There is no shortage of American pundits who love to denounce “PC” speech codes that restrict and punish the expression of certain ideas on college campuses. What these self-styled campus-free-speech crusaders typically — and quite tellingly — fail to mention is that the most potent such campaigns are often devoted to outlawing or otherwise punishing criticisms of Israel ... One of the most dangerous threats to campus free speech has been emerging at the highest levels of the University of California system ... One of the Regents most vocally advocating for the most stringent version of the speech code is Richard Blum, the multi-millionaire defense contractor who is married to Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California.
FAIR has noted before how America’s well-documented clandestine activities in Syria have been routinely ignored when the corporate media discuss the Obama administration’s “hands-off” approach to the four-and-a-half-year-long conflict ... First, let’s establish what we do know. Based on multiple reports over the past three-and-a-half years, we know that the Central Intelligence Agency set up a secret program of arming, funding and training anti-Assad forces. This has been reported by major outlets ... which — partly thanks to the Snowden revelations — detailed a program that trained approximately 10,000 rebel fighters at a cost of $1 billion a year ...
... In short, but for the Bush administration’s decision to blow up Iraq there would have been no Islamic State rampaging through a chaotic Mesopotamia. The invasion was the critical mistake. The botched occupation compounded that initial error. Even by the GOP presidential contenders’ own flawed standard — failing to maintain an Iraqi troop presence — President Bush is most responsible for the ISIS deluge ... It is impossible to ignore the tragedy now overwhelming the Middle East. Washington bears substantial responsibility for the catastrophic conflict. Although President Barack Obama shares the blame, George W. Bush made the most important decisions leading to the destruction of Iraq and rise of ISIL. No candidate unable or unwilling to learn from their disastrous mistakes is qualified to sit in the Oval Office.
Christian schools have gone on strike in the Holy Land. Since Sept. 1, some 33,000 students and teachers at independent Roman Catholic-run schools in Israel have downed pencils and schoolbooks to protest what they say are drastic elementary school budget cuts by Israel's government. Some of the schools date back hundreds of years, predating the founding of the state of Israel by centuries ... "I am aware that as an Arab there is a discrimination and racist law against us, which I am trying to hide from my children," she said. "It happens only to Christian schools. Meanwhile, Jewish Orthodox schools, which are also 'recognized, non-official schools,' get the full budget."
A strike by staff and students at 47 Palestinian Christian schools in Israel had been taking place for a few weeks before the American broadcaster NBC took notice. According to NBC’s headline, the protest was about “discrimination.” That it felt the need to put quotation marks around “discrimination” was indicative of how the mainstream media in the United States continuously fail to acknowledge that Israel is, fundamentally, a racist state. The Christian schools represent some of the few independent spaces for Palestinian political, cultural and economic life within Israel ... These assaults on education are part and parcel of a larger structural assault on the very heart of Palestinian social life.
The fundamentalist and evangelical Protestant Christians in the US who fervently embrace Israel are the single most important block of non-Jewish American supporters of the Zionist state and its policies. But few of these “Christian Zionists” realize just what an odd minority they are among the world’s Christians, and how out of step their views are with traditional Christian principles. Christian Zionists reject the ethical values of Jesus as laid out in the Gospels, and betray fellow Christians in Palestine who are victims of Israeli dispossession and oppression.
In case you haven’t heard, the South Dakota Board of Education has dumped early American history from its K-12 curriculum ... Tocqueville understood that sometimes in a democratic society we become so addicted to the present that we forget where we came from. We lose touch with history — the subject that provides us with our identity as Americans ... History is more than memorization. It teaches students that current events are contingent on the events that came before them. History teaches us the root causes of the things that happen in our world today. When students learn about context, contingency, and causation they develop a deeper — more robust — understanding of the world around them. The study of the American past relieves us of our narcissism and helps us to see ourselves as part of a much larger human story.
More than half of Palestinians no longer support a two-state solution to the conflict with Israel, a survey released on Monday showed, rejecting the goal that has underpinned four decades of international diplomacy. The poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, a leading research group in the Palestinian territories, found that 51 percent of Palestinians oppose the two-state solution while 48 percent support it ... The two-state solution -- an independent Palestine existing side-by-side with Israel -- has been the broad objective of negotiations since the mid-1970s and the overriding focus of U.S.-led diplomacy for the past 20 years ... Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed (65 percent) said they did not believe the two-state solution was any longer practical because of Israel's settlement expansion in the West Bank.
When Reykjavik city council voted on Sept. 15 to boycott all Israeli goods, Israel and its lobby groups were quick to cry anti-Semitism. Their reaction to the move by Iceland’s capital followed the standard response to the growing movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS): any criticism of Israel must really be motivated by a hatred of Jews instead of, say, mountains of evidence of Israel’s war crimes against Palestinians. But in fact it was not anti-Jewish prejudice that motivated the boycott. Rather, it was classic, anti-Semitic fearmongering that helped drive its panicked reversal barely a week later. Björk Vilhelmsdóttir , the boycott’s author, told The Electronic Intifada that her city council colleagues could not resist what she called a “brutal backlash” from Israel and its US lobby groups.
... Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. The United States has about 800 bases and military installations around the globe. Russia has only a handful of small bases near its borders. The exception is in Syria where Russia has had a small naval supply/repair facility in Tartus and an electronic listening post for almost 50 years ... Republican candidates like Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Carly Fiorina appeared to be itching for war with Russia. They are creatures of America’s chief neocon, casino mogul Sheldon Adelson. Most non-Americans must have been horrified to observe such warmongering and pandering to Israel’s far, far right.
The time has come to accept that there are only bad options in Syria, and to choose the least tragic one. It entails accepting the call of the Assad regime -- and its allies, Russia and Iran -- to negotiate a political settlement. The most that one can hope for, at this point, is that (a) Syria will be divided among the various warring factions, but (b) the civil war will stop, and (c) the refugee crisis will abate ... To proceed requires the US and its allies to give up on two fantasies: First of all, that the US will be able to find a liberal, secular, pro-Western group -- or at least a "moderate" one -- whose fighters it could train into a force that would defeat all the others ... Second, the US had best give up on insisting that Assad depart as a precondition for the negotiations.
... As Barack Obama met the Saudi king, scores of protesters stood in front of the White House with signs and banners. Among them was a man in striped prison garb with a King Salman mask ... Yemen is the most obvious location of Saudi troublemaking, but its money-fueled ambitions are regionwide and beyond. It supports the most extreme sectarian forces in Syria and the thousands of volunteers who rally to their call ... Breaking the U.S. alliance with the Saudis would also free Americans from the stain of being partners with a hideous human rights abuser, nicknamed the Kingdom of Horrors. Its executions by decapitation often occur in public spaces for public edification (or gruesome amusement) ... The list of crimes that result in capital punishment is long and includes drug offenses, witchcraft and sorcery.
As depicted by mainstream pundits, Franklin D. Roosevelt was a great president who transformed the U.S. government by enabling it to take an active role in providing for the welfare of the American people, thus uplifting the broad masses and mitigating the severity of the Great Depression ... Though an intelligent man who was certainly a master of interpersonal skills, Roosevelt was not a deep thinker on economics ... He, as well as others, described his policy as one of experimentation or pragmatism ... The fact that he pursued divergent, even contradictory, polices simultaneously meant that the results of any one policy could not be determined accurately.
The party-line of the Left is that Fascism and Nazism were the last resort of Capitalism ... Among the National Socialists in Germany, opposition to international capital figured prominently from the start ... Those German businessmen who did provide funds to the Nazi party did so at a comparatively late date, and were of nationalistic sentiments in a German tradition that was alien to that of the self-interest of the English free-trade school ... The NSDAP premise, “the common interest before self-interest,” was upheld throughout the regime. Dividends and profits were limited to a large extent.
… The picture of the relationship between German big business and the Nazi party which Turner provides us is one that reveals how little big business had to do with the party's success … Most of the NSDAP funds were derived from membership dues, interest-free loans, and the gate receipts from the many mass rallies the party held … In sum, the NSDAP was a prototypical "grass-roots" political organization able to expand and prosper during a period when most of the bourgeois parties suffered a serious loss of support.
Immediately after taking power, Hitler and his new government launched ambitious programs to do deal with the massive unemployment and economic paralysis of the Great Depression. These innovative and comprehensive policies proved remarkably successful. Within three years unemployment was banished and Germany’s economy was booming. As historian Mark Weber explains here, this remarkable achievement is little known and rarely acknowledged. He also takes a look at the Third Reich’s economic and taxation policies, and their impact on people’s lives, as well as the ideology and social-economic principles on which they were based.
This is the story of the United States, the atom and Iran. It's the story of a historic nuclear agreement ... “It started in 1957," he says, "and ironically, it is a creation of the United States. The U.S. provided Iran with its first research reactor ...” ... The U.S. built that nuclear reactor in 1967 on the campus of Tehran University. It also provided Iran with fuel for that reactor — weapons-grade enriched uranium. It seemed like a good idea at the time. It was part of President Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace program, an initiative to provide countries with peaceful, civilian nuclear technologies in the hope that they wouldn't pursue military nuclear programs. The beneficiaries included Israel, India, Pakistan — and Iran, then ruled by a U.S.-backed monarch, Shah Reza Pahlavi.
When the flood of Middle Eastern refugees arriving in Europe finally ebbs and asylum-seekers settle down in their new homes, Germany could unexpectedly find itself housing the continent's largest Muslim minority. The arrival of so many Syrians fleeing their country's brutal civil war is bound to change the face of Islam in Germany, which until now has been dominated by the Turks who first came as so-called "guest workers" in the 1960s. While refugees from Afghanistan, Iraq and other Muslim countries are also arriving, the Syrians make up the largest single contingent – estimated at about 40 percent ... “We could suddenly have five million Muslims," said Thomas Volk, an Islam expert at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, a think tank ... France now has Europe's largest Muslim minority with five million, followed by Germany with about four million.
... Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO from 1997 to 2000 Wesley Clark claims that in 2001, Secretary of War Donald Rumsfeld put out a memo proposing to take over seven countries in five years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran. The basic outline of this plan was confirmed by none other than former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who in 2010 pinned it on former Vice President Dick Cheney: "Cheney wanted forcible 'regime change' in all Middle Eastern countries that he considered hostile to U.S. interests, according to Blair.” ... U.S. State Department cables released by WikiLeaks trace U.S. efforts in Syria to undermine the government back to at least 2006.
... Today [Scott] Walker and other hawks take Reagan as their patron saint, yet Neocons denounced President Reagan as an appeaser for dealing with the Soviet Union’s Mikhail Gorbachev and withdrawing from Lebanon’s civil war. Reagan deployed the military in only three limited actions, and never to engage in social engineering. Reagan was appalled by the possibility of war, which impelled him to advocate missile defense and negotiate with Moscow. Walker contended that “America is not safer” than seven years ago. True, but mainly because of the dangerous military interventions he and other Republican candidates reflexively supported .... Only because of George W. Bush’s foolish invasion did the Islamic State develop, arising in opposition to the U.S. occupation and sectarian, Shia-dominated regime in Baghdad.
Americans are “fed up” with politics, suspect the wealthy are getting an unfair edge, and think the country is going in the wrong direction, according to a new Bloomberg Politics poll that lays bare the depth and breadth of the discontents propelling outsider candidates in the Republican presidential field. The survey shows that 72 percent of Americans think their country isn't as great as it once was ... The primary campaign is playing out before an electorate that's in a sour mood, with 66 percent of Americans saying the nation is headed in the wrong direction. That's the highest level recorded in a Bloomberg national poll since December 2013 ... Asked to name the biggest threats to American greatness, more cited “moral decay” (32 percent) and “our own lagging work ethic” (27 percent) ...
... The recently-approved Iran nuclear agreement is all about is ensuring that Iran honors its commitment under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) not to develop nuclear weapons. But the NPT -- which was ratified in 1968 and which went into force in 1970 — has two kinds of provisions. The first is that non-nuclear powers forswear developing a nuclear weapons capability. The second is that nuclear-armed nations divest themselves of their own nuclear weapons. Article VI of the treaty is quite explicit on this second point ... Thus, despite the insistence of the nuclear powers that Iran comply with the NPT, it is pretty clear that these nuclear-armed countries do not consider themselves bound to comply with this landmark agreement, signed by 189 nations. Some of the nuclear powers, in fact, have been quite brazen in rejecting it.
