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Archive for May 2017

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Campus on Edge

Georgetown's Jonathan Brown Plays Defense For Islamic Supremacism

May 28th 2017

Koran and prayer beads

Georgetown University Professor Jonathan Brown, already notorious for past scandalous comments justifying Islamic slavery (including rape), only worsened his reputation with a recent May 8 lecture. Before about 90 listeners filling Georgetown's small Riggs Library, the Saudi-funded Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU) director clinically explicated disturbingly dark Islamic political doctrines.

In conjunction with Cambridge University Professor Philip Sheldrake, a Christian, the American Muslim convert Brown slavishly addressed "Power: Divine and Human—Christian and Muslim Perspectives" in a manner hardly flattering to Islam. He noted that "in the Quran, God's power is the superlative of all superlatives, it is total, absolute, and without exception." Correspondingly, the "word that the Quran uses over and over to refer to human beings" is the "slaves of God." Read more ..

The Edge of Terror

Trump Continues Obama DHS Policy of Engaging CAIR

May 28th 2017

Security Against Terrorism

Donald Trump might be the president of the United States, but the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) continues to treat the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) as a credible outreach partner.

Its officials participated in DHS town hall discussions in Miami and Tampa, CAIR-Florida announced Thursday.

A discussion at Miami-Dade College included Veronica Venture, the outgoing DHS acting officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and Kareem Shora, section chief of the DHS Community Engagement Section.

Venture and Shora are both holdovers from the Obama administration.

Shora enjoys close relations with CAIR-FL, organizing multiple events with the group on DHS's behalf. He helped organize a December training event for visiting French police officials with CAIR-FL in conjunction with the State Department.


Financing the Flames

Norway Demands Palestinian Youth Center Return Money, Remove Logos

May 28th 2017

Hamas girls demonstration flags and minaret

Within hours after PMW reported that a Palestinian youth center built with Norwegian and UN money was named after terrorist murderer Dalal Mughrabi, Norway condemned it and demanded their money be returned. 

On Friday, Palestinian Media Watch reported that a Palestinian youth center built with Norwegian and UN money and with the involvement of the PA's Ministry of Local Government had been named the "Martyr Dalal Mughrabi Center" after the terrorist who led the murder of 37 in a bus hijacking. The very same day, Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende condemned the center and demanded that the Norwegian money be returned:
"The glorification of terrorist attacks is completely unacceptable, and I deplore this decision in the strongest possible terms. Norway will not allow itself to be associated with institutions that take the names of terrorists in this way... We have asked for the logo of the Norwegian representation office to be removed from the building immediately, and for the funding that has been allocated to the centre to be repaid."
Norwegian Foreign Ministry website, May 26, 2017

India on Edge

A Monumental Shift in India's Caste System

May 28th 2017

Dalit Woman in native dress

The basis of India's caste system is the preservation of the purity of blood, and, if India is honest with herself, such ideology is a close cousin to the Aryanism that drove Nazi Germany to eventually murder countless millions in order to promote "racial purity."

According to the Manusmriti — the manual on the caste system — the blood of the upper castes gets polluted when there is a mixed marriage with someone from a lower caste. Detailed instructions are therefore outlined in order to prevent inter-caste relations of any kind, including marriage. The consequences of violating them can be dire: in some cases, families have publicly lynched their sons and daughters because they were in an inter-caste relationship. Read more ..

The Battle for Syria

Syria Has Effectively Ceased to Exist

May 27th 2017

Medvedev and Assad

On my last night in Damascus, some younger members of the Ministry of Information-sponsored delegation in which I was taking part decided to have a drink. It was late April, and the bars and restaurants were doing good business in the cool and breezy evenings. An inebriated Russian journalist, accompanied by a uniformed Russian soldier entered the bar opposite our hotel in the Old City where my colleagues were sitting. Words were exchanged. An altercation began.

At a certain point, the Russian journalist produced a pistol and aimed it at the forehead of one of the delegation's participants. He then entered our hotel, and threatened one of the employees there, all with his uniformed colleague silently accompanying him. Read more ..

The Trump Era

Why Do Liberals Constantly Deflect Ben Carson’s Wisdom Just To Score Cheap Political Points?

May 25th 2017


It really is a shame.  During my Town Hall Interview conducted on my Sirius XM 126 Radio in which HUD Secretary Ben Carson began to explain some of the principles and market dynamics affecting policy initiatives at HUD, Carson noted that at its core, poverty is the result of a ‘poverty mindset’ that is often reinforced by family and social conditions.   The media immediately selected that quote and ran with it.  The implication in the mainstream media was that ‘cruel, tone-deaf Carson blames poor people for their poverty.’

But the media totally ignored the other things Dr. Carson said about the subject of housing, and the general formula for avoiding poverty. So, in the interest of full truth, it is only fair that we reset the balance here. Dr. Carson first noted that there are studies that show that there are three major self-initiated behaviors that can ensure that the vast majority of people do not wind up in poverty.  First, finish high school; second, get married; and third, delay childbirth until after marriage.  These three factors alone would filter out almost 95% of all of the poor people in this country. Carson’s remarks were thus focused on what the average person can do to avoid or alleviate poverty.

But this isn’t brain surgery we’re talking about here. Dr. Carson is not some elitist rich guy born with a spoon in his mouth who doesn’t know what he’s talking about. His story is well-documented. He was born to a mother who did not finish high school and was eventually forced to leave a bigamist marriage with two children she had to raise on her own.  She was forced into poverty. Read more ..

Germany on Edge

Europe: Muslim Atrocities against Women? So What!

