The Automotive Edge
|Christoph Hammerschmidt||September 24th 2015|
It went through the press like a thunderstorm: Volkswagen installed a software in its diesel engine controllers that detected when the car was under test. In such situations it reduced the harmful exhaust to the legal limit; otherwise it blew untenable many exhaust fumes into the air. The trick clearly was applied to circumvent the environmental legislation in the USA and other countries. Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn was forced to step back – but which effects will this revelation have?
It’s a shame for the German automotive industry that a honourable company like Volkswagen resorts to such means to better its position in the competition. There could be no other solution for Mr. Winterkorn than to step back. There is reason to fear that this dirty little trick has the potential to substantially damage the standing of the Volkswagen group, the diesel technology and the German automotive industry as a whole. Read more ..
After the Holocaust
|George Friedman||September 1st 2015|
Happenstance has brought me today to a house on the Austria-Germany border, just south of Salzburg. That puts me about 3 miles from the German town of Berchtesgaden, on the German side of the border. Adolf Hitler's home, the Berghof, was just outside the town, on a mountain in the Bavarian Alps. To the extent that Hitler had a home, this was it, and it was the place where Hitler met with many notables, particularly before the war began.
As it happens, today is the 76th anniversary of the start of World War II in Europe. It is always a strange feeling to be here. There is a sense of history present here, but it is mostly a sense of the mind, since Berchtesgaden is an attractive but ordinary place. It always feels as if towns like this should have a patina of extraordinariness sticking to everything. But that isn't how history works. There is a patina of mind, but not of place. On Sept. 1 of any year since 1939, and at a place like this, there is a sense of urgency to extract the real meaning of the man who lived in a house on the mountain I am looking at. Read more ..
|Mordechai Kedar||August 22nd 2015|
The Syrian regime's situation took a turn for the better when in May 2013, Hezbollah's infantry entered the conflict in full force in an attempt to conquer the city of Al-Qusayr, located between the Jussieh border crossing that separates northeast Lebanon from Syria and the Syrian city of Homs. Al-Qusayr was of great importance to Hezbollah, because it is on the road that leads from northern Lebanon deep into Syrian territory and was the site of much arms, weapons, ammunition, communications equipment and cash smuggling that came from the port of Tripoli and the Sunnis of northern Lebanon and reached the rebel forces.
The Syrian army did not succeed in conquering al-Qusayr, so the Iranian Revolutionary Guard command decided to bring in Hezbollah to free the town from anti-Assad rebels headed by the Free Syrian Army and Jabhat al-Nusra. Hezbollah managed to win the tough battle that included house-to-house fighting, but it paid a hefty price with over one hundred of its fighters dead and at least double that number wounded. The rebels lost over two thousand fighters, of whom 1000 were killed and another 1000 taken prisoner by the Syrian Army while at least 2000 were wounded. The high number of rebel casualties is a result of the Syrian Air Force's intensive use of barrel bombs. Read more ..
|Senator Tom Cotton and Congressman Mike Pompeo ||August 5th 2015|
Wall Street Journal
For those of us who are elected officials, few votes will be more consequential than whether to approve or disapprove the nuclear agreement President Obama has reached with Iran. Yet the president expects Congress to cast this vote without the administration’s fully disclosing the contents of the deal to the American people. This is unacceptable and plainly violates the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act—a law the president signed only weeks ago.
During a recent trip to Vienna to meet with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the organization charged with verifying Iran’s compliance, we learned that certain elements of this deal are—and will remain—secret. According to the IAEA, those involved with the negotiations, including the Obama administration, agreed to allow Iran to forge the secret side deals with the IAEA on two issues. Read more ..
|David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey||July 27th 2015|
Wall Street Journal
The Iranian nuclear agreement announced on July 14 is unconstitutional, violates international law and features commitments that President Obama could not lawfully make. However, because of the way the deal was pushed through, the states may be able to derail it by enacting their own Iran sanctions legislation.
President Obama executed the nuclear deal as an executive agreement, not as a treaty. While presidents have used executive agreements to arrange less-important or temporary matters, significant international obligations have always been established through treaties, which require Senate consent by a two-thirds majority.
