... Undeniably, U.S. foreign policy is in a shambles. But what were the "decisions" that produced the "incredible debacle"? Who made them? Who supported them? The first would be George W. Bush's decision to invade Iraq, a war for which Sens. John McCain, Joe Biden, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton all voted ... A second decision came in 2011, when a rebellion arose against Bashar Assad in Syria, and we supported and aided the uprising. Assad must go, said Obama. McCain and the neocons agreed. Now ISIS and al-Qaida are dominant from Aleppo to the Iraqi border, with Assad barely holding the rest, while the rebels we urged to rise and overthrow the regime are routed or in retreat.
... There is nothing Islamic about the Islamic State, or ISIS. It is not a state. What we are seeing is the recrudescence of the fanatical Wahabi movement from Saudi Arabia combined with a bizarre modern form of violent Arab nihilism embraced by bitter, marginalized young men ... ISIS is also pure blowback from western imperial bungling in the Mideast. The fanatical group was formed and armed in Jordan by CIA, British, French, and Turkish intelligence ... Throw into this witch’s brew the hatred and fury of the Arab world that has been invaded, bombed, and exploited by the western colonial powers for a century.
As the world celebrates the 25th anniversary of fall of the Berlin Wall, Americans remain more convinced than ever that the United States won the Cold War. The Cold War brought us a national-security state, which consists of an enormous military establishment, a vast military-industrial complex, an empire of foreign and domestic military bases, ever-growing military budgets, and the ever-increasing militarization of American society ... Even though the Cold War was used as the excuse for this revolutionary change in America’s governmental system, as we all know the national-security state apparatus didn’t go out of existence when the Cold War ended. Instead, it seems to have become a permanent part of America’s governmental system ...
... Peter Zeihan's "The Accidental Superpower" begins with geography, pointing out that America is the world's largest consumer market for a reason — its rivers. Transporting goods by water is twelve times cheaper than by land — which is why civilizations have always flourished around rivers. America, Zeihan calculates, has more navigable waterways — 17,600 miles' worth — than the rest of the world combined ... "The world's greatest river network ... directly overlies the world's largest piece of arable land, the American Midwest." Add to this deep water ports, which you need in order to get goods to and from the rest of the world ... Puget Sound, San Francisco Bay and the Chesapeake Bay are the world's three largest natural harbors.
... One of the consequences of the destruction of Mussolini and his regime was a prodigious rise in criminal activities in Italy ... Dominating this development was the revivified Mafia, effectively subdued for over a decade before the arrival in 1943-44 of the Anglo-American armies, and suddenly back in business everywhere with the achievement of "liberation." ... Allied military and occupation leaders were soon emptying the prisons and labor camps of the Mussolini regime, eventually turning loose upon Sicily and southern Italy a legion of convicted murderers, robbers and extortionists, as well as setting them up in business as the mayors of a long string of Sicilian communities – "Mafiosi to a man” ...
... In their methods to suppress the Mafia, the Fascists would prove to be more mafioso than the mafiosi, defeating them on grounds of honor and violence ... No quarter was to be given. Mussolini ordered Prefect Mori to crack down with ferro e fucci (steel and fire) ... In short order Mussolini announced to Sicily, to the nation, and to the world that the Mafia was dead, that no force "ever again would be able to revive it." ... The end of Fascism for Sicily came in 1943 with the American military occupation of the island. The mafiosi saw their opportunities and took them. In virtually every town they were named as mayors.
Fascism is one of the most often misused and widely misunderstood political terms. Publicists of both the left and right use the term "fascist" not to describe but to discredit and smear adversaries. "Fascism" is often inaccurately used as a synonym for tyranny, militarism, Nazism, racism, or capitalism. During the first 13 years of Fascist rule in Italy, the regime and its leader ("Duce"), Benito Mussolini, were widely admired in the US and other countries. Attitudes in the US changed after the Italian subjugation of Ethiopia in 1935-36, and as Mussolini aligned Italy ever more closely with Hitler's Germany.
... Fascism was touted by Mussolini as a unique combination of thought and action, yet fascism was still seeking an ideology after the Second World War was over. The roots of fascism are many and complex. The fascist leadership, notably Mussolini, admitted the multi-faceted influences of liberalism, marxism, syndicalism, risorgimento, socialism, catholicism and nationalism on their ideology ... Italian fascism was the first application of what would become a generic ideology encompassing, or allegedly encompassing, movements of the political right in every nation of Western Europe, the United States, the British Commonwealth nations and even Japan.
... One of the most widely respected Italian political theorists and sociologists in this century is Vilfredo Pareto. Indeed, so influential are his writings that "it is not possible to write the history of sociology without referring to Pareto." Throughout all of the vicissitudes and convulsions of twentieth-century political life, Pareto remains "a scholar of universal reputation." Pareto is additionally important for us today because he is a towering figure in one of Europe's most distinguished, and yet widely suppressed, intellectual currents. This broad school of thought ... stands in staunch opposition to rationalism, liberalism, egalitarianism, Marxism ...
... After traveling and lecturing across the United States in recent months, it strikes me that our nation has never been so racked with fear. The paramount concern is "national security": the fear that apocalyptic forces outside America's borders — Islamic State, Ebola, immigrants from Latin America — will creep in and overwhelm us ... Opinions end up being shaped by sensationalistic media coverage geared toward selling ads. Sadly, fear-mongering politicians desperate for your vote pile on too. Commercial television news is hammering "the land of the brave" with scare tactics as never before ... Don't let fear-mongering politicians and ratings-crazed news channels shape the way you see our world.
... Blowing the opportunity for an agreement would be all the more a shame because, according to the preeminent criterion of preventing any Iranian nuclear weapon (not to mention other consequences of an agreement), the choice between a deal and no deal is almost a no-brainer. No deal would mean fewer restrictions on the Iranian program and lesser inspection and monitoring of it. Iran would have a much clearer path to a nuclear weapon, if it chose to take it, without an agreement than with one.
... The failure of negotiations with Iran would not be to the advantage of Israel or any of the Gulf states that claim to be so horrified by a deal. Failure would strengthen Iranian hard-liners, it would likely increase tensions between Iran and many other regional governments, and would leave the path open for the nuclear program’s continued development ... The only conclusion we can reach from all this is that most of these actors are hostile to any diplomacy with Iran and want to make conflict between the U.S. and Iran more likely.
... No city in the world has seen as many wars, massacres and as much bloodshed as this one. All in the name of some God or other. Jerusalem was annexed (or "liberated", or "unified") immediately after the Six-day War of 1967. That war was Israel's greatest military triumph. It was also Israel's greatest disaster. The divine blessings of the incredible victory turned into divine punishments. Jerusalem was one of them. ... Arab inhabitants were not accorded Israeli citizenship, but merely "permanent residence". This is a status that can be arbitrarily revoked at any moment – and indeed was revoked in many cases, compelling the victims to move out of the city ... The Unholy City is more divided than ever before.
... The infamous Balfour Declaration; a letter written in 1917 by Britain’s then-Foreign Secretary Lord Balfour to Baron Rothschild, a leader of the Zionist movement. In the letter, Balfour said the government viewed “with favour the establishment in Palestine of a “national home” for the Jewish people”, and would use its “best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object”. The effect of this declaration was best summed up ...: “One nation solemnly promised to a second nation the country of a third.” It had no moral or legal right to do so ... The Balfour Declaration, and its implementation by the British mandate in Palestine from 1920, culminated in Israel's creation in 1948, and the wholesale dispossession of the Palestinian people.
... We cannot say that the Jews have a right to yearn for Palestine after 1,900 years and deny the Arabs the right to yearn for their homes after nineteen years. These were their homes ... Terrorism is a reflection of that desperation. I do not favor terrorism, and I do not excuse it, but let’s be honest: If the situation were reversed, Jewish boys would be doing what Arab boys are doing. Jewish terrorists did it in 1946 and 1948. They killed women and children in Jerusalem, they blew up the King David Hotel, they destroyed Arab villages.
Our brains are able to judge the trustworthiness of a face even when we cannot consciously see it, a team of scientists has found. Their findings, which appear in the Journal of Neuroscience, shed new light on how we form snap judgments of others. “Our findings suggest that the brain automatically responds to a face's trustworthiness before it is even consciously perceived," explains Jonathan Freeman, an assistant professor in New York University's Department of Psychology and the study's senior author.
The human brain can judge the apparent trustworthiness of a face from a glimpse so fleeting, the person has no idea they have seen it, scientists claim. Researchers in the US found that brain activity changed in response to how trustworthy a face appeared to be when the face in question had not been consciously perceived. Scientists made the surprise discovery during a series of experiments that were designed to shed light on the neural processes that underpin the snap judgments people make about others.
He was viewed as Hitler’s finest general, admired even by the Allies for his skills as a military leader. But to one captured British soldier, Erwin Rommel was the man who saved his life – and gave him beer and cigarettes. Captain Roy Wooldridge, from the Royal Engineers, has told how he was introduced to the ‘Desert Fox’ after being taken prisoner in France. He had been caught during a covert night-time reconnaissance mission ahead of the D-Day landings. Without uniform or identification due to the secrecy of the operation, he was treated as a spy and told he would be shot.
... A college degree no longer guarantees a good job. The main reason it pays better than the job of someone without a degree is the latter’s wages are dropping. In fact, it’s likely that new college graduates will spend some years in jobs for which they’re overqualified ... Employers still choose college grads over non-college grads on the assumption that more education is better than less. As a result, non-grads are being pushed into ever more menial work, if they can get work at all. Which is a major reason why their pay is dropping ... Given all this, a college degree is worth the cost because it at least enables a young person to tread water. Without the degree, young people can easily drown.