May 24th 2017

Turkish Flags

It happened again last week. Two Turkish nationals in Schwerin, Germany were arrested for raping a 13-year-old girl after forcing themselves into her home.

Recently, a judge in Germany acquitted a Turkish drug dealer of raping one of his customers last August. He had forced himself on her for four hours and left her incapacitated for weeks. He told the judge that in the culture from where he came, what she "had experienced as rape" might be considered merely "wild sex."

What "culture" is this?

According to the Turkish women's rights organization "We Will Stop the Murders of Women," which publishes monthly reports, in March of this year alone, 35 women were killed; 14 others were exposed to sexual violence, and 63 children were molested. Many children, the report said, had been sexually abused for years, and often attempted suicide. Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

There Won’t Be Peace While the Power Is Out

May 23rd 2017

Hamas Kid

Donald Trump and the mainstream press may act like enemies on many issues, but they are the closest of allies when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Trump spouts fantasies about making Israeli-Palestinian peace, and Western media dutifully fails to report any news that might disrupt these fantasies, such as what the Palestinians’ two rival governments are actually doing to their own people right now.

If journalists were doing their jobs, they would ask Trump and his advisors one simple question: How exactly do you expect the Palestinians to make peace with Israel when both Palestinian governments have chosen to deprive their people of basic necessities–including electricity and medical care—to support anti-Israel terror?

Earlier this month, for instance, an Arab hospital in Jerusalem that mainly treats Palestinians announced it would no longer accept patients from either the West Bank or Gaza because the Palestinian Authority owes it so much money that it can no longer afford to buy medicines. The hospital, Augusta Victoria, said it urgently needs 23 million shekels ($6.4 million) to replenish its stocks. The PA’s unpaid debts to it total 150 million ($42 million).

Medicines are in similarly short


The Trump Era

Trump Can Break the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse

May 22nd 2017


In Saudi Arabia on Sunday, President Trump declared unswerving American commitment to help Riyadh in "confronting the crisis of Islamic extremism and the Islamist and Islamic terror of all kinds." A new coalition of American lawmakers believes he should make an equally important commitment to Israel when he lands there today.

Official U.S. policy on the Israeli-Palestinian dispute has long been centered on a "grievance-based approach" to conflict resolution and counterterrorism. Addressing the stated grievances of Palestinian extremists, the reasoning goes, reduces their motivations for fighting and enables their leaders and those of Arab states to make peace. Thus the perennial goal of American diplomacy has been to pressure or coax the democratic State of Israel into making concessions to the authoritarian PLO-turned-Palestinian Authority (PA) in hopes that they will placate the Palestinian masses (most of whom, including 1.6 million in Hamas-ruled Gaza, do not live in disputed territory). Read more ..

The Race for Batteries

Graphene and Nanotubes Triple Lithium Metal Battery Density

May 22nd 2017

Graphene carbon mesh

Researchers at Rice University in the US have used a combination of graphene and carbon nanotubes to build a rechargeable lithium metal battery with three times the capacity of commercial lithium-ion batteries.

The Rice battery uses an anode built of a hybrid of graphene and carbon nanotubes. The 3D surface provides more area for lithium to inhabit and approaches the theoretical maximum for storage of lithium metal while resisting the formation of damaging dendrites.

These dendrites are lithium deposits that grow into the battery's electrolyte and if they bridge the anode and cathode and create a short circuit, the battery may fail, catch fire or even explode.

Led by chemist James Tour, the researchers found that when the new batteries are charged, lithium metal evenly coats the highly conductive carbon hybrid in which nanotubes are covalently bonded to the graphene surface.


The Edge of Terrorism

Trump's Saudi Speech: Pretty Good

May 22nd 2017

Saudi princes

In Riyadh, on the first stop of his tri-monotheism tour that will take him to Jerusalem and Rome (sorry, Mecca was not available), Donald Trump gave a major speech on a wide range of topics – the Middle East, jihadi violence, Iran, an "Arab NATO," and Islam. It's a mixed performance, but overall positive.

First, what's wrong with the 34-minute speech: It's incoherent, jumping from topic to topic and then back again. It's neither eloquent nor insightful (as in, "Terrorists do not worship God, they worship death"). In places, it consists of Obama-like euphemisms, such as the statement that history's great test stands before us, one goal that transcends every other consideration: "to conquer extremism and vanquish the forces of terrorism."


Campus Hate

Proposed Michigan Law would Suspend Students for Suppressing Speech

May 21st 2017

Boycott Divest Israel demo

A Michigan state senator recently introduced a bill that would require public institutions to suspend students found responsible for disrupting speech. Senate Bill 350 is one of two free-speech bills (the other is SB 349) proposed by Republican Sen. Patrick Colbeck, both of which would expand free-speech protections for college student and eliminate so-called “free speech zones.” “Schools are not abiding by the First Amendment now despite clear legal precedent for them to do so.”

[RELATED: MAP: Campus free-speech bills gaining steam nationwide]

SB 350, though, proffers an additional stipulation that would require all public colleges and universities in the state to adopt a “statement warning that any student who has twice been found responsible for infringing upon the expressive rights of others will be suspended for a minimum of 1 year or expelled.”


Book Review

As a Witness, Bedein Chronicles "Inconvenient Truths" of Palestinian Authroity

May 21st 2017

UNRWA Protest

Genesis of the Palestinian Authority, by David Bedein. Edited by Bernhard Rosenberg. Behr Publishers, Edison, NJ. 2017

Over the past 30 years of covering the Israeli-PLO relations, David Bedein has witnessed many of its defining moments. He was present at the signing of the Oslo Accords, has met with the Fatah and Hamas leadership and has sent dispatched camera crews into key Palestinian Authority and UNRWA meetings and institutions.

