... Those jobs aren't coming back. Not at the old North American Rockwell plant, and not in thousands of similarly socked towns. Yes, the stock market is soaring, the unemployment rate is finally retreating after the Great Recession and the economy added 321,000 jobs last month. But all that growth has done nothing to boost pay for the typical American worker. Average wages haven't risen over the last year, after adjusting for inflation. Real household median income is still lower than it was when the recession ended. Make no mistake: The American middle class is in trouble ... In 81 percent of America's counties, the median income is lower today than it was 15 years ago.
... More and more I get the sense that we’ve lost it, and by “it” I mean the optimism that was always the lifeblood of this luminous experiment, the ambition that has been its foundation, the swagger that made us so envied and emulated and reviled. We’re walking small. And that shift in our gait and our gumption has been palpable for many years, during an unusually sustained period of frustration that has the feel of something more than a temporary dive: a turned corner, the downward arc of a diminished enterprise ... We’re laggards, slackers, and everywhere you turn, the evidence mounts.
The Great Recession, fueled by the crises in the housing and financial markets, was universally hard on the net worth of American families. But even as the economic recovery has begun to mend asset prices, not all households have benefited alike, and wealth inequality has widened along racial and ethnic lines. The wealth of white households was 13 times the median wealth of black households in 2013, compared with eight times the wealth in 2010, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of data from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances ... The current gap between blacks and whites has reached its highest point since 1989, when whites had 17 times the wealth of black households.
... To John Gray, the British philosopher, political theorist and wide-ranging cultural critic, the optimistic narrative I have sketched is another example of fanciful, misguided optimism ... Those who believe in steady progress are foolishly engaging in teleological thinking. “Progressives” — in the most literal sense of the word — have replaced religion with a faithful humanism that allows for a nearly supernatural view of human functioning, behavior and flourishing. Rather than viewing humans as just another member of the animal kingdom, “humanists” believe that our species can fulfill a unique destiny and reach The End of History. This faith in progress, Gray believes, will end up leading to great crimes and disasters.
Hawaii Islanders suffered under nearly three years of martial law from 1941-1944; so oppressive that it was later described by a federal judge as a “military dictatorship.” All manner of civilian liberties were replaced by oppressive military orders enforced by American soldiers ... In declaring martial law, all forms of civilian law were suspended. An entire new system of justice and order was instituted and controlled at the absolute discretion of Lt. Gen. Short — the newly declared “Military Governor” of the islands ... Civilians had no freedom of speech, self-defense, assembly, or protections from unreasonable search and seizures ... Civilians were not permitted to switch jobs, and had their wages frozen. U.S. Dollars were confiscated and new money was issued — only valid in Hawaii.
... Some gun rights supporters have repeatedly compared U.S. gun control efforts to Nazi restrictions on firearms, arguing that limiting weapons ownership could leave Americans defenseless against homegrown tyrants ... In reality, scholars say, Hitler loosened the tight gun laws that governed Germany after World War I, even as he barred Jews from owning weapons ... Hitler's gun law otherwise completely deregulated acquisition of rifles, long guns and ammunition. It exempted many groups from requiring permits. The law lowered the age for legal gun ownership from 20 to 18. And it extended the validity of gun permits from one year to three years.
... The notion that Hitler confiscated everyone’s guns is mostly bogus. University of Chicago law professor Bernard Harcourt explored this myth in depth in a 2004 article published in the Fordham Law Review ... “The 1938 revisions completely deregulated the acquisition and transfer of rifles and shotguns, as well as ammunition,” Harcourt wrote ... Much of the Hitler myth is based on an infamous quote falsely attributed to the Führer, which extols the virtue of gun control: ...
It is time for Australia to end its strategic dependence on the United States. The relationship with America, which has long been regarded as beneficial, has now become dangerous to Australia’s future. We have effectively ceded to America the ability to decide when Australia goes to war ... The idea of American exceptionalism, which has always been present in the United States, has gone far beyond all comprehension in the years of America’s absolute supremacy. It has created a different nation, a different society. Such ideas influence American foreign policy in ways that make it much more difficult to achieve a secure and safe path in the future. Our task is not to embrace America, but to preserve ourselves from its reckless overreach.
... Unfortunately, what might be called The Göring Doctrine has proved as tempting to democratic leaders as to fascist dictators. Witness these examples drawn from recent American history ... Speaking to the UN Security Council on February 5, 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell spelled out the case for attacking Iraq because it was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction. The media at the time hailed this speech. But it was based on blatant fabrications ... Clinton, a front-runner for her party’s presidential nomination in 2016, has compared Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler -- implying that if the West doesn’t intervene in Ukraine, Americans may well be fighting Russian aggression on their own shores in the future.
... Insidious, and largely hidden from public sight, is the funding of institutes and foundations that promote a pro-war agenda which benefits both the organizations in question and the contractors who seek to promote what is euphemistically referred to as a pro-defense agenda ... This de facto industrial, foundational and media alliance explains the persistence of a neocon foreign policy in Washington in spite of the numerous failures on the ground since 9/11. Defense contractors Northrop Grumman and Lockheed have long been the principal source of funding for groups like the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).
Recent research at Griffith University has found that personality is more important than intelligence when it comes to success in education. Dr Arthur Poropat from Griffith's School of Applied Psychology has conducted the largest ever reviews of personality and academic performance. He based these reviews on the fundamental personality factors (Conscientiousness, Openness, Agreeableness, Emotional Stability, and Extraversion) and found Conscientiousness and Openness have the biggest influence on academic success. The results have been published in the journal Learning and Individual Differences.
How smart you are doesn’t depend on how your parents raised you, a new study concludes. Their reading to you, talking with you at the dinner table and taking an active interest in your life could make you happy. And that’s important. But it won’t make you smarter, says Kevin Beaver. As a criminologist, he studies the causes of crime and ways to prevent it. Beaver works at Florida State University in Tallahassee. His research team wanted to know if different parenting styles influenced a child’s intelligence ... Whether students reported their parents cared about them and did things with them — or reported that they did not — it had no impact on the their IQ. This means a person’s IQ is largely the result of the genes we inherit from our biological parents.
Twice this year  I've come under the scrutiny of journalists, entirely through no doing of my own. The first occasion was my acquisition of the Eichmann papers, about which I'll be speaking shortly. The second occasion was in regard to the papers of Dr. Joseph Goebbels. I'll show you the Goebbels papers first because these have aroused enormous interest. It came about like this ...
... If you're a historian dealing with the Third Reich, you know that Goebbels' diary must contain all the dirt from that era ... I've gone through the diary with a special interest in the Jewish issue, and particularly the "final solution." There's no question that whatever tragedy befell the Jews in Germany during the Third Reich, Dr. Goebbels himself was the prime moving force behind it ... More chilling is another diary entry a few weeks later. On March 27, 1942, Goebbels dictates a lengthy passage about another SS document that had been submitted to him, and which appears to have been much uglier in its content.
"Hitler -- You knew him -- What was he like?" I have been asked that question a thousand times since 1945, and nothing is more difficult to answer ... Hitler's most notable characteristic was ever his simplicity. The most complex of problems resolved itself in his mind into a few basic principles. His actions were geared to ideas and decisions that could be understood by anyone ... His intellectual curiosity was limitless. He was readily familiar with the writings of the most diverse authors, and nothing was too complex for his comprehension ... The universality of Hitler's knowledge may surprise or displease those unaware of it, but it is nonetheless a historical fact: Hitler was one of the most cultivated men of this century.
... Israel has long suffered in public opinion across Europe, where it has struggled to stave off mounting calls for divestment and the labeling of goods produced in its settlements. But since October, there have been signs that governments are beginning to embody those sentiments in legislation. The French vote follows similar measures undertaken by the parliaments of Britain, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Sweden, and comparable steps are pending in Denmark and Slovenia. Last week, the European Parliament voted to recognize Palestinian statehood “in principle” and called for the advancement of peace talks. Hours later, 126 countries meeting in Geneva at a summit organized by the Swiss government condemned the occupation of Palestinian lands.
... For more than 40 years now, this contempt has never been shaken. Israeli leaders relied on the US to block each and every Security Council resolution that the Israeli government disapproved of, irrespective of its content ... Now, for the first time in UN history, this sword of Damocles may disappear. The US has hinted that it may not veto a Security Council draft resolution that the Israeli government strenuously objects to. Incredible! No US veto? It's like saying that the sun may not rise tomorrow. How come? What has happened? The simplest answer is that Barack Obama, like so many others, is fed up with Binyamin Netanyahu ... These drafts would have been unthinkable just a year ago. They show Israel's deepening isolation.
The Anti-Defamation League on Wednesday [Dec. 17] condemned as "frivolous" the European Parliament's resolution passed earlier in the day supporting recognition of a Palestinian state, and said the Europeans had joined the diplomatic struggle against Israel ... The European Parliament "has simply thrown its support behind the international diplomatic intifada being waged by President Abbas, whose rhetoric of incitement against Israel in recent weeks amply demonstrates his stubborn unwillingness to seriously engage in sustained negotiations," Foxman said.
... The evicted Palestinian Arabs have been forcibly deprived of their country, their homes, and their property without having been allowed to have a voice in the determination of their own destiny. Though the facts are public, there is a widespread ignorance of them in the Western World and, above all, in the United States, the Western country which has had, and is still having, the greatest say in deciding Palestine’s fate. The United States has the greatest say, but the United Kingdom bears the heaviest load of responsibility ... The tragedy in Palestine is not just a local one; it is a tragedy for the World, because it is an injustice that is a menace to the World’s peace.
