I am “not isolationist, but I am ‘America First,’” Donald Trump told The New York times last weekend. “I like the expression.” Of NATO, where the U.S. underwrites three-fourths of the cost of defending Europe, Trump calls this arrangement “unfair, economically, to us,” and adds, “We will not be ripped off anymore.” Beltway media may be transfixed with Twitter wars over wives and alleged infidelities. But the ideas Trump aired should ignite a national debate over U.S. overseas commitments — especially NATO. For the Donald’s ideas are not lacking for authoritative support ... Trump is challenging the mindset of a foreign policy elite whose thinking is frozen in a world that disappeared around 1991. He is suggesting a new foreign policy where the United States is committed to war only when are attacked or U.S. vital interests are imperiled.
NATO will celebrate its sixty-seventh anniversary in April. Instead of being an occasion for the usual expression of mind-numbing clichés about the alliance’s enduring importance both to U.S. security and world peace, it should become an opportunity for a long overdue assessment of whether the NATO commitment truly serves America’s best interests in the twenty-first century. There is mounting evidence that it does not ... Sixty-seven years is a long time for any policy to remain intact and try to remain relevant. America’s NATO policy is increasingly failing the most basic tests of relevance and prudence. It is well past time to conduct a comprehensive review and consider even the most drastic option: U.S. withdrawal from the alliance.
If you want to know why we have a $19 trillion national debt and a fiscal structure that will take that already staggering figure to $35 trillion and 140 percent of GDP within a decade, just consider the latest campaign fracas. That is, the shrieks of disbelief in response to Donald Trump’s sensible suggestion that the Europeans pay for their own defense. The fact is, NATO has been an obsolete waste for 25 years ... The plain fact is Russia is an economic and military weakling and is not the slightest threat to the security of the United States ... NATO should have declared victory and been disbanded. The defense budget should have been drastically reduced to a homeland defense force because there were no industrial state enemies left in the world.
Poland’s governing party is seeking to shape the country’s future by controlling perceptions of the past. The conservative Law and Justice party’s strategy includes the use of museums, film, public television and other tools to promote certain episodes in Poland’s history, like the anti-communist resistance after World War II. More controversial, though, are attempts to suppress discussion and research into painful topics, primarily Polish violence against Jews during the Nazi occupation. Law and Justice, which since last year has wielded more power than any party in post-communist times, sees the moves as harnessing history in a mission to build a stronger nation state.
“My argument, in a nutshell, is that if China continues to grow economically over the next 30 years, much the way it has over the past 30 years, it will translate that wealth into military might. And it will try to dominate Asia, the way the United States dominates the Western Hemisphere. And my argument is that this makes good strategic sense for China. Of course, the United States will not allow that to happen if it can. And the United States will, therefore, form a balancing coalition in Asia, which will include most of China's neighbors and the United States. And they will work overtime to try to contain China and prevent it from dominating Asia. This will lead to a very intense security competition between the United States and China's neighbors on one hand, and China on the other hand. And there will be an ever-present danger of war.” Runtime: 30 mins.
“We might survive a communist occupation, but not another American liberation,” I heard a Frenchman say in 1948 when I first visited Paris. I thought he must just be a leftist; I was a child and so innocent. My mother was working in occupied Germany as a correspondent for Reader’s Digest, and had taken me to Paris for a few days of sightseeing. Years later I learned what he meant — any resistance, even a single man shooting from a village, would have the American Army pull back and call in the artillery and Air Force to flatten the area until it was rubble ... Our cities have never been so destroyed, so we have little comprehension about what we do to the cities of other nations. Bombers today, with their extraordinary accuracy, quickly run out of military targets. Then they often go after civilian infrastructure.
... In her perceptive and thorough new book, What Soldiers Do, the historian Mary Louise Roberts of the University of Wisconsin has confronted that myth head-on, offering an alternate view of the Liberation as arresting as it is necessary ... What Soldiers Do is thus an long overdue account of what Roberts calls the “tsunami of male lust” that crashed on the beaches of Normandy in June 1944 and its role in fostering French subservience to American power, personally and politically ... If the US military was happy to turn a blind eye to such behaviour, the same could not be said for rape accusations against American GIs by French women, which did much to “undermine the myth of the American mission embodied in the manly GI.”
... Men with imagination, vision and ability to carry these qualities over into practical soldiering were rare in the static-minded, socially-centered British Army. Percy Hobart was one such man ... From persecution, victimization, and his incredible misemployment as a Home Guard corporal, Hobart's resurrection to a decisive command in the Allied armies is one of the more startling personal stories of the Second World War. His story was hardly the kind of thing likely to impress the public with the efficiency of the war effort, or the quality of Britain's military leadership. Thus he remained almost unknown outside army circles.
Almost every state exists because of violence. Over the centuries world wars, civil wars, revolutions and genocide have helped create nation states across the world. Great empires were built on the violence of superior firepower. Yet commemorating the violent birth of the modern Irish state raises difficult questions because the legacy of killing is so very recent, and because of the deep divisions which remain on the island ... The fact that the rebels rose up without asking the people of Ireland what they felt, and did so in defiance of their moderate comrades, tends to be glossed over in the official remembrance of a modern democratic Ireland.
“Who is our nation’s capital named after?,” a media analyst asks randomly selected people in southern California. If this sample by Mark Dice is at all representative, many Americans don’t know. “I plead the fifth,' one woman says after thinking for a while. One hung over-looking man, wearing an 'I heart DC' shirt, answered 'I don't know ... I just woke up.” He came up with the name Washington after a while, but could not think of the first president's first name. Runtime: 4:36 mins.
.. Mrs. Clinton’s [AIPAC conference] speech was newsworthy for its moral obtuseness and the way in which it promised unilateral White House belligerence should she become president. A reader would never know that her condemnation of Palestinian terrorism omitted any reference to the fact that Israel is the occupier of what is left of Palestinian lands, colonizing them, seizing their water and land, brutalizing the natives and continuing the selective blockade of Gaza, the world’s largest Gulag ever since Israel closed its last colony there in 2005 ... For repeated applause at AIPAC’s convention and its associated campaign contributors, she has lost all credibility with the peoples of the Arab world.
An Israeli soldier was arrested on Thursday [March 24] after a rights group published clear video images of him shooting a wounded, immobilized Palestinian suspect in the head following a knife attack in the West Bank city of Hebron earlier in the day. The graphic, distressing video was posted online by B’Tselem, an Israeli group that provides cameras to Palestinians to help them document human rights abuses in the West Bank territory that has been under military rule since Israel first occupied it in 1967 ... Several Palestinian and Israeli observers were struck by the fact that no one around the soldier who fired the shot seemed to treat the incident as unusual — suggesting that such extrajudicial killings of suspected attackers have now become “routine,” as critics have charged.
Romania’s Holocaust institute on Wednesday protested the appointment of a well-known journalist to the board of the country’s public television station, saying the move is disrespectful to the victims of the Holocaust. The Elie Wiesel Institute for the Study of the Holocaust said that Oana Stanciulescu is unsuitable for the position due to her criticism of a recent law that punishes Holocaust denial or the promotion of the fascist Legionnaires’ Movement with prison sentences of up to three years. Her place on the 13-member board, approved by Parliament Tuesday, has generated strong reactions in a reflection of the difficulty Romanians have had in coming to terms with their history in the quarter-century since communism ended.
UN war crimes judges on Thursday sentenced Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic to 40 years in jail after finding him guilty of genocide and a slew of atrocities, including ethnic cleansing, during the 1990s Balkans conflict. In an historic ruling judge O-Gon Kwon pronounced Karadzic guilty of genocide for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre and nine other charges of murder, persecution, and hostage-taking. The verdict saw Karadzic become the most high-profile figure convicted over the 1992-95 wars that tore Yugoslavia apart. Karadzic, 70, was found guilty of ten of eleven charges relating to some of the worst crimes witnessed in Europe since World War II in a conflict which saw some 100,000 people killed and another 2.2 million displaced.
... The Jewish state has now largely alienated its former friends and supporters in Europe. Its all-important American patron and protector suffers from budgetary bloat, political constipation, diplomatic enervation, and strategic myopia ... Israel is now known around the world for the Kafkaesque tyranny of its checkpoint army in the Occupied Territories, its periodic maiming and slaughter of Lebanese and Gazan civilians, its blatant racial and religious bigotry, the zealotry and scofflaw behavior of its settlers, its theology of ethnic cleansing, and its exclusionary religious dogmatism ... Official America's passionate attachment to Israel has become a very salient part of U.S. political pathology.
He’s crude. He’s blunt. He’s inauthentic. He is not a man of peace. Left and right, religious and secular, Arab and Jew, Israelis don’t have many kind words for Donald Trump, the Republican presidential front-runner. In interviews this week, several prominent Israelis described Trump as an opportunist and a demagogue whose political convictions are hard to make out. “As Israelis, we look at him and laugh a little,” said Ronen Shoval, founder of the right-wing organization Im Tirtzu ... According to a poll in February by the Israel Democracy Institute, three-fifths of Israeli Jews said a Trump administration would be friendly to Israel. A survey by the Israeli news website Walla found that Israelis preferred Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton to Trump by a margin of 38 to 23 percent.
As you watch the presidential election unfold, I thought you might find it useful to read the qualities of a good leader as listed by an ancient Chinese emperor in the Tang Dynasty … So there you have a few criteria by which to judge the candidates. I haven't seen much humility – or reason, for that matter. With the exception of Ron Paul, all the Republicans seem to be competing to be the chief warmonger. The Democrats are following the script written for them by the Israeli lobby. You would think a nation of 300 million people could find a better slate of candidates, but unfortunately money is everything in American politics.
... The style is instantly recognizable: big, imposing, concrete. Here are some of his most iconic, if ill-fated, works: ... In January 1938, Hitler commanded Speer to build him a brand-new chancellery by January of the following year. More than 4,000 workers labored around the clock to complete the building, and production finished 48 hours ahead of schedule. Speer was revered both for the speed of his construction and the magnificence of the building itself. The Marble Gallery was particularly striking. It was covered in richly detailed textures and colors, not to mention 480 feet long — twice the length of the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles.
Britain is experiencing the same decline as Rome in 100 BC, with the collapse of civilisation inevitable, a scientist has warned. Dr Jim Penman, of the RMIT University in Melbourne, believes Britons no longer have the genetic temperament to advance because of decades of peace and a high standard of living. He claims that the huge success of the Victorian era will not be repeated because people in the UK have lost the biological drive for innovation. Instead, Britain is existing in a period similar to the decades before the fall of the Roman Republic where social tensions were rife, the gap between the rich and poor was increasing and extremism was growing.
