... After five decades of patient work, the pro-Israel lobby now gives the US Congress its marching orders on the Mideast. The media in the US and Canada have largely adopted Israel’s narrative about the Mideast and Gaza ... There is growing anger around the globe over Israel’s savaging of Palestinians, but Americans don’t see this ... America is getting blamed for the horrors of Gaza. Washington should be able to demand that Israel, which is due to receive over $30 billion in US aid in the next decade, cease fire and open Gaza’s gates. Of all the vetoes cast since 1950 in the UN Security Council, the majority have been by the US to protect Israel from censure.
... In Ukraine, Putin responded to a U.S.-backed coup, which ousted a democratically elected political ally of Russia, with a bloodless seizure of the pro-Russian Crimea where Moscow has berthed its Black Sea fleet since the 18th century. This is routine Big Power geopolitics ... What motivates Putin seems simple and understandable. He wants the respect due a world power. He sees himself as protector of the Russians left behind in his "near abroad." ... But what motivates those on our side who seek every opportunity to restart the Cold War? Is it not a desperate desire to appear once again Churchillian, once again heroic, once again relevant, as they saw themselves in the Cold War that ended so long ago? Who is the real problem here?
The $56,000 spent by Mayor Charlie Hales' office and the Portland Police Bureau on a diversity training retreat for white men includes the cost of hotel rooms and food at a golf resort near Mt. Hood. Hales, three City Hall managers and eleven command staff from the Police Bureau are staying at the Resort at the Mountain, a Welches hotel that describes itself as "a premier Oregon golf, ski and meeting resort." WW first reported last month that Hales decided to spend $56,000 on a three and half day training seminar run by a Portland company, White Men as Full Diversity Partners.
The City of Portland drew unexpected attention this month when 16 while male officials attended a three-and-a-half-day diversity training retreat at a Mt. Hood resort. But the response was nothing new for leaders at the consulting company, called White Men as Full Diversity Partners. They're used to raising eyebrows. The Portland-based consultants have been training white men at Fortune 500 companies to recognize their own bias and privilege for 14 years. "Using my privilege honorably is a really different mindset than feeling bad," said the company's CEO, Bill Proudman. "I think a lot of white Portland feels guilty."
... Among the 16 Portland officials who spent a good chunk of this week at The Resort at the Mountain in Welches are Mayor Charlie Hales and Police Chief Mike Reese. Most of the rest work for the Police Bureau. They traveled to the resort near Mount Hood to participate, at a cost of $56,000, in a program offered by “White Men as Full Diversity Partners,” a Portland-based company ... The $56,000 question, though, is whether the experience is worth the cost to taxpayers. Portlanders also should wonder whether there really exists among Portland's white, male leaders – including the mayor - a vein of racism, sexism and homophobia so pernicious and intractable as to justify special diversity training segregated by both race and sex. No, we don't think so either ...
A law banning swearing in film, theater and other forms of art took effect Tuesday, outlawing the profanity abundantly used in works by Russian literary giants like novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky and poets such as Alexander Pushkin and Mikhail Lermontov. The so-called profanity law, signed by President Vladimir Putin in May, lists the use of four particular swear words and their derivatives — a particularly vulgar and vivacious lexicon known as Russian "mat" — in public performances as punishable by fines of up to 2,500 rubles ($70) for individuals and up to 50,000 rubles for companies and organizations.
Russian President Vladimir Putin assured Jewish leaders that Russia will fight against any new manifestations of Nazism and anti-Semitism ... During the meeting, they discussed joint efforts to prevent the 'rewriting of history': the fight against neo-Nazism and neo-fascism, as well as xenophobia and anti-Semitism. "Of particular concern is the revival of Nazi ideas," said Putin. "I want to thank the Jewish community, non-governmental organizations that are both active and courageous; we see it in today's world - how a struggle is being uncompromisingly waged against all manifestations of the Nazi ideology and any attempts to revive it."
From buildings built by the Nazis to ornate theatres, burnt out hotels and eerie sanatoriums, these are the abandoned buildings that still litter the powerhouse of Europe. Photographer Daniel Barter, 30, from London travelled to the German capital Berlin and the surrounding countryside to capture buildings in need of work on film. Far from being resplendent in vintage glory, the deserted music venues and crumbling hospitals are a shadow of their former selves. German eagle motifs flake off ceilings and concert halls designed for hundreds have not seen a show for years.
The United States was the only country in the world that voted Wednesday [July 23] against the United Nations investigating human rights violations in Gaza unleashed by Israel's military assault. Of the 47 members of the UN Human Rights Council, 29 nations voted to set up a commission to launch an international, independent inquiry, effectively passing the resolution. Seventeen countries abstained, including Germany, France, and the United Kingdom. The inquiry will look at "all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Gaza Strip in the context of military operations conducted since mid June” ...
As the death toll from Israel’s savage bombardment of Gaza continues to climb, Israel has once again turned to students to sell the slaughter online. “Although they haven’t been called up to the army yet, they’ve decided to enlist in a civilian mission that is no less important – Israeli propaganda [hasbara],” Ynet’s Hebrew edition reported about a massive initiative organized by the Israeli student union branch at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC Herzliya), a prestigious private university.
… Labour former deputy prime minister John Prescott today added his voice to those criticising Israel's bombardment of Gaza, which he described as "brutally disproportionate and grossly indiscriminate". Lord Prescott said any other country would be made an international "pariah" if it acted in the same way. And he directly compared the situation in Gaza with a concentration camp, suggesting the Nazi Holocaust should "give Israelis a unique sense of perspective and empathy with the victims of a ghetto".
European cities are braced for violent clashes this weekend as people take to the streets to protest against Israeli military operations in Gaza. Thousands of police are being deployed in cities across Europe with Berlin alone deploying 1,500 police officers in a response, and authorities in Paris have sought to ban outright marches planned for this weekend. The protests have triggered warnings that the spectre of anti-Semitism has returned to haunt Europe. Protesters have attacked synagogues, smashed the windows of Jewish-owned business and torched others, in scenes disturbingly reminiscent of the 1938 Kristallnacht. The marchers have chanted “Jews to the gas chambers”, and Jewish people have been attacked on the streets of Berlin.
... The covert war waged by the US and Israel against Iran's nuclear program has seen the assassination of five Iranian scientists, malicious computer viruses like Stuxnet, espionage, and unexplained explosions, as well as several apparent attempts by Iran to fight back in kind, with largely unsuccessful operations from India to Georgia to Thailand. Iran's "nuclear martyrs” have been a rallying point for the country's nuclear program and its “right” to uranium enrichment for years, regardless of the high cost of sanctions. Negotiations in Vienna today seek to curb that program to ensure it can never produce a nuclear weapon – an aim Iran says it rejects.
New critical book on the Clinton family claims that Israel tapped White House phones, blackmailed president with recordings of intern / Israel attempted to use tapes of former US president Bill Clinton’s steamy conversations with intern Monica Lewinsky to leverage the release of Jonathan Pollard, a new book on the Clinton family’s political enterprises has claimed. In the book, titled “Clinton Inc: The Audacious Rebuilding of a Political Machine,” author Daniel Halper relies on on-the-record interviews with former officials together with a close analysis of documents termed “the Monica Files” ...
... I learned that the Office of State Security [in Poland] ran 227 prisons for German civilians like Lola's. It also ran 1,255 concentration camps, and I interviewed four of the commandants. They were also Jews ... He picked up a wooden stool and he started beating the Germans to death. For this one camp, I found the death certificates for 1,583 Germans. In other camps and other prisons, thousands of German civilians died. German men, women, children, babies. At one camp there was a barracks for fifty babies.
CNN has removed correspondent Diana Magnay from covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after she tweeted that Israelis who were cheering the bombing of Gaza, and who had allegedly threatened her, were “scum.” “After being threatened and harassed before and during a liveshot, Diana reacted angrily on Twitter,” a CNN spokeswoman said in a statement to The Huffington Post. “She deeply regrets the language used, which was aimed directly at those who had been targeting our crew," the spokeswoman continued.
Leaders of the Zionist Organization of America are seeking the dismissal of teachers who created and implemented a classroom assignment in the Rialto (California) Unified School District in which students were invited to debate whether the Holocaust really happened. The organization released the following letter from Morton A. Klein, president, and Susan Tuchman, director of the ZOA Center for Law and Justice ...
The Foreign Ministry in Hungary said Friday that its nominee as ambassador to Rome has withdrawn over allegations of extreme anti-Semitism, including calling Jews "agents of Satan". Peter Szabo Szentmihalyi was denounced earlier this week by the United States-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which accuses him of making extremist statements. He had been scheduled to take up the post as Hungary's ambassador to Rome. The ADL had issued a statement urging Italy to prevent "a well-known antisemite" from taking a diplomatic post in Italy.
There are many metrics for measuring the “success” of a nation and comparing one country to another -- economic growth, education and even happiness. But a new index, developed by independent policy advisor Simon Anholt, tries to rank the “goodness” of nations around the globe ... Who comes out on top in terms of least selfish - or more “good'? Ireland. It's followed by eight other European countries in the top ten [including Finland, Switzerland, and the Netherlands] plus New Zealand, the only non-European nation in that group. According to the Good Country Index, New Zealand is very, very good ... The United States earned a respectable ranking of 21 in the overall survey, which surprised some.
Twelve members of the European Union have published warnings over the past day urging their citizens to refrain from engaging in business, economic activity and investment in settlements or bodies connected to the settlements. This brings the total to 17 EU countries who have warned against trade with Israeli settlements. Settlements are illegal under international law, the statements say, and dealing with them carries legal and financial risks.
As we near the grim anniversary of World War I, let us remember the first great war of the blood-soaked 20th Century. Shortly before midnight on Feb. 8, 1904, Japanese destroyers and torpedo boats launched a surprise attack on the great Russian Pacific naval base at Port Arthur ... The Russo-Japanese War saw the first wide scale use of machine guns, barbed wire, hand grenades, toxic gas, searchlights – all scourges of World War I, twelve years later ... Somehow the terrible lessons from this first modern war were largely lost.