The Constitution's division of the treaty-making power between the president and Senate ensured that all major U.S. international undertakings enjoyed broad domestic support. It also enabled the states to make their voices heard through senators when considering treaties-which are constitutionally the "supreme law of the land" and pre-empt state laws. Read more ..
The World on Edge
|George Friedman||July 21st 2015|
The Cold War was a frozen conflict in one sense: The Soviet Union was contained in a line running from the North Cape of Norway to Pakistan. There was some movement, but relatively little. When the Soviet Union fell, two important things happened. First, a massive devolution occurred, freeing some formally independent states from domination by the Soviets and creating independent states within the former Soviet Union. As a result, a potentially unstable belt emerged between the Baltic and Black seas.
Meanwhile, along the southwestern border of the former Soviet Union, the demarcation line of the Cold War that generally cut through the Islamic world disappeared. Countries that were locked into place by the Cold War suddenly were able to move, and internal forces were set into motion that would, in due course, challenge the nation-states created after World War I and the fall of the Ottoman Empire that had been frozen by the Cold War. Read more ..
|Barry Curtiss-Lusher and Abraham H. Foxman, ||July 14th 2015|
We are deeply disappointed by the terms of the final deal with Iran announced today which seem to fall far short of the President’s objective of preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear weapon state. The thrust of the deal relies entirely on Iran’s good faith and the ability of the IAEA to effectively carry out its inspection obligations.
While President Obama, Secretary Kerry, Undersecretary Wendy Sherman and the P5+1 negotiators invested a formidable amount of effort in securing a respite from the most immediate threat posed by Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions, the JCPOA does not prevent it for the long term. In ten years, Iran will be able to rapidly expand its enrichment capacity. Read more ..
|Tammi Rossman-Benjamin||July 13th 2015|
“Anyone who does not recognize the Jewish people and the State of Israel — and their right to exist — is guilty of anti-Semitism” - Pope Francis
"I think a good baseline [for when anti-Zionism becomes anti-Semitism] is: Do you think that Israel has a right to exist as a homeland for the Jewish people…If your answer is no…then that is a problem” - President Barack Obama
"Criticism of Israel that is based on anti-Zionism — that’s anti-Semitism today, this is the refuge of those who do not accept the State of Israel” - French Minister Manuel Vall
"This is the face of the new anti-Semitism. It targets the Jewish people by targeting Israel and attempts to make the old bigotry acceptable to a new generation... what else can we call criticism that selectively condemns only the Jewish state and effectively denies its right to exist, to defend itself while systematically ignoring, or excusing, the violence and oppression all around it?” - Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper Read more ..
|Charles Jacobs||July 2nd 2015|
Americans for Peace and Tolerance
The poisonous propaganda against Israel on college campuses is spreading to our high schools. Under the guise of “global education,” “peace studies,” “Critical Thinking” or simply as part of world history, anti-Israel viewpoints have been curricularized and are being inserted into American public and private schools. Much of this effort is supported by oil money from the Middle East, much of it created and disseminated by Leftist educational establishments in Middle East Studies Departments in Universities. Anti-Israelism is now fully a part of the general effort to promote global citizenship, multiculturalism and the degradation of American exceptionalism.
In April 2015, Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT) released a video documenting the biased work of a Boston University-- based group called Axis of Hope (AOH), which has now been fully incorporated into The Global Literacy Institute at BU’s School of Education. The AOH workshop, entitled “Whose Jerusalem?” has been conducted in many schools across the U.S., including in Weston High School in Massachusetts. Read more ..
Turkey on Edge
|Alon Ben-Meir||June 25th 2015|
Cutting Edge contributor
Turkish President Erdogan’s May 2013 plan to raze Gezi Park in Central Istanbul and replace it with a replica 19th century Ottoman barrack prompted anti-government protests in Istanbul and other cities across Turkey, which led to violent confrontations where the police used disproportionate force. Thousands of demonstrators were injured, and thousands more faced legal proceedings and lost their jobs. Some defendants were charged with terrorism offenses (many are still on trial) and many others spent up to 10 months in detention before being bailed out. I believe that the Gezi Park incident was a historic turning point marking the beginning of the end for Erdogan’s political fortunes. Read more ..