Emotions ran high this past Wednesday on Capitol Hill at a bi-partisan tribute honoring the American-Israeli security alliance, held just one day after the savage murders in a Har Nof synagogue ... Other speakers included Missouri Senator Roy Blunt, Illinois Senator Mark Kirk, Michigan Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate armed services committee and Colorado Senator Michael Bennett ... “It’s not an overstatement to say that we the Jewish people live in a ‘malchus shel chesed’ [kingdom of kindness],” said Ezra Friedlander, CEO of The Friedlander Group which organized the Capitol Hill tribute.
A controversial bill that officially defines Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people has been approved by cabinet despite warnings that the move risks undermining the country’s democratic character. Opponents, including some cabinet ministers, said the new legislation defined reserved “national rights” for Jews only and not for its minorities, and rights groups condemned it as racist. The bill, which is intended to become part of Israel’s basic laws, would recognise Israel’s Jewish character, institutionalise Jewish law as an inspiration for legislation, and delist Arabic as a second official language. Arab Muslims and Christians make up 20% of Israel’s population.
... A controversial bill that officially defines Israel as the “Nation-State of the Jewish People” was approved by the Israeli cabinet last Sunday. Finally Israel has acknowledged its true Jewish nature. Instead of pretending to be a “Jewish Democracy” -- a contradiction in terms -- the Jewish State admits that it is a theocracy guided by Jewish racial supremacist ideology ... Israel has always been the Jewish State, it has never been a liberal place nor has it been committed to justice or equality. The deepest truth is that universal humanism and ethical culture is foreign to Judaic thinking that is tribal and legalistic.
During a weekend commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths, and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. Soviet leaders refused to acknowledge the famine of 1932 and 1933. They also confiscated grain supplies and prevented travel to find food, leading to what some call a Soviet-engineered "genocide." The tragedy known as Holodomor never would have happened if Ukraine had been an independent, democratic country, Poroshenko said ...
... On Sunday, we commemorated the greatest tragedy suffered by the Ukrainian people -- Holodomor of 1932-1933, a term that can be translated as "extermination by hunger." A justification offered by Stalin at the time was the need for rapid industrialization at all cost, but what really bothered him about Ukraine was our unbending desire for self-determination. As we hear from Mr. Putin about the "love" of Russians for their Ukrainian "brothers," we worry ... The Soviet empire of those days was prepared to stop at nothing to suppress any resistance to Moscow's rule.
Antisemitic incitement by Turkish government officials, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's oft-repeated statements that Israel is more barbaric than Hitler, and antisemitic accusations, and threats by the media that support and promote Turkey's AKP ruling party have fostered an upsurge in antisemitism in the country. A recent survey by Gonzo Insight, the Turkish polling institute, found that in just 24 hours, on July 17-18, 2014, 27,309 Turkish Twitter users sent 30,926 Turkish-language tweets in support of Hitler's genocide against the Jews.
German anti-Semitism and resentment towards Israel has risen sharply in recent months, with more than one in four respondents in a new poll equating the Jewish state's treatment of Palestinians to Nazi persecution of Jews during World War Two. The bi-annual survey on xenophobia in Germany by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation showed broad measures of anti-Semitism on the decline over the past decade. But it also showed a spike in negative views towards Israel and Jews in general between June and September, coinciding with the conflict between Israel and Hamas terrorists in Gaza.
... It is somewhat outrageous that Adelson and Saban appear to believe that they can buy an American presidential candidate in order to benefit Israel, but the most distressing aspect of their chat is that maybe they are right. ... One can reasonably assume that the major party nominees will no doubt pander to Israel in 2016 and one can make a case that Hillary is already owned by Saban. Given that reality one has to accept the obvious conclusion that the two Israeli billionaires might well be able to substantially define the relationship between Washington and Tel Aviv, to the latter’s benefit.
... Under the Obama administration, both the Department of Education and the Department of Justice have been leaning on public schools around the country to reduce what they call the “disproportionate” numbers of black male students who are punished for various offenses in schools. Under an implicit threat of losing their federal subsidies, Minneapolis Public Schools has agreed to reduce the disparity in punishment of black students by 25 percent by the end of this school year, and then by 50 percent, 75 percent and finally 100 percent in each of the following years. In other words, there are now racial quota limits for punishment in Minneapolis schools.
Is the most dangerous country in the world the United States of America? According to a new poll from WIN and Gallup International, the U.S. represents the largest threat to world peace today. In their annual End of Year poll, researchers for WIN and Gallup International surveyed more than 66,000 people across 65 nations and found that 24 percent of all respondents answered that the United States “is the greatest threat to peace in the world today.” ... A plurality of people polled in several officially American-allied nations also rated the United States as dangerous ... A surprising 13 percent of American respondents rated their own nation the biggest threat to world peace as well.
US President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize four years ago. Today, the country he leads is seen — according to a new poll -- as the biggest threat to world peace. The global survey, conducted by WIN/Gallup International, polled residents in 68 countries on everything from the global economy to politics and living conditions. According to the poll, 24 percent of the surveyed countries ranked the United States as the greatest threat to world peace today, followed by Pakistan at eight percent, China at six percent ... Thirty-seven percent of Mexicans ranked their northern neighbor the top threat to the world.
... A global poll finds that the country seen as representing the greatest threat to peace today is the United States. Not only did the U.S. top the list with an aggregate of 24 percent, but the runner-up threat country, Pakistan, was way behind at eight percent ... The view that the U.S. poses the greatest threat to peace was also strongly held in some purported U.S. allies ... Germans were more ambivalent, with the U.S. selected as the greatest threat (17 percent), just ahead of Iran (16 percent); as were British respondents, who put the U.S. and Iran in joint first place among threats to peace (15 percent each) ... American respondents named Iran as the greatest threat to peace (20 percent) ...
Can parents make their kids smarter? New research published in the journal Intelligence suggests they can’t influence intelligence — at least beyond their genetic contribution. To answer the oft-asked question, professors at Florida State University, the University of Nebraska, West Illinois University, King Abdulaziz in Saudi Arabia, and Erasmus University in the Netherlands used an adoption-based research design ... Researchers found that parental socialization had no detectable influence on children’s intelligence later in life ... Analyzing children who shared no DNA with their adoptive parents eliminated the possibility that parental socialization influenced a child’s intelligence.
Florida State University criminology professor Kevin Beaver examined a nationally representative sample of youth alongside a sample of adopted children from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) and found evidence to support the argument that IQ is not the result of parental socialization ... “Previous research that has detected parenting-related behaviors affect intelligence is perhaps incorrect because it hasn't taken into account genetic transmission," Beaver said .... The subject of how much influence parents have on intelligence has long been debated.
A watercolor of Munich's old city hall believed to have been painted by Adolf Hitler a century ago was sold for 130,000 euros ($162,000) at an auction in Germany on Saturday. Kathrin Weidler, director of the Weider auction house in Nuremberg, said the work attracted bidders from four continents and went to a buyer from the Middle East. She declined to elaborate. The auction house says the painting is one some 2,000 by Hitler and is thought to be from about 1914, when he was struggling to make a living as an artist, almost two decades before rising to power as the Nazi dictator.
Israel denounced this week a vote by the Spanish lower house of Parliament calling on the government in Madrid to recognize a Palestinian state, hours after a deadly Jerusalem synagogue terror attack. The vote, which is merely symbolic, aims to push the parties to reach a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It follows similar moves in Britain and Ireland last month. The French parliament will also vote on recognizing a Palestinian state on November 28.
... An even vaster falsehood – that in 1940, Hitler wanted to invade Britain. But he didn't. He actually admired the British Empire ... We know from the diaries of Lord Halifax, the British foreign minister, that Hitler offered terms that did not involve German control of Britain. Churchill refused to allow these terms to be read to the cabinet ... And far from wanting to continue the war, in June 1940 Hitler ordered 20 percent of his army to be demobilised, in order to get the German economy going again ... Just about everything that people believed about Hitler's intentions towards Britain in 1940 -- and still believe today -- was a myth created by Churchill, which he probably came to believe himself.
... British historian Leo McKinstry ... new book, Operation Sea Lion, is a scrupulous examination of the period between June and November of 1940 ... McKinstry reminds readers how almost every aspect of British society during this period was dictated by the state. Churchill's government implemented an autocratic approach to public affairs: Absolute obedience to authority was the norm, the free market ceased to function, and emergency powers were introduced. The government rounded up foreign nationals in internment camps ... McKinstry's great-man theory of history — which portrays Churchill in messianic terms and as a savior of Western civilization — fails to recognize the prime minister's major flaws, both as a military commander and as a politician.
… The truth about Winston Churchill is that he was a menace to liberty, and a disaster for Britain, for Europe, for the United States of America, and for Western Civilization itself … With his lack of principles and scruples, Churchill was involved in one way or another in nearly every disaster that befell the 20th century. He helped destroy laissez-faire liberalism, he played a role in the Crash of 1929, he helped start World War I, and by bringing in America to help, prolonged the war and created the conditions for the rise of Nazism, prolonged World War II, laid the groundwork for Soviet domination, helped involve America in a cold war with Russia, and pioneered in the development of total war and undermining western civilized standards.
The use of chemical weapons in Syria has outraged the world. But it is easy to forget that Britain has used them – and that Winston Churchill was a powerful advocate for them / … Britain's imperial general staff knew there would be outrage if it became known that the government was intending to use its secret stockpile of chemical weapons. But Winston Churchill, then secretary of state for war, brushed aside their concerns. As a long-term advocate of chemical warfare, he was determined to use them against the Russian Bolsheviks. In the summer of 1919, 94 years before the devastating strike in Syria, Churchill planned and executed a sustained chemical attack on northern Russia. The British were no strangers to the use of chemical weapons.