... In the absence of any serious consequences coming from Washington Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will do whatever he wants in the firm belief that there is no one who can force him to do otherwise. Israel owns Congress and the mainstream media while its proliferating think tanks and promoters in a score of major Jewish organizations continue to spew out self-serving nonsense. So who is going to say nay? ... Tel Aviv defines itself as a chosen people living in a land granted by covenant from Yahweh himself ... National myths are inevitably tricky things but they are ignored at one’s peril. Israel has no intention of ceding the West Bank to anyone because it believes in its own destiny and righteousness.
... The United States entered World War II and quickly launched a federal rationing program to support its troops ... Some products — like Filmo cameras and projectors — were completely removed from the civilian economy. But that didn't stop major companies from advertising their wares ... Why advertise something you couldn't sell? According to Inger Stole, a communications professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, companies advertised these products to "keep their brand names in the public consciousness. They knew that once the war was over, it was very, very important that the public [not forget] the brand names."
... Now I seem surrounded by people who actively want a war with Russia, a war we all might lose. They seem to believe that we are living in a real life Lord Of The Rings, in which Moscow is Mordor and Vladimir Putin is Sauron ... EU and Nato politicians broke all the rules of diplomacy and descended on Kiev to take sides with demonstrators who demanded that Ukraine align itself with the EU ... There seems to be a genuine appetite for confrontation in Washington, Brussels, London … and Saudi Arabia ... Stupid, ill-informed people nowadays like to compare Mr Putin with Hitler. I warn them and you that, if we succeed in overthrowing Mr Putin by unleashing hyper-inflation in Russia, we may find out what a Russian Hitler is really like. And that a war in Europe is anything but fun.
Since it first began to be involved in covert operations, the CIA has always been able to draw on funds that were not specifically authorized by Congress for that purpose ... The CIA also made systematic use in Asia of self-financing drug trafficking forces to increase its covert influence — in Thailand and Burma, then in Laos and Vietnam, and most recently in Afghanistan. With America’s expansion overseas, we have seen more and more covert programs and agencies, all using drug traffickers to different and opposing ends ... The deep state, it would appear, is alive and well, and impervious to exposures of it.
Health professionals who assisted in the CIA’s torture programme of terror suspects “betrayed the most fundamental duty of the healing professions” and may have committed war crimes, according to a hard-hitting report released on Tuesday. Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) called for a federal commission to investigate the full extent of health professionals’ participation in CIA torture following last week’s release of the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) report on the agency’s detention and interrogation programme.
Christians from across the world are gathering in the West Bank town of Bethlehem to mark Christmas Eve in the place they believe Jesus was born. Celebrations culminate with midnight Mass at the Church of the Nativity. Thousands of pilgrims earlier crowded into Manger Square to watch a procession led by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal ... He appeared to be referring to barrier Israel is building in and around the West Bank, which separates Bethlehem from Jerusalem, and the Palestinians' submission to the UN Security Council of a draft resolution that would set a 12-month deadline to reach a peace deal with Israel.
The famous First World War football match of the Christmas Day truce started after a ball was kicked from the British lines into No Man's Land. The disclosure emerged in a previously-unseen letter describing the famous match. Staff sergeant Clement Barker sent the letter home four days after Christmas 1914 when the British and German troops emerged from their trenches in peace. He described how the truce began after a German messenger walked across No Man's Land on Christmas Eve to broker the temporary cease-fire agreement. British soldiers went out and recovered 69 dead comrades and buried them.
... The last chapter of Weintraub’s book is entitled “What If – ?” This is counterfactual history at its best and he sets out what he believes the rest of the 20th century would have been like if the soldiers had been able to cause the Christmas Truce of 1914 to stop the war at that point. Like many other historians, he believes that with an early end of the war in December of 1914, there probably would have been no Russian Revolution, no Communism, no Lenin, and no Stalin. Furthermore, there would have been no vicious peace imposed on Germany by the Versailles Treaty, and therefore, no Hitler, no Nazism and no World War II.
Southeastern Louisiana University communications professor Joseph Burns researched the history of Christmas carols thoroughly for a presentation he made recently at the university’s annual Fanfare festival, a fall celebration of the arts, humanities and social sciences. Burns said many people can get the wrong idea by going solely according to the title or lyrics ... “So ‘Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,’ which, by the way, is not a Christmas song. It was written in 1857 by James Pierpoint for his Boston Sunday School Thanksgiving celebration.”
President Obama signed a law that strengthens the U.S.-Israel alliance. The 2014 United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act, which unanimously passed both the House of Representatives earlier this month and the Senate in September, declares Israel a “major strategic partner” of the United States and expands the value of American weapons stockpiled in Israel and upgrades Israel’s trade status to expedite export licensing. President Obama signed the legislation on Friday in Washington ... Cooperation between the two countries in the fields of energy, water, homeland security, agriculture and alternative fuel technologies also is included in the legislation. Jewish organizations commended Congress for passing the bill.
... Why, even when conservatives win elections, does the nation continue to move inexorably leftward? ... Our mammoth bureaucracy — 22 million municipal, county, state and federal employees — has a vital interest in the preservation and growth of government. Add up the beneficiaries of all social programs, and the number now approaches 100 million. They don't tend to stay committed to folks who will take away what they have come to depend upon. Higher education is dominated by tenured leftists and radicals. The Ivy League is "No Conservative Need Apply" country. Our popular culture, from movies to music to TV, is dominated by the left.
The director of BBC Television said rising anti-Semitism has made him question the long-term future for Jews in the UK. Speaking at a conference in Jerusalem on Sunday, Danny Cohen said the past year had been the most difficult for him as a Jew living in the United Kingdom. “I’ve never felt so uncomfortable being a Jew in the UK as I’ve felt in the last 12 months. And it’s made me think about, you know, is it our long-term home, actually. Because you feel it. I’ve felt it in a way I’ve never felt before actually,” he said ... “And you’ve seen the number of attacks rise. You’ve seen murders in France. You’ve seen murders in Belgium. It’s been pretty grim actually. And having lived all my life in the UK, I’ve never felt as I do now about anti-Semitism in Europe.”
Torture is a crime under both American and international law. The Bush administration repeatedly broke the law from 2002 to 2006 by unleashing a wave of torture, kidnapping, and murder, all under the banner of its faux “war on terror.” ... As a journalist, I’ve been writing about the American Inquisition since 2003. America’s tame media and weak-willed Congress ignored this systemic criminal behavior ... If America does not take action to bring to justice those senior politicians and officials who egregiously broke the law, it has no longer any right to boast of being a “city on hill” or preach similar claptrap to other nations. Alas, this is unlikely to happen.
Obama administration announced new curbs on racial profiling by federal law enforcement ... It is easy to direct one’s anger at the taxi driver or the merchant. However, the behavior of taxi drivers and owners of pizza restaurants cannot be explained by a dislike of dollars from black hands. A better explanation is they might fear for their lives. The true villains, to whom anger should be directed, are the tiny percentage of people in the black community who prey on both blacks and whites and have made black synonymous with crime.
... What do these leaders have in common? All are strong men. All are nationalists. Almost all tend to a social conservatism from which Western democracies recoil. Almost none celebrate democracy or democratic values the way we do. And almost all reject America's claim to be the "indispensable nation" or "exceptional nation" and superpower leader ... If America is a better country today than she has ever been, why are so many, East and West, recoiling from what we offer now?
... Woodrow Wilson only wanted to "make the world safe for democracy": Bush wants to make the whole world democratic. Everyone seems to take for granted that democracy is the ideal form of government ... Most great political philosophers since Plato have dreaded democracy, fearing that demagogues would stimulate and exploit the selfish passions of the majority ... The Framers of the U.S. Constitution took great pains to create a republican system in which majority rule would be tempered and inhibited by many restraints ... The principle of democracy is bad enough in itself. But in practice democracy also breeds corrupt politicians, intent on short-term gain for themselves.
... Throughout the former Soviet republics, Josef Stalin’s name has been erased, his statues torn down — except in Georgia, where in defiance of national law and repeated official attempts at confiscation, Stalin statues keep popping back up ... “In Georgia, Stalin is regarded more as a rebel,” writes Lasha Bakradze, director of the Georgian State Museum of Literature, “who came from a colonized nation, fought against the existing order, and broke the rules by rising to the top of a system led by Russians.” ... Georgia was the first Soviet Republic to declare independence from Moscow. Yet today, 68% of Georgians describe Stalin as a “wise leader,” according to a 2013 poll ... However, only 13% of them would like to “live and work in a country ruled by a person like Stalin.”
... Covertly, however, Israel is a key player in prolonging the depleting war on Syria and the major beneficiary of neutralizing the military of the only immediate Arab neighbor that has so far eluded yielding to the terms dictated by the U.S.- backed Israeli regional force majeure for making peace with the Hebrew state. Several recent developments however have brought the Israeli role into the open. First the latest bombing of Syrian targets near the Damascus international civilian airport on December 7 was the seventh major unprovoked air strike of its kind since 2011 and the fifth in the past 18 months on Syrian defenses.
CRIF, the umbrella representative group of French Jewish organizations, slammed French theaters for presenting anti-Semitic comedian Dieudonne's new shown titled ‘’The Impure Beast.” ... “CRIF deplores the many theaters that chose to offer him a podium to disseminate to an instrumentalized audience his hatred of Jews and of those who dare criticize him,” the Jewish group said in a statement about Dieudonne’s six-month tour, which is due to begin on December 27 at Zenith Nantes Metropole, one of the largest event halls in western France.
In downtown San José ... 73 years ago, an internment camp was erected by the government to hold hundreds of German-Costa Rican prisoners after the United States and Costa Rica entered World War II in December 1941 ... The [US] State Department leaned heavily on Latin American and Caribbean governments to expropriate property from Axis nationals and either imprison or deport them to the United States or Germany through a Special War Problems Division. The little-known division was responsible for amassing a blacklist of Germans and Italians in Costa Rica, along with orchestrating the policy of internment across Latin America, the Caribbean and the U.S.