A documentary look at the views and experiences of the Dutch men who volunteered to join the Waffen SS during World War II. In this English-subtitled documentary, “Black Soldiers,” six of the 25,000 who volunteered look back to talk about why they chose to join the SS, their experiences on the front, and the appeal of National Socialism. Some express misgivings about the choices they made, while others remain loyal to the worldview they embraced as young men. Runtime: 48 mins.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan accused Israel on Saturday of having "surpassed Hitler in barbarism" through its attacks on Gaza, but warned Turks against taking out their anger on the country's Jewish community. Erdogan continued to ratchet up his rhetoric against the Jewish State over its offensive, threatening to further harm the already badly frayed relations between the two countries, once regional allies ... “(Israelis) have no conscience, no honor, no pride. Those who condemn Hitler day and night have surpassed Hitler in barbarism," Erdogan told supporters at a political rally ... Protesters have taken to the streets of the NATO member's two biggest cities for the last two nights, and were due to return later on Saturday.
... Several anti-Israel protests have turned violent. On Thursday night, demonstrators waving pro-Palestinian flags and banners in Ankara and Istanbul hurled rocks and screamed anti-Semitic and anti-Israel slogans outside of the Israeli diplomatic offices. Hundreds of protestors reportedly attacked the Israeli consulate in Istanbul ... On Wednesday, a pro-government newspaper, the daily Yeni Akit, published an open letter by Faruk Köse to Turkey’s chief rabbi, calling on the Jewish community to apologize for Israel’s actions in Gaza. “You came here after being banished from Spain,” Köse wrote in the paper, which is affiliated with Erdogan. “You have lived comfortably among us for 500 years and gotten rich at our expense. Is this your gratitude – killing Muslims? ...”
If Prime Minister Erdoğan is to be taken at his word, we can officially declare Israeli-Turkish rapprochement dead. Speaking this morning, Erdoğan announced that under no circumstances will Turkey’s relationship with Israel improve as long as he is in power — which after the presidential elections next month, will be for a long time — and that the West can protest all it likes to no avail. Erdoğan also accused Israel of committing genocide and of knowing best how to kill children ...Anger at Israel is widespread among all segments of the population, as evidenced by the multiple leftist Gaza solidarity rallies taking place in Turkey today.
A chimpanzee’s intelligence is largely determined by the genes they inherit from their parents, reveals a new study. It found Chimpanzees raised by humans turn out to be no cleverer than those given an ape upbringing. Research into chimp intelligence could help scientists get a better handle on human IQ, say scientists ... The new research involving 99 chimpanzees from a wide range of ages showed that genes explained about 50% of the differences seen in their intelligence test scores. Chimps raised by human caretakers did no better in the tasks than individuals brought up by their chimpanzee mothers.
This map shows something of the role of US military on the African continent – a wide-ranging deployment that is not well known or understood by Americans.
American military officials drew up a secret plan in 1930 for war against Britain in which Canada would be the main battleground. "Joint Plan Red," as it was known, envisaged the elimination of Britain as a trading rival. Professor Floyd Rudmin of Queens University in Ontario, Canada, charges that the plan was a blueprint for an American invasion of Canada. According to the plan, the United States was prepared to invade Canada if political unrest brought on by Quebec's secession threatened American access to Canada's fresh water and cheap hydroelectric power ... Its aim was to dismember the British empire on the grounds of "competition and interference with American foreign trade."
... What a difference a few years of developing technology can make. The Gaza atrocities are now being reported on a constant basis by eyewitnesses, be they professional correspondents representing major media organisations, or amateur locals under fire. Because all you need is a mobile phone and a Twitter account. It is those devices which brought us heart-rending images – some too horrific to be shown on television – of children with their limbs or half a head blown off. Children covered in shrapnel wounds screaming for dead parents; surviving parents carrying tiny bodies. Sights which caused the battle-hardened BBC correspondent Lyse Doucet to sob during a live broadcast.
... The child-migration crisis announces starkly to the nation that the U.S. southern border is not secure, that it is riddled with loopholes, gaps and scissures ... Most Americans do have an interest in their country’s sovereignty, and they see the issue as a litmus test on whether their leaders understand that this issue is related to very significant elements of sovereignty. They understand that a country that can’t control its borders is, to that extent, a diminished country; and that citizenship in such a country is of diminished value. That sentiment represents a preponderance of political opinion in America. But powerful elements in the media, in government, and in the country’s managerial class just don’t see it that way.
... We have become the Brazil of North America, a multiracial, multilingual, multiethnic, multicultural “universal nation” unlike any that has existed in the history of the West ... Americans are already deep in a culture war over morality — marijuana, abortion, same-sex marriage. We are already racially polarized over affirmative action and income inequality ... And when did we vote for this future?
... Israel’s ongoing assault on Gaza, though, underscores a fundamentally different reality: the two-state solution is dead. And no matter how much Israel and its supporters object, the reigning paradigm for addressing the conflict is shifting ineluctably from a two-state model to a one-state model ... The two-state solution’s demise inevitably conditions long-term erosion in the perceived legitimacy of the current Israeli political order ... In other words, what we call the state of Israel is already a minority regime for the people it governs.
... The prime minister spoke his mind as rarely, if ever, before ... He made explicitly clear that he could never, ever, countenance a fully sovereign Palestinian state in the West Bank ... Amid the current conflict, he elaborated, “I think the Israeli people understand now what I always say: that there cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan.” ... That sentence, quite simply, spells the end to the notion of Netanyahu consenting to the establishment of a Palestinian state.
... To too many, the mainstream parties seem hopelessly incapable of representing them or understanding and improving their lives. Despair at the political elite drove the BNP’s rise: according to a survey in 2011, 80 per cent of its supporters were dissatisfied with the functioning of democracy in Britain. After Ukip’s victory in this year’s European elections, it would be delusional to imagine that such despair has gone away. Collapse in British public institutions – not just Parliament - continues to be eroded. Far too many MPs enjoy safe seats, while all main political parties continue to look woefully unlike the population they aspire to represent.
Pascal Boniface is a specialist in what the French call ‘geopolitics’. His output has been prodigious, traversing a wide variety of subjects. His latest book was published in May, titled: La France malade du conflit israélo-palestinien. For his literary efforts in this arena, Boniface has moved from respected commentator to being persona non grata in the mainstream media ... Boniface’s book is not about the Israel-Palestine conflict. Rather, it is about the parlous influence of the domestic Israel lobby on French politics and French society more broadly. Boniface claims that one can criticize any government in the world (one can even mercilessly attack the reigning French President), but not that of Israel.
... That the French are unhappy has become a commonplace. A nation that loves ideas is living in an ideological void. If that void is filled by anyone it is the rightist leader Marine Le Pen with her cleverly dosed venom about Europe, immigrants, crime, globalization and the other supposed culprits behind French national decline. Unemployment in France is at about double the German level. Growth is at zero. Investment is at new lows. If the European economy is stirring, the French has shown an exceptional capacity to resist signs of life.
Former French president Nicholas Sarkozy’s dramatic criminal interrogation last week shows once again that the politics of the French Republic remain waist-deep in sewage ... All of this financial and political sleaze was shrugged off by most French – at least until now. The establishment French media kept most of the scandals under wraps ... The brusque way Sarko was handled was wrong. But the crimes of which he and his cronies are accused are extremely grave, defiling the honor of France and its republican governments. They must be investigated and, if appropriate, prosecuted. Not a day too soon as the Fifth Republic crumbles.
I've been called everything from an extreme liberal to an ultra-conservative. I am neither. I have been labeled a "Nazi" because of my numerous interviews with Hitler's adjutants, secretaries, doctors, and military leaders, both SS and Wehrmacht … I have tried to approach history as a non-partisan, ignoring nationality and ideology, and to portray the horrors of war through the sufferings of ordinary people as well as in the imaginations of the mighty. Throughout it all, I have tried to present living history, human history, with subjective objectivity, in my obsessive search for reality.
... Israel is “singled out” today, but by its friends and not just by its enemies. It has been singled out for unparalleled support – financial, military, diplomatic – by the western powers ... Which other country is in receipt of $3 billion a year in US aid, despite maintaining a 47-year military occupation in violation of international law? Which other country has been allowed to develop and stockpile nuclear weapons in secret? ... Which other country has been protected from UN Security Council censure by the US deployment of an astonishing 42 vetoes? ... We single out Israel because, shamefully, we are complicit in its crimes.
... The idea that Israel is defending itself against unprovoked attacks from outside its borders is an absurdity. Despite Israel’s withdrawal of settlements and bases in 2005, Gaza remains occupied both in reality and international law, its border, coastal waters, resources, airspace and power supply controlled by Israel. So the Palestinians of Gaza are an occupied people, like those in the West Bank, who have the right to resist, by force if they choose – though not deliberately to target civilians ... The conflict’s eruptions are certainly coming thicker and faster. Despite heroic Israeli efforts to fix the narrative, global opinion has never been more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause.
... Israel is now, once again, involved in colossal war crimes against a civilian population and worse, at least strategically, its elite infantry commandos are being eradicated in a face-to-face street battle in Gaza. In spite of clear Israeli technological superiority and firepower, the Palestinian militants are winning the battle on the ground and they have even managed to move the battle to Israeli territory. In addition, the barrage of rockets on Tel Aviv doesn’t seem to stop. IDF’s defeat in Gaza leaves the Jewish State with no hope. The moral is simple. If you insist on living on someone else’s land, military might is an essential ingredient to discourage the dispossessed from acting to reclaim their rights.
Has there ever been a stranger life trajectory than that of Holocaust revisionist David Cole? At 21 he found television notoriety as a Jew who questioned important parts of the Holocaust narrative. But death threats forced him out of revisionism. He faked his death and then disappeared for over a decade — only to reinvent himself on the Hollywood conservative scene as a high-powered GOP mover and shaker ... He was “outed” in spectacular fashion last year then turned into a pariah by the conservative establishment ... His GOP friends wanted nothing more to do with the “evil Holocaust denier”.
Around 3,000 people demonstrated for Gaza Saturday afternoon defying a ban from French Minister of Interior Bernard Cazeneuve. The demonstrators assembled in the largely immigrant Barbes area of Paris following a call by the extreme-left New Anti-capitalist Party. Police prevented them marching into the city centre. The Interior Minister had banned demonstrations in the French capital, citing the “danger to public order” and referring to on two Paris synagogues after a pro-Gaza demonstration last Sunday. Protests were also banned in Nice in the south-east and Sarcelles, near Paris.