... One of these phrases that substitute for thought today is one that depicts the current problems of blacks in America as “a legacy of slavery.” ... Nearly a hundred years of the supposed “legacy of slavery” found most black children being raised in two-parent families in 1960. But thirty years after the liberal welfare state found the great majority of black children being raised by a single parent. The murder rate among blacks in 1960 was one-half of what it became 20 years later, after a legacy of liberals’ law enforcement policies ... If we are to go by evidence of social retrogression, liberals have wreaked more havoc on blacks than the supposed "legacy of slavery" they talk about.
This city [Atlanta] would seem a peculiar place for sober conversation about the conduct of William T. Sherman. To any number of Southerners, the Civil War general remains a ransacking brute and bully whose March to the Sea, which began here 150 years ago on Saturday, was a heinous act of terror. Despite the passage of time, Sherman remains to many a symbol of the North’s excesses during the Civil War, which continues to rankle some people here. ... Historians have increasingly written that Sherman’s plan for the systematic obliteration in late 1864 of the South’s war machine, including its transportation network and factories, was destructive but not gratuitously destructive.
In 2009 President Barack Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize before doing much of anything. Since then he has initiated two wars, first in Libya and now in Iraq and Syria, and escalated another, in Afghanistan ... The administration appears to have lost its collective mind ... Despite this extraordinary record, the administration would have us believe that it can simultaneously destroy ISIL, rid Iraq of sectarianism, replace Bashar al-Assad with a Syrian Thomas Jefferson, contain Iranian influence, and convince a gaggle of hostile Middle Eastern states to work together to further America’s ends.
The US military investigated building a "gay bomb", which would make enemy soldiers "sexually irresistible" to each other, government papers say. Other weapons that never saw the light of day include one to make soldiers obvious by their bad breath. The US defence department considered various non-lethal chemicals meant to disrupt enemy discipline and morale. The 1994 plans were for a six-year project costing $7.5 million, but they were never pursued ... The plan for a so-called "love bomb" envisaged an aphrodisiac chemical that would provoke widespread homosexual behaviour among troops, causing what the military called a "distasteful but completely non-lethal" blow to morale.
For those who witnessed "Der Tag" or "The Day" it was a sight they would never forget - the greatest gathering of warships the world had ever witnessed ... The mightiest fleet ever to sail from Britain's shores was heading for a final rendezvous with its mortal enemy - the German High Seas Fleet ... The date was 21 November 1918. World War One had ended on land ten days earlier, but this was to be the decisive day of victory at sea. After tense negotiation, Germany had agreed to deliver its fleet - the second biggest in the world behind only the Royal Navy - into the hands of the British.
... There is genuine and intense excitement over the prospect of (another) Clinton presidency. Many significant American factions regard her elevation to the Oval Office as an opportunity for rejuvenation, as a stirring symbol of hope and change, as the vehicle for vital policy advances. Those increasingly inspired factions include: Wall Street ... the big bankers love Clinton, and by and large they badly want her to be president... ; The Israel Lobby. Should she become president, on one level, better ties with Israel are virtually guaranteed ... ; Interventionists (i.e., war zealots) ... ; Old School Neocons. After nearly a decade in the political wilderness, the neoconservative movement is back ...
... The unanswered question is how the Obama amnesty will be remembered by history. His aides think that it will be seen as a second Emancipation Proclamation. Perhaps ... Today, in 2014, after an influx of perhaps 50 million in 50 years, legal and illegal, no longer from Northwest Europe, or Europe at all, but Latin America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, of every race, color, creed, culture and language, we seem less a nation than some mammoth Mall of America. An economy, but not a country. Running in 2008, Obama said he intended to become a "transformational president." With this decision, he succeeds. He has accelerated and ensured the remaking of America.
... Candidate Barack Obama stated: “The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.” But three years ago, President Obama took America into war against Libya. Three months ago, he initiated hostilities in Iraq against the Islamic State. Both without a congressional vote ... Now that President Obama finally has requested congressional authorization, legislators should vote no ... American foreign policy should focus on protecting Americans, and not undertaking a Quixotic crusade around the globe.
In the United States, the negotiations aimed at a final deal between world powers and Iran over its nuclear programme — in a crucial phase this week — are far from the minds of average people. But for many Iranians, the talks hold the promise of a better future ... Back in Tehran, Sobhan Hassanvand, a journalist who closely monitors the talks for the Shargh News Agency, told IPS he expects at least a partial deal by the end of the month. “On both sides there are rational people who want the deal … Both sides have shown some flexibility, and tried to fight hardliners,” he said. “They have gotten this far, and the final steps can be breathtaking … I am hopeful and optimistic,” added Hassanvand.
... What is important is to recognise that with only days left to reach a comprehensive agreement – one that would satisfy the minimum requirements of the US and Iran (and the truth is that it is only theirs that matter, despite the presence of other powers at the table) – there may not be another opportunity for a generation. This is the diplomatic perfect storm, if you will, to begin the process of US-Iranian reconciliation. Such a reconciliation would entail a realignment of western interests ... The  Islamic revolution put an end to that notion – Iran was never again to play a subservient role, in the region or in the world.
As the ... deadline approaches for a final agreement between the West and Iran over Iran’s nuclear program, it is vitally important to understand both sides’ positions. Here are five myths about Iran’s nuclear program. Myth 1: Iran’s supreme leader will block a favorable deal ... Myth 2: The fatwa against nuclear weapons is bogus ... Myth 3: Iran just wants to defy the international community ... Myth 4: Iran doesn’t even need nuclear energy ... Myth 5: Other states in the region are threatened by Iran’s program.
The idea that children can inherit the ability to get good results at school can spark heated debate. But, put simply, all this means is that children differ in how easy and enjoyable they find learning and that these differences are to a large extent explained by differences in their genes, rather than differences between schools or teachers. We know from previous research that educational achievement in primary, middle school years and at the end of compulsory education is highly heritable ... Differences in how well children perform at exams are to a large extent explained by the difference in their DNA ... To the extent that children’s traits predict educational achievement, they do so largely for genetic reasons.
It has been a tumultuous year for Ukraine. Last November a handful of middle-class activists took to the streets of Kiev ... According to the Kremlin what happened in Kiev was a “neo-Nazi coup”. Wilson, however, notes [in his new book, Ukraine Crisis: What It Means for the West] that Ukraine’s far-right were minor protagonists in a broader civil insurrection ... Putin’s brazen land-grab was the first formal annexation of territory in Europe since 1945 ... The response from Brussels to the extraordinary events unfolding on its eastern border was, Wilson rightly observes, both feeble and unconvincing ... How much further will the Russian president go in his reshaping of the European continent?
The number of homeless children in the U.S. has surged in recent years to an all-time high, amounting to one child in every 30, according to a comprehensive state-by-state report that blames the nation's high poverty rate, the lack of affordable housing and the impacts of pervasive domestic violence. Titled "America's Youngest Outcasts," the report being issued Monday by the National Center on Family Homelessness calculates that nearly 2.5 million American children were homeless at some point in 2013.
... Within hours of Colorado Senator Mark Udall losing his reelection bid last week, transparency activists were talking about how he should go out with a bang and put the Senate intelligence committee’s torture report into the congressional record. The report is said to detail shockingly brutal abuse of detainees by the CIA during the George W. Bush administration, as well as rampant deception about the program by top officials ... The last time any senator did anything nearly so grand was in 1971, when Mike Gravel, two years into his 12 years representing the state of Alaska, entered 4,000 pages of the Pentagon Papers into the congressional record ... Now, Gravel is urging Udall to join the club.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has managed to do what no recent Israeli premier has done: antagonize the world. His arrogance, belligerent approach and penchant for caving in to pressure from his right flank have contributed significantly to an Israel alienated from the global community — from friends and foes alike. Today, U.S. – Israeli relations are at their lowest point in decades, notwithstanding the half-hearted denials from Washington and Jerusalem. While the strategic cooperation between the two stalwart allies remains indisputably strong, the atmosphere has rarely been worse.
Over 100 former high-ranking Israeli army members, police officers and spy chiefs have called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to pursue peace with the Palestinians, media reported Monday. "We, the undersigned, reserve IDF (army) commanders and retired police officers, who have fought in Israel's military campaigns, know first-hand of the heavy and painful price exacted by wars," 105 signatories said in a joint letter addressed to Netanyahu ... It called on Netanyahu to embark on a "courageous initiative" and make peace with Palestine and other Arab states.
... Like many of Italy's poor, 51-year-old Elvio has had enough. And the unemployed construction worker thinks he knows who to blame. Born and raised in a rundown suburb of Rome where residents last week laid violent siege to a holding centre for asylum seekers, Elvio belongs to a strata of Italian society whose frustration is beginning to boil over after years of falling incomes, employment and hope. And with the country struggling to cope with an influx of tens of thousands of migrants fleeing conflict and poverty in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, that anger increasingly has a focus.
... There is a visible sense of resignation among many Europeans and Americans ... I will try to single out three factors which largely explain the causes of our decline ... Capitalism shares a major portion of the blame for the rising interracial tensions and rising social disruptions both in America and Western Europe. It is in the interest of big business in Europe and the USA to import the army of cheap labor into Europe and America ... Non-European immigrants know well that they can thrive best in the guilt-ridden post-Christian Europe and America, two continents deeply paralyzed by self-hate and the alleged evils of the legacy of colonialism, slavery and fascism.
... In 1940 the rather successful German branch of the Atlanta [Coca Cola] operation found it couldn’t circumvent a wartime trade embargo on the syrup that makes Coca-Cola coca-cola-esque ... Enter Max Keith. Not a Nazi party member but the top man at Coca-Cola Deutschland at the time, Keith had a great “screw it” moment in which he decided to create a new drink out of the stuff he had at hand ... Though the fruit flavoring is now orange inspired, back then, it could taste like whatever fruit was handy ... Fanta — shortened from fantasy and chosen during an employee brainstorm — ended up keeping German cola factories open during the war even without support or basic communication with Atlanta headquarters ...