People seeking refugee status in European countries are generally entitled to food, or money to buy it, plus shelter and medical attention, schooling for their children and access to interpreters and lawyers. The following are some of the rights and benefits they can claim across the continent, above and beyond that basic package.
Marine Le Pen’s far-right-wing National Front party would sweep local elections in France’s northern region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais were they held today, Odoxa poll results indicated Sunday. The outspoken Euroskeptic enjoyed almost 40 percent support among voters in a region that has been hit hard by unemployment and has found itself at the center of a continuing refugee crisis ... Dissatisfied with the two mainstream parties -- President Francois Hollande’s center-left Socialist Party and former President Nicolas Sarkozy’s center-right Union for a Popular Movement -- voters in the country’s northern region are increasingly looking toward the National Front, a party promising employment security in uncertain times.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Wednesday rejected what he called German Chancellor Angela Merkel's "moral imperialism" in Europe's migrant crisis. When asked what he expected from Merkel while Europe grapples with an influx of asylum-seekers, the hardline leader grinned: "I have a long list." Orban accused Merkel of trying to impose her vision of an open EU on the rest of the bloc ... “I don't doubt Germany's right to define its moral obligations for itself. They can decide if they accept every refugee or not... (but) that should only be compulsory for them," Orban said. "We are Hungarians however, we cannot think with German minds. Hungary should have the right to control the impact of a mass migration," he said. “The Hungarian people don't want this, we ask that the wishes of Hungarians be respected."
Demonstrators threw stones and launched fireworks at a bus full of asylum seekers arriving at a reception centre in Lahti in southern Finland, late on Thursday, Finnish media reported on Friday. Between 30 and 40 demonstrators, one in a white robe like those worn by the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan in the United States, waved the Finnish flag and shouted abuse at the bus. Some demonstrators also hurled stones and let off fireworks at the vehicle carrying 40 asylum seekers, including several young children, Finnish television YLE said. Meanwhile, a petrol bomb was thrown at another reception centre in Kouvola, also in southern Finland, police said. No one was known to be hurt in the incidents.
A Chicago television news station made a truly unfortunate art choice to accompany a segment on the Jewish High Holidays on Wednesday: the yellow Star of David that Jews were legally required to wear during the Holocaust. The stock photo was first flagged by a Chicago editor, who posted a screenshot of the WGN news broadcast online. The station responded to apologize for the art choice about 30 minutes later ... European Jews were legally required to wear the yellow badge on their clothing beginning after Kristallnacht in November, 1938, but the anti-Semitic practice of forcing Jewish citizens to don an identifying badge dates back to the 13th century.
Prosecutors from the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein have charged a 91-year-old German woman — whose name has not been revealed because of German privacy laws — with 260,000 counts of accessory to murder, the Associated Press reported on Monday. The nonagenarian allegedly worked as a radio operator for the commandant at the Auschwitz concentration camp complex from April to July 1944. There are no signs that she is unfit to stand trial, says Heinz Doellel, a spokesman for the prosecutors, but a court may not decide whether to pursue her case until next year, the AP reported.
Russian investigators have exhumed the remains of the last tsar and his wife, as they re-examine their 1918 murders. Samples were taken from Tsar Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra, and from the bloodstained uniform of Alexander II, Nicholas's grandfather, killed in 1881. The Romanov family members, who were killed by revolutionary Bolsheviks, are buried at a St Petersburg cathedral. The Orthodox Church wants to confirm family links before other relatives can be reburied with them ... The royal couple and three daughters were formally reburied on 17 July 1998 - the 80th anniversary of the murder. They were canonised by the Russian Orthodox Church in 2000.
Hungary’s parliament has officially condemned the European Union for the deadly results of the refugee crisis ... On Monday, Orbán said: “Our borders are under threat, as is our way of life, which is based on respecting laws. Hungary and Europe are under threat. What is happening now, is we are being overrun, invaded. This is a European daily experience. Those who have been overrun cannot take these people in.” ... A government billboard and poster campaign proclaims: “The people have decided the country must be defended.” Hungarian opinion polls suggest that this policy has boosted the number of Orbán’s supporters, even while it leaves other European leaders frowning.
Britons have been jamming the switchboard of Hungary’s embassy to London with messages of support for Budapest’s controversial stance on the migrant crisis, the mission's staff disclosed on Tuesday. In a briefing designed to defend Hungary's decision to fence off its borders to migrants trying to reach Europe, the country's diplomats disclosed that the embassy in Belgravia was now receiving up to 300 phone calls, emails and letters every day on the matter. While around 30 per cent were comments such as "you are heartless scum", the rest described Hungary's actions as "God's gift to Europe", officials claimed.
On Saturday, Finland started border checks for refugees arriving from Sweden in the northern border town of Tornio, while more than 100 Finns demonstrated in the town's center against the growing influx of asylum seekers, forming a symbolic human wall. According to the public broadcaster YLE, the demonstrators held signs saying "It is enough. Close the borders!" Local police said the demonstration in the town, which is the sole entry point to Finland for refugees arriving from Sweden, had been peaceful and that protesters did not attempt to block people from crossing the border into Finland ... Hundreds of refugees, mainly from Iraq, have poured into Finland from Sweden in recent days and up to 30,000 asylum seekers are expected in Finland this year, compared to 3,651 last year.
Golden Dawn, one of Europe’s most violent far-right parties, has emerged as one of the biggest winners of Sunday’s general election in Greece, consolidating its presence in parliament and power on the streets. The neo-fascist group came in third with seven percent of the vote, behind the triumphant leftwing Syriza and conservative New Democracy. The result was met with abhorrence and dismay ... “Golden Dawn is a movement of power, it is not a protest movement any more,” the party’s Swastika- tattooed spokesman, Ilias Kasidiaris, told Star TV as it became clear that the extremists had retained their position as the country’s third biggest political force ... With 18 MPs in the 300-seat house, around 500,000 Greeks cast ballots in favour of Golden Dawn.
Kapparot, the pre-Yom Kippur folk custom of swinging a chicken around one’s head as a way of purging sin, is one of those Jewish practices that doesn’t always, ahem, dovetail with 21st-century mores. The ritual has often encountered clucks of disapproval, and this High Holiday season is no different. In the United States this year kapparot has been the subject of at least two lawsuits: an anti-kapparot suit filed by animal-rights activists in New York City and a pro-kapparot suit filed by a suburban Detroit Chabad congregation encountering red tape. The New York suit was a victory for the chicken-swingers, with New York State Supreme Court Justice Debra James ruling last week that there was not enough evidence to prove that kapparot is a public nuisance.
Marine Le Pen, the leader of France's far-right National Front, has been ordered to stand trial in October on charges of inciting racial hatred after comparing Muslim street prayers to the Nazi occupation, legal sources said Tuesday. Le Pen was campaigning to take over leadership of the FN from her father in December 2010 when she made the comparison, complaining that there were "10 to 15" places in France where Muslims worshipped in the streets outside mosques when they were full. "I'm sorry, but for those who like talking a lot about World War II, if it comes to talking about the occupation, we can talk about it, because that (Muslims praying on the street) is the occupation of territory," she told a crowd in the southeastern city of Lyon.
Is the current refugee crisis gripping the European Union “all America’s fault”? That is how my critique of US foreign policy was characterized in a recent interview on the Fox Business Channel. I do not blame the host for making this claim, but I think it is important to clarify the point. It has become common to discount any criticism of US foreign policy as “blaming America first.” It is a convenient way of avoiding a real discussion. If aggressive US policy in the Middle East – for example in Iraq – results in the creation of terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda in Iraq, is pointing out the unintended consequences of bad policy blaming America? Is it “blaming America” to point out that blowback – like we saw on 9/11 – can be the result of unwise US foreign policy actions like stationing US troops in Saudi Arabia?
The neoconservatives arguably have damaged American national interests more than any group in modern history ... The neocons have plunged the U.S. government into extraordinarily ill-considered wars wasting trillions of dollars, killing hundreds of thousands if not millions of people, and destablized large swaths of the planet including the Middle East, much of Africa and now Europe ... Clearly, the neocons’ commitment to Israeli interests violates a key principle established by the nation’s early presidents who all warned against “foreign entangling alliances” as a fundamental threat to a citizens’ republic that would transform America into a warrior state that would inevitably sap the nation’s liberties.
California's state Senate voted 31-2 Tuesday [Sept. 8] to ban the names of Confederate leaders from public buildings. SB 539, which passed in the state Assembly last month, would prohibit state or local property from bearing the names of elected leaders or senior military officials of the Confederate States of America. If signed into law, any building or property currently using a Confederate name will have to change its name. (City and county names and the public buildings named for them, like Northern California's Fort Bragg, are exempt.) The legislation will impact at least two elementary schools in Long Beach and San Diego named for Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The bill now goes to Gov. Jerry Brown (D) for consideration.
... In a country that awards the Nobel Peace Prize each year and delights in its reputation for tolerance, the rebranding of Vikings from violent thugs to peaceable craftsmen is part of a broader resurgence of interest in a historical period previously embraced mostly by far-right nationalists. It has helped make pride in the Viking Age respectable at a time when Norwegians, like many other Europeans, are looking to the past to shore up identities shaken by alarm over immigration and the impact of globalization ... Vikings, particularly their symbols and taste for violence, remained a touchy subject for some. "Before the Second World War, the whole nation was proud of our Viking heritage. But after the war it was banned from the public arena for more than 50 years," he said.
Russia has threatened Poland with "most serious consequences" for pulling down a monument to a Soviet World War II general. The removal of the memorial to General Ivan Chernyakhovsky began on September 17 in the northern town of Pieniezno, where the general died of wounds in 1945. Local authorities argue he symbolizes the foisting of communism on Poland. For Russia, Chernyakhovsky is a national hero. Russia's embassy in Warsaw on September 18 issued a statement saying that Russia had "warned the Polish side many times" that removing such monuments "may not remain without the most serious consequences."
When the Iran deal was completed, Republicans took on a creative exercise. The assignment: Come up with the most outrageously hyperbolic condemnation you can think of. And they aced it ... The critics don't realize that the more extreme their characterizations the less credible they are. It's not hard to make the case that the deal is flawed and inadequate. But it's hard to pretend it is, as Cheney claims, "madness." ... Cheney, hitting a familiar conservative theme, insists the Iran agreement is "tragically reminiscent" of the 1938 Munich agreement, under which British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain allowed Nazi Germany to annex a portion of Czechoslovakia. The concession only emboldened Adolf Hitler.
Three in four Americans (75%) last year perceived corruption as widespread in the country's government. This figure is up from two in three in 2007 (67%) and 2009 (66%). While the numbers have fluctuated slightly since 2007, the trend has been largely stable since 2010. However, the percentage of U.S. adults who see corruption as pervasive has never been less than a majority in the past decade, which has had no shortage of controversies from the U.S. Justice Department’s firings of U.S. attorneys to the IRS scandal.
U.S. soldiers were instructed to ignore the sexual abuse of boys by Afghan allies, even when it occurred on military bases, according to a report in the New York Times. The policy of looking the other way was designed to maintain good standing with the U.S.-trained Afghan police and militia in a country where the practice of bacha bazi (boy play) is widespread. In some cases, the U.S. ended up arming suspected pedophiles. But the policy has recently come under scrutiny, the Times reports, because ignoring sexual abuse not only troubled U.S. soldiers, it also alienated the parents of boys who were victims.
Europe's failure to fashion even the beginnings of a unified solution to the migrant crisis is intensifying confusion and desperation all along the multicontinent trail and breeding animosity among nations extending back to the Middle East. With the volume of people leaving Syria, Afghanistan and other countries showing no signs of ebbing, the lack of governmental leadership has left thousands of individuals and families on their own and reacting day by day to changing circumstances and conflicting messages ... Despite the chaos, there were few signs that European Union leaders, or the governments of other countries along the human river of people flowing from war and poverty, were close to imposing any order or even talking seriously about harmonizing their approaches and messages to the migrants. Instead, countries continue to improvise their responses ...