Few political indiscretions in Britain have had the effect of the Andrew Neather leak of six years ago. The former speech writer for Tony Blair recalled a speech on immigration he had worked on and wrote: “Earlier drafts I saw also included a driving political purpose: that mass immigration was the way that the Government was going to make the UK truly multicultural ...” ... Only now as we look back only 18 years can we really discern the outline of something that had long been suspected — that there was a hostile secret agenda to impose multiculturalism on Britain, and to transform the country beyond recognition. More evidence for this has been gathered in a new book by journalist Tom Bower titled Broken Vows ... The sheer scale of the deception takes the breath away.
... Fuller was more than a brilliant thinker. Of inestimable help in publicizing ideas that demanded a revolutionary change in the conventional British military thinking of the time was Fuller's gift -- one might even use the word genius -- for vivid, forceful and persuasive writing ... Fuller's renown is not merely as a military prophet and innovator, nor, obviously, is it due to his commitment to a short-lived political movement. He is remembered today primarily as a masterful writer of history, and as a historian who artfully described the underlying forces behind historical events.
The Left does not like the idea of human nature. It tells them they are not free to do what they want. From a factual perspective, it tells them people do not change much, so the way things were in the past is mostly how they will be in the future. From a moral perspective, it suggests a standard for what is good other than satisfying desire, since it tells people to act in a way that fulfills their nature, or at least is suited to it. The Left does not like any of that and they have been very successful turning their dislike into accepted dogma. The result is that if you talk about human nature today you are not going to get anywhere. People will say you are stereotyping, you are denying Hope and Change, and you are presenting existing power relations as natural and unchangeable.
The biggest story in Jeffrey Goldberg’s 20,000-word report on “The Obama Doctrine” is President Barack Obama’s open break with the foreign policy establishment. The critique of orthodox national security policy thinking that Obama outlined in interviews with Goldberg goes farther than anything delivered on the record by a sitting president. It showed that Obama’s view on how to define and advance U.S. “national security” diverges sharply from those of the orthodox views of national security bureaucracy and Washington foreign policy think tanks on US “credibility,” the real interests the United States in the Middle East, and how the United States should respond to terrorism.
... History is written by the victor. In recent decades a few brave Israeli scholars have chipped away at the official façade ... A decade ago, the historian Ilan Pappe wrote a groundbreaking book, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, arguing that massacres like the one at Tantura were exploited to drive out Palestinians ... Now another letter, located by Israeli historian Yair Auron and published last week for the first time in English by the Haaretz newspaper, trashes the idea of an ethical Israel army. Written by Shabtai Kaplan, a soldier and journalist, the letter confirms long-held suspicions of a massacre – one that dwarfs Deir Yassin – at Dawaymeh, near Hebron. Soldiers executed hundreds of men, women and children who offered no resistance.
For decades Israel has cited vital security concerns to justify its seizure of the Golan Heights. Israelis have claimed that from 1948 to June 1967, Syrian military forces repeatedly used the Heights to shell Jewish settlements and installations below. These artillery bombardments, in the widely accepted Israeli and American view, justified Israel's conquest of the Heights in 1967, and its occupation ever since. Actually, Israel's seizure and occupation of this territory is based on a historical lie. This was frankly acknowledged by Israel General and cabinet minister Moshe Dayan in an interview given in 1976, but which was not made public until April 1997.
According to an IRmep poll fielded by Google Consumer Surveys the majority of Americans (49.2 percent) believe that Palestinians occupy Israeli land rather than the reverse. The statistically-significant survey was fielded on March 9 in four nations ... The U.S. adult internet population is alone in North America believing that Israelis are under a Palestinian occupation. A simultaneous survey of Canadians reveals that 51.4 percent correctly believe Israelis occupy Palestinian land ... Although there are no major establishment news organizations reporting on or even alleging any Palestinian occupation of Israeli territories, the media’s overwhelmingly negative coverage of Palestinians ... all likely contribute to Americans’ fundamental failure to grasp essential facts about the situation in the Middle East.
Hillary Clinton’s emails reveal how Google wanted to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad using a mapping tool. At a time when America's foreign policy was to topple Assad, the tech giant - whose corporate motto is 'Don't Be Evil - sought to encourage further defections from the leader's regime and boost the confidence of the opposition. The plan's details were passed along to Clinton's team by a Google executive Jared Cohen, who was a senior advisor to Clinton until 2010 and is an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. The 34-year-old left his State Department position after being poached by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt to run Google Ideas, now known as Jigsaw.
... I am here to tell the American people that, if elected president, I will work tirelessly to advance the cause of peace as a partner and as a friend to Israel. But to be successful, we have also got to be a friend not only to Israel, but to the Palestinian people, where in Gaza unemployment today is 44 percent and we have there a poverty rate which is almost as high ... Peace has to mean security for every Israeli from violence and terrorism. But peace also means security for every Palestinian. It means achieving self-determination, civil rights, and economic well-being for the Palestinian people. Peace will mean ending what amounts to the occupation of Palestinian territory, establishing mutually agreed upon borders, and pulling back settlements in the West Bank, just as Israel did in Gaza – once considered an unthinkable move on Israel’s part.
As Israel and the Jewish-Zionist lobby in the US press for war against Iran, awareness is growing everywhere about the realities of the Israel-Palestine conflict, the harmful impact of Israel's policies, and the crucial role of the Jewish lobby in setting US foreign policy. A bold statement by travel guru Rick Steves ("I've been duped") about deceitful US media coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict, and a stern warning by German author Günter Grass about the danger to world peace posed by Israel, are just two recent signs that attitudes are changing, even in countries that have been subjected to decades of relentless pro-Zionist propaganda. Runtime: 49:53 mins.
Reprinting Hitler's autobiography "Mein Kampf" (My Struggle) was long prohibited in Germany — a country that considered the book too dangerous to be read. Now, it's a German best-seller. An annotated version currently ranks second in nonfiction on the German weekly Der Spiegel’s bestseller list, which is considered an authority in German literature circles ... However, the book that is currently topping the German bestseller lists is far different from Hitler's original version. The new 2,000-page edition is heavily annotated with remarks by experts to help put Hitler's comments into context. The publishers think that this solution exposes Hitler's destructive and violent ideology.
... It is perhaps a good time to reconsider and reexamine this most notorious work — and perhaps to banish some of the many myths surrounding it to history ... A large part of the reason for the book’s obscurity is the sorry state of its many English translations ... Mein Kampf is the autobiography and articulated worldview of one of the most consequential and visionary leaders in world history. It is also one of the most maligned and misrepresented texts of the 20th century ... Mein Kampf is one man’s assessment of history and vision for the future. It is blunt; it is harsh; it is unapologetic. It does not comply with contemporary expectations of politeness, objectivity, and political correctness. It sounds offensive to sensitive modern ears. But the book is undeniably important.
Australian research into the academic performance of twins in NAPLAN tests has revealed that skills in maths, reading and spelling are up to 75 per cent genetic. Genetics also had a 50 per cent impact on writing skills. In stark contrast, the influence of teachers and schools on students was only found to be around five per cent, when looking at why children performed better or worse than their peers. The research has been conducted by Emeritus Professor Brian Byrne and colleagues at the Centre of Excellence for Cognition and its Disorders, and the University of New England.
... Whatever one may think of Donald Trump, his campaign has done us a service — exposing the underbelly of a decaying establishment whose repudiation by America’s silent majority is long overdue ... The Beltway has to come to terms with reality. It has not only lost the country; it has lost the party. It is not only these elites themselves who have been repudiated; it is their ideas and their agenda. The American people want their borders secured, the invasion stopped, the manufacturing plants brought back and an end to the conscription of our best and bravest to fight wars dreamed up in the tax-exempt think tanks of neoconservatives. Trump is winning because he speaks for the people. Look at those crowds.
... The belief on the part of pro- and anti-Trumpers that the man is in some way an advocate for white nationalism, fascism, or racial holy war is wrong and foolish. The two sides in the Battle of the Trump have created their own avatars — Trump the hero of the white race vs. Trump the dastardly Hitler Klansman. It’s all delusional. Trump is neither the great white hope nor the great Nazi menace. However, with enough people viewing the Trump presidential run as a referendum on race, it has effectively become one. A proxy war between imaginary Trumps.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was met with an enthusiastic reception in the AIPAC conference in Washington on Monday, as he took a strong pro-Israel stance, blasting everyone from President Obama and the Palestinians to the UN and Iran. "President Barack Obama is the worst thing to happen to Israel," the Republican frontrunner told the audience at the Verizon Center, castigating the U.S. president and his former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for "pressuring our friends and rewarding our enemies." ... Trump took aim at the deal with Iran and the removal of sanctions. "My number one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran," he said to applause. Trump said the deal rewarded Iran with 150 billion dollars, while allowing it to "run out clock" and eventually acquire nuclear arms.
As the 2016 election season gets into full swing in the US, the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran is becoming a focus, and with it the oft-repeated myth of the US having “given Iran $150 billion” as part of the deal, a claim often repeated by hawks looking to see the deal killed. The reality is that the money and other assets belonged to Iran in the first place, and all that really happened under the nuclear deal was their unfreezing, allowing Iran to transfer the money to different banks, and spend it on infrastructure upgrades ... The notion, repeated by many but championed by Donald Trump in particular in recent days, is that this was somehow American money to begin with. It never was, and was never going to be, and the current situation is the default, allowing a foreign country to spend its own money, with no US interference.
Listening to candidates address an AIPAC convention in an election year is bound to give anyone a case of vertigo. Republican or Democrat, the candidates haul out the same clichés to prove their devotion to the state of Israel. It’s a stage built for pandering and hyperbole, and that’s okay. That’s part of the show ... Just for the record: Trump’s characterization of the Iran deal was, in parts, flat out wrong. So was his declaration that Israel has been treated like a “second class citizen” during the Obama administration. In fact, bilateral aid increased dramatically and missile defense funding jumped to three times the amount it was when George W. Bush left office. Israel receives far more aid, under better conditions, than any other nation on earth ... But lies, half-truths and bald inconsistencies somehow do not blemish this candidate, or embarrass him.
Leading Republicans say that President Obama is not a real friend of Israel, and that his policies are harming the Jewish state. They criticize Obama for his view that Israel should halt Jewish settlement expansion in occupied Palestinian territory, and that the pre-1967 borders should be the basis of peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians … But in key points, Obama’s Middle East policy is similar to that of President Ronald Reagan, whom most Republicans regard as their party’s greatest leader in living memory … If the Republican critics of Obama’s Middle East policy are honest and consistent, they must reject President Reagan’s policy as similarly dangerous, “naïve” and harmful to Israel.
