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Significant Lives

Dick Gregory – A Underappreciated Sherpa On The Climb To Economic Freedom

August 21st 2017

Armstrong_Williams

Seldom a month goes by when I do not speak in glowing terms about my business mentor and brother in spirit Dick Gregory. My brother was many things – he was a ruthless social critic who always spoke his mind, he was an outspoken civil rights activist, and he introduced an entire generation to healthy lifestyles through his wildly popular Bahamian Diet. He was an epic conspiracy theorist who could spin yarns out of the most disparate of threads. Many others will recall his countless acts of kindness and candor, of humility and strength, and his amazing sense of humor. But I most fondly remember brother Gregory for getting me started on the road to financial freedom.

As a young man and recent college graduate, I moved to Washington, DC from a rural farm town in South Carolina to work as a presidential appointee in the Department of Agriculture. I really loved my job – it was exciting to be in the midst of the government and having the chance to get involved in issues that directly affected my community back home. My official portfolio APHIS at Ag included working to assist rural farmers, helping them to keep their farms in the face of the decline of small-scale agriculture in the United States. It is an issue I am still passionate about to this day.

But I quickly realized that in moving to Washington which was then, as it is now, one of the most expensive cities in the country – that passion alone doesn’t pay the rent. My government salary of under $25,000 per year in 1982 was just not going to cut it. I was driven by necessity and my father to look for ways to supplement my government salary when I was introduced to Dick Gregory's Bahamian Diet in Baltimore, Md. Read more ..


The Trump Era

Trump is Right-- the Alt-Left is Violent

August 19th 2017

Star Parker right crop

British writer and theologian G.K. Chesterton observed, "It is hatred that unites people — while love is always individual."

The use of hatred to mobilize has a long and bloody history. We should understand why it works so well. It taps into human weakness. It exploits the unwillingness of individuals to take responsibility for their own lives, to courageously confront life's ambiguities and inconsistencies, and still move forward constructively. It's so much easier to blame someone else.

This is what racism is about.

Speaking to the horrible incident in Charlottesville, President Donald Trump condemned the "egregious display of bigotry and violence" on "many sides" that's "been going on for a long time in our country." The president appealed for the "hate and violence" to stop and that we "come together as Americans."

For these remarks the president is being attacked.

Read more ..

North Korea's Nukes

Forget Those Comparisons with the Cuban Missile Crisis

August 17th 2017

Un-generals

President Trump’s threat to unleash the greatest “fire and fury” in history against North Korea has prompted many hasty comparisons to the Cuban missile crisis. The initial speculation has focused particularly on the potential restraining influence of senior administration officials, especially Secretary of Defense James Mattis (a retired Marine general) and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster (a former Army general). Ironically, however, examining today’s impasse from the perspective of 1962 actually demands turning the essence of the Cuban missile crisis upside down.

In 1962 the question was whether the civilian commander-in-chief could successfully face down the determined and united resistance of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (as well as that of most of his own advisers and the leaders of Congress). JFK was a fully-committed Cold Warrior, as demonstrated by his administration’s covert war in Cuba and efforts to assassinate Fidel Castro. But, unlike the Joint Chiefs, he understood that risking war between nations possessing nuclear weapons was no longer a rational option, one which could lead to what he vividly described as “the final failure.” “It is insane that two men, sitting on opposite sides of the world,” he remarked at a White House meeting, “should be able to decide to bring an end to civilization.” Once the first shot was fired, he warned, all bets were off.

Read more ..

The Race for AI

Is Artificial Intelligence an Existential Threat?

August 6th 2017

Terminator Robot

It is not unusual for disrupting technologies to be embraced and feared—and not necessarily in that order. That was and will continue to be true for all technologies that bring both benefit and risk; it is a duality in which many technologies have to exist. Examples throughout history have been the airplane, the automobile, unmanned weapons systems, and now even software – especially the software which powers artificial intelligence (AI).

