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Iran's Nukes

Trump's Critics on Iran Are Wrong

October 17th 2017

Iranian clerics

On Friday, President Trump announced he will not certify Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal signed by his predecessor. I'm sure most of us spent the weekend inundated with thought pieces declaring this a major misstep or some kind of politically motivated gambit that plays fast and loose with global security. But they're all wrong. With this bold action, we're finally on the path toward a safer Middle East.

Iran remains an immense threat to the United States and our allies, and decertification is a serious first step towards mitigating the harm Tehran is causing around the globe. Today's less covered announcement by the Treasury Department that it would apply further sanctions to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is an important second step.

Read more ..

Media on Edge

Jeff Bezos and Workers at The Washington Post.

October 13th 2017

Amazon box

Like most of the industry titans in the world of big tech, Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos is no fan of labor unions. Since 1994, he’s fended away every effort by Amazon warehouse workers to unionize.
 
But when Bezos purchased The Washington Post in 2013, he inherited more than 1,200 workers unionized with the Washington-Baltimore News Guild. That union now claims that Bezos and Washington Post management are trying to gut protections and benefits for workers in the latest contract negotiations.
 
“Under the Bezos ownership, we fear a fundamental transformation is under way at the Post — one that is occurring in many other workplaces around the country, leading to economic insecurity for working people as though we are disposable or interchangeable elements in a machine,” the union bargaining committee wrote in a memo sent to Post employees on Oct. 6.
Read more ..

Historians on Edge

Michael Marrus Race Comment-- Do Not Dismiss the Painful Pattern of Microaggressions

October 11th 2017

U of Toronto Massey College

The resignation of University of Toronto emeritus history professor Michael Marrus from a senior fellowship at Massey College has provoked discussion far beyond the college. In an exchange covered elsewhere, Mr. Marrus made a slavery-related remark to a black junior fellow, in reference to the approach of the college's head or "Master," that concerned the graduate student and others nearby.

Globe editorial: Globe editorial: Massey professor showed terrible judgment, but the response was worse

As word of the incident spread, petitions demanding action from the college attracted hundreds of signatures. The upshot to date, in addition to Mr. Marrus's resignation, has been an official apology from Massey College and the suspension of the use of the title "Master" for the head of the college, among other commitments.

Read more ..

Islam on Edge

Is Austria's Burqa Ban an Example for America?

October 10th 2017

Egyptian hijabi

With the number of jihadist terrorists in Europe rising, and a concurrent increase in the number of women involved in Islamist terrorism and recruiting, Austria's centrist government passed a bill in May to prohibit all face coverings in the public sphere. The measure, which carries a fine of €150, includes a ban on clown makeup, ski masks, and even hospital masks worn on city streets; but it is clearly the face-covering garments of Muslim women – the niqab and burqa – that are the law's real targets. The so-called "burqa ban," which went into effect Oct. 1, makes Austria the fifth European country to outlaw the wearing of face-coverings in public, and the fifth to do so on the basis of national security concerns related to Islamic dress. France, Belgium, Latvia, and Bulgaria already have such laws in place, and partial bans are in effect in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy and Spain.

Now other countries are starting to consider instituting comparable laws, despite ongoing protests from Muslim and many rights groups. Read more ..


Historians on Edge

Michael Marrus Race Comment and The Importance of Forgiveness

October 9th 2017

U of Toronto Massey College

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” These days, Charles Dickens’ words might apply to Toronto’s Massey College. While its alumna Julie Payette was installed as Canada’s Governor General, distinguished senior member Professor Emeritus Michael Marrus was being pushed out the college door.

As a graduate student in computer engineering, Payette entered Massey College in 1988 with sparkling eyes, remarkable energy, and delightful eagerness to serve on the social committee and to converse with everyone around the dining room table. She lent her clear soprano voice to college events and quietly advanced academically in ways that would prepare her to later soar into space in 1999.  

Before Payette arrived at Massey, Marrus was already a Senior Fellow and had recently published a book with Oxford University Press titled The Unwanted: European Refugees in the Twentieth Century.

Read more ..

Jewry on Edge

Understanding the Unlikely Radical Alliances Spreading Antisemitism Today

October 5th 2017

Western/Wailing Wall

Radical Muslims are focused on destroying and delegitimizing Israel – the historic homeland of the Jewish People — and they fan the flames of antisemitism wherever they can.

Vicious antisemitism has long been present on the radical Right. It has been growing also on the radical Left. And it’s a cornerstone of radical Muslim movements. Although these three sources of antisemitism in our world today come from very different traditions, they are increasingly sharing ideas and tactics, reinforcing a wave of hate, bigotry, and racism.

In recent years, North America has joined Europe to witness a growing alliance between radical Muslims and radical leftists. Radical Muslims stone women, execute gays, trample on minority and human rights and abhor feminism. On paper, the far Left should be appalled by this ideology, but these unlikely allies happily cast aside their differences because they share a common hatred for Western influence in the world, pluralistic nationalism, freedom of speech, tolerance, and vile antisemitism.

