... As a result of instructors gradually lowering their standards, A has become the most common grade on American college campuses. Without regulation, or at least strong grading guidelines, grades at American institutions of higher learning likely will continue to have less and less meaning ... When A is ordinary, college grades cross a significant threshold. Over a period of roughly 50 years, with a slight reversal from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, America’s institutions of higher learning gradually created a fiction that excellence was common and that failure was virtually nonexistent.
One of the great goals of education is to initiate the young into the conversation of their ancestors; to enable them to understand the language of that conversation, in all its subtlety, and maybe even, in their maturity, to add to it some wisdom of their own. The modern American educational system no longer teaches us the political language of our ancestors. In fact our schooling helps widen the gulf of time between our ancestors and ourselves, because much of what we are taught in the name of civics, political science, or American history is really modern liberal propaganda.
For those of us who have been arguing for years that senior officials and lawyers in the Bush administration must be held accountable for the torture program they introduced and used in their “war on terror,” last week was a very interesting week indeed. There were developments in Strasbourg, in London, and in Washington, D.C., that all pointed towards the impossibility of the torturers’ being able to escape accountability forever. That may be wishful thinking, given the concerted efforts by officials in the United States and elsewhere to avoid having to answer for their crimes, and the ways in which, through legal arguments and backroom deals, they have suppressed all attempts to hold them accountable.
As the periodic bloodshed continues in the Middle East, the search for an equitable solution must come to grips with the root cause of the conflict. The conventional wisdom is that, even if both sides are at fault, the Palestinians are irrational “terrorists” who have no point of view worth listening to. Our position, however, is that the Palestinians have a real grievance … This paper outlines the history of Palestine to show how this process occurred and what a moral solution to the region’s problems should consist of. If you care about the people of the Middle East, Jewish and Arab, you owe it to yourself to read this account of the other side of the historical record.
…The popular image of this man, particularly in the United States, is a crude caricature… Contrary to popular belief, Goebbels was successful as a propagandist not because he was a master of the "Big Lie," but rather as a result of his fidelity to facts and truth. As biographer Heiber notes: “Goebbels was accordingly able to celebrate his information policy as being not only superior to the enemy's in its monolithic character, but also of a `seriousness and credibility’ which `simply cannot be surpassed.’ The boast could be made with some justification: Seen in the long view, Goebbels preached, the best propaganda is that which does no more than serve the truth."
Dr. Goebbels’ addresses a mass rally in Berlin on Feb. 18, 1943, just a few weeks after the catastrophic defeat of German and allied forces in the Battle of Stalingrad. The Reich Minister frankly explains the mortal danger that threatens all of Europe. Germany could lose the war, he solemnly warns. To counter the formidable Soviet threat from the East, he goes on, the nation must adopt stern and radical “total war” measures. From the German weekly newsreel, “Die Deutsche Wochenschau.” With English subtitles. Runtime: 7:36 minutes.
... Just “tweaking” things slightly is not going to fix our economy. We need a fundamental change in direction. Right now we are living in a bubble of debt-fueled false prosperity that allows us to continue to consume far more wealth than we produce, but when that bubble bursts we are going to experience the most painful economic "adjustment" that America has ever gone through ... The following are 50 economic numbers from 2012 that are almost too crazy to believe ...
Across the United States, the number of hungry and homeless people is growing, and budget fights at the federal level are threatening the aid many need to survive, the U.S. Conference of Mayors said on Thursday. Amidst the holiday season of family feasts and corporate dinners, the mayors released a report that found requests for emergency food assistance rose in 21 out of the 25 cities it surveyed in 2012 and remained at the same level in three. More than half the cities said homelessness increased. "This report is a stark reminder of the long-lasting impact the recession has had on many of our citizens," Greg Fischer, mayor of Louisville, Kentucky, said in a statement.
A startling statistic was released by the Army on Friday: the number of soldiers who have committed suicide between January 1 and September 30 is 247, while the number killed in combat is 222. In September alone, it's believed 15 active-duty and 16 reserve or Guard soldiers committed suicide. That's a huge number. And this is just the Army. All branches of the military are losing troops to this particularly sad enemy, and all have worked to create programs to relieve the stigma of getting mental health treatment.
Weber reviews how America has changed over the past 50 years, and the factors behind the dramatic transformation. Politicians of both major parties, he says, along with those who control our nation’s cultural and educational life, have been leading America in the wrong direction for many years. To further narrow partisan interests, they promote harmful policies based on false notions about history, society and life. America today is a society in denial, he says.
China has officially opened the world's longest high-speed rail route, linking the capital Beijing with the southern commercial hub of Guangzhou. The first bullet train left Beijing on Wednesday morning. Trains will initially travel at 300 km/h (187 mph), more than halving travel time. A Chinese official has described the route - parts of which were already in operation - as "one of the most technically advanced in the world". The 2,298 km route will have 35 stops. They include such major cities as Wuhan and Changsha. The previously 22-hour journey will now take less than ten hours.
... The kerfuffle over Chuck Hagel’s use of the term “Jewish lobby” — and the implication that some members of Congress are intimidated by it — pervades the right-wing media and its echo chamber in the blogosphere. Since Hagel was floated as a possible Secretary of Defense, some American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) representatives... have denounced Hagel’s characterization. Even progressives are not immune to debating its appropriateness.
… It’s permissible to discuss the power of every other group, from the Black Muslims to the Christian Right, but the much greater power of the Jewish Establishment is off-limits. That, in fact, is the chief measure of its power … Explicitly “Jewish” organizations like the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League enforce a dual standard. What is permitted to Israel is forbidden to America. This is not just thoughtless inconsistency. These organizations consciously support one set of principles here — equal rights for all, ethnic neutrality, separation of church and state — and their precise opposites in Israel, where Jewish ancestry and religion enjoy privilege.
... The bond Kerry has forged with the Jewish community because of his roots and because of his interest in the Middle East has helped smooth over rough patches when he has criticized Israel. “We’ve had disagreements in the past, but on the whole he’s a staunch advocate and defender of the US-Israel relationship and Israeli security,” the Anti-Defamation League’s national director, Abraham Foxman, told JTA in a telephone interview from Israel, where he was meeting with Israeli leaders ... These connections are helping Kerry win Jewish support for his nomination to replace Hillary Clinton as US secretary of state.