The Chinese economy is now worth $17.6 trillion, slightly higher than the $17.4 trillion the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates for the US. So for the first time since 1872, when it overtook the UK, the US has been knocked off the top spot. The IMF calculated these figures by using purchasing power parity (PPP) which enables you to compare how much you can buy for your money in different countries ... The IMF forecasts growth of 7.4% in China for 2014 and 7.1% in 2015, compared to US growth of 2.2% this year and 3.1% next year. This means that the Chinese are unlikely to relinquish their number one status soon. In fact the IMF predicts that by the end of this decade the Chinese economy will be worth $26.98 trillion -- 20% bigger than the US at $22.3 trillion.
There is a new intellectual force in France - giving shape and weight to ideas that challenge the disastrous post-1968 left-wing consensus. That at least is the hope of the so-called neo-reactionnaires (new reactionaries) - a loose group of writers and thinkers who want to shake up debate on issues like immigration, Islam and national identity. Of course others see the group rather differently. For their enemies they are rabble-rousers, providing spurious philosophical cover for the extremism of the National Front (FN). Most famous of the exponents is journalist Eric Zemmour, whose new book French Suicide reads like a desperate cavalry charge, sabre aloft, into the massed ranks of the progressives ... His book is a runaway bestseller. To date it has sold 400,000 copies.
Weber reports on his recent three-week visit to Britian, Hungary, and France in this talks at an IHR meeting in southern California, Nov. 1, 2014. He reviews the profound cultural and demographic changes across western Europe over the past 60 years, including the dramatic dissolution of traditional values, and the accelerating “third-worldization” of major cities. He reports on what he observed and did, including meetings and talks with activists, writers, and publishers in Europe, and his spirited, well-received address at a “London Forum” gathering, and a talk at an IHR meeting in northern Virginia. He also provides an interesting overview of Hungarian history over the past century. Runtime: One hour and 24 minutes.
A Russian loan to France's National Front. Invitations to Moscow for leaders of Austria's Freedom Party. Praise for Vladimir Putin from the head of Britain's anti-European Union party. As the diplomatic chill over Ukraine deepens, the Kremlin seems keener than ever to enlist Europe's far-right parties in its campaign for influence in the West, seeking new relationships based largely on shared concern over the growing clout of the EU. Russia fears that the EU and NATO could spread to countries it considers part of its sphere of influence. And it has repeatedly served notice that it will not tolerate that scenario, most recently with its Ukraine campaign.
... Since World War II and the Nuremberg Trials, and other war crimes trials held in the months and years that followed, torture has been formally identified as an international crime in a number of conventions and treaties, and by such bodies as the International Red Cross, and of course the United Nations. It has widely become adopted into national as well as international legal codes. It is part of the Laws of War as recognized by the United States Armed Forces ... In my view those in the American government who ordered and conducted this program of torture by the CIA since the autumn of 2001 should be arrested, tried for self-evident common crimes, and if convicted, hanged.
The Senate Select Intelligence Committee report on torture has revived debate worldwide about the United States’ use of torture in the aftermath of 9/11 ... The U.S. government engaged in patently illegal behavior, both by the standard of its own law and by the standard of international law. The UN Convention Against Torture, which the United States signed and ratified — and as such is bound by its provisions — establishes not only the illegality of torture, but also the obligation of states to investigate, prosecute, and punish those responsible for committing torture. The United States stands in blatant violation of its international obligations by failing to move forward on a credible path of criminal prosecutions of those most responsible for the torture program.
According to a new poll released Tuesday by The Washington Post and ABC News, a majority of Americans believe that torture of suspected terrorists can be justified — even in the wake of graphic revelations by a Senate Intelligence Committee report of exactly what such tactics look like ... A majority of nearly every group — non-whites, women, young adults, the elderly, Midwesterners, suburbanites, Catholics, moderates, the wealthy — said that torture of suspected terrorists can be often or sometimes justified.
In the wake of last week's US Senate Intelligence Committee's report detailing the ways the CIA interrogated detainees, one group in particular has come under fire - psychologists. The report documented that two former Air Force psychologists were paid about $80 million to create and monitor the agency's "enhanced interrogation" techniques. The 6,700-page report was the result of a five-year investigation and brought to light some of the agency's most brutal interrogation methods, including ice baths, rectal "rehydration", mock burials and threats to detainees' families ... For many, the extent of these psychologists' involvement in the program has been shocking.
... Even after 75 years, Gone With The Wind packs a historical and dramatic wallop. It is at once one of the great war films of all times, but it is also a vivid and loving portrait of Scarlet, and admirable portrait of the bold, brave Rhett Butler and a four hour tribute to American valor, regardless of which side it was on ... GWTW contained some of the most vivid scenes in film history, such as all of the wounded lying in the main square in Atlanta ... No film about the South ever caught the feelings of the southern people like Gone With The Wind. The movie opens with a scroll that explains that it was the land of the cavaliers, with their grand balls, fine horses and mint juleps ... The anniversary celebrations have been ongoing over the last two months.
... The House of Representatives unanimously passed a far-reaching Russia sanctions bill, a hydra-headed incubator of poisonous conflict. The second provocative anti-Russian legislation in a week, it further polarizes our relations with Russia, helping to cement a Russia-China alliance against Western hegemony, and undermines long-term America’s financial and physical security by handing the national treasury over to war profiteers ... I discovered, in my 16 years in Congress, that many members seldom read the legislation on which they vote ... That the recent Russia sanctions bill was advanced, “unanimously,” without debate in the House, portends that our nation is sleepwalking through the graveyards of history, toward an abyss ...
Germany plans to finance part of the cost of four new corvette warships for the Israeli navy made by German firm Thyssen Krupp under a deal struck with the Jewish state in November, the government said on Monday. Following approval by German parliament's budget committee the contract could be finalised before the end of this year, government spokesman Steffen Seibert said. As part of its atonement for the Nazi Holocaust, Germany is committed to Israel's security and has often helped pay for the cost of military equipment such as submarines. The mass-circulation Bild am Sonntag newspaper reported on Sunday that Berlin had earmarked up to 115 million euros for the warships ...
The Claims Conference will increase its allocations to social service organizations serving Jewish Holocaust survivors by 21 percent over last year. The allocations for 2015 will total $365 million, an increase of $80 million over 2014, the president of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, Julius Berman, announced in a statement. Additional allocations from Germany enabled the increase, the Claims Conference said.
Jewish notions of religious freedom so informed the American ethos that it “is fair to say that Jewish heritage is American heritage,” Vice President Joe Biden said at a menorah-lighting in front of the White House. Biden, attending the Dec. 16 event organized by American Friends of Lubavitch ... “The central Jewish notion of religious freedom, of safety in your land, of being treated with dignity in your own community, not only led to the creation of modern Israel but it also formed the bedrock of the United States of America,” Biden said. “Jewish values are such an essential part of who we are that it is fair to say that Jewish heritage is American heritage.”
A cemetery containing more than [up to] a million mummified human bodies has been unearthed in central Egypt, according to archaeologists. Scientists have already excavated more than 1,700 mummies ... It is thought that the mummies were buried around 1,500 years ago, between the 1st and 7th Century AD, when Egypt was controlled by the Roman and Byzantine Empire. Unlike many famous mummified remains discovered in Egypt, these were found in mass graves and appear to be ordinary citizens rather than royalty or other important figures ... They have also discovered that the mummies appear to be clustered together by hair colour, with those with blond hair in one area and all of those with red hair in another.
A record 15,000 people marched Monday [Dec. 15] in eastern Germany against "asylum cheats" and the country's "Islamisation" in the latest show of strength of a growing far-right populist movement. Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier cautioned Germans against falling prey to xenophobic "rabble-rousing", reacting to the nascent movement called "Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident" or PEGIDA. "The people are with us!," the group's founder Lutz Bachmann shouted at the crowd, celebrating a 50-percent rise in attendance since their last "Monday demonstration" in a series of rallies that started only in October.
In a state with a long history of lousy education, and a bad habit of not paying for it, nowhere is the problem more profound than in this tiny town in the middle of Mississippi ... Since 2008, legislators have ignored a state law and spent $1.5 billion less on education than what's required. The cuts are among the deepest in the nation ... According to early estimates, the state could fall $280 million short again in 2016. Across the country, state spending is lower than before the recession in 35 states, according to a recent review by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
One might have thought that the Israel lobby — i.e., the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and its various associated organizations — had taken pro-Israel advocacy about as far as it could go. Congress routinely defers to the lobby on all matters relating to Israel ... The analogy to billionaires and their greed is especially appropriate because two billionaires, Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban, have recently turned up as key players behind the Israeli-American Council ... Adelson and Saban are top funders, respectively, of the Republican and Democratic parties, although as Adelson points out, “when it comes to Israel we’re on the same side.”
The Portuguese parliament voted a non-binding motion on Friday [Dec. 12] which calls on the government to recognize ‘’Palestine.’’ The motion was tabled [presented] jointly by the center-right majority and the Socialist opposition party. It recommends the government ‘’recognize, in coordination with the European Union, the State of Palestine as an independent and sovereign state." ... A number of parliaments of other European countries - France, Britain, Spain and Ireland- have passed similar motions calling for the recognition of Palestinian statehood. The move was spearheaded by Sweden in October and the UK in October, has been welcomed by the PA but tested relations between Israel and the EU.
... The survey found that the vast majority of Americans speak only English at home. The second most common language is Spanish. However, when you take out English and Spanish, an interesting map emerges of where certain ethnic groups have congregated in the United States. German dominates the American Midwest, which is not terribly surprising when you consider that people of German ancestry, about 16 million of them, are the largest ancestry group in the United States, according to Ancestry & Ethnicity in the United States. French is the language spoken most often (after English and Spanish) in one-fifth of the U.S. states.