Both Ted Cruz and Donald Trump spoke at AIPAC’s conference yesterday, and they put on the typical pandering display one expects from candidates that attend the meeting. Trump made a point of saying near the start of his speech that “I didn’t come here tonight to pander to you about Israel,” and then spent the rest of his speech doing exactly that ... Clinton also joined in with her own hard-line speech designed to underscore her reputation for hawkishness ... Trump’s demagogic opposition to the nuclear deal with Iran tells us much more about how he understands what it means to be “pro-Israel.” Trump said that his “number-one priority” will be to “dismantle” the nuclear deal.
“White flight” is usually described as a post-World War II phenomenon, one that required highways and suburbs and big lawns to flee to. But whites in northern cities really began re-sorting themselves – specifically away from blacks – in the first decades of the 20th century, and what happened then remains relevant to American cities that are still racially divided today. “If you want to understand the origins of segregation in the U.S., you have to look at this period between 1900 and 1930,” says Allison Shertzer, an economist at the University of Pittsburgh who has studied detailed, digitized census forms from that era with Pittsburgh colleague Randall P. Walsh. In their new research, they studied how the arrival of blacks in ten northern cities at the time influenced white behavior.
Once again, on our national holiday of March 11th, at 4 PM in the afternoon, neo-Nazis chanting “Lietuva Lietuviams” (Lithuania for Lithuanians) marched from the Cathedral up our capital city’s central boulevard, Gedimino, to the Seimas (parliament) at its far end. During each of the nine marches (they started in 2008), none of the country’s leaders spoke out to condemn the march ... Yet again, the Union of Nationalist Youth was able to boast that it occupies the center of the capital on the nation’s independence day ... The police counted 1,500 marchers, but there were many more participants at different points. Xenophobic and racist slogans could be heard, accompanied by young women dressed in national costume. This year, skinheads marched at front of the column of people. They were joined by British neo-Nazis, Ukrainian ultranationalists and others.
Donald Trump prostrated himself before the largest pro-Israeli advocacy group in America Monday evening, and they loved him for it. “I didn’t come here tonight to pander to you about Israel. That’s what politicians do: all talk, no action,” Trump said.
Yet pander is exactly what Trump did before an audience of several thousand members of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee [AIPAC] who were gathered to hear presidential candidates speaking Monday inside the Verizon Center in downtown Washington, D.C ... “I love the people in this room. I love Israel,” Trump said. “I’ve received some of my greatest honors from Israel … My daughter Ivanka is about to have a beautiful Jewish baby.”
Donald Trump began his appearance at the annual AIPAC conference in Washington DC by insisting he would not “pander” to his pro-Israel audience, claiming “That’s what politicians do.” But during a lengthy address designed to demonstrate the Republican front-runner’s foreign policy chops to the largest pro-Israel organisation in the US, he did little else. Describing himself as “a lifelong supporter and true friend of Israel,” Mr Trump cited several examples of his loyalty to the Jewish state ... He also pointed out that his daughter Ivanka is due to give birth to a “beautiful Jewish baby” ... As President, he said he would “dismantle” the recent Iran nuclear deal, which he described as “catastrophic” ...
Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton began a full-throated appeal to a general election audience Monday in a speech before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee [AIPAC], touting her foreign policy experience and comfortably promoting a pro-Israel stance more frequently occupied by Republicans. Greeted warmly by the crowd, an audibly fatigued Clinton took a swing at Republican front-runner Donald Trump, declaring Israel needs “a president with steady hands, not one who’s pro-Israel on Monday, neutral on Tuesday and who-knows-what on Wednesday.” Yet she also put daylight between herself and President Barack Obama’s policies, promising to renew an “unwavering, unshakable commitment” to the U.S.-Israel alliance, and pledged unconditional support of Israel’s security.
Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton lambasted Republican front-runner Donald Trump, accusing him of a lack of commitment to Israel as she addressed the American pro-Israel community’s largest annual gathering Monday. Referring to the billionaire businessman’s behavior on the campaign trail along with his vow to remain “neutral” on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the former secretary of state painted Trump as someone who has “no business being our next president.” ... she told the crowd to roaring applause at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual policy conference in Washington ... “Particularly at a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise,” she said, “we must repudiate all attempts to isolate and undermine Israel and the Jewish people.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan hammered the Obama administration on Monday for the nuclear deal with Iran, telling America’s leading pro-Israel group that the agreement legitimized Iran’s nuclear program instead of dismantling it. The Wisconsin Republican also announced in a speech at the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that his first overseas trip as House speaker will be a return visit to Israel ... He said the United States needs to shore up its alliance with Israel, which includes countering Iran's "aggression in Lebanon, in Yemen and in Syria." He also said the security agreement the United States has with Israel should be extended and expanded to include missile defense. He called for resisting any attempts by countries to target Israel with politically motivated boycotts and sanctions.
I am reluctant to write two weeks in a row about Israel’s malignant influence over the United States but as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is meeting in Washington for its annual Summit beginning ... some commentary would seem desirable ... AIPAC is a political pressure group, not an educational foundation, which is purely a pretext exploited to secure it tax exemption. It uses every means, fair and foul, to influence and even intimidate the U.S. government and media to maintain the fiction that Israel is somehow America’s “best friend” and “closest ally” even though it is neither. Its objective is to maintain the flow of U.S. dollars from the U.S. Treasury while keeping the firewall of political protection in place to insulate Israeli politicians from the consequences of their own actions.
French intelligence officers believed that Coco Chanel worked as a spy for the Nazis during the Second World War, according to newly released documents. An informant had told authorities that the designer was the lover - and agent - of German intelligence officer Baron Hans Gunther von Dinklage. Historians released documents from the secret services' archives today, which include files on celebrities they deemed suspicious. A note written in Chanel's file reads: 'A source in Madrid informed us that Madam Chanel was in 1942-43 the mistress and agent of Baron Guenter von Dinklage.’ ... The file also suggests that Chanel was documented an agent by Nazi intelligence organization, the Abwehr, according to researchers.
While there are few U.S. presidents as beloved by Canadians as John F. Kennedy, a new book claims that the 35th president detested the rising 1960s tide of Canadian nationalism and actively campaigned against it. “From Canada’s point of view, (Kennedy) was an absolute bully,” said John Boyko, author of Cold Fire, an account of Canada’s role in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Drawing from newly released documents from the Kennedy Presidential Library and the Canadian National Archives in Ottawa, the book portrays Canada as having played a much more direct role in the 1963 crisis than is generally assumed ... The book focuses in particular on Kennedy’s close attention to Canada’s 1962 and 1963 elections.
... Estimates vary, but Stalin’s victims alone certainly number in the millions. And yet views like Zhenya’s are becoming more common in Russia. Polls show a gradual improvement in perceptions of Stalin, who led the Soviet Union from the late 1920s until his death in 1953. A survey released on March 1 by the Levada Center, a research organization based in Moscow, found that 40 percent of Russians thought the Stalin era brought “more good than bad,” up from 27 percent in 2012. In an annual Levada survey published in January 2015, a majority of Russians (52 percent) said Stalin “probably” or “definitely” played a positive role in the country.
... We hear a lot about the evils of “Holocaust denial.” But those who question the conventional version of Nazi history are only retrospective and speculative. They don't influence events. That can't be said for those who assisted and glorified the Soviet Union under Stalin while it was still active and thereby facilitated its enormous crimes. I don't mean Warner Brothers. I mean Joseph Davies. I mean Walter Duranty. And I especially mean the man who inspired this movie, Franklin Roosevelt. Stalin's victims were in part his victims too.
Our "present" has to a large degree been shaped by the events of 1939-45. The outcome of the contest between Stalin and Hitler, as "relevant" to so many of our contemporaries as those earlier struggles between Persia and Greece or Carthage and Rome, does cast its shadow over our lives ... Stalin was haunted by the fear that the Communist state was essentially a house of cards that could easily collapse. His overriding concern was to shore up the position of the regime, largely through a policy of terrorizing the various peoples who inhabited the USSR.
Nearly half the states in the country are considering legislation aimed at countering the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS, movement. But critics say some bills are cause for concern, either because they seek to legitimize Israeli settlements or go so far in punishing boycott supporters they infringe on constitutionally protected speech. Two states, Illinois and South Carolina, passed laws last year mandating state divestment from companies that boycott Israel, according to a list maintained by Americans for Peace Now. Another eleven states – Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Virginia – are considering similar laws. Kansas and Pennsylvania are debating legislation that would defund universities that participate in an Israel boycott.
... Americans work more than just about anyone else in moderately rich countries ... The percentage of full-time workers has dwindled in the United States since 2007, but the number of hours worked each week has held steady at about 47, according to Gallup. U.S. residents worked about 1,789 hours in 2014, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. That’s about 100 hours more than many of our European counterparts like England, France and Germany. In 2014, full-time U.S. workers reported logging an average of 47 hours per week ... Just eight percent of full-time workers say they work less than 40 hours weekly. Only one-in- five Americans actually takes a lunch break; most opt to eat at their desks ... All of which means Americans are working longer, taking fewer vacations and retiring later
Jews make up just over two percent of the American population. They could soon take up almost half the Supreme Court bench. If Merrick Garland --- announced Wednesday as President Barack Obama’s choice to fill the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat — is confirmed, a record four of the nine Supreme Court justices would be Jewish. Garland would join Jews Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan on the court.
Jewish reaction to the news was rapid, and varied ... On Twitter, Jews appreciated the historically high ratio Garland’s confirmation would create. Others felt three out of nine is enough. And there were the inevitable Bernie Sanders comparisons.
Mark Weber joins host Tim Kelly in this January 2016 broadcast to talk about harmful but widely accepted myths about World War II. (Runtime: one hour, 13 minutes.) Weber talks about the self-righteous and calamitous policies of US President Woodrow Wilson in the First World War. Weber also reviews the even more delusional and catastrophic policies of President Franklin Roosevelt. His illegal and highly deceitful efforts to foment war in Europe, and then pull the US into the conflict continue to have harmful consequences for America and the world today.
Of the approximately half-million titles issued by mainline American publishers in the 1980s, Wartime by Professor Paul Fussell is one of a small selection which a revisionist might profit from reading … It used to be a conviction generations ago that the only certainty upon the outbreak of war was that one side would not win. Modern wars are mainly lost by both sides, though it takes awhile for this to be realized … All times are disorderly. The notion that human affairs move in the direction of something called "normalcy" is a hallucination.
