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Archive for December 2016

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The Book World

After Outcry, Simon & Schuster Responds to Critics of Milo Yiannopoulos

December 31st 2016


After coming under fire for agreeing to publish a book by political columnist Milo Yiannopoulos, the publisher released a public statement to defend their right to release books without fear of censorship.
In an email sent Friday evening, Simon & Schuster responded to progressive critics: "we do not and never have condoned discrimination or hate speech in any form. At Simon & Schuster, we have always published books by a wide range of authors with greatly varying, and frequently controversial opinions, and appealing to many different audiences of readers."
Simon & Schuster, who is owned by CBS, has long published political titles from both sides of the aisle, from figures such as Ronald Reagan and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Hillary Rodham Clinton's and Tim Kaine's campaign-trail book, Stronger Together.
Yiannopoulous is a columnist for Breitbart who was an early and outspoken supporter of Donald Trump. His popular tweets about Trump, the media, and progressive critics were shared by Trump supporters and critics alike. At the height of his popularity early this summer, Twitter banned Yiannopoulos's account after he criticized actress Leslie Jones' performance in this year's Ghostbusters movie. Twitter claimed Yiannopoulos incited hatred and prejudice against Jones, who is black.
After The Hollywood Reporter claimed this week that Simon & Schuster paid $250,000 in advance to Yiannopoulos for the book, progressive activists took their anger to social media and on the publisher. 

The Robotic Age

iPhone Manufacturer Foxconn Plans To Replace Almost Every Human Worker With Robots

December 31st 2016

Smart phone

Foxconn, the Taiwanese manufacturing giant behind Apple’s iPhone and numerous other major electronics devices, aims to automate away a vast majority of its human employees, according to a report from DigiTimes. Dai Jia-peng, the general manager of Foxconn’s automation committee, says the company has a three-phase plan in place to automate its Chinese factories using software and in-house robotics units, known as Foxbots.

The first phase of Foxconn’s automation plans involve replacing the work that is either dangerous or involves repetitious labor humans are unwilling to do. The second phase involves improving efficiency by streamlining production lines to reduce the number of excess robots in use. The third and final phase involves automating entire factories, “with only a minimal number of workers assigned for production, logistics, testing, and inspection processes,” according to Jia-peng.

The slow and steady march of manufacturing automation has been in place at Foxconn for years. The company said last year that it had set a benchmark of 30 percent automation at its Chinese factories by 2020. The company can now produce around 10,000 Foxbots a year, Jia-peng says, all of which can be used to replace human labor. In March, Foxconn said it had automated away 60,000 jobs at one of its factories. Read more ..

Obama and Israel

Obama, Kerry and Netanyahu Go Visceral

December 30th 2016

Western/Wailing Wall

How to explain the recent uproar in U.S.-Israel relations? I refer to President Barack Obama's decision to abstain at the U.N. Security Council, precisely contradicting his own views of just a few years earlier; Secretary of State John Kerry's 75-minute rant against Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu; and Netanyahu's intemperate responses, such as warning the New Zealand government that its support for the UNSC resolution amounts to a "declaration of war."

High politics of this sort is usually viewed through the lens of ideas and principles. But at times, it's better to leave all that behind and look at psychology - in other words, the basic human emotions and relations we all experience.


Obama and Israel

Obama’s Final, Most Shameful, Legacy Moment

December 30th 2016

Obama with baseball bat

The audience — overwhelmingly Jewish, passionately pro-Israel and supremely gullible — applauded wildly. Four years later — his last election behind him, with a month to go in office and with no need to fool Jew or gentile again — Obama took the measure of Israel’s back and slid a knife into it.

People don’t quite understand the damage done to Israel by the U.S. abstention that permitted passage of a Security Council resolution condemning Israel over settlements. The administration pretends this is nothing but a restatement of long-standing U.S. opposition to settlements.

Nonsense. For the last 35 years, every administration, including a re-election-seeking Obama himself in 2011, has protected Israel with the U.S. veto because such a Security Council resolution gives immense legal ammunition to every boycotter, anti-Semite and zealous European prosecutor to penalize and punish Israelis. Read more ..

Obama and Israel

Secretary Kerry’s suspension of Disbelief Ambassador

December 30th 2016

John Kerry

The term “suspension of disbelief” refers to well-intentioned subordination of documented-facts and common sense to one’s zeal and wishful-thinking: sacrificing long-term realism on the altar of oversimplification and short-term gratification and convenience.

Secretary Kerry’s December 28, 2016 speech was replete with suspension of disbelief, totally inconsistent with Middle East reality, but consistent with the Secretary’s 31-year foreign policy track record.

Secretary John Kerry’s Middle East track record:

Kerry was the top frequent-flying Senator to Damascus, allowing his own idyllic vision of the globe and his hosts’ duplicitous rhetoric to cloud reality.  Read more ..