The famous First World War football match of the Christmas Day truce started after a ball was kicked from the British lines into No Man's Land. The disclosure emerged in a previously-unseen letter describing the famous match. Staff sergeant Clement Barker sent the letter home four days after Christmas 1914 when the British and German troops emerged from their trenches in peace. He described how the truce began after a German messenger walked across No Man's Land on Christmas Eve to broker the temporary cease-fire agreement. British soldiers went out and recovered 69 dead comrades and buried them.
The extraordinary story and pictures of the Christmas truce of 1914, wherein "enemy" German and English troops discovered their common humanity for a brief surreal shining moment. Set to John McCutcheon's stirring song.
... But who would imagine that Israeli Jews could be so intimidated by the innocuous Christmas tree? ... But Gapso is not alone in his trenchant opposition to making even the most cursory nod towards multiculturalism. The city’s chief rabbi, Isaiah Herzl, has refused to countenance a single Christmas tree in Upper Nazareth, arguing that it would be “offensive to Jewish eyes”. That view, it seems, reflects the official position of the country’s rabbinate. In so far as they are able, the rabbis have sought to ban Christmas celebrations in public buildings, including in the hundreds of hotels across the country.
Thousands of pilgrims and Palestinians converged on Bethlehem Monday [Dec. 24] to celebrate the first Christmas in this West Bank city since the U.N. vote recognizing Palestine as a non-member state. The celebrations capped a boom year for the city of Jesus’ birth, with a record two million tourists in 2012 helping an impressive economic revival. A few hundred fortunate ticket-holders packed into St. Catherine's, the Catholic chapel inside the Church of the Nativity marking the traditional birthplace of Jesus to join Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and other senior officials at Midnight Mass conducted by the Latin Patriarch, Fouad Twal.
The top Roman Catholic cleric in the Holy Land celebrated the United Nations' recent recognition of a Palestinian state in his annual pre-Christmas homily on Monday, saying that while the road to actual freedom from Israeli occupation remains long, the Palestinian homeland has been born. Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal told followers at the patriarchate's headquarters in Jerusalem's Old City that this year's festivities were doubly joyful, celebrating "the birth of Christ our Lord and the birth of the state of Palestine."
“Justice is Possible and Hope is Justified,” a video edited and directed by Omar Odeh. Runtime: 2:39 mins.
Over the years, the IHR has often presented new information that the "establishment" media simply ignored or dismissed, but then later grudgingly acknowledged as accurate and valid … Recent “revelations” about Simon Wiesenthal and Abraham Lincoln reconfirm the solidity, relevance and importance of IHR scholarship. As the saying goes, “Better late than never.”
In a rare move on Wednesday [Dec. 19], all but one of the 15 members of the U.N. Security Council made statements at the United Nations opposing Israeli plans to expand Jewish settlements around Jerusalem after the United States repeatedly blocked attempts to take stronger action. India's U.N. ambassador, Hardeep Singh Puri, described the four separate statements - made by the eight council members from the Non-Aligned Movement, the four European members, Russia and China - as a "Plan B" after it was clear the United States, was likely to veto a legally binding resolution on the issue.
Just over half of the U.S. House of Representative called on President Obama to shut down the PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization] office in Washington as punishment for its ascension in United Nations status. "One important way of expressing U.S. disapproval would be to send the message that such actions are not cost-free and that, at a minimum, they result in setbacks to U.S.-Palestinian relations," said the letter sent Dec. 21, initiated by the incoming and outgoing leaders of both parties on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and signed by 239 members ...
Many Americans believe that the country’s problems can be solved by “restoring” the “constitutional republic” and by “returning” to the letter and spirit of the US Constitution. But no constitution, even the most brilliantly written one, can save a society from corruption, ignorance, disorder, and poverty. Few Americans realize just how undemocratic the “original” Constitution was, and how distrustful its authors were of power by “the people.” While the US Constitution is brilliantly conceived, it has major defects. Now it’s little more than an instrument of those in power to provide a veneer of legality in furthering their interests and agenda.
Many Americans would bristle at the idea that Hollywood films were as deliberately propagandistic as the films made in Germany during the Nazi era ... Washington sought to influence every aspect of wartime filmmaking, from how much blood flowed during battle scenes to whether movies that satirized American values in any way would be released internationally ... The finest example of how subtly Hollywood conducted a propaganda campaign may well be the classic film Casablanca ... While undeniably one of the all time great romances, Casablanca exists today primarily because some Hollywood power players wanted to do something that would convince America to quit being a country that sticks its neck out for nobody.
The Christmas message of peace, good will and respect for others is not just a Christian or even narrowly religious one. These timeless principles are important for nations as well as for individuals. But because American cultural and political life is controlled by a small but powerful minority with its own partisan agenda, US foreign policy has all too often been arrogant, bellicose and oppressive -- with harmful long-term consequences for Americans and humanity.
Christmas is celebrated by soldiers at the front and families at home. From the German weekly newsreel, “Die Deutsche Wochenschau,” of Dec. 21, 1942. With English subtitles. The concluding background choral music is "Hohe Nacht der Klaren Sterne." Runtime: 9:07 mins.
The Obama administration has already declared war on Syria, even if it isn't "official" yet. Consider the facts, all of them acts of war: The U.S. now recognizes a group of Syrian exiles to be the official government of Syria; the U.S. is providing direct support for rebels attacking the government; the U.S. has coordinated with NATO to place advanced missile systems — and 400 U.S. troops — on Syria's border with Turkey; Obama has drawn a "red line" that, if Syria crosses, would result in U.S. direct military intervention. If any other country made similar moves toward the U.S., there would be no question that war had been declared.