While Bedein has consistently reported groundbreaking news, news agencies have often been n reluctant to publish his stories, most of which contradicted the “peace narrative” which was prevalent in the 90’s and early 2000’s.

Today, nearly 25 years after the signing of the Oslo accords, it is clear something went awry in the “peace agreement” aimed at ending the Israeli-Arab conflict. Read more ..

The Digital Edge

Self-powered Flexible Mic/Speaker is 0.1mm Thin

May 18th 2017

Man cupping his ear

Led by Nelson Sepúlveda, Associate Professor at the Michigan State University, a team of researchers who recently reported a breakthrough in ferroelectret nanogenerators (FENGs) was able to further characterize the behaviour of their thin-film FENG as a flexible acoustic transducer capable of operating both as a loudspeaker and a microphone.

Their paper "Nanogenerator-based dual-functional and self-powered thin patch loudspeaker or microphone for flexible electronics" published in Nature Communications examines the FENG's energy conversion mechanism under various sound pressure levels (SPL). Because the 0.1mm thin polypropylene ferroelectret (PPFE) includes compressible charged voids behaving as deformable dipoles in a metal-insulator-metal structure (with conductive silver layers for electrodes on the faces of the film), the alternating waves of sound pressure are faithfully transduced into alternating electrical signals. Here, rather than focus on energy generation, the study focused on reading out the analogue signal produced by the polymer-based FENG and the results are compelling.


Campus Hate

Chinese-American Yale University Dean called out for 'White Trash' Remarks

May 18th 2017

Yale University

A Chinese-American dean at Yale University who has advocated cultural sensitivity in the past has had to apologize for her own insensitive remarks about white people. In her reviews of gyms, cinemas, and restaurants on the Yelp website, she mused on food that she presumed “white trash” would like to eat while also denouncing employees she called “barely educated morons.”
Dean June Chu of Pierson College at prestigious Yale University had to eat her words that had been circulated for several months. They were revealed by the Yale Daily News, which took the trouble of publishing screenshots of Chu’s remarks. 
Chu wrote of a Japanese restaurant, “To put it quite simply: If you are white trash, this is the perfect night out for you!” She added, “This establishment is definitely not authentic by any stretch of any imagination and perfect for those low class folks who believe this is a real night out. Over salted and greasy food. Side note: employees are Chinese, not Japanese.”

Inside America

Shaking My head in Disbelief

May 17th 2017

Baby Boomer

Yale University graduate students launched a symbolic hunger strike. Unlike other hunger strikes this one didn’t pose any health risks. The students still ate meals. This is why they called it a symbolic hunger strike.

A march in Denver, Colorado to protest man-made global warming had to be postponed the last weekend of April. This was due to a foot of fresh-fallen snow.

Mats Järlström developed a mathematical formula justifying increasing the time of yellow traffic lights to accommodate drivers turning right. He submitted his work to the Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying to consider. In return, the State of Oregon fined Järlström $500 for the unlicensed “practice of engineering.”

In San Francisco, U.S. Judge Jon Tigar ruled California prisons must provide — free-of-charge — to transgender inmates clothing, grooming supplies, and jewelry that non-transgender inmates must purchase. He ruled in favor of an inmate serving a life sentence for murder. Read more ..

Mr. President--Stop the Terror Payments

May 17th 2017

To the President of the United States, the Honorable Mr. Donald Trump

Dear Mr. President,

We, the undersigned families of terror victims in Israel, welcome your upcoming visit to Israel. We are, however, concerned about your plans to facilitate direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) prior to any declaration by the latter to halt payments to murderous terrorists. As is widely documented, the PA pays large sums of money to convicted terrorists who have murdered innocent Israelis, among them our loved ones. In the past year alone the PA has paid some 250 million USD to terrorists, which is nothing short of incitement that motivates Palestinian youth to murder Israelis. As the size of the payments are made in accordance with the severity of the crime, terrorists are motivated to commit extreme acts of cruelty and barbarity. This immoral policy must stop immediately before any talks can commence.

We still recall how in 2013, under heavy pressure from the previous US administration, Israel released dozens of terrorists from prison as part of a deal aimed at advancing peace talks.  The PA, led by Abu Mazen, awarded those murderers with large “prison release grants” - blood payments for their acts of terror. We hope and pray that history will not repeat itself. In light of this, we hereby extend a request to meet with you in order to share with you our views and stories. We are the voice of the terror victims and bereaved families in Israel, and unfortunately, our number and pain are great. With your current mission to the Middle East and your desire to meet with all sides of the conflict, we call upon you to meet with us as well, the victims of decades-long Palestinian terror and violence that has claimed so many lives. We have followed the recent elections in the United States with great interest, and believe that your victory heralds an opportunity for change. This change, however, must also affect the Palestinians. Before there can be any dialogue, the Palestinians must demonstrate good faith and show that they are truly willing to change their ways by stopping incitement and halting all payments to terrorists who murdered Israelis, only for being Jews.

We pray that you will be blessed with success in your efforts to bring a just and lasting peace to the Land of Israel, and to the Middle East as a whole, during your time in office.

We, the bereaved families of terror victims in Israel, who have tragically lost our loved ones, innocent Israelis, young and old, from all walks of life, know best the meaning of violence and terror, and wish to secure a better and safer future for our children and for the children of all peoples around us. 

We hope that we can meet with you to discuss this further. 