Last week at a U.S. governors’ conference, Elon Musk, the CEO of the engineering companies SpaceX and Tesla, reportedly told the assembled politicians that “AI is a fundamental existential risk for human civilization,” sounding the alarm bell. This is not the first time Musk has expressed this concern, he’s done so as early as 2014. Many have branded him a Cassandra, and if he is, he’s not a lone-wolf Cassandra; he’s joined in those views by the likes of Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, and other experts. It is not surprising there is an equal number of experts who question Musk’s concern and believe his alarm bell is tolling for a non-existent threat.

Read more ..

Financing the Flames

How to Sell a Suicide-Bomber Subsidy to Congress

August 3rd 2017

Hamas terrorist with toy Kalashnikov

Husam Zomlot does not have an easy job. He is the Palestinian Liberation Organization's representative in Donald Trump's Washington. And despite Trump's early promise to seek the ultimate deal to bring peace to the Holy Land, his administration is focused on more pressing matters.

Zomlot's biggest problem these days is a piece of legislation named for Taylor Force, a former U.S. army officer who was stabbed to death in 2016 when he was in Tel Aviv on tour with his fellow Vanderbilt University graduate students.

When Republican Senator Lindsey Graham learned that the family of the murderer would be receiving a lifetime stipend as part of a Palestinian program to pay the families of so-called martyrs and inmates in Israeli prisons, he drafted legislation to end U.S. economic assistance to the Palestinian Authority until the payments ended. Read more ..


The Digital Age

Google’s New Hate Speech Algorithm Has a Problem With Jews

July 31st 2017

Intel ultrabook

Don’t you just hate how vile some people are on the Internet? How easy it’s become to say horrible and hurtful things about other groups and individuals? How this tool that was supposed to spread knowledge, amity, and good cheer is being use to promulgate hate? No need to worry anymore: Google’s on it.

Earlier this year, Silicon Valley’s overlords introduced Perspective API, the latter being nerd-speak for Application Program Interface, or a set of tools for building software. The idea behind it is simple: because it’s impossible for an online publisher to manually monitor all the comments left on its website, Perspective will use advanced machine learning to help moderators track down comments that are likely to be “toxic.” Here’s how the company describes it: “The API uses machine learning models to score the perceived impact a comment might have on a conversation.” Read more ..


Jewry on Edge

Congress Can Send A Powerful Message By Passing The Israel Anti-Boycott Act

July 27th 2017

Capitol Hill

Is the ACLU actually attempting to sway congressional debate against Israel? The red flags are alarming, including this recent tweet by Jamil Dakwar, Director of the ACLU’s Human Rights Program: “Israeli leaders exploit horrible acts of anti-Semitism to encourage Jews to move to Israel. Judaism ≠ Zionism; Anti-Zionism ≠ Anti-Semitism.”

Mr. Dakwar is wrong, and his tweet is anti-Semitic. Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said at a symposium held at the United Nations, “Racism in all forms is intolerable. Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. Both are unacceptable.” Read more ..


Financing the Flames

Are US Jews Helping the Families of Terrorists?

July 25th 2017

Sorrow-Pain

This week, a New Israel Fund supported organization Hamoked filed in Military court to stop the destruction of four homes of Palestinian terrorists located in “Ramallah District: three in Deir Abu Mash’al and one in Silwad.”

Hamoked is fighting for the families of terrorists – who killed Sgt. Elhai Taharlev, 20, in an car-ramming attack on April 6, 2017, and Hadas Malka, 23, a Border Police officer stabbed to death in a terror attack in Jerusalem’s Old City on June 17, 2017. Sickening – and it comes on the heels of another New Israel Fund organization calling for Israel’s border police to be investigated for shooting a terrorist who killed two policemen

Hamoked has received more than $720,000 from New Israel Fund donors like the Leichtag Foundation, while claiming to work “for the enforcement of standards and values of international human rights and humanitarian law.” Hamoked – while using American Jewish donor money – defends the families of terrorists. Read more ..