Obama and Israel
|Isi Leibler||June 10th 2015|
It is time to stop making excuses for American Jewish leaders and their failure to respond to U.S. President Barack Obama’s latest despicable efforts to turn the Jewish community against Israel. This time he employed a charm offensive, expressing “admiration” for Jews and “love” of Israel as a mantle to distort, malign and unashamedly employ double standards to cast moral aspersions on the sole democracy in the Middle East.
Obama is clearly determined to undermine the standing of the newly elected Israeli government by embarking on a campaign to promote an utterly fictional narrative of the Arab-Israeli conflict, even in advance of the June 30 deadline of the “negotiations” with Iran.
He orchestrated interviews with journalists Jeffrey Goldberg and Tom Friedman, whom he uses regularly to convey his distaste for Israeli policies – and Ilana Dayan of Israel’s Channel 2 TV. Considered a tough investigative journalist, Dayan on this occasion, acted as though she were launching an Obama fan club. Read more ..
|Phyllis Chesler||June 9th 2015|
New York Post
Oh, how the feminist movement has lost its way. And the deafening silence over ISIS's latest brutal crimes makes that all too clear.
Fifty years ago, American women launched a liberation campaign for freedom and equality. We achieved a revolution in the Western world and created a vision for girls and women everywhere.
Second-wave feminism was an ideologically diverse movement that pioneered society's understanding of how women were disadvantaged economically, reproductively, politically, physically, psychologically and sexually.
Feminists had one standard of universal human rights — we were not cultural relativists — and we called misogyny by its rightful name no matter where we found it. Read more ..
Turkey on Edge
Burak Bekdil||June 8th 2015|
For the first time since his Islamist party won its first election victory in 2002, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was nowhere to be seen on election night. He did not make a victory speech. He did not, in fact, make any speech.
Not only failing to win the two-thirds majority it desired to change the constitution, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost its parliamentary majority and the ability to form a single-party government. It won 40.8% of the national vote and 258 seats, 19 short of the simple majority requirement of 276. Erdogan is now the lonely sultan at his $615 million, 1150-room presidential palace. For the first time since 2002, the opposition has more seats in parliament than the AKP: 292 seats to 258. Read more ..
Turkey on Edge
|Burak Bekdil||May 17th 2015|
It is election time in Turkey. On June 7, the Turks will go to the ballot box to elect a government and a prime minister who will rule the country for four years.
In reality, they will go to the ballot box to decide whether they want an elected Sultan or not.
Turkey's President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, wants more than just to win a parliamentary majority for his Justice and Development Party (AKP). He wants a two-thirds majority, so that the constitution can be amended to introduce an executive presidential system and the Sultan can once again officially rule.
In 2013, Burhan Kuzu, the AKP's chairman of the parliament's Constitution Commission, compared the U.S. presidency to the broad powers of Turkey's prime minister (who at the time was Erdogan), saying, "Obama is a poor man, the Prime Minister is powerful." Read more ..
The Iranian Threat
|George Friedman||May 14th 2015|
The sectarian conflict in the Middle East can neatly be divided into two sides: Sunnis and Shiites. Or so it would seem. The reality, it turns out, is more complicated. Sunni unity is a myth – the countries that constitute the Sunni camp are divided over a variety of issues. And the Shiites, whose power has grown since the early 1990s, nonetheless suffer from the inescapable constraints of being a minority population. Indeed, the single most defining characteristic of the Shiite camp is that it comprises only a fraction of the Muslim population. More than three-fourths of all Muslims practice Sunni Islam.