Foreign ministers of France, Germany, and Italy issued a joint statement Tuesday in Brussels condemning rising anti-Semitism in Europe amid anti-Israel protests across the continent. “We strongly condemn the outrageous anti-Semitic statements, demonstrations and attacks in our countries in recent days,” the statement said ... While expressing their support for freedoms of speech and assembly, the three ministers said they will oppose “acts and statements that cross the line to anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia.” During the latest days, pro-palestinian protests have descended into verbal and physical attacks on Jews and Jewish property, including synagogues and shops.
As Israel’s military kills and injures hundreds of civilians in Gaza – whose population Israel is legally obligated to protect as an occupying power – people around the world, including in the United States, wonder why official Washington appears so indifferent to even the most graphic instances of “collateral damage.” The primary reason is that most American policy elites still believe the United States needs to dominate the Middle East, and that Israeli military assertiveness is instrumentally useful to this end – a mindset the Israel lobby artfully reinforces.
... The Palestinians made a grave mistake resorting to rockets and mortars. Firing back at Israel certainly makes Palestinians feel good, but doing so has allowed Israel’s powerful worldwide supporters to portray the Gaza siege as a battle between equals, rather than what it really is – Israel shooting fish in a barrel ... It matters not that Israel is violating US law – the Arms Control Export Act – by using US weapons against Gaza’s civilians. Nor that the assault on Gaza violates international law and the Geneva Convention. Or that much of the world sees the assault on Gaza as a crime against humanity.
Israel invades Gaza because it can. Gazans, in the face of an invasion, have no ability to strike back, while Israel strikes forward. Israel has total military superiority, an air force which can knock and then bomb, a navy which can shell Gazans from miles off shore, an army which can roll tanks into Gaza nonstop. Gazans have no army, navy, or air force with which to defend. Israel, as any nation, has a right to defend itself, but it confuses offense with defense. It is on the offensive in Gaza ... Since the U.S. is helping to pay Israel's bills, we cannot avoid the consequences of paying the price for Israel's actions against the Palestinians.
Sixty-four public figures, including seven Nobel Peace Prize winners, have called for an international arms embargo on Israel for its "war crimes and possible crimes against humanity" in Gaza. The statement came in a letter published in Britain's The Guardian on Friday. "Israel has once again unleashed the full force of its military against the captive Palestinian population, particularly in the besieged Gaza Strip, in an inhumane and illegal act of military aggression. Israel's ability to launch such devastating attacks with impunity largely stems from the vast international military cooperation and trade that it maintains with complicit governments across the world," read the statement.
Following a similar resolution passed last week by the U.S. House, the U.S. Senate voted Thursday night to support Israel’s ongoing invasion of the Gaza Strip. No dissenting vote was cast, and no mention was made of the hundreds of Palestinian civilians, most of whom are women and children, that have been killed by Israel in the past ten days.
The foreign ministers of France, Germany and Italy denounced Tuesday rising anti-Semitism in their countries, where thousands have protested in recent days against Israel's strikes in Gaza. The fallout has been significant in France, which is home to Europe's largest Muslim and Jewish communities. Like elsewhere in Europe, French have taken to the streets in recent days to demonstrate against Israel's deadly offensive in Gaza that has killed more than 500 people. Most of the demonstrations have been largely peaceful, but in the Paris area, where protesters defied government bans against the rallies, they have taken a violent turn. Youths have attacked synagogues and Jewish businesses.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has condemned "anti-Semitic" violence that broke out during a protest against Israel's action in Gaza. Jewish-owned businesses and a synagogue were targeted in the suburb of Sarcelles, just outside Paris. Shops were looted and 18 people were arrested as youths went on the rampage during Sunday's protest, which had been banned by authorities ... Roger Cukierman, head of the umbrella group Crif that represents French Jewish organisations, said Jews were not just afraid, they were anguished. "What's happened in the past few days is terrible. They're shouting 'Death to the Jews' and attacking synagogues. It's completely out of control", he said.
One of the oldest forms of storytelling is that of re-enactment ... This past year marked a number of significant anniversaries of historic conflicts, from the American Civil War to medieval European battles, to both World Wars and more. Collected here are 40 photos of recent performances from around the world (with a few anachronisms), covering a number of military events from recent centuries.
A core facet of Chancellor Merkel’s historic “Energiewende” clean energy transition, Germany has led the world in driving adoption of solar energy technology and systems ... Three national solar energy records were set in Germany over the past two weeks [in June 2014]. According to the Fraunhofer ISE solar energy research institute: Solar met more than 50 percent of Germany’s total electricity demand for the first time; A new solar peak power production record was set; and, Weekly total solar power output hit new highs.
Thanks to favorable weather and record production from solar and wind power, renewable energy accounted for approximately 31 percent of Germany’s electricity generation in the first half of 2014. Non-hydro renewables made up 27 percent of the country’s power, up from 24 percent last year, according to new data released by the Fraunhofer Institute. And for the first time ever, renewable energy sources accounted for a larger portion of electricity production than brown coal. Production of wind and solar in particular saw substantial gains over the same time last year. Solar grew by 28 percent in the first half of 2014 compared to 2013 and wind power grew by 19 percent over the same period last year.
From 1943 until early 1947 Western countries, led by Britain and the United States, returned nearly two and a half million prisoners of war and refugees to the Soviet Union, regardless of their individual wishes ... During the summer of 1944 the British began to ship thousands of Russians from POW and refugee camps to the USSR. When informed of their destination, many of the prisoners committed suicide. The Foreign Office did what it could to suppress news of the suicides ... British officers who delivered prisoners to Soviet ports, such as Murmansk and Odessa, witnessed NKVD execution squads murder Russians as they left ship.
The UK drew up plans to train and equip a 100,000-strong Syrian rebel army to defeat President Bashar al-Assad, BBC Newsnight can reveal. The secret initiative, put forward two years ago, was the brainchild of the then most senior UK military officer, General Sir David Richards. It was considered by the Prime Minister and the National Security Council, as well as US officials, but was deemed too risky.
In July 1944 a group of German conspirators tried to kill Hitler and violently seize power in Berlin. In the US and Germany today, the anti-Hitler conspirators are portrayed as men of exemplary courage, conscience and principle. This prevailing, “politically correct" idealization is a gross distortion of reality. By today's standards, von Stauffenberg and the other leading conspirators were "Nazis." They supported the policies and principles of the National Socialist government for at least five years, and only belatedly turned against the Hitler regime.
… About an hour and a half after the "Valkyrie" order was given [by the von Stauffenberg conspirators], my regiment, by then combat-ready, moved into the areas to be sealed off in accordance with its orders. The normal guard units, such as those at the War Memorial and the Bendlerblock, the headquarters of the Commander of the Replacement Army and of the Defense Production Office, remained at their posts … Goebbels asked me to address the troops assembled there, which I did. Their outrage at the traitorous goings-on was so great that they would have torn every single conspirator to pieces, had they been there.
… The initial successes of our forces against the Soviets were due to the fact that the Russians were not stationed in defense positions, but were instead positioned right at the front for attack, which made it possible for us to quickly encircle large Soviet forces. Thus, in the first weeks of the war, we were able to capture more than three million prisoners of war as well as enormous quantities of war equipment, all of which was on the frontier, positioned for attack. That's the truth of the matter, which can be proven.
Translations from English to Chinese are often humorously inaccurate. But as these signs and labels show, sometimes the mistranslations are laugh-out- loud hilarious.
... Where did this very un-Christian “religion” of violence come from? The answer to this question is that it first developed as a part of New England’s neo-Puritanical “Yankees” in the early and mid-nineteenth century. It reached its zenith in the 1860s when, finally in control of the entire federal government, the New England Yankees waged total war on the civilian population of a large part of their own country, mass murdering fellow Americans by the hundreds of thousands, and then singing a “religious” song that described it all as “the glory of the coming of the Lord.”
... The real issue: Will America remain one nation, or are we are on the road to Balkanization and the breakup of America into ethnic enclaves? For, as Ronald Reagan said, a nation that cannot control its borders isn’t really a nation anymore ... If a country is a land of defined and defended borders, within which resides a people of a common ancestry, history, language, faith, culture and traditions, in what sense are we Americans one nation and one people today?
The greatest American superstition of the last century or more is that America needs some greater purpose on the world stage — that it is a character in search of motivation. "What is America for?" the pundit asks. "If not my peculiar ideological fetish, then it must be for nothing." ... Ideologues prefer the idea of an ideological nation, a crusader state. Crusader states inspire great battle poetry. But a democratic republic like America needs no purpose, no mission civilisatrice. It needs no poetry. America just needs to be our home — that will require sacrifice enough.
As the clock runs out on negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, a new study of the American public finds that 61 percent favor making a deal with Iran that would limit Iran’s enrichment capacity and impose additional intrusive inspections in exchange for the lifting of some sanctions. This includes 62 percent of Republicans, 65 percent of Democrats and 51 percent of independents ... The study also finds that 61 percent favor working together with Iran to deal with the situation in Iraq.
A new poll has found that the majority of Americans are in favor of cooperating with Iran to help the Iraqi government beat back militants from the Islamic State. The poll, conducted by the University of Maryland's School of Public Policy and the Program for Public Consultation, found that 61 percent of Americans favored the United States cooperating with Iran over Iraq ...
The US public’s support for Israel is at near-record levels, according to a Pew Research Center poll, despite the current violence and images of the destruction in the Gaza Strip playing out nightly on television screens across America ... According to the survey, 51 percent of Americans said that they sympathize more with Israel in the “dispute between Israel and the Palestinians.” Only 14% said their sympathies are more with the Palestinians. Another 15% said they sympathize with neither side, and 3% with both sides.
The claim that today’s Ashkenazi Jews are descended from Khazars who converted in the Middle Ages is a myth, according to new research by a Hebrew University historian ... In an article published this month in the journal “Jewish Social Studies,” Prof. Shaul Stampfer concluded that there is no evidence to support this assertion. “Such a conversion, even though it’s a wonderful story, never happened,” he said. Stampfer, an expert in Jewish history, analyzed material from various fields, but found no reliable source for the claim ...