Campus Hate

The New 'Social Justice Movement' – Why Colleges Are Breeding Grounds for Anti-Semitism

July 24th 2017

uc davis swastika door

They hung up their swastikas. They threatened their Jewish class mates. They chanted "gas them, burn them, humanity cannot progress with the parasitic Jews."

These are the sounds that echoed in the lecture halls of Germany's finest universities. But, I'm not talking about those universities; I am talking about American college campuses.

Those swastikas that were hung up on campus buildings? That was done by students from Stanford University, George Washington University, U.C. Davis, and Drexel University.

Those chants to burn and gas Jews?  That happened at U.C. Berkeley.

Anti-Semitism is happening now. Not on the other side of the world in a generation that is not ours. It's in today's headlines. As an active pro-Israel student with Christians United for Israel and the Philos Project, I have seen a deep hatred for the Jewish state spread like wildfire. Read more ..


The Edge of Labor

Seattle Wages is a War on Minimum Pay Labor

July 19th 2017

Money Stack

Seattle has the highest minimum hourly wage in the nation. The raise was phased-in.  In 2015, it jumped to $11 an hour.  It didn’t move people off welfare, as promised.  The welfare rolls were virtually unchanged.

The city lost 1,000 restaurant jobs in the month following the pay hike. It lost 1,300 jobs in January through June. In contrast, 2800 restaurant jobs were created outside of Seattle. Nationally, more than 130,000 restaurant jobs were created during the same period.  Obviously, the wage hike forced Seattle employers to slash positions.

University of Washington economists have delivered even more grim news.  They studied the effect of last year’s hike to 13-dollars an hour.  Their  study was funded, in part, by the city of Seattle.

The bump to 13-dollars resulted in nearly a nine-and-a-half percent reduction of hours worked.  And a loss of more than 5,000 jobs.  Net wages for lower-income workers were reduced by 1500-dollars a year.  This is a huge chunk of change for people living paycheck-to-paycheck. Read more ..


Clintons on Edge

Clinton Foundation’s Haitian Whistleblower found Shot to Death in Miami

July 18th 2017

Crime scene tape

A 50-year-old former Haitian government official who was expected to give sworn testimony next week regarding suspected Clinton “Crime Family” Foundation corruption and malpractice, dead in Miami. Police officer Charles Duggan said the death was attributed to a single gunshot wound to the official’s head.

Therefore, according to the coroner’s report, Clinton associate Klaus Eberwein’s death was ruled a suicide and his name is now added to the growing list of men and women who died under mysterious circumstances after “getting mixed-up with America’s version of the Borgias,” said Officer Duggan, who denied being assigned to the investigation.

The Borgias are the most infamous family of Renaissance Italy, and their history normally hinges around four key individuals: Pope Calixtus III, his nephew Pope Alexander IV, his son Cesare and daughter Lucrezia. Thanks to the actions of the middle pair, the family name is associated with greed, power, lust and murder.  . Read more ..


Iran's Nukes

Europe Wary as U.S. Scrutinizes Iran Nuclear Deal

July 14th 2017

Iranian Women

European diplomats say they are increasingly concerned the Trump administration will stretch out its review of the Iranian nuclear deal, undermining the agreement by curbing the economic benefits designed to ensure Iran’s compliance.

President Donald Trump has attacked the agreement, reached in 2015, as a “terrible deal” for the U.S.

European officials have remained publicly upbeat about the U.S. remaining a party to the deal, but diplomats privately voice serious concerns about where the U.S. review is headed. They say Washington is providing little feedback, has given no firm end-date for the review and hasn’t made clear who is shaping the process.

European officials still believe the Trump administration won’t abandon the nuclear deal, but many fear Washington will keep it under a rolling review. That, they say, would crimp economic benefits Iran expected from the agreement by persuading already cautious Western banks and investors to stay away—whereas President Barack Obama’s top officials urged engagement with Tehran. European diplomats also worry that if the U.S. commitment remains uncertain, Iran may respond by attempting limited violations. Read more ..