Hungary's PM has said Europe's borders are threatened by migration, at the start of a week of intense diplomatic activity on the crisis. Viktor Orban said migrants were "breaking the doors" and that a united stance was required ... “They are over-running us," said Mr Orban, shortly before Hungary's parliament agreed to hand more powers to the army. “They're not just banging on the door, they're breaking the doors down on top of us. Our borders are under threat. Hungary is under threat and so is the whole of Europe.” The new law allows Hungary's army to use rubber bullets, tear gas and net guns to control migrants at its border.
In a dramatic video message that has already received more than a million YouTube views, the mayor of a Hungarian town on the border with Serbia has a blunt warning for illegal migrants: Don’t come here! Anyone who damages the boundary fence or enters against the law will be prosecuted and subject to penalties, including jail time, says Laszlo Toroczkai, the youthful mayor of Asotthalom. “Hungary is a bad choice,” he says he concludes. “Assothalom is the worst."
The Mayor of Reykjavik, capital of Island, announced that the City Council will cancel its previously-announced boycott of Israeli products, explaining that the city will now only boycott goods produced in “occupied territories.’’ Dagur B. Eggertsson made the announcement on the Icelandic national broadcaster RUV. Earlier this week, the city council voted a resolution to boycott Israeli products “as long as the occupation of Palestinian territories continues,” a vote which was harshly criticised by the Israeli foreign ministry and Jewish groups. The Mayor admitted that the resolution hadn’t been prepared well enough and that it will now be changed and clarified.
... That era of American dominance is drawing to a close as the country's relative power declines, along with its ability to manage global economics and security ... During the next two decades, the United States will face some difficult choices between bad outcomes and worse ones. But such decisions could determine whether America will manage a graceful decline that conserves as much power and global stability as possible. A more ominous possibility is a precipitous power collapse that reduces U.S. global influence dramatically. In any event, Americans will have to adjust to the new order, accepting the loss of some elements of national life they had taken for granted. In an age of austerity, national resources will be limited, and competition for them will be intense.
... Over the past 15 years, America's fortunes have changed with dizzying speed ... Long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have exacted an enormous blood price - the lives of 6,852 American military personnel - not to mention immense financial expense, estimated to be as high as $6 trillion The detention centre at Guantanamo Bay has undermined American ideals, just as the NSA and Wikileaks spying scandals have undercut American diplomacy ... Polls regularly show that Americans recognise that their country's international standing has waned ... Yet it would be a mistake to exaggerate the downsizing of American influence. US military spending continues to dwarf its rivals, and up until last year amounted to more than the next ten countries combined.
... The United States remains an important power, but it knows that it no longer towers over all contenders. Plagued by ballooning debt, Washington has narrowed its foreign policy to a few basic objectives. Yet the deterioration of Pax Americana is not due solely to the United States' declining power. It is also a problem of will -- one rooted in fading national resolve to use those power advantages that the United States still enjoys ... Individuals, too, are experiencing greater personal entropy ... Flatness here refers to a general sense of banality and loss of meaning ... In that sense, modern society suffers from collective attention deficit disorder ... The age of entropy will be a time of restless disorder, an aimless but forceful hostility to the status quo ...
... To return from Europe to the United States, as I did recently, is to be struck by the crumbling infrastructure, the paucity of public spaces, the conspicuous waste (of food and energy above all), the dirtiness of cities and the acuteness of their poverty. It is also to be overwhelmed by the volume and vital clamor of American life, the challenging interaction, the bracing intermingling of Americans of all stripes, the strident individualism ... A resource-rich, spacious nation, mistrustful of government authority, persuaded that responsibility is individual rather than collective, optimistic about the capacity of science and technology to resolve any problem, and living in a polarized political system paralyzed by its “multiple veto points,” tends toward “a scrambling form of adaptation” rather than “effective mitigation.”
Americans have never been so distrustful of their country’s political leaders and major institutions, or more gloomy about the long-term future. This is much more than unhappiness about the economy and unemployment. Across the US and in Europe, there’s a profound crisis of confidence in the democratic-capitalist system. In the years ahead, American and western European society will continue to disintegrate because the factors behind the decline are still in place, and because the prevailing system operates on the basis of an ideology of egalitarianism, universalism and “diversity” that’s not grounded in historical or social reality. Runtime: 45 mins.
The West is suddenly suffused with self-doubt. Centuries of superiority and global influence appeared to reach a new summit with the collapse of the Soviet Union, as the countries, values and civilization of the West appeared to have won the dark, difficult battle with Communism ... The history of the last decade is a bracing antidote to such easy thinking. The rise of authoritarian capitalism has been a blow to assumptions, made popular by Francis Fukuyama, that liberal democracy has proved to be the most reliable and lasting political system. ... But couple the tightening of Chinese authoritarianism with Russia's turn toward revanchism and dictatorship, and then add the rise of radical Islam, and the grand victory of Western liberalism can seem hollow, its values under threat even within its own societies.
Nearly a quarter of Romanian respondents in a survey on Jews said their country should have no Jewish residents. The results of the survey among 1,000 Romanian adults were published last week by the Elie Wiesel National Institute for Holocaust Studies in Romania, which commissioned the Centre for Opinion and Market Studies to conduct the poll in June. Eleven percent described Jews as “a problem for Romania” and 22 percent said they would like them only as tourists.
... I was moved to reflect on the universality of this theme recently when surveying media coverage on Korean and Argentinian responses to the activities of Paul Singer and his co-ethnic shareholders at Elliot Associates, an arm of Singer’s Elliot Management hedge fund. The Korean story has its origins in the efforts of Samsung’s holding company, Cheil Industries, to buy SamSung C&T, the engineering and construction arm of the wider Samsung family of businesses ... “Anti-Semitism” isn’t a peculiarly Western phenomenon. Nor is it a Korean phenomenon, or an Argentine phenomenon. It is a Jewish phenomenon, and it has followed the Jewish people through the centuries and across the oceans. As long as Jews remain unchanged, so too will the response to them remain unchanged.
... The unstated assumption behind the “peace through strength” cliché becomes obvious. It assumes that the power for which a “big military” is being advocated – usually the United States – is the “good guy,” and that it’s all those other “bad” countries that need to be deterred through superior strength. The same assumption is implicit in the standard “Chamberlain at Munich” rhetoric that’s unfailingly used to frame American relations with other countries deemed a “threat.” In this scenario ... the other country’s leader is a self-aggrandizing Hitler, a clear and present danger, emboldened by American weakness. Maybe we should ask ourselves, though, whether America really is the good guy ... Since WWII, the United States is the hands-down winner as most aggressive power in the world.
... It is not the weapons of mass destruction and the fake 45-minute warning we need to worry about, let alone the United Nations. It is the weapons of mass self-deception, and the 15 minutes or so it regularly takes to turn the honest British journalist (and his readers) into Churchillian enthusiasts for red war. Somehow we need to find a treatment for Munich Syndrome. This is the belief that all foreign tyrants are Adolf Hitler, that the calendar is permanently stuck at September 1938, and that we in Britain stand shoulder to shoulder with the USA, mighty in the cause of freedom. I blame history teaching, and TV’s relentless obsession with the Hitler era: the current version of the second world war that is still wildly propagandistic and unreflective.
Until he became leader of the British Labour party on September 12, Jeremy Corbyn — a crumpled, bearded 66-year-old socialist — had had an unremarkable political career ... Now, with the party in disarray, Corbyn has come out of obscurity to become Labour’s next leader — and British Jewry is worried. In a recent Survation poll, 67% of British Jews said they were concerned about his possible victory ... Perturbing British Jewry are Corbyn’s associations with anti-Semitic individuals ... Corbyn’s victory ... is also a cause and a symptom of the drifting apart of Labour and the British Jewish community ... Perhaps the main reason Corbyn in particular has accelerated the separation of British Jews from Labour, though, is the feeling that he grasps neither the seriousness of his associations nor that anti-Semitism can exist on the left at all.
Following Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour’s new leader, the news in Israel was bleak. “New Labor Leader in Britain: Anti-Zionist,” read the headline of Yisrael Hayom, the most widely read newspaper in Israel, which is owned by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s longtime supporter, casino king Sheldon Adelson. ... NRG, another prominent news website, used the ultimate weapon in its headline: “Newly elected Labor Leader donated to Holocaust Denier.” NRG explained that Corbyn had donated money to the pro-Palestinian NGO Deir Yassin Remembered, which is run by Holocaust denier Paul Eizen. It added that seven out of ten Jews in Britain were worried about Corbyn’s election, and that the Labour Party itself was also troubled.
Jeremy Corbyn’s victory yesterday is a clear message to the British political world ... In recent weeks an alliance made up of British Jewish leadership (BOD, Jewish Chronicle etc.) and heavily supported by their caretakers within the British establishment, have waged a brutal yet counter effective campaign against Corbyn ... Before it happened, would anyone have believed that Corbyn would survive the ‘holocaust denial’ slur, or his supposed comradeship with Hamas and Hezbollah? Corbyn’s achievement yesterday was a political earthquake that delivered a clear message to the Jews and their Sabbos Goyim -- beware, the Brits are going through a transition. They don’t buy into the primacy of Jewish suffering anymore, they have had enough of it and no sane person can blame them.
... It was not, however, until March 3, 1931, that The Star-Spangled Banner was officially made the United States’ national anthem by a congressional act signed by President Herbert Hoover. That relatively recent date may come as a surprise to those who imagine the anthem must go back much further in history, but this lack of awareness may be symptomatic of a wider trend. “Many Americans don’t realise how much of what we think is foundational in our country actually stems from the 1920s and the Depression era,” says Sarah Churchwell, professor of American literature ... “The Star-Spangled Banner was made America’s national anthem in 1931, two years after the market crashed, when Americans needed a renewal of faith,” says Churchwell ...
Sven Hedin was one of Sweden’s most famous scientists. Back in the early 1900s he explored Central Asia and Mongolia, and became an international cartographer, hydrographer, photographer and author of popular travel books such as A Conquest of Tibet and Across the Gobi Desert. Among the 150-odd books he wrote were multi-volume atlases of Central Asia. In 1905 Hedin was appointed one of 18 judges on the Nobel Prize Committee. He continued voting on nominees until 1949. In the 1930s, he came to admire Adolf Hitler, and often visited him ... Hitler bestowed many honours on Hedin in the 1930s ... For his 75th birthday, they bestowed the Order of the German Eagle on him. During World War II, Hedin was one of few prominent Swedes who urged Sweden to abandon its neutrality and support Nazi Germany.
A Dutch publisher defended an assertion in a high school textbook that cash-strapped Britain’s support for Zionism owed to its desire to woo rich Jewish bankers. “Theme Workbook – The Middle East,” which is published by ThiemeMeulenhoff and intended for students attending pre-university secondary education — the highest scholastic track in the Dutch education system for minors — is “anti-Semitic,” Likoed Nederland, a pro-Israel local association named after the Israeli ruling party, said in a statement Wednesday. “The British government was in urgent need of money during World War I,” the history book reads on page 23, which explores the reasons for the Balfour Declaration.
It was inevitable that Europe’s refugee crisis would get tied up in Holocaust symbols ... Since World War II ended, Germany’s liberal media has competed with US counterparts like the New York Times in the contest of who is more against the Holocaust. The German side lately has been getting a sportsmanlike pat on the back from the US for championing a multicultural worldview diametrically opposite from the country’s old nationalist ideology ... The German and Austrian kumbaya message is only encouraging more to come who might otherwise find alternative ways, however unattractive, to deal with their unquestionable hardships.
In just a matter of days, the small former Yugoslav republic of Slovenia has been propelled into the center of Europe's refugee crisis. The closure of Hungary's southern border with Serbia on Tuesday has forced thousands of refugees to consider new routes to their desired destinations, such as Germany and other northern European countries ... Slovenia is taking steps to prepare for an influx ... Slovenia is a small country with a population of less than two million and a total area of 20,273 square kilometers, making it smaller than the state of New Jersey, the fifth-smallest state in the U.S.