In his new book, “Legacy: A Genetic History of the Jewish People,” Harry Ostrer, a medical geneticist and professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, claims that Jews are different, and the differences are not just skin deep. Jews exhibit, he writes, a distinctive genetic signature ... Ostrer, who is also director of genetic and genomic testing at Montefiore Medical Center, goes further, maintaining that Jews are a homogeneous group with all the scientific trappings of what we used to call a “race.”... Scholars from Josephus to Disraeli proudly proclaimed their membership in “the tribe.” ... To his credit, Ostrer also addresses the third rail of discussions about Jewishness and race: the issue of intelligence.
At this writing, one Israeli has been killed by Hamas fire; hundreds of Hamas rockets have either fallen harmlessly or been destroyed by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile defense. The toll among Palestinians in Gaza is roughly 200 dead, and about 1,500 wounded. This then is not so much a war as a high-tech slaughter. Israel could kill Palestinians more rapidly of course, but seems to have judged it can go on at this pace, killing 15 to 20 a day, without provoking an international reaction. For some Israelis it is pure entertainment ... The American political class is so corrupted and indebted to pro-Israel money that it is impossible for the United States to play any kind of effective mediating role.
France's Socialist government provoked outrage today by becoming the first in the world to ban protests against Israeli action in Palestine. In what is viewed as an outrageous attack on democracy, Socialist Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said mass demonstrations planned for the weekend should be halted. Mr Cazeneuve said there was a ‘threat to public order’, while opponents said he was ‘criminalising’ popular support of the Palestinian people ... There were false claims made last week that synagogues in Paris had been targeted by pro-Palestinian demonstrators. In fact videos showed armed vigilantes from a group called the Jewish Defence League (LDJ) baiting demonstrators into fights.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday met with a delegation of rabbis ... “I follow closely what's going on in Israel," said Putin during the long meeting, which was held in Moscow. "I support the struggle of Israel as it attempts to protect its citizens ...,” added the Russian president ... Putin responded to Rabbi Yosef, asking him to tell Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that he is a true friend of Israel and of Netanyahu ... Putin, consulted with the rabbis on means of dealing with anti-Semitism, Holocaust deniers and preventing historical revisionism.
Here is a list of some things that Russia now wants its high-school students to demonstrate in order to graduate: self-identification as a Russian citizen, responsibility to the motherland, and respect for "traditional" values. The Education and Science Ministry has drafted an order that expanding the scope of essential high-school education beyond the "basic" subjects — such as language, literature and math — to include "personal results" that the student must achieve, Izvestia reported Thursday. The personal results, in addition to the list above, include patriotism, knowledge of the national anthem, respect for Russia's people, and pride for one's home region, the report said.
A highly publicized German exhibition of atrocities allegedly carried out by regular German army forces during the Second World War has been closed down in the wake of revelations that many of the harrowing photographs it displayed are deceitful. The organizers of "War of Annihilation: Crimes of the German Armed Forces, 1941-1944," announced the shutdown ... after ever more evidence had come to light proving that much of the controversial exhibit is fraudulent ... In one exhibition photo, Musial explains, the corpses shown were actually Ukrainians who had been killed by the Soviet security police ...
The United States has been at war -- major boots-on-the-ground conflicts and minor interventions, firefights, air strikes, drone assassination campaigns, occupations, special ops raids, proxy conflicts, and covert actions -- nearly nonstop since the Vietnam War began. That’s more than half a century of experience with war, American-style, and yet few in our world bother to draw the obvious conclusions ... As in Iraq, Washington has a way of sending in the Marines, setting the demons loose, leaving town, and then wondering how in the world things got so bad -- as if it had no responsibility for what happened. Don’t think, by the way, that no one ever warned us either.
Leading Iraq War advocate Richard Perle now says he and fellow neoconservatives never wanted to bring democracy to Iraq, and that they only supported the invasion due to false information / ... Perle, who was known for his nickname ‘Prince of Darkness’, is slyly presenting himself as an innocent, if not gullible average American who too was misled by false intelligence. But it was not the first time that Perle, along with his neoconservative peers, disowned their horrific record in Iraq ... No one, not even the supposedly level-headed Obama, can make any difference without a clear and decided shift in US foreign policy.
... One reason neoconservatism survives is that its members don't care how wrong they've been, or even about right and wrong itself. True to their Trotskyite and Straussian roots, neoconservatives have always been willing to play fast and loose with the truth in order to advance political goals ... They also appear utterly indifferent to the tragic human consequences of their repeated policy failures. Being a neoconservative, it seems, means never having to say you're sorry.
... Relations between Washington and Berlin are more mistrustful than ever ... Many Germans have come to view America as a militaristic rogue state, more dangerous even than Russia or Iran. Indeed, a recent Infratest Dimap poll indicates that a mere 27% of Germans regard the U.S. as trustworthy, and a majority view it as an aggressive power. The result is that Germany is undergoing a fundamental transformation ... Already Germany is much more sympathetic to Russia than the United States ... Similarly, Germans are allergic to any military confrontation with China, which has emerged as one of their most important trading partners.
Just how independent is the European Union? Given recent events involving the United States and its European allies, one really must wonder. ... Washington still deals with Europe and the EU as if dealing with minor vassal states: “foot soldiers for America’s nuclear knights” ... Washington has never accepted any European state or the EU as an equal ... NATO – 76% financed and run by Washington – is still the EU’s police force and America’s big stick in Europe. At times, it looks as if not so much has changed in Europe since 1945. The Soviets are gone, but the more amiable Americans are still around.
Bombs are raining on Gaza and rockets on Southern Israel, people are dying, and homes are being destroyed. Again. Again without any purpose. Again with the certainty that after it’s all over, everything will essentially be the same as it was before ... This abominable atrocity took place in Jerusalem. A Palestinian boy was abducted and burned alive. No racist crime in Israel ever came close to it. Burning people alive is an abomination everywhere. In a state that claims to be “Jewish”, it is even worse ... Can anyone even imagine a present-day European or American crowd shouting “Death to the Jews?” The six arrested until now for the bestial murder of the Arab boy had come straight from one of these “Death to the Arabs” demonstrations.
... As advanced societies are de-politicized, the changes are both subtle and spectacular. In everyday discourse, political language is turned on its head, as Orwell prophesized in '1984'. "Democracy" is now a rhetorical device. Peace is "perpetual war". "Global" is imperial. The once hopeful concept of "reform" now means regression, even destruction. "Austerity" is the imposition of extreme capitalism on the poor and the gift of socialism for the rich: an ingenious system under which the majority service the debts of the few. ...
A plane flying a banner advertisement over Coney Island and parts of Long Island Saturday created an uproar among residents ... Residents were outraged to see a plane pulling a banner with a Swastika on it. The banner advertisement is part of a campaign by the International Raelian Movement to rehabilitate the Swastika, which the group said had a meaning of peace and love before it was adopted by the Nazis ... The group behind ProSwastika.org has flown the ad in years past as part of its “Swastika Day.” This year, the group held “International Swastika Rehabilitation Week,” which ran from July 5 to July 12, according to the website.
No aspect of the American Civil War left behind a greater legacy of bitterness and acrimony than the treatment of prisoners of war. "Andersonville" still conjures up images of horror unmatched in American History. And although Northern partisans still invoke the infamous Southern camp to defame the Confederacy, the Union had its share of equally horrific camps. Prison camps on both sides produced scenes of wretched, disease-ridden and emaciated prisoners as repulsive as any to come out of the Second World War.
Dozens of Rialto eighth-graders questioned whether the Holocaust occurred in essays written for an in-class assignment this spring. Rialto Unified School District administrators, besieged by criticism after the assignment became public in May, claimed at the time that none of the students who completed the assignment questioned or denied the Holocaust, but a survey of the students’ work by this news organization found numerous examples of students expressing doubt or flatly denying that the Holocaust occurred ... An examination of the essays by newsroom staff found that at least 50 essays denied or doubted the Holocaust occurred.
Despite the July 4 tributes, millions of US soldiers and veterans are in serious trouble. Twenty two veterans kill themselves every day according to the Veterans Administration. A study by the Los Angeles Times found veterans are more than twice as likely as other civilians to commit suicide. Suicides among full-time soldiers, especially among male soldiers, are also well above the national civilian rate ... Over 57,000 veterans are homeless on any given night according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Unemployment is much higher among post 9/11 veterans than among the general population, according to the Department of Labor. More than 1.4 million veterans are living below the poverty line, according to US Senate report ...
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the breakdown in trust between her country and the United States over spying shows the two have "fundamentally different conceptions" about the work of intelligence agencies. Chancellor Merkel told public broadcaster ZDF television Saturday she hoped the U.S. would change its spying behavior, adding that "we are not living in the Cold War era anymore."
... Germany is a prime target of American espionage ... The spying is prompting Germans, already wary of what they regard as American militarism, to reassess the value of ties to America ... The roots of this antipathy to the U.S. rest in what a number of Germans see as the vassal-like status they have occupied toward the U.S. since end of World War II. They want to see Germany strike out a more independent course ... Why get entangled in America’s conflicts? ... So far there’s been little sign that Obama comprehends the peril. As though he didn’t have enough foreign policy problems on his plate, he’s now jeopardizing America’s relationship with one of its closest allies
The [National Security] agency collected and stored intimate chats, photos, and emails belonging to innocent Americans — and secured them so poorly that reporters can now browse them at will. / ... The NSA collects and stores the full content of extremely sensitive photographs, emails, chat transcripts, and other documents belong to Americans, itself a violation of the Constitution — but even if you disagree that it's illegal, there's no disputing the fact that the NSA has been proven incapable of safeguarding that data. There is not the chance the data could leak at some time in the future. It has already been taken and given to reporters. The necessary reform is clear. Unable to safeguard this sensitive data, the NSA shouldn't be allowed to collect and store it.