According to a 2011 study by the Pew Research Center, only four countries have a Shiite majority: Iran, Azerbaijan, Bahrain and Iraq. But other countries have notable Shiite minority populations as well, including Yemen, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Oman. Shiites also form the largest confessional group in Lebanon and account for as much as 20 percent of the 180 million or so Muslims in India. Read more ..
|A.B. Stoddard ||May 9th 2015|
Hillary Clinton clearly isn’t bothered by the exhortations of Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), but President Obama is — and the longer Obama indulges Clinton’s silence on trade, the more the presumed Democratic nominee for 2016 exacerbates her party’s food fight over the issue and, in Boehner’s view, embarrasses the president she served.
Perhaps the apocalypse is imminent, because Obama is working with Republican leaders on a major legacy push: passage of trade promotion authority, also known as fast-track, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
As crunch time nears, Boehner says the president “needs her [Clinton’s] help” to grow a weak Democratic vote, now estimated at fewer than 20 members. Obama has shown an uncharacteristic interest in trying to sway hesitant Democrats in Congress to vote in favor of the trade deal, with promises to protect them against any political backlash. Read more ..
The Way We Are
|Murray Polner||May 9th 2015|
After the carnage of the Second World War the members of the now defunct Victory Chapter of the American Gold Star Mothers in St. Petersburg, Florida, knew better than most what it was to lose their sons, daughters, husbands and other near relatives in war. “We’d rather not talk about it,” one mother, whose son was killed in WWII, told the St. Petersburg Times fifteen years after the war ended. “It’s a terrible scar that never heals. We hope there will never be another war so no other mothers will have to go through this ordeal.” But thanks to our wars in Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, the Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan –not to mention our proxy wars around the globe-- too many Moms (and Dads too) now have to mourn family members badly scarred or lost to wars dreamed up by the demagogic, ideological and myopic.
But every year brings our wonderful Mother’s Day. Few Americans know that Mother’s Day was initially suggested by two peace-minded mothers, Julia Ward Howe, a nineteenth century anti-slavery activist and suffragette who wrote the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and Anna Reeves Jarvis, mother of eleven, who influenced Howe and once asked her fellow Appalachian townspeople, badly polarized by the Civil War, to remain neutral and help nurse the wounded on both sides. Read more ..
Financing the Flames
|Matti Friedman||May 6th 2015|
Read more ..
I’ve been asked a few times about the “Breaking the Silence” report that is currently being played up by the international press, as is any report that fits the narrative of Israelis as war criminals. (Contradictory reports, like the recent one I posted here from two US military experts, are not considered news.) I hope that most intelligent people have stopped taking international press coverage of Israel too seriously. But there are a few things that are important to understand.
1. War is awful and people come back feeling upset about things they’ve seen and done. Some observers are reliable, and others aren’t. Some of the things described in the report no doubt happened as they were described. Others didn’t. Infantrymen at the bottom of the hierarchy often don’t understand what they’re seeing, or the reasons for what they’re doing, and I’m speaking from experience.
Islam on Edge
|David P. Goldman||May 5th 2015|
In Mel Brooks' comedy History of the World Part I, Moses is shown descending from Mount Sinai with three stone tablets in hand. As he declares, "I give you the Fifteen Commandments," one falls and breaks, and Moses corrects himself, "er, Ten Commandments."
Jews, including the observant, find this funny rather than offensive. As we learned once again in Garland, Texas, Muslims do not laugh at jokes about Mohammed, the purported author of the Koran (as Moses is the author of the Torah). Two wannabe Jihadists with assault rifles and body armor were no match for an off-duty Texas traffic cop with a sidearm, but the incident might have turned into a massacre worse than the murder of the Charlie Hebdo staff in January.
Why do Jews as well as Christians–but not Muslims–laugh at jokes about the founders of their faiths? Read more ..
The Way We Are
|Alice Shabecoff||May 3rd 2015|
Environmental Health News
We can, thankfully, remove one threat to the future existence of the human male from our worry list: The male Y chromosome, after dwindling from its original robust size over millions of years, apparently has halted its disappearing act.
