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After the Arab Spring

Can a Sunni Democracy Emerge in Lebanon?

October 1st 2011

Lebanon Topics - Lebanese protesters

Common sense tells us that fear is a bad counsellor. Whether well founded or not, acknowledged or hidden, exaggerated or discrete, it is always a bad counsellor. At the beginning of the third millennium of the Christian era, Christians of the East are afraid. And with good reason: in 1920, the fall of the Ottoman Empire, they were a fifth of the population of the region formed by the States of the ancient fertile Crescent moon (Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan and Iraq). Less than a century later, there are no precise figures, but neither is there any doubt that with the exception of Lebanon, the limit of ten percent to five percent here and everywhere has been crossed, in a downward trend.

This negative development does not in itself constitute a diagnosis of the constituent elements of fear among Christians; it is only the material expression of this diagnosis, and in this sense reflects the breadth of the phenomenon leading to fear: migration to other horizons.

An unsettling constant immediately imposes itself, although it appears to have upset historians to a lesser extent, perhaps because it goes against the trend, compared to a good number of other well formed conclusions. In short that this dramatic decrease of actual Christians in the region in the century followed the disappearance of the last Sunni Islamic empire ruled by the power of the caliphate. Read more ..

War Against the Weak

Virginia Eugenics and the Possibility of Compensation

September 27th 2011

Book Covers - War Against the Weak

Everyone knows that Nazi Germany designated Jews and others for mass murder. Some know that Hitler’s racial ideas were inspired by the early 20th century pseudo-scientific American eugenic concepts he studied and adopted. But few are aware that long before Jews and blacks were targeted by eugenicists, white Virginian Appalachians with dark hair were chosen for extinction. They were not only targeted by academics, but by Virginia’s own state government. The state perniciously traced their ancestry and, periodically, agents rounded them up and dispatched them to sterilization mills.

More than 27 states joined the shameful decades-long campaign. Virginia led in developing the legal concepts and merciless enforcement that propelled eugenics into the annals of genocide.

In 2002, Gov. Mark R. Warner promulgated a formal apology to the thousands the state had coercively sterilized, some as late as the 1970s. Since then, other culpable states have issued their own apologies. Only one state, North Carolina, has advanced beyond mere words of regret and is now contemplating official compensation to surviving victims. Should Virginia follow in the footsteps of North Carolina, and who should pay compensation?

Remember the history. The academic and financial elite believed better men and women could be cultivated using the same techniques a farmer would employ to create a better herd of cattle or field of wheat—eliminate the bad stock and proliferate the good. Eugenicists planned to eliminate all those who did not resemble themselves, 10 percent at a time—as many as 14 million people at a slice. The goal: eliminate the reproductive future for some 90 percent of Americans. Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

Investing Terror-free

September 27th 2011

Money Bands=Happiness

Most people have no idea that many of the companies they do business on a daily basis also do business with terrorists or those who support terrorism.

Unwitting investors also are unaware that their money is invested in the stocks and bonds of companies that indirectly fund terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and genocide.

A decade after the September 11 attacks, terror-free investing is an innovative way to fight back against the enemies of liberal democracies. Terror-free investing, in concert with measures such as global sanctions, can have a measurable policy impact.

Terror-free investing is based on the idea that publicly traded companies should be accountable for their business dealings with our nation’s adversaries, specifically, state sponsors of terrorism. Information available to all institutional investors indicate that, as of March 31, there were approximately 625 publically traded companies around the globe operating in Iran, Syria, North Korea, and Sudan. Read more ..

Israel and Palestine on Edge

Don’t Reward the Palestinians’ Lawfare Campaign with Statehood

September 27th 2011

Palestine Topics - Mahmoud Abbas at parliament

The United Nations’ potential blessing of a Palestinian state in an end run around direct negotiations with Israel will add a dangerous new dimension to the Palestinians’ decades-long campaign of conventional and unconventional war against the Jewish state—the commencement of a full-blown “lawfare” campaign against Israel and its allies.