Around half of the genes that influence how well a child can read also play a role in their mathematics ability, say scientists from UCL, the University of Oxford and King's College London who led a study into the genetic basis of cognitive traits. While mathematics and reading ability are known to run in families, the complex system of genes affecting these traits is largely unknown ... Twins and unrelated children were tested for reading comprehension and fluency, and answered mathematics questions based on the UK national curriculum. The information collected from these tests was combined with DNA data, showing a substantial overlap in the genetic variants that influence mathematics and reading.
... An outstanding new book by Jason Riley about blacks in America. Its title is “Please Stop Helping Us.” Its theme is that many policies designed to help blacks are in fact harmful, sometimes devastatingly so. These counterproductive policies range from minimum wage laws to “affirmative action” quotas ... Studies that show how many artificial failures are created by affirmative action admissions policies are summarized in “Please Stop Helping Us,” in language much easier to understand than in the original studies.
Hundreds of educators from across the world will attend this week the 9th International Conference on Holocaust Education at Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies in Jerusalem. The conference, from July 7-10, is entitled "Through Our Own Lens: Reflecting on the Holocaust from Generation to Generation" and includes some 450 participants from 50 countries including China, Poland, Argentina, Canada, Namibia, Venezuela, Greece, and Spain.
Across the globe, schoolchildren study the industrialised slaughter of Jews by the Nazis. Holocaust museums in America, Israel and Poland each draw more than a million visitors annually. The UN has passed two resolutions in the past decade to institutionalise memory of the Holocaust worldwide. Yad Vashem, an Israeli museum and remembrance authority, trains 10,000 domestic and foreign teachers every year ... Membership of the Association of Holocaust Organisations (AHO) has increased from 25 in the late 1980s to over 300. Commemorative museums have opened from Germany and France to Brazil and Japan. Of the 16,000 books on the Holocaust listed in America’s Library of Congress, more than two-thirds were published in the past two decades.
As a social experiment, media analyst Mark Dice asks randomly selected people at a beach pier in southern California to sign a petition to keep the "Holocaust Beach Party" from being canceled due to budget cuts. The Holocaust, he explains, is a "favorite celebration of the Jewish people," a "Jewish festival," and a "Jewish holiday." He urges support for the "Holocaust celebration" and the "Holocaust reenactment." No one disputes what he says. Dice is surprised and frustrated by the ignorance of these ordinary Americans. Many Americans seem utterly unmoved by what politicians, educators and the media in the US has been telling them for years about the importance of "the Holocaust."
... The result was my 1981 book, “The Nine Nations of North America.” The reader reaction was astonishing. This map – drawn to anticipate the news – revealed something much deeper. It turned out to be a map of culture and values, which have nothing to do with our perversely drawn state and national boundaries ... What seems to really endure is culture and values. They are slow to change, and far more so than I originally guessed. The layers of unifying flavor and substance that define these nations still explain the major storms through which our public affairs pass. And “Nine Nations” is also a map of power, money and influence, the patterns of which have only deepened.
... Siberia is as resource-rich and people-poor as China is the opposite. The weight of that logic scares the Kremlin ... Siberia – the Asian part of Russia, east of the Ural Mountains – is immense. It takes up three-quarters of Russia's land mass, the equivalent of the entire U.S. and India put together. It's hard to imagine such a vast area changing hands. But like love, a border is real only if both sides believe in it. And on both sides of the Sino-Russian border, that belief is wavering ... The 1.35 billion Chinese people south of the border outnumber Russia's 144 million almost ten to one. The discrepancy is even starker for Siberia on its own ...
Not long ago, I was handed the most outrageous, vile, dishonest and slanderous calumny uttered against the people of Canada. It was contained in a full-page advertisement in the National Post ... Here is the headline: “Almost 4 million Canadians are afflicted by this disease.” ... For the “disease” afflicting “almost 4 million Canadians” is “anti-Semitism” and this disgusting advertisement – published without comment by one of Canada’s leading right-wing newspapers – was produced by B’nai Brith Canada and the “Jewish Christian Alliance”.
One of the world’s most active voices in the battle against anti-Semitism belongs to the US Anti-Defamation League’s Abe Foxman. He was interviewed by David Horovitz ... “We found that one in four adults in the world is infected with anti-Semitism. I find that a very troubling statistic. .. I remember when the Foreign Minister of Spain said to me, ‘When we say Jews are successful we mean it as a compliment.’ I replied by saying, That’s the compliment that paved the way to Auschwitz ... Today, anti-Semitism is worse that it has ever been since WWII, although it is not like it was then ... I do believe it will always be with us.”
... Most alliances are costly and risky, like NATO. Handing out security guarantees is not the same as giving away Valentines in class, where everyone gets a card. America should maintain alliances only when doing so makes Americans safer. Backing Poland against Russia does not. Instead, doing so multiplies risks facing the United States without providing any countervailing advantages ... The promise to go to war is the most serious promise a state can make. That commitment should be limited to cases where the American people have fundamental, vital interests at stake.
Russia has demanded an official apology from Poland after "blasphemous" authorities in the town of Limonowa demolished a Soviet war memorial without its permission ... A statement published Tuesday on the Russian Foreign Ministry website condemned the actions of the local authorities — which come as Russia celebrates 70 years since its victory over the Nazis ... The Limonowa memorial is the latest in a line of Soviet monuments to have been moved, destroyed or vandalized on the territory of a former republic or satellite state.
Adolf Hitler's manifesto, Mein Kampf (My Struggle), has not been published in Germany since the end of World War Two. This may change when the book's copyright - currently held by the state of Bavaria - expires at the end of 2015, however. The prospect has led Germans to debate whether the book should become more readily available to the public or continue to exist only on the internet and the black market. Last month interior ministers of 16 German states pledged to do all they could to prevent anyone from printing the work. They said they will ask the federal prosecutor general to investigate whether they could charge publishers with violating the nation's sedition laws.
The Arab world is in turmoil. Syria and Iraq are breaking apart, the thousand-year old conflict between Muslim Sunnis and Muslim Shiites is reaching a new climax. A historic drama is unfolding around us ... With sublime disregard for the peoples, ethnic origins and religious identities, Sykes and Picot created national states where no nations existed. They and their successors, notably Gertrude Bell, T.E. Lawrence and Winston Churchill, put together three quite different communities and created “Iraq”, importing a foreign king from Mecca.
... The Anglo-French duo [Sykes-Picot] in 1916 proved as ignorant as George W. Bush was to be 87 years later ... What amazes me to this day is the number of people who voted for the war: Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Joe Biden, and, of course, the war criminal himself, Tony Blair. The 9/11 outrage has been tainted by the attack carried out deceitfully in its name against Iraq, a country that was not involved and had no weapons of mass destruction. Iraq was the biggest blunder of them all and we frivolously sleepwalked into it while the neocons played us like harmonicas.
... Then and now, Lawrence’s understanding of the ancient and potent jealousies of the people among whom he had lived and fought generally was ignored ... Not for the last time in the Middle East would disaster come from the blundering ignorance and blinding arrogance of foreign intruders convinced by magical thinking of their own omnipotence and righteousness. How soon we forget. How often we repeat.
... She was, in fact, a spy and her British masters had told her that if she got into trouble they would disclaim responsibility for her. Less than ten years later Gertrude Bell would be back in Baghdad, having rigged an election, installed a king loyal to the British, re-organized the government, and fixed the borders on the map of a new Iraq. As much as anyone can make work as a country for very long — no more so than now. The Middle East as we know it was largely the idea of a small coterie of men composed of British scholars, archaeologists, military officers and colonial administrators who were called the Orientalists ...
... More than anyone else, she is credited with creating modern Iraq — drawing its borders, choosing its king — after the upheavals of World War I ... Miss Bell was an agent for her own country, advancing the interests of the British to secure influence, and oil, in Iraq ... As a member of the Arab Bureau, the British intelligence office in Cairo during the war, she, along with her countryman T. E. Lawrence, helped rally the Arab revolt against the Turks from 1916 to 1918, arming the Arabs and promising them an independent Arab state. As the revolt unfolded, diplomats secretly agreed to carve up the Middle East into French and British spheres in the Sykes-Picot Agreement ...
The European Union ambassador to Israel said on Friday that many European nations were losing patience with Jerusalem due to the continued expansion of settlements beyond the Green Line [pre-1967 border]. Lars Faaborg-Andersen warned at a seminar that more European countries would issue warnings to their citizens against conducting business with companies in Israeli settlements, Israel Radio reported ... The French Foreign Ministry cautioned citizens against doing business in the settlements, stating that the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, Gaza and the Golan Heights, are “occupied by Israel since 1967. Settlements are illegal under international law."
Germany’s foreign minister says he will raise the issue of U.S. spying on his country when he sees Secretary of State John Kerry in Vienna in the coming days ... German officials also have to take account of public opinion, which is already very negative on the spying issue. Analyst Pawel Swidlicki of the Open Europe research organization says that could get worse unless the United States stops spying on Germany. “German public opinion will only continue to harden against the U.S., which would have very negative implications for quite crucial issues, like the EU-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, currently under negotiation," Swidlicki said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin tells group of visiting international rabbis he is concerned about the spread of 'Nazi ideas'. / ... Putin voices concern about the spread of Nazi ideology: “We are very concerned about those Nazi ideas springing up here and there. I would like to thank social organizations that, considering the current situation in the world, continue to actively and bravely fight with any attempts to revive the Nazi ideology." Joined by an international delegation of rabbis at the Kremlin, he offers assurances.
Slavoj Žižek, one of the most widely known Marxist philosophers of the 21st century, has been accused of plagiarism by American Renaissance, a conservative magazine focusing on “race and racial conflict” that the Southern Poverty Law Center classifies as a white nationalist hate group ... When Newsweek contacted Critical Inquiry, James Williams, its senior managing editor, agreed that Žižek “absolutely” borrowed from Hornbeck’s review. “We’re very sorry it happened,” he said. “If we had known Žižek was plagiarizing, we would have certainly asked him to remove the illegal passages.” Newsweek then contacted Hornbeck, who writes under a pseudonym. “Anyone who has seen the side-by-side comparisons can have no doubt that Žižek is a plagiarist,” he said.