But don’t start cheering yet. Contrary to cultural assumptions that boys are stronger and sturdier, basic biological weaknesses are built into the male of our species. These frailties leave them more vulnerable than girls to life’s hazards, including environmental pollutants such as insecticides, lead and plasticizers that target their brains or hormones. Several studies suggest that boys are harmed in some ways by these chemical exposures that girls are not. It’s man’s fate, so to speak. Read more ..
|Robert E. Moffit||April 29th 2015|
Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) has a simple question: How and why did Congress qualify as a "small business" eligible for special taxpayer subsidies under the Affordable Care Act (ACA)? For anyone in a real small business — private employers who get no such subsidies — the very idea is absurd. But getting a straight answer is as difficult as getting Lois Lerner's IRS emails.
In search of answers, Vitter proposed subpoenaing documents from the District of Columbia Health Benefits Exchange Authority. But his colleagues on the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee recently voted (14 to five) to block the effort. They've tried to justify their lack of curiosity by calling the proposed subpoena an unnecessary "distraction" or an invitation to a "protracted" legal fight. But these are rather obviously lame excuses. Read more ..
The 2016 Vote
|Judd Gregg||April 27th 2015|
With Hillary Clinton’s formal declaration that she is running for president, there has been a great deal of chatter from within her party that she is not liberal enough.
She needs to move left, some Democratic voices say.
Clinton, of course, lost the nomination to then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in 2008 because he got to her left and dominated the caucus states, where the base of the party has disproportionate influence.
By the time Clinton’s team seemed to realize what was happening, Obama had an insurmountable lead.
Could this occur again?
It seems unlikely. But even that is not the real story.
The real story is just how far left the Democratic Party has moved. Does Hillary move with it?
Just consider these facts and positions.
The Obama presidency has been built on the theme of class warfare. Read more ..
Greece on Edge
|George Friedman||April 21st 2015|
The Greek crisis is moving toward a climax. The issue is actually quite simple. The Greek government owes a great deal of money to European institutions and the International Monetary Fund. It has accumulated this debt over time, but it has become increasingly difficult for Greece to meet its payments. If Greece doesn't meet these payments, the IMF and European institutions have said they will not extend any more loans to Greece. Greece must make a calculation. If it pays the loans on time and receives additional funding, will it be better off than not paying the loans and being cut off from more?
Obviously, the question is more complex. It is not clear that if the Greeks refuse to pay, they will be cut off from further loans. First, the other side might be bluffing, as it has in the past. Second, if they do pay the next round, and they do get the next tranche of funding, is this simply kicking the can down the road? Does it solve Greece's underlying problem, which is that its debt structure is unsustainable? In a world that contains Argentina and American Airlines, we have learned that bankruptcy and lack of access to credit markets do not necessarily go hand in hand. Read more ..
Turkey on Edge
|Burak Bekdil||April 10th 2015|
Turkey is probably one of the best social laboratories in the world to prove why Islamist ideology cannot be compatible with a culture of humor, dissent and protest. It also offers a unique experience that shows how Islamists can even violate one of their religion's most fundamental teachings for the sake of worshipping a leader's cult of personality.
At a parliamentary session in February, Turkish deputies gathered to debate a controversial security bill. Instead of debate, a brawl broke out. The session ended after five MPs were taken to the hospital.
That bill, sponsored by the government but fiercely rebuked by the opposition, has just taken effect, adding to fears that Turkey is fast becoming a police state. Read more ..
|Armstrong Williams||April 9th 2015|
It looks like the convenient device theory Hillary Clinton has used to deflect inquiries as to why she used her private email account almost exclusively to conduct official business while serving as Secretary of State is a bunch of pure hogwash. It has become evident that in addition to her personal phone, she also used an I-pad connected to her personal email account to send and receive information related to her official duties. The story emerging from this strange and unprecedented breach of protocol, if not law and regulation, is that Hilary’s email shenanigans appear to be part of a deliberate attempt to withhold her communications from public – and partisan – scrutiny.