Obama and Israel

Obama’s Malicious Betrayal of Israel

December 30th 2016

Obama gesticulates

As predicted, on the eve of his retirement President Barack Obama betrayed Israel. The former long-standing congregant of the paranoid anti-Semitic pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright who has a penchant for supporting to the Moslem Brotherhood, broke with forty years of U.S. bipartisan policy of protecting the Jewish state from the wolves at the United Nations.

His action as a lame duck president was a last ditch effort aimed at undermining his successor’s intended policies, realizing that it is virtually impossible to rescind a Security Council resolution. At the end of his eight years in office he exhibited an unprecedented abuse of power knowing that in his last month he would be unaccountable, despite the fact that his vindictive initiative was totally opposed by Congress, the American people and even by many members of his own party. Read more ..

Obama and Israel

Throwing Israel to the U.N.’s Wolves

December 28th 2016

Obama bummed out

Palestinian Islamic Jihad is, as its name suggests, an organization committed to jihad — against Israel most urgently, though not exclusively. So when the U.N. Security Council on Friday passed a resolution condemning Israel, PIJ spokesman Dawood Shihab was pleased. He called it a “victory.” He wasn’t wrong.

Nor was Fawzy Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, another organization openly committed to Israel’s extermination, as well as to “a jihadi revolution” that will be a “prelude to the establishment of the future Islamic caliphate.” He called the resolution an “important evolution in international positions.” He expressed Hamas‘ “appreciation.” Read more ..

Vote 2016

Judges Rule that Hillary Clinton's Hidden Emails Must Be Referred for Criminal Action

December 28th 2016

Hillary Clinton

The three-judge panel of the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously today that an Obama appointee to a lower court had erred when he threw out a pair of lawsuits that had sought to force the State Department and the National Archives to refer thousands of Hillary Clinton’s hidden emails to the Department of Justice. Judicial Watch and Cause of Action both filed separate lawsuits in 2015 that called on Secretary of State John Kerry and National Archivist David Ferriero to require that they refer Clinton’s emails for a possible civil suit.
The issue of Clinton’s private email server and the thousands of emails she has yet to submit for scrutiny dogged her throughout her unsuccessful presidential campaign. Donald Trump said during one of their several debates that he would demand a criminal investigation of her tenure at the State Department.
Writing for the federal appeals court, D.C. Circuit Judge Stephen Williams stated that the State Department’s multiple requests to Clinton and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for copies of Clinton's emails were not necessarily enough to fulfill the department's obligation to seek missing messages. "Even though those efforts bore some fruit, the Department has not explained why shaking the tree harder — e.g., by following the statutory mandate to seek action by the Attorney General — might not bear more still.

The Trump Era

What Really Happened at the Presidents Conference-Azerbaijan Hanukkah Party

December 27th 2016

Malcolm Hoenlein

On December 14, 2016, the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations (the Presidents Conference) in concert with the Embassy of Azerbaijan held a historic Chanukah party in Washington, D.C. that will be talked about for some time. Controversy continues to swirl over not only who attended the party, but who did not; how many were clicking glasses inside and how many were scowling outside. Ironically, this special event was singularly memorable not only for its historic collection of diplomatic personalities but also for the landmark under-reporting and misreporting of the event.

The Presidents Conference is comprised of the presidents of 50-plus so-called “major” Jewish organizations, although some are so small few have heard of them. Malcolm Hoenlein serves as executive vice chair of the conference.

The Conference Hanukkah party was timed to intersect with the official White House Chanukah party being held a few blocks away the same evening. Included among the approximate 150-200 attendees were at least 13 ambassadors and other senior diplomatic envoys, many from predominantly Muslim countries, along with Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer. The senior diplomats hailed Turkey, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Tajikistan, as well as Belarus, Romania, Russia, Greece, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and even the PLO Mission, along with the Azerbaijan Embassy sponsors and Israel’s Ambassador.

Around Washington, D.C., it is not hard to attract senior personalities and officials to a party. Top congressmen and senators are always special guests and speakers at luncheons, conferences, and receptions. Typically, they dash in and dash out, within moments of their appearance, lingering just long enough to read a short political statement and then exit. Read more ..

Israel on Edge

France Should Be Ashamed Of Labeling Products Made By Jews

December 23rd 2016


To its credit, France is one of the first countries in Europe to ban economic boycotts of Israel. To its shame, France is the first European country to implement a 2015 European Union decision to label Israeli products from Judea and Samaria—the West Bank—and the Golan Heights.

Who, besides France’s Jewish community—already diminished by the sharp rise in anti-Semitism in the country—will buy products labelled “Made in an Israeli Settlement”? Who is the French government fooling when it says that it is against any boycott of Israel and then acts to facilitate one?

Such a policy is viewed by the vast majority of Israelis as highly prejudicial if not anti-Semitic. There are 200 territorial disputes in the world today, and France has singled out one of them—Israel’s with the Palestinians—for special treatment. There is no French labelling of Chinese goods from Tibet or Moroccan goods from Western Sahara. And in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, France labels products from only one party—the Jews. Read more ..