The Digital Age

Can We Make the Internet of Things Secure?

July 12th 2017

Trendy Kitchen

In the simplest terms, Internet of Things (IoT) is the addition of some internet connectivity to everyday objects.  Security cameras, for example, previously had to be hardwired.  Now they are generally WiFi-connected, allowing camera information to be transmitted to the security control system and allowing the security control system to broadcast its collected information to a remote command center or even to a tablet or smartphone.  Then, if the camera has PTZ (pan, tilt, and zoom) functions, the user can redirect the camera, zoom in on an anomaly, or follow an object.

There is hardly a new product that does not try in some way to offer IoT capability.  The simplest products gather information from the broader internet and relay it to the user.  A “smart” refrigerator can tell you when your grapes are getting low or close to spoilage.  It can order grapes for you and have them delivered, or tell you where grapes are on sale and how close to your house the sale is.  Read more ..


North Korea's Nukes

Fixing the Mess in Korea

July 7th 2017

North Korean rocket Apr 2012

To fix the mess in Korea, I’ve argued in  “How to Create Regime Change in North Korea,” that we need to take two important steps. First, sponsor a government in exile to replace North Korea’s Kim Jong-un regime. Second, put in place a nuclear missile defense, preferably in South Korea, to create a counterforce to North Korea’s missiles and nuclear weapons.

Today, North Korea’s conventional forces are technically stronger than South Korea’s, with more men and equipment. However, North Korea’s technologly is inferior.  It holds a strong threat over South Korea by positioning a massive amount of conventional heavy artillery near the armistice line between North and South Korea. This not only threatens South Korean capital, Seoul, but also the U.S. troops along the border.  Thus, as Secretary of Defense General Mattis says, any war in Korea would be a catastrophe.

Read more ..

Israel and India

Hand In Hand Into The Future: Indian PM’s Historic Visit To Israel Reflects How The Two Countries Are Working Together On Many Fronts

July 5th 2017

Western Wall - Wailing Wall Jerusalem

A historic visit to Israel commences today. It will be the first ever of an Indian Prime Minister to Israel. The two of us have met before but this is the first time we do so on Israeli soil.

The natural partnership between India and Israel, formally elevated 25 years ago to full diplomatic relations, has grown stronger from year to year. The deep connection between our peoples reflects our many similarities in spirit, if not in size. Ours are two modern, vibrant democracies that draw on our rich historical traditions while striving to seize the promise of the future for our peoples.

Both our nations are complex. Like yogic asanas grounding down and pulling up at the same time, they face many challenges. By working together we can overcome some of the challenges.

Over the centuries the philosophies and histories of our ancestors inspired one another. Today the entrepreneurial drive of Indians and Israelis brings us closer together. The Jewish community in India was always welcomed with warmth and respect and never faced any persecution. The Jews of Indian origin in Israel are proud of their heritage and have left an indelible imprint on both societies. Both communities serve as a human bridge between our nations.

India and Israel are walking hand in hand into the future as partners. India is a growing economic powerhouse with a large market and talent pool. Israel is a world leader in high technology and innovation. The combination of India’s and Israel’s human resources and ingenuity will provide more effective and more affordable solutions for us in diverse fields that are priorities for both our governments: agriculture, water, health, environment, education and security. Read more ..


Israel and India

A Memoir - Background to Indian Prime Minister’s Visit to Israel

July 4th 2017

Isi Libler

This week’s historic visit to Israel by India’s prime minister revived memories of my previous associations with Indian leaders and the Indian Jewish community in the 1980s.

India at that time was still a leader of the Non-Aligned Movement, dependent on Arab oil and emigre income from the Gulf states in addition to accommodating a population of over 140 million Muslims.