While the Clinton machine is ever so skilled at deflecting the core issues and focusing the media discussion on the irrelevant matter of personal convenience, she may have just been caught in her own web of deception. Not only do recently disclosed email communications indicate that Clinton used multiple devices, but they also show that at least on one occasion she replied to an official email with personal information. The implication here couldn’t be clearer. What is the likelihood that she also replied to personal communications with ‘official’ and possibly classified and sensitive information? Read more ..
|Reva Bhalla||April 7th 2015|
When a group of weary diplomats announced a framework for an Iranian nuclear accord last week in Lausanne, there was one diplomat in the mix whose feigned enthusiasm was hard to miss. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov left the talks at their most critical point March 30, much to the annoyance of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who apparently had to call him personally to persuade him to return. Even as Lavrov spoke positively to journalists about the negotiations throughout the week, he still seemed to have better things to do than pull all-nighters for a deal that effectively gives the United States one less problem to worry about in the Middle East and a greater capacity to focus on the Russian periphery. Read more ..
|Armstrong Willams||April 2nd 2015|
Imagine if the current President were a Republican, and if during the second half of his second term, after having been elected both times with record turnout by blacks, the black unemployment rate remained stagnant at 11 percent while the black poverty rate hit a record high of 27 percent. What would black politicians be saying about that Republican President?
We don’t really need to answer that question, do we? But for arguments sake, let’s imagine that almost seven years after the great recession the country was basically back to work, with an official unemployment rate haven fallen from almost ten percent at its’ height to around 5.5 percent (let’s save the argument about the real rate for another debate), while again the black community, which had overwhelmingly supported the Republican President (again let’s suspend belief for a moment) was experiencing rising poverty rates.
Furthermore imagine if under a Republican President there was a virtual epidemic of incidents of police brutality in predominantly black neighborhoods. Record civil settlements over police brutality claims were paid out by the City of New York. And yet not one police officer was ever brought to trial in any of the incidents. Furthermore, despite a bunch of official hoopla, the Federal Government did not see fit to step in and bring civil rights lawsuits. What do you think the reaction of so-called black leaders would be?
Let’s take this a bit further. Let’s say that black unemployment was in fact highest in the cities with the most conservative Republican Mayors, like Detroit, Chicago and Cleveland (stay with me here). What if in Chicago, the Presidents’ home town, his right hand man had carpet-bagged his way to a mayoral win mostly on the backs of the black supporters of the President? Let’s imagine for a moment that in that town, under the President’s hand-picked Mayor, the black murder rate were to spiral to almost genocidal proportions. How do you think the Black leadership would respond to such a situation. Read more ..
Israel on Edge
|Ron Prossor||April 1st 2015|
The United Nations is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. It was intended to be a temple of peace, but this once great global body has been overrun by the repressive regimes that violate human rights and undermine international security.
In 1949, when the United Nations admitted Israel as a member state, it had 58 member countries and about half had a democratic orientation. Today, the landscape of the organization has changed drastically. From 51 member states at its founding in 1945, the institution has grown to 193 members — fewer than half of which are democracies.
The very nations that deny democratic rights to their people abuse the United Nations’ democratic forums to advance their interests. The largest of these groups comprises members from the 120-member-strong bloc known as the Non-Aligned Movement. Since 2012, the bloc has been chaired by Iran, which has used its position to bolster its allies and marginalize Israel. Read more ..
China on Edge
|Sol. W. Sanders||March 31st 2015|
A most peculiar crisis is developing for the Chinese economy - and, indeed, for the regime -- while the world's attention is riveted on the chaos and terror in the Mideast and Russian aggression in Ukraine.
Not the smallest element is the clever manipulation by Beijing's strategists of the world's hopes for continued remarkable Chinese growth as a last call instrument to bail out a dawdling world economy.
That misapprehension of China's economic capacities may well forestall, again, at least for a time, an inevitable coming to grips with basic problems of it vast society under the Communist Party monopoly. But there is growing evidence that China's financial problems have reached a crescendo that Beijing can no longer manage.
In that marvelous game of speculation on one of the world's oldest cultures, I have always joked that the Chinese have two "extra" genes to others' DNA: one is an inordinate capacity for hospitality, and the other for unlimited risk at gambling. Both are in full flower at the moment. Read more ..
The Edge of Justice
|C. John McCloskey||March 21st 2015|
A group of Catholic publishers recently issued a joint statement urging an end to capital punishment. I have great respect for all of them – I have written for all of them at one point or another. I disagree with them on this issue, however. And it may be good to give some background about why I and many others disagree.