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said hatred of Jews was again on the rise in his country and across Europe. "Bold and brutal anti-Semitism has shown its ugly face again," he said in an address to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Conference on Anti-Semitism in Berlin ... According to an EU survey, one in four Jews living in the EU reported having suffered an anti-semitic incident. Among the speakers at the conference, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Samantha Power said anti-Semitic attacks "are not only a threat to the Jewish community, they are a threat to the larger project of European liberalism and pluralism".
More than half of Polish youth visit anti-Semitic websites that glorify Hitler and the Nazi era, according to a new poll that has renewed debate about laws governing hate speech and stoked the concerns of Poland’s dwindling Jewish population. The data, gathered by the Warsaw University Center for Research on Prejudice, was presented to the Polish parliament on Nov. 5. Some participants in the poll embraced such blatantly anti-Semitic statements as “Jews must realize that they themselves made the Poles hate them because of their treason and crimes” ... The poll reinforces the findings of recent studies that show an anti-Semitic tilt among Polish youth.
The protracted and uneven recovery from the Great Recession has led most Americans to conclude that the U.S. economy has undergone a permanent change for the worse, according to a new national study at Rutgers. Seven in ten now say the recession's impact is permanent, up from half in 2009 when the recession officially ended, according to the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development. Among key findings in ... the center’s latest Work Trends report, are: Despite sustained job growth and lower levels of employment, most Americans do not think the economy has improved in the last year or that it will in the next; Just one in six Americans believe that job opportunities for the next generation will be better than for theirs ...
David Cameron has issued a stark message that “red warning lights are flashing on the dashboard of the global economy” in the same way as when the financial crash brought the world to its knees six years ago ... [Prime Minister] Cameron says there is now “a dangerous backdrop of instability and uncertainty” that presents a real risk to the UK recovery, adding that the eurozone slowdown is already having an impact on British exports and manufacturing. His warning comes days after the Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, claimed a spectre of stagnation was haunting Europe. The International Monetary Fund managing director, Christine Lagard, expressed fears in Brisbane that a diet of high debt, low growth and unemployment may yet become “the new normal in Europe”.
On November 9, the ugly face of America’s money-saturated election process was put on full display. Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban, two billionaires with right-wing, pro-Israel agendas, took the stage at the Israeli American Council’s inaugural conference in Washington, D.C. They fantasized about bombing Iran and about buying the New York Times because they said it’s biased against Israel. Both are bound to play an outsized role in the 2016 presidential elections by flooding the campaign with money to support their favored candidates.
Israelis have the most to lose from the destructive potential of donations from the likes of Haim Saban and Sheldon Adelson. We should thank them for bringing this debate out into the open. / It was like a scene out of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” Two immensely wealthy Jews, key financiers of the main political parties of the world’s superpower, discussing how to wage war on the enemies of the Jews, and control the media and presidents. Only, instead of taking place at the dead of night in a Jewish cemetery in Prague, they were sitting on stage in a Washington, D.C. hotel conference room, in full view and making no attempt to hide their intentions ...
... Last week, [Sheldon] Adelson and media mogul Haim Saban spoke of plans to dump hundreds of millions into the presidential campaigns of 2016. What does the pair want from our next president? ... This billionaires boys club wants to buy U.S. foreign policy and a U.S. war on Iran. And the propagandists of FDD are paid to produce that war, in which they will not be doing the fighting and dying ... Since Nov. 4, the [Wall Street] Journal and its neocon allies have been cawing for U.S. troops to fight ISIL in Iraq and Syria, for U.S. air strikes on Assad’s regime, for bombing Iran, and for arming Ukraine to fight the Russians in a war that Kiev would surely lose. Was this what America voted for on Nov. 4?
Spain's Parliament has overwhelmingly approved a largely symbolic resolution that recognizes a Palestinian state. The non-binding resolution follows moves in other European countries intended to push for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The vote Tuesday night was 319 in favor with two opposed and one abstention. Britain and Ireland approved similar motions last month. Sweden's new left-leaning government went further and officially recognized a Palestinian state Oct. 30 — prompting Israel to withdraw its ambassador from Stockholm. The European efforts reflect growing international impatience with Israel's nearly half-century control of the West Bank, east Jerusalem and its blockade of the Gaza Strip.
... Before Sweden's decision, tiny Iceland was the only Western European country to recognize Palestine. As you can see in the map, most of the other nations that have not officially recognized Palestine are in the E.U. or are U.S. partners who wouldn't want to ruffle Washington's feathers. These include South Pacific island nations like Kiribati and Nauru. Even then, it's quite likely that the U.S. will find itself on this map within a steadily shrinking patch of gray in the months and years to come.
The Dutch version of festive St. Nicholas is once again landing on the naughty list for some in the Netherlands, who say his Black Pete sidekick is a racist throwback to the colonial era. Protesters gathered Sunday at Amsterdam's festival honoring St. Nicholas -- or Sinterklaas as he is known in Dutch -- a day after 90 people were arrested in demonstrations surrounding his ceremonial arrival in country at the Dutch city of Gouda. They carried signs reading, "Black Pete is racism." Only one person was arrested in Sunday's event ....
Scientists have presented the most conclusive evidence yet that genes play a significant role in parenting. A study by two Michigan State University psychologists refutes the popular theory that how adults parent their children is strictly a function of the way they were themselves parented when they were children ... The comprehensive analysis, involving more than 20,000 families from Australia to Japan to the United States, found that genetic influences in the parents account for 23 percent to 40 percent of parental warmth, control and negativity towards their children.
... "The Guide," a movie that Ukraine has pitched for the Academy Awards’ Best Foreign Language Film, shows one of the most tragic pages of Ukrainian history – mass repression and destruction of Ukrainian culture in the 1930s. The film’s director Oles Sanin focused on the lives and summary liquidation of the kobzars – traditional folk bards who played the kobza, a traditional stringed musical instrument ... The film reveals how the authorities would kill theater actors in Kharkiv, ban religion, and force villagers to join collective farms. On Joseph Stalin’s order, the authorities confiscated all the food of the Ukrainian peasants, resulting in the mass starvation of millions today known as the Holodomor.
“The Decent One,” a documentary by Israeli filmmaker Vanessa Lapa about the notorious Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler, is being considered for an Academy Award nomination. Illustrated with rare archival footage, the film’s text is based purely on a recently discovered trove of private documents written by Himmler and his family members. The film, one of 134 documentaries in the Oscars’ qualifying round, was submitted under the Israeli flag, although it is a co-production with Austria and Germany.
... In today's America, where competing racial, cultural and linguistic claims now make it nearly impossible even to speak of national identity, questions about history have become a struggle for the possession of America's past ... Something that well-meaning whites did not understand is that an "inclusive" history -- one that would be all things to all people -- is impossible ... How, for example, is a multicultural history to treat the discovery and settlement of North America by Europeans? The old history called it a triumphant advance for civilization. But for Indians, the same historical events are an unending sequence of defeats and disaster. Does a multicultural textbook call this a triumph or a disaster or both or neither?
... While the world has been cut off from Iran, it has failed to notice how much Iranians have changed ... The most visible shift is in public infrastructure. Tehran, the capital, is a tangle of new tunnels, bridges, overpasses, elevated roads and pedestrian walkways. Shiny towers rise in large numbers, despite the sanctions ... Iranians live much better than most of their neighbours ... Iran’s scientific output has increased by 575% in the past decade. The country also publishes three times more books than all Arab nations combined. The vastly expanded education system, which makes particular efforts to reach poor and rural families, has acted as a catalyst for independent thinking. The art world has opened up.
Iran’s presidential cabinet has more members with PhDs from American universities than the U.S. cabinet itself, according to The Economist. President Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet starkly contrasts with that of his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who preferred advisers with Iranian academic backgrounds ... President Hassan Rouhani himself earned his master’s and doctoral degrees from Glasgow Caledonian University in Scotland.
The United States should treat Iran as an enemy and not as a partner, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Jewish leaders. “Iran is not part of the solution, it’s a huge part of the problem,” Netanyahu said Tuesday, referring to reports that the United States may be coordinating with Iran in their shared battle to crush the Islamic State jihadist group in Iraq and Syria. “The Islamic state of Iran is not a partner of America, it is an enemy of America and it should be treated as an enemy.”
As President Obama presses to reach an accord with Iran on its nuclear program by the end of the month, he can count on strong support from what might seem like an unlikely segment of the population: American Jews. Jewish backing of the administration’s efforts to strike a deal suggests that American Jews aren’t heeding the alarms being sounded in Israel by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ... The survey found that 84 percent of American Jews would favor either strongly or somewhat a deal with Iran that would alleviate tough sanctions on the Iranian economy in exchange for Iran’s agreement to limit its nuclear program to civilian purposes and accept inspectors at its nuclear facilities.
A new wrinkle in an already bizarre lawsuit is shaping up to potentially embarrass the Obama administration. If allegations made in a recent court filing are true, then the Justice Department, with an unprecedented assertion of the state secrets privilege, might be shielding from any accountability a group actively engaged in spreading false information. The lawsuit revolves around an anti-Iran group called United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), a pro-sanctions outfit that takes a hard line against Iran and lodges name-and-shame campaigns against companies it says are doing business with Iran.
Winston Churchill urged the United States to launch a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union to win the Cold War, a newly released document reveals. The previously unseen memorandum from the FBI archives details how Britain’s wartime leader made his views known to a visiting American politician in 1947 ... Churchill urged Right-wing Republican Senator Styles Bridges to persuade President Harry Truman to launch a nuclear attack which would ‘wipe out’ the Kremlin and make the Soviet Union a ‘very easy problem’ to deal with ... The FBI document shows Churchill’s belligerence towards Britain’s former wartime ally ran so deep that he was prepared to tolerate the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Soviet civilians in a nuclear strike.