Flaming torches raised, far-right Golden Dawn supporters dressed in black chanted the Greek national anthem as darkness fell on Thermopylae, where King Leonidas and 300 Spartans defied a vast Persian army in 480 BC. Standing before them, a member of the European Parliament from Golden Dawn, the euro zone's most extreme right-wing political party, roused the crowd with defiant denunciations of enemies at home and abroad ahead of a national election on Sept. 20 ... The party is likely to remain the third-biggest force in the Greek parliament ... “A vote for Golden Dawn means no to bailouts, no to illegal immigration, no to foreign rule," he says. That resonates with Greeks who have struggled during their worst post-war crisis, with record unemployment, collapsing wages and collapsing living standards.
Israel has lashed out at a boycott of its products by the Icelandic capital's city council over the occupation of Palestinian territory, describing it as a "volcano of hatred". Reykjavik's council on Tuesday approved a motion to halt the city's purchase of Israeli products until the occupation ends. "A volcano of hatred is erupting in the Reykjavik city council," Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said. "Without any reason and justification besides pure hatred, calls are being issued to boycott the state of Israel."
The Simon Wiesenthal Center on Friday issued a travel warning for Jews wishing to visit the Icelandic capital after Reykjavik municipality voted Tuesday in favor of a boycott of Israeli goods “as long as the occupation of Palestinian territories continues.” In an emailed statement Friday, the associate dean of the LA-based Jewish NGO, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, said that while Iceland was a popular destination with many Jews and Israelis, “when the elected leaders of its main city pass an extreme anti-Israel and anti-Semitic law, we would caution any member of a Jewish community about traveling there.” Cooper also accused those behind the boycott of hypocrisy, for singling out Israel as a target.
In search of peace? Maybe it's time to move to Iceland. According to the nonprofit Institute for Economics and Peace, the thinly populated island in the midst of the North Atlantic has retained its place as the most peaceful country in the world. The institute released its Global Peace Index for 2015 this week, which ranks 162 nations around the globe based on factors like the level of violent crime, involvement in conflicts and the degree of militarization. Six out of the top ten most peaceful countries were European, with Denmark and Austria holding the second and third spots ... The United States is in the bottom half of the index, scoring badly in terms of militarization, homicides and fear of violence. Its ranking improved somewhat from a year earlier, though, rising from 101st place to 94th.
What Vladimir Putin is up to in Syria makes far more sense than what Barack Obama and John Kerry appear to be up to in Syria. The Russians are flying transports bringing tanks and troops to an air base near the coastal city of Latakia to create a supply chain to provide a steady flow of weapons and munitions to the Syrian army ... Our problem has been that we have let our friends – the Turks, Israelis, Saudis and Gulf Arabs – convince us that no victory over ISIS can be achieved unless and until we bring down Assad. Once we get rid of Assad, they tell us, a grand U.S.-led coalition of Arabs and Turks can form up and march in to dispatch ISIS. This is neocon nonsense ... In making ISIS, not Assad, public enemy No. 1, Putin has it right. It is we Americans who are the mystery inside an enigma now.
“My mother always used to say that her mother’s family was Jewish,” newly appointed Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told The Australian Jewish News. Turnbull, 61, replaced Tony Abbott after an internal vote within the Liberal Party. He was until now Communications Minister ... According to The Australian Jewish News, Turnbull often uses common Yiddishisms, such as “chutzpah,” attends weekly Jewish events in Sydney, is a donor to and supporter of Jewish organizations and is considered a personal friend by many Jewish community leaders.
... In the Thirties, when he was a married man with four dependent children and already borrowing more than £2.5 million in today’s money, he would gamble so heavily on his annual holiday in the South of France that he threw away the equivalent of on average £40,000 every year. In my own career, advising families on tax affairs and investments, I have never encountered addiction to risk on such a scale as his ... His inventive efforts at tax avoidance would spell scandal if attempted by any politician today ... Salvation came from an unexpected quarter ... Sir Henry Strakosch ... a naturalised Briton born in Austria, regarded Churchill as the one politician in Europe with the vision, energy and courage to resist the Nazi threat. He had no hesitation in paying off £12,000 (about £660,000 today) of his share-trading debts.
… Irving went on us describe several sources of secret financial support enjoyed by Churchill. In addition to money supplied by the Czech government, Churchill was financed during the "wilderness years" between 1930 and 1939 by a slush fund emanating from a secret pressure group known as the Focus … Irving then revealed further details of Churchill's financing by the Czechs, as well as the facts of Churchill’s financial rescue by a wealthy banker of Austro-Jewish origins, Sir Henry Strakosch … Irving then gave a detailed account of the cynical maneuverings of Churchill to escalate the aerial campaign against Germany's civilian population …
... Sweden’s generous immigration policies are essential to the image of a country that (like Canada) prides itself as a moral superpower ... Sweden takes in more refugees per capita than any other European country, and immigrants – mainly from the Middle East and Africa – now make up about 16 per cent of the population ... So how are things working out in the most immigration-friendly country on the planet? Not so well ... The majority of people charged with murder, rape and robbery are either first- or second-generation immigrants ... Sweden’s fantasy is that if you socialize the children of immigrants and refugees correctly, they’ll grow up to be just like native Swedes. But it hasn’t worked out that way.
... It’s hard to appreciate the sheer scale of the project [Chancellor] Merkel and Germany have undertaken. In the first seven months of 2015, Germany reportedly received well over 200,000 applications for asylum, leading Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere to predict in August that 800,000 people would arrive in the country as refugees or to pursue asylum by the end of the year, up from an estimate of 300,000 in January ... Either the European Union will establish a unified system for sharing this burden, or it won’t, in which case efforts to build a more federalist Europe will be dealt another severe blow, on the heels of the euro zone crisis ... And yet, at least for now, Merkel’s refugee policies remain popular – a fact that some attribute in part to memory of the Holocaust and World War II.
... The government expects 800,000 people to seek asylum in Germany this year, nearly twice as many as in any other year since reunification 25 years ago. Merkel, known for her caution, has taken the high-risk step of opening Germany's doors wide, and implored her European Union partners to follow the example ... A poll earlier this month showed 33 percent of respondents wanted fewer refugees. But collectively they were well outnumbered by the 37 percent in favor of Germany continuing to take a similar number in the future and the 22 percent who believed their country should accept more ... The post-war refugee experience and a desire to atone for Nazi crimes helped to shape West Germany's Basic Law, or constitution, written when the country was divided. This guarantees victims of political persecution the right of asylum.
Viktor Orban's fence may have earned the wrath of rights groups but it's going down well at a flower market near the Hungarian border town of Roszke, where the flow of migrants through fields of corn and sunflowers has suddenly dried up. The right-wing prime minister's critics say the fence on the frontier with Serbia flies in the face of international law. But to many on Hungary's southern frontier, the end justifies the means. "Thank God that Viktor Orban is our prime minister," said a 46-year-old man who gave his name as Istvan and was selling flowers on Thursday at the Roszke market. "He doesn’t have to be loved, but what he does is good."
... Panicky Democrats are terminating their tradition of Jefferson-Jackson Day dinners, as both presidents were slaveholders. Other slaveholders include Presidents George Washington, James Madison, who authored the Constitution that equated slaves with 3/5ths of a person, James Monroe, of Monroe Doctrine fame ... Jefferson, Jackson and Madison are also the names of the state capitals of Missouri, Mississippi and Wisconsin, and Washington is the capital of the United States. Is it not time to change the names of these cities to honor more women and minorities who better reflect our glorious new diversity? Washington, Jefferson and Jackson are on the $1, $2 and $20 bills. Ought they not all be replaced? ... Make no mistake, a Great Purge of American heroes of yesteryear is at hand.
... I saw ample evidence of the repressive atmosphere that Rock and Seinfeld described, as well as another, not unrelated factor: the infantilization of the American undergraduate, and this character’s evolving status in the world of higher learning — less a student than a consumer, someone whose whims and affectations (political, sexual, pseudo-intellectual) must be constantly supported and championed ... Almost all of them have internalized the code that you don’t laugh at politically incorrect statements; you complain about them. In part, this is because they are the inheritors of three decades of identity politics, which have come to be a central driver of attitudes on college campuses.
... The Pew Research Center’s landmark new  survey of American Jews found that overall, about six-in-ten (62%) say being Jewish is mainly a matter of ancestry and/ or culture, while just 15% say it’s mainly a matter of religion ... When we asked Jews about what is and is not essential to their own sense of Jewishness, 73% say remembering the Holocaust is essential (including 76% of Jews by religion and 60% of Jews of no religion). Almost as many Jews, 69%, say leading an ethical and moral life is essential, and 56% cite working for social justice and equality; only 19% say observing Jewish law is essential.
... For many years now, almost all news footage coming out of Israel has concerned the deeds and misdeeds of the occupation. Gone and forgotten is the face of Israel as the progressive state created by the victims of the most hideous mass crime in modern history ... The Israel that presents itself to the world now is a state of occupiers, of oppressors, of brutal colonizers, of soldiers armed to the teeth who arrest people in the middle of the night and persecute them during the day. This face changes the perception of Israel throughout the world. Every TV clip and news item adds imperceptibly to this change. The attitude of ordinary people around the world, also including Jews, is changed. The damage is lasting and probably irremediable.
Larry Thorne enlisted in the U.S. Army as a private in 1954, but he was already a war hero. That’s because his real name was Lauri Törni, and he had been fighting the Soviets for much of his adult life. Born in Finland in 1919, Törni enlisted at age 19 in his country’s army and fought against the Soviet Union in the Winter War of 1939-40 ... In 1942, he was severely wounded after he skied into a mine, but that didn’t slow him down ... Unfortunately for Törni, Finland eventually fell to the communists in 1944. But instead of surrendering, he joined up with the German SS so he could continue fighting the Soviets. He received additional training in Nazi Germany and then looked forward to kicking some Commie butt once more.
Throughout the course of the Star Wars, the filmmakers have relied on fascist imagery lifted from Nazi Germany to add an additional layer of menace to the Empire. That’s not going to change as we move into the new trilogy, kicked off by “Star wars: The Force Awakens,” as the First Order, the new version of the Empire, also draws inspiration from the Nazi party. The upcoming print issue of Empire Magazine has an interview with director J. J. Abrams, and he revealed the sources the creative brain trust drew upon to come up with the First Order. He said: “That all came out of conversations about what would have happened if the Nazis all went to Argentina but then started working together again? What could be born of that? ...” ...
The number of anti-Semitic hate crimes recorded in the UK has risen by more than 50% compared to last year, according to figures released by a Jewish charity. There were 473 recorded incidents of anti-Semitism in the first six months of 2015 compared to 309 in the same period in 2014, according to Community Security Trust (CST), a charity which monitors security and safety of the British Jewish community. Separate figures – released by individual police forces – reveal Greater Manchester, Merseyside, West Midlands, West Yorkshire and London have all seen the greatest increase in the number of hate crimes. The capital has seen the largest rise of 137% – from 193 in 2013/14 to 459 in 2014/15.
Two decades of frontier-free travel across Europe unraveled on Monday as countries re-established border controls in the face of an unprecedented influx of migrants, which broke the record for the most arrivals by land in a single day. Germany's surprise decision to restore border controls on Sunday had a swift domino effect, prompting neighbors to impose checks at their own frontiers as thousands of refugees pressed north and west across the continent while Hungary sealed the main informal border crossing point into the European Union. A majority of EU interior ministers, meeting in Brussels, agreed in principle to share out 120,000 asylum seekers on top of some 40,000 distributed on a voluntary basis so far, EU president Luxembourg said.
Tens of thousands of people have taken part in a "day of action" in several European cities - and in Australia - in support of refugees and migrants. There have also been counter-demonstrations in some countries. Europe is struggling to cope with an enormous influx of people, mostly from Syria, who are fleeing violence and poverty in their own countries. More than 9,000 migrants arrived in Munich on Saturday. Germany expects 40,000 to arrive over the weekend. Chancellor Angela Merkel defended the decision to let in large numbers of refugees, saying she was "convinced it was right".