Most importantly, the Catholic Church's Magisterium does not and never has advocated unqualified abolition of the death penalty. The U.S. bishops have conceded that Catholic teaching has accepted the principle that the state has the right to take the life of a person guilty of an extremely serious crime. Even the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin – hardly a conservative – never stated that every criminal has a right to continue living, nor did he deny that the state has the right in some cases to execute the guilty. St. John Paul II, although opposed to most applications of the death penalty, thought the same. Read more ..
Media on Edge
|Mark Hyman||March 11th 2015|
Behind the Headlines
The FCC proposal to regulate the Internet may be the latest attempt to control content. The agency's 2010 "Future of the Media" inquiry was outside what federal law said the agency may look at. Nor does the agency have the expertise to properly evaluate company business models, corporate debt levels, newsroom staffing policies, or print industry operations. The Federal Trade Commission's "Reinvention of Journalism" study was equally disturbing. The FTC suggested licensing news organizations. Or the government financing certain press outlets. This could end independent media holding government accountable.
The National Broadband Plan to move all news, information and entertainment to broadband platforms was crafty, indeed. The other shoe has now dropped. First, move all content to broadband. Then, regulate broadband. Read more ..
The Edge of Terrorism
|Eytan Sosnovich||March 1st 2015|
History was made in a federal courthouse in New York City on Monday. After a six-week trial the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) were found liable under the federal Anti-Terrorism Act for six terrorist attacks occurring from 2002 through 2004 against US citizens in Jerusalem.
The federal civil jury of 12 unanimously awarded the victims and members of their families a total of $218.5 million, which will automatically be tripled by the judge under the Act.
The road to justice was long and arduous for the victims and their family members. It has taken over 11 years for them to marshal their resources with the help of a non-profit legal rights organization called Shurat Hadin (Letter of the Law) located in Israel. Their efforts together with the trial expertise of lead counsel Kent Yalowitz of the law firm of Arnold & Porter helped show the jury that the PA/PLO not only created a culture of support for suicide bombers and terrorists but also used their own employees to organize and perpetrate many of the bombings. Read more ..
|David Webb ||February 23rd 2015|
There is a great deal of frustration with the ineffective and feckless leadership in Washington, D.C. Putting partisanship aside does not mean compromising values. It is about moving the ball. Both sides need to do what needs to be done for America.
What Republicans should concede, at this time
Republicans are going to have to accept some not-so-good deals. The more conservative base needs to think forward, not about instant gratification. Enough screaming about the establishment, about libertarians or about some other label. They and others are all part of the Republican Party. Read more ..
The Way We Are
|Bill Press ||February 18th 2015|
Speaker John Boehner finally got something right. He invited Pope Francis to address a joint session of Congress, when he visits Washington on Sept. 24. And this time, unlike his disastrous faux pas with Bibi Netanyahu, Boehner actually consulted ahead of time with the White House — after all, Francis is also a head of state — and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.
What surprised official Washington is, the pope promptly accepted.
For Boehner, that’s both good news and bad news. The good news is that he’ll get credit for arranging the first appearance by any pope before the U.S. Congress. The bad news is that, just like a State of the Union address, Boehner will have to sit up there right behind Francis — with his every grin, grimace, groan and gesture broadcast worldwide. Read more ..
|Anthony Berteaux||February 17th 2015|
I used to believe in divestment.
Like many students who are allured by the social justice narrative of divestment, I believed that San Diego State divesting from companies invested in Israel’s military defense technology would help bring justice to the Palestinians.
But I realized that divestment would not achieve this.
After extensively researching the complicated and complex nature of the conflict, and speaking to various Israelis and Palestinians in Israel this past winter break on a sponsored trip, I found that I believe that the divestment campaign provides a dishonest, disingenuous and duplicitous perspective on the complicated history that is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
It blatantly appropriates the Palestinian narrative to simplify a conflict that is unfathomably complicated. To fully understand it, as educated students, we need to take all perspectives into account. Read more ..