The Caliphate

The Meaning of an Israeli Clash with an Islamic State Affiliate

December 22nd 2016

IDF Soldiers

On November 27, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) clashed for the first time with the Islamic State-linked group called Jaysh Khalid bin al-Waleed (“The Army of Khalid bin al-Waleed”) on the border between the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and the Yarmouk Basin region of southwest Deraa province. Though no casualties were reported on the Israeli side, at least three members of Jaysh Khalid bin al-Waleed were killed. Do these clashes mean the Islamic State is opening up a front against Israel via the Golan borderlands? And what do they tell us about the ever-shifting puzzle of jihadist groups in Syria?

Jaysh Khalid bin al-Waleed is named for a companion of the Prophet Muhammad who led the Muslim armies that defeated the Byzantines in the Yarmouk Basin, leading to the conquest of the Levant region. It was formed in late May as a merger of three main factions, the most important being the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade that is native to the Yarmouk Basin area. Read more ..

The Battle for Syria

After the Fall of Aleppo

December 22nd 2016

Dead Syrian Christian children

The battle for Aleppo is over.  The Assad regime and its Russian, Iranian and Shia paramilitary allies have achieved victory.

The process of evacuation of civilians and rebels is yet to be completed.  Syrian oppositionists are alleging that pro-regime militias are committing atrocities in the conquered areas.  The UN accused pro-regime forces of summarily executing 82 civilians. But while important, these details cannot obscure the main point. Rebel-controlled eastern Aleppo, which held for four years, has now ceased to exist.

What does this mean for Syria and the further direction of the Syrian war?

First and most obviously, there is no longer any prospect of the Assad regime being removed by force.  In effect, any such possibility ended on September 30, 2015, with the entry of Russian airpower into the war.  The rebellion had and has nothing in its arsenal capable of challenging the might of a world class air force.  From the moment of the Russian entry, Assad’s survival was assured.  With the destruction of rebel eastern Aleppo, the regime’s ascendancy is sealed. Read more ..

Inside the Arab World

Hopes for a New Arab Spring

December 21st 2016

Wounded Egyptian Protester

This month is the sixth anniversary of the "Arab Spring," when Tarek el-Tayeb Mohamed Bouazizi, a Tunisian street vendor, set himself on fire to protest police harassment.

But, like many good things, the Arab Spring came to an end too soon.

Islamists took over in Tunisia and Egypt, with civil war in Syria and chaos across the Mideast.

The long, dark Arab Winter that had enveloped the Arab world like an ice age since the 13th century returned.

However, all is not lost. A new Arab Spring is emerging, not one organized by NGOs funded by Europe and America, but by Arab intellectuals and dissidents in the Arabian Peninsula.a movement embedded in Arab culture and style, not the street demos that work so well in the West and in emerging countries like India and South Africa that have a tradition of electoral politics and extra-parliamentary opposition. Read more ..

The Trump Era

Progressives Vow 'Direct Action' on First Day of Trump Administration

December 21st 2016

Donald Trump Laconia NM Michael Vadon Jul 16 2015 03

Despite President-elect Donald Trump’s final victory in the Electoral College, his opponents within and without government are already preparing the ground for opposition over the next four years. Coupled with President Obama’s vow during his final White House press conference that he intends to be vocal after leaving the White House, groups affiliated with him are getting ready for protests on Inauguration Day and political action afterwards.

The Electoral College votes will be formally certified by Congress on January 6. Among those vowing resistance are progressive gadfly Michael Moore, and also Ryan Clayton of Americans Take Action. He was quoted by the Common Dreams website,  "This is an uprising—a new resistance starts here today, with the largest 50 state pro-democracy demonstration in American history." He was referring to the protests at state capitals all over the country where protesters greeted members of the Electoral College with shouting and taunts. For weeks, electors endured stalking, death threats, and harassment that neither President Obama nor Hillary Clinton sought to deplore. Read more ..

The Battle for Syria

An Existential Battle for the Demographic Future of Syria

December 21st 2016

Syria fighting injured baby

The Syrian government, Russia, and Iran (SRI) are trying to change the demographic makeup of Syria. They aim to depopulate Syria of the Arab Sunnis, which, before the Arab Spring was the largest religio-ethnic group in Syria. They mostly inhabited a very fertile strip of land between Aleppo in the north, down to Damascus, and then southward to the Jordanian border. Those Arab Sunnis who did not leave are being forced to move to Idlib and Raqqa, near the Turkish border.1

Examining SRI’s military campaign and its policy towards the refugees they have created suggests this SRI strategy.  The groups and places which the Russians have been attacking are the traditional strongholds of the Sunni Arab population – as of late Aleppo – the largest city in Syria.