Read more ..

Media on Edge

Selective Outrage on Jets

October 4th 2017

Cessna Citation CJ4

Two jet scandals. Two different responses. Tom Price resigned as HHS Secretary for leasing jets for official business and using military jets for official overseas travel.  Federal regulations require the use of commercial airliners, when possible.

The media firestorm [here, here, here, here] contributed to — if not caused — Price’s resignation.

But in 2014, there was different response to another jet scandal.

According to the GAO, in the first three years of the Obama Administration, Attorney-General Eric Holder, FBI Director Robert Mueller and other presidential appointees used government aircraft nearly 400 times for personal travel and unofficial trips.  Not official travel.  Personal travel.  Government aircraft are not for personal use under any circumstances. Read more ..


World on Edge

Kurdistan, and The Problem Of an Endless Parade Of New Nation States

October 1st 2017

Kurds in Turkey

Woodrow Wilson, thou art mighty yet.

One hundred years ago, President Wilson took the United States into World War I to "make the world safe for democracy," and to uphold the principle of national self-determination. In the wake of the war, new states were carved out of the Russian, Ottoman, German, and Austro-Hungarian empires, their borders determined by some combination of Great Power jostling, popular referenda, and inter-communal violence. The Wilsonian vision was that a world of nation states would be more peaceful, after a transitional period, and that the governments therein would be more representative of and responsive to their respective peoples.

The luster of that vision has dimmed quite a bit over the century since, in large part because the process never seems to end. The "war to end all wars" did no such thing, and the subsequent, more terrible and more global world war was launched not only to create new world-girdling empires, but also to exploit dissatisfactions on the part of multiple states and stateless groups with the details of the post-World War I Wilsonian settlement. Read more ..


Kurdistan Rising

Trump Betrays Kurdistan

September 28th 2017

Kurdistan Map

It is difficult to look at the scandalous international response to the Kurdish independence referendum and not think, at the same time, of the betrayals endured by the Zionist movement in the decades after World War I.

In 1917, Britain issued the Balfour Declaration, promising a Jewish national homeland in Palestine. What people forget is that in 1939, Britain then issued a White Paper limiting Jewish immigration to Palestine — on the eve of the Holocaust — to a paltry 75,000 souls over five years. People forget, too, that as late as 1947, British troops at Haifa dock were locking Holocaust survivors who had escaped to Palestine in barbed wire cages, and then shipping them back to displaced persons camps in Germany.

A similar, sorry state prevails today with the Kurds — a predominantly Muslim nation of 25-35 million people currently divided between Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria, whose denizens in Iraq this week voted by a majority of 93 percent for independence.

Read more ..

America on Edge

Kneeling Football Players Dominate News instead of Puerto Rico's Devastation

September 25th 2017

Hurricane Isabel

Over the September 23-24 weekend, news coverage and commentary was dominated by discussions over football players kneeling instead of standing for the National Anthem at NFL games across the country rather than the devastation of Puerto Rico. On September 20, Hurricane Maria struck the island commonwealth with fury, swelling rivers with record rainfall, knocking out electric power for 3.5 million people, and causing what by some accounts is “apocalyptic” destruction. The plight of Puerto Rico, which was already experiencing significant distress over debt incurred by wasteful government, in the wake of Hurricane Maria, did not merit much discussion on the principal Sunday political talk shows. 

When contacted by Spero News, Fr. Peter DiLeo-Vulic asked pleaded for help for his congregation of St. Spiridon, a  Byzantine Catholic-rite parish located just outside of San Juan, the island's capital.

Read more ..

Digital Control

Deane Gross Confronts GoFundMe Over Glazov Gang Ban

September 23rd 2017

Money Money Money

As we have recently reported, crowd-funding online company GoFundMe has banned The Glazov Gang, a web-tv show that tells the truth about the threat from the Left and Islam, from accepting online donations.

GoFundMe suspended The Glazov Gang campaign without any notice or explanation, nor have they responded to any queries. Read about what happened and what you can do HERE.

We are very touched that our fans are fighting on our behalf to have our campaign restored. Below is an example of one of our loyal supporters, Deane Gross, writing in to GoFundMe to confront the company on its surrender to leftist fascism.

We deeply appreciate Deane’s effort and the effort of all others who have done the same — and we encourage everyone to also take this action on our behalf and against leftist fascism. Read more ..


Constituion on Edge

Article VI Trampled

September 22nd 2017

Capitol Hill

The law requires every federal employee take an oath of office to support the Constitution. Days ago, a three Senators blatantly violated their oath and committed an unconstitutional act.  It received virtually no news coverage.

Notre Dame law professor Amy Coney Barrett was nominated to the 7th Appeals Court.  At her confirmation hearing, California’s Dianne Feinstein and Hawaii’s Mazie Hirono discussed Barrett’s Catholic faith.  So did Illinois’ Dick Durbin.