Braving snowy weather, Americans and Belgians gathered in the Ardennes region of Belgium on Saturday to mark the 70th anniversary of one of the biggest and bloodiest U.S. battles of World War II -- the Battle of the Bulge ... Starting on Dec. 16, 1944, and for nearly six weeks, more than 600,000 American soldiers, fighting in freezing conditions and often hungry and dog-tired, took part in desperate efforts to contain, then throw back, a surprise German counter offensive masterminded by Adolf Hitler himself ... It came at a high cost: 80,987 U.S. casualties, including 10,276 dead, 47,493 wounded and 23,218 missing, according to the U.S. Army's official history. Total German casualties are estimated at 81,834, including 12,652 dead and 30,582 missing.
The attack began with a barrage from 1,600 guns and rocket launchers that pounded trenches and command posts. Then came waves of tanks and infantry that surged out of the winter mist and slammed into the stunned and bewildered defenders. It was a perfect example of shock and awe. Except that in December 1944, it was Americans who were on the receiving end. This month marks the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, perhaps the greatest battle ever fought by the U.S. Army ... The Battle of the Bulge is more than history. It is a primer of valuable lessons that still apply today. First, never, ever underestimate the enemy ... Third, don't ignore intelligence ... Fourth, flexibility is everything.
American newsreel on the "Battle of the Bulge," the World War II German counterattack on the western front, which began on Dec. 16, 1944, and the American response. Titled "The Enemy Strikes," it was produced by the US "Office of War Information" for viewing in movie theaters across the USA. Complete. Runtime: 7:59 mins.
German forces launch the Ardennes offensive ("Battle of the Bulge"), the last major German offensive on the western front. From the German weekly newsreel ("Deutsche Wochenschau") of Jan. 4, 1945. With English subtitles. Runtime: 6:23 mins.
More on the ill-fated German offensive of Dec. 1944. Includes dramatic scenes of aerial combat between American bombers and German fighter planes. Portion of "Deutsche Wochenschau" newsreel of Jan. 11, 1945. With English subtitles. Runtime: 5:08 mins.
... To a striking extent, your overall life chances can be predicted not just from your parents’ status but also from your great-great-great-grandparents’. The recent study suggests that ten percent of variation in income can be predicted based on your parents’ earnings. In contrast, my colleagues and I estimate that 50 to 60 percent of variation in overall status is determined by your lineage ... A number of studies of adopted children in the United States and Nordic countries show convincingly that their life chances are more strongly predicted from their biological parents than their adoptive families ... These studies, along with studies of correlations across various types of siblings (identical twins, fraternal twins, half siblings) suggest that genetics is the main carrier of social status.
... Men with imagination, vision and ability to carry these qualities over into practical soldiering were rare in the static-minded, socially-centered British Army. Percy Hobart was one such man ... From persecution, victimization, and his incredible misemployment as a Home Guard corporal, Hobart's resurrection to a decisive command in the Allied armies is one of the more startling personal stories of the Second World War. His story was hardly the kind of thing likely to impress the public with the efficiency of the war effort, or the quality of Britain's military leadership. Thus he remained almost unknown outside army circles.
... The West Bank is part of Palestine, and is occupied illegally by Israel, and has been for forty years. According to international law, an occupied people have the right and responsibility to resist their occupiers. The half-million Israelis settlers living in the West Bank are there illegally, as part of the occupation, and so should be aware that their personal safety is in jeopardy ... Change is happening; Israel is becoming more and more isolated ... The U.S. can only protect it for so long, and time seems to be running out. As in South Africa a generation ago, the tide of public opinion has begun to flow in the direction of justice, and this is not good news for Israel or the U.S. However, it is long overdue for Palestine.
... The reality is that Israel is our biggest frenemy. For decades the Israelis have lived off our largesse without having to offer anything of value in return ... We’ve handed them over $3 billion a year in tribute, stood by while they subjected their Palestinian helots to conditions not seen since South Africa’s apartheid, and smiled tolerantly ... Aside from North Korea, Israel is the only nuclear power that has managed to get away with thumbing its nose at the international community over this issue ... The Israel lobby is losing its grip: the American people – previously inclined to support Israel no matter what – show signs of waking up to the danger posed by our Israel-centric foreign policy.
... The threats are part of a broad, vitriolic assault by the right-wing news media and politicians here on The Asahi, which has long been the newspaper that Japanese conservatives love to hate. The battle is also the most recent salvo in a long-raging dispute over Japan’s culpability for its wartime behavior ... For conservatives, humbling The Asahi is also a way to advance their long-held agenda of erasing portrayals of Imperial Japan that they consider too negative and eventually overturning the 1993 apology to comfort women, analysts say. Many on the right have argued that Japan’s behavior was no worse than that of other World War II combatants, including the United States’ bombing of Japanese civilians.
... The world is facing the prospect of major war, perhaps nuclear war - with the United States clearly determined to isolate and provoke Russia and eventually China. This truth is being turned upside down and inside out by journalists, including those who promoted the lies that led to the bloodbath in Iraq in 2003 ... In other words, had journalists done their job, had they questioned and investigated the propaganda instead of amplifying it, hundreds of thousands of men, women and children might be alive today ... The most effective propaganda is found not in the Sun or on Fox News - but beneath a liberal halo.
... It is necessary to review the Obama administration’s stance on diplomacy with Iran in the context of the long US history of favouring “coercive diplomacy” over traditional negotiations in managing conflicts with adversaries. Reliance on coercive diplomacy is deeply imbedded in the strategic culture of US national security institutions. It has evolved over decades of US military and economic dominance in international politics, which has allowed the United States to avoid genuine diplomacy repeatedly ... The concept of coercive diplomacy emerged from the belief that the United States could use the threat of force to leverage favourable outcomes in international conflicts ...
From June 4 to 7, 1942, the U.S. Navy ambushed and then devastated a Japanese strike force near Midway Island ... On June 7, six months to the day after Pearl Harbor, a front-page report in the Chicago Tribune hinted at the astonishing secret that enabled the American victory ... Savvy readers knew that the dozen paragraphs of intricate details had to mean Washington had cracked Japan's secret naval code ... Opening this testimony [now] could explain how Johnston learned one of this nation's most valuable secrets, how perilous the Navy thought the leak was, and why the investigation halted; the filing alludes to the possibility that the Navy didn't want to tell grand jurors about its codebreaking coup.
... Stalin’s rule is rightly associated with two of the most horrific episodes in Ukraine’s history: the famine and the 1937-38 mass executions of Ukrainian intellectuals and political figures, both of which took place across the Soviet Union ... But there is an underappreciated aspect to this tangled history: Stalin’s rule saw the formation of a land with strong Ukrainian national consciousness. Yes, he was a murderous tyrant, but he was also a father of today’s Ukraine ... In 1991, of course, the Soviet Union dissolved. Ukraine, having avoided absorption into Russia thanks to Lenin, became independent. But the new nation encompassed as much land as it did thanks to Stalin.
The Jewish activist Max Blumenthal wrote an expansive book on Israeli racism, but he failed completely and categorically to grasp the culture that drives Jewish supremacy within the Jewish State, Jewish politics and beyond. Interestingly enough, Blumenthal has a lot to say about ‘German pathology,’ German people, the colour of German people’s skin and their ‘sickening society’. If anyone still had hope that there was something positive that Progressive Jews could add to the discourse, Blumenthal’s latest interview will end that idea. He exhibits the ultimate form of Jewish racism, goy hatred: in fact, far more insidious than hard-core right wing Zionism.
For the first time, scientists have identified a gene linking the thickness of the grey matter in the brain to intelligence. Teenagers carrying a particular gene variant had a thinner cortex in the left cerebral hemisphere, particularly in the frontal and temporal lobes, and performed less well on tests for intellectual ability.
For the first time in decades, the U.S. is no longer the largest economy in the world, and China has become number one, the International Monetary Fund says. The IMF recently released the latest numbers for the world economy, stating that China will produce $17.6 trillion in terms of goods and services -- compared with $17.4 trillion for the U.S. Just 14 years ago, the U.S. produced nearly three times as much as the Chinese, Dow Jones’ MarketWatch reported.
... Israel has both the ability and the inclination to drag the United States into its disputes, and that is precisely the problem ... The incoming Secretary of Defense Carter Ashton visited Israel last year and enthused “Protecting America means protecting Israel …” That senior US government officials feel compelled to sing the praises of Israel without any shame or embarrassment is precisely what is wrong because they know perfectly well that disaster awaits if the leaders in Tel Aviv do not come to their senses and seriously address their nation’s rogue status ... Washington has long since abdicated any serious role in either reining Israel in or encouraging a political settlement that would benefit every state in the region.
... The Netanyahu government is leading the country towards disaster. It is systematically destroying all chances for peace, enlarging settlements in the West Bank and especially East Jerusalem, stoking the fires of a religious war on the Temple Mount/ Noble Sanctuary ... At the same time, Netanyahu is quarreling with the US administration, severely damaging a relationship that is the lifeline of Israel in all matters, while Europe is slowly but surely approaching sanctions against Israel ... With this government we are galloping towards a racist apartheid state, both in Israel proper and the occupied territories, heading towards disaster ... Very large numbers of Israelis, both Jewish and Arab, have despaired of the political process altogether.
Netanyahu wants to ‘upgrade’ discrimination in Israel to help secure his rule in the occupied territories, say experts / There could hardly have been a more fitting piece of political theatre this week as Palestinian legislators in the Israeli Parliament criticised a controversial new bill defining Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people ... In explaining the need for the bill, Netanyahu told his ministers it was important that “there are national rights only for the Jewish people – a flag, anthem, the right of every Jew to immigrate to Israel and other national symbols” ... Israel lacks a constitution but its declaration of independence and several of its foundational laws – called Basic Laws – are already premised on the idea that Israel is a Jewish state.