The Caliphate

'Islamic State' Claims Responsibility for Berlin Attack

December 21st 2016


The so-called "Islamic State" (IS) on Tuesday said the driver of the truck that plowed into a Christmas market in Berlin on Monday evening was "targeting citizens of the Crusader coalition," according to the group's news agency Amaq. 

Earlier, German prosecutors announced the release of a 23-year-old Pakistani detained in connection with the truck attack, citing a lack of evidence.

On Tuesday night, following the announcement that the suspect had been released, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told broadcaster ZDF that "it is true that one cannot rule out that the perpetrator is still at large." He also warned that it was too early to draw political conclusions from the incident.

Authorities had arrested the asylum seeker on suspicion of driving the truck, which killed 12 and injured at least 48.  Read more ..

The Edge of the Universe

Hunting Dark Matter between the Ticks of an Atomic Clock

December 21st 2016

Massive black hole disrupting star formation

Dark matter is thought to make up some five sixths of all matter in the universe. Yet incredibly sophisticated projects ranging from the most powerful atom smasher ever built to vats of chilly liquid xenon have failed to find a trace of it. But now some scientists are hoping atomic clocks, the most precise timekeepers ever made, could be used to help explain this elusive phenomenon.

Many physicists believe dark matter is an invisible substance whose predicted gravitational effects on known matter would help explain a variety of cosmic mysteries, such as why galaxies can spin as fast as they do without flying apart. Despite its apparently colossal importance to the very structure of the universe, however, no one knows anything for certain about what it might be composed of or where it came from.


The Trump Era

On the Eve of Trump's Deregulatory Revolution

December 20th 2016

Wall Street Bull

President-Elect Trump has the unprecedented opportunity to eliminate thousands of  useless federal regulations without any Congressional involvement.  Trump is uniquely not beholden to a political party, patrons, pollsters, pundits, lobbyists or ideologues.  His Cabinet and federal agency appointees can use the Administrative Procedure Act to rescind eighty years of outdated, useless and, in some cases, stifling regulations that have impeded business and stunted the growth of the US economy. 

Mr. Trump, not Congress, should appoint "a Special Advisor to the President for Deregulation" who would work out of the White House with all Cabinet members and agency heads to implement the Deregulatory Revolution. 

In 1762 Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote the immortal words that launched the Age of Revolution throughout Europe and America (somewhat contemporized): "Man is born free and everywhere he is in the chains of excessive regulation!"  Right now in America before the beginning of the Trump Presidential Administration in January 2017, we are on the eve of a deregulatory revolution that will be unprecedented in American history.  Read more ..

The Race for Alternative Fuels

Recapping My Decade of Using and Experimenting With Alternative Fuels

December 19th 2016

Sugar Cane

I first learned about the potential of alternative engine fuels in the late 1970's while doing some unrelated marketing research in the giant New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue. I came across a book that described turning corn and other farm crops into ethanol and methanol.

For a guy who grew up primarily in Brooklyn and Queens, farming was as alien to me as the dark side of the moon. Nevertheless, the story was riveting because it presented economic possibilities that made my head spin: replacing foreign petroleum oil fuels with domestically produced fuels from crops...WOW!

With the 1970's oil crisis still very much on my mind (and on the minds of most Americans), it was a thrilling discovery. But as I was busy trying to build an advertising agency the last thing I could focus on was where to build silos in NYC to house all the harvested crops needed to produce biofuels. Read more ..

The Edge of Justice

Planned Parenthood Faces Criminal Prosecution by Trump’s Justice Department

December 19th 2016

medical malpractice law

Senator Chuck Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and FBI Director James Comey referring four Planned Parenthood affiliates in California and three fetal tissue brokers for investigation and possible criminal prosecution. While the current Attorney General Loretta Lynch isn’t budging on the Obama administration’s disregard for the unborn, many believe that after the January 20 inauguration of President Donald Trump there will be legal action against those involved in the sordid practices of Planned Parenthood.

Following the investigation of Planned Parenthood as the result of the release of a series of videos by citizen journalist David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), the Senate Judiciary Committee obtained additional evidence revealing that Planned Parenthood, its affiliates, and the fetal tissue traffickers have violated the federal ban on buying and selling the body parts of unborn babies.

The Trump Era

New U.S. Drug Policy For President-Elect Trump

December 18th 2016

Cocaine intercepted in Europe in rice sacks from Africa
Cocaine hidden in rice bags.

President-Elect Donald Trump promised to tackle the fast-growing widespread use of
illegal drugs in the United States.

Since the 1970's - except the Reagan years - the use of illegal drugs in the U.S. has increased and reached into every segment of society. The failure to control illicit drug use has led to a quasi-defeatist attitude. As a result, the media and the liberal/progressive establishment declared that since the "war on drugs has been a failure" it should be abandoned. Claiming the 'war on drugs' led to mass incarceration of non-violent criminals, draining excessive resources from the enforcement community, destroying the lives of young users, and in general, caused more harm than good. This led to new policies that effectively limited the enforcement of anti-drug laws. Read more ..