Stop!

That’s a direct violation of the Constitution’s Article VI.  It states “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” Read more ..


Media on Edge

Who’s Afraid of RT?

September 19th 2017

Television Array

The company that manages the Russian news outlet R.T. (Russia Today) announced last week that it had received a letter from the U.S. Department of Justice requiring it to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).  The Russian news outlet Sputnik International may be next.

FARA was passed in 1938 to require entities or individuals who represent foreign governments to disclose their relationships, activities, and finances. 

Registration would not stop R.T. from broadcasting in the U.S. or censor its programs – it is a paperwork requirement – but it would formally label R.T. an arm of the Russian government rather than an independent media source.  This, in essence, would tell Americans that news from R.T. should be considered suspect.

As a practical matter, all news – particularly from government-sponsored sources – should be considered skeptically.

Read more ..

America on Edge

Judiciary Impartiality Considered as Delaware’s Business Climate Falls from 1st to 11th Place

September 16th 2017

judge's gavel

Coming on the heels of some major news indicating that Delaware is no longer the preferred state to incorporate in, experts have been trying to understand what has happened.  How does the First State become the 11th in a world where nearly everyone used to incorporate in Delaware? Lisa Rickard, president of the Institute for Legal Reform, said, “Delaware no longer lives up to its nickname as the ‘First State.”

For some, it may be a surprise. For others who follow the Delaware climate closely, this was a moment several years in the making.  A prominent writer and founding publisher of a state paper covering business, Samuel Waltz, wrote in January 2017, “Observers of Delaware’s bench and bar in 2017 will witness something that many agree is for the most part unprecedented, perhaps even historic, maybe even to the extent it could threaten the primacy of Delaware’s courts as America’s national business court of choice.”  That unprecedented issue – the case of TransPerfect, an international translation company at the heart of a major lawsuit playing out since 2015 in Delaware’s court system.

The case is about two wealthy owners of a private company, one who wants to keep, run and build, and the other who wants to sell for a premium. The math works out like this: If there are two 50% portions, no one has management or company control.  Arguably, the price that could be yielded for one half of the firm without that control is less than half of what one might pay for the market price of 100% of the company.  The party who wants the exit strategy has asked the courts to force 100% of the firm up for sale, so that she could maximize her value.  The Chancery court’s mandate is to preserve and protect the shareholders’ value, so it may seem logical that the Delaware Chancellor decided for the owner looking to maximize value. Read more ..


Jewry on Edge

Hating Israel at The Center for Jewish History

September 7th 2017

Campus antizionists

The Center for Jewish History claims to hold “the largest repository of Jewish historical documentation outside of Israel.” But now the Center has fallen into the hands of an anti-Israel activist who attacked efforts to fight campus anti-Semitism and defended a hate group promoting anti-Semitic speakers. It’s hard to find a group opposed to the Jewish State that David N. Myers, the new head of the Center, hasn’t endorsed, participated in or been a part of.

JVP, an anti-Semitic BDS hate group, listed Myers as a JVP Academic Advisory Board Member in its leaflet accusing Jewish activists of “Misusing Anti-Semitism Charges to Silence Free Speech.” Read more ..


Egypt and America

Egypt Caught between Washington and Moscow

September 4th 2017

General Al-Sisi

The latest move of the American administration – canceling part of its assistance to Egypt and suspending another part due to a lack of progress on human rights – has left Cairo stunned and angry. Throughout his electoral campaign, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump reiterated that he would not interfere in the internal policy of foreign countries, especially allied countries. This was in stark contrast to his predecessor, who ostracized President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi — the man who ousted the regime of the Muslim Brotherhood led by Mohamed Morsi.

Former president Barak Obama froze part of the assistance package, and turned a deaf ear to Egyptian pleas for greater financial aid and expert military training in guerrilla warfare to defeat Islamic terrorism in the Sinai Peninsula. It had had the effect of pushing Egypt into the embrace of Russia, which was only too happy to help. New links were forged that eased Moscow’s return to the Middle East after a long hiatus. Read more ..


Israel-Palestinian Conflict

Crossing the Rubicon

August 29th 2017

The Dome of the Rock from Atop

On Wednesday, at a U.S. State Department press briefing, the Rubicon was finally crossed. Responding to a question regarding Israeli-Palestinian ‎peace, spokeswoman Heather Nauert said, “We want to work toward a peace that both sides can agree to and both sides find ‎sustainable. … We believe that both parties should be able to find a workable solution that works for ‎both of them. We are not going to state what the outcome has to be. … It’s been many, many decades, ‎as you well know, that the parties have not been able to come to any kind of good agreement and ‎sustainable solution to this. So we leave it up to them to be able to work through that.”‎

This is the most constructive statement I have heard about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in decades. ‎For the last several years, the “experts” have been saying, “We all know what a solution to the ‎Palestinian-Israeli conflict looks like.” ‎ Read more ..


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 ..



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