I will never forget my unpleasant meeting with the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at her home in New Delhi on December 21, 1981. She bitterly claimed that American Jews had turned the U.S. government and media against her, maligning her because they opposed her policies toward Israel. The discussion became hostile and despite her claim to like Jews, she came close to becoming anti-Semitic. I reminded her—to no avail—that during her childhood in the United Kingdom, Anglo Jews such the late Harold Laski—a leading professor of political science at the London School of Economics—were among the most fervent supporters of Indian independence. That meeting left me deeply distressed and pessimistic about prospects for the future.

India’s policy during the Six-Day War and Yom Kippur War basically echoed the Soviet line on Israel. Mrs. Gandhi sought to strengthen Indian support for the Arab world and intensified her hostility against Israel. When her son Rajiv became prime minister following her assassination in 1984, he maintained the anti-Israel policies, and if anything, they were even intensified.

But at the same time, India is one country that never had a record of anti-Semitism and, unlike Muslims and Christians, Hindus never saw themselves as triumphant over Judaism or as a proselytizing faith.

Although the bulk of the Indian Jewish community made aliyah, they did so freely, and the remnant of the ancient Bene Israel, who claim ancestry back to the Lost Tribes of Israel, maintain their synagogues and community centers. Read more ..


Financing the Flames

Europe Must Stop Funding Demonization of Israel

June 27th 2017

Euro Coins

About a year ago, the Ramallah-based Popular Art Center staged a musical performance for “the Palestinian martyrs,” titled “No to laying down guns.” There is nothing new here. This is the “education to peace” that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared in his meeting with US President Donald Trump. Abbas declared, and the European Union is paying in funding for the center. The more interesting thing is that the grant was given as part of a special project for “increasing Palestinian public awareness of EU core values.”

Particularly large funding, of €2.5 million, was given to the Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counseling (WCLAC). One of the senior employees of the WCLAC is Manal Tamimi. Tamimi propagates anti-Semitic cartoons, often defines Israel as a Nazi state, and her tweets include content such as “Vampire Zionist celebrating by drinking Palestinian bloods” and “I do hate Israel, I do hate Zionism, I wish a third intifada coming soon and people raise up and kills all these Zionist settlers everywhere.”

Read more ..

Media on Edge

Why Is CNN Getting Nervous About Its Coverage of the Donald Trump-Russia Investigation?

June 26th 2017

CNN

CNN’s announcement of new publishing restrictions on articles about President Donald Trump and Russia, as reported by Buzzfeed, has delighted right-wing media.

Populist website Breitbart reported that the “very fake news scandal” was consuming the network, while Fox News host Sean Hannity taunted CNN's Jeff Zucker on Twitter. 

CNN has long been accused of liberal bias by critics and has been one of the key focuses of President Donald Trump’s relentless rhetorical assaults against what he has branded the “fake news” media.

Trump aimed barbs at the network during his 2016 election campaign; White House press secretary Sean Spicer accused it of spreading unsubstantiated rumours in a bid to attract viewers. In his first press conference as president, Trump shouted down CNN’s Jim Acosta after denouncing the news network from the podium. Read more ..


After Iraq

Iraq's Billion Dollar Lack of Accountability

June 16th 2017

Tank

The U.S. Army cannot account for a billion dollars worth of military equipment in Iraq.  That’s billion with a B.

Congress created a new appropriation for 2015.  About 1.6 billion dollars worth of military weapons and supplies would be given to the Iraq army.  It was to be used to combat ISIS.  An additional 700 million dollars of equipment was added the following year.

A Pentagon IG audit painted a sorry state of affairs.  The audit was obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request.

The Army maintained inadequate records on a billion dollars worth of the equipment. The Army wasn’t sure where it went.  There’s no knowing if the gear was sold, given to militias or landed in the hands of ISIS.

In spite of today’s technology and automated inventory systems, the Army relied on handwritten spreadsheets maintained by numerous subordinate commands. They were so incomplete, the Army didn’t even know what equipment it had yet to distribute. Read more ..


America on Edge

Violence and the Political Left

June 15th 2017

baseball glove bat ball

I didn’t want to write this column.  Not now.  The events of today and the recent past are taking their toll.  Those on the Left are rapidly becoming an intolerant political class, and it has to stop.