... The man who, at one extraordinary moment, heroically defied the vilest racial tyranny in history was himself not only an intransigent imperialist but a racist, by the standards of his own age as well as ours. And although Churchill said he would not preside over the liquidation of the British Empire, he did just that, or at least hastened its demise. At the end of a war in which he had nobly led it, his country was exhausted and penniless; in no condition, or mood, to play the part of great power or imperial ruler any more; a financial client of the United States, whose new imperium now took over where the British left off.
The well-entrenched idealization of Churchill is part and parcel of a drastically misleading view of the Second World War that Americans have been fed for decades. One common deceit is to give the impression that Hitler sought war against Britain and France, and that Germany aggressively attacked those two countries… Churchill's enduringly stellar image is all the more remarkable considering that his views on a range of issues were, by today's standards, hopelessly backward and politically incorrect… Along with most Britons (and Americans) of his era, he was also an unabashed racist.
As a member of NATO and the EU, Hungary has been walking a political tightrope during the Ukraine crisis as it tried to position itself on both sides of the East-West fence ... From the American point of view, Hungary is supposed to be an ally as a NATO member but the country seems to support Russian interests ... Moreover, Orban in a public declaration in July, stated he wanted to build an “illiberal state based on national foundations”, citing Turkey and Russia as examples. “The new state we are building in Hungary today,” Orban said, “is not a liberal state. It does not deny liberalism’s basic values such as freedom but doesn’t make it its core element... ,” the PM said in his speech.
Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s nationalist and socially conservative Le Front National, is twice as popular as president François Hollande among the French electorate, according to a recent poll ... Marine Le Pen and her party have continued to surge in popularity, amidst growing dissatisfaction with mainstream politics. Yesterday’s results constitute an increase in support of 10 points since 2012. In May, Le Front National came out on top in the country’s European election, with 25 per cent of the vote. ... Hollande’s ratings represent an all-time low for a sitting president since Ifop began undertaking presidential popularity polling in 1958.
A common thread connects U.S. military operations of the last 20 or more years: We've persistently tried to fight them on the cheap ... Vaguely inclined to “support the troops” as long as they themselves remain personally unaffected and uninvolved, Americans willfully ignore this essential truth: If you will the end, you must will the means. Meanwhile, in Washington, where dereliction of duty is a way of life, no one in a position of influence has mustered the gumption to state the obvious: For the United States to achieve “victory” in the greater Middle East will require exertions that exceed those made thus far by orders of magnitude.
Members of the American Studies Association gathered last year for their annual meeting and a vociferous debate on the wisdom of initiating an academic boycott of Israel. One year later, the debate is over and the boycott resolution has long since passed — but the aftereffects are still being felt. Attendees at this year’s meeting, held last week in Los Angeles, reported receiving death threats and hate mail over their positions on the boycott. Others have been accused of anti-Semitism or spoke of colleagues cowed into silence for fear of hurting their careers ... The tone of the gathering was captured in a Friday afternoon session called “Scholars Under Attack.” Still, ASA officials said they stood by the boycott.
... If you want a single reason for why Democrats lost big on Election Day 2014 it’s this: Median household income continues to drop. This is the first “recovery” in memory when this has happened. Jobs are coming back but wages aren’t. Every month the job numbers grow but the wage numbers go nowhere. Most new jobs are in part-time or low-paying positions. They pay less than the jobs lost in the Great Recession ... The stock market has boomed. Corporate profits are through the roof. CEO pay, in the stratosphere. Yet most Americans feel like they’re still in a recession. And they’re convinced the game is rigged against them.
Florida embraced the school accountability movement early and enthusiastically, but that was hard to remember at a parent meeting in a high school auditorium .... Parents railed at a system that they said was overrun by new tests coming from all levels -- district, state and federal. Some wept as they described teenagers who take Xanax to cope with test stress, children who refuse to go to school and teachers who retire rather than promote a culture that seems to value testing over learning ... In Florida, which tests students more frequently than most other states, many schools this year will dedicate on average 60 to 80 days out of the 180-day school year to standardized testing.
What do you get when you put two of the largest pro-Israel donors — Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban — on one stage? For participants at the Israeli American Council’s inaugural conference, this meeting of Jewish finance titans produced several historical insights about the roots of the Palestinian people (Adelson: they have none); a bit of advice on how to deal with Iran (Saban: “bomb the sons of bitches”) ... Adelson and Saban, one a mega donor to the Republican Party, the other a top backer of the Clintons, may have their differences when it comes to U.S. politics. But on Israel, both engaged in one-upmanship, trying to outdo each other’s hawkishness.
... At the Israeli-American Council conference in Washington last weekend. Adelson has urged that the United States drop nuclear weapons on Iran as a “negotiating” tactic ... At the Sunday [Nov. 9] plenary session, where Adelson held court with fellow billionaire and Israeli supporter Haim Saban. Saban does not have the public persona of Adelson. The Power Ranger mogul is a major Democratic Party donor, perhaps the largest of all ... Here was Saban, Democratic mogul, on stage alongside Sheldon Adelson, the two performing sort of duet ... Sheldon and Haim then amused themselves and their audience by talking about taking over the Times and Washington Post ...
The two largest donors to a new pro-Israel lobbying group, the Israeli-American Council, addressed its first national conference today. They called for Israel to pursue an implacable, hawkish, Islamophobic agenda against Iran and the Palestinians. Sheldon Adelson, who gave the IAC its single largest donation ($2.5-million), didn’t surprise anyone with his usual Palestine-denying rhetoric ... Adelson rejected the notion that Israel must be a democracy ... Major Aipac and Democrat donor, Haim Saban, also offered shocking, memorable copy. He told the audience that if Israel doesn’t like the Iran-western nuclear deal, it should “bomb the daylight out of the sons of bitches.” Saban ($400,000 to IAC in 2011) is one of Hillary Clinton’s largest donors.
... Two of the most notorious Jewish power brokers, one on the left, the other most decidedly on the right, said last night in a joint appearance before a new group calling itself the Israeli American Council (IAC), in Washington, DC. Media mogul Haim Saban, 70, Hillary Clinton’s major sugar daddy, criticized President Obama’s dealings with Iran ... Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, 81, who put in $400 million to support various Republican presidential candidates in 2014 — with nothing to show for it, told IAC that both U.S. political parties are “on the same side” when it comes to supporting Israel. ... Both Adelson and Saban called for unity when it comes to supporting Israel ...
France called on Israel to "immediately" reverse a decision to approve the building of 200 new homes in settlements in East Jerusalem, a move it said directly threatened a two-state peace solution. “The decision by the Israeli authorities approving the construction of 200 new homes in the Ramot settlement again directly threatens a two-state solution," French Foreign ministry spokesman Romain Nadal said. "We call Israel to immediately go back on this decision at a time when everything should be done to stop the escalation (in violence) and relaunch the peace process," Nadal said in an unusually strong statement.
... Since World War II, very little that could be called genuinely humanitarian has resulted from American military intervention — not in Korea, certainly not in Vietnam, and not in Panama, Afghanistan, or the two Iraq wars and Libya ... Since 1945, the United States has more often than not broken the laws of morality when it has gone to war. Its supposedly humanitarian efforts have been driven by emotions, ideas, and goals that have little to do with altruism ... It doesn’t matter that Iraq was lost long ago, or that it was never ours to win ... America’s beleaguered working and middle classes have lost their illusions about American goodness and virtue in the world. They just want a raise, and Mr. Obama and the Democrats didn’t deliver it.
As America’s efforts to “degrade and ultimately destroy” Islamic State militants extend into Syria, Iraq War III has seamlessly morphed into Greater Middle East Battlefield XIV. That is, Syria has become at least the 14th country in the Islamic world that U.S. forces have invaded or occupied or bombed, and in which American soldiers have killed or been killed. And that’s just since 1980 ... With our 14th front barely opened, the Pentagon foresees a campaign likely to last for years. Yet even at this early date, this much already seems clear: Even if we win, we lose. Defeating the Islamic State would only commit the United States more deeply to a decades-old enterprise that has proved costly and counterproductive.
... When Obama began bombing targets inside Syria in September, I noted that it was the seventh predominantly Muslim country that had been bombed by the U.S. during his presidency ... I also previously noted that this new bombing campaign meant that Obama had become the fourth consecutive U.S. President to order bombs dropped on Iraq. Standing alone, those are both amazingly revealing facts. American violence is so ongoing and continuous that we barely notice it any more.
... There is more to the "Old Town Hall" than a competent, if unspectacular watercolour of an old Munich building. Because the artist was Adolf Hitler. A genuine Hitler on the wall may not be to everyone's taste, but the Nuremberg auction house of Weidler says it expects to raise a "four- to five-figure sum" when the painting goes on sale on November 22 ... His paintings still come up for sale from time to time and can fetch considerable sums ... Buying and selling Hitler’s artworks is legal in Germany as long as they contain no banned Nazi symbols, such as swastikas.
Adolf Hitler has often been disparaged as a failed or mediocre artist. These paintings and watercolors by the young Hitler suggest instead that he was an artist of sensitivity, skill and talent. Runtime: 9:29 mins.
Israeli authorities are being urged to shut down the internet account of an activist based in the country who is accused of harassing French reporters. The activist, a Frenchman called Gregory Chelli, says that the journalists have shown themselves to be pro-Palestinian. On Tuesday, the father of one reporter died of heart failure after being the victim of a hoax call from Mr Chelli. Mr Chelli strongly denied any responsibility for the death. Mr Chelli said in a tweet that the call was made five days before the death of the father of journalist Benoit Le Corre. He said he was considering libel action against news organisations that made the allegations.