Yours truly, 

The Undersigned Families

This letter is signed by the following people whose loved ones were murdered in terrorist attacks:

1) Lea and Yossi Zur, parents of Asaf

2) Hagit and Yossi Mendelevich, parents of Yuval

3) Ronit Harush, sister of Daniel 

4) Zipi and Moni Harush, parents of Daniel 

5) Ron Kehrmann, father of Tal 

6) Dror Kehrman, brother of Tal 

7) Nava and Moti Lachem, parents of Eliyahu 

8) Chaya Rond, Mother of Erez 

9) Doron Menchel, Father of Daniel 

10) Zeev Rap, Father of Helena 

11) Ilana Romano, widow of Yosef Romano, member of Israel delegation to Munich Olympics 

12) Anki Shpitzer, widow of Andrei, member of Israel delegation to Munich Olympics 

13) Gila Molcho, sister of Ian Fienberg 

14) Pnina Kachlon, mother of Ronen  

15) Shvuel Schivscurder, son of Mordechai and Zirel and brother of Avraham, Chemda & Raya killed in Sbaro restaurant in Jerusalem

16) Amichai Ariel, Father of Halel 

17) Dov Kalmanovich, was badly wounded in a terror attack

18) Shula and Zamir Oved, parents of Be’eri 

19) Chayim Katav, brother of Meital 

20) Eliyahu Katav, father of Meital 

21) Devora and Eli David, sister of Moti and aunt of Tom 

22) Menucha Kurman, daughter of Yehudit and Eliezer 

23) Devora Gonen, mother of Danni 

24) Chayim Yosef and Ruti Luver, Sister of Dani Gonen

25) Netanel and Hani Kanias, sister of Dani Gonen

26) Ika Atia, father of Inbar 

27) Avi Bromberg, Nephew of Avraham Bromberg 

28) Roni and Dani Lerner, parents of Baruch 

29) Miri Firstenberg, Daughter of Ephrayim and Chana, and sister of Chaim 

30) Anat Zer Cohen, Sister of Gilad Zer 

31) Esther Firsteter, Mother of Smadar 

32) Avishai Firsteter, brother of Smadar 

33) Almakaies Shimon, father of Keren  and grandfather of Liran and Noya 

34) Chaim Didovsky, widower of Rina 

35) Dina and Omer Kit, parents of Ophir 

36) Edna and Danni Bahat, parents of Ziki 

37) Leah and Chaim Lichterman, parents of Gideon 

38) Zvika Shachak, father of Bat-Chen 

39) Ofra Arieli, Widow of Moti Hershko 

40) Hadas Mizrachi, widow of Baruch 

41) Sara Pekizgi, Daughter of Devora and Michael Krim

42) Yaakov Gavrieli, father of Yifat 

43) Avner Weiss, father of Inbal  and brother of Yanai 

44) Miriyam Arami, mother of Netanel 

45) Sherri Mandel, mother of Kobi 

46) Yaron Friedman, brother of Guy 

47) Oded Karmani, brother of Ronen Levy 

48) Yeremi Kurman, brother of Yehudit and Eliezer 

49) Zohar Buchris, brother of Hadar 

50) Dalia Bublil Ochan, sister of David Dedi 

51) Meirav Vender Osher, daughter of Avi Osher 

52) Yechiel Shmuel, brother of Erez 

53) Tali Getenue, daughter of Sara Sharon 

54) Yaniv Eliyahu, son of Yossi Eliyahu 

55) Nati Smadar, son of Chaim 

56) Shay Odser, son of Mordechai  and nephew of Shlomo 

57) Sharona Shitrit, sister of Mordechai, Aharon and Yocheved 

58) Ayelet and Oren Tamam, brother of Moshe Tamam 

59) Ortal Tamam, nephew of Moshe 

60) Adva Biton mother of Adel 

61) Rina and Eliezer Rozenfeld, parents of Malachi

62) Natalie Yesayev, widow of Aharon 

63) Eyal Gelman, brother of Eliav

64) Simona Yakobovich, mother of Binyamin Zvi

65) Adel Bennet, widow of Rabbi Aharon

66) Yosef and Miryam Gal, parents in law of Rabbi Aharon Bennet

67) Ruth Chasno, widow of Asher

68) Sigal Tzabari Elyakim, sister in law of Dalia (Sigal brother Rami was badly wounded)

69) Orly Grego, mother of Mazi

70) Orna Amrani, sister of Shaltiel Akiva

71) Shay Odser, Son of Moti and nephew of Shlomo

72) Sapir Hazut, Daughter of Daniel Hazut

73) Sharona Shitrit, relative of Fani, Yocheved, Aharon and Moti 

74) Lea Federing, daughter of Moris Edri

75) Palmach Zeevi, son of Minister Rechavam Zeevi

76) Fahad Kenaan, son of Mufid Kenaan

77) Yael Maman, sister of Kochava Shriki

78) Elyada Borovski, brother of Evyatar Borovski

79) Elichay Ben Yishay, lost his sister, brother in law and three nephews in Itamar

80) Iris Yifrach, mother of Eyal Yifrach

81) Yagil Henekin, brother of Rabbi Eitam and brother in law of Naama

82) Taama Yakobson, sister of Rabbi Eitam Henekin

83) Benzi Ben Shoham, brother of Limor

84) Zvia Becker, daughter of Moshe

85) Yaakov Shemesh, brother of Gad and brother in law of Zipi

86) Zion Svery, lost his son Doron, daughter Sharon and son in law Yaniv

87) Sara Yagen, mother of Lea-Liat

88) Zafrira Adorian, widow of Eli

89) Yona Hos Rotenstein, sister of Nahum Hos

90) Hemdat Malka, sister of Avia Malka

91) Rabbi Uri Sherki, father of Shalom Yochai

92) Dikla Malka, Sister of Netanel Arami

93) Inbal Akkrin, Sister of Netanel Arami

94) Sara Tchiya Bigel, sister of Netanel Litman and daughter of Rabbi Yaakob Litman