The recent shooting of several at a Republican baseball practice is a reflection. It’s a small mirror of the worst of our society, responding to political disagreements and discourse in a violent way.  While not all the details of the incident are clear, it appears the shooter was politically motivated in some fashion.  At the risk of taking this too far, it has gone too far.  And I fear the fomenting by liberals on the left is to blame.

There are simply too many examples that tilt the weight of evidence toward this bias. A Hollywood entertainer, Kathy Griffin, and CNN host decapitates an image of our president and thinks in her own twisted way that is somehow funny?  They label it entertainment, and the rest of us silently weep at such disrespect for the office of the president.  Or how about a local theater that props up its own image of Julius Caesar as Donald Trump and then violently murders him?  Even in liberal New York City, there doesn’t appear to be any second thoughts regarding this behavior.  By the way, this so-called theatric presentation was so tasteless in the eyes of major companies such as Delta Airlines and Bank of America that they each pulled their funding for the theatrical center. Read more ..


Mideast on Edge

Signs of Weakness in the Gulf

June 14th 2017

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani

The decision by some Persian Gulf and Arab nations to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar is indicative of the deep crisis brewing in the region over the lack of real Sunni leadership Treading lightly, this situation may present an opportunity for Israel.

The decision by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Yemen, and other Arab nations to sever diplomatic ties with Qatar is a sign of weakness. The fact that the Sunni Arab world was unable to impose its basic approach on a small peninsular emirate is indicative of the deep crisis brewing in the Gulf over the lack of real leadership in the Sunni world.

Sunnis are the vast majority in the Muslim world, making up some 85% of Muslims, and yet somehow, the Iran-led Shiite minority is the driving force behind the processes moving the Middle East. Read more ..


The Edge of Climate Change

The Paris Accord - A Climate Distraction

June 11th 2017

Hurricane Isabel

In several previous columns, I have emphasized important news and developments that have been largely overlooked due to the acrid smokescreen of nasty twaddle from the left and right attempting to demonize the other side, especially in the US and Europe.The outpouring of violent condemnation of President Trump's decision to begin the process of withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord obscuring much more important news is a good example of that phenomenon.

 The president's decision is news, of course, but it is not nearly as significant as other recent developments. In the first place, nothing happens for three years starting from last November. At that time the decision must be formally reiterated, and the actual withdrawal will occur one year after that! During this almost four-year period, the US continues to be subject to all the provisions of the Accord. Trump himself can change his mind during that time and his successor, if Trump is not reelected or doesn't run for reelection, can restore US participation should he/she so desire. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Qatar is a Financier of Terrorism. Why Does the U.S. Tolerate It?

June 10th 2017

Hamas Terrorist with Rocket

Five Arab countries cut ties to Qatar on Monday, deepening a rift among Persian Gulf nations over that country's support for radical Islamist groups. The United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Yemen all announced they would withdraw their diplomatic staff from Qatar and cut air and sea traffic to the country.

 

As part of what former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice termed the “New Middle East,” Qatar has emerged as one of the region's most consequential players and one of the richest countries in the world. It has also positioned itself as one of the strongest supporters of the Arab Spring, preaching democracy abroad. But behind the polished façade of skyscrapers and luxury shopping malls lies a dark reality. Ruled by the Al-Thani clan, the onetime British protectorate has become a financier of terrorism. Read more ..


The Armenian Genocide

Turkey Arrests Kurdish Activist for Armenian Genocide Posts

June 3rd 2017

Armenians Hanged

Mukaddes Alataş, a Kurdish human rights activist from Diyarbakir, was recently arrested for "being a member of a terror organization." Her crime? She posted about the Armenian Genocide on social media and engaged in women's rights activism.

Unlike the relentless denial of the Turkish government, the Kurdish political movement in Turkey recognizes the Armenian Genocide and commemorates it.