In The Culture of Critique, Kevin MacDonald advances a carefully researched but extremely controversial thesis: that certain 20th century intellectual movements – largely established and led by Jews – have changed European societies in fundamental ways and destroyed the confidence of Western man. He claims that these movements were designed, consciously or unconsciously, to advance Jewish interests even though they were presented to non-Jews as universalistic and even utopian. He concludes that the increasing dominance of these ideas has had profound political and social consequences that benefited Jews but caused great harm to gentile societies.
... Detroit borders the Great Lakes system, containing 21 percent of the world’s surface freshwater. The lakes are the source of the city’s water supply, but a growing number of residents can’t turn on the tap. Over the past three months, the water department has conducted an aggressive shut-off campaign to get more than 90,000 customers to pay $90.3 million in past-due bills. Between March 25 and June 14, 12,500 Detroit customers had their water shut off.
... What do Americans anticipate about the next ten years? “America Looks to 2024,” The Atlantic/Aspen Institute Survey, marks the 10th anniversary of the Aspen Ideas Festival by asking about impressions of the nation in 2024. The poll finds Americans in a pessimistic mood, worried that U.S. is on the wrong track and unsure about the future. Respondents expect a nation more divided by class and race. They also expect America's standing in the world to diminish, as China and Russia gain in stature. ... White Americans have a bleaker view of the future than their black and Latino counterparts, who are more likely to see opportunity today and ahead.
Less than a quarter of white Americans believe hard work will get them ahead in life, and two in three think the country is going in the wrong direction, new polls have revealed. But blacks and Hispanic Americans have a drastically more optimistic view about the future ... According to The Atlantic/ Aspen Institute’s latest survey 'America Looks to 2024.’ ... Three quarters of whites believe America will no longer be considered the 'land of opportunity' in 2024, while only 55 per cent of blacks and 53 per cent of Hispanics feel pessimistic on this topic ... Respondents generally expect to see a nation more divided by class and race in 2024.
... The OECD [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] released its predictions for the world economy until 2060. These are that growth will slow to around two-thirds its current rate; that inequality will increase massively; and that there is a big risk that climate change will make things worse. Despite all this, says the OECD, the world will be four times richer, more productive, more globalised and more highly educated ... To make the central scenario work, Europe and the USA each have to absorb 50 million migrants between now and 2060 ... The OECD has a clear message for the world: for the rich countries, the best of capitalism is over. For the poor ones – now experiencing the glitter and haze of industrialisation – it will be over by 2060.
The German government has ordered the expulsion of a CIA official in Berlin in response to two cases of alleged spying by the US. The official is said to have acted as a CIA contact at the US embassy, reports say, in a scandal that has infuriated German politicians. A German intelligence official was arrested last week on suspicion of spying. An inquiry has also begun into a German defence ministry worker, reports said.
... Where most disagreements involve policies that might eventually lead to some future unnecessary war, this one was about an unnecessary war they were now stumbling into ... The crime set off a chain of events in which Israel gradually lost control of the situation, finally ending up on the brink of a war that nobody wanted — not the army, not the government, not even the enemy, Hamas ... Nor was that the only fib. It was clear from the beginning that the kidnappers weren’t acting on orders from Hamas leadership in Gaza or Damascus ... Yet Netanyahu repeatedly insisted Hamas was responsible for the crime and would pay for it.
... Prosecuting the murderers is no longer sufficient. There must be a cultural revolution in Israel. Its political leaders and military officers must recognize this injustice and right it. They must begin raising the next generation, at least, on humanist values, and foster a tolerant public discourse. Without these, the Jewish tribe will not be worthy of its own state.
... That does not mean Israeli and Palestinian culpability is equal. The reality is that Israelis, unlike Palestinians, have a sovereign state that represents them and protects them with a strong army ... In the face of the enduring violence of Israel’s occupation, and the licence it provides soldiers to humiliate and oppress, ordinary Palestinians have a stark choice: to submit or resist. Ordinary Israelis, on the other hand, do not need to seek revenge on their own account. The Israeli state, military and courts are there every day doing it for them.
... A Jewish state legislates racist and nationalist laws ... In the Jewish state there is one law for Jews and another for Arabs, whose lives are cheap. There is no hint of abiding by international laws and conventions. In the Jewish state, there is pity and humane feelings only for Jews, rights only for the Chosen People. The Jewish state is only for Jews ... The Jewish state, which Israel insists the Palestinians recognize, must first recognize itself. At the end of the day, at the end of a terrible week, it seems that a Jewish state means a racist, nationalistic state, meant for Jews only.
Washington and Lee University expressed regret Tuesday for the school’s past ownership of slaves and promised to remove Confederate flags from the main chamber of its Lee Chapel after a group of black students protested that the historic Virginia school was unwelcoming to minorities. ... Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee served as the university’s president after the Civil War, his crypt is beneath the chapel, and the school has gingerly addressed its ties to the Confederacy and its having profited from the possession and sale of slaves. The Confederate banners — battle flags that Lee’s army flew as it fought Union forces — have adorned the campus chapel that bears Lee’s name since 1930 ...
... For years, we’ve been calling on the United States to sit down and discuss its mutual interests with Iran like adults, instead of shouting across the Atlantic ... The United States should engage Iran not just as an unavoidably influential player, however, but as an actor with its own concerns about terrorism – including by jihadis involved in the U.S.-supported campaign against Bashar Assad’s government in Syria. If the United States tries – as in past episodes of cooperation with Tehran – to elicit Iranian help in Iraq without recognizing Iran’s wider interests – dialogue will fail. Likewise, Washington needs to deal with Tehran in a genuinely reciprocal way on the nuclear issue.
... In Manufactured Crisis, I [Gareth Porter] show that the claim of an Iranian nuclear-weapons program has been based on false history and falsified records. The description of the Iranian nuclear program presented in official documents, in commentaries by think-tank “experts,” and in the media bears no resemblance to the essential historical facts. One would never know from the narrative available to the public over the years that Iran had been prepared in the early 1980s to rely entirely on a French-based company for enriched uranium fuel for its Bushehr reactor, rather than on enriching uranium itself.
... Israel’s hypersensitivity is commonly attributed to the tragedies of the Second World War, but its origins run even deeper. Jewish and Israeli children are taught a historical sense of being eternally persecuted and hated just for being Jews ... In middle school, Israelis are taught the horrible history of the Holocaust, and many students make trips to the death camps ... To the average Israeli, the Islamist regime in Tehran is but a continuation of that mystically unending pattern. They view Iran’s leaders as fundamentally opposed to the Jewish state’s very existence, to such an extent that the Ayatollahs would be willing to take high risks and pay a substantial price in order to annihilate it.
Most Americans regard themselves as Christians. But what’s the religion of those who are not Christian? These maps show, by state and by country, which faiths come in second place. The most important non-Christian religions in the US are Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam.
Much of what's written about the role of Christianity in Third Reich Germany, and about Hitler's views on religion, is grossly distorted or just plain wrong. The official program of Hitler's National Socialist Party expressed support for "positive Christianity, and nearly all NS Party members were either Evangelical Lutherans or Roman Catholics. Although Christianity had a favored status in the Third Reich, Germans were free to profess any religious outlook, or none. In many public statements Hitler affirmed a religious and spiritual outlook, and expressed admiration for Christian ethics and traditions. But privately he grew steadily more critical of the Christian worldview. Runtime: 50:44 mins.
Christianity had a favored status in World War II Germany. For example, Christian crosses were displayed in many public school classrooms and other public buildings, especially in largely Catholic regions. German army soldiers' belt buckles bore the words "God With Us,” and churches in wartime Germany were packed. In spite of some tensions between religious and political leaders, the vast majority of Germans (including the clergy) remained loyal to Hitler and his regime to the bitter end. America’s most important military ally during World War II was the Soviet Union, a belligerently atheist state that ruthlessly suppressed religion. Runtime: 50:28 mins.
The German government wants a quick and clear explanation from Washington for U.S. intelligence's apparent contact with a German man arrested last week on suspicion of being a double agent, the Interior Minister said in a newspaper interview ... The case risks further straining ties with Washington, which have been sorely tested by revelations last year of large-scale snooping on Germany by the U.S. National Security Agency. Surveillance is a sensitive issue in a country where the memory of the Nazi's Gestapo secret police and communist East Germany's Stasi means the right to privacy is treasured.
Spying is particularly sensitive in Germany, whether it's listening in to Chancellor Merkel's phone or reading secret documents meant for a parliamentary committee. Mrs Merkel grew up in East Germany where the intrusions of the secret police - the Stasi - were pervasive and poisonous. And democracy has something of a sacred quality in Germany today because of the Nazi and then the Communist years. "Outrage" runs across the political spectrum - it's not just a "chattering class" issue. Wolfgang Bosbach, for example, who is the Christian Democrat [centre-right] head of the Bundestag committee which oversees interior affairs, questioned whether the US and Germany could be considered as "partners" any more.
The Obama administration's proposal to spend $500 million on training and equipping “appropriately vetted elements of the moderate Syrian armed opposition” leaves unanswered some of the same questions that always have surrounded proposals to give lethal aid to Syrian rebels ... The most fundamental question about any aid to Syrian rebels is exactly how this type of support advances whatever is our own political objective for Syria, or at least makes more likely an outcome of the war that is more rather than less consistent with U.S. interests.
Even as Vladimir Putin pursues what many see as an effort to restore an empire centered on Moscow, polls show that ever fewer Russians regret the end of the Soviet Union ... and ever more back the idea of a separate and independent Russia. According to a poll conducted by the Levada Center, the share of Russians who support the idea of an independent Russia has increased over the last year from 53 percent to 71 percent ... Russians today are defining their independence as “independence from” Western influence rather than any other way.
An employee of Germany's BND foreign intelligence agency has been arrested on suspicion of spying for the United States, two lawmakers with knowledge of the affair told Reuters on Friday. The German Federal Prosecutor's office said in a statement that a 31-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of being a foreign spy, but it gave no further details. Investigations were continuing, it said. The case risks further straining ties with Washington, which were damaged by revelations last year of mass surveillance of German citizens by the U.S. National Security Agency, including the monitoring of Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone.