... How to stop today’s flood of political refugees? Halt the western-led war against Syria. Today. Cease arming and funding the anti-Assad jihadis. The United States, France, Britain and the Saudis can quickly end the Syrian bloodbath by cutting off arms and money. Europe – particularly Germany – could use the mainly middle-class Syrian refugees now pouring in. But Europe does not need – and should not accept – economic refugees from black Africa looking for a better life. They must be turned away and sent home, as difficult as that will be to do.
Rallies engulfed Europe Saturday over the migrant crisis, where 500,000 migrants and refugees have been reported to seek asylum in the European Union member counties only in 2015. Tens of thousands of people filled central London to protest the British government's position on the escalating refugee crisis. Human rights activists, politicians and performers marched to Parliament Square in solidarity with the refugees, who are trying to escape armed conflicts, especially in the Middle East. ... Five hundred thousand migrants and refugees have been seeking asylum in European Union countries this year. A crowd of about 30,000 people rallied in Copenhagen, Denmark, where local media reported demonstrators held up signs reading “Refugees Welcome” and “Europe is the closest neighborhood to Syria."
Thousands of people joined anti-migrant protests in three eastern European capitals on Saturday after leaders from the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia opposed an European Union scheme to fix refugee quotas. In the Polish capital Warsaw, nearly 5,000 people, many chanting anti-Islamic slogans, marched through the city, an AFP correspondent said. “Islam will be the death of Europe”, one of the banners said. Organisers claimed the demonstration drew 10,000 people but police refused to confirm the figure ... Around 1,500 anti-migrant protestors also rallied in the Slovak capital Bratislava, some holding up banners reading: “You’re not welcome here so go home”, an AFP correspondent said. Another said: “Multiculturalism is a utopia, don’t open the borders”.
... On several levels, Netanyahu won. Let me explain. In the first place, since the mid-1990's Netanyahu and AIPAC have sought to divert US focus from the Israeli-Palestinian "peace process" to Iran. They succeeded. Two decades later, with Israel having moved to the far right and the Palestinians in near total disarray, there is no longer any serious discussion of Israeli-Palestinian peace ... Next, by throwing what amounted to a political and diplomatic tantrum, the Israeli side succeeded in making itself the center of attention for the Administration and Congress. In the last few months, there were more meetings held, more hours spent, and more effort expended on reassuring Israel and its supporters of America's "unbreakable, unshakable" commitment, than in any period in our history.
Israel plans to demolish up to 13,000 structures, most of them on privately owned Palestinian land in the part of the illegally occupied West Bank under full Israeli military and civil rule, a UN report has found. Between 1988 and 2014, Israel’s Civil Administration, the governing body that operates in the West Bank, issued 14,000 demolition orders, of which more than 11,000 are still outstanding and could result in the demolition of up to 13,000 structures owned by Palestinians in Area C, including houses, sheds and animal shelters, according to the report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in a radio interview on Friday that “if we do not protect our borders then tens of millions will come to Europe over and over again”. Speaking about his talks in Brussels on Thursday, he told public Kossuth Radio that there were stark differences of opinion between the European Union and Hungary, since most EU leaders think that everyone should be allowed into the bloc. “But if we let in everyone then this means the end of Europe,” the prime minister said, adding that the mass migration would be “endless”. “Sooner or later we will become a minority on our on continent,” he said.
... The truth is that Europe is being threatened by mass migration on an unprecedented scale ... People are worried and concerned – not only in Hungary, but in the whole of Europe. They feel that the leaders they have elected are not in control of the situation ... If European leaders continue like this we must therefore reckon on the arrival of tens of millions of people on Europe’s borders. We must make it clear that we cannot let everyone in, because if we let everyone in, that is the end of Europe. I repeat: if you are rich and attractive to others, you must also be strong, because that which you have worked so hard for will be taken away from you – and then you, too, will become poor.
... Indeed, I would assign to Washington most of the blame for what is happening right now. Since folks inside the beltway are particularly given to making judgements based on numerical data they might be interested in the toll exacted through America’s global war on terror ... We Americans are in something approaching complete denial about how truly horrible our nation’s recent impact on the rest of the world has been. We are universally hated, even by those who have their hands out to receive their Danegeld, and the world is undoubtedly shaking its head as it listens to the bile coming out of the mouths of our presidential candidates ... We choose to dissimulate regarding the bad choices we make followed up with lies to justify and mitigate our crimes.
Highlights: In Japan, there is IQ gradient from north to south; Stature and average income cline is also from north to south; Homicide rates increase from north to south ; Fertility rates and suicide rates decrease from north to south ... It has become increasingly evident that human populations have different behavioral propensities and intelligence levels. Those who have adapted to the harsh northern climate worldwide are taller, more intelligent, more pro-social, less crime prone, and exhibit less fertility. This is said to be due to the more cognitively demanding long winter season ... Since nation states like Italy and Spain exhibit north–south differences in their behavioral propensities in the above expected directions, it is natural to expect the same gradients in other parts of the world.
By the logic of geopolitics, the United States and Iran ought to be cooperating to contain and weaken the Islamic State (IS). Both countries have declared that the group is a very serious threat to their own security and to the security of the entire Middle East ... While Iran acknowledges the need for a change in US-Iran relations to ease regional security threats, the United States has not made a move toward any such acknowledgment. US policy toward the Middle East has long been defined primarily not by threats originating in the region but by much more potent domestic political interests, both electoral and bureaucratic. The power of the Israel lobby in Washington, primarily but not exclusively over Congress, is well known, and that has imposed a rigid political and legal framework of hostility toward Iran on the US government for two decades ...
Hitler’s youngest secretary, Traudl Junge, tells what it was like working for the German leader during the final years of the war. She describes Hitler’s personality and character, and recalls how he treated her and other members of his staff. She also talks about his deep devotion to Eva Braun, and his loneliness. Junge also describes the fearful final hours in the underground command center in the heart of Berlin, as Soviet forces rapidly close in. She recalls Hitler’s mood and behavior just before he ended his life. Runtime: 9:00 mins.
... GOP presidential aspirants are tripping over one another to declare support for turning the military-spending spigot on full blast while also making promises to control the federal government's bloated finances. This incoherent position demonstrates that the GOP field isn't serious about constraining the size and scope of the federal government ... Sadly, just as Democrats erroneously act as if throwing as much taxpayer money as they can at welfare programs makes them the defenders of the downtrodden, Republicans mistakenly act as if shoveling money into the Pentagon's coffers makes them the champions of national security. It's to live in a land of make-believe to insist that big government at home doesn't work but that the success of big government abroad is predicated upon enlarging it and going further into debt.
Calling our American experiment in limited government “irreparably broken,” Charles Murray, a libertarian scholar, says, “we can’t roll back the power of government through the normal political process.” “If you think about how a kleptocracy operates in a third world country, and then you look at how Washington works now, operationally speaking, there’s very little distinction.” Our government’s unelected bureaucrats can, by picking winners and losers, bring most any business down and destroy lives, Murray documents in his new book, “By the People.” Murray, a provocative and prolific scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, makes the case in this book that there’s a proven inability to stop the expansion of the federal government.
Scores on the SAT have sunk to the lowest level since the college admission test was overhauled in 2005, adding to worries about student performance in the nation's high schools. The average score for the Class of 2015 was 1490 out of a maximum 2400, the College Board reported Thursday. That was down seven points from the previous class's mark and was the lowest composite score of the past decade. There were declines of at least two points on all three sections of the test -- critical reading, math and writing. The steady decline in SAT scores and generally stagnant results from high schools on federal tests and other measures reflect a troubling shortcoming of education-reform efforts.
You may feel you are just not a maths person, or that you have a special gift for languages, but scientists have shown that the genes influencing numerical skills are the same ones that determine abilities in reading, arts and humanities ... The findings add to growing evidence that school performance has a large heritable component, with around 60% of the differences in pupil’s GCSE results being explained by genetic factors ... When the scientists factored in IQ scores, they found that intelligence appeared to account for slightly less than half of the genetic component, suggesting that other heritable traits – curiosity, determination and memory, perhaps – play a significant role.
The modern German armed forces, or Bundeswehr, were created just ten years after the end of World War II ... The Bundeswehr eventually grew to one of the largest, well-equipped armed forces in the world, boasting twelve combat divisions, hundreds of combat aircraft in the Luftwaffe (German Air Force), and a formidable force of surface ships, submarines, and maritime aircraft in the Bundesmarine (Navy). ... In the past year numerous articles have arisen demonstrating the Bundeswehr’s lack of readiness. Fixed wing aircraft, helicopters and other vehicles have been grounded due to lack of spare parts, bringing readiness rates below 50% ... If a high priority NATO tasked unit was short over 14,000 pieces of equipment, it calls into question how deep the rot in the Bundeswehr goes and Germany’s commitment to the alliance.
... Sorry, General, but the title greatest “purveyors of radical Islam” does not belong to the Iranians. Not even close. That belongs to our putative ally Saudi Arabia ... If you think Iran is the only source of trouble in the Middle East, you must have slept through 9/ 11, when 15 or the 19 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia. Nothing has been more corrosive to the stability and modernization of the Arab world, and the Muslim world at large, than the billions and billions of dollars the Saudis have invested since the 1970s into wiping out the pluralism of Islam – the Sufi, moderate Sunni and Shiite versions – and imposing in its place the puritanical, anti-modern, anti-women, anti-Western, anti-pluralistic Wahhabi Salafist brand of Islam promoted by the Saudi religious establishment.
... There are two international crises stemming from the catastrophic civil war in Syria: one is the exodus of Syrian refugees arriving in Europe; the other is the expansion of this so-called Islamic State (Isis), which already controls half of Syria and will soon control more ... There is something hypocritical about US criticism over the weekend of possible increased Russian military aid to Syria, though the Russians deny this is happening, because nobody would be more horrified than Washington if the Syrian army collapses and Isis and al-Qaeda become the dominant force in Syria ... Without Russia joining with the US to press their allies inside and outside Syria towards a settlement, the war will go on and the only winner will be Isis and the al-Qaeda clones.
... Shortly after 9/11 , former NATO Commander Wesley Clark learned from a Pentagon source that Syria was on the same hit list as Iraq. As Clark recalled, the Bush administration “wanted us to destabilize the Middle East, turn it upside down, make it under our control.” ... In March 2007, McClatchy broke a story that the Bush administration had “launched a campaign to isolate and embarrass Syrian President Bashar Assad ... The campaign, which some officials fear is aimed at destabilizing Syria, has been in the works for months ...” ... Obama also continued covert funding to Syrian opposition groups, which a senior U.S. diplomat warned would be viewed by Syrian authorities as “tantamount to supporting regime change.”
The huge military parade held in Beijing this week was billed as a commemoration of China’s role in World War II. Over 15 million Chinese died in its eight-year resistance to Japanese invasion ... But history was not the primary purpose of the martial demonstration in Beijing. China was showcasing its newest military equipment to send the world – particularly the United States, Japan, India and Australia – a thunderous message that China has at last found its rightful place in the sun ... As a former soldier and military analyst, I watched the Beijing military parade with respect and admiration. China’s soldiers are what we used to call “Strak” in the US Army – efficient, ready for combat, and buttoned down. They paraded with awesome mechanical precision and evident elan.
Germany could take 500,000 refugees each year for “several years”, the country’s vice-chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, has said ... “I believe we could surely deal with something in the order of half a million for several years,” he told ZDF public television. “I have no doubt about that, maybe more.” Germany expects to receive 800,000 asylum seekers this year, four times the total for 2014. Gabriel also stressed that other European countries must also accept their fair share as refugees flee war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa and head for the European Union ... Donald Tusk, the EU president, warned that the refugee “exodus” could last for years. “The wave of migration is not a one-time incident but the beginning of a real exodus, which only means that we will have to deal with this problem for many years to come,” he said.