An Israeli cyber activist is facing accusations that his activities led to the death of the father of a French journalist. Gregory Chelli, 31, a French-born resident of Ashkelon, has been accused of targeting the father of French journalist Benoit Le Corre with fake phone calls, indirectly leading to his death ... According to Pierre Haski, cofounder of Rue 89, Chelli - also known as Ulcan - initiated a campaign of harassment in response to the article. In late July, according to Le Parisien newspaper, he impersonated a policeman in a phone call Le Corre's parents and informed them that their son had died in a car accident.
A French Jewish Kahanist named Gregory Chelli, using the code name Ulcan, has been terrorizing pro-Palestine activists in France and around the world for months. He’s engaged in obsessive pathological activities like stalking and hacking of at least 100 websites supporting the Palestinian cause … Lately, he’s taken to attacking French journalists who’ve criticized Israel’s massacre during the latest Gaza war … Does the Israeli government or security services have a hand in his activities? This isn’t a far-fetched question. A French national has violated serious laws and Israel refuses to take any action.
Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has given a chilling assessment of a new geopolitical situation taking shape amid the Ukrainian crisis, warning of a possible new Cold War and calling the West’s approach to the crisis a “fatal mistake.” The 91-year-old diplomat characterized the tense relations as exhibiting the danger of “another Cold War.” “This danger does exist and we can't ignore it,” Kissinger said. He warned that ignoring this danger any further may result in a “tragedy,” he told Germany’s Der Spiegel ... “At the same time, I do not want to say that the Russian response was proportionate,” the Cold War veteran added ...
... Pressure for military intervention will grow with Republican control of the Senate. That body’s most war-happy members, such as John McCain, will enjoy increased influence. The result of any new conflicts likely will be similar as before. America will be intervening again in a few years to try to clean up the mess it is creating today. And then going to war a few years after that for the same reason ... Americans are paying the price for decisions to meddle in the Middle East made decades ago. Yet a Greek Chorus of those most responsible for today’s failed policies loudly demands that the U.S. again intervene ... Good intentions are not enough. Washington long ago demonstrated a disastrous inability to bring good intentions to fruition.
... Netanyahu did not chicken out of making peace. This would presuppose that he wanted peace in the first place. If the Americans really believe so, they should read a few good articles (especially mine). Netanyahu never entertained even for a moment the idea of making peace. His entire upbringing makes this quite impossible ... Every word Binyamin Netanyahu has ever uttered in favor of peace and the Two-State solution was a blatant lie ... Israel is totally dependent on the US -- not 99%, but 100%.
The administration is a coward for not saying what it really thinks about the special relationship with Israel / ... This latest brouhaha is interesting for what it reveals about the foreign-policy establishments in both countries ... This minor flap suggests we are dealing not with a mature great power and a grateful client state, but rather with a bunch of immature children ... There's little of substance in this little flare-up: The United States is still giving a wealthy and powerful Israel several billion dollars of military and economic aid each year; it is still selling Israel some of the most advanced weapons in the U.S. arsenal; and U.S. officials continue to provide diplomatic cover in the United Nations and other international forums.
... The conventional view of Prohibition [1920-1933] is not supported by the facts ... Alcohol consumption declined dramatically during Prohibition. Cirrhosis death rates for men were 29.5 per 100,000 in 1911 and 10.7 in 1929. Admissions to state mental hospitals for alcoholic psychosis declined from 10.1 per 100,000 in 1919 to 4.7 in 1928. Arrests for public drunkenness and disorderly conduct declined 50 percent between 1916 and 1922. For the population as a whole, the best estimates are that consumption of alcohol declined by 30 percent to 50 percent. Third, violent crime did not increase dramatically during Prohibition. Homicide rates rose dramatically from 1900 to 1910 but remained roughly constant during Prohibition's 14 year rule.
The Anti-Defamation League’s new national director will be Jonathan Greenblatt, who currently works as a special assistant to President Obama. Greenblatt will succeed Abraham Foxman, who announced in February that he’ll be stepping down effective July 2015. Foxman, 74, has been ADL national director since 1987. At the White House, Greenblatt also serves as director of the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation in the Domestic Policy Council, where his portfolio includes national service, civic engagement, impact investing and social enterprise ... A veteran of the Clinton administration, Greenblatt has been a serial social entrepreneur ...
… It’s permissible to discuss the power of every other group, from the Black Muslims to the Christian Right, but the much greater power of the Jewish Establishment is off-limits. That, in fact, is the chief measure of its power … Explicitly “Jewish” organizations like the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League enforce a dual standard. What is permitted to Israel is forbidden to America. This is not just thoughtless inconsistency. These organizations consciously support one set of principles here — equal rights for all, ethnic neutrality, separation of church and state — and their precise opposites in Israel, where Jewish ancestry and religion enjoy privilege.
… Contrary to what the author intended, this revealing book by a high-ranking ADL official serves as valuable exposé of the moral character of a man who sanctions violence against political opponents, who spits on the First Amendment, uses illegal methods to obtain information about adversaries, and who served as an agent for a foreign spy agency. Over the years, I have read several tracts and articles designed to discredit the Anti-Defamation League. None was able to persuade me of the illicit nature of this organization; it took the memoir of Arnold Forster to do that.
Catalonia's nationalist government prepared Monday to step up its secession drive after more than two million people voted in a symbolic independence referendum which Spain's central government dismissed as "useless" ... The Catalan government said Monday a total of 2.3 million people had taken part in the vote, surpassing its initial estimate of 2.25 million, despite legal challenges and objections from the central government. The vast majority of those who took part, 80.7 percent, voted for independence, it added. Anti-independence parties boycotted the referendum, which was organised by thousands of pro-independence volunteers ...
The UK government is to repay part of the nation’s first world war debt – 100 years since the start of the war. As Europe marks the centenary of the Great War, the Treasury said it would pay off 218 million pounds from a four percent consolidated loan next February, as part of a redemption of bonds stretching as far back as the 18th century ... Almost two billion pounds of first world war debt remains, and the government said it was looking into the practicalities of repaying it in full. The “4% consols” were issued in 1927 by Winston Churchill, then chancellor, to refinance national war bonds originating from the first world war. The government’s Debt Management Office (DMO) estimates that the nation has paid 1.26 billion pounds in interest on these bonds since 1927.
... Entitlements — Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance and the upcoming outlays associated with the Affordable Care Act -- so dominate the budget already that there is little room for anything else. Without serious reform in these areas, such financial constraints will only intensify in coming years and ultimately close out all other spending options, whatever presidents, senators, or Congress people say. These constraints are crystal clear in existing budget data. Entitlements have grown relentlessly over the decades, from 30 percent of all government spending in 1950 to fully 70 percent today. They amount to 15 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).
An energetically presented talk by historian and IHR director Mark Weber, with informed, eye-opening perspective on America, Europe and the world. Given at a “London Forum” meeting, Sept. 27, 2014, with introduction by Jez Turner. Runtime: 58 mins.
Immigrants who came to live in Britain from outside Europe cost the public purse nearly 120 billion pounds over 17 years, a new report has shown. The major academic study ... analysed figures from 1995 to 2011, during most of which the Labour government was pursuing vigorously pro-immigration policies. It found that migrants from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) made a negative contribution to the public purse of 117.9 billion pounds because they consumed more in public expenditure – including NHS costs, welfare hand-outs and education – than they contributed in taxes.
“Everyone's moving to Germany” ...The faces around the table are young, the accents mainly European. They tell a story about how the demography of this country is changing fast. Germany is now the world's second most popular destination - after the US - for immigrants. And they are arriving in the hundreds of thousands ... More than 7.6 million foreigners are registered as living in Germany. It is the highest number since records began in 1967.
Is Berlin the new Jerusalem? A Facebook page launched in Hebrew this month on how to move to a city far from rockets and rocketing prices in Israel has gone viral, reaching 600,000 people in a week. It is called Olim Le-Berlin, “Let’s ascend to Berlin” ... Though the Israeli diaspora is growing in Berlin, London and Barcelona, the trend is hardly new. Some 700,000 Israelis have abandoned the Promised Land since its creation, says Sergio DellaPergola, a demographer. That said, the West’s multicultural cities are exercising a growing attraction, particularly on young, single, non-religious and increasingly female graduates — the type who made Tel Aviv cool.
... Secessionist movements in America refuse to die. One of the oldest is Hawaii, the beautiful island-state that was a sovereign kingdom until it became a U.S. territory in 1898. Several pro-independence organizations have been trying to reverse that ever since ... Some Lakota Sioux, for example, have been campaigning to build the Republic of Lakotah — a homeland covering thousands of square miles in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming and Montana ... The secessionist group du jour is surely the Alaskan Independence Party (AKIP). With 15,255 registered members, the AKIP is the third largest political force in Alaska ... As in Texas, this party has a heavily libertarian agenda ...
Vladimir Putin has said there was nothing bad about the Nazi-Soviet Pact, the non-aggression treaty which led to the carve-up of Poland at the outset of the Second World War, suggesting Britain and France were to blame for Adolf Hitler's march into Europe. The Russian president made the comments at a meeting with young historians in Moscow, during which he urged them to examine the lead-up to the war, among other subjects. The comments are likely to cause dismay in eastern Europe, amid wider debate in Russia about growing attempts to use history as a means of shoring up Mr Putin's rule.
A new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) shows that most households now have less wealth now than they did in 1989. The report, “The Wealth of Households: An Analysis of the 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances,” presents data on household wealth by age cohort based on the results of the most recent Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF). The analysis shows little or no gains for the majority of Americans over the last 25 years, even in the years since the end of the recession. This is true of and particularly concerning for near retirees.
... National surveys also show that large majorities believe America is heading in the wrong direction, that our children will not have it as good as we did, and that the United States is in a long-term decline. Measuring the performance of Obama against the promise, America is voting for another change in leadership and direction. But where does she wish to go? ... It is America's choice between undesirables. America is saying: We do not like either of you. But we cannot keep going the way we have been going. We have to change. And the Republican Party is the only one on the ballot that appears to offer that ... The American people are today a deeply divided people — on ideology, politics, faith, morality, race, culture.