Germany’s government and civil society together must fight anti-Semitism among refugees in Germany, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said. Speaking Monday to more than 100 parliamentarians from some 40 countries gathered in Berlin for the third Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism, Merkel also said that Jews must feel free to speak up when they fear anti-Semitism, and they must be received with sympathy and concern. The president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, has been criticized for expressing fears about anti-Semitism among new refugees arriving in Germany from Muslim countries. More than one million people have sought asylum in Germany in the past year
Tucked between other stores on a famous shopping promenade in central Cairo, one shop has something strikingly bizarre and controversial about it. It would not take one a long time to recognise the shocking difference. The garment store, situated on the pedestrian-only Shawarbi Street, displays on its facade the name of Hitler along with the Nazi Swastika. The store owner, Osama Farouq, insists on the innocuousness of the signs despite the backlash he has received from local and foreign pedestrians since he started his business in the street, nicknamed Cairo’s Champs-Elysees. “The name and the emblem drew my admiration so I decided to put them up on the front of my store,” Farouk told Gulf News.
Laval University will review its choice in imagery for a fundraising campaign after facing criticism that one of its illustrations looks like a pavilion designed by a Nazi architect. One of the Quebec City university's campaign posters is an illustration of a soaring bird trailed by red and gold streams — the school's colours. After the image was released, some pointed out it bears a striking similarity to the German pavilion designed by Adolf Hitler's chief architect Albert Speer. The towering pavilion, created for the 1937 Paris World's Fair, featured an eagle perched on top of a swastika.
... Trump is fast emerging as an American version of the People’s Tribunes of ancient Rome, the important state officials who voiced the people’s anger and concerns. As the Trump revolution spreads, his enemies are desperately seeking ways to stop the Donald’s Juggernaut ... More power to Trump to blast apart this deeply corrupt, cynical party steeped in political payoffs and religious fanaticism ... Readers keep asking me what I think of Trump. My view: he is the worst of the candidates – except all the others ... Trump is right on target when he calls for an even-handed approach to resolving the Arab-Israeli struggle. By daring to utter the term “even-handed,” Trump sent the US Israel lobby into a fury, touching the third rail of US politics.
The United States leads the world in innovation but could soon lose its competitive edge. A Washington, D.C.-based think tank ranked the U.S. tenth when it comes to government policies in support of global innovation, behind countries like Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom ... The United States ranked fourth at 2.7 percent of GDP, behind Israel and Japan. China is spending more than ever on R&D, in 2014 reaching a milestone of two percent of GDP. The U.S. still spends far more on R&D — about $450 billion in 2013 — than any other country, but percentage-wise, U.S. federal R&D spending is at its lowest point since 1956.
Up to a thousand Nazi Waffen-SS veterans and their supporters have marched through Latvia’s capital, Riga, in their annual commemorating procession. In response, Latvian anti-fascists came out to “clean up” the route. The march of the SS veterans started in Vecriga, in Riga’s old town, at 11:00 local time Monday after a religious service. The participants, holding the national flags of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, walked through the city to the Monument of Freedom, where they lay flowers. Many veterans wore uniforms of the legion and pre-war uniforms. The use of Nazi and Soviet symbols was forbidden in the parade and the participants were not allowed to veil faces ... Anti-fascist and Jewish organizations, such as the Simon Wiesenthal Center, believe such rallies glorify Nazism.
... The Waffen SS had a solemn duty, after the defeat of Communism, to focus all their efforts and strength to build a united Europe ... All the SS understood that European unity meant the whole of Europe, even Russia ... This Europe would be the beacon of the world. It would be a remarkable racial ensemble. An ancient civilization, a spiritual force, and the most advanced technological and scientific complex ... Not since the great religious orders of the Middle Ages had there been such selfless idealism and heroism. In this century of materialism, the SS stands out as a shining beacon of spirituality. I have no doubt whatsoever that the sacrifices and incredible feats of the Waffen SS will one day have their own epic poets like Schiller.
The neoliberal ideology that is the engine of corporate capitalism spews its poison around the globe ... The political system becomes a charade ... Infrastructures crumble. The working poor — sacrificed on the altar of corporate profit and suffering job losses, bankruptcies, foreclosures, harassment and arrest — watch helplessly as their dreams for themselves and their children evaporate ... From Mexico to Greece to the United States, the scenario is the same, varying only in degree. Neoliberalism and globalization create a vast race to the bottom ... We are undergoing a slow-motion crash. The continued reliance on established mechanisms of political participation and reform — the chief mistake made by the supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders — will not work. The entire system has to be demolished ...
“Neo-liberalism" is a set of economic policies that have become widespread during the last 25 years or so. Although the word is rarely heard in the United States, you can clearly see the effects of neo-liberalism here as the rich grow richer and the poor grow poorer ... The capitalist crisis over the last 25 years, with its shrinking profit rates, inspired the corporate elite to revive economic liberalism. That's what makes it "neo" or new. Now, with the rapid globalization of the capitalist economy, we are seeing neo-liberalism on a global scale ... The main points of neo-liberalism include: The Rule of the Market ... Cutting Public Expenditure for Social Services ... Deregulation ... Privatization ... Eliminating the Concept of 'The Public Good' or 'Community'
Yisrael Kristal survived two world wars and the Holocaust but doesn't consider himself particularly remarkable, despite being named the world's oldest living man Friday at age 112. The Israeli was born in what is now Poland on September 15, 1903, three months before the Wright brothers' first powered and controlled aeroplane flight. He lived there after the First World War until the Nazi occupation in World War II, when he was eventually sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp. Kristal survived and moved to Israel, where he has lived for over six decades. Guinness World Records confirmed on Friday he was now considered the world's oldest living man, but Kristal remained modest.
... A September Ipsos poll found that a whopping 72 percent of Republicans agreed with the statement: “More and more, I don’t identify with what America has become.” And 62 percent agreed with this statement: “These days I feel like a stranger in my own country.” And it’s not just Republicans. Fifty-eight percent of independents also agreed with the first statement, and 53 percent agreed with the second. Conversely, 55 percent of Democrats agreed with this statement: “More and more, America is a place that I can feel comfortable as myself.” Trump voters look at America and see a nation that, demographically and culturally, is leaving them behind. And they want the loudest, toughest, least politically correct person they can find to stand up and start screaming about it. The Donald more than fits the bill.
Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them ... One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president and nine Supreme Court justices - 545 human beings out of the 235 million - are directly, legally, morally and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country ... Don't you see how the con game that is played on the people by the politicians? Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.
President Obama on Wednesday nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, prompting Republicans to quickly reiterate their refusal to consider any Obama nominee for the high court. But if he were confirmed, Garland’s addition would give the court the highest number of Jewish justices at one time in American history — setting that record for the second time in Obama’s presidency. Garland would be the Court’s ninth-ever Jewish justice, and would fill the seat of the late Antonin Scalia, a devout Catholic and Ronald Reagan appointee. For the first time, the court would have four Jewish and five Catholic justices ... Obama already shifted the balance when he appointed Kagan in 2010, making it three Jews and six Catholics, with no Protestants on the bench for the first time.
... A magnificent book by the French Saint Cyr Military School historian Henri de Wailly, Invasion Syria 1941, has just been published for the first time in English ... In 1941, things went badly wrong for de Gaulle’s tiny Free French army. The "Army of the Levant" – officially fighting for Vichy France – did not surrender ... It fought with great bravery against both de Gaulle’s rag-tag army and the British and Australians who accompanied them. The Australians and the Vichy soldiers both hated de Gaulle’s men, and the British also distrusted the Free French. Almost the entire Vichy force – invited to join de Gaulle’s forces to save "the honour of France" – chose to be repatriated to their half-occupied country, many of them in a ship displaying a large banner upon which was written “Vive Petain”.
America is practically bankrupt yet Israel remains a multi-billion dollar dependent ... Even worse, U.S. cash effectively underwrites Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and attempt to colonize that area through settlements. Had Israel seized empty land in the 1967 war keeping the territories would have been understandable. But Israel also conquered people. Subjecting them to almost a half century of rule without economic or political rights could not help but result in injustice and resentment. The settlements greatly exacerbate this problem, creating a privileged class in the West Bank with preferred access to land, water, roads, and subsidies.
Israel is “a failure,” the Zionist dream has curdled into Jewish selfishness, a major Jewish leader writes in an important article published yesterday. “After a life and career devoted to Jewish community and Israel, I conclude that in every important way Israel has failed to realize its promise for me,” David Gordis states. Gordis is a former executive at the American Jewish Committee, a central organization of the Israel lobby, and former president of the Hebrew College and a former vice president of the Jewish Theological Seminary ... The spiral of that society into occupation and Jewish particularism has caused him to change his mind. It’s a political, spiritual and religious failure: Israel is “distorted by a fanatic, obscurantist and fundamentalist religion which encourages the worst behaviors rather than the best.”
Former President Jimmy Carter speaks from his home in Plains, Georgia, about his book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. In this interview, he talks about pressure put on the American political system that results in US support of Israel. Runtime: 4:26 mins.
... Sea Island last weekend was host to a secret conclave at the Cloisters where oligarchs colluded with Beltway elites to reverse the democratic decisions of millions of voters and abort the candidacy of Donald Trump ... What we see at Sea Island is that, despite all their babble about bringing the blessings of "democracy" to the world’s benighted, AEI, Neocon Central, believes less in democracy than in perpetual control of the American nation by the ruling Beltway elites. If an outsider like Trump imperils that control, democracy be damned ... This was a conspiracy of oligarchs, War Party neocons, and face-card Republicans to reverse the results of the primaries and impose upon the party, against its expressed will, a nominee responsive to the elites’ agenda.
Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday night pledged “total, unvarnished commitment” to the security of Israel, having arrived in the country in the midst of a spate of terror attacks. Biden landed at Ben-Gurion Airport in late afternoon, as Israel reeled from three attacks — in Jerusalem, in Petah Tikva, and in Jaffa, not far from where he held his visit’s first meeting, with former president Shimon Peres. The sirens of ambulances rushing to the scene of the Jaffa attack were clearly audible as Peres hosted Biden, Israel’s Channel 2 reported. Speaking after their talks, Peres says Israel was battling terror attacks, and was also battling for peace, and specifically a two-state solution. Responded Biden: “We have absolutely, total unvarnished commitment to the security of Israel.”
Republican front-runner Donald Trump will address the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Washington, DC later this month, the organization said Friday. Until the confirmation on Trump, leading Democratic presidential contender and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton was the sole candidate listed as speaking. AIPAC has invited all major party presidential candidates to speak ... The list of speakers at the AIPAC conference, which runs from March 20-22, includes senior House leaders from both parties ...
... Resentment of Jewish colonialism, and American support for it, is now an elemental feature of Arab and Persian politics, with much resonance among Muslims all over the world. U.S. identification with Israel and its policies has made the United States the target of Israel’s burgeoning enemies ... If Americans could muster the political will, we could easily administer the requisite tough love to Israel through selective suspensions of the unconditional UN vetoes, aid, and tax subsidies that make counterproductive behavior by the Jewish state cost-free. If we are politically unable to cease the enablement and creation of moral hazard for Israel, we should consider how best to minimize the damage to ourselves as Israel self-destructs. We should not support or appear to support Israeli policies we consider misguided.