95) Noa Litman, widow of Rabbi Yaakov Litman

96) Meirav and Asher Hagag, parents of Shir Hagag

97) Natalie Shmuel, daughter of Avraham Asher Chasno

98) Leah Sigbecker, daughter of Avraham Asher Chasno

99) Zadika Ben Daviv, daughter of Avraham Asher Chasno

100) Elchanan and Mazal Meydad, daughter and son in law of Avraham Asher Chasno

101) Eldad Chasno, son of Avraham Asher Chasno

102) Chayim and Dina Simons, parents of Hadas Mizrachi wounded in terror attack and parents in law of Baruch Mizrachi

103) Sara Don, widow of Rabbi Yaakov Don

The Edge of Terrorism

Family of Terror Victim Files Lawsuit Against Pro-Palestinian Groups in U.S.

May 12th 2017

Nathan Lewin and Alyza D. Lewin

Attorneys representing Stanley and Joyce Boim announced today that they have filed a lawsuit against American Muslims for Palestine (“AMP”); Americans for Justice in Palestine Educational Foundation (“AJP”); Rafeeq Jaber; Abdelbasset Hamayel; and Osama Abu Irshaid to hold them liable for a 2004 jury verdict and subsequent federal judgments under the Anti-Terrorism Act that awarded $156 million in damages to the parents of a 17-year-old American student murdered by Hamas.  

The parents of David Boim, who was shot and killed by Hamas gunmen while waiting for a bus to Jerusalem, initiated a lawsuit in 2000 against individual organizations in the United States that provided material support to Hamas.  These groups included the Islamic Association for Palestine (“IAP”); The American Muslim Society (“AMS”); and the Holy Land Foundation (“HLF”). A jury in Chicago’s federal court returned a verdict in the Boims’ favor of $52 million, which was trebled under the 1992 Anti-Terrorism Act (18 USC 2333). Read more ..

America on Edge

When Party Line Becomes Dogma

May 11th 2017

Juda Engelmayer

There was a time when issues were so clear that the we were all on the same page of right and wrong.  It used to be when the PLO would hijack an airplane, it was terrorism.  Today, the divide between good people is so vast that the perspective one has depends on his or her broader ideals; are they freedom fighters or terrorists?

We see too this in politics today.  I was at a discussion with Congress member Grace Meng (D - New York) earlier this week, and she expressed frustration with this situation.  Meng mentioned she was talking with colleagues and suggested that the Democratic Party should be open to a pro-life candidate who espouses many of the Democratic Party’s other ideals; she was rebuffed, and then urged by women’s groups to back off that opinion.

It occurred to me that there are so many areas where we have become deeply entrenched in political identity that we see no difference between individual policies and party line - and party line has become dogma.  We no longer look at right or wrong.  We treat policy like a zero-sum game. We pick a complete side and hold firm.  This is the reason bipartisan support is so hard to come by today in Congress and within many legislative bodies in the United States.  We get little accomplished because we cannot afford to yield anything to the “other side” – even if the other side has a position you might otherwise endorse.

If you are a Republican, you must be a hard-liner conservative, and if you are a Democrat, you must see issues more and more through the lenses of the likes of Senators Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders, with little tolerance for the centrist point of view.

The Democratic party is becoming more isolationist.  Congresswoman Meng lamented that people with deep religious beliefs often feel they have no place in the Democratic Party because of their traditions and values on certain social issues. She reflected on how, in her run for office, she encountered many in her district who share so many Democratic values – religious matter aside - yet could not find an encouraging reason to vote Democrat. They felt isolated. Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

Qatar Needs to Stop Funding Islamists

May 10th 2017

Close-up Hamas terrorist balaclava bullets AK-47

President Trump is looking anew at American allies and partners. While saying he will preserve these relationships, he wants them to pay their fair share and uphold their side of the relationship. Whether it is South Korea or Saudi Arabia, they are subject to his calls for them to contribute more and defray our costs in deploying forces to defend them. Burden-sharing is not a new concept, but he is placing a premium on it.

It is an important measure, and it should be given greater weight, but it must also be kept in perspective. Consider that one country that would do well on this measure is Qatar. Qatar permitted us to build and operate a massive air base, al-Udeid, and has helped meet the costs of operation. From al-Udeid, the U.S. conducts all coalition air operations for the entire region — from Afghanistan to Syria. It is a critical base for protecting our national security interests in the Middle East, and viewed from this perspective alone, one might judge Qatar to be an American ally. Read more ..

Israel on Edge

Israel Is Still at War

May 10th 2017

6 day war

After several military defeats, the largest and strongest Arab state, Egypt, signed a historic peace treaty with Israel in 1979. The defection of Egypt from the anti-Israel Arab alliance largely neutralized the option of a large-scale conventional attack on Israel, improving Israel's overall strategic position.

Yet Cairo refrained from developing normal relations with the Jewish state. A "cold peace" evolved, underscoring the countries' common strategic interests but also the reluctance of Egypt to participate in reconciling the two peoples.

Jordan followed suit in 1994, largely emulating the Egyptian precedent. Jordan's peace treaty with Israel also reflected common strategic interests – but was commonly referred to by Jordanians as the "King's peace," indicating a disinclination for people-to-people interactions with the Jews west of the Jordan River. Read more ..