Vote 2016

Three States Find Dource of Election Day Hacks

December 17th 2016

Voting Booth

According to WSB-TV Atlanta, three state election agencies are confirming that their systems were subjected to cyber attacks linked to Department of Homeland Security IP addresses. The report says that Georgia, Kentucky, and West Virginia have reported attacks. Aaron Diamant of WSB-TV posted on Twitter, “Documents we just got show WV & KY elections agencies link suspected cyber atracks [sic] to same DHS IP address as GA incident.”
In an interview with Diamant, the Secretary of State of Georgia, Brian Kemp, said that his agency has endured cyber attacks since February. All of the intrusions have been traced back to internet provider addresses for the federal Department of Homeland Security. "We're being told something that they think they have it figured out, yet nobody's really showed us how this happened,” Kemp said. "We need to know." Kemp has informed President-elect Donald Trump of the developments and has demanded an investigation.

Israel and the Muslim World

Muslim Ambassadors Receive Menorahs as Gifts at Leading Jewish Group’s Hanukkah Party at Trump Hotel in DC

December 15th 2016

White House menorah

A group of Muslim ambassadors were among the guests at the Hanukkah party co-hosted by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the Embassy of Azerbaijan at Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC on Wednesday evening.

All the diplomats in attendance — who included representatives of Egypt, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Palestine Liberation Organization, Tajikistan and Turkey — received menorahs as gifts from CPMAJO Executive Vice President Malcolm Hoenlein.

“We were moved by [Azerbaijani] Ambassador [Elin] Suleymanov’s suggestion to hold this event,” Hoenlein said in remarks at the party, which took place during Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s two-day visit to Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. “It represents an essential part of who the Jewish people are to publicly mark Hanukkah, to express our respect for other religions by joining with Muslims, both Sunni and Shi’a, Christians and every other faith tradition and to promote understanding by focusing on what we have in common rather than what separates and divides us.” Read more ..

Israel and Muslim World

Historic Meeting of Muslim Ambassadors and Israel Ambassador at Conference of President Hanukka Party

December 15th 2016

Malcolm Hoenlein

On December 14, 2016 the Conference of Presidents and the Embassy of Azerbaijan co-hosted nearly two hundred guests who filled the room for a reception in Washington, DC to celebrate the upcoming Chanukah holiday and honor those countries and others that provided crucial firefighting personnel and equipment to assist Israel in battling the devastating fires last month.

The event was attended by the ambassadors representing the diverse group of nations and others who aided Israel, leaders from many important American Jewish organizations, Ambassador Ron Dermer of Israel and other honored guests, including members of Congress.  Joining Ambassador Suleymanov of Azerbaijan were ambassadors and diplomats from Belarus, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, the PLO, Romania, Russia, Tajikstan and Turkey.  

The event also followed by one day the visit to Azerbaijan of Prime Minister Netanyahu for meetings with President Ilham Aliyev which resulted in stronger ties between the two countries.

Stephen M. Greenberg, Chairman and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO said, “Last night, in a spirit of celebration, mutual respect and gratitude, we brought together a full house of guests from many different faiths, cultures and countries who joined together with us to reaffirm our common humanity.”

In his address to the capacity crowd, Ambassador Suleymanov stressed the value Azerbaijani society has historically placed on acceptance and respect for religious diversity and saying “it is who we are as a people and a nation.” He added that the centuries old Jewish community is and has always been an integral part of Azerbaijan.


The Edge of Health

New Diagnosis for Parkinsons Advanes the Cause

December 15th 2016


Doctors diagnose as many as 60,000 new cases of Parkinson’s disease (PD) every year in the United States. Yet diagnosing PD with certainty can take years — long after early signs and symptoms have appeared.

The Israeli startup BioShai has a game-changing product on the horizon: PDx, the world’s first simple blood test for the early diagnosis of PD.

The test results can be combined with clinical data, providing a more accurate diagnosis to help physicians decide on the best course of treatment at a much earlier stage.

More than 10 million people worldwide are living with this chronic and progressive movement disorder caused by the malfunction and death of neurons that produce dopamine, a chemical that coordinates the brain’s control of movement and coordination.

“Having a diagnosis at an earlier stage can lead to a more precise treatment and a higher quality of life for the patient,” says BioShai CEO Jennifer Yarden, who has a PhD in medical science and formerly was responsible for clinical and commercial development of diagnostic assays and kits at Glycominds. Yarden is also CEO and cofounder of Curewize Health.

“Offering a simple and inexpensive test for the diagnosis of Parkinson’s is considered essential for the development of neuroprotective therapy,” she explains, “because by the time a patient has the many movement symptoms associated with Parkinson’s, a majority of the dopamine-producing neurons are lost or become impaired by the disease.”