... We might also suggest a different, much more serious and dangerous reading of the bill: It conceals a plot more far-reaching than it seems. This bill is legal preparation for the right wing’s one-state solution, the annexation of the territories and the establishment of the Jewish apartheid state. The bill is the constitutional foundation, and its acceptance is the laying of the cornerstone of the binational segregation state that the right wing is setting up quietly and methodically, unseen and unhindered.
... Netanyahu has special abilities to twist facts without blinking an eye: he can lie with a smile. This is not my subjective opinion. It is a fact attested to by almost every other international political figure he has met over the years ... In Clayton Swisher’s book, The Truth About Camp David, Joe Lockhart, former White House spokesman for Bill Clinton, described Netanyahu as “one of the most obnoxious individuals, just a liar and a cheat. He could open his mouth and you could have no confidence that anything that came of it was the truth” ... Israeli writer Uri Avnery summed up Netanyahu’s pathological lying habits best: “Some do so only when necessary, some do it often, some, like Netanyahu, do it as a rule.”
Israel’s parliament has passed a new law aimed at keeping African immigrants behind bars — and a controversial jail to house them open — beyond a deadline set by the country’s highest court. The Knesset by a 43-20 vote approved an initial legislative step for a new law that mandates three months in prison for African asylum-seekers who enter Israel without documentation and a year and eight months more in the spartan Holot detention center, which Israel euphemistically refers to as an “open facility.” If it passes two more hurdles, the new law will permit Israel to keep more than 2,000 African detainees imprisoned in Holot — and likely to jail many more.
A new type of anti-immigration protest is sweeping across Germany, as thousands take to the streets against what they say is the growing “Islamisation” of the country. The new protests, which began in the city of Dresden in the former East Germany, feature no neo-Nazi slogans and have nothing to do with the traditional far right ... Thousands have defied sub-zero temperatures to join weekly marches each Monday in Dresden under the banner of Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of Europe, or Pegida ... The movement has snowballed, and last week 7,500 came. Pegida has inspired similar movements across Germany.
... This story — being told through court filings, not on the pages of an airport paperback — could spell trouble for Israel, as the Jewish state tries to shake its image as one of the largest perpetrators of economic and industrial espionage in the United States. The events, which surfaced publicly only recently, are alleged to have taken place more than four years ago at the California Institute of Technology’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the nation’s leading aerospace research center funded primarily by NASA.
Israel slammed the vote of a non-binding resolution by the Irish parliament calling on the government to recognize an independent Palestinian state. Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon expressed disappointment at the decision, accusing the Irish parliament of giving voice to "statements of hatred and anti-Semitism directed at Israel in a way which we have not heard before." Some Irish MPs accused Israel of ''genocide'' during the parliamentary debate on Palestinian recognition.
Former US President George W Bush was "fully informed" about CIA interrogation techniques condemned in a Senate report, his vice-president says. Speaking to Fox News, Dick Cheney said Mr Bush "knew everything he needed to know" about the programme, and the report was "full of crap". The CIA has defended its use of methods such as waterboarding on terror suspects after the 9/11 attacks. The Senate report said the agency misled politicians about the programme. But the former Republican vice-president dismissed this ...
The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA’s extensive use of torture reveals that the agency regularly misled the White House and Congress about the information it had obtained from detainees ... Below are some of the most damning findings from the Committee’s report: ... 2. CIA personnel objected to torture techniques, but were “instructed” by the CIA headquarters to continue ... 3. The two psychologists who helped the CIA create the torture techniques earned over $81 million ... 6. CIA leadership refused to punish an officer who killed a detainee during torture session ... 7. The CIA tortured innocent people ... 9. The CIA intentionally mislead the media to “shape public opinion.” ... 15. The CIA tortured its own informants by accident ...
The New York Times has now pronounced on the “meaning of the Ferguson riots.” ... The Times’ editorial encapsulates the elite narrative around the fatal police shooting of unarmed Michael Brown last August, and the mayhem that twice followed that shooting ... The real culprit behind the riots, in the Times’ view, is not the actual arsonists and looters but county prosecutor Robert McCulloch ... The Times is silent about that evidence, of course ... The elites are in deep denial about black underclass behavior ... The liberal elites have also so lowered their expectations for black behavior that they accept criminality as normal.
The fiasco of “Rolling Stone” magazine’s apology for an unsubstantiated claim of gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity house — and the instant rush to judgment of the university administration in shutting down all fraternities, when those charges were made — should warn us about the dangers of having serious legal issues dealt with by institutions with no qualifications for that role ... What could possibly have led anyone to believe that college professors or campus administrators should be the ones making decisions about charges of criminal acts that can ruin the lives of the accuser or the accused?
... Jurgen and his family were among thousands of Latin Americans of German origin who were rounded up by their respective governments on orders from the US following the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. They were detained in accordance with a little-known US state department program. The Special War Problems Division would orchestrate the detention of more than 4,000 Latin Americans from Germany, Japan and Italy in internment camps in Texas and elsewhere, as well as localized detention centers in Latin America. In all, 15 Latin American countries would deport residents and citizens of German ancestry to detention centers in the United States, often without legal recourse, according to a statement from the National Archives.
... The American guards who arrived with the truck were nasty and cruel from the start. I was forced in with kicks and punches to my back ... In late afternoon we stopped in an open field again, and were unloaded in the same manner, with beating and kicking. We had to line up at attention just like recruits in basic training. Quickly, the Americans fenced us in with rolls of barbed wire, so there was no space to sit or to lie down that night. We even had to do our necessities in the standing position ... Every morning a truck passed by the cages to pick up the dead from the previous night, those who were either shot within or on the fences, or dead from hunger or typhoid, dysentery and other sicknesses. Of every ten attempting to escape, eight were shot and two got through.
... We spent a day or two in a stable in Compiègne, with little or no food, depending on who still had something to "bribe" the Yanks with, before we were even moved to Cherbourg camp ... Cherbourg "camp" consisted of various compounds of mud surrounded by barbed wire. There was no accommodation or shelter whatsoever for the first two weeks or so. Then a few wooden shacks were put up, in which we had to sleep on the ground, packed together like sardines in a can ... This was to be our "abode" for roughly six weeks ... Nights were cold and it rained for long hours, so it was not very comfortable to "sleep" in deep mud or later on the ground barely covered with straw.
Jewish life in New York is dominated by ritual ... And just as reliably, there’s the ritual of presidential candidates sniffing around for dough right after the midterm elections. That last one got going in earnest yesterday and today, with Senator Ted Cruz of Texas making a whirlwind tour of power Jews in New York City. Last night, Mort Klein’s Zionist Organization of America dinner featured Mr. Cruz, known for his steadfast and aggressive support of Israel, in a prominent speaking role.
... The example of Rome led America’s Founding Fathers to warn about the evils of faction, the corrupting effect of money and the passionate attachment to foreign interests. Unfortunately, highly partisan politics fueled by vast quantities of money, some of which comes from sources with openly promoted foreign interests, has become a reality in Washington and partly explains the decline of America’s own ruling class. And there is no political dynasty that exhibits the lack of any ethical anchor combined with the excesses that derive from overweening greed and ambition as much as the Clintons. That Hillary Clinton is spoken of as a virtual president presumptive in much of the media and punditry should give one pause and make one wonder about the state of democracy in America.
.. Now, with two years left in his presidency, Obama is positioning the US for more war ... Obama is now fighting two wars in all but name in Iraq and Syria, and he recently authorized a far more expansive combat role in Afghanistan for US troops than anything previously discussed ... Obama appears to have grown more hawkish himself, and defense policy is going to reflect that. On Friday, the White House let it be known that the president had authorized a direct combat role for US troops in Afghanistan beyond the end of this year, an about-face from last May ... Meanwhile, the US military role in Iraq and Syria is deepening ... So far this year, the US has conducted about 900 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria.
Vikings may have been family men who traveled with their wives to new lands, according to a new study of ancient Viking DNA. Maternal DNA from ancient Norsemen closely matches that of modern-day people in the North Atlantic isles, particularly from the Orkney and Shetland Islands. The findings suggest that both Viking men and women sailed on the ships to colonize new lands. The new study also challenges the popular conception of Vikings as glorified hoodlums with impressive seafaring skills ... But the Vikings were much more than pirates and pillagers. They established far-flung trade routes, reached the shores of present- day America, settled in new lands and even founded the modern city of Dublin, which was called Dyfflin by the Vikings.
Hopefully, Russians realize that our House of Representatives often passes thunderous resolutions to pander to special interests, which have no bearing on the thinking or actions of the U.S. government. Last week, the House passed such a resolution 411-10. As ex-Rep. Ron Paul writes, House Resolution 758 is so "full of war propaganda that it rivals the rhetoric from the chilliest era of the Cold War." H. R. 758 is a Russophobic rant full of falsehoods and steeped in superpower hypocrisy ... Russia is charged with using "trade barriers to apply economic and political pressure" and interfering in Ukraine's "internal affairs." This is almost comical. The U.S. has imposed trade barriers and sanctions on Russia, Belarus, Iran, Cuba, Burma, Congo, Sudan, and a host of other nations.
Today [Dec. 4] the US House passed what I consider to be one of the worst pieces of legislation ever. H. Res. 758 was billed as a resolution “strongly condemning the actions of the Russian Federation, under President Vladimir Putin, which has carried out a policy of aggression against neighboring countries aimed at political and economic domination.” In fact, the bill was 16 pages of war propaganda that should have made even neocons blush, if they were capable of such a thing ... This dangerous legislation passed today, December 4, with only ten (!) votes against! Only ten legislators are concerned over the use of blatant propaganda and falsehoods to push such reckless saber-rattling toward Russia.