In the mid-1920s, Joseph Goebbels was given the difficult task of fostering support for the growing Nazi Party in Berlin, "the reddest city in Europe besides Moscow." But, by 1933, a combination of street brutality and political smarts succeeded in catapulting the party past rival parties ... Berlin loved the man they called "our Dr. Goebbels" because he spent time in direct contact with them. He comforted the severely wounded, held the hands of the dying, and attended the funerals of the dead ... Goebbels, who was unable to fight in World War I because of his deformed right leg, proved to be the top soldier of an army fighting an insidious civil war. During it, the Nazis survived severe challenges.
…The popular image of this man, particularly in the United States, is a crude caricature… Contrary to popular belief, Goebbels was successful as a propagandist not because he was a master of the "Big Lie," but rather as a result of his fidelity to facts and truth. As biographer Heiber notes: “Goebbels was accordingly able to celebrate his information policy as being not only superior to the enemy’s in its monolithic character, but also of a ‘seriousness and credibility’ which ‘simply cannot be surpassed.’ The boast could be made with some justification: Seen in the long view, Goebbels preached, the best propaganda is that which does no more than serve the truth."
Weber reports on a recent wave of smears, intimidation and harassment against the IHR by the Jewish Defense Organization and other hate groups. He also talks about the simplistic, “shortcut” thinking of many Americans, who believe that things can be turned around by “returning” to the US Constitution. What’s crucially important in a nation, he says, is not its constitution, but rather the quality and character of its people and leadership, and the society’s basic values, ideology and worldview.
Earlier this month we learned that the Obama Administration is significantly expanding the number of covert Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) agents overseas. From just a few hundred DIA agents overseas today, the administration intends to eventually deploy some 1,600 covert agents. The nature of their work will also shift, away from intelligence collection and more toward covert actions. This move signals a major change in how the administration intends to conduct military and paramilitary operations overseas.
Abe Foxman, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, emails me from overseas on the potential for Chuck Hagel to be picked as secretary of Defense: “Chuck Hagel would not be the first, second, or third choice for the American Jewish community’s friends of Israel. His record relating to Israel and the U.S.-Israel relationship is, at best, disturbing, and at worst, very troubling. The sentiments he’s expressed about the Jewish lobby border on anti-Semitism in the genre of professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt and former president Jimmy Carter.”
Israel has instructed its embassies in ten European countries, including the UK, each to recruit 1,000 members of the public to act as advocates for its policies in a new public relations offensive. A cable from the foreign affairs ministry was sent to embassies last week [Nov. 2010], with instructions from Avigdor Lieberman, the controversial and extreme right-wing foreign minister, to adopt a range of measures aimed at improving Israel's standing in Europe. The most unusual was the order to identify up to 1,000 people by mid-January to act as "allies" to Israel. One source described them as "friends who are willing not just to receive messages but to actively promote these messages.”
Wikipedia has become the new battleground for Israel's PR image. The Yisrael Sheli (My Israel) movement and the Yesha Council, which represents Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, have joined together for a new public relations initiative. Together they will soon offer a special course for volunteers who wish to write and edit English entries on Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia. Ayelet Shaked, who is heading the project, was interviewed on Monday [Aug. 2010] on Arutz 7 Radio, and said that she was surprised at the large number of individuals who have gotten in touch with her so far and are interested in joining the course.
In March President Barack Obama reportedly offered Israel bunker-buster bombs and other advanced weapons in exchange for a postponing an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities until 2013. At the time the White House denied that any such agreement was proposed or reached. Bunker-busters are essential for an attack on Iran's underground nuclear facilities since they can penetrate Tehran's world renowned reinforced concrete. This week the U.S. Department of Defense notified Congress of a $647 million agreement to provide the Israel Air Force with 10,000 bombs — more than half of which are bunker-busters — along with 6,900 joint direct attack munitions (JDAM) tail kits, which convert unguided free-fall bombs into satellite-guided "smart" weapons.
Austrian conductor Herbert von Karajan, a major figure in 20th-century classical music, was a bigger fan of the Nazis than he made out, according to a historian who has unearthed previously unseen documents. "It is time to probe scientifically the claims that Karajan constructed and cobbled together ... and which in the end he really believed himself," said Oliver Rathkolb from Vienna University ... Rathkolb also questioned Karajan's claims after World War II that he only joined the Nazi party in order to be able to pursue his musical career, citing his application to join in April 1933, five years before the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany.
A new public elementary school in East Salinas was named after Tiburcio Vasquez following a unanimous vote by the Alisal Union School District's school board trustees this week ... Vasquez spent his life as an outlawed bandit who brawled, robbed, and horse-rustled his way from Monterey to Salinas and beyond in Northern California. He was publicly hanged in San Jose after he was convicted of murder. Vasquez was not seen as a bad guy by all, however. He was considered a hero by some in the Hispanic community, and was a self-proclaimed defender of Mexican rights ... Salinas' new 850-student school is slated to open in August 2013 in an area plagued by youth gang violence and crime.
A common belief among defenders of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is that the National Socialist government of Germany under Adolf Hitler did not permit the private ownership of firearms ... Unfortunately for those who would like to link Hitler and the National Socialists with gun control, the entire premise for such an effort is false. German firearms legislation under Hitler, far from banning private ownership, actually facilitated the keeping and bearing of arms by German citizens by eliminating or ameliorating restrictive laws which had been enacted by the government preceding his ...
... After reading Hollywood Goes to War, one cannot help but come away with the impression that the movie industry and various government agencies were very much in the propaganda business before and during World War II ... In 1939 Warner Brothers premiered Confessions of a Nazi Spy, which claimed in melodramatic fashion that Germany sought to conquer the entire globe ... In 1943 Warner Brothers premiered Mission to Moscow, based on the book of the same name by Joseph E. Davies, U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1936 to 1938. The authors of Hollywood Goes to War characterize this picture as the "most notorious example of propaganda in the guise of entertainment ever produced by Hollywood."
A look at lies and deceit in the two world wars. Fantastic stories about German atrocities in World War I were promoted to mobilize public opinion in the US, Britain and France. In World War II, the disastrous British evacuation of Dunkirk was portrayed as a great success. Another durable propaganda myth is the story of “merciless” German bombing of Coventry. Actually, it was the British who first began indiscriminate bombing of civilians. As historian Phillip Knightley points out, German news reports about the war were generally more accurate and reliable than those of the Allies.
