defines himself as a Christian first, a conservative second, and a Republican third, replied, “Never mind, it’s in the Republican Bible.”

    There are a few more goodies. I really recommend reading the whole article, linked above.

    Should be headlines all over.

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    That’s why all his screws are loose, and he has parts the purpose of which he doesn’t know.

    (With thanks to the Israeli genius who originally wrote it about Bibi and his bizarro Minister of Culture.)

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    WaPo just headlined its breaking news: Trump won’t drop out of race.

    As I wrote in a comment a few minutes ago, his ego won’t let him: “I’ve never withdrawn in my life.”

    I suggest y’all just read the whole article: Trump Vows Never to Withdraw

    It’s gonna get worse for him: 2 women have come forward, one by name, cf. Kristof’s article in the NYTimes, CNN anchor’s reference. There will be more.

    Stay tuned.


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  • 08/20/17--12:10: HUMPTY DUMPTY - TRUMP RESIGN
  • From my extremely talented spouse. Obviously to the tune of “Mademoiselle from Armentières", better known as Hinky Dinky Parlez Vous

    Humpty Dumpty Trump, Resign!

    © Sharon Neeman 2017

    The first one out was Sally Yates – Trump, resign!

    The first one out was Sally Yates – Trump, resign!

    The first one out was Sally Yates,

    Who wouldn’t hate people from Muslim states –

    Humpty Dumpty Trump, resign!

    The second one out was Michael Flynn – Trump, resign!

    The second one out was Michael Flynn – Trump, resign!

    The second one out was Michael Flynn,

    Whose lies about Russia caused negative spin –

    Humpty Dumpty Trump, resign!

    The third one out was Angella Reid – Trump, resign!

    The third one out was Angella Reid – Trump, resign!

    The third one out was Angella Reid –

    Chief Usher and female? A crime, indeed!

    Humpty Dumpty Trump, resign!

    The fourth one out was Comey James – Trump, resign!

    The fourth one out was Comey James – Trump, resign!

    The fourth one out was Comey James –

    But was it for emails, or other games?

    Humpty Dumpty Trump, resign!

    The fifth one out was Walter Shaub – Trump, resign!

    The fifth one out was Walter Shaub – Trump, resign!

    The fifth one out was Walter Shaub,

    Who chose to stay honest and leave his job –

    Humpty Dumpty Trump, resign!

    The sixth one out was Spicer Sean – Trump, resign!

    The sixth one out was Spicer Sean – Trump, resign!

    The sixth one out was Spicer Sean,

    Who wanted no Scars on the White House lawn –

    Humpty Dumpty Trump, resign!

    The seventh one out was Priebus Reince – Trump, resign!

    The seventh one out was Priebus Reince – Trump, resign!

    The seventh one out was Priebus Reince

    (Did he get booted, or did he resignce?) –

    Humpty Dumpty Trump, resign!

    The eighth one out was Tony Scar – Trump, resign!

    The eighth one out was Tony Scar – Trump, resign!

    The eighth one out was Tony Scar,

    A nine-days’ wonder who went too far –

    Humpty Dumpty Trump, resign!

    The ninth one out was Bannon Steve – Trump, resign!

    The ninth one out was Bannon Steve – Trump, resign!

    The ninth one out was Bannon Steve;

    He’s gone with hardly a soul to grieve –

    Humpty Dumpty Trump, resign!

    Who’ll be the tenth to fall off the shelf – Trump, resign!

    Who’ll be the tenth to fall off the shelf – Trump, resign!

    Who’ll be the tenth to fall off the shelf?

    Oh, please let it be 45 himself –


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    A pedophile was arrested at Sydney Airport, as he attempted to fly out of Australia, under laws that went into effect the same day that prevent registered child sex offenders from traveling overseas to abuse children.

    Visiting Sydney Airport this morning, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the laws gave her the authority to deny a passport to a child sex offender, cancel existing passports, or order the surrender of a foreign passport.

    “Registered child sex offenders have reporting obligations in Australia because of the ongoing risk that they present to children in Australia, but we are aware that they have a high propensity to re-offend if they are in the country where they not monitored and where child sex exploitation is rampant,” Ms Bishop said.

    “These laws are designed to protect children at home and abroad.”

    The laws are part of an array of proposed legislation, to ensure that pedophiles serve serious prison time, don’t get let out on bail or early parole, and are continually monitored after their release from prison. According to the Australian Justice Minister, the laws constitute the first efforts to crack down on child sex tourism anywhere in the world. Given the fact that many countries in Southeast Asia have minimal or non-existent laws against child sex abuse, or don’t enforce the laws if they do exist, the Australians felt it was their responsibility to prevent child sex abuse abroad by Australians. 

    Australia is only half a world away geographically, but it’s a world ahead of the U.S. in this and other matters.

    A case in point: gun control. In 1996, a 28-year old man killed 35 people and wounded 18 others in what was called the Port Arthur Massacre. Within two weeks (!), all of the states in Australia immediately passed the identical gun laws banning semi-automatic rifles and shotguns, and making it more difficult to purchase weapons. The newly banned weapons were bought back by the government and then destroyed. Thousands of people handed in non-banned weapons. In all, over  700 000 guns were removed and destroyed.

    Australia's revised gun laws also required that all firearms be individually registered to their licensed owners, that private firearm sales be prohibited and that each gun transfer through a licensed arms dealer be approved only after the police are satisfied of a genuine reason for ownership. Possession of firearms for self‐defense in Australia is specifically prohibited. The federal government restricts gun imports. In 2002, additional laws were enacted, limiting magazine to 10-round capacities, limiting barrel length and bullet caliber.

    There have not been any mass murders in Australia since 1996, although in 2002, a mentally ill student killed two students and injured five others with illegally obtained weapons.

    The homicide (murder and manslaughter) rate is down significantly, as are the suicide rates.

    So, Australia, with its live-and-let-live ethos, is safer and more protective of its children than is the U.S., and particularly the heavily “Christian”, evangelical states. 

    In other words, there are solutions, if our politicians would address our national problems, and put solving them above their narrow, personal and political interests. It should be noted that the Prime Minister who pushed for the laws in 1996 and his Deputy, who was nationally associated with them, were vilified after the laws were passed, and their party lost 12 seats in the next election. Nevertheless, the Prime Minister was re-elected four times, and became the second-longest serving PM in Australian history; the Deputy also had a long, distinguished career in government.

    Australia: a highly civilized, responsible country.

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    Today, there was a small article in the Israeli press about the army upgrading its main transport truck, and phasing out the old ones -- which were nicknamed "Dana". Every soldier in Israel has traveled in such a truck at least once, but few remember the source of the name by which everyone knows it.
    Those trucks, which the army bought in the 1990s, were made by a company called International, and they were originally called "Internationals". That same year, a phenomenal transgender male-to-female Israeli performer named "Dana International" won the Eurovision song contest. (For those who don’t know about the Eurovision: it’s a very prestigious international contest. Each participating country has one entry, which has to be an original song. In its day, ABBA won, for example. The participating countries vote on the songs, except for their own. Think of The Voice on steroids.) Soldiers quickly dubbed the trucks "Dana", and the name stuck, though few remember the context.
    Israel can be surprising sometimes. Below is a picture. The truck bed has benches fitted along the sides, with space in the center for duffel bags and personal equipment.