Most of the Syrians we see on the nightly news and on newspaper front pages are not fleeing war-torn Syria. They are fleeing places such as Turkey, Jordan, Hungary and Serbia, where they had found refuge and were safe. This distinction is often lost in the coverage of the European "refugee crisis" that is in many respects a migrant crisis ... Many of these Syrians fleeing for safety found safety — in Turkey. What they didn't find was a pleasant place to live or to raise kids ... So they voted with their feet to live in — ideally — Germany or Sweden, where the standard of living is much higher and the people much more accommodating ... And yet, where does it end? ... Everyone agrees that Germany is being generous. The question remains whether it's being foolhardy.
“Liberalism is the ideology of Western suicide,” wrote James Burnham in his 1964 “Suicide of the West.” Burnham predicted that the mindless magnanimity of liberals, who subordinate the interests of their own people and nations to utopian and altruistic impulses, would bring about an end to Western civilization ... The scores of thousands of migrants bursting into Europe and the hundreds of thousands and millions coming after them are going to force Europeans to address an existential question. Who are we? ... Are we simply Europeans, people who live on the world's smallest continent and share a belief in the equality of all peoples and cultures, and in secularism and social democracy? Liberal Man almost alone excepted, every species of animal life reacts or recoils when another species intrudes upon its turf.
...I should recall how the Muslims are flooding Europe to later conquer, or, in other terms, destroy it; about how Europe manages all this, on suicidal liberalism and brainless democracy; democracy and suffrage for chimpanzees. This is always what it concludes to: the civilisation arrives at an overbred condition in which it is not only unable but also unwilling to protect itself; when, seemingly mindlessly, it worships its own enemies. What is more, all this cannot be said in public ... Europe is beginning to realise where it has been taken by its liberal immigration policy. All of a sudden, they have realised that the breed of animal named multicultural society doesn’t exist.
Israel has begun building a fence along part of the country's eastern border with Jordan as Syrian civil war refugees and other migrants flee their countries. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday: "We see today what happens when countries lose control of their borders." He seemed to be referring to the massive influx of refugees from the war-torn Middle East and African migrants heading to Europe. Netanyahu earlier bemoaned the "human tragedy" of Syria's civil war and said Israel has aided its victims. However, he said Israel is too small to take them. Israel already built fences along its border with Egypt to stop African migrants and in the Golan Heights bordering Syria.
... Certainly we all feel for the displaced people, especially the children, but let’s not forget that this is a man-made crisis and it is a government-made crisis. The reason so many are fleeing places like Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, and Iraq is that US and European interventionist foreign policy has left these countries destabilized with no hopes of economic recovery. This mass migration from the Middle East and beyond is a direct result of the neocon foreign policy of regime change, invasion, and pushing “democracy” at the barrel of a gun ... Here is the real solution to the refugee problem: stop meddling in the affairs of other countries. Embrace the prosperity that comes with a peaceful foreign policy, not the poverty that goes with running an empire. End the Empire!
The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution allowing what it officially recognizes as the “State of Palestine” and the Vatican to raise their flags outside the organization’s facilities. In a 119-8 vote on Thursday, with 45 abstentions, the General Assembly approved the move allowing the two entities, both nonmember observer states, to raise their flags following the flags of member states ... Israel, the United States, Canada and Australia voted against the resolution, along with four Pacific island nations. Britain abstained, along with at least ten European Union members states including Germany and the Netherlands.
... A New York Times/ CBS News poll conducted last week reveals that nearly six in ten Americans, including heavy majorities of both whites and blacks, think race relations are generally bad, and that nearly four in ten think the situation is getting worse. By comparison, two-thirds of Americans surveyed shortly after President Obama took office said they believed that race relations were generally good. The swings in attitude have been particularly striking among African-Americans ... Only a fifth of those surveyed said they thought race relations were improving, while about 40 percent of both blacks and whites said they were staying essentially the same.
A key part of President Obama’s legacy will be the fed’s unprecedented collection of sensitive data on Americans by race. The government is prying into our most personal information at the most local levels, all for the purpose of “racial and economic justice.” Unbeknown to most Americans, Obama’s racial bean counters are furiously mining data on their health, home loans, credit cards, places of work, neighborhoods, even how their kids are disciplined in school — all to document “inequalities” between minorities and whites ... So civil-rights attorneys and urban activist groups will be able to exploit them to show patterns of “racial disparities” and “segregation,” even if no other evidence of discrimination exists.
Thirstily swallowed by a humiliated France, the dominant narrative of the French Resistance was cooked up by General de Gaulle – “Joan of Arc in trousers”, Churchill testily called him – when he addressed the crowds outside the Hôtel de Ville on August 25, 1944. “Paris liberated! Liberated by its own efforts, liberated by its people with the help of the armies of France, with the help of all of France.” Yet, as Robert Gildea exposes in this comprehensive survey of the French Resistance [Fighters in the Shadows], the myth that the French freed themselves is largely poppycock ... It is not hard to see why the Resistance, in Gildea’s estimation, “mobilised only a minority of French people. The vast majority learnt to muddle through under German Occupation and long admired Marshal Pétain.”
... French author Léon Arnoux who recently published L’épuration et les Poètes (The Purge and the Poets) claims the origins of the decline coincide with the purges at the end of the Second World War ... Whoever had collaborated in one way or another with the German foe became a prey ... The list of French poets condemned by those modern Torquemadas is long. Some were recognized poets like Abel Bonnard, a member of the French Academy whose work received many awards, Robert Poulet, a Belgian, Robert Brassillach (executed), Pastor Noël Vesper (executed), Sacha Guitry and Jean-Harold Paquis (executed) ... All these talented writers were sacrificed on the altar of political correctness! And today they are voluntarily forgotten by a society that keeps on hammering us about the importance of remembering that era.
... The accused had no attorney, and there was no question of last rites for those condemned to death. The corpses were not put into coffins. The dead were not restored to their families. Very expeditious, this maquis seldom used torture ... Perhaps the most detestable acts of violence are those which attack women. Near Limoges, a young woman of the region, Mlle. d'Armagnac, whose family are proprietors of a château, gets married in the church of her village: when she comes out on the parvis from the mass, maquisards kidnap her, her husband, the priest who married them, and a witness. At dawn the next day she is shot to death in her wedding gown. Motives given: first, she is a chatelaine; in the second place, she has taken care of militiamen.
... President Obama spent a lot of time with leading American Jewish supporters of Israel assuring them the Iran Deal won’t undermine Israel’s security ... He told Stephen Greenberg and Michael Siegal, the leaders respectively of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations and the Jewish Federations, that everyone in the U.S. is “pro-Israel,” we “love” Israel, the two nations are “intertwined” forever ... We could see the transactions of the Israel lobby before our eyes: The president attested that the U.S. and Israel are joined forever, and the big American Israel supporters expressed only one concern vis-a-vis US policy, Israel’s security. They said not a word about the American interest in having a deal ... They are all saying that Jewishness, the legacy of the Holocaust, and the Israel lobby have a prominent place in this debate.
... It's time for the United States to leave the Korean peninsula. South Korea can defend itself ... By 2012, the South Korean economy was 41 times larger than North Korea's. ... The South Korean military is one of the most advanced in the world, with modern tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, and artillery ... Washington keeps 28,500 troops in South Korea, including a division headquarters, an armored brigade, an aviation brigade, and an artillery brigade. The U.S. Air Force has four squadrons of F-16 and A-10 jets at South Korean bases ... Despite its wealth and the urgency of the North Korean threat, South Korea is unwilling to take responsibility for its own defense.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday the record refugee influx to Europe's biggest economy will change the country, which was now seen by many abroad as a place of "hope". "What we are experiencing now is something that will occupy and change our country in coming years," she said after 20,000 migrants arrived at the weekend alone. "We want the change to be positive, and we believe we can accomplish that," she added ... “That is something very valuable, especially in view of our history," she said, expressing joy that "Germany has become a country that many people abroad associate with hope" ... The `Europe based on values must show its face". Germany -- which expects 800,000 asylum requests this year, four times last year's total -- said her country could face costs of 10 billion euros ($11 billion) next year.
The refugee chaos that is now pushing deep into Europe – dramatized by gut-wrenching photos of Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi whose body washed up on a beach in Turkey – started with the cavalier ambitions of American neocons and their liberal-interventionist sidekicks who planned to remake the Middle East and other parts of the world through “regime change.” Instead of the promised wonders of “democracy promotion” and “human rights,” what these “anti-realists” have accomplished is to spread death, destruction and destabilization across the Middle East and parts of Africa and now into Ukraine and the heart of Europe ... The other reality is that the interventionist forces have rooted themselves deeply in Official Washington, inside NATO, within the mainstream news media and even in European institutions.
If we do not protect our borders, tens of millions of migrants will keep coming to Europe, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán stated on the programme 180 minutes of the Kossuth radio station on Friday. The Prime Minister pointed out regarding his talks held in Brussels yesterday: there are major differences between the EU and Hungary because a great many EU leaders believe that everyone should be allowed in. However, if we allow everyone in, that is the end of Europe, Mr Orbán said, who takes the view that there is unlimited succession to the current mass migration, and we may one morning wake up and realise that „we are in the minority on our own continent”.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday rejected a call to host refugees from Syria and elsewhere, saying that while Israel is "not indifferent to the human tragedy of the refugees," it is not in a position to take them in. Netanyahu was responding to Israeli liberals led by opposition leader Isaac Herzog, who said Jewish history demands that the nation show compassion ... In responding to such statements, Netanyahu ... said that Israel’s “lack of demographic and geographic depth” requires controlling its borders against both “illegal migrants and terrorism.” His reference to demographics referred to oft-expressed concerns in Israel about the country's Jewish population being overwhelmed by non-Jews.
As Europe basks in good feelings over its generosity to thousands of migrants and asylum seekers last weekend, critical voices from the political right and far right are poised to become among the biggest beneficiaries of the continuing flow. Parties that have been growing in opposition to immigration, the influence of Islam and the European Union seized on the decision by Austria and Germany to welcome the migrants, pointing out the difficulty of now shutting the migrant tap. And after the shambles of Greece, the image of a European Union seemingly incapable of defending its borders, while trying to impose mandatory quotas on nations for accepting refugees, fit Euroskeptics’ portrayal of Brussels as a European Union capital at once incompetent and domineering.
To Americans World War II is all that is great about America. It represents American bravery, sacrifice, fortitude and compassion ... When the expulsions came to a halt at the end of 1947 some 1,415,135 Sudeten Germans from Czechoslovakia had been expelled into the United States Zone of Occupation, along with 750,000 to the Russian zone and 1,500,000 to British zone ... Thus, the United States was complicit in legalizing the largest episode of ethnic cleansing that occurred in the twentieth century when 12,000,000 to 16,000,000 Germans came to be expelled from their historic homelands from east-central Europe from the spring of 1945 to the end of 1947.
... MacDonogh [in his book, After the Reich] argues that the months that followed May 1945 brought no peace to the shattered skeleton of Hitler's Reich, but suffering even worse than the destruction wrought by the war ... The first 200 pages of his brave book are an almost unbearable chronicle of human suffering. His best estimate is that some three million Germans died unnecessarily after the official end of hostilities. A million soldiers vanished before they could creep back to the holes that had been their homes ... The two million German civilians who died were largely the old, women and children: victims of disease, cold, hunger, suicide -- and mass murder.
... Between 1945 and 1950, Europe witnessed the largest episode of forced migration, and perhaps the single greatest movement of population, in human history. Between 12 million and 14 million German-speaking civilians — the overwhelming majority of whom were women, old people, and children under 16 — were forcibly ejected from their places of birth in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia, and what are today the western districts of Poland ... Tens of thousands perished as a result of ill treatment while being used as slave labor (or, in the Allies' cynical formulation, "reparations in kind") in a vast network of camps ... By any measure, the postwar expulsions were a man-made disaster and one of the most significant examples of the mass violation of human rights in recent history.
Rapidly developing robot technology means drastic changes in how we live, this video graphically explains. As ever more sophisticated robots take on tasks that have been handled by humans, many jobs are being eliminated. This process will accelerate in the years ahead, bringing profound changes in all aspects of life. Runtime: 15 mins.