A Hungarian lawmaker who burned an Israeli flag at an anti-Zionist protest has been briefly detained by police for disturbing the peace. Budapest police said Balazs Lenhardt, an independent lawmaker formerly a member of the far-right Jobbik party, was released after being questioned Friday night. The flag burning incident took place at a rally outside the Foreign Ministry attended by around 100 people. The ministry condemned the protest, during which participants also shouted anti-Semitic slogans.
When teenagers in occupied Jersey [UK Channel island] stole a cache of Christmas letters posted home by German soldiers, it was a small act of wartime resistance. Seven decades later and after a painstaking search, descendants of the troops have finally received them. The festive act of reconciliation was made possible after the letters, hidden away in a grand piano since the theft in 1941, were handed in to archivists. A gang of youths, all aged 15 or 16, had stolen the 90 letters from a Wehrmacht field post office in St Helier ... Despite the obstacles, counterparts at Deutsche Post in Germany managed to find ten families related to the original recipients who still live in the same places.
Just one week after a Constitutional Court ruled that ritual slaughter is “unconstitutional”, Poland's minister of agriculture has announced new legislation to reinstate the practice ... The case came before the court after Attorney General Andrzej Seremet was petitioned to investigate the issue by animal rights groups concerning a previous amendment introduced in 2004, contradicting the 1997 act on animal protection, which held that animals cannot be slaughtered for meat without being stunned beforehand.
In this provocative hour-long presentation, philosopher Roger Scruton speaks about the importance of beauty in the arts and in our lives. During the 20th century, he contends, art, architecture and music turned their backs on beauty, making a cult of ugliness and leading us into a spiritual desert. Scruton analyses where art went wrong, and presents his own impassioned case for restoring beauty in public life.
… This relentless cult of novelty, with its assertion that art need not be good or pure, just so long as it is new, newer, and newer still, conceals an unyielding and long-sustained attempt to undermine, ridicule and uproot all moral precepts … To decorate public spaces we put up sculptures that aestheticize pure ugliness — but we no longer register surprise. And if visitors from outer space were to pick up our music over the airwaves, how could they ever guess that earthlings once had a Bach, a Beethoven and a Schubert, now abandoned as out of date and obsolete?
Germany’s debt for the “crimes against humanity” of the Holocaust means for it “the existence and security of Israel are not negotiable”, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told attendees of a memorial service to Berlin’s Jewish deportees last Thursday … Commemorating such atrocities should serve as a reminder that “German responsibility for the crimes against humanity of the Shoah (Holocaust) has no expiration date. The story does not end with a generation”. Germany’s debt to Nazi atrocities means “we will not tolerate anti-Semitism in our country”, he insisted, adding that his country’s acknowledgement of its chequered past makes its partnership with Israel all the more sacred …
With a persistent undercurrent of discrimination against foreigners, ‘Gastarbeiter’ (guest workers) and citizens of colour, despite the fact that 20 percent of its population – roughly 16 million residents – are from an immigrant background, Germany is faced with the urgent task of rethinking its ambivalence towards diversity. Demographic forecasts suggest that 25 percent of the population under 25 years of age are of immigrant descent. This group, increasingly referred to as the ‘new Germans’, are demanding visibility, representation and participation in social and political life ...
It is impossible to understand the modern Conservative Party without a grasp of the scale and profundity of its links to the state of Israel ... The warmth forged 107 years ago is today sustained by the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI). Some 80 per cent of all Tory MPs are members, including most Cabinet ministers. No other lobbying organisation – and certainly not one that acts in the interests of a foreign country – carries as much weight at Westminster ... There is no doubt that the CFI has exercised a powerful influence over policy. The Conservative politician and historian Robert Rhodes James, writing in the Jerusalem Post in 1995, called it “the largest organisation in Western Europe dedicated to the cause of the people of Israel”. Its power has not waned since.
... In "Our Harsh Logic," Israel Defense Force (IDF) veteran Oded Na'aman and other IDF veterans expose Israel's brutality ... Moreover, the United Sates is complicit in Israel's atrocities against Palestine. Glen Greenwald, writing on the recent Israeli-Palestinian violence, says, “The Obama administration's unstinting financial, military and diplomatic support for Israel is a key enabling force in the conflict." More important is that Americans should not trust the very dangerous relationship the U.S. has with Israel.
This collection of rare color photos of Berlin in 1937, taken by Thomas Neumann and uncovered from Norwegian archives, show life in the German capital during a tumultuous decade. They capture scenes in the vibrant city, which was under the iron grip of Adolf Hitler and his Third Reich at the very height of his power ... As well as chilling pictures of buildings emblazoned with swastikas, there are scenes of ordinary life as Germans go about their business. They show a child in a sun-drenched square, smiling friends at a train station, a cart selling bananas and a food vendor in a sunny park.
White people will no longer make up a majority of Americans by 2043, according to new census projections. That's part of a historic shift that already is reshaping the nation's schools, workforce and electorate, and is redefining long-held notions of race. The official projection, released Wednesday by the Census Bureau, now places the tipping point for the white majority a year later than previous estimates, which were made before the impact of the recent economic downturn was fully known. America continues to grow and become more diverse due to higher birth rates among minorities, particularly for Hispanics who entered the U.S. at the height of the immigration boom in the 1990s and early 2000s.
A color home movie of daily life in Ontario, California, in 1947. This 57-minute glimpse of life in a southern California city of some 20,000 people helps to better understand the scale of the profound changes in American society, culture and life-style over the past 60 years. The US, and especially southern California, have been transformed more drastically over the past five decades than Poland, Hungary and other eastern European countries were changed during the years of Soviet Russian hegemony.
The debate on Iran and its nuclear program does little credit to the U.S. foreign policy community, because much of it rests on dubious assumptions that do not stand up to even casual scrutiny ... In short, fears that an Iranian bomb would transform regional or global politics have been greatly exaggerated; one might even say that they are just a lot of hooey ... In short, both theory and history teach us that getting a nuclear weapon has less impact on a country's power and influence than many believe, and the slow spread of nuclear weapons has only modest effects on global and regional politics.