The Central Intelligence Agency was involved in a spying operation against Germany that led to the alleged recruitment of a German intelligence official and has prompted renewed outrage in Berlin, two U.S. officials familiar with the matter said on Monday. CIA Director John Brennan has asked to brief key members of the U.S. Congress on the matter, which threatens a new rupture between Washington and a close European ally, one of the officials said. It was unclear if and when Brennan's briefing to U.S. lawmakers would take place. The CIA declined any comment on the matter.
Israeli deaths matter much more than Palestinian deaths. This has long been a distinguishing feature of Western news media reporting on the Middle East ... The missing, ugly reality is that over the last 13 years, on average, one Palestinian child has been killed by Israel every three days. Since the outbreak of the second Intifada in September 2000, 1,523 Palestinian children have been killed by Israel’s occupation forces. Over the same time period, 129 Israeli children have been killed. Thus, the ratio of Palestinian children to Israeli children killed is more than ten to one. You would be forgiven for not having the slightest inkling of this from Western media coverage.
... As Washington and Moscow face off over Ukraine in the biggest challenge to East-West relations since the Cold War, anti-Americanism is rocketing in Russia. An opinion poll published this month by the independent Moscow- based Levada Center indicated that just over 70 percent of Russians currently view the United States in a negative light — the highest figure since the collapse of the Soviet Union. About the same percentage of respondents described U.S. policy toward Russia as “hostile.” It’s not only among ordinary Russians that anti-U.S. sentiments are rising. Fringe conspiracy theories have been gaining mainstream acceptance among the political elite ...
... Putin and Russia can at times appear mysterious and hard to read. However, the speech opened a window into Russia’s psyche, their fears and desires. ... During the Cold War, NATO had a purpose – to act as a deterrent to any military escalation from the Soviet Union. Russia hoped that once the Cold War was over, NATO would dismantle itself, or at least halt its expansion. Quite the opposite happened ... Expanding NATO into Georgia or Ukraine would be catastrophic for Russian-Western relations; therefore the military alliance would be ill advised to expand any more. Most importantly, the West should understand Russian concerns and act accordingly.
NATO – the North Atlantic Treaty Organization -- was founded in 1949 as a US- directed military alliance to counter the might of the Soviet Union and its satellite states in central and eastern Europe. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 199, NATO’s original reason for being no longer existed. Many people understandably expected that NATO would be dismantled. Instead, Washington moved to expand it. In the years since the end of the USSR and the fall of the Berlin Wall, twelve new countries have been added. This map shows how NATO was expanded eastwards to include countries that had been part of the Soviet Union itself. This expansion helps to explain why many Russians regard the US as the real threat to stability.
Why do we tolerate the threat of another world war in our name? Why do we allow lies that justify this risk? ... Since 1945, the US has tried to overthrow more than 50 governments, many of them democratically elected; grossly interfered in elections in 30 countries; bombed the civilian populations of 30 countries; used chemical and biological weapons; and attempted to assassinate foreign leaders ... The name of "our" enemy has changed over the years, from communism to Islamism, but generally it is any society independent of western power and occupying strategically useful or resource-rich territory, or merely offering an alternative to US domination. The leaders of these obstructive nations are usually violently shoved aside ...
A new law in Russia that bans the use of "foul words" in the arts came into force on July 1. The law, signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in May, imposes fines on the authors or promoters of books, music, theater performances, or films that contain profanity. The law allows foul words to appear in books or on CDs but such items must be sealed and carry special warnings. Some movies in Russia have had to have been reedited or lines of foul language voiced over to comply with the law.
In the next three weeks, we have a unique opportunity to make history: To forge a comprehensive agreement over Iran's nuclear energy program; and to end an unnecessary crisis that has distracted us from addressing together our common challenges, such as the horrifying events of past few weeks in Iraq ... We are willing to take concrete measures to guarantee that our nuclear program will always remain peaceful. We still have time to put an end to the myth that Iran is seeking to build a bomb. And we're backed by over 250 years of non-aggression to substantiate our assertion.
Like the fairy-tale Big Bad Wolf, the United States and the European Union continue to huff and puff and say that economic sanctions will blow Iran’s house down ... That U.S. and E.U. sanctions against Iran aren’t likely to force Iran to back down doesn’t mean that Tehran isn’t feeling the pain. Problem is, in order for Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, to be forced into concessions, he’d have to conclude that the very survival of the clerical regime was threatened by a popular revolt triggered by economic crisis, and there’s no sign that Iran is anywhere close to that ... Iran is not on the verge of an internal crisis.
The Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902 was more than the first major military clash of the 20th century. Pitting as it did the might of the globe-girdling British Empire, backed by international finance, against a small pioneering nation of independent-minded farmers, ranchers and merchants in southern Africa who lived by the Bible and the rifle, its legacy continues to resonate today. The Boers' recourse to irregular warfare, and Britain's response in herding a hundred thousand women and children into concentration camps foreshadowed the horrors of guerilla warfare and mass detention of innocents that have become emblematic of the 20th century.
The EU Ambassador to Israel has warned that a growing number of European Union states are dissuading their citizens from doing business with companies registered in Israeli settlements; France, Italy and Spain have already joined the trend ... The governments of five of the largest EU economies: Germany, France, Italy and Spain, UK, as well as the Netherlands have urged businessmen nationwide to stop investing into Israeli settlements in eastern Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and the West Bank. The international community regards all Israeli settlements built on occupied Palestinian land as illegal.
... The entire approach to Israel must be changed. As long as it does not pay the price for the occupation and its citizens go unpunished, they will have no reason to end it, or even to deal with it. The occupation is deep inside the Israeli closet. There is no one to out it, the overwhelming majority want it to remain inside. For this reason, only punitive measures will remind us of its existence. Yes, I mean boycotts and sanctions, which are greatly preferable to bloodshed. This is the truth, even if it’s bitter. America and Europe have kowtowed to Israel enough. Unfortunately, to no effect. From now on, the world must speak a different language and perhaps it will be understood. After all, Israel has proved, more than once, that the language of power and punishment is its main language.
... It’s impossible to demand sympathy from the world when Israel ignores the world’s decisions; it’s impossible to demand action when Israel is perpetuating the occupation; and it’s impossible to demand solidarity with the fate of Israeli victims when that same victimized Israel continues to kill, wound and arrest innocents as a matter of routine. Now Israel is discovering that it’s no longer the center of attention as it always was before, and that the fate of its kidnapping victims no longer stops the world in its tracks, not even in the United States. The world is sick of Israel and its insanities.
... Marriage in the Jewish state is a complex matter, and is almost entirely under the purview of religious authorities. There is no civil marriage. Jews can only be married in a religious ceremony, by an Orthodox rabbi under the authority of the Chief Rabbinate, the top religious authority for Jews in Israel. This means there is also no interfaith marriage between Jews and non-Jews, since Orthodox Judaism does not allow mixed unions. Israelis who belong to other streams of Judaism, such as Reform or Conservative, must still tie the knot in front of an Orthodox rabbi in a traditional ceremony if they want their marriage to be recognized by the state.
... Perhaps the clearest case of genocide in Australian history, which saw the destruction of the vast majority of indigenous peoples in what the British called Van Diemen’s Land (today the island state of Tasmania), largely occurred between 1804 and 1876 ... The indigenous islanders were deliberately targeted for ‘extirpation’, to use the words of the day, with the full approval of the British government. Furthermore, the violence against them was carried out by British men and reported in British newspapers, art exhibitions and even in children’s comics ... What took place in Tasmania was a British genocide.
Cesar Chavez is the closest thing Hispanics have to Martin Luther King. There are countless streets, schools, and student centers named after him, and his birthday is a state holiday in California, Texas, and Colorado ... Miss [Miriam] Pawel, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and editor, is the ideal biographer. She has researched her subject exhaustively. She writes well. She presents her findings objectively [in her new book, The Crusades of Cesar Chavez] and does not pass judgment – so I will: Anyone who reads this book can only conclude that Cesar Chavez was a deceitful, foul-mouthed, philandering, sociopathic egomaniac who pretended to be a saint. And, yes, he had an unusual capacity to attract and inspire people, and worked very hard to start a farm workers union.
Tampa Police Officer Derek Lang acknowledged officers were a tad flummoxed when told they had to take a half-day course at the Florida Holocaust Museum on the role of police during one of the 20th century’s darkest periods ... The course, “Law Enforcement & Society: Lessons of the Holocaust,” created in 1998 by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington and the ADL, initially was intended for federal police agencies ... Every officer is expected to take it by the middle of next year.
... Mr. Mutuma Ruteere, the UN’s expert on racism, discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance, had some tough words for antisemites across the world. In his most recent report, the expert dedicated an entire section to “Countering Holocaust denial and the distortion of History” and included another section outlining successful methods for combating neo-Nazis and skinheads. In particular, the report explicitly defines and denounces modern Holocaust denial. The report defines Holocaust denial as 1) denying six million Jews were killed during the Second World War; 2) professing the Nazis had no official policy or intention to exterminate Jews; and 3) extermination and concentration camps such as Auschwitz-Birkenau never existed.
Nearly one in five Britons thinks the country became involved in the First World War to stop the rise of Nazi Germany, according to a survey. Eighteen per cent of those polled mistakenly believed the UK entered into the conflict in 1914 to halt the group which was led by Adolf Hitler in the Second World War. The research also found that 17% thought the dictator was the leader of Germany at the time of the First World War.
Despite all of the hysteria surrounding the advances in northern Iraq of the brutal group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), no crisis exists for U.S. security, and the American people are wise in their skepticism of renewed U.S. military involvement in that country. Even if the gains of the group eventually lead to an even bigger regional conflagration, in which most of the boundaries of the artificial states in the region originally set by the colonial powers are washed away, good riddance. Those boundaries, which divide ethnic and sectarian areas, have led to much conflict in the past ... Therefore, United States should resist getting involved again in the Iraqi quagmire.
President Obama’s statement and answers to questions at a mini–news conference at the White House yesterday [June 19] ... signals a major shift by the United States on Iraq, which Obama has been trying to forget since 2011. And it’s a sign — as I’ve argued repeatedly here and as The Washington Post reported in a separate piece today, noting that the administration “has begun to consider the conflicts in Syria and Iraq as a single challenge” — that the civil war in Syria and the civil war in Iraq have become one. But it’s a crisis that needs a political-diplomatic response, and not a military one. Unfortunately, Obama is doing both, and that’s not good.