Jewry on Edge

Passover Punishment Case Continues to Wander Through the Courts

December 15th 2016

Nathan Lewin and Alyza D. Lewin

Susan Abeles’ saga began in 2013 when she took time off to observe the last two days of Passover, just as she had done annually for the past 26 years. During those years, Abeles, an Orthodox Jew, worked for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), mainly as a data specialist. The MWAA is the governmentally-created public body that oversees Reagan National Airport in the District of Columbia and Dulles International Airport in Virginia. In 2013, the MWAA stunned Abeles by suddenly labeling her annual Passover time off as “AWOL” absenteeism. The charge arose not because Abeles failed to notify her supervisors in advance, which she did multiple times in writing, but because the authority disapproved of how she reminded her supervisor, who was also on leave and could not reached. Read more ..

The Race for Hydrogen

Germany Plans Hydrogen Drives

December 15th 2016

Honda Clarity with refueler

While battery electric vehicles in the past months take center stage in the media, the hydrogen fuel cell technology is far from being dead. The German government plans to set up a multi-million funding program to foster this alternative to batteries.

Within the two years to come, the Germans plan to invest € 250 million into research programs around the hydrogen fuel cell technology with the goal of increasing their competitiveness. Another focus is on establishing a hydrogen filling station network. “With electromobility as well as with automated and connected driving, we are facing the largest revolution of mobility since the invention of the automobile,” said Alexander Dobrindt, minister of transport in an interview with daily paper “Die Welt”.


The Trump Era

Trump’s Border Wall--A Deeper Look

December 15th 2016

Deer at US Mexico border

One of the main issues that propelled Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to victory was the promise of a wall being built at the United States border with Mexico. The response by the news media, their favorite Democratic politicians and illegal-immigration advocates was astounding, with newspapers, magazines, television, radio and the Internet awash in comments that Trump was a racist, a bigot, and a xenophobic bully.

But the truth — noticeably avoided by the media — is that the U.S. Congress passed a bill and it was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2006 ordering a wall to be built at the U.S.-Mexican border and more Border Patrol agents should be hired for the Southern border.

“The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008, required DHS to complete construction by December 31, 2008, of either 370 miles or other mileage determined by the Secretary, of reinforced fencing along the southwest border wherever the Secretary determines it would be most practical and effective in deterring smugglers and aliens attempting illegal entry,” according to Global Security. Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

DHS Hires CAIR to Train French Officials

December 15th 2016

French antiterror police squad

The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) facilitated a training session last week for a French police delegation, in conjunction with the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)'s Community Engagement Office in Tampa, the Investigative Project on Terrorism has confirmed with DHS officials and other agencies.

This session stands in contrast with the FBI's 2009 policy not to engage with CAIR outside of criminal investigations due to questions about the Hamas ties of its top executives. An FBI official wrote that "until we can resolve whether there continues to be a connection between CAIR or its executives and HAMAS, the FBI does not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner." That FBI policy toward CAIR remains in effect, and was publicly reaffirmed in 2013.


The Trump Era

Trump Terror within Middle East Studies

December 14th 2016

Donald Trump Laconia NM Michael Vadon Jul 16 2015 03

Nowhere was the hysteria, panic, and fearmongering attending Donald Trump's win in the 2016 presidential election felt more strongly than on college campuses -- and Middle East studies academics were no exception. Rather than acknowledging that justified concern over increasing terrorism in the U.S. was a strong factor, they dismissed Trump voters as angry, fearful, ignorant, "Islamophobic" white supremacists.

This despite Trump's receiving more minority votes than did Mitt Romney in 2012, and the support of the same white working-class population that twice voted for biracial President Barack Obama. Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

Prosecutors Try to Refocus Rasmieh Odeh Case

December 14th 2016

jail door blue

Attorneys for Palestinian bomber Rasmieh Odeh want to delay her re-trial on naturalization fraud for two months, pointing to a superseding indictment in the case.

The new charging document, which has not yet been filed publicly, still includes just the one count of naturalization fraud against Odeh, who has become a heroic figure among Palestinian advocates. But it includes "additional facts to support the charges," a press release Tuesday from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Detroit said.

The original indictment emphasized Odeh's "no" answers to immigration officials when asked several times whether she ever had been arrested, convicted or imprisoned. During her 2014 trial, Odeh claimed she thought the question only applied to her time in the United States. In fact, she was arrested and spent 10 years in an Israeli prison for her role in two 1969 bombings, one of which killed two college students.

"The new indictment ... also alleges that Odeh, in seeking naturalization, also falsely answered two additional questions on her application form relating to her association with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a designated terrorist organization," the government news release said.

By emphasizing Odeh's membership in a terrorist organization, the prosecution appears to be trying to narrow the focus of the case just a week after a federal judge's ruling broadly expanded it.

U.S. District Judge Gershwin A. Drain granted Odeh a new trial, this time allowing testimony claiming Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, triggered by alleged Israeli torture, caused her to "filter" out her terrorist past when answering the immigration questions. Read more ..