Last week the US House voted overwhelmingly in favor of an anti-Russia resolution so full of war propaganda that it rivals the rhetoric from the chilliest era of the Cold War. Ironically, much of the bill condemns Russia for doing exactly what the US government has been doing for years in Syria and Ukraine! For example, one of the reasons to condemn Russia in the resolution is the claim that Russia is imposing economic sanctions on Ukraine. But how many rounds of sanctions has the US government imposed on Russia for much of the past year? I guess sanctions are only bad when used by countries Washington doesn’t like.
The short propaganda film commissioned by Thailand’s military rulers was supposed to promote the “twelve core values” every Thai student must now learn. But there was one scene the junta has had trouble explaining: a grinning schoolboy painting an image of Adolf Hitler while his smiling classmate applauds. The video, which has been screened before movies in major theaters since Saturday, has been met with ridicule on social media and condemned by the Israeli Embassy in Bangkok. On Wednesday, a senior official in the prime minister’s office, Panadda Diskul, called the uproar a “misunderstanding,” but said the Nazi imagery in the cartoon scene would soon be replaced.
A damning report into the United States' brutal treatment of “War on Terror” detainees triggered worldwide condemnation Wednesday and calls for CIA agents and senior officials to face justice. That US interrogators tortured Al-Qaeda suspects in secret jails was known, but a detailed Senate report into the scandal was seized upon by America's shocked friends and gloating enemies alike. China and Iran, whose own human rights records have often been criticized by Washington, denounced the abuses -- but so did Germany and the new pro-US leader of Afghanistan.
There has been widespread global condemnation of the CIA's use of torture — detailed in a report released Tuesday — against suspected terrorists. Below are some of the voices leading the outrage ... The United Nations' top special investigator for counterterrorism, Ben Emmerson, called for the prosecution of senior U.S. officials who authorized and carried out torture as part of former President George W. Bush's national security policies. "It is now time to take action. The individuals responsible for the criminal conspiracy revealed in today's report must be brought to justice, and must face criminal penalties commensurate with the gravity of their crimes," Emmerson said.
Israel and the United States were the only two countries to vote against a UN resolution calling for the prevention of an arms race in outer space. The resolution was among several dealing with international disarmament passed by the General Assembly on December 2, including one calling on Israel to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and bring its rogue nuclear program under international supervision … The US and Israel were also the only two countries to vote against a separate UN resolution calling for a prohibition on the development and manufacture of new types of weapons of mass destruction.
Reports by UN observers in the Golan Heights over the past 18 months reveal the type and extent of cooperation between Israel and Syrian opposition figures. The reports, submitted to the 15 members of the UN Security Council and available on the UN’s website, detail regular contacts held on the border between IDF officers and soldiers and Syrian rebels ... The Syrian ambassador to the UN complained of widespread cooperation between Israel and Syrian rebels, not only treatment of the wounded but also other aid.
Syria asked the United Nations Security Council on Monday to impose sanctions on neighboring Israel, a day after accusing the Jewish state of bombing areas near Damascus international airport and in the town of Dimas, near the border with Lebanon. Israel has struck Syria several times since the start of the three-year conflict, mostly destroying weaponry such as missiles that Israeli officials said were destined for their long-time foe Hezbollah in Lebanon. In a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Chad, Security Council president for December, Syria said that "such aggressions will not stop it from fighting terrorism in all its forms and manifestation across the entire territory of Syria."
... Although there is no question that Russia has contributed to the tensions in the region, what has unfolded was predictable and preventable ... The West should have understood that an attempt to bring Ukraine into an exclusive arrangement with the E.U. would spark deep, historical divisions within the country and itself and provoke a Russian reaction ... The hawks should stand down. The human costs are already mounting. It is utterly irresponsible to destroy a country in the name of supporting it, as is happening in Ukraine. Samantha Power has it wrong: Americans aren’t tired of humanitarian intervention; they are tired of its consequences. It is time for taking a sober look at the misconceptions that got us here.
... The weekend gathering caps a triumphant year for the National Front, which captured a dozen towns in municipal elections, romped to victory in European elections with a whopping 25% of the vote, and seized its first ever seats in the Senate ... Its favourite topics – Euroscepticism, reaffirming French sovereignty, drastically curbing immigration – largely dominate the political debate. “The FN has long won the ideological battle – at least in part,” says Sylvain Crépon, a sociologist and expert on the French far right. According to Crépon, France's deeply unpopular mainstream parties position themselves according to a political agenda dictated in large part by the FN.
For the first time ever, the far-right Danish People's Party (DF) has come out of an opinion poll as the nation's largest party. / If an election were held today, the far-right Danish People’s Party (DF) would sweep into power. For the first time ever, DF has topped all other parties in an opinion poll. In the poll, conducted for TV2 and Politiken by Megafon, the anti-immigration party received 21.2 percent of the vote, a massive increase over the 12.3 percent of the vote the party earned in the September 2011 election.
Voters in Switzerland have decisively rejected a proposal to cut net immigration to no more than 0.2% of the population. The country's 26 cantons rejected the proposal, with about 74% of people voting no in Sunday's referendum. Supporters of the measure argued that it would have reduced pressure on the country's resources. Opponents said it would have been bad for the economy. Around a quarter of Switzerland's eight million people are foreigners. The measure would have required the government to reduce immigration from about 80,000 to 16,000 people a year.
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.
A genetic analysis of 409 pairs of gay brothers, including sets of twins, has provided the strongest evidence yet that gay people are born gay. The study clearly links sexual orientation in men with two regions of the human genome that have been implicated before, one on the X chromosome and one on chromosome 8. The finding is an important contribution to mounting evidence that being gay is biologically determined rather than a lifestyle choice ... "It erodes the notion that sexual orientation is a choice," says study leader Alan Sanders of the NorthShore Research Institute in Evanston, Illinois.
A prominent national security reporter for the Los Angeles Times routinely submitted drafts and detailed summaries of his stories to CIA press handlers prior to publication, according to documents obtained by The Intercept. Email exchanges between CIA public affairs officers and Ken Dilanian, now an Associated Press intelligence reporter who previously covered the CIA for the Times, show that Dilanian enjoyed a closely collaborative relationship with the agency, explicitly promising positive news coverage and sometimes sending the press office entire story drafts for review prior to publication.
The CIA routinely misled the White House and Congress over its harsh interrogation program for terrorism suspects and its methods, which included waterboarding, were more brutal than the agency acknowledged, a Senate report said on Tuesday. The program, devised by two agency contractors to squeeze information from suspects after the Sept. 11 2001 attacks, was ineffective and never led to the disruption of a single plot, the report by the Senate Intelligence Committee said. The program ran from 2002 to 2006 and involved questioning al Qaeda and other captives in secret detention facilities in various countries, including Afghanistan, Poland, Romania and Thailand.
The Senate Intelligence Committee’s torture report ... , a review of brutal CIA interrogation methods during the presidency of George W. Bush, has been the subject of a contentious back- and- forth ... Here are some important caveats to keep in mind: 1) You’re not actually reading the torture report ... 2) The CIA got to cut out parts. The summary has been redacted ... 5) The investigation didn’t examine who gave the CIA its orders, or why ... 6) Torture was hardly limited to the CIA. In fact, the worst of it was done by the military ... 12) No one has been held accountable.
We have found the new normal in America. If you are truly outraged by some action of police, prosecutors, grand juries, or courts, you can shut down the heart of a great city ... Liberals are imprisoned by a great myth — that America is a land where black boys and men are stalked by racist white cops, and alert and brave liberals must prevent even more police atrocities. They live in a world of the mind. The reality: As of 2007, black-on-white violent crime was nearly 40 times as common as the reverse. But liberals can't give up their myth, for it sustains their pretensions to moral superiority. It defines who they are.
... In the end, we see a Jefferson Davis supremely committed to the cause of Confederate independence even at the possible expense of slavery, a man intent on fighting to the end even when most everyone else in the camp was ready to quit. Captured in flight from Richmond, he continued to embrace the cause for the remainder of his life. We see, as well, a commander who, despite his limitations, was probably the best choice the Confederates had for president and who pursued the most sensible military strategy available. As McPherson puts it, the Confederacy didn't lose, the Union won.
A US pharmacy chain said it was pulling a gift-wrapping paper print from all its national stores, after a California woman complained that she found swastikas in the design. Walgreens said on Monday that it would scrap the print, in a move possibly intended to head off negative press more than to concede that the design contained the Nazi symbol. “We are in the process of removing the product from our stores,” Walgreens spokesman Phil Caruso told NBC’s Southern California affiliate NBC4. The issue arose after shopper Cheryl Shapiro stumbled upon the allegedly offensive blue-and-silver pattern in the Hanukkah section at her local Walgreens in southern California.
Dozens of pieces of Nazi regalia have sold for top dollar at two ACT [Canberra] auctions in the past six weeks, prompting a Canberra rabbi to call the listings an "atrocity". A Hitler Youth knife, Luftwaffe medals, stamps featuring Adolf Hitler and several items adorned with swastikas were sold at the Auction Barn in Fyshwick in two separate auctions ... Auctions of Nazi memorabilia in New South Wales and South Australia in the past few years have attracted sharp criticism from national Jewish groups. Sydney Jewish Museum resident historian professor Konrad Kwiet said auctions of Nazi artefacts were common and lucrative around the world, predominantly in America.
... On October 1, 1964 the first rapid train of Japan’s new trunk line (shinkansen) left Tokyo for Osaka –- and the first fifty years of its increasingly more frequent and faster service have been completed without a single fatal accident. Europeans, starting with the French and their TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) and the Germans with their InterCity Express, eventually began to copy Japan’s great example, and, most recently, rapidly modernizing China became the world’s most extensive builder of rapid trains, while North America’s passenger trains remain embarrassingly old-fashioned, unreliable and slow.