It has long been regarded as the greatest sporting snub in history -- when Adolf Hitler stormed out of the Olympic Stadium in Berlin because Germany had been humiliated by a black man ... Now a veteran sports reporter in Germany has come forward to claim that, though Hitler did indeed leave the stadium after the race, it was not before shaking Owens' hand. Siegfried Mischner, 83, claims that Owens carried around a photograph in his wallet of the Fuehrer doing just that. Owens, who felt the newspapers of the day reported 'unfairly' on Hitler's attitude towards him, tried to get Mischner and his journalist colleagues to change the accepted version of history in the 1960s. Mischner claimed Owens showed him the photograph and told him: 'That was one of my most beautiful moments.'
Jesse Owens, the Black track and field star who won four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, died in 1980 at the age of 66. As so often during his lifetime, even this occasion was used by the major television networks and print media to spread slanderous falsehoods which have acquired wide acceptance through repetition over the years … The myths, which are usually asserted as fact, contend that German Chancellor Adolf Hitler was furious when Owens won; that Hitler refused to shake hands with Owens because he was Black; that the Germans were embarrassed because the Owens victory "disproved" German ideas about racial differences …
Empires “disintegrate from within,” and the United States will be no exception, says Ron Paul in a newly released video of his speech at a January 30 Ludwig von Mises Institute conference in Houston, Texas. While the disintegration of the US empire will certainly bring troubles for Americans, it also, Paul says, is “very encouraging.” This is because, Paul predicts, Americans will be offered in the disintegration an opportunity to move the country away from large-scale violations of liberty at home and intervention overseas via a peaceful revolt instead of literally having “to go to war with” the government.
Vienna is the world’s best city to live in; Baghdad is the worst, and London, Paris and New York do not even make it into the top 35, according to international research into quality of life. German-speaking cities dominate the rankings in the 18 th Mercer Quality of Life study, with Vienna joined by Zurich, Munich, Düsseldorf and Frankfurt in the top seven. Paris has tumbled down the league, falling ten places to 37th, just ahead of London at 39th, almost entirely because of the city’s vulnerability to terrorist attacks. The study examined social and economic conditions, health, education, housing and the environment, and is used by big companies to assess where they should locate and how much they should pay staff.
Ben Bernanke ... was also a professor of economics at Princeton, Stanford, NYU, and MIT, as well as an economic advisor, and served ... as the Federal Reserve chairman [2006 to 2014 ] ... Bernanke was recently interviewed ... He said in passing that Hitler was the guy who got economics right in the 1930s. Here’s the transcript: ... “Ironically — and please take this the right way — the person who sort of most understood fiscal policy, in some sense, was Adolf Hitler. Because the rearming of Germany in the ’30s was so big and so extensive — of course, he had other objectives in mind — but the side effect of that re-arming, together with a big highway building program, was such that Germany, which had a very deep depression, actually came out of it much quicker than other countries ...”
Why was Adolph Hitler able to lift Germany out of the Great Depression, when policymakers in the US – particularly the Fed – have failed so miserably? ... Hitler appointed German economist and banker, Hjalmar Schacht, as President of the Reichsbank and Minister of Economics. Schacht, in turn, launched a groundbreaking fiscal stimulus program that rebuilt the nation’s worn infrastructure and put millions of people back to work. At the same time, Schacht took steps to strengthen the currency, jettison the gold standard, and impose capital controls, all of which served to reinforce Germany’s economic independence ... An ascent that depended on “an independent monetary policy of sovereign credit” rather than the issuance of loans by privately-owned banks. (Public money vs private money)
The basis for all government intervention in business in [Third Reich] Germany is to be found in the National-Socialist conception of the relation between business and the State ... Business is subordinated to the State ... The supreme value is the nation, which we call in German Volksgemeinschaft, the community of the nation ... This means that the State is not concerned with economic conditions as long as they do not conflict with the welfare of the nation. The principle of private initiative has been maintained. However, where it seems necessary to bring business into line with the welfare of the nation, the State will not hesitate to intervene and direct business into the desired channels. In Germany, contrary to the usual belief, we have no "planned economy", but rather a "directed" economy ...
... In an army that has lost well over 60,000 dead in almost five years of hard fighting, Syria’s officers have suddenly discovered that the new Russian technology has coincided with a rapid lowering of their casualties. This may be one reason for the steady trickle of old “Free Syrian Army” deserters back to the ranks of the government forces, depleting even further David Cameron’s 70,000-strong army of “moderate” ghost soldiers ... Despite all the boasts of Saudi Arabia that it has formed a massive, if hopelessly untrained, “coalition against terror”, it seems that the Syrians, Iranians and Hezbollah have managed to operate together in difficult, rainy terrain and win their first major joint battle. Iranian forces are now being used on the front lines for the first time, principally around Aleppo.
In addition to using libraries and visiting museums, historic site visitation is another common form of public engagement with the humanities. The percentage of people reporting at least one such visit in the previous year fell by more than a third from 1982 to 2012, with declines across most age groups ... In 2012, 24 percent of Americans age 18 or older had visited a historic site in the previous year. This was 13 percentage points lower than in 1982, with the bulk of the decline occurring from 2002 to 2012. The decline in historic site visitation from 1982 to 2012 was largest in the 25-to-44-year-old population, an age group that includes many parents of young and adolescent children.
Noam Chomsky, the renowned scholar and MIT professor emeritus, says that the rise of Donald Trump in American politics is, in part, fueled by deeply rooted fear and hopelessness that may be caused by an alarming spike in mortality rates for a generation of poorly educated whites. “He’s evidently appealing to deep feelings of anger, fear, frustration, hopelessness, probably among sectors like those that are seeing an increase in mortality, something unheard of apart from war and catastrophe," Chomsky told The Huffington Post in an interview on Thursday ... In an interview with Alternet this week, Chomsky compared the poverty that many Americans now face with the conditions an older generation confronted during the Great Depression.
... In Coming Apart: The State of White America 1960-2010, [Charles] Murray has chosen to take on a subject that garnered a massive amount of media attention in the past year: class and social mobility ... Murray argues that the divergence in habits, such as marriage and consistent employment, are related to the decline of what he terms “founding virtues” in the working class. The bottom income fifth, unlike those at the top, failed to retain values such as industriousness, honesty, devotion to family, and religious faith. He cites the declining labor-force participation rate (independent of unemployment figures) and increased disability benefit collecting as evidence of the decline of industriousness. The increase in single-parent families, supported by the welfare state, is offered up as evidence of the decline of devotion to family.
... What does “rebuild the military” mean? Has the budget been gutted? Have the useless weapons programs like the F-35 finally been shut down? No, the United States still spends more on its military than the next 14 countries combined. ... The US military maintains over 900 bases in 130 countries. It is actively involved in at least seven wars right now, including in Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, and elsewhere. US Special Forces are deployed in 134 countries across the globe. Does that sound like a military that has been gutted? ... The best way to really “rebuild” the US military would be to stop abusing the military in the first place. The purpose of the US military is to defend the United States. It is not to make the world safe for oil pipelines, or corrupt Gulf monarchies, or NATO, or Israel.
Speaking on German public television on Sunday [Feb. 28], Chancellor Angela Merkel said the policy of open borders for migrants would remain. Merkel dismissed a "rigid limit," saying, "There is no point in believing that I can solve the problem through the unilateral closure of borders." "I have no plan B," Merkel said, adding that she was convinced she was on the right track with efforts to redistribute refugees within Europe ... Merkel also said dealing with the migration crisis has been a "difficult path," but that it concerned Germany's reputation in the world ... “What's right for Germany in the long term? There, I think it is to keep Europe together and to show humanity." ... She said that it was her job "to solve problems so that we can stand by our values."
Alice Tanaka Hikido clearly remembers the bewilderment and sense of violation she felt 74 years ago when FBI agents rifled through her family's Juneau home, then arrested her father before he was sent to Japanese internment camps, including a little-known camp in pre-statehood Alaska ... Her father, Shonosuke Tanaka, was among 15 Japanese nationals and two German nationals who were rounded up in the territory of Alaska almost immediately after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. That number would grow to 104 foreign nationals, mostly Japanese, who were arrested in Alaska as alien enemies. An estimated 145 others, including some Alaska Natives who took Japanese names in marriage, also would be sent to internment camps outside the territory ...
In the months following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, many [Americans] expected an immediate attack against the West Coast. Fear gripped the country and a wave of hysterical antipathy against the Japanese engulfed the Pacific Coast … The Japanese were sent to concentration camps not by a group of West Coast racists seeking economic advantage, but by a popular and powerful government run by democratic liberals. At the top of the list of those responsible for not only authorizing the program, but also for keeping it in operation was President Franklin Roosevelt.
The sad saga of civil liberties in the United States during the Second World War begins well before Pearl Harbor. The popular impression is that the Japanese surprise attack in December 1941 caught the U.S. government totally unaware ... For the U.S. government was, without a doubt, better prepared to fight World War II than any previous war in its history ... The Second World War is still today widely regarded as the U.S. State's last "good war." ... The Roosevelt Administration established virtually all the precedents for Cold War political harassment. If this is what we can expect from a "good war," we can only tremble at the thought of what the next "bad war" might bring.
A once prominent name has been erased from the history of the American Right after World War II. Readers of National Review in the late 1950s and early '60s would have found it difficult to miss the contributions of Revilo P. Oliver, among the most frequent book reviewers for the magazine. Oliver, who taught at the University of Illinois and read 11 languages, including Sanskrit, was a classical philologist of great distinction, and his articles for the magazine displayed his remarkable erudition.
On his own and through his proxies in what is called the US “Israel Lobby,” Benjamin Netanyahu expended enormous political and financial capital in attempt to sink President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran ... Once he saw the writing on the wall – even if only temporarily – he decided to make lemonade from Obama’s lemons ... So Bibi’s plan B is now in full motion. First he blindsided the White House by suddenly canceling a meeting with Obama scheduled for this month ... Last year’s $3.1 billion in US military aid to Israel was no longer acceptable, Netanyahu made clear. Instead Biden is expected to swipe the national credit card for a super-size contribution of between $4.2 and $4.5 billion in military aid – in addition to the customary half billion in missile defense assistance and another billion worth of military equipment stored in Israel.
Last week, I asked Donald Trump supporters why they believe that the billionaire real-estate developer will treat them any better than the career politicians they mistrust. The dozens of replies that I received from across the United States make up the largest collection I’ve encountered of Trump supporters setting forth their thinking in their own words. And having read through this non-representative sample, I understand the candidate’s rise better than I did before. Broadly speaking, the men and women who wrote fall into two categories: Those who earnestly believe that Trump is the best choice to lead America, and those who are motivated by giddyness at the chaotic spectacle of his success.