Barack Obama has asked Congress for $500 million to train and arm rebels of the Free Syrian Army who seek to overthrow the government ... Syria has not attacked us. Syria does not threaten us. Why are we joining a jihad to overthrow the Syrian government? ... Absent an attack on U.S. citizens or vital interests, or an imminent threat of attack, Obama has no authority to initiate war. The Constitution places the power to authorize wars of choice exclusively with Congress ... Congress should block the $500 million for Obama’s wars and tell him his days as imperial president are over.
Many of the people you now see on your television offering advice about what to do next in Iraq weren’t terribly prescient the first time around ... Buchanan is popularly known as a reactionary, a culture warrior who pines for the social mores of the 1950s. (He would likely plead guilty as charged.) So how is it that he is so often ahead of the curve — or at least ahead of his critics? ... When it comes to many of the challenges facing America since winning the Cold War, however, Buchanan was right from the beginning.
... The origins of Roosevelt’s remarkable document remain thoroughly mysterious – as shadowy as the brave but mostly forgotten team of British agents who somehow first obtained it. The men and woman of British Security Coordination (BSC) had been sent across the Atlantic by Winston Churchill himself, ordered to stop at almost nothing in their efforts to discredit the Nazi cause ... All sorts of schemes were evolved by BSC to foment anti-Nazi feeling ... The South American map was, I’m convinced, an elaborate fake, concocted by BSC’s expert department of forgery (known as Station M and based in Canada).
… Roosevelt was not the first or the last American president to lie to the people. But rarely has a major American political figure given a speech as loaded with brazen falsehood as Franklin Roosevelt did in his Navy Day address of October 27, 1941 … Roosevelt went on to reveal that he also had in his possession "another document made in Germany by Hitler's government. It is a detailed plan to abolish all existing religions -- Catholic, Protestant, Mohammedan, Hindu, Buddhist, and Jewish alike" which Germany will impose "on a dominated world, if Hitler wins."
Boris Pasternak's famous novel Doctor Zhivago remained unpublished in the USSR until 1988, because of its implicit criticism of the Soviet system. But for the same reason, the CIA wanted Soviets to read the book, and arranged the first-ever publication in Russian. / ... The CIA files reveal that MI6 had also managed to obtain a copy of the manuscript - although it is not clear how - and handed it over to the CIA. The agency then arranged for a Russian-language version to be printed in The Hague ... The CIA's Doctor Zhivago project was part of a wider effort by the agency to get forbidden novels into Eastern bloc countries ...
... The CIA is a master at distorting history -- even creating its own version of history to suit its institutional and operational purposes. It can do this largely because of two great advantages it possesses. One is the excessively secret environment in which it operates, and the other is that it is essentially a private instrument of the presidency ... The CIA is a secret tool of the president – every president. And every president since Truman has lied to the American people in order to protect the agency ... the CIA, functioning as a secret instrument of the U.S. government and the presidency, has long misused and abused history and continues to do so.
A plurality of voters think Barack Obama is the worst president since World War II, a new poll says. According to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday, 33 percent of voters think the current president is the worst since 1945. Obama’s predecessor, former President George W. Bush, came in at second-worst with 28 percent, and Richard Nixon was in third place with 13 percent of the vote ... Thirty-five percent of voters said Ronald Reagan was the best president since World War II, receiving nearly twice as many votes as any other former president.
... With his Icelandic wife Kristin, Cardew is appealing against a decision by the National Registry in Reykjavik not to renew their ten-year-old daughter Harriet’s passport on the grounds that it does not recognise her first name ... Names matter in Iceland, a country of barely 320,000 people ... The law dictates that the names of children born in Iceland must – unless both parents are foreign – be submitted to the National Registry within six months of birth. If it is not on a recognised list of 1,853 female and 1,712 male names, the parents must seek the approval of a body called the Icelandic Naming Committee.
If you were Anderson Cooper and you’d been born in Germany, you wouldn’t be Anderson Cooper, because Germany is just one of a surprising number of countries with strict baby-naming rules and regulations. In some instances, as in Italy and Sweden, the motivation is humane -- trying to spare the child embarrassment, ridicule and bullying in the increasingly wild and wooly international baby-name environment. In fact, some of these are not long-standing strictures, but relatively recent ones.
Black Pete, the traditional sidekick to the Dutch St Nicholas is a "negative stereotype of black people", a court in Amsterdam has ruled. It said the capital must review the character's involvement in the annual festivities in November-December. The Dutch version of the St Nicholas legend has him and armies of Black Petes arriving by steamboat from Spain. Previous calls to ban Black Petes - with their blackened faces, red lips and Afro wigs - have caused outrage. On Thursday, Amsterdam's regional court said the "image of Black Pete with his thick red lips, being a stupid servant, gives rise to a negative stereotyping of black people". It said "many black Amsterdammers felt discriminated against".
People found guilty of financing extremist activities or expressing supporting for them online now face prison terms under a bill signed into law by President Vladimir Putin. Once the law takes effect, the dissemination of online material deemed extremist will be a criminal offense, meaning that even "liking" or reposting content on a social network could land users in hot water with the authorities ... Roskomnadzor, Russia's official media watchdog, is in charge of compiling and updating the government blacklist of websites found to contain extremist material. Currently, there are more than 2,000 websites on the list.
As many Russians spent a holiday weekend reveling in the annual display of military might that marks their victory over Nazi Germany, the tension in Ukraine has fueled a passionate debate over how to exalt the country’s history without distorting it ... As Mr. Putin seeks to rebuild his and Russia’s reputation, historians said, every foreign policy issue is reshaped to resemble the fall of the Third Reich. No matter what the conflict, Mr. Putin’s government links itself to that 1945 victory by proclaiming that the defeat of fascism is Russia’s raison d’être ... In recent months, the debate over Nazism has generated more scrutiny than it has in years.
... The measures taken by the Soviet Union between 1940 and 1942 aimed not only at furthering the Soviet war effort, but also at harming the German enemy even at the cost of huge losses of life among Soviet civilians. The Soviet scorched-earth strategy included the deportation of millions of men, women and children; the resettlement and reestablishment of thousands of factories; the withdrawal of almost the entire railway rolling stock; the-annihilation of raw material depots; the removal of most of the agricultural machinery, cattle and grain stocks; the systematic destruction, burning and blowing up of the immovable infrastructure, inventories of all kinds, factory buildings, mines, residential areas, public buildings, public records, and even cultural monuments; and the intentional starvation of the civilian population which remained behind to face German occupation.
... Even though the Germans were the foe, more often than not, they treated us better than Stalin’s Reds. My dad was picked up by the Germans after being left for dead by Stalin’s troops, and was taken to one of their field hospitals. When he felt strong enough he left with the help of peasants and made his way home ... For many in the West it may seem hard to believe, but Nazi occupation, despite reprisals, was better than being under Stalin. Because, for the first time, farmers could work the land free of the disastrous Bolshevik collective system, bumper crops were harvested. The Germans organized efficient food distribution. At last there was no starvation in the land.
... Cordesman’s advice on conducting “non-wars against non-terrorists” boils down to this: Lower your expectations and be patient. In many countries, that way of thinking is of necessity the default. In the U.S., it isn’t. Americans want victory, and they want it now ... “Mission accomplished” illustrates what Cordesman calls the end-state fallacy — the idea that deep-seated conflicts can be brought neatly to an end. So does President Barack Obama’s remark on the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq in 2011: “We’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq.” ... Another fallacy is to organize policy around the idea that every conflict has a good side and a bad side. Foreign policy isn’t a morality play.
A landmark study by an international group of scientists has concluded that planet Earth is on the brink of a mass extinction event comparable in scale to the one that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. The researchers found that extinction rates are currently 1000 times higher than normal due to deforestation, global climate change, and the depletion of ocean fisheries.
For one half of the city, he was the national hero who fought against imperial oppression and fully deserves a new park in his name. For the other half he is a villain who killed a pregnant woman and brought a flourishing epoque to an end. Gavrilo Princip, the Bosnian-Serb radical who set in train a chain of events that led to the outbreak of the First World War will be the central figure in Sarajevo this weekend as the city marks 100 years since he assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914 ... Princip remains a polarising figure, revered by many of Bosnia's Serbs, but derided as a murderer by the country's Muslims and Croats.
Two French Jews were sent to prison for placing a bomb in 2012 under the car of an anti-Zionist journalist in Paris. The two men ... were sentenced on June 20 by a judge from the Versailles Correctional Tribunal to six months and ten months in jail respectively, according to Agence Info Libre. The two men, who are in their 20s, were part of a gang of four whom police arrested in 2012 on suspicion that they had placed an improvised explosive device under the car of Jonathan Moadab, a reporter for Agence Info Libre who is also an anti-Zionist activist. According to Moadab, the four are members of the French branch of the Jewish Defense League ...
Television news report on the “Jewish Defense League” of France, a violent Zionist group. Runtime: 3:25 mins.
Auction website eBay has refused to list a World War II-era Mercedes Benz once owned Hermann Goering, a Nazi leader who commanded the German air force, citing a policy prohibiting the sale of offensive items. The 1941 Mercedes Benz 540 K Cabriolet B, custom built by Daimler-Benz for Adolf Hitler’s close confidant, is currently in pieces in a high-end south Florida automobile shop, where owners said they plan to spend about $750,000 to restore it to working condition ... According to Rathbun, the car was seized by the U.S. Army’s 7th Infantry Division in Berchtesgaden, a town in the Bavarian Alps where Hitler built a sprawling residence.
The chief editor of a celebrity magazine in Kazakhstan has been fined for devoting the April issue to Adolf Hitler. An Almaty court on June 30 found Zharylqap Qalybai, the chief editor of the magazine “Zhuldyzdar Otbasy-Anyz Adam" (Celebrities Family-Legendary People), guilty of insulting 13 veterans of World War II and ruled that he must pay 1,000,000 tenges ($5,350) to each of the plaintiffs. The issue in question contained photographs and memories of Hitler from his associates and friends. It also included excerpts from Hitler's “Mein Kampf.” The plaintiffs filed the lawsuit against Qaybai in early June, accusing him of "propagating fascism.”