An all-out U.S. war with Iran, including an invasion by American troops, would cost the global economy close to $2 trillion in the first three months, and could go as high as $3 trillion, according to a Washington think tank. A full-scale ground operation to dismantle Iran's nuclear program is unlikely but the scenario is just one of a handful that a group of nine experts, assembled by the Federation of American Scientists, examined to explore how the global economy would be impacted by U.S. action against Iran.
In this level-headed talk, one of the most popular and well-informed travel guides in the US speaks about the importance of encouraging greater understanding by Americans of a much-maligned and widely misunderstand nation. “Fear is being used against us in our society,” says Steves, referring to the campaign of vilification of Iran by politicians, and in the media. He talks about some of what he learned during a visit to Iran, and dispels some widely-held misconceptions about the country. Iranians are among the most forthcoming people anywhere, he says, and are remarkably friendly to Americans. At the same time, he adds, they reject much of the “western” values system and the American “way of life.”
... The Latin Mass Society of England and Wales, started in 1965, now has over 5,000 members. The weekly number of Latin masses is up from 26 in 2007 to 157 now. In America it is up from 60 in 1991 to 420 … It is not a fogeys’ hangout: the congregation is young and international. Like evangelical Christianity, traditional Catholicism is attracting people who were not even born when the Second Vatican Council tried to rejuvenate the church.
… The picture of the relationship between German big business and the Nazi party which Turner provides us is one that reveals how little big business had to do with the party's success … Most of the NSDAP funds were derived from membership dues, interest-free loans, and the gate receipts from the many mass rallies the party held … In sum, the NSDAP was a prototypical "grass-roots" political organization able to expand and prosper during a period when most of the bourgeois parties suffered a serious loss of support.
The Friends of the Israel Defense Forces fundraiser that singer Stevie Wonder pulled out of raised more than $14 million. More than 1,400 people attended the [Dec. 6] event in Los Angeles to aid Israeli soldiers. Entertainment mogul Haim Saban and his wife, Cheryl chaired the gala. Saban is a national board member of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces. Actor Jason Alexander emceed the event, which featured a performance by David Foster and Friends ... Wonder had come under intense social media pressure to pull out of the event. An online petition calling on him to cancel his performance had garnered more than 3,600 signatures.
Pictures of daily Jewish life during Holocaust hidden in private albums of Wehrmacht soldiers for years. Dariusz Dekiert, a devout Christian from Poland, locates and hands them over to Shem Olam Institute ... In some pictures the Jews seem unafraid of the soldiers. In others, their facial expressions point to fear, embarrassment and humiliation.
Nikos Michaloliakos is the leader of the Greek nationalist party "Golden Dawn,” which in the May 2012 elections won 21 seats in the nation’s parliament. In this three-minute interview he answers questions about Hitler, the Holocaust, and World War Two. He rejects claims of unique German guilt during the war, and speaks of Allied war crimes.
... Whatever else one wants to say, the US is a country that, for more than a decade, has loudly and continuously declared itself to be a "nation at war". It's not "at war" in any one county, but in many countries around the globe ... It embraces and props up the world’s most repressive tyrants. It isolates itself from the world and embraces blatant double standards in order to enable the worst behavior of its client states ... While there is no shortage of Americans willing to step up and dutifully justify some or all of those acts, it's so astonishing to watch people express surprise and bewilderment and anger when they discover that this behavior causes people in the world to intensely dislike the United States.
... Student debt is a one trillion dollar headache for the US economy - and it is only getting worse. As the cost of a university education soars, default rates are on the rise. Some estimates say that more than five million borrowers in the US have defaulted on their student loans. Almost 375,000 people defaulted in the latest year alone, the US Department of Education says. And those borrowers can face dire consequences. The federal government has strong tools to help recover debt from delinquent borrowers, including garnishing 15% of their take-home pay, and retirement income ... In the past 30 years, tuition costs have risen by about 1,000%. A four-year degree from a private university can cost close to $150,000.
Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor 71 years ago this month was a “day that will live in infamy” according to US President Franklin Roosevelt. Seven decades later, it increasingly appears that the president’s surprise and outrage may have been synthetic. Roosevelt had been maneuvering for more than a year to bring the United States into World War II ... Historians will long battle over whether Roosevelt lured Japan into attacking Pearl Harbor ... At minimum, the embargo of strategic material to Japan was a huge provocation. Japan foolishly took the bait and paid a terrible price.
... Most important, the U.S. government engaged in a series of increasingly stringent economic warfare measures that pushed the Japanese into a predicament that U.S. authorities well understood would probably provoke them to attack U.S. territories and forces in the Pacific region in a quest to secure essential raw materials that the Americans, British, and Dutch (government in exile) had embargoed ... So effective has been the pro-Roosevelt, pro-American, pro-World War II faction that in this country it has utterly dominated teaching and popular writing about U.S. engagement in the "Good War."
Citing little-known reports and remarks of Polish, British and French officials, and other evidence, Weber traces President Franklin Roosevelt’s secret campaign to provoke war in Europe prior to the outbreak of hostilities in September 1939. By pressing Britain, France and Poland into war against Germany, the US President bears at least some responsibility for World War II. Weber also discusses the role of Jewish power and influence on US foreign policy during those years. Roosevelt’s record of deceit, lies and lawlessness is routinely suppressed by those who control the US media and American cultural life.
Here is the complete text of Hitler’s historic address of Dec. 11, 1941, in which the German leader recounts the reasons for the outbreak of war in September 1939, explains why he decided to strike against the Soviet Union in June 1941, reviews the dramatic course of the war thus far, and deals at length with US President Roosevelt's hostile policies toward Germany. Hitler details the US government’s increasingly belligerent actions against Germany and Italy, and concludes by announcing that Germany was now joining Japan in war against the United States.