Book Review

Encyclopedia On Islamic World Jews Long Overdue

December 11th 2016

Operation Magic Carpet Yemenites

Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World, by Norman A. Stillman (executive editor) Leiden: Brill, 2010. 5 vols. Vol. 1, A-C: 698 pp.; Vol. 2, D-I: 655 pp.; Vol. 3, J-O: 637 pp.; Vol. 4, P-Z: 695 pp.; Vol. 5, Index and Resources: 499 pp. $1,099.

If Jews in Muslim-majority countries have shrunk to a miniscule 50,000 souls, nearly all of them in Morocco, Turkey, and Iran, things were once different.

Indeed, until the seventeenth century Mizrahi and Sephardi Jews outnumbered the Jews of Europe. More than that, as Stillman writes in his introduction, it was in the medieval Muslim world that "many aspects of Judaism as a religious civilization were formulated, codified, and disseminated, and this includes the domains of liturgy, law, and theology." Read more ..

The Trump Era

Dr. Ben Carson: Another Chapter in a Remarkable Life

December 8th 2016


In recent days the media has been abuzz with speculation over cabinet appointments within the incoming President-elect Donald Trump administration.  Specifically, much talk has focused on Dr. Ben Carson and his announcement that he was not interested in serving in a cabinet post.

Observers have tried to read the tea leaves and read into some underlying story as to how Dr. Carson arrived at this decision and what it signals. However, they are missing the point.

I have known Dr. Carson and his family for 25 years. This is a man who possesses remarkable vision.  He imagined possibilities in his chosen field of medicine and then made them a reality.   

He was the youngest chief of pediatric neurosurgery in the United States at the age of 33 when appointed at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1984. He has served on the boards of major companies like Costco and Kellogg, received more than 60 honorary doctorate degrees, numerous national merit citations, and was a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008. And yet, arguably the most important thing that makes Dr. Benjamin Carson a fantastic appointee for the cabinet position of the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is his compassion.

Dr. Carson believes that whenever there is a concentration of people with a lot of poverty, it doesn’t matter what their race is. A multitude of conflict and the types of trouble we have seen over the past decade will continue if we aren’t able to carry out the mission of HUD. HUD's mission to create "strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all… improving the quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.” Read more ..

The Race for Solar

Large-area Organic Solar Cells see Record Efficiencies

December 8th 2016

Solar Array

Researchers at the University of Surrey (Guildford, UK) have analyzed how low-cost materials combine to achieve a record power conversion efficiency of 6.7% for large-area organic solar cells. Such cells are flexible, lightweight, and environmentally-friendly and have the capacity to be printed in different colors and shapes allowing commercial applications such as integration into building façades etc.

The research is part of a four-year European Commission FP7 programme called SMARTONICS that is aimed at developing large-scale pilot lines for the fabrication and printing of organic polymer solar cells. Led by the University of Surrey's Advanced Technology Institute (ATI), the four year project includes Oxford University in the UK, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece), and University of Stuttgart in Germany and finishes this month.

The research looks at the dependencies between the chemical and physical properties of the photoactive layer's building blocks within organic solar cells to determine the efficiency of these solar cells.


The Trump Era

Is the Trump Team Anti-Semitic?

December 8th 2016

Donald Trump Laconia NM Michael Vadon Jul 16 2015 03

Charges of anti-Semitism continue to be thrown around as a tool of political rhetoric in America. We saw it all again in recent days when Steve Bannon, former executive chairman of Breitbart, was appointed chief strategist for the coming administration.

Ignited by a headline from the conservative news site Bannon led and by accusations of him making anti-Semitic remarks, "anti-Semitism" once again permeated headlines.

Never mind that the article in question was written by a Jew and was a criticism of the attempts of another Jew to establish a third-party run which would have split the vote in the election.

Never mind Breitbart has about a dozen staff stationed in Israel; or that Anderson Cooper, on live TV, challenged Elizabeth Warren's claims of Bannon being a white supremacist.


BTC Applauds U.S. DOJ Action On Proposed Alaska Airways – Virgin America Transaction

December 7th 2016

The Business Travel Coalition (BTC) applauded the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in filing a civil antitrust lawsuit today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to block the proposed merger of Alaska Airways (“Alaska”) and Virgin America (Virgin”). Preserving competition and the incentive to contest new markets is paramount in a domestic industry where four airlines control some eighty percent of seats – down from eleven airlines in recent years.

DOJ offered a proposed settlement wherein Alaska would need to discontinue its codeshare arrangement with American Airlines (“American”) on routes where Virgin competes directly with American and also where Alaska would likely initiate new service in competition with American post merger. DOJ would allow continued codesharing on routes that could offer some consumer benefits, e.g., to destinations one of the airlines would not likely serve on its own in the near term. 