UN-sanctioned lawfare against Israel is nothing new. In 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICC), at the instigation of the UN General Assembly, declared that the security fence Israel erected to block Palestinian terrorists from infiltrating from the West Bank—a fence which helped dramatically reduce the number of suicide bombers penetrating Israel—is illegal, even though many countries, including the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, have erected fences on their border. Did we mention that Israel is the only UN member state barred from serving on the International Court?

In 2010, the European Court of Justice aided the economic warfare campaign against Israel by ruling that products made by a Jewish-owned company based in the Jewish community of Mishor Adumim in the West Bank didn’t qualify for the same customs duties exemption allowed to Palestinian companies in the West Bank and all companies within Israel’s 1967 borders. Read more ..

The 2012 Vote

Jews Defect from Obama in Droves

September 27th 2011

Obama Admin Topics - Obama AIPAC

In a column published two months ago, I commented on the findings of an opinion poll by Dick Morris which indicated that, contrary to the predictions of most political commentators, the Jewish community’s century-long nexus with the Democratic Party was dramatically eroding as Jews increasingly began to absorb Obama’s negative approach to Israel.

The stunning electoral upset in New York's Ninth District—the most Jewish-populated congressional district in the United States, which had not elected a Republican candidate since 1922—indisputably confirmed this. The defeat of the Democratic candidate 54%—46% was a massive display of non-confidence in the Obama administration and could represent a watershed in Jewish commitment to the Democratic Party. Even if a majority of Jews continue to back Obama, the level of defections from a record support of 78 percent at the last election represents a massive turnabout. Read more ..

The Drug Wars

Drugs Not Mere Criminality But Part Of Chavez-Iran Asymetric War

September 26th 2011

Social Topics - Narcotics

The war against Mexican drug cartels is often portrayed as a war against a criminal operation taking place in Mexico. Furthermore, it is also portrayed as a problem between the United States and Mexico.

However, we would argue as we have done repeatedly in the past that drug cartels constitute, willingly and unwillingly, part of an asymmetric war not only against the United States but against many countries in the region, as well. This asymmetric war is sometimes intentional and sometimes unintentional. It sometimes has clear targets and sometimes not. We have strong reasons to believe that the U.S and Latin American policy makers have failed to understand this situation in Latin America and consequently are failing to develop policies capable of responding to this phenomenon.

The concept of asymmetric war was revived in the continent by the distribution in the Venezuelan army of a book called “The Peripheral War and Revolutionary Islam,” written by a Spanish anarchist, Jorge Verstringe. The book was distributed in order to inject the army with a new military doctrine. That doctrine basically lauds radical Islamist methods as well as terrorist warfare. The idea of asymmetric war is that suicide bombers, terrorists, as well as the use of nuclear and biological weapons could be adopted to achieve a political goal. Read more ..

Israel and Palestine on Edge

Challenging This Week's Hate-Fest at the United Nations

September 21st 2011

Turkish Topics - Turkish demonstration against Syria and Israel
Pro-Palestine demonstrators in Turkey

All sides of the human rights spectrum are descending on New York City this week.

At one end, the tyrants, thugs and terrorism-enablers are here for the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Tomorrow, many will also hit a UN conference that promotes hate even as it pretends to be combating racism.

At the other end, you have their victims. More than 20 survivors of genocide, torture, mock executions and similar horrors come together today for a summit to highlight continued human-rights abuse.

They includes former Iranian political prisoners and a former inmate of North Korea’s gulags, but invitations to speak in the hallowed halls of the UN have not been extended to any of them.

Instead, delegates to the General Assembly will be treated to the ravings of Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for the sixth year in a row. They’ll also hear from Ahmadinejad’s rival for the leadership of the Muslim world, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. While his army violently crushes the aspirations of the Kurdish minority back home, Erdogan will be screeching about Israeli “war crimes” at the United Nations. Read more ..