The lone Syrian rebel group with an explicit stamp of approval from Al Qaeda has become one of the uprising’s most effective fighting forces, posing a stark challenge to the United States and other countries that want to support the rebels but not Islamic extremists. Money flows to the group, the Nusra Front, from like-minded donors abroad. Its fighters, a small minority of the rebels, have the boldness and skill to storm fortified positions and lead other battalions to capture military bases and oil fields ... The group is a direct offshoot of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Iraqi officials and former Iraqi insurgents say, which has contributed veteran fighters and weapons.
The European Union warned Israel of unspecified consequences Monday if it goes through with plans to build thousands of new settler homes in Jerusalem and the West Bank. The bloc's 27 foreign ministers said they were "deeply dismayed" by Israeli plans to expand settlements in East Jerusalem, and particularly the E1 project, which would separate the West Bank from east Jerusalem, the Palestinians' hoped-for capital, and drive a big wedge between the northern and southern flanks of the West Bank ... The EU views any Israeli settlements on territory occupied during the 1967 Mideast war as a breach of international law.
There was never much doubt that the U.N. General Assembly would overwhelmingly vote to upgrade the Palestinian Authority to the status of nonmember state on Nov. 29. The big surprise of the event was that a number of key Western European countries did not join the United States and vote against the resolution. The Czech Republic was the only European country to vote against the upgrade, and shockingly, the normally staunchly pro-Israeli governments of Germany and Britain decided to abstain ... The [German] Federal Republic has based a large chunk of its devotion to Israel's security on the notion of Wiedergutmachung, or reparations for the German crimes against European Jewry during the Holocaust.
... MoneyWeek is now the UK's best-selling financial magazine, and serves tens of thousands of subscribers in more than 60 countries ... We cite our success and experience with the crises of the past because there is an even bigger crisis looming – something that we believe will destabilise out the very foundations of Britain ... In all recorded history, no country has ever recovered from the financial position we find ourselves in today. No government has ever been able to reverse this trend. No emergency action has ever come close to a solution. This inescapable problem has only ever had one outcome: financial collapse ... Today, Britain's total debt equals 900% of the economy.
Chas Freeman, former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and assistant defense secretary, speaks about US foreign policy, the Israel lobby, changing perceptions of Israel around the world, and more. Runtime: 12:39 mins.
Nothing more vividly underscores the Jewish-Zionist grip on US political life than the stormy, fervent approval given by American politicians to Israeli premier Netanyahu as he addressed a joint session of the US Congress. For every American who cares about our long term welfare as a country, as well as basic justice, the performance of these politicians was a shameful spectacle. Their behavior highlights the entrenched corruption and lack of principle of the American political system. It’s an expression of a society, and of a political system, that has become terminally craven and unprincipled.
The United States will likely be the "first among equals" in 2030 in an increasingly chaotic world where China is the top economy, and demand soars for resources, a US intelligence report said Monday. The National Intelligence Council, in its first assessment in four years aimed at shaping US strategic thinking, said that China will surpass the United States as the largest economy in the 2020s ... “... With the rapid rise of other countries, the 'unipolar moment' is over and Pax Americana -- the era of American ascendancy in international politics that began in 1945 -- is fast winding down," it said.
A photograph of a Derby County football team giving the Nazi salute has been bought for 550 pounds at auction. The picture is part of an album of the club's 1934 tour of Germany ... In May 1938 an England football team, which included the legendary Stanley Matthews, notoriously gave the Nazi salute to a packed Olympic Stadium in Berlin.
At a Shinto shrine here lined with cherry trees, a war museum asserts a jarring and unrepentant storyline about Japan’s wartime past, brushing aside well-documented atrocities and describing its rampage through Asia as tragic but justified ... The shrine in central Tokyo also has come to symbolize a hardening, did-no-wrong narrative here about history, even though it contradicts the near-consensus of historians, including most in Japan. That sentiment was once held by only a nationalist fringe, but it is pushing closer to the mainstream ... Japan and the neighbors it once invaded — particularly South Korea and China — have long squabbled over past animosities, but most historians and security experts had predicted that those differences would dissipate, not intensify, as decades passed. The opposite is proving true.
... Stone’s documentary series and book The Untold History of the United States sets the record straight about the propagandistic myths surrounding the role America has played in global events with an unauthorized, alternative, independent vision. In the process, as he shouts, “The empire has no clothes!” Stone rethinks, recasts, and reframes imperial America ... We’re trying to persuade through the flow of imagery with music, hopefully a narration that doesn’t hector, that allows you to think for yourself ... We’re going against this mythos that has been created. It’s a tough one; we’re making radical points, as you know.
… Lincoln, we should also remember, was a passionate segregationist, a fact Krannawitter barely touches on, though it might interest our new President to know that the Great Emancipator’s preferred solution was to abolish slavery and to remove all “free colored persons” from the United States. In 1862 he proposed an amendment that would authorize Congress to pay for this huge project.
The personals site SeekingArrangement.com (“The #1 Sugar Daddy Dating Site,” they tell us) has released the results of a study on the religious preferences of its population of would-be benefactors. The most common religion: Judaism, clocking in at 28 percent ... SeekingArrangement founder and CEO Brandon Wade chimed in on the results: “We cater to the affluent, and historically, religion has played an important factor in socioeconomic standing.” Oy vey. Yeah, we’re not touching that with a ten-foot pole.
Israel dismissed on Tuesday a resolution passed overwhelmingly in the UN General Assembly calling on it to open its nuclear program to inspection as a “meaningless mechanical vote” void of meaning. The resolution, which calls on Israel to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and immediately open up its nuclear facilities to inspection, was formulated ten years ago and is brought to the General Assembly, and passed overwhelmingly year after year ... The resolution passed by a vote of 174 to six, with six abstentions. Along with Israel, the US, Canada, Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Palau voted against it.
... The question that remains is whether Iran ultimately aims to get a nuclear weapon. If Iran isn’t after the bomb, then the Western accusations and concerns would be reduced enough to allow a diplomatic solution. The following reasons aim to strengthen the case for why Iran is not after a nuclear bomb: Religious Obligations: Besides an international commitment to Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Iran has religious obligations against nuclear weapons ... No Long-Term Advantage: Based on Iranian assessments, the possession of nuclear weapons would provide only a short-term regional advantage that would turn into a longer-term vulnerability.