An Arizona family is donating $25 million to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum — the largest gift in the Washington museum’s history — to increase its educational programming. The gift from the William Levine family of Phoenix will be used to expand and diversify its reach, especially to young people, according to the museum. The museum’s National Institute for Holocaust Education now will be called the Levine Institute for Holocaust Education. Levine is an investor and real estate developer who founded Outdoor Systems, an outdoor advertising firm. He was appointed to the museum’s governing council by President George W. Bush in 2007.
Since it first opened ten [twenty one] years ago, one of Washington, DC’s most popular attractions has been the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, located adjacent to the National Mall … Now  American taxpayers provide some 67 percent of the Holocaust Museum’s annual budget, this year to the tune of $38.4 million. Its funding for fiscal year 2004 was increased to $39,997,000 … Then-President Bill Clinton signed legislation granting the museum permanent status as a federal agency, in effect locking in federal support.
Hard by the Washington Monument, within clear view of the Jefferson Memorial, an easy stroll down the Mall to the majestic Lincoln Memorial, has arisen, on some of the most hallowed territory of the United States of America, a costly and dangerous mistake … In the deceptive guise of tolerance, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum promotes a propaganda campaign, financed through the unwitting largesse of the American taxpayer, in the interests of Israel and its adherents in America.
A Pennsylvania woman set out with a video camera to learn what college students in her state know about the Holocaust — and discovered an incredible lack of knowledge not only of the genocide of the Jews, but of basic facts about U.S. history and World War II. Rhonda Fink-Whitman visited college campuses in Pennsylvania this fall, including the venerated Ivy League institution the University of Pennsylvania, where she was repeatedly faced with a remarkable ignorance about events that took place in the last century. Students didn’t know where Normandy was, why U.S. forces landed there, why the U.S. even entered the war or who was president at the time.
... Mao’s man-made famine in China killed more people than the Soviet famine and the Nazi Holocaust combined. And we should not deny their rightful place in history’s chamber of horrors to the 1970s Cambodian dehumanization and slaughters that killed off at least a quarter of the entire population of that country. What about slavery? Slavery certainly has its place among the horrors of humanity. But our “educators” today, along with the media, present a highly edited segment of the history of slavery.... White slaves were still being bought and sold in the Ottoman Empire, decades after blacks were freed in the United States.
… Today, 70 years after Pearl Harbor, a remarkable secret history, written from 1943 to 1963, has come to light. It is Hoover’s explanation of what happened before, during and after the world war that may prove yet the death knell of the West. Edited by historian George Nash, “Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover’s History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath” is a searing indictment of FDR and the men around him as politicians who lied prodigiously about their desire to keep America out of war, even as they took one deliberate step after another to take us into war.
... The most shocking data are the deaths due to unintentional drug poisonings. From 1999 to 2012, deaths by drug overdose increased from 4.00 per 100,000 to 10.54 per 100,000, a whopping 164 percent increase. While the suicide rate has slowly climbed over the past decade, the death rate from unintentional drug overdoses has skyrocketed ... The explosive growth in the number of deaths due to unintentional drug overdoses is nothing short of a national emergency.
Iranian fighter jets struck extremist targets in Iraq recently, Iranian and American officials have confirmed, in the latest display of Tehran’s new willingness to conduct military operations openly on foreign battlefields rather than covertly and through proxies ... The new military approach highlights an unusual confluence of interests in both Iraq and Syria, where Tehran and Washington find themselves fighting the same enemy in an increasingly public fashion. While there is no direct coordination between Iran and the United States, there is a de facto nonaggression pact that neither side is eager to acknowledge.
... Ayatollah Khomeini has issued a fatwah (religious decree) banning nuclear weapons, vowing that Iran would never possess or use them. US intelligence has repeatedly stated that Iran has no nuclear weapons. Ironically, it is the existing declared nuclear powers – the US, Russia, China, France, Britain – who are in violation of the 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty. The pact denied nuclear weapons to other nations provided that the signatories rapidly eliminate their nuclear arsenals. Four decades later, none have complied with the treaty, while Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea have all secretly built nuclear arsenals.
It's time for another pop quiz on America's favorite region of the world -- the Middle East. Let's get started with the subject of nuclear weapons. Which country in the Middle East actually possesses nuclear weapons? Israel ... Which country in the Middle East occupies land belonging to other people? Israel. Which occupies a piece of Lebanon, a larger piece of Syria, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza ... Which country in the Middle East has the most powerful lobby in the U.S.? Israel. Which country in the Middle East are most American politicians, journalists and academics afraid to criticize? Israel.
... Iran, a home for Jews for more than 3,000 years, has the Middle East’s largest Jewish population outside of Israel, a perennial foe of the country. But while Iran’s Jews in recent years had their faith continually criticized by the country’s previous governments, they’ve found new acceptance under moderate President Hassan Rouhani ... Most of Iran’s 77 million people are Shiite Muslims and its ruling establishment is led by hard-line clerics who preach a strict version of Islam. Many Jews fled the country after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Jews linked to Israel afterward were targeted. Today, estimates suggest some 20,000 Jews remain in the country.
French researchers claim to have found indisputable evidence that Coco Chanel worked as a spy for the Nazis during the Second World War. A written record made public for the first time in a documentary broadcast on French television last night is said to prove that the late fashion designer was a member of Abwehr – Adolf Hitler’s secret military intelligence agency. The documentary also raised questions about the role played by other French celebrities during the Second World War, including singers Edith Piaf and Maurice Chevalier and dramatist Sacha Guitry.
Thousands of Holocaust survivors and family members in the United States and elsewhere will be entitled to compensation from a $60 million French-U.S. fund announced Friday — reparations to those deported by France's state rail company SNCF during the Nazi occupation. As part of the deal, the U.S. government will work to end lawsuits and other compensation claims in U.S. courts against SNCF, which is bidding for lucrative high-speed rail and other contracts in U.S. markets. State legislators in Maryland, New York, Florida and California have tried to punish SNCF for its Holocaust-era actions ... SNCF transported about 76,000 French Jews to Nazi concentration camps, though experts disagree on its degree of guilt.
... The story begins with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. After World War II, the victorious Allies sought to repudiate Nazism and establish the principle that governments owe obligations to their citizens ... It should be clear by now why university programs and law-school clinics that "promote human rights" are pretty much free to advocate any political position -- aside from promoting fascism or genocide -- because virtually anything is compatible with some subset of human rights. It would be better, or at least more candid, to recognize that human-rights programs are just ways through which students and professors engage in political activism.
... Since the Great Recession struck in 2007, the median wage for people between the ages of 25 and 34, adjusted for inflation, has fallen in every major industry except for health care. These numbers come from an analysis of the Census Current Populations Survey by Konrad Mugglestone, an economist with Young Invincibles. In retail, wholesale, leisure, and hospitality — which together employ more than one quarter of this age group — real wages have fallen more than ten percent since 2007 ... The picture isn't much better for the youngest group of workers between 18 and 24. Besides health care, the industries employing the vast majority of part-time students and recent graduates are also watching wages fall behind inflation.
... The Lincoln cultists now dismiss the extraordinarily well-documented history of Sherman’s army’s pillaging, plundering, raping, and murdering of Southern civilians as “fables” and mere “family accounts of cruelty.” ... It is child’s play to prove what a pack of liars this new generation of Holocaust deniers are ... From the Official Records, a Colonel Adin Underwood of Massachusetts described Sherman’s gratuitous bombing and burning of Atlanta after the Confederate Army had left the city as having burned to the ground “37 percent of the city” according to Sherman’s military engineers. This included many private homes and even churches ... But of course in war, the victors are never prosecuted.
... America's election of a black president has not closed and, for some, has not even narrowed the racial divide. We are now half a century on from the Civil Rights Act of 1964. African-Americans have risen out of poverty and the working class to become successes as actors, artists, athletes, executives, politicians, TV anchors, journalists, scholars, generals, authors, etc. But if the hate we saw on the streets of Ferguson, and heard from many voices on cable Monday night, are a reflection of sentiment in the black community, the racial divide in some parts of America is as great as ever. Indeed, we may be slipping backwards.
The estimated number of sexual assaults in the U.S. military dropped in 2014 but the number of rapes and violent sexual assaults is significantly higher than previously thought, according to new data released by the Defense Department and the Rand Corp. Preliminary findings of an extensive survey of 170,000 troops released Thursday revealed that 20,000 service members said they had experienced at least one incident of unwanted sexual contact in the past year, representing nearly five percent of all active-duty women and one percent of active-duty men. The figures are down from the estimated 26,000 in fiscal 2012, the last year a complete survey was conducted, a drop of more than 23 percent.
Congress approved legislation Wednesday deepening U.S.-Israeli cooperation ... The bill, passed by a voice vote in the House, now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature. It cleared the Senate with unanimous support in September, but only after the elimination of language that critics saw as an endorsement of Israeli discrimination of some Americans ... The U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act increases the value of emergency U.S. weaponry kept in Israel by $200 million, to a total of $1.8 billion. It promotes closer U.S.-Israeli links in energy, water, homeland security, alternative fuel technology and cybersecurity. It offers a verbal guarantee of Israel maintaining a qualitative military edge over its neighbors.
The United States is arming Israel with 3,000 more of the similar 'Smart bombs' that killed more than 2,140 Palestinians and injured over 11,000 others this summer in one of the biggest Israeli onslaught at the Gaza Strip. Although the Department of Defense website did not carry the news, the Press TV [of Iran] and a local news agency cited the department as announcing that it will supply the Israeli air force with those bombs, which are precision-guided munitions designed to achieve greater accuracy ... It can be noted that the United States provides Israel with about $8.5 million in military aid each day, while it gives nothing to the Palestinian side.