On April 23, 2013, for example, an event was organized by the Diyarbakir Bar Association, then led by Kurdish lawyer Tahir Elçi, and the Diyarbakir Municipality, to commemorate the 98th anniversary of the destruction of the Armenian community in the city. 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.

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

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 ..


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 ..


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 ..


The Obama Legacy

Susan Rice -- Taking Responsibility, Assigning Responsbility

April 29th 2017

Susan Rice

We may never get to the end of the Susan Rice story.

History tells us that Rice rattled off a false tale on several networks after the attack and death of Four Americans - including the ambassador to Libya - in the Benghazi. Her detailed lie was that the deaths were the result of a semi-spontaneous anti-American demonstration occasioned by broadcasts from the then pro- Muslim Brotherhood broadcasts from radio Cairo that had spread throughout the Arab and Moslem world.

The truth was, of course, that the Libyan jihadists had plotted to kill Americans for some time, that the local U.S. diplomatic corps had been pleading unsuccessfully for weeks for additional defenses against what it knew were plots against them. Although Rice's performance was almost immediately exposed, she suffered no particular consequences and continued as a high national security official. Read more ..


Campus Hate

Academic Malfeasance as U. of Arkansas Disinvites Phyllis Chesler

April 28th 2017

Blackboard classroom

The latest speaker to be "disinvited" from an American college is prominent feminist scholar Phyllis Chesler, whose participation in a University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, symposium on honor killing earlier this month was withdrawn days before the event. Behind the cancellation lies a sordid tale involving faculty machinations, threats from a dean, and at least one shattered window. Together, they offer a case study on the intellectual and moral corruption of academe.

Chesler is an emerita professor of psychology and women's studies at the City University of New York whose pioneering scholarship exposed the horrors of honor killing, forced marriages, and other brutalities women suffer in Muslim lands and beyond. She was invited to deliver a lunchtime lecture on "Worldwide Trends in Honor Killings" at a conference on "Violence in the Name of Honor: Confronting and Responding to Honor Killings and Forced Marriage in the West" on April 13-14, cosponsored by the law school and the Saudi-funded King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies. Read more ..


The Korean Threat

Is China the Solution to the North Korean Problem?

April 28th 2017

North Korean missiles

Based on the completed review of Washington's North Korea policy, the U.S. administration has no plan to respond to Pyongyang's next nuclear test with military might. But U.S. President Donald Trump has taken every opportunity to show that he still considers all options — including a military strike — to be on the table.

This won't, however, do much to change North Korea's own calculations. Pyongyang no longer sees its nuclear weapons program as a chip to be bargained away for economic and security concessions from Washington. Instead, developing a credible nuclear deterrent has become a matter of national security, and a crucial one at that. North Korea will forge ahead with its nuclear program undeterred, bringing it one step closer to its final stage — and bringing the country closer to a clash with regional powers intent on stopping it.

Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

Time for the US To Stop Arming its Enemies

April 16th 2017

Taureg-terrorists

No one expects the Trump administration to reverse the disastrous effects of the Obama-supported Muslim Brotherhood's hijacking of the "Arab Spring" in the Middle East that increased the regional contest for supremacy in the Islamic world.

The rivalry has intensified between the Sunni camp led by Saudi Arabia and the Shiite camp led by Iran - each with its pet terrorist organizations.
It's hard to overstate how much damage was done by the Obama administration's misjudgment that Sunni jihadists and Shia Iran were somehow friendly to us and could be useful tools of American policy. 

But using jihadi groups claiming to be less violent than al-Qaeda and ISIS resulted in the Benghazi massacre of four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, and the destabilization of Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Syria, and elsewhere. Read more ..


Turkey on Edge

Turkey's Vainglorious Referendum

April 14th 2017

Erdogan

This Sunday, millions of Turks will vote to endorse or reject constitutional amendments passed in January by Turkey's parliament. An opinion piece published by the German news agency Deutsche Welle explains that the "crucial" amendments "give all the power to one person, with almost no accountability," eliminating what is left of democracy in Turkey. Virtually all observers agree that if the referendum passes, Turkey will be transformed into an authoritarian state.