... We shall soon be marking the 70 th anniversary of the end of the supposedly ‘Good’ Second World War ... The 1939-45 conflict is still wreathed in delusions, delusions often employed to try to justify modern wars which are alleged to have comparably ‘good’ aims. The belief in its goodness is in fact ludicrous. Our main ally (rejected at the beginning with lofty scorn, embraced later with desperate, insincere enthusiasm) was one of the most murderous tyrants in human history ... During and immediately after the war, as I have discussed here, we employed methods which would have disgusted our forebears and which ought to disgust us, but which were so frightful that we still lie to ourselves about them, or hide them from our consciousness.
In a presentation packed with startling facts and provocative observations, Weber takes aim at the conventional view of World War II as conflict between Good and Evil. He reviews and quotes from two recent revisionist books: Human Smoke, by Nicholson Baker, and Churchill, Hitler and ‘The Unnecessary War’, by Patrick J. Buchanan. Weber tackles a range of widely accepted myths, including the “Big Lie” that Hitler was trying to “conquer the world,” and discredits the iconic image of Winston Churchill as a great statesman.
The phrase "rogue nation" is one of the terms that get tossed around often in political discourse without much effort devoted to its actual meaning ... So essentially, it's the entire planet on one side, versus the US, its new right-wing poodle to the north, Israel, and three tiny, bribed islands on the other side. If you're a member in good standing of the Washington-based US foreign policy community, then the way you describe these matters is as follows: "the international community stands by Israel and supports its position" - because, in that warped, self-affirming world, "international community" is a synonym for "US dictates".
A book entitled The Pearl Harbor Myth: Rethinking the Unthinkable, by George Victor and published by Potomac Books Inc. of Washington, D.C. is well researched and gives a very clear picture of how and why the Pearl Harbor myth was created … Based on a good summary of the up-to-date research the author, who is an approving admirer of Roosevelt, concludes that Roosevelt deliberately provoked the attack and that he and his key military and administrative advisers clearly knew, well in advance, that the Japanese were going to attack both Pearl Harbor and the Philippines.
In a World War II edition of the widely-read American monthly magazine Popular Science, Major George Eliot, a “noted military commentator,” urges the US military to use poison gas in fighting the stubborn Japanese.
... The 1.6 million Palestinians living on the Gaza Strip are already separated by 25 miles from the 2.4 million on the West Bank. The project Netanyahu’s government began moving forward on Friday would cut the West Bank itself in half, dividing its north from its south while barricading off a bit of Jerusalem in the bargain, and with it, in all likelihood, the plans to name the Arab sections of the city as Palestine’s capital. “The impact,” says Seiedmann ... “is basically the creation of facts on the ground that would make the two-state solution dead. It’s not only a game-changer, it’s a game-ender.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has definitely crossed an international red line to vindicate a swift and firm rejection from Israel’s closest allies when he announced plans recently to build a new settlement on a corridor of occupied Palestinian land in East Jerusalem, which will render any prospective Palestinian contiguous state territorially impossible. Daniel Seidemann, the Israeli founder of Terrestrial Jerusalem, has condemned it as “the doomsday settlement” and “not a routine” one.
Why do we still read Henry Louis Mencken? He was mostly a columnist, and columns are usually forgotten the day after they are published. One of the main reasons we still read Mencken is that he was enormously funny. The ability to write humorously about serious things is one of the rarest gifts an author can have. Mencken also wrote about his own times with great detachment. In the 1930s, he had Freud pegged for a quack and predicted that the Soviet Union would run out of gas and collapse ... In our era of “sensitivity,” reading Mencken is almost a guilty pleasure.
... Today, there is a world consensus that a solution of the conflict without a Palestinian state is quite out of the question ... On first sight, nothing much has changed. But only on first sight. What has happened is that the foundation of the State of Palestine has now been officially acknowledged as the aim of the world community. The “Two-State solution” is now the only solution on the table. The “One-State solution”, if it ever lived, is as dead as the dodo. Of course, the apartheid one-state is reality. If nothing changes on the ground, is will become deeper and stronger. Almost every day brings news of it becoming more and more entrenched.
Old Uri Avnery is 89 but he’s still a fighter. In fact, the famed writer is still one of the great old leftist warriors of Israel, still demanding peace with the Palestinians, peace with Hamas and a Palestinian state on the old ’67 borders – give or take a few square miles. He still believes Israel could have peace tomorrow or next week. If Netanyahu wanted it. “The misfortune of being an incorrigible optimist,” is how he describes his predicament.
... Shortly after president Obama was elected, he promised not to turn his back on the Palestinian people. It was a brave statement, considering that in some places, even mentioning the word Palestinians is a non-starter. Yet those turned out to be empty words, when it was revealed that the administration couldn’t stand the political price that the Israeli prime minister made it pay at home ... Today, the United States is the enabler of the occupation: it provides the military infrastructure, the financial aid and the diplomatic cover for it. If it hadn’t done so, the continuing denial of basic human rights from millions would have ended long ago.
Konrad Adenauer served as Chancellor of the German Federal Republic 1949-1963. In this interview he says (in English translation): "One should not underestimate the power of the Jews, even today, especially in America. Accordingly, and it has long been my view, after careful and conscientious consideration, I devoted all my effort to help bring about, as much as possible, a reconciliation between the Jewish people and the German people."
For several years now, the World Jewish Congress and other major Jewish organizations have waged a fierce and much-publicized campaign to force Switzerland to pay millions to Jewish organizations and Holocaust survivors ... Among those who have spoken out against it is Holocaust historian Raul Hilberg. "I was nearly alarmed when I heard that the Swiss banks would pay 1.25 billion dollars," he said in a recent interview published in the respected Swiss weekly Weltwoche. In the campaign against Switzerland, Hilberg went on, "the Jews have used a weapon that can only be described as blackmail.”