The Battle for Syria

Assad’s Hollow Crown

May 10th 2017

Syrian refugees

The mortar shells came early in the morning.  At about 5.  At regular intervals. Solemn and sinister. They were a reminder of how close it all was. We were in the Damascus Old City. There was still fighting in Jobar, about two kilometers away.  The rebels had also counter-attacked from the east, from the suburbs in eastern Ghouta, in the previous week.   A shell had landed in the precinct of the Umayyad Mosque. 

This was not in accordance with the line being promoted by the regime, according to which the rebellion was on the verge of defeat.  But there it was. The old city was tense, behind a veneer of strained normality. There were checkpoints every hundred meters or so. Read more ..

Broken Budgets

Another Year Another Budget

May 10th 2017

US Capital Day

There’s one consistency with Congress each year. Congress passes — and the president signs into law — unrestrained spending measures.

It happens when Republicans run Washington.  When Democrats are in charge.  And when there’s divided government.  And they always say the same thing: We’ll be responsible — next year.

Last year, Republican leaders promised the very next spending cycle would include 12 stand-alone appropriation bills.  As it is meant to be.

Well, we’re in that spending cycle.  Last week, another omnibus spending measure –separate spending bills wrapped-up into one –was enacted.  The same thing happened when Democrats controlled both Congress and the White House. So, if all 535 members of the House and Senate claim they oppose omnibus spending bills then how does this happen? Read more ..

After the Vote

FBI Acknowledges Comey Misspoke in Testimony about Clinton emails on Weiner's Laptop

May 9th 2017

Hilary Clinton

FBI Director James Comey misstated key issues in the Hillary Clinton email investigation during his testimony before Congress last week, two people familiar with the investigation have confirmed. 

Comey last week told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee that Clinton aide Huma Abedin made it a regular practice to forward "hundreds and thousands" of the former Secretary of State's messages -- including those containing classified information -- to her husband, disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner. But, the sources say that while Abedin did occasionally forward emails to Weiner's laptop for printing, the number was far smaller than Comey claimed and it wasn't a usual practice. Furthermore, none of the emails forwarded were marked classified, but later, a small number were found to contain classified information. 

The FBI also acknowledged that Comey misspoke, but did not elaborate on the extent of those inaccuracies or how they might be corrected. The emails on Weiner's laptops were discovered as a part of a sex crimes investigation into Weiner, and threw a wrench into Clinton's campaign just days before the election, when Comey disclosed that more Clinton-related emails were under review. 

Some consider the late October revelation that more Clinton-related emails were discovered tipped the election in favor of now-President Donald Trump. Clinton herself claimed as much last week, when she said she was "on the way to winning until a combination of Jim Comey's letter on October 28 and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me and got scared off."

Mr. Comey, in his recent testimony, said the thought that his actions may have influenced the election made him "mildly nauseous," but that he wouldn't have changed his actions. Read more ..

Broken Borders

Toughest anti-Sanctuary Sanction Signed into Law

May 9th 2017

Border Patrol

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed on Sunday Senate Bill 4, which will ban sanctuary cities in the Lone Star state. Abbott signed the bill, unheralded, during a Facebook Live video. The law allows law enforcement officers, on the one hand, to ask persons they stop or detain about their immigration status, while on the other hand, the law may mean jail time for police, sheriffs, and constables who refuse to comply with detainer requests from federal immigration officials. 
Some local law enforcement officials have announced they will comply, while others say the law will be problematic. "SB 4 is bad for public safety," San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said Friday. "It will not make our streets safer." He and Sheriff Javier Salazar of Bexar County contend that the law will comprise public trust in law enforcement among illegal aliens. "They feel they can't come to me, their Bexar County sheriff, because they're more terrified of being deported," Salazar said.

Amazon and the Book World

Amazon’s Taking Another Bite of the Publishing Pie

May 9th 2017

Amazon box

The Authors Guild is deeply disturbed by Amazon’s new policy of allowing third-party book resellers to claim featured status in the “buy boxes” on Amazon. In a move that’s very likely to cut into publishing industry profits even more, Amazon will no longer automatically assign the main buy box for each hard copy, paper, audio and Kindle edition to the copies that Amazon distributes on behalf of the book’s publisher. Rather, a secret algorithm—which reportedly weighs factors such as price, availability, and delivery time, will now decide which seller (i.e., Amazon or a third party re-seller) gets the buy box. Amazon’s new policy states that “eligible sellers will be able to compete for the buy box for Books in new condition.” What this means is that second-hand book distributors—who often sell at extremely steep discounts—will be able to claim that premium real estate if they can beat out the publishers’ copies under the algorithm. Read more ..

The Race for Mars

Want To Live On Mars? Gala Dinner In LA Unveils First Opportunities To Eat Like A Martian

May 9th 2017

Red Planet

If you could move to Mars, what would your house look like? Would you eat from your local hydroponic Martian farm, drink wine from the Martian vineyard and eat meat cultured by vegetarian butchers?

Mars architect Very Mulyani is building the first Mars City, on Earth, and is pretty sure your future home on Mars, with 40% less gravity, won’t be anything like what you own or rent on earth today: “With lower gravity, a house doesn’t have to have a door touching the ground,” she says.

And for food? These questions and more will be answered in Los Angeles on May 25, at the world’s first dinner for Mars. Grab a date, and take advantage of discount tickets, ($150 instead of $300 for Green Prophet readers, and $500 for VIP) as Mulyani lays the foundations for the first Martian city she is creating on Earth, in the Mojave Desert. Read more ..