... The so-called 2011 “popular revolution” in Libya was an elaborate plot by France, Britain, the US, aided by the Gulf Emirates and Egypt, to overthrow Libya’s four-decade long strongmen Khadaffi and seize control of his high-grade oil. Western intelligence and quasi-government NGO’s used the same tactics of subversion in Libya that they employed in the successful “color revolutions” Georgia, Ukraine, and Syria, but failed in Iran and Russia ... Hillary Clinton, who is bankrolled by heavy-duty neocons, holds chief responsibility for two calamities: the overthrow of Khadaffi and Syria’s terrible civil war. Khadaffi had been restraining numerous North African jihadist groups. After his overthrow, they poured south into the Sahel and sub-Saharan regions, menacing western-dominated governments.
Former President Bill Clinton on Monday met in secret (no press allowed) with roughly 100 leaders of South Florida’s Jewish community, and, as the Times of Israel reports, “He vowed that, if elected, Hillary Clinton would make it one of her top priorities to strengthen the U.S.-Israel alliance.” He also “stressed the close bond that he and his wife have with the State of Israel.” ... But Bill Clinton’s vow of even greater support for Israel is completely consistent with what Hillary Clinton herself has been telling American Jewish audiences for months. ... “I have stood with Israel my entire career,” she proclaimed. Indeed, “as secretary of state, [she] requested more assistance for Israel every year.”
On Tuesday, Bernie Sanders called for the U.S. to seek a “level playing field” in its approach to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Speaking after his surprising victory in the Michigan Democratic primary, Sanders asserted that there are people of good will in both “Israel and the Arab communities” whom he would seek to bring together as president. “All I can tell you is I will make every single effort to bring rational people on both sides together, so that hopefully we can have a level playing field, the United States treating everybody in that region equally,” Sanders said. Sanders’ proposal to treat both sides fairly makes him an outlier in the presidential race.
McGraw-Hill Education has taken the unusual step of withdrawing a textbook and planning to destroy all copies of it -- following criticism that four maps in the book are inaccurate and anti-Israel. The book is a political science textbook, Global Politics: Engaging a Complex World ... The book features four maps of what is now Israel, Gaza and the West Bank and says that it shows "Palestinian loss of land" from 1946 to 2000. Many Palestinian advocates agree with the maps, but many historians and supporters of Israel strongly disagree and argue that the maps distort key facts, such as Jewish ownership of land before Israel became a country in 1948.
Every year, thousands of Jewish youth [in the USA] flock to Israel for ten days of sightseeing and Zionist indoctrination through Birthright Israel, an organization that offers the trips free of charge to young adults with Jewish heritage. Beginning in May, Birthright and its partner organizations will pilot a new trip specially tailored to a specific demographic: Jewish law enforcement officers. In February, the Jewish National Fund (JNF) announced the first ever “Law Enforcement Israel Adventure,” designed to “connect law enforcement officials to their Jewish roots and Israeli counterparts.” Asked why Jewish police need their own Birthright trip, JNF spokesperson Adam Brill, himself a former Detective with the New York City Police Department, said it’s important for cops to have a connection to “their homeland.”
The results of the very detailed Pew poll of Israeli citizens tends to confirm that the country is going in a very negative direction, particularly with respect to Arab-Jewish relations. The entire report, “Israel’s Religiously Divided Society,” bears close reading. Based on interviews with nearly 6,000 Israeli adults — Jews, Christians, Muslims, Arabs, and Druze ... A 48 percent plurality of Israeli Jews agreed with the statement, “Arabs should be expelled or transferred from Israel.” ... A no less disturbing finding was that 79 percent of Israeli Jews agreed with the proposition that Jews “deserve preferential treatment” in Israel. Although religious Jews supported that notion overwhelmingly, nearly seven out of ten self-described secular Jews also backed that notion.
... Trump is the first high level politician aspirant within living memory to challenge the notion that the United States must stand by Israel no matter what Israel does. Even while affirming his affection for Israel, he has said that Washington must be even handed in its efforts to bring about peace between Israelis and Palestinians, implying that Tel Aviv might have to make concessions. Trump has also added insult to injury by delinking himself from the blandishments of Jewish political mega-donors, who largely call the tune for many in the GOP and among the Democrats, by telling them he doesn’t need their money and can’t be bought. His comments have challenged conventional interest group politicking in American and have predictably produced a firestorm reaction in the usual circles.
... Not in memory has the leadership of a party been so out of touch. The Republican rank and file are in revolt, not only against the failures of their fathers but the policies of their present rulers. Some among the GOP elites, who have waited patiently through the Obama era to recapture control of U.S. foreign policy, are now beside themselves with despair over Trump’s success ... Trump would launch no new crusades for democracy. He would not oppose Russia bombing ISIS. He would build that wall on the border. He would transfer from U.S. taxpayers to rich allies more of the cost of defending themselves. Do not most Americans agree with much of this? Yet this neocon ultimatum about deserting should the voters nominate Trump testifies eloquently to their loyalty.
... What we’re seeing is a desire on the part of many Americans to do what they did in Nye’s day and Gene McCarthy’s — to remove foreign policy decision making from the establishment figures who have created so much of the current mess; who refuse to accept any responsibility for the mess; and who, in many cases, even refuse to acknowledge that there is any mess in the first place. Unfortunately for those who want a change, their only vehicle for pulling it off is Donald J. Trump ... It’s no wonder that the establishment is striking back with this angry and unyielding letter. And Trump makes an easy target. But, even if the establishment manages to kill the messenger, it will still have to deal with those millions who are sending the message.
... Although there are many things to worry about with Donald Trump ... he did do the country a great service by reminding it of George W. Bush’s responsibility for allowing the 9/11 attacks to happen on his watch, for retaliating with a war in Afghanistan that got bogged down in "nation-building," and then for lying the country into an unrelated aggressive invasion of Iraq that ultimately led to the creation of al Qaeda in Iraq and its successor – the even more brutal Islamic state ... If the United States wants to reduce the limited threat of blowback anti-American terrorism from radical Islamists, it should drastically reduce, not increase, its military interventions in Islamic countries.
... The New York billionaire is decimating the conventional wisdom, one of many, that in 2016, total and unconditional support for Israel is a prerequisite for any aspiring GOP candidate wishing to run for president ... Every time Cruz and Rubio try to hit Trump over the head with an Israel club and nothing happens, it is Israel’s weakness that is exposed. Every time Trump wins a party primary without challenge from his supporters, another nail is driven into the coffin of the unshakeable alliance between Israel and America’s deep right. And it’s not as if Trump is really anti-Israel; hardly. Like in most other complex policy issues on which he has spoken, Trump is mainly incoherent, improvising as he goes along, shooting from the lip, saying one thing one day and the opposite the next.
The front-runner in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump, is generating far fewer jitters among Jewish Israelis than in America, with most (61 percent) believing that he is either “moderately friendly” to the Jewish state or “very friendly,” according to the Israel Democracy Institute’s monthly Peace Index poll, released Sunday. Only 14 percent assess his position — alongside several very pro-Israel statements, Trump has said that he will try to be a “neutral” broker in the peace process — as either “not so friendly” or “not at all friendly.”
... Trump’s real ideology is murky, but his targets are clear: Immigrants bring problems and take away jobs. Muslims represent the worst kind of threat: an internal one. America is corrupt and fallen, and by opening its doors to foreigners, tolerating difference, and insisting upon “political correctness,” it has suppressed the very people — that is, middle-class white families — who once made the country great ... And that, ultimately, is why I see Trump as a threat, not just in what his candidacy means for America as a whole, but what it means for us as Jews. His message — of distrusting the foreign, of rejecting the new, of abhorring pluralism — is directly opposed to our history in this country and our best interests as a minority. And it is empowering people who reject the very notion of racial and ethnic diversity.
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is gathering signatures for a petition calling on ABC to cancel the series Quantico, amid allegations of anti-Israel and antisemitic content. The TV thriller is about a group of FBI recruits training to become special agents. ‘’It is deeply disturbing and frightening that ABC’s muddled terrorism-soap-opera series, “Quantico,” has continued to escalate its blatant, vicious defamation of Jews, Israel and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), promoting ugly lies against the Jewish people and the Jewish State,’’ said ZOA President t Morton A. Klein and Director of Special Projects Liz Berney in a statement.
... Jefferson embodied everything that the ABS [American Bible Society] opposed. He rejected traditional Christian beliefs such as the deity of Christ and his resurrection from the dead. He did not believe that the Bible was inspired by God. He despised Calvinists of both the Congregational and Presbyterian variety. He supported the French Revolution, an uprising associated in the Federalist mind with atheism and the destruction of organized religion. He opposed established Christianity and called for the separation of church and state. And he believed that Christians were on the wrong side of history.
A fragile calm in global financial markets has given way to all-out turbulence, the Bank of International Settlements has said, warning of a “gathering storm” which has long been brewing. In its latest quarterly report, watched closely by investors, the BIS – which is known as the central bank of central banks – also warned that investors were concerned governments around the world were running out of policy options. BIS chief Claudio Borio said the “uneasy calm” of previous months had given way to turbulence and a “gathering storm”.
Donald Trump could be the only presidential candidate talking sense about for the American military’s budget. That should scare everyone. “I’m gonna build a military that’s gonna be much stronger than it is right now,” the real- estate-mogul-turned-tautological-demagogue said on Meet the Press. “It’s gonna be so strong, nobody’s gonna mess with us. But you know what? We can do it for a lot less.” He’s right. U.S. military spending is out of control. The Defense Department budget for 2016 is $573 billion ... In speech after speech, he has called out politicians and defense contractors for colluding to build costly weapons systems at the price of national security ... It could take a populist strongman like Trump to deliver the harsh truth: When it comes to the military, the United States can do so much more with so much less.
... The international reaction to Donald Trump is so forceful and so unanimous in its condemnation that it is worth drawing attention to ... When it comes to Trump, Europe is apoplectic. Fascinated, but appalled ... Here's a sample of the public disapproval. Germany's Der Spiegel has called Trump the most dangerous man in the world. Britain's David Cameron says his plan to ban Muslims is divisive and unhelpful. The French liberal newspaper Liberation has described him as a nightmare turned reality. JK Rowling tweeted that he's worse than Voldemort. A recent Economist cover has a picture of Trump dressed as Uncle Sam with just one word, "Really?" That pretty much sums up the mood of global elites.