A majority of Americans are dissatisfied or angry with President Barack Obama's administration and GOP leaders, according to exit polls released Tuesday and analyzed by CNN. And about eight in ten Americans disapprove of how Congress is handling its job, according to a survey of voters outside of polling places on Election Day. Nearly six in ten voters are either dissatisfied or angry with both the White House and Republican leaders in Congress ... Most voters had a negative view of both parties ... Exit polls reveal that voters are concerned and anxious about the current state of the country and the direction it is headed. Two-thirds of voters said they believe the country is headed on the wrong track, and only 22% believe the next generation of Americans will be better off.
One message coming out of the 2014 election is that voters are unhappy with everyone in Washington. The NBC News national exit poll found that nearly one- in–five voters has lost all trust in the federal government, and a similar number are actually angry with both President Obama and the Republican leaders in Congress ... In the 1950s and 1960s, large majorities of Americans said they trusted government just about always or most of the time. That number slipped as the Vietnam War stretched on, and fell into the minority with Watergate ... Two-thirds of voters say the country is on the wrong track, but they may not feel as if they have a lot of options at the ballot box that would alter that trajectory.
... For imperial-minded Washington, the temptation to kick Russia while it was down and gobble up its former dominion was irresistible. Gorbachev was mocked in western power circles – and by many angry Russians – as a foolish idealist ... Today, 25 years after the fall of the Soviet imperium, US promises have been revoked. Washington appears determined to undermine the Russian Federation and further dismantle it. Washington sees Russia as a has-been, a minor power unworthy of respect or amity ... Soon after the wall fell, I recall writing that unless the western allies and the Soviets came to a firm agreement of spheres of influence and a neutral zone in Middle Europe and the Baltic that a dangerous series of clashes was inevitable. We are now there.
Tensions between the major powers have pushed the world closer to a new Cold War, former Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev said Saturday. The 83-year-old accused the West, particularly the United States, of giving in to "triumphalism" after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the dissolution of the communist bloc a quarter century ago. The result, he said, could partly be seen in the inability of global powers to prevent or resolve conflicts in Yugoslavia, the Middle East and most recently Ukraine. "The world is on the brink of a new Cold War. Some are even saying that it's already begun," Gorbachev said at an event marking the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, close to the city's iconic Brandenburg Gate.
More than 75,000 people marched through Moscow as mass demonstrations across Russia marked the country’s controversial annual celebration of ‘Unity Day’ on Tuesday [Nov. 4]. The national holiday, instituted in 2004 by President Vladimir Putin, was marked by mass marches celebrating 'Russian-hood' ... “We are united", "Our strength is in unity", "We are many, our Motherland is one", and "Putin, we are with you!” were among the slogans being chanted by crowds ...
The majority of US citizens, according to a Google Consumer Survey, think the US gives too much aid to Israel: Today six in ten Americans believe the U.S. gives too much aid to Israel. Surveying Americans about U.S. aid to Israel requires putting it into proper perspective. Given Israel’s position as the leading single U.S. foreign aid recipient (by a wide margin), as in 1989 asking the foreign aid question requires embedding relevant data to obtain a bona fide response. When such data is included, the majority of Americans (60.7 percent) believe U.S. aid to Israel is excessive ... The survey also finds that, in particular, younger US citizens are strongly opposed to the amount of US aid that goes to Israel ...
Israel is the country most hated by Turkish citizens, a Pew Research Center poll released last week found. Responders were asked whether they have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of a selection of states (US, China, Brazil, Russia, Iran, Israel) and entities (such as the European Union). Israel was found the most disliked country of the offered options, with 86 percent of responders saying they have an unfavorable opinion of Israel, and only two percent seeing Israel in a positive light ... The Turks have a low opinion of the European Union (66 percent unfavorable opinion, 25 percent favorable), China (68 percent negative views, 21 percent positive), the United States (73 percent negative views and 19 percent positive), Russia (73 percent negative, 16 positive) ...
... There is also concern about what some see as an insidious "softer" anti-Jewish bias, which they fear is creeping into the European mainstream and undermining the postwar consensus to root out anti-Semitism. Now the question is whether a subtle societal shift is occurring that has made anti-Jewish remarks or behavior more acceptable. "The fear is that now things are blatantly being said openly, and no one is batting an eyelid," said Jessica Frommer, 36, a secular Jew who works for a nonprofit organization in Brussels. "Modern Europe is based on stopping what happened in the Second World War. And now 70 years later, people standing near the European Parliament are shouting, 'Death to Jews!' "
A new paper published by Theos, a London-based religious think-tank, will raise hackles on the right and left alike, if only because of its title: "Just Money: How Catholic Social Teaching can Redeem Capitalism" ... Catholic Social Teaching (CST) seeks to chart a middle way between unrestrained capitalism and dirigiste socialism by stressing the vital role of civil society: all the institutions, from the family to voluntary associations and churches, that stand between the individual and the state. Mr Longley also stresses the need to cultivate virtues such as trustworthy behaviour and dismisses the idea, which was fashionable a decade ago, that the market has its own mechanisms for driving out untrustworthy behaviour.
… In my view, Simon Wiesenthal was a liar and a fraud. In fact, I’d go so far as to say he was one of the biggest conmen of the 20th century. I spent four years working on a history of Nazi-hunting that was published last year, and the material I gathered on Wiesenthal was enough to make me scream out loud. When I started my book, I too believed that the great man was just that — great. But when I looked at all his memoirs, biographies and original archive material, I realised that, like so many others, the image I had built up of Simon Wiesenthal was hopelessly incorrect.
… In any case, it is now known that Wiesenthal, a born story-teller, rarely let the facts get in the way of a good story — in fact many of the things he claimed to have done were fabrications. This recently came to light with the publication, in June of 2009, of Hunting Evil, by British Author Guy Walters, in which he characterizes Simon Wiesenthal as “a liar — and a bad one at that.” … Wiesenthal’s scant regard for the truth makes it possible to doubt everything he ever wrote or said.” … The Simon Wiesenthal Center is, rather, committed to using the Holocaust to raise money, and using the trauma associated with it to promote the Center’s extremist political perspectives.
… Wiesenthal's reputation as a moral authority is undeserved. The man whom The Washington Post has called the "Holocaust's Avenging Angel" has a little known but well-documented record of reckless disregard for truth. He has lied about his own wartime experiences, misrepresented his postwar "Nazi-hunting" achievements, and has spread vile falsehoods about alleged German atrocities.
Wild chimpanzees in Uganda have been caught on tape developing a new drinking utensil: a mixture of moss and folded leaves that they place in their mouths and then dip into water. Although it has long been understood that chimpanzees learn by observing one another, scientists say this is the first time humans have witnessed the origins of such behavior. A new study in the journal PLOS Biology describes the phenomenon and how the researchers watched it spreading from chimp to chimp. Previously, the chimps used only leaves to make the tool.
Man's nearest relatives kill each other in order to eliminate rivals and gain better access to territory, mates, food or other resources — not because human activities have made them more aggressive. That is the conclusion of an international analysis of lethal aggression among different groups of chimpanzees in Africa studied over five decades ... In this view, killing is an adaptive strategy that provides important reproductive benefits in the evolutionary sense, increasing access to resources such as territory, food or mates and thus making it more likely that individuals will survive long enough to reproduce and pass on their genes to future generations.
The human response to unfairness evolved in order to support long-term cooperation, according to a research team from Georgia State University and Emory University. Fairness is a social ideal that cannot be measured, so to understand the evolution of fairness in humans, Dr. Sarah Brosnan of Georgia State's departments of Psychology and Philosophy, the Neuroscience Institute and the Language Research Center, has spent the last decade studying behavioral responses to equal versus unequal reward division in other primates.
... American interests are far more threatened by Netanyahu’s Iran positions than by his reluctance to make peace with the Palestinians: the direct costs to America of Israeli settlement expansion and peace process intransigence over the past six years pale in comparison to the potential costs of a hot American war with another Middle Eastern country ... If a deal is finally struck, it would be a major foreign policy accomplishment for the Obama administration amid a dark regional picture of chaos and instability. But Netanyahu would have the US throw it away in order to maintain the position that Iranian leaders are Nazis we cannot appease – in other words, a situation in which war is the only answer.
... The roof is about to crash in on those who insist on a purely environmental explanation of all sorts of ethnic differences, not just intelligence. Since the decoding of the genome, it has been securely established that race is not a social construct, evolution continued long after humans left Africa along different paths in different parts of the world, and recent evolution involves cognitive as well as physiological functioning ... We’re not talking about another 20 years before the purely environmental position is discredited, but probably less than a decade ... The reaction to “The Bell Curve” exposed a profound corruption of the social sciences that has prevailed since the 1960s.
... What all of this evidence indicates is that we are not created equal where our abilities are concerned. This conclusion might make you uncomfortable, and understandably so ... Ever since John Locke laid the groundwork for the Enlightenment by proposing that we are born as tabula rasa — blank slates — the idea that we are created equal has been the central tenet of the “modern” worldview. Enshrined as it is in the Declaration of Independence as a “self-evident truth,” this idea has special significance for Americans. Indeed, it is the cornerstone of the American dream — the belief that anyone can become anything they want with enough determination.
While politicians bicker over how and whether college students should consent to sex, the problem remains that those same students aren’t learning much in their colleges and universities. A new study released Wednesday from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni titled “What Will They Learn?” found that just 18 percent of colleges and universities require a single course in American history or government. Only 13 percent require intermediate-level foreign language courses and just three percent require an economics course for graduation.