The Iranian Threat

Pentagon Eyes Iran-North Korea Military Connection

May 8th 2017

Iran Nuclear Equipment centrifuges

When Iran attempted to launch a cruise missile from a “midget” submarine earlier this week, Pentagon officials saw more evidence of North Korean influence in the Islamic Republic – with intelligence reports saying the submarine was based on a Pyongyang design, the same type that sank a South Korean warship in 2010.

According to U.S. defense officials, Iran was attempting to launch a Jask-2 cruise missile underwater for the first time, but the launch failed. Nonproliferation experts have long suspected North Korea and Iran are sharing expertise when it comes to their rogue missile programs.

“The very first missiles we saw in Iran were simply copies of North Korean missiles,” said Jeffrey Lewis, a missile proliferation expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. “Over the years, we've seen photographs of North Korean and Iranian officials in each other's countries, and we've seen all kinds of common hardware.” Read more ..

Books on Edge

Internet Archive's "Smash and Grab"

May 6th 2017

Oak Ridge Super Computer

A shocking proposal from the Internet Archive (IA) illustrates how deeply fragmented traditional alliances in the literary marketplace have become. IA has proudly announced that it’s a semifinalist for a $100 million grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which will allow IA to digitize over 4 million books. IA then plans to make a digital copy of every work available to any library in the country that owns a physical copy of that book. The idea is to create tens of millions of new ebooks, available for free to library users throughout America. It’s inevitable that most of the newly digitized books would still be within their copyright, since IA wants to concentrate on works published in the last century. Despite that, the IA does not plan to pay a penny to the authors or publishers of these books. Read more ..

Broken Borders

President Trump Releases Data on Imprisoned Criminal Aliens for First Time

May 6th 2017

Prison bars

For years, the federal government has failed to report the number of criminal aliens locked up in federal and state prisons, as well as local jails. Experts in penology have often complained that politicians and members of the news media are hesitant to discuss any connection between illegal aliens — many of whom are already felons since they’ve re-entered the country after being deported — and criminal acts such as murder, rape, robbery and other felonies.

President Trump’s Executive Order on Public Safety in the Interior of the United States now requires the Department of Justice to collect relevant data and provide quarterly reports on data collection efforts. The data in this release shows a significant prison population of incarcerated aliens. Read more ..

Broken Education

Potemkin Universities

May 6th 2017

Yale University

Behind the facades, universities have broken faith with a once-noble legacy of free inquiry. College campuses still appear superficially to be quiet, well-landscaped refuges from the bustle of real life. But increasingly, their spires, quads, and ivy-covered walls are facades. They are now no more about free inquiry and unfettered learning than were the proverbial Potemkin fake buildings put up to convince the traveling Russian czarina Catherine II that her impoverished provinces were prosperous.

The university faces crises almost everywhere of student debt, university finances, free expression, and the very quality and value of a university education.

Take free speech.Without freedom of expression, there can be no university. But if the recent examples at Berkeley, Claremont, Middlebury, and Yale are any indication, there is nothing much left to the idea of a free and civilized exchange of different ideas. Read more ..

Broken Borders

Austin Texas Faces Costs for 'Sanctuary City' Status

May 5th 2017

US/Mex Border fence

Millions of people are living illegally in the U.S., and more than 100,000 live in Austin, Texas. Austin law enforcement has pledged not to arrest and detain people for simply living there illegally. But that promise goes against a bill about to become law in Texas. It also goes against requests from Attorney General Jeff Sessions. And it's costing Austin money and creating confusion - in the immigrant community as well as among law enforcement.

Several weeks ago, armed Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents entered the Travis County criminal court and began arresting people who could not prove they were in the U.S. legally, according to Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt. She called it a raid and said it undermined her work.

"This, I would submit, is not about sanctuary cities," she said. "I would submit that this is straight-up political retribution." Read more ..

Broken Borders

Maryland and New York Prosecutors Give Immigrants Lesser Charges to Avoid Deportation

May 5th 2017

Stop the Raids immigration protest

Prosecutors in New York City and Baltimore have ordered their staff to refrain from charging illegal immigrants with minor, non-violent crimes because these could result in deportation. New York District Attorney Eric Gonzalez of Brooklyn was the first such official to create this dual track for prosecution. According to a statement from his office, the goal is “minimizing collateral immigration consequences of criminal convictions.” 
Brooklyn has contracted with two immigration attorneys to train staff members on immigration issues and advise prosecutors when making plea offers and sentencing recommendations. The training is for the purpose of avoiding “disproportionate collateral consequences, such as deportation while maintaining public safety.” Brooklyn District Attorney Gonzalez said nevertheless that he remains committed to equality before the law. 

Hillary After the Vote

Hillary Aides Threatened Prime Minister’s Son With IRS Audit, He Says

May 5th 2017

Hilary Clinton

Hillary Clinton’s Department of State aides allegedly threatened a South Asian prime minister’s son with an IRS audit in an attempt to stop a Bangladesh government investigation of a close friend and donor of Clinton’s, The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group learned.

A Bangladesh government commission was investigating multiple charges of financial mismanagement at Grameen Bank, beginning in May 2012. Muhammad Yunus, a major Clinton Foundation donor, served as managing director of the bank.

Sajeeb Wazed Joy, son of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and permanent U.S. resident, recalled the account of the threatened IRS audit to TheDCNF. The allegations mark the first known instance in the U.S. that Clinton’s Department of State used IRS power to intimidate a close relative of a friendly nation’s head of state on behalf of a Clinton Foundation donor.

Wazed told TheDCNF it was “astounding and mind boggling” that senior State Department officials between 2010 and 2012 repeatedly pressured him to influence his mother to drop the commission investigation. The commission report was released in early 2013.