... When it comes to dispossessing Palestinians of their land, the Netanyahu government and its jurists are showing impressive creativity. The final result of all these processes is the creeping, de-facto annexation of large swaths of the West Bank. Beyond the fact that this is in direct contravention of international law, it is all happening without the government allowing public debate. After all, it’s taking place behind closed doors by committees whose work is anything but transparent or exposed to public criticism. Most of the time we only hear of them after they have made their decision.
Contrary to what is often said, the Netanyahu government does have a policy in the West Bank. It simply prefers you won’t hear of it. So here it is, before you.
Nearly half of Jewish Israelis agree that Arabs should be expelled or transferred from Israel, and a solid majority (79 percent) maintain that Jews in Israel should be given preferential treatment, according to a Pew Research Center in Israel survey published on Tuesday. The poll, with 5,601 in-person interviews of Israeli adults, conducted between October 2014 and May 2015, found that Israeli Jews increasingly believe the West Bank settlements help, rather than hurt, Israel’s security – and most (61%) believe Israel was given by God to the Jewish people. Three-quarters of Israeli Jews feel deeply connected to American Jews, but over half feel US policy is not supportive enough of Israel.
Israel is razing Palestinian homes and other buildings constructed with international aid at an "alarming" rate, the UN said Tuesday, with more demolitions so far this year than in all of 2015. In total 121 structures funded partly or fully by international donors were demolished in the occupied West Bank between January 1 and March 2, overtaking the 108 from all of 2015, according to UN figures seen by AFP. The projects include homes for Palestinians and at least one school, as well as temporary structures such as pens for animals and sheds. Robert Piper, humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories, wrote in response to an AFP query that the demolitions were "alarming".
A Slovak extreme right nationalist party made spectacular gains in weekend elections thanks to anti-migrant sentiment in the EU member state and Prime Minister Robert Fico's decision to tap into it on the campaign trail, analysts say. The head of the LS-Nase Slovensko (Our Slovakia) party, 38-year-old Marian Kotleba, "is a neo-Nazi" who reaped the benefits of Fico's "nationalist rhetoric regarding migrants" according to analyst Samuel Abraham ... The surge of the country's far right fits into a wider European trend that has seen nationalist parties such as France's National Front and Hungary's Jobbik gain ground at a time when the EU is battling its worst refugee crisis since World War II.
As Prime Minister Robert Fico begins the difficult task of building a majority coalition, there's shock in Slovakia at the real sensation of this election: the strong showing by Marian Kotleba and his ultra-nationalist People's Party-Our Slovakia. Mr Kotleba made headlines when he won the 2013 regional elections in Banska Bystrica, where he now serves as governor. The term "neo-Nazi" is often bandied about, at times foolishly, to describe anyone with views slightly to the right of Marine Le Pen. But Marian Kotleba is different - he was, once, literally a neo-Nazi. Until recently, he dressed in a uniform modelled on the Hlinka Guard, the militia of the 1939-45 Nazi-sponsored Slovak State. He and his followers adopted the mannerisms, greetings, symbols and rhetoric of that state, Slovakia's first ill-fated flirtation with sovereignty.
Off the top of your head, can you name three women from history? This was the question posed by English Heritage to members of the public, to which the collective response was "err." People were also shown photos of female historic figures, but yet again they were unable to identify the women. After being shown an image of Queen Elizabeth I, most answered with "no idea," while one man suggested "Queen Victoria?" Just a few centuries shy of the correct answer.
Syria is currently the world’s greatest humanitarian catastrophe and most dangerous geopolitical hotspot. The Syrian people are caught in a bloodbath, with more than 400,000 dead and ten million displaced ... The US and its allies, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, started the war in 2011 in order to overthrow Assad’s regime. The US alliance was met with escalating counterforce by Russia and Iran, whose Lebanese proxy army Hezbollah is fighting alongside Assad’s government ... In believing that Assad would be easily overthrown, the US – not for the first time – was relying on its own propaganda. The regime faced deep opposition, but also had considerable internal support. More important, the regime had powerful allies, notably Iran and Russia. It was naive to believe that neither would respond.
... At the height of the German attack on Fort Vaux, over 2,000 heavy shells were exploding every hour on the superstructure of the little fort, including 420mm one-ton monsters. When we talk today about soldier’s combat stress, think of the garrison of Vaux, burned, gassed, starving, poisoned by CO2, dying of thirst, drinking their own urine and fearing they would be buried alive if the fort collapsed ... Almost every village in France has a war memorial with the names of its sons killed at Verdun ... The Germans, as always fighting like lions, lost some 700,000 casualties. Fighting like tigers, the French finally held the last defense line before Verdun. Nearly one million French soldiers were killed, wounded or mutilated for life at Verdun. France suffered another million dead during the war ...
Not all crucial battles in World War One took place on the muddy fields of Europe. Some significant fights took place in little-known places much further afield ... It could be said some of the very first shots of WW1 weren't fired in Europe. They were fired in West Africa, in the then-German colony of Togo. In August 1914, troops were massing on the front lines of Europe. But thousands of miles away in the small Togolese town of Kamina, a cutting-edge piece of technology came under threat. With it, Germany's control of the region. ... On 12 August 1914, near Kamina, Alhaji Grunshi became the first soldier in British service to fire a shot in WW1. On 22 August 1914, near Kamina Lieutenant George Thompson became the first British officer killed in action in WW1.
... In 1914, Britain stood at the forefront of organising one of the first civilian mass internment operations of the 20th century. 30,000 civilian German, Austrian and Turkish men who had been living or travelling in Britain in the summer of that year found themselves behind barbed wire, in many cases for the whole duration of World War I. Public opinion supported this, with headlines braying: “The entire country is in the grip of the German octopus”; and “The German Jew in this country was the lowest type of Hun”. As you drive along a quiet country road near Peel on the Isle of Man, you could quite easily miss the only publicly visible acknowledgement of this civilian mass internment in Britain during World War I.
It was a scene of unimaginable horror. In one day, more than 5500 Australian and 1500 British soldiers were killed, wounded or reported missing in one of the First World War's bloodiest conflicts -- the battle of Fromelles in northern France. Many of those who died on 19-20 July 1916 were never found ... Without the advantage of surprise, the attack turned into a slaughter. Australia suffered its highest number of casualties in 24 hours in its military history. This disastrous battle was not even officially acknowledged in Britain after the war, such was the level of embarrassment about it.
Christianity had a favored status in World War II Germany. For example, Christian crosses were displayed in many public school classrooms and other public buildings, especially in largely Catholic regions. German army soldiers' belt buckles bore the words "God With Us,” and churches in wartime Germany were packed. In spite of some tensions between religious and political leaders, the vast majority of Germans (including the clergy) remained loyal to Hitler and his regime to the bitter end. America’s most important military ally during World War II was the Soviet Union, a belligerently atheist state that ruthlessly suppressed religion. Runtime: 50 mins.
The number of homicides this year in Chicago has climbed past 100, the deadliest start to a year in nearly two decades, according to statistics kept by the Police Department and the Chicago Tribune ... As of Monday, at least 467 people had been shot, compared with 217 the same period last year — more than double, according to statistics kept by the Tribune. By the end of last year, more than 2,900 people had been shot. That was 13% more than the previous year ... Despite being the nation's third-most populous city, Chicago far outpaces New York, Los Angeles and every other large city in America in the sheer number of homicide and shooting victims.
... The Republican establishment is desperate to stop Donald Trump. It appears to have settled on Marco Rubio as the last great hope to save the Republican Party, or at least the elites which dominate the GOP. Republican voters face a bad choice. The Donald’s shortcomings are manifest. Marco Rubio may be young, well-spoken, and attractive. But his foreign policy judgment is awful. If you want more foolish, costly, and unnecessary wars, vote for Rubio ... No one knows what he [Trump] would do as president on most issues since he exhibits no fixed philosophy and seamlessly shifts his positions. Indeed, some see him as a modern Huey Long, a potential demagogue with authoritarian tendencies ... Candidate Donald Trump is more ostentatiously irresponsible, but President Marco Rubio would be far more dangerous.
US Secretary of State John Kerry provoked widespread speculation when he referred in testimony before the Foreign Relations Committee last week to “significant discussions” within US President Barack Obama’s administration about a “Plan B” in Syria. The speculation was further stoked by a “senior official” who told CBS News that options under consideration included “‘military-like’ measures that would make it harder for the regime and its allies to continue their assault on civilians and US-backed rebels.” ... An unnamed “senior US official” at the Pentagon admitted that “Plan B” is actually “more an idea than a specific course of action”. In other words, the administration’s national security policymakers believe something more should be done in Syria, but they are not at all clear what could be done now.
... The second notable change is the clear position of Israel against a ceasefire in Syria, against Assad and for Daesh and the Nusra. For a long time this position had been obscured by Israeli observers and politicians. Israel has been pleased with Arabs killing each other. Now, as the end of war is seen on the horizon, Israel spoke up. Amos Harel, a leading Israeli military observer with high-grade access, made it clear: “the war in Syria has largely served Israel’s interests. The ongoing fighting has worn down the Syrian army to a shadow of its former capabilities ... Israel has been quietly wishing success to both sides and would not have been against the bloodletting continuing for a few more years without a clear victor” ... You can follow the lead of your Israeli Lobby, or you can have peace and security, but you can’t have both. It is that simple.
... Canada’s government officials and self-righteous journalists are lucky that the rest of the world is too damn chickenshit to bring up the case of Ernst Zundel. Zundel is a Holocaust denier who was prosecuted throughout the 1980s by the Canadian government for the crime of publishing a pamphlet ... Even now, as China is going to town on escaped dissidents, there is a reluctance by pretty much everyone in the North American “mainstream” (left, right, and center) to acknowledge the precedents set by the Zundel and Rudolf cases, or even to acknowledge that the cases existed. But the fact remains, all this bellyaching about “global dissident pursuits” is bunk. The U.S. and Canada have no problem at all with cross-border critic-grabbing and critic-deporting.
Ernst Zundel, a German-born publisher and author, was held for seven years behind bars, first in Canada and then in Germany, for his peaceful expression of non-conformist views. From February 2003 to March 2010, he was the western world’s most prominent “prisoner of conscience.” He is known worldwide as a publicist, organizer and defender of free speech, and as author countless booklets, newsletters and essays. He has been a major figure in the Holocaust revisionist movement.
... Arms deliveries to Saudi Arabia have increased by an astonishing 279 percent between 2011 and 2015, compared with the prior five-year period. More than three quarters of the weaponry came from the U.S. and the United Kingdom ... The idea that the Saudis were unlikely to use their U.S.-supplied arms went out the window with the 2015 intervention in Yemen. The Saudis are the key players in a coalition that has caused thousands of civilian casualties while bombing everything from hospitals and markets to water supply systems ... If anything, U.S. policy has come down firmly on the side of a more militarized Saudi policy ... U.S. arms deliveries to Saudi Arabia have increased by 96 percent compared to the Bush years.