A majority of U.S. college graduates don’t know the length of a congressional term, what the Emancipation Proclamation was, or which Revolutionary War general led the American troops at Yorktown. The reason for such failures, according to a recent study: Few schools mandate courses in core subjects like U.S. government, history or economics. The sixth annual analysis of core curricula at 1,098 four-year colleges and universities by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni found that just 18% of schools require American history to graduate, 13% require a foreign language and three percent economics.
How a society views the past not only reflects its current prevailing values and outlook, but also profoundly influences the way its people will shape the future ... The Montreal Congress reflects the currently fashionable "victimization" mania in which blacks, homosexuals, Jews, feminists and others vie for preferential "victim status." Behind this vogue is the notion that this coveted status confers a kind of nobility or moral stature on the members of the oppressed group. Furthermore, a hierarchy of victimization attributes the greatest measure of moral authority to those who have been most "victimized."
One of the great goals of education is to initiate the young into the conversation of their ancestors; to enable them to understand the language of that conversation, in all its subtlety, and maybe even, in their maturity, to add to it some wisdom of their own. The modern American educational system no longer teaches us the political language of our ancestors. In fact our schooling helps widen the gulf of time between our ancestors and ourselves, because much of what we are taught in the name of civics, political science, or American history is really modern liberal propaganda.
... By now, the longest war in US history has cost some $1 trillion, maybe more. No one can properly account for the billions and billions of US dollars flown into Afghanistan and Iraq and dished out to the natives – or the numbers of Afghans killed. For Washington’s allies, like Canada and Britain, the war has been a total waste of lives and treasure ... Forget all the phony claims about “mission” and “nation building.” This has been yet another dirty little colonial war that is better forgotten – and never repeated. So this war will simmer on, at least until Washington finds some face-saving way out of the mess in the Hindu Kush. If the US was wise, it would simply quit Afghanistan. But power, like opium, is highly addictive. So America’s longest war will drag on and on.
... A study by the University of Aberdeen and NHS Grampian has found that children who grew up during the Second World War became far more intelligent than those who were born just 15 years before. Researchers think that cutting rich, sugary and fatty foods out of the diets of growing children had a hugely beneficial impact on their growing brains. Consequently, children born in 1936 grew up to have IQ scores on average 16.5 points ahead of those born in 1921 ... By 1940 wasting food was a criminal offence. As sugar was in short supply, sweets were rationed from July 1942 to February 1953. It is known that despite the stress of the war, the health of the lower classes improved as they were encouraged to eat vegetables, beans and fruit.
One of the most disastrous effects of America’s post-World War II embrace of a permanent warfare-state apparatus has been the extreme dependency on domestic military bases that dot towns and cities across America ... As Eisenhower pointed out more than 50 years ago, the warfare state was an alien form of governmental structure as far as the United States was concerned, one that was antithetical to the principles of limited government on which America was founded ... The warfare state is taking down our nation, even more so than the welfare state ... Where to start? A good first step would be to close all the foreign military bases, bring all the troops home, and discharge them into the private sector.
Liberal Democrats will not be taking disciplinary action against Bradford East MP David Ward over a tweet in which he spoke of “control of MPs” by supporters of Israel. Nearly two weeks after MPs voted overwhelmingly to urge recognition of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, the Liberal Democrat politician took to Twitter last night [Oct. 27] to say: “After Commons #Palestine vote what next? Need to expose Pro-#Israel control of MPs against recognition.”
... No other foreign nation is as well represented in the campaign finances of British elections as Israel. In fact, no other nation comes close – and money linked to pro-Israel donors is a single interest influence akin to that of the trade unions (the largest democratic organisations in the country) or indeed the megabucks flowing in from City financiers. And with that money, war crimes are being glossed over, rules bent, and our hard-won democracy warped by foreign interests. The money is already pouring in.
It took only one wrong vote to teach a freshman Democrat from Texas how sensitive, and even wrathful, the Jewish community can be when it comes to Israel. But the real story of what happened to Rep. Beto O’Rourke did not stop with the angry reaction he got when he cast one of only eight votes in Congress against special funding for Israel’s Iron Dome rocket defense system during the recent Gaza war ... At O’Rourke’s office, emails flooded his inbox. The El Paso Jewish federation sent out an alert to members, urging them to take action. It contained O’Rourke’s contact information and a suggested sample letter. Another email, for which no one will now take responsibility, circulated among Jewish activists urging supporters not to re-elect him.
America used to be a country that built for the future. Sometimes the government built directly: Public projects, from the Erie Canal to the Interstate Highway System, provided the backbone for economic growth. Sometimes it provided incentives to the private sector, like land grants to spur railroad construction. Either way, there was broad support for spending that would make us richer. But nowadays we simply won’t invest, even when the need is obvious and the timing couldn’t be better.
Despite its shiny façade, the German economy is crumbling at its core. That, at least, is how Marcel Fratzscher sees it. With the country's infrastructure becoming obsolete and companies preferring to invest abroad, the government advisor argues that German prosperity is faltering. When Fratzscher, the head of the German Institute for Economic Research [DIW], gives a talk these days, he ... describes a place [Germany] that has seen less growth than the average among euro-zone countries since the turn of the millennium, where productivity has only increased slightly, and where two out of three employees earn less today than they did in 2000 ... The country is "on a downward path," writes the DIW president, and it's living "from its reserves."
... Why did the face in the Oval Office change but the policies remain the same? Critics tend to focus on Obama himself, a leader who perhaps has shifted with politics to take a harder line. But Tufts University political scientist Michael J. Glennon has a more pessimistic answer: Obama couldn’t have changed policies much even if he tried ... In a new book, “National Security and Double Government,” he catalogs the ways that the defense and national security apparatus is effectively self-governing, with virtually no accountability, transparency, or checks and balances of any kind. He uses the term “double government”: There’s the one we elect, and then there’s the one behind it ...
In the run-up to the passage in 2002 of the McCain-Feingold Act, which tightened the nation's campaign contribution restrictions, Senator John McCain predicted, "There will be a period of time of relatively clean elections -- I emphasize relative -- and then we will find some smart people who find smart ways around it." Mr. McCain proved prescient. Twelve years later, a series of workarounds and court rulings have allowed more cash than ever to flood the political system. In that period, the top dozen individual donors spent at least $396 million in federal elections--about 1.5 percent of the entire $28 billion spent across the country -- and an additional $271 million in state elections.
In what appears to be the largest-ever joint protest by senior Israeli security personnel, a group of 106 retired army generals, Mossad directors and national police commissioners have signed a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urging him to “initiate a diplomatic process” based on a regional framework for peace with the Palestinians. Several of the signers told Israel’s Mako-Channel 2 News in interviews that Israel had the strength and the means to reach a two-state solution that “doesn’t entail a security risk,” but hadn’t managed to reach an agreement because of “weak leadership.”
Hebrew daily Haaretz’s political cartoon on Thursday stirred controversy by depicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flying a plane into one of the World Trade Center towers attacked by al-Qaeda on September 11, 2001. The cartoon, by the paper’s Amos Biderman, shows the prime minister flying a plane labeled “Israel” into the building, which is flying an American flag ... Biderman explained in a phone interview with The Times of Israel that the cartoon implied that Netanyahu was leading to “a disaster in Israel-US relations on the scale of 9/11,” pointing to the prime minister’s “arrogance” and unchecked settlement construction in retaliation for Palestinian terrorism and diplomacy alike.
James Baker, a former secretary of State, didn’t seem troubled during an interview on Sunday by recent anonymous comments from Obama administration officials knocking Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel ... He also noted that he had his own issues with Netanyahu when he was secretary of State under President George H. W. Bush ... Baker said that Netanyahu – then a senior Israeli official on foreign policy – had said that “American policy in the Middle East is based on lies and distortions” during the George H. W. Bush administration. “I barred him from the State Department,” Baker said. “That may not be widely known.”
A member of Russia’s Human Rights Council condemned a news website that said that nearly a quarter of Russia’s top billionaires are Jews. Nikolai Svanidze of the council – a Kremlin-affiliated body with no executive powers –- made the condemnation last week against Lenta.ru, which analyzed according to faith and ethnicity the Forbes Magazine list for 2014 of people Forbes identified as Russia’s wealthiest. The Lenta.ru study claimed that 48 of the 200 richest Russians were Jews, who own a total capital of $122.3 billion.
One of Russia’s most popular news websites, the once vaunted Lenta.ru, finds itself at the center of a scandal today, after publishing an ethnic breakdown of Russia’s 200 richest people. According to the study, 44.5 percent of Russia’s wealthiest citizens are ethnically Russian, 21 percent are Jewish, 12 percent are Ukrainian, followed by smaller percentages of Tatars, Armenians, and a dozen or so other nationalities ... The chief finding in both Lenta’s article and Pryanikov’s study is that ethnic Russians are heavily underrepresented in the Russian elite, relative to their numbers in the general population.
An iron gate bearing the Nazi slogan 'Arbeit Macht Frei' ('Work sets you free') has been stolen from the former Dachau concentration camp in Germany. The theft happened overnight on Sunday at the site near Munich, police said. Dachau was the first concentration camp set up by the Nazis in 1933. More than 40,000 died there before its liberation by US troops in 1945. A sign with the same slogan was stolen from Auschwitz-Birkenau camp in Poland in 2009 by a man with neo-Nazi ties.
Reproduced here in facsimile is the widely-quoted 1960 letter by Dr. Martin Broszat, as it appeared in the Hamburg weekly Die Zeit under the headline "Keine Vergasung in Dachau" ("No Gassing in Dachau") ... Dr. Broszat writes in the name of the prestigious Institute for Contemporary History (Institut für Zeitgeschichte). He later served as director of the Munich-based archive and research center, which is funded by German taxpayers ... “Neither in Dachau nor in Bergen-Belsen nor in Buchenwald were Jews or other prisoners gassed.”