The ongoing argument between Israel and Germany over new Holocaust compensation claims has taken another turn after Germany officially refused to negotiate with the Israeli government over payments for survivors. For more than half a century, the Jewish Claims Conference has been responsible for dealing with the German government over compensation claims made by victims of the Holocaust. In 1965, Germany signed a treaty agreeing to pay individual victims; survivors had to file their claims before 1969. Since then, Germany has paid out over 63.2 billion euros – including 1.5 billion euros in direct payments to the Israeli government.
Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln is a work of sufficient richness to instantly invite repeat viewings. It is a history film that dares to pile on verbal and visual details thickly and rapidly enough that a second viewing may be necessary simply to register all that is going on ... In Daniel Day-Lewis’s performance — or, more properly, wholesale inhabitation — Lincoln is made more mysterious than ever. It is at once a deeply and uncannily consistent portrayal and a fantastically technical performance with regard to details of gait and gesture — and, above all, voice, since Day-Lewis has emulated historical accounts of Lincoln’s sometimes “shrill, piping, and unpleasant” way of talking.
Fifty-two international notables have issued a statement calling for "urgent ... international action towards a mandatory, comprehensive military embargo against Israel." ... The statement signed by Nobel Peace laureates Mairead Maguire and Adolfo Perez Esquível, former Pink Floyd front man Roger Waters, Directors Mike Leigh and Ken Loach, Pulitzer Prize winner Alice Walker, international best-seller Naomi Klein and co-drafter of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Holocaust survivor Stéphane Hessel, among others ...
Could Jews be members of the most sexually promiscuous religion on earth? A new study, “Religion and Sexual Behaviors: Understanding the Influence of Islamic Cultures and Religious Affiliation for Explaining Sex Outside of Marriage,” written up in the journal “American Sociological Review,” seems to say so. It also found that Muslims are the most conservative when it comes to matters of sex.
The median net worth of American households has dropped to a 43-year low as the lower and middle classes appear poorer and less stable than they have been since 1969. According to a recent study by New York University economics professor Edward N. Wolff, median net worth is at the decades-low figure of $57,000 (in 2010 dollars). And as the numbers in his study reflect, the situation only appears worse when all the statistics are taken as a whole ... Over that same period of time, the wealthiest one percent of American households increased their average wealth by 71 percent.
An integral part of the American Dream is under threat - as "downward mobility" seems to be threatening the education system in the United States ... The annual OECD education statistics show that only about one in five young adults in the US reaches a higher level of education than their parents - among the lowest rates of upward mobility in the developed world. For a country whose self-image is based on optimism and opportunity, the US is now a country where someone with poorly-educated parents is less likely to reach university than in almost any other industrial country. It's the opposite of a Hollywood ending.
... Eleven states make our list of danger spots for investors. They can look forward to a rising tax burden, deteriorating state finances and an exodus of employers. The list includes California, New York, Illinois and Ohio, along with some smaller states like New Mexico and Hawaii. If your career takes you to Los Angeles or Chicago, don’t buy a house. Rent. If you have money in municipal bonds, clean up the portfolio. Sell holdings from the sick states and reinvest where you’re less likely to get clipped. Nebraska and Virginia are unlikely to give their bondholders a Greek haircut. California and New York are comparatively risky.
The U.N. General Assembly has overwhelmingly approved a resolution calling on Israel to quickly open its nuclear program for inspection and backing a high-level conference to ban nuclear weapons from the Middle East which was just canceled ... The resolution, approved Monday by a vote of 174-6 with 6 abstentions, calls on Israel to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty "without further delay" and open its nuclear facilities to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Those voting "no" were Israel, the U.S., Canada, Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau.
The margin of Israel's defeat in a U.N. vote that granted de-facto statehood to Palestine has disappointed Israeli political leaders, whose attempts on Friday to play down the loss could not disguise its significance ... The fact only three major countries sided with Israel -- the United States, Canada and the Czech Republic -- underscored how isolated Israel has become on the international stage when it comes to peacemaking with the Palestinians. "Even old friends like Germany refused to stand alongside us. There were external factors, but it is hard not to see this as a total failure for our diplomacy which will obviously have consequences," said a senior official, who declined to be named.
Britain and France have both summoned Israeli ambassadors in protest at Israel's decision to approve the construction of 3,000 new homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The UK said the move would cast doubt on Israel's "stated commitment to achieving peace with the Palestinians". Israel authorised the 3,000 additional housing units a day after the UN voted to upgrade Palestinian status. The UN warned the homes would be "an almost fatal blow" to peace hopes. Sweden also summoned the Israeli ambassador, while Russia and Germany expressed their opposition to the settlement plans.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has strongly criticized an Israeli plan to develop a disputed area near East Jerusalem, calling it an "almost fatal blow" to chances of achieving peace with the Palestinians, who claim the land for an independent state. In a statement issued Sunday, Ban said the potential construction of thousands of Jewish homes in the barren area that Israel refers to as E-1 "risks completely cutting off" East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank. Israel authorized the start of E-1 planning on Friday, in retaliation for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas securing an upgrade in the U.N. status of his Palestinian Authority to a non-member observer state.
In an interview on state television Finnish Vice Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Pertti Salolainen attacked the U.S. for its support of Israel: “The United States finds it difficult to take a more neutral stance on the Israel-Palestine issue, because they have such an influential Jewish population, which has both money and the media in its hands to a large extent. The U.S. Administration has not dared to venture, due to internal political reasons, enough with this issue. This is terrible truth about U.S. policy.”
Among the Lufthansa passengers arriving in Berlin on April 5, 1939, was a cheerful, outgoing, dark-haired man in his late 30s. Though evidently a foreigner, he had a good command of the German language and confidently found his way through the crowds at the airport and into the bustling capital of the Third Reich. Yûnus Bahrî, Iraqi journalist and independence activist, had visited Berlin several times before … He was now embarked on quite a different mission: to launch and run Radio Berlin's first-ever Arabic language service.
Hungarian Jewish groups staged a demonstration in front of the parliament in Budapest to protest at anti-Semitic calls by an extreme-right politician last week to create a register of Hungarian Jews in the interests of “national security”. Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s Israel branch described the rally which attracted tens of thousands of participants Sunday as “the most important demonstration since Hungary became a democracy”, as well “the biggest blow to the Jobbik party since its inception”.