But I (along with a few others) disagree. Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan years ago arrogated all the powers that the constitutional changes would bestow on him. He is already lord of all he sees for as long as he wants, whether through democratic means or by fixing election results. If the referendum passes, it will merely prettify that reality.

Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

San Francisco State U. Partner An-Najah Still Promoting Terrorism

April 7th 2017

Syrian jihadis silhouette

In 2016, the Middle East Forum (MEF) launched a campaign calling on San Francisco State University (SFSU) President Leslie Wong to end the schools's 2014 memorandum of understanding (MOU) with An-Najah University — a college in the West Bank that promotes radicalism and Palestinian violence. Since that time, Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) has documented two cases of a Najah student group promoting terrorism.

Last month, PMW reported that Shabiba — the Palestinian Authority (PA) student movement at Najah — displayed a logo on Fatah's official Facebook page featuring a coat of arms on a "resistance" fist. The coat of arms was in the shape of the PA map, claiming all of Israel as "Palestine." It was accompanied by the violent slogan, "From the sea of blood of the martyrs, we will create a state."

Read more ..

The Race for Alt Fuel

We Use American Fuel for Electricity. Why not Transportation?

April 1st 2017

Oil Barrels 400px

When it comes to lighting our homes and powering our electronic devices, we’re so used to having a full menu of American-made resources, we’ve come to take it for granted. It’s about time we demand all-American fuel to power our vehicles.

Think about it: The energy sources used to make electricity in this country are all created and consumed here in the United States. Whether it’s natural gas, hydroelectric, coal, wind, solar, or nuclear (check out this cool map showing what gets used where), power generation uses all-domestic “feedstocks,” creating American jobs and growing our economy.

We don’t need to import any of those sources, or the technology needed to process them, because we already have them here at home. Read more ..


Isarel on Edge

Truth is Not Right-Wing or Left-Wing

March 31st 2017

Israeli flag and clouds

Truth is not a political position. Yet, some who disagree with the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) wrongly label it and similar groups “right wing,” “ultra right,” or even “extreme.” Hurling such labels avoids fair, reasoned, fact-based debate on the issues, and instead attempts to delegitimize us.

It wasn’t “far right” or “right wing” for ZOA to predict the Oslo accords would lead to more terrorism and not peace – when on the very same date the accords were signed in Washington, Yasser Arafat broadcast his “stages” message in Arabic: “Since we cannot defeat Israel in war, we do this in stages. We take any and every territory that we can of Palestine, and establish sovereignty there, and use it as a springboard to take more. When the time comes we can get the Arab nations to join us for the final blow against Israel.” Read more ..


The Edge of Healthcare

Health Insurance vs Healthcare

March 30th 2017

nurse w/stethoscope

Since being sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, Trump has worked hard to deliver on the many campaign promises he made to the American people. And despite Democrats and even some Republicans challenging him at every corner he has pushed forward to implement the people’s agenda. 
 
As an evolving business owner, we know first-hand of the negative impacts of affordablecare and the soaring costs. For many medium and small size business owners, they have had to either let people go or stop hiring people due to the mandated healthcare passed by Democrats. And it’s even worse for the individual, forcing some people to cancel their health insurance altogether because of the rising cost of premiums. 
Read more ..

The Trump Era

Did Obama Abuse Raw Intelligence?

March 24th 2017

Obama bummed out

I couldn’t have seen those transcripts when I led the House intel committee.

It was remarkable when Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, revealed Wednesday that Trump campaign officials were caught up in the inadvertent collection of intelligence. Read between the lines with a clear understanding of the intelligence community, and it’s positively astonishing.

Starting with the premise of Mr. Nunes’s announcement, there’s evidence to show that communications involving people connected with the Trump transition were collected by America’s intelligence apparatus. We don’t know the particulars, but it could include conversations between Trump transition staff and foreign officials whose conversations were subject to intelligence monitoring. Read more ..



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