New research finds faces of five-year-old black boys put whites in a more threat-conscious state of mind. / If the current election cycle hasn't convinced you that racism has yet to be eradicated, consider this: The mere image of a black man is enough to stimulate an automatic threat response in whites. Research has found faces of African-American males are more likely to be perceived as angry, and can trigger neural activity associated with rapid detection of danger. While even pre-teens can stimulate this reaction (which helps explain the tragic shooting of a 12 year old holding a pellet gun in Cleveland two years ago), it presumably doesn't apply to very young black boys. It's hard to believe they are perceived as dangerous as they emerge from the womb.
Following Donald Trump’s breathtaking string of Super Tuesday victories, politicians, editorial writers and ordinary people worldwide were coming to grips Wednesday with the growing possibility the brash New York billionaire might become America’s next president – a thought that aroused widespread befuddlement and a good deal of horror ... The dominant reaction overseas to the effective collapse of the Republican Party establishment in the face of the Trump Train appeared to be jaw-dropping astonishment, mixed with dread at what may lie ahead.
... It was Donald Trump’s name on the ballot and his calls for economic patriotism, border security, and an end to imperial wars that brought out the throngs. The crowds that continue to come out for his appearances and the vast audiences he has attracted to GOP debates testify to his drawing power ... The Bernie Sanders insurgency appears to have been turned back by the vested interests of his party. But like the George McGovern insurgency in ’72, which also relied heavily upon the enthusiasm of the young, Sanders’ socialism may be the ideological future of his party. The same may be said of the Trump insurgency. Whatever happens at Cleveland, the returns from the primaries look like the passing of the old order, the death rattle of an establishment fighting for its life, and being laughed at and mocked as it goes down.
Mark Zuckerberg is the sixth richest person in the world, and the richest Jew, after accumulating more wealth than anyone else in the past year. Eleven of the 50 richest people in the world are Jewish, according to the 30th annual Forbes billionaires list released Tuesday. The list features five Jews in the top 15 and seven in the top 25 spots. Zuckerberg, 31, added $11.2 billion to his net wealth, giving him a total fortune of $44.6 billion and moving him up to No. 6 on the list from No. 16 last year. The surge sends the Facebook founder past last year’s richest Jew, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, and runner-up, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg ... Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate and influential Republican donor, saw his wealth drop to $25.2 billion from $31.4 billion last year, falling to No. 22 on the list.
Mark Zuckerberg conceded Friday that Facebook didn't do enough until recently to police hate speech on the social media site in Germany, but said it has made progress, and has heard the message "loud and clear." German authorities, concerned about racist abuse being posted on Facebook and other social networks as the country deals with an influx of hundreds of thousands of migrants, have been pressing social media sites for months to crack down. The Facebook CEO talked personally about the issue in September with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and met her chief of staff during a visit to Germany this week. The Merkel meeting "really highlighted how much more we needed to do in this country," he said at a town hall event in Berlin. "Hate speech has no place on Facebook and in our community," he said.
... The debates in Germany highlight a fundamental question that many countries in the world struggle with: What do you do with symbols of a past that many people today find abhorrent? ... Like so many of her generation, she says she learned the most about her country’s history watching the 1978 award-winning American TV miniseries “Holocaust,” featuring Meryl Streep ... Young Germans still feel what is called here a “special responsibility,” and often reflexively disassociate themselves from the period ... It undergirds the country’s pacifist foreign policy, its close relationship with Israel, and its fears of the far right generally ... Many people also see German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s acceptance of refugees as a noble position formed by, among other impulses, a desire to be “good.”
Germany’s top Jewish organization has applauded a new attempt to ban the country’s main neo-Nazi party. Three days of hearings began Tuesday in Germany’s top court – the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe – to examine the constitutionality of outlawing the far-right National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD). It would be the second attempt to ban the party – the first failed on a legal technicality in 2003. Observers say a second failure would be devastating. At issue is whether the NPD poses a threat to democracy. It is very difficult to ban a party in Germany, due to post-Nazi era laws designed to safeguard free speech.
... These preposterous claims come on top of spurious assertions that Iran was building a nuclear weapon, repeated assiduously by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others in his various administrations over the course of twenty years. As it turns out, Iran was not building a nuke and much of the information used to bolster the argument being made turned out to be fabricated by Israelis themselves, which says something for their credibility ... Israel surely needs Iran because it requires a powerful enemy to justify massive aid from Washington and Washington needs it to justify bloated defense budgets based on fear of the Iranian “other.”
President Hassan Rouhani and his allies won big gains in elections that could deepen Iran's engagement with the world after his government ended years of sanctions by agreeing to curb its nuclear program. The outcome in the results for Tehran on Monday was a blow to the conservative Islamic establishment, although it retains decisive power due to Iran's unwieldy dual system of clerical and republican rule. Most of the lawmakers who failed to win re-election to the new parliament strongly opposed the nuclear deal ... Rouhani and allied centrists and moderates won 15 out of the 16 Tehran seats in the 88-member Assembly of Experts, which is tasked with choosing the country's next supreme leader, final election results for Tehran showed. Some of the 15 elected in Tehran were in both conservative and reformist electoral lists.
Over the weekend, Iran held its first parliamentary election since the nuclear deal and it looks like reformists are coming out on top ... Jewish Iranians voted at a polling station at a the Yusef Abad synagogue in Tehran on Friday. The Chicago Tribune reports that there are approximately 17,000 Jewish citizens in Iran, including 7,000 in the capital. Below, are some photos of Jews placing their votes.
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has retweeted a quote widely attributed to Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini. The tweet, created by a parody account and including Mr Trump's handle, read: "It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep." ... Asked about the tweet in a TV interview, Mr Trump said he wanted "to be associated with interesting quotes". "Mussolini was Mussolini ... What difference does it make?" Mr Trump said when asked about the retweet on NBC's Meet The Press programme. "It got your attention, didn't it?" Mussolini led Italy from 1922 until 1943, and led the country into war with the US in 1941 ... Also on Sunday, Mr Trump appeared reluctant in a CNN interview to distance himself from an endorsement from David Duke, a former senior leader of the white supremacist group Ku Klux Klan.
Fascism is one of the most often misused and widely misunderstood political terms. Publicists of both the left and right use the term "fascist" not to describe but to discredit and smear adversaries. "Fascism" is often inaccurately used as a synonym for tyranny, militarism, Nazism, racism, or capitalism. During the first 13 years of Fascist rule in Italy, the regime and its leader ("Duce"), Benito Mussolini, were widely admired in the US and other countries. Attitudes in the US changed after the Italian subjugation of Ethiopia in 1935-36, and as Mussolini aligned Italy ever more closely with Hitler's Germany.
... This is the year of the outsider, and Hillary is the prom queen of Goldman Sachs. She represents continuity. Trump represents change. Moreover, on the top Trump issues of immigration and trade, the elites have always been the furthest out of touch with the country ... Mass migration from the Third World to the First World is not only radicalizing America. It could destroy the European Union. Anger over any more migrants entering the country is among the reasons British patriots now want out of the EU. America is crossing into a new era. Trump seems to have caught the wave, while Clinton seems to belong to yesterday. A note of caution: This establishment is not going quietly.
Donald Trump’s runaway success in the GOP primaries so far is setting off alarm bells among neoconservatives who are worried he will not pursue the same bellicose foreign policy that has dominated Republican thinking for decades. Neoconservative historian Robert Kagan – one of the prime intellectual backers of the Iraq war and an advocate for Syrian intervention – announced in the Washington Post last week that if Trump secures the nomination, “the only choice will be to vote for Hillary Clinton.” Max Boot, an unrepentant supporter of the Iraq War, wrote in the Weekly Standard that a “Trump presidency would represent the death knell of America as a great power” ... Trump has done much to trigger the scorn of neocon pundits. He denounced the Iraq War as a mistake based on Bush administration lies ...
Prominent Jewish Republican leaders and activists are showing little sign of being able to unify publicly in responding to Donald Trump’s emergence as their party’s presidential front-runner — even after Trump’s failure to condemn dedicated anti-Semites and racists, and his declaration that he would be “neutral” on Israel. With Trump’s triumph in the March 1 Super Tuesday primaries, some in the community are sounding alarm bells, calling for action before it is too late to stop his race to the top. But others in the Jewish Republican camp are cautioning against collectively rejecting Trump ... Others have pressed on with an activist campaign to dissuade conservative voters who care about Israel and a strong American internationalist posture from accepting the inevitability of a Trump candidacy.
The Anti-Defamation League sent the presidential candidates a list of racists whose endorsements it said they should reject, a day after Donald Trump wavered in disavowing white supremacist David Duke. The ADL issued the informational list on Monday, and said it had shared it with all the candidates along with information on the Ku Klux Klan and hate groups in general. Included on the list are Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader, and Nation of Islam head Louis Farrakhan, who on Sunday praised Trump for supposedly turning down money from Jews. “We are providing information to all of the campaigns to ensure that they steer clear of these extremists and others who promote anti-Semitism, racism and white supremacy,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement accompanying the list.
A billboard in Chicago calling for a boycott of Israel will be removed following a public outcry. Lamar Advertising, which leases billboards throughout the country, announced in a Facebook post on Friday that it would remove the billboard “as soon as possible.” Earlier in the day, also in a statement on Facebook, the company said it had received a “large number” of social media comments and hundreds of telephone calls protesting the billboard located on a major highway about five miles from O’Hare Airport. The billboard sponsored by the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign, or SEAMAC, is part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. It reads: “Boycott Israel until Palestinians have equal rights.”
Millions of Londoners were exposed Monday [Feb. 22] to a series of anti-Israel posters on the underground network to mark the beginning of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement’s 12th annual Israeli Apartheid Week. Transport for London, which is responsible for the tube service, said this was “an act of vandalism,” the ads were not authorized, and staff members were working to take them down, the Jewish Chronicle reported ... A third poster criticized the global security company G4S for working in Israel, while a fourth, titled “Apartheid is Great ... Britain,” alleged that more than 100 UK companies continue to supply military equipment to the Jewish State. The Jewish Chronicle estimated that the ads appeared in some 500 trains.
An Israeli government ministry held a secret conference in Jerusalem with international Jewish leaders on ways to fight Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaigns against Israel. Some 150 leaders and activists attended the conference Sunday and Monday run by the Strategic Affairs Ministry, the Hebrew-language news website NRG first reported ... The participants were coached in language choices that would be more effective at discrediting BDS activists, notably calling them anti-Israel rather than anti-Semitic. And it is better to offer to hold a dialogue instead of a discussion. U.S. pollster Frank Luntz told the conference that Israel’s marketing to American Jewish students was not successful.