... I do not believe that Mikhail Kalashnikov was as involved in the development of the AK-47 as the Soviets led the world to believe. So who was? Well, there can only be one answer: Hugo Schmeisser. Schmeisser is perhaps most famous for the MP18 (the world’s first submachine gun) and the MP43/44 “Sturmgewehr” (the world’s first assault rifle). Obviously the latter firearm is more pertinent to this article. Here are a few facts to back up my hypothesis ...
... Russian and world media paid great attention to the death of 94-year-old Lt. Gen. Mikhail T. Kalashnikov, known as the designer of the machine gun AK-47, probably the most famous weapon of our time ... Here is the alternative version presented by several researchers. In 1945 close to the end of the WWII, the most famous German gun designer Hugo Schmeisser has been improving his design of a new machine gun [Sturmgeweher] StG44s ... According to the publications in Russian Internet the famous AK-47 was in fact designed not by Kalashnikov, but by Schmeisser and his German colleagues. Schmeisser’s work while in Izhevsk (1946-1952) is shrouded in darkness. The most of historical documents of the period are still classified.
The U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approved an Arab-backed resolution Tuesday calling on Israel to renounce possession of nuclear weapons and put its nuclear facilities under international oversight. The resolution, adopted in a 161-5 vote, noted that Israel is the only Middle Eastern country that is not party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. It called on Israel to "accede to that treaty without further delay, not to develop, produce test or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons, to renounce possession of nuclear weapons" and put its nuclear facilities under the safeguard of the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency. The United States, Canada, Palau and Micronesia joined Israel in opposing the measure, while 18 countries abstained.
The United Nations General Assembly adopted six resolutions regarding Israeli occupied territories through a recorded vote last night, addressing the areas of Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan. In terms of Jerusalem, the Assembly voted on a resolution confirming that all legislative and administrative measures taken by Israel to change the legal status of the Holy City of Jerusalem are null and void. The decision was supported by a recorded vote of 144 countries in favour, six countries opposed, namely Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau and United States, while ten countries abstained from the vote ...
French lawmakers on Tuesday urged their government to recognize Palestine, a symbolic move that will not immediately affect France's diplomatic stance but demonstrates growing European impatience with a stalled peace process ... European countries have grown frustrated with Israel, which since the collapse of the latest U.S.-sponsored talks in April has pressed on with building settlements in territory the Palestinians want for their state. The motion received the backing of 339 lawmakers with 151 against. It comes after Sweden became the biggest Western European country to recognize Palestine, and parliaments in Spain, Britain and Ireland held votes in which they backed non-binding resolutions in favor of recognition.
A University of California- Davis economics professor has determined there is no American Dream. Gregory Clark is sharing his research as a hard truth with no hope — whether or not you can get ahead in America is as predictable as any formula. In fact, he says, the formulas for social mobility in the United States show there’s nothing to dream about. “America has no higher rate of social mobility than medieval England, Or pre-industrial Sweden,” he said ... His data shows the so-called American Dream — where hard work leads to more opportunities — is an illusion in the United States, and that social mobility here is no different than in the rest of the world.
... What are the consequences to be expected from an orgy of anarchy that started in Ferguson, Missouri and has spread around the country? The first victims of the mob rampages in Ferguson have been people who had nothing to do with Michael Brown or the police. These include people — many of them black or members of other minorities — who have seen the businesses they worked to build destroyed, perhaps never to be revived. But these are only the first victims. If the history of other communities ravaged by riots in years past is any indication, there are blacks yet unborn who will be paying the price of these riots for years to come ... Who benefits from the Ferguson riots? The biggest beneficiaries are politicians and racial demagogues.
... What happened last week was not a tragedy but a national disgrace, a disgusting display of adult delinquency. Monday night we witnessed in Ferguson a rampage of arson, shooting, looting and vandalism, with police and National Guard ordered not to interfere. Stores and shops, the investments of a lifetime for their owners and the livelihood of their employees, were firebombed and pillaged as police looked on ... The civil rights of law-abiding Americans were systematically violated. And where were the president and his attorney general?
The chief investigator pursuing Alois Brunner, one of the world's most wanted German Nazi war criminals, has told the BBC that he is "99% sure" that he died four years ago in Syria. "We cannot prove it forensically, but we are certain that is the case," Nazi-hunter Efraim Zuroff said. SS captain Brunner, who would now be 102, is accused of deporting more than 128,000 Jews to death camps in WWII. For many years there has been uncertainty as to whether he is dead. Dr Zuroff - director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem - told the BBC that new information had recently come to light about Brunner's death and burial in Damascus ...
"I first heard about gas chambers after the end of the war," says Alois Brunner, the "most wanted Nazi war criminal" still at large [in 1990]. Following the Anschluss [union] with Austria in 1938, SS Captain Brunner directed the Central Office for Jewish Emigration in Vienna, through which large numbers of Jews migrated to foreign countries ... To pin down the truth, Austrian journalist Gerd Honsik flew to Damascus to interview Brunner ... Honsik asked about widely reported remarks by Brunner in recent years, such as apparently incriminating comments like "I would do it again." Actually, this is a reference not to extermination but to deportation work, Honsik relates.
When U.S. governments take Americans into war, we hear them justify it as a fight for freedom. Often they rationalize it as an anti-tyranny fight, a pro-peace fight and a pro-democracy fight ... Have Americans appointed themselves the unilateral and universal crusaders and administrators of freedom and democracy? This role is impossible too ... Freedom and democracy are invoked by American leaders in favor of interventions overseas as if they were arguments, when they are nothing more than emotional appeals. America has declared itself a god, indispensable and uniquely qualified ... Americans will enforce freedom and democracy everywhere. America goes to war under the banner of peace, freedom and democracy.
... Like crime and communicable diseases, terrorism will always be with us. In the face of an outbreak of it, prompt, effective action to reduce the danger permits normal life to continue. Wisdom lies in striking a balance between the actually existing threat and exertions undertaken to deal with that threat. Grown-ups understand this. They don’t expect a crime rate of zero in American cities. They don’t expect all people to enjoy perfect health all of the time. The standard they seek is “tolerable.” ... Aspirations to eliminate terrorism belong in the same category as campaigns to end illiteracy or homelessness ... Eliminating terrorism is a chimera. It’s not going to happen. U.S. civilian and military leaders should summon the honesty to acknowledge this.
... No, we never won, or almost won, the Iraq War ... The damage that the myth about Iraq inflicts is not limited to fostering public misunderstanding about an important episode in modern American history, although that is indeed harmful ... The damage extends to the encouragement of more general misconceptions about efficacy of the exertion of U.S. power overseas ... The damage Kennan identifies — the mistaken belief that if U.S. power and especially military power is applied with sufficient determination and persistence, the governments of other countries will be composed of people who are to our liking or at least act in accordance with our liking — is the same.
... Hasn’t the U.S. government done enough damage already in Iraq? Consider all the death and destruction that interventionists have wrought on this poor nation. Some people estimate that more than a million Iraqis have died as a result of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq ... The U.S. government attacked Iraq. Iraq was the defending nation. Nonetheless, Americans are constantly exhorted to thank the troops for their “service” in Iraq ... Forget declaring war on the Islamic State. The U.S. government has done enough damage in Iraq. More intervention will only pour fuel on the fire that the U.S. government ignited with its wrongful invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003.
... Millions of shocked fans and admirers are now watching the rapid disintegration of the reputation of the man once dubbed ‘America’s Dad’ ... The idea that such a prominent black role model, who tours the country lecturing African Americans on the importance of family, has feet of clay is almost too painful to contemplate in a racially divided America ... That many Americans are hearing for the first time there may be a sinister side to Bill Cosby is testament, say some, to the power of his PR machine and the reluctance of the establishment to criticise him. For many of these accusations were first made nearly ten years ago.
... Blacks are far more likely to be arrested than any other racial group in the USA. In some places, dramatically so. At least 70 departments scattered from Connecticut to California arrested black people at a rate ten times higher than people who are not black, USA Today found ... Nationwide, blacks are stopped, searched, arrested and imprisoned at rates higher than people of other races.
This eye-opening book vividly chronicles the privations, terrors and atrocities endured by the German people in the final months of World War II, and in the immediate postwar years. In lucid, often riveting prose, the author provides a close up look at the grim fate of German women as the rampaging Red Army raped and murdered its way across Europe; the most horrific nautical disasters in history; the greatest mass migration and largest-scale “ethnic cleansing” of modern times, in which millions perished; the terrible ordeal of prisoners in wretched post-war Allied-run death camps; the genocidal terror bombing campaign carried out by US and British air forces; and much more.
... Hellstorm chronicles the atrocities and deprivations visited upon Germany from 1944 to 1947 ... It not simply as a piece of historiography that Hellstorm finds its power, but as a gut wrenching, heart rending story of human suffering and the malice that produced that misery ... In large part, this genocide was the culmination of an eleven-year propaganda campaign against Germany lead mainly by American Jews ... About two million eastern German expellees, mostly women and children, died ... The need for a more balanced view of the war and the need to interpret National Socialist Germany within a historical perspective is why Hellstorm is an important book.
... After reading [Hellstorm: The Death Of Nazi Germany, 1944-1947] Thomas Goodrich's breathtaking and physically nauseating analytical narrative of the burnt offering - Holocaust -- of Germany I now know what hell looks like and how its inhabitants live and behave. Relentless, reckless, and senseless hate of a magnitude so profound, so immense, that I am still unable to understand it ... Goodrich describes the Allied-induced inferno in more detail than most need to know to gain an understanding of the depths of Allied criminality and hatred, but the detail is necessary. Without the detail no one will really know what hell is.