Likewise, DOJ advised that any sale or lease of gates or slots by Alaska that were acquired by Virgin as part of the settlement of DOJ’s lawsuit challenging the 2013 merger of American and US Airways would require DOJ pre-approval. This would ensure that American does not regain control of those assets. Airports where those assets are housed are Dallas Love Field Airport, Washington Reagan National Airport and New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

Virgin America and Alaska Airways are both innovative, quality airlines that provide the competitive rivalry necessary to discipline prices for consumers and keep pressure on airlines to improve customer service levels on many routes Start-up airline entry is very difficult today and remedies for the many competition and consumer problems are few. As such, the preservation of existing competition is critically important."

Iran's Nukes

Democrats Challenge Obama on Withholding Unclassified Iran Deal Docs

December 7th 2016

Iranian clerics

Top Democratic lawmakers are challenging the Obama administration's decision to keep a range of unclassified documents related to the Iran nuclear deal away from the public eye, amid mounting calls from Trump insiders and Republican lawmakers urging the incoming Trump administration to release the documents.

Democratic senators who both supported and opposed the Iran deal told THE WEEKLY STANDARD on Tuesday that the relevant documents, which have been reported to include secret concessions to Iran, should not be kept in the secure locations on Capitol Hill known as Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities (SCIFs), where they cannot be accessed by the public and some congressional staffers. Read more ..

American Jewry on Edge

American Jewish Liberals have Lost the Plot

December 7th 2016

Isi Libler

Throughout the 2000 years of Jews living in the Diaspora, there has been no precedent comparable to the behavior of major liberal mainstream sectors of the American Jewish community. They are undermining themselves and provoking massive waves of resentment from Americans, many of whom were favorably disposed towards them.

The United States has been the home of the largest Jewish community in the Diaspora for nearly a century and was regarded by many Jews as the “goldene medina.” Traditional anti-Semitism is at an all-time low with the exception of the current anti-Israel agitation initiated on college campuses by Muslims and far-left radicals. Many Jews have become affluent, powerful and are highly respected by most Americans.

Until recently, all mainstream Jewish organizations sought to maintain Democrat and Republican bipartisanship with regard to Israel and major issues of Jewish concern. This, despite the fact that for complex historical reasons, the vast majority of American Jews were inclined toward liberalism and voted Democrat.

Even after eight years of President Barack Obama’s efforts to create daylight between Israel and the United States in order to appease Iran and the Arab countries and despite the extraordinary support for Israel expressed by all sections of the Republican Party, Jews still tended to vote Democrat. This contrasted sharply with Anglo-Jewry, whose members defected in droves from the British Labour Party when it became anti-Israel/anti-Semitic under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.

Regrettably, a number of mainstream U.S. liberal Jewish organizations broke with all tradition and displayed unprecedented and extreme partisanship in the recent US election and its aftermath. This may have disastrous long-term repercussions on the standing and influence of the American Jewish community. Read more ..

Obama and Israel

High Anxiety Continues Over Obama in the UN Until January 20

December 7th 2016

Edwin Black

Anxiety continues to roil through the pro-Israel world over a possible last-minute political move by the Obama administration that could permanently alter the Israeli-Palestinian geo-political landscape.

Forty-eight hours after the November 8 election, I flew to South Florida for a series of lectures and briefings organized by StandWithUs, NOVA Southeast University and other organizations as part of the State Department’s International Education Week, this to analyze the prospects regarding relations with Israel in the last weeks of the Obama administration. Everywhere, audiences were on the edge of their seats asking whether President Obama would take extraordinary passive or active steps in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to recognize a Palestinian state or impose a peace settlement, including a territorial mandate following the lines of the 1948 truce. Unlike General Assembly resolutions, which are not binding, the UNSC generally creates lasting pillars of international law.

As we approach Noon, January 20, 2017, uncertainty continues to abound among even the most astute of political insiders.

President Barack Obama remains personally silent. Administration assurances in recent days proffer comfort to those hanging on every word to discern a course of action. But embedded ambiguities in each of those assurances only increases the speculation.

For example, in recent days, unnamed administration sources were quoted by the Associated Press suggesting that President Obama "has nearly ruled out any major last-ditch effort to put pressure on Israel over stalled peace negotiations with the Palestinians." The phrase "nearly ruled out" shines brightly in that report to emphasize that no decision has been made.


Iran's Nukes

If Volkswagen Subsidiary Does Business in Iran, Nazi-Founded Company Will Again Have Turned to Financial Enrichment Via Genocide

December 7th 2016


The plans of a Volkswagen-owned vehicle manufacturer to do business with Iran are morally troubling given the German automotive giant’s Nazi roots, an investigative journalist and expert on Nazi economic history told The Algemeiner on Tuesday.

“For Volkswagen’s Czech Skoda subsidiary to make industrial pick-up trucks that could enable the advancement of the nuclear program that Tehran promises will destroy the Jewish people, this would ensure history’s determination that this company, Volkswagen, has once again turned to financial enrichment via genocide,” Edwin Black — author of the 2001 book IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance between Nazi Germany and America’s Most Powerful Corporation — said. Read more ..

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