America and Israel
|Isi Leibler||February 16th 2015|
While US President Barack Obama determinedly pursues his policy of appeasement, which may enable the world’s most dangerous terrorist state to become a nuclear threshold power, there are Israelis and American Jews who have initiated a campaign against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The campaign calling for the maintenance of bipartisanship toward Israel is in reality undermining the hitherto strong bipartisan congressional opposition to the catastrophic US policy toward Iran.
Israeli opposition groups and the anti-Netanyahu media are now concentrating their efforts on discrediting Netanyahu and calling on the prime minister to cancel his address to the joint session of Congress scheduled for March 3.
Disregarding the gravity of the negotiations with Iran – the underlying reason for the invitation – they accuse Netanyahu of destroying the US-Israeli relationship by failing to obtain Obama’s advance approval to address Congress (which would never have been forthcoming). The White House even falsely alleged that Netanyahu accepted the invitation before they were aware of it. Read more ..
|A.B. Stoddard ||February 15th 2015|
It turns out President Obama gets it. That the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is a grave threat, that his air campaign may not be working well, that changes may be required and that Congress must participate in waging war. Obama hasn’t said this out loud, but his request for a new authorization for use of military force (AUMF) acknowledges the threat, provides the means to confront it, denies the enemy safe haven and rightfully requires a new president and Congress to reassess the operation when he leaves office.
The draft AUMF bans “enduring offensive combat operations” but includes no geographic boundaries. It repeals the authorization for military action in Iraq that passed the Congress in 2002 but retains the broad powers the executive branch has to combat terrorists that Congress passed in 2001 in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Read more ..
Obama's Second Term
|Judd Gregg||February 9th 2015|
There is a very entertaining scene in the cult movie “Animal House” where the school band that is marching in the final scene’s parade takes a wrong turn, marches down a blind alley, runs into a brick wall and keeps on playing.
The band members continue with trumpets blaring and tubas tooting while they bang up against the brick wall on a dead-end street. The sergeant major remains oblivious to their state of affairs and just keeps trying to march on…into the wall.
It reminds one of the way the Republicans in Congress have been approaching the immigration issue. They really are the band from "Animal House." Read more ..
Israelis and Palestinians
|Jonathan Spyer||February 7th 2015|
An oft-repeated sentiment currently doing the rounds in discussions of the Israeli-Palestinian issue is that it is imperative that the conflict not become a "religious" one. This sentiment, guaranteed to set heads nodding in polite, liberal company, stands out even within the very crowded and competitive field of ridiculous expressions of historical ignorance found in discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
This sentiment is connected to the recent wave of terror attacks in Jerusalem, which are the result of Palestinian claims that Israel is seeking to alter the "status quo" at the Temple Mount. As this theory goes, up until now this conflict had mainly been about competing claims of land ownership and sovereignty, but it is now in danger of becoming about "religion," and hence turning even more intractable. So this must be prevented.
In objective reality, the conflict between Jews and Arab Muslims over the land area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea has been, from its very outset, inseparable from "religion." Read more ..
The Edge of Tolerance
|Juda Engelmayer||February 5th 2015|
Cutting Edge Contributor
When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu goes before the U.S. Congress next month, it said that he will call on the United States to press Iran with more sanctions and not allow a deal that would see Iran achieve a nuclear weapon. The issue of Iran aside, and it is a huge issue to put aside, pundits have called the invitation of Netanyahu by House Speaker John Boehner a partisan mistake that can damage the solid support Israel has in the U.S. and especially among both parties in Congress.
The pundits who believe it is their duty to forcefully support President Obama have said that Boehner had extended an invitation without consulting the president or congressional Democrats. Even more, they say that Netanyahu accepting is a thumb in the eye of Obama and will backfire.
Yet, the truth is in the correction the New York Times placed in a January 29th story, which reads:
Correction: January 30, 2015
An earlier version of this article misstated when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel accepted Speaker John A. Boehner’s invitation to address Congress. He accepted after the administration had been informed of the invitation, not before. Read more ..
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