... A Washington cabal of pro-Israel neocons, oil men, and old-fashioned imperialists joined to promote a grossly illegal invasion of oil-rich Iraq. One of its senior members, former Pentagon official Paul Wolfowitz, admitted that weapons of mass destruction was chosen as the most convenient and emotive pretext for war ... I was immediately dropped from a major TV network after daring mention that Israel supported the 2003 Iraq war and would benefit from it ... For Washington’s bloodthirsty neocons, pulverizing Iraq would remove one of Israel’s most determined enemies, crush the only Arab nation that might challenge Israel’s nuclear monopoly, and cost Israel nothing. Invading Iraq produced the slow disintegration of the Mideast so long sought by militant Zionists. It all worked brilliantly, at least from Israel’s viewpoint. Not, however for the US.
... The real problem is that the neoconservative worldview — one that still informs the thinking of many of the groups and individuals who are most vocal in opposing the Iran deal — is fundamentally flawed. Getting Iraq wrong wasn’t just an unfortunate miscalculation, it happened because their theories of world politics were dubious and their understanding of how the world works was goofy ... The neoconservatives’ prescriptions for U.S. foreign policy are perennially distorted by a strong attachment to Israel, which Max Boot (and others) have described as a “key tenet” of the entire movement ... Support for the Iraq War and opposition to the Iran deal flow from the same flawed premises, and that’s why following their advice today would be as foolish as it was back in 2003.
... The neocons – and Hiatt in particular – did not simply make one mistake when they joined President George W. Bush’s rush to war in 2002-03. They continued with their warmongering in Iraq for years, often bashing the handful of brave souls in Official Washington who dared challenge the neocons’ pro-war enthusiasm ... What is perhaps most remarkable is that almost no one who aided and abetted the catastrophic and illegal decision has been held accountable in any meaningful way. That applies to Bush and his senior advisers who haven’t spent a single day inside a jail cell; it applies to Official Washington’s well-funded think tanks where neoconservatives still dominate; and it applies to the national news media where almost no one who disseminated pro-war propaganda was fired ...
The United States’s engagement in the Middle East since 2001 would be a comedy of errors but for the fact that it is not funny. It all began with the exploitation of a befuddled President George W. Bush by a group of neoconservative advisers who had long planned to invade Iraq and oust its President Saddam Hussein using phony arguments about Baghdad being a nest of terrorists and a repository of weapons of mass destruction ... George Bush’s adventure has rightly been described as the worst foreign policy disaster in the history of the United States ... The United States has also given open and covert support to rebel groups operating in Syria in the insane belief that overthrowing President Bashar al-Assad would lead to the creation of a new democracy.
... Of course, the U.S. government has never wanted to focus public attention on its own irresponsible conduct before 9/11, so politicians and government bureaucrats have always told the public that the terrorists attack us because of our "freedom" or because they are poor and jobless -- neither of which stands up to objective analysis. Yet the American public, content to only cursorily examine the problem, is content to see it as an "us" versus "them" or "good" versus "bad" phenomenon, never wanting to believe that their government had been part of the original problem ... The sickness of militarism and interventionism lies not with the politicians, but with the American people.
Amid a significant downsizing of the money-strapped U.S. Postal Service, the number of letters arriving late has jumped by almost 50 percent since the start of the year. And that's as measured against the agency's own newly relaxed standards ... Mail that's supposed to take two days to arrive took longer -- anywhere from 6 to 15 percent of the time during the first six months of 2015, investigators found, a decline in service of almost 7 percent from the same period last year. Letters that should take three to five days took longer anywhere from 18 to 44 percent of the time, a 38 percent decline in performance over the same time last year ... These longer delivery times became the new normal, or "service standards" in postal parlance.
Adolf Hitler's infamous book outlining his Nazi ideology, "Mein Kampf," has been banned in Germany since the end of World War II. ... Due to the ban, very few Germans have actually read a single line of Hitler's manifesto. Does the hate-filled book still pose a threat? Opinions on this matter vary ... The state of Bavaria still holds the copyright on the work, but it expires on December 31, 2015 ... These concerns are not shared abroad. It is possible to buy reprints in almost every language - and even original copies signed by Hitler himself. Even in Israel, "Mein Kampf" can be found in book stores - in both German and Hebrew. The Turkish edition of the book advertises it as "a classic of anti-Marxist world literature" and even reached number four on the bestseller list in 2005.
A signed copy of Hitler's political treatise Mein Kampf, which he gifted to a fellow inmate from his time in prison in the mid 1920s, is to go on sale in Los Angeles. On the inside cover of the book Hitler wrote in scrawling handwriting: “To Mr. Wilhelm Briemann in remembrance of our joint prison time in Landsberg a. /L. [Landsberg am Lech] dedicated by Adolf Hitler / Munich December 20, 1925.'' Briemann appears to have been a member of Hitler's “Stosstrupp,” a band of para-militaries which took part in the Munich Putsch of November 1923, the event which led to Hitler's imprisonment on a charge of high treason.
Cities across the nation are seeing a startling rise in murders this year, and few places have witnessed a shift as precipitous as Milwaukee. With the summer not yet over, 104 people have been killed this year — after 86 homicides in all of 2014. More than 30 other cities have also reported increases in violence from a year ago. In New Orleans, 120 people had been killed by late August, compared with 98 during the same period a year earlier. In Baltimore, homicides had hit 215, up from 138 at the same point in 2014. In Washington, the toll was 105, compared with 73 people a year ago. And in St. Louis, 136 people had been killed this year, a 60 percent rise from the 85 murders the city had by the same time last year.
New York's murder rate jumped more than ten percent in the last year, forcing the mayor on the defensive Tuesday over any suggestion America's largest city is returning to its dark days. He spoke hours after a pregnant 19-year-old was shot five times and her unborn baby killed in Brooklyn overnight. Official statistics released by the police department show 193 murders in New York over the last 12 months compared to 174 in the previous year, an increase of 10.9 percent. Shooting incidents are up 2.7 percent to 651 over the year ending July 26 compared to 634 for the previous 12 months. Rapes are also up over the same period from 731 to 775.
... It is hard to see how and when we come together as a people. For racial crimes and race conflict have become "the story" that everyone seizes upon — since Ferguson in the summer of 2014 ... As the incidents pile up, with white cops shooting black suspects, and black criminals killing white cops, the news goes viral and America divides along the lines of race and color, and between black and blue ... Liberals and Democrats take sides with the black community out of solidarity and to solidify their political base, while Republicans stand with the cops, law-and-order conservatives, and the Silent Majority in Middle America ... To many Americans, even many who did not vote for him, the election of Barack Obama seemed to hold out the promise that our racial divide could be healed by a black president.
The riskiest gamble of the Obama Presidency, the nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran, was basically won today [Sept. 2]. A rancorous congressional debate is still to come, but 34 senators have now vowed to support the deal, effectively blocking efforts on the Hill to eventually kill it. The diplomacy will almost certainly be the centerpiece of Obama’s foreign-policy legacy. Opponents haven’t given up. The Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump, the Texas senator Ted Cruz, and the conservative talk-show host Glenn Beck are planning a “Stop the Iran Deal” rally at the Capitol, on September 9, the day after Congress returns from recess and begins to debate the terms.
British three-year-olds have been told "the non-Jews" are “evil” in a Kindergarten worksheet handed out at ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools in north London, it can be revealed ... Emily Green, who used to teach at the same Beis Rochel girls’ secondary school ... “It's not uncommon to be taught non-Jewish people are evil in ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools. It is part of the prayers, teaching, their whole ethos,” she said ... Independently translated from Yiddish for The Independent, the worksheet's first question reads: “What have the evil goyim (non-Jews) done with the synagogues and cheders [Jewish primary schools]?” The answer in the completed worksheet reads: “Burned them.” Another question asks: “What did the goyim want to do with all the Jews?” – to which the answer, according to the worksheet, is: “Kill them.”
... By venerating the lesson of Yom Hashoah [Holocaust commemoration day] and diminishing the lesson of Tisha b’Av [when various Jewish disasters throughout history are remembered], we strengthen a national myth that Israel was born of the ashes of the Shoah, rather than born of 2700 years of successive tertiation of the Jewish people ... By elevating this calamity of the Jewish people above all other calamities in our history, we contextualize the Shoah as a unique moment in Jewish history, rather than one more paroxysm of Jew-hatred and murder ... On Tisha b’Av, we recall the wholesale murder of English Jewry and the expulsion of its few survivors by Edward I in 1290, even as Edward’s descendants have the chutzpah to threaten our leaders with arrest for war crimes, should they enter England.
... I thought about the way we cull our memories when I was asked to give a d’var Torah — a sermon — on the Torah portion Matot-Masei (Numbers 30:2-36:13 [Numbers 31: 15-18]), read this year on July 18. It includes an absolutely hair-raising account of divine revenge and, let’s face it, genocide ... To which I can only say, yikes. This is at the very least what has become known as “total war”; we might call it a war crime. I think most of us are uncomfortable when we arrive at these sorts of stories ... My teacher Rabbi Irwin Kula once said that we learn difficult texts because it is a reminder of who we are: a holy nation, but also the product of vicious tribal conflict and outmoded concepts of revenge and holy war.
… Judaism is not just “another religion.” It’s unique among the world’s major religions. The core values and ethos of Judaism are markedly unlike those of Christianity, Islam, and the other great faiths … A core message of the Hebrew scriptures is that Jews are a divinely “chosen” people -- a unique community distinct from the rest of humanity … The seemingly intractable Middle East conflict is more than just a problem of Zionism or politics, or a dispute over land. Israel’s often arrogant policies, and especially its inhumane treatment of non-Jews, have roots in centuries-old attitudes that are laid out in ancient Jewish religious writings.
David Irving, a convicted British Holocaust denier, is currently leading a nine-day tour of former concentration camps in Latvia and Poland. Irving was jailed in Austria in 2006, but in 2010 began running tours of death camps and World War II sites, to the dismay of many Jewish community groups and Holocaust memorial organizations who have accused him of re-writing history and insulting the memory of Holocaust victims ... The Jerusalem Post caught up with Irving at the beginning of his current tour, to find out exactly what his controversial trips entail .... “We started in Riga, Latvia, two days ago; spent the day today going over the execution sites at Rumbula (10,000 shot in two days) and the concentration camp at Salapils, and witnessed the train station at Skirotawa where 1,000 Berlin Jews were unloaded on November 30, 1941 ...”
China has held a lavish parade in Beijing to mark the defeat of Japan in World War Two, showcasing its military might on an unprecedented scale. President Xi Jinping in his opening speech paid tribute to "the Chinese people who unwaveringly fought hard and defeated aggression" from Japan. He also said the People's Liberation Army would be cut by 300,000 personnel, a move expected to be finished by 2017. China's growing military power is being keenly watched amid regional tensions ... China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) is the world's largest military, with 2.3 million members. China also has the second biggest defence budget after the US.
He is the left-wing political underdog experts think could fatally split Britain’s opposition party. Jeremy Corbyn, a little-known backbench MP until a few weeks ago, is now the clear favourite to become the next leader of the Labour Party. He is competing with Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall to succeed Ed Miliband, who quit after the Conservatives retained power in May’s election. Corbyn, 66, was first elected as MP for Islington North (London) in 1983 ... Corbyn is by far the most left-wing of the four candidates and has said he may make state ownership of key industries a central plank of Labour ideology again. In an interview with The Independent on Sunday newspaper, Corbyn said he would consider re-establishing “common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange”.
Jeremy Corbyn is a longtime British Labour MP, hitherto little known outside Britain. Following the resignation of Labour leader Ed Miliband, Corbyn is one of four MPs nominated in the leadership contest, currently subject to ballot amongst Party members and supporters ... Corbyn, supporter of the Palestinian cause, has experienced full guns blazing from official British Jewry ... The treatment of Corbyn by the British Zionist mafia is not novel but redolent of the behavior of the British Zionist machine since its inception. Some insight into this machine can be had from a forgotten book ... Publish It Not: The Middle East Cover-Up, written by Michael Adams and Christopher Mayhew, published in 1975 (Longman) ... For Mayhew: “The secret of the Zionists’ success has lain in the existence of a large, lively and influential Jewish community in Britain ...” ...