“They threatened me with the possibility of an audit by the Internal Revenue Service,” he said. “I have been here legally for 17 years and never had a problem. But they said, ‘well, you know, you might get audited.'” Read more ..

Autism on Edge

Autism and Disappointing Drug Therapies

May 4th 2017

Black infant

Connor was diagnosed with autism early — when he was just 18 months old. His condition was already obvious by then. “He was lining things up, switching lights on and off, on and off,” says his mother, Melissa. He was bright, but he didn’t speak much until age 3, and he was easily frustrated. Once he started school, he couldn’t sit still in class, called out answers without raising his hand and got visibly upset when he couldn’t master a math concept or a handwriting task quickly enough. “One time, he rolled himself up into the carpet like a burrito and wouldn’t come out until I got there,” Melissa recalls. (All families in this story are identified by first name only, to protect their privacy.)

Connor was prescribed his first psychiatric drug, methylphenidate (Ritalin), at age 6. That didn’t last long, but when he was 7, his parents tried again. A psychiatrist suggested a low dose of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine (Adderall), a stimulant commonly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The drug seemed to improve his time at school: He was able to sit still for longer periods of time and focus on what his teachers were saying. His chicken-scratch handwriting became legible. Then, it became neat. Then perfect. And then it became something Connor began to obsess over. Read more ..

Jordan on Edge

Is Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood Still the Loyal Opposition?

May 4th 2017

Muslim Brotherhood Jordan

The Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, the key Islamist movement in the country, has had a long-standing symbiotic relationship with the monarchy and, until recently, was not considered a threat to the survival of the Hashemite Kingdom.[1] But the rise and fall of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the growth of militant Islamist groups such as the Islamic State (ISIS) have alarmed the monarchy and led to a drastic shift in the nature of its relations with the Brotherhood from coexistence to persecution. Will the Jordanian regime be able to contain the Islamists and, in turn, will the Brotherhood choose to challenge the throne rather than to acquiesce in its continued suppression? Read more ..

Author Interview

Paul Scott’s “Radical,” An Alarming Solution To Dangerous Climate Change

May 4th 2017

Oil Barrels

When I first met Paul Scott at the AltCar Expo in Santa Monica back in 2009, I automatically liked this friendly man on his electric Vectrix. Paul was frank, straightforward, and driven by a strong motivation to tell the world how to clean up its act with a smile. But make no mistake, this mild-mannered looking man is on a mission, and a dangerous one at that — to avoid a climate meltdown and terrorism. Paul Scott’s Radical book subtitle says it all: With Billions of Lives at Stake, What Would You Do?

When Paul first told me he was writing a dangerous book two years ago, I chuckled. What could be so dangerous writing a book about the environment? Surely, Paul isn’t one of those conspiracy theorists? But as he told me more about it, I knew the book would do more than raise a few eyebrows. The book is a chilling insight into what could easily happen if we continue on our merry way destroying our planet while mega-corporation pockets grow larger and larger. But who really is Paul Scott, anyway?


Palestinians on Edge

“Palestine” is Already a “Failed State”

May 4th 2017

Abbas UN

The impending visit of Mahmoud Abbas to Washington on Wednesday coupled with moves on Capitol Hill to cut off funding to the Palestinian Authority (PA) as a result of Palestinian terrorism makes this a good time to focus on Palestinian governance.

Once the Trump administration does, it will find Palestinian governance has not gone well — despite or perhaps even because of the billions in foreign aid, including American money, pumped into the PA. For example:

The authority’s 2016 budget shows estimated expenditures of $4.25 billion but revenues of only $2 billion. That includes more than $1 billion in contributions from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the European Union and the United States. In perspective, the gross domestic product (GDP) of the territory under supervision of Mr. Abbas‘ PA (the West Bank and Gaza Strip, population estimated at more than 4 million) is about $12.1 billion; Vermont’s GDP (population approximately 625,000) is $29 billion. The PA was established in 1994 as a result of the Oslo Accords.


The Race for Alt Energy

Germany Could Be a Model for How We’ll Get Power in the Future

May 4th 2017

Green Mtn wind farm

Hamburg knew the bombs were coming, and so the prisoners of war and forced laborers had just half a year to build the giant flak bunker. By July 1943 it was finished. A windowless cube of reinforced concrete, with seven-foot-thick walls and an even thicker roof, it towered like a medieval castle above a park near the Elbe River. The guns protruding from its four turrets would sweep Allied bombers from the sky, the Nazis promised, while tens of thousands of citizens sheltered safely behind its impenetrable walls.

Coming in at night from the North Sea just weeks after the bunker was finished, British bombers steered for the spire of St. Nikolai in the center of the city. They dropped clouds of metallic foil strips to throw off German radar and flak gunners. Targeting crowded residential neighborhoods, the bombers ignited an unquenchable firestorm that destroyed half of Hamburg and killed more than 34,000 people. Towering walls of fire created winds so strong that people were blown into the flames. Church bells clanged furiously.


The Trump Era

Gay Organist Admits to Homophobic, Nazi Graffiti Hoax

May 4th 2017


Just after Donald Trump won the election in November, an Episcopal church in Bean Blossom, Indiana, was supposedly vandalized with graffiti that included a swastika, homophobic language, and the words “Heil Trump.” The incident generated widespread media coverage and liberal comment at the time.
In Brown County, St. David’s Episcopal Church in Bean Blossom is known to affirm homosexual relationships and solemnize homosexual marriages. At the time, the news was reported by the Washington Post and other media that the graffiti typified other such supposed manifestations of hatred inspired by the Trump election. 

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