... Britain is on the verge of a small political earthquake if, as seems likely, a far-left politician becomes leader of the opposition Labour Party. Not only is Jeremy Corbyn a bit of a seventies throwaback with his beret, beard and leftie enthusiasm for anti-austerity measures ... Corbyn would certainly be a break in a long line of PM’s all of whom have bent the knee to Israel. Corbyn was a leading member of the anti-war movement, led the protests against Israel’s atrocities against Palestinians and has also spoken out against the deportation of various Islamic preachers. He has also called for a British boycott of Israeli universities ... Every poll has shown that Corbyn is the favourite with the rank and file and it is not hard to see why.
Jeremy Corbyn must publicly reject Hamas and Hezbollah to win back trust in the Jewish community angered by his “very hostile” views on Israel, according to the head of the body that represents British Jews. Jonathan Arkush, president of the Board of Deputies, said Mr Corbyn’s links to Holocaust deniers and anti-Semites have caused “very deep concerns” among Jews that must urgently be addressed. He told The Telegraph that the Labour leadership front-runner would not be taken seriously unless started giving “straight answers to straight questions” on his links to extremists. Mr Arkush also said he would demand an immediate meeting with Mr Corbyn if he wins the leadership on September 12 to seek reassurances over his stance towards Israel.
The relationship between Jeremy Corbyn and British Jews can be summarized into a brief observation: While Corbyn’s success represents a hugely popular shift within British political thinking, the orchestrated Jewish campaign against him is there to suggest that once again, Jews set themselves against the people they dwell upon. The vastly growing popularity of Jeremy Corbyn amongst Brits can be easily explained. Following decades of cultural Marxist, divisive Identitarian politics and Zionist-Neocon domination within the British Left, Corbyn brings along a refreshing ideological alternative. ... But as Britain sees the rise of a hugely popular ideological movement, many Jewish institutions see Corbyn as an arch enemy.
... In the past two weeks, the country has been shaken by a perfect storm of headlines that have elevated the refugee issue, long seen in Germany as primarily a southern European problem, to the very top of the public and political agenda ... All of a sudden it seems, the depth of the refugee crisis is beginning to register in Germany. Merkel is no stranger to crises. Her ten years in power have been dominated by the global financial meltdown, turmoil in the euro zone and the conflict with Russia over Ukraine. But those crises were distant for most Germans. Now she must wrestle with a problem that is having a profound effect on communities across Germany.
A surge in migrants, many of them refugees from Syria, hit Hungary's southern border on Tuesday, passing through gaps in an unfinished barrier to a Europe groping for answers to its worst refugee crisis since World War Two. Nearing the end of a flight from war and poverty, they walked around or over coils of barbed wire strung out along Hungary’s 175-km (109-mile) frontier with Serbia, children hoisted on shoulders, bags in hand ... The Balkans is in the grips of an unprecedented surge in migration fueled by war in Syria and instability across the Middle East. More than 100,000 migrants have entered Hungary, part of Europe’s Schengen zone of passport-free travel, this year en route to the more affluent countries of western and northern Europe.
Faced with a surge in migration from the Middle East and North Africa, two European countries are exploring the possibility of erecting towering steel security fences along parts of their borders, similar to Israel's barrier with Egypt. Hungary and Bulgaria have made preliminary inquiries about buying the Israeli-designed fences, according to an Israeli business source who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the discussions. Both EU countries are beefing up their borders to deter migrants, many of them refugees from wars, who are seeking to use them as gateways to richer countries further north and west, particularly Germany.
The moment the Iran nuclear deal becomes law, as seems increasingly likely given growing congressional support for the agreement, the focus of the US-Israel conversation will shift to the question of what’s next. What more will Washington do to mitigate the Iranian threat and reassure Israel and other regional allies? For starters, President Barack Obama seems ready to offer an array of security enhancements. Among them are accelerating and increasing defense assistance to Israel over the next decade; increasing the US military presence in the Middle East; stepping up the enforcement of non-nuclear related Iran sanctions; enhancing US interdiction against disruptive Iranian activity in the region; and increasing cooperation on missile defense.
... If and when the GOP goes down to defeat [over the Iran nuclear deal], they ought to ask themselves: Do they wish to accept and enforce the terms that were negotiated? Or do they wish to cry foul, demand a new deal, and start voting new sanctions on Iran that the world will ignore and that will isolate their own country? How the GOP handles its coming defeat will tell us whether they have learned from the failures of Bush and can now run the country.
The petition urging legal changes ensuring that the Croatian Army uses the chant ‘Za dom spremni’ (‘Ready for the homeland’) at military parades was sent on Monday to Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic and the leader of the centre-right opposition Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ party. The ‘Za dom spremni’ slogan was introduced and used by the Nazi-aligned Independent State of Croatia during WWII, particularly by the notorious elite volunteer units of the Ustasa movement ... The organisers claimed that the petition was signed by some well-known public figures, academics, Catholic bishops, academics, former politicians and professional athletes.
A new book by the architectural historian Despina Stratigakos, "Hitler at Home" (Yale University Press), arriving next month, details how that dictator showed "an enthusiastic interest in even the smallest detail" of his décor. His favorite interior designer, Gerdy Troost, who died in 2003 at 98, saved her voluminous papers ... Hitler preferred subtle earth tones for his homes and offices in Munich, Berlin and the Bavarian Alps ... Before the Nazi invasion of Poland, British and American newspapers and magazines published flattering features about the interiors ... Allied soldiers, after Hitler's suicide, took away countless Nazi souvenirs, which still circulate widely on the market.
Israelis who visited the Auschwitz concentration camp museum in Poland on Sunday were shocked to discover that the museums' management had placed mist showers near the facilities entrance, in an effort to beat the heat. Anyone who saw the showers could not help get past the gas chamber connotation. "As soon as I got off the bus I walked into the shower contraption," said Meyer Bolka, an Israeli visiting the museum. "I was in shock. It was a punch to the gut. I walked up to the reception and asked the worker there about the showers, she said it was a hot day. I told her: 'With all due respect it reminds me of the gas chambers,' she told me she is very sorry." According to Bolka, Israeli youths who were visiting the museum used the mist showers to cool down, but the placement of the contraptions raised anger among the older visitors.
A regional governor in Poland said Monday he had serious doubts about the alleged discovery of a Nazi gold train, days after a deputy culture minister revealed he was “more than 99 percent sure” one had been found. “There is no more proof for this alleged discovery than for other claims made over the years,” Tomasz Smolarz, governor of the southwestern region of Lower Silesia, told reporters. Two anonymous fortune hunters claim they have pinpointed the Nazi-era loot ... Global media have for days been abuzz with talk of trains full of jewels and gold stolen by the Nazis after the two men — a German and a Pole — claimed to have found an armored train car buried near the city of Walbrzych.
With evidence mounting that a Nazi train loaded with millions of dollars worth of plundered items has been found in Poland, the World Jewish Congress urged the Polish government to ensure any goods stolen from Jews be returned to their legitimate owners or their heirs ... World Jewish Congress CEO Robert Singer said in a statement: “To the extent that any items now being discovered in Poland may have been stolen from Jews before they were sent to death, concentration or forced labor camps, it is essential that every measure is taken to return the property to its rightful owners or to their heirs.”
A long-time mental health counselor and suicide prevention volunteer committed suicide after saying he couldn't take dreams about his parents' horrific experience during the Holocaust anymore. Peter Wollheim, 67, a founder member of the Idaho Suicide Prevention Action Network and a retired communications professor, was found dead in his Boise home July 21 ... He reportedly left a note saying he was 'tired of having Holocaust dreams' and that he was 'done with life,' according to his only sibling ... For the past year, Wollheim had been awakened by nightmares of his parents, Norbert and Frieda, who had suffered at death camps in Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, although they survived the Nazis. They are now deceased.
What I'm about to write will not come easily for me. I used to be one of those people who took issue with the label of apartheid as applied to Israel. I was one of those people who could be counted on to argue that, while the country's settlement and occupation policies were anti-democratic and brutal and slow-dose suicidal, the word apartheid did not apply. I'm not one of those people any more. Not after the last few weeks ... This is what has become of the rule of law. Two sets of books. One for Us, and one to throw at Them. Apartheid. We are what we have created. We are what we do, and the injury we do in a thousand ways to millions of others. We are what we turn a blind eye to. Our Israel is what it has become: Apartheid.
“At this moment, there is zero chance of the two-state solution,” said Jimmy Carter, giving his bleakest pronouncement yet on the Israeli-Palestinian deadlock to which he devoted much effort while President of the United States, and even more time since then. “These are the worst prospects for peace between Israel and the Palestinians for years,” he said, adding that he didn’t think that Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Prime Minister, “has any intention” of making progress towards the goal, the thrust of international efforts for decades, of the creation of a separate state for the Palestinians alongside Israel ... “The Netanyahu government decided early on to adopt a one-state solution,” he said — meaning that Israel would retain control of the West Bank — “but without giving them [the Palestinians] equal rights.”
The many controversial issues concerning Palestine and the path to peace for Israel are intensely debated among Israelis and throughout other nations -- but not in the United States. For the past 30 years, I have witnessed and experienced the severe restraints on any free and balanced discussion of the facts. This reluctance to criticise policies of the Israeli government is due to the extraordinary lobbying efforts of the American-Israel Political Action Committee and the absence of any significant contrary voices.
A US congresswoman has asked the State Department to investigate whether the killing of two Palestinian teenagers by Israeli security forces last year would preclude Israel from receiving military aid under American law. In a letter to the State Department officials last week, Minnesota representative Betty McCollum said the deaths of Nadeem Siam Nawara and Mohammad Mahmoud Odeh in May 2014 demonstrated the “brutal system of occupation that devalues and dehumanizes Palestinian children.” ... “It is time for a strong and unequivocal statement of US commitment to the human rights of Palestinian children living under Israeli occupation,” McCollum wrote in the August 18 letter ...
Do you like your jazz to be Norah Jones or Ornette Coleman, your classical music to be Bach or Stravinsky, or your rock to be Coldplay or Slayer? The answer could give an insight into the way you think, say researchers from the University of Cambridge. In a study published today in the journal PLOS ONE, a team of psychologists show that your thinking style -- whether you are an 'empathizer' who likes to focus on and respond to the emotions of others, or a 'systemizer' who likes to analyse rules and patterns in the world -- is a predictor of the type of music you like ... Researchers over the past decade have argued that musical preferences reflect explicit characteristics such as age and personality. For example, people who are open to new experiences tend to prefer music from the blues, jazz, classical, and folk genres ...
... My forthcoming publication of the diary of Ivan Maisky, the ubiquitous Soviet ambassador to London, 1932-43, casts doubt on such assertion. Maisky had a front-row seat at some of the most pivotal events of the interwar era ... It is astounding to discover that much of the information obtained by the Kremlin emanated directly from British politicians and officials – all of whom spoke candidly and openly with the Soviet ambassador ... Such meetings with Churchill, Eden or Beaverbrook were almost a daily affair during the war. Maisky had diligently cultivated an intimacy with Churchill and Eden during his 11 years of ambassadorship, which often put them off guard. It is rather intriguing that despite the serious controversies over grand strategy and over plans for postwar reconstruction of Europe, Maisky was kept in their confidence.
… In his powerful new book, Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War, veteran politician and author Pat Buchanan challenges many historic taboos by claiming that Winston Churchill plunged Britain and its empire, including Canada, into wars whose outcomes were disastrous for all concerned. Other writers, me included, have made the same point for decades, but Buchanan has marshalled a formidable array of facts and historians to support his case … Buchanan's book strips away lingering war propaganda and shows the cynicism, lust for power and foolishness of the "saintly" Allied war leaders and their "good" war.
... On a recent visit to the USA I picked up two new books that are going to make a lot of people in Britain very angry ... We were told that the 1939-45 war was a good war, fought to overthrow a wicked tyrant, that the war in Iraq would be the same, and that those who opposed it were like the discredited appeasers of 1938 ... The two books ... are Patrick Buchanan's Churchill, Hitler And The Unnecessary War and Nicholson Baker's Human Smoke ... Many believe the 1939-45 war was fought to save the Jews from Hitler. No facts support this fond belief. If the war saved any Jews, it was by accident.