Economy on Edge

The Myth of Being Poor

September 18th 2011

Contributors / Staff - Armstrong_Williams

Perhaps one of the most misunderstood minorities today is not racial or ethnic. In fact, the minority I’m referring to comes with people of every race, color, creed, and religion: the wealthy. Make no mistake about it. Building wealth is one of the most difficult things someone can do, which is why so few people do it. How few? Wealth estimates derived from 1998 Federal estate tax return data show that about 6.5 million individuals in the United States had gross assets of $625,000 or more and represented about 3.4 percent of the U.S. adult population. As a group, they owned more than $11.1 trillion in total assets or 32.6 percent of the total U.S. personal asset holdings. That’s 3.4 percent of the population representing 32.6 percent of the country’s wealth! The wealthy are a true minority in the world and are often criticized and ridiculed for their success in spite of the fact that everyone, given the choice, would rather try it rich than continue being poor. I don’t know where it originated, but the cliché “the poor get poorer and the rich get richer” has been in use for some time, implying that the poor will never rise out of poverty. Is this true? Why do people stay mired in poverty while others can pass on generational wealth?

The first myth that keeps people poor in my opinion is the myth of easy money, or more appropriately, getting rich quick (without effort). Lotteries, gambling, hot stock tips, music videos all fuel the myth that money comes easy. While it may be easy to make money, keeping it and building wealth is a whole different story. Industries are built around people’s ignorance of building wealth.

Like you would a miracle diet pill that lets you eat whatever you want without exercising, beware of wealth promised without effort. Why do people continue to go to these quick fixes? I believe one of the reasons is a victim mentality. In other words, there is a sense that wealth is something owed to them that by their existence wealth and ease of living is guaranteed. It is someone else’s fault, or something someone did to them, or a past failure why they don’t have what they are entitled to in life. Another hindrance to building wealth is negative thinking. Constantly dwelling on why things won’t work or why you’re not deserving of success will sap anyone’s confidence or motivation to perform. Another hindrance to building wealth, is living beyond your means. The simplest way to build wealth is to simply live below your means and govern your finances as if you’re always in a recession. Read more ..

Israel and Palestine

Eighteen Years Since Oslo

September 16th 2011

Israel Topics - Rabin-Arafat Handshake
Yitzhak Rabin, Bill Clinton, and Yasser Arafat, September 13, 1993
(credit: Israeli Embassy to the U.S.)

On the White House lawn, eighteen years ago, under the auspices of President Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat signed an agreement intended to end the tragic conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. The Oslo Accords, as they were called, contained a Declaration of Principles creating a Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and initiating negotiations on all the core issues—refugees, borders, security, Jerusalem—to begin May 1996. At the time, the handshake between Rabin and Arafat was widely believed to herald a new age of peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors beginning with the Palestinians. Those hopes, however, were all too swiftly dashed.

By May 1996, hundreds of Israelis had already been killed and wounded by Palestinian terrorists. The Israeli public’s confidence that the Oslo process would enhance, rather than worsen, their security was severely shaken. Still, many maintained the hope that a breakthrough could be achieved. Then, at the Camp David Summit in the summer of 2000, Arafat rejected an Israeli and American offer of a Palestinian state that met virtually all the Palestinian demands. Read more ..

Egypt and Israel

High-Level U.S. Attention Needed to the Dire Situation in Egypt

September 14th 2011

Egypt - Shouting Muslims in Cairo

Ambassador William B. Taylor - the highly regarded diplomatic "firefighter" just named as the State Department's special coordinator for Middle East transitions - has his work cut out for him. The toughest case is Egypt.

Last weekend's mob attacks on the Israeli and Saudi embassies, with Egyptian security forces killing three protestors and injuring hundreds in their effort to regain control, are the most recent example of a hopeful democratic moment going sour. Although the Egyptian military was so flummoxed by the events that it announced its intention to use the much-despised emergency regulations against hooliganism and lawlessness, it is no less likely that the same mass protests that felled President Hosni Mubarak eight months ago will eventually turn against the country's current military rulers. And if that happens, the military may not be as welcoming of political change as it was in February. Indeed, there is nothing like the image of a former president on a hospital gurney in a metal cage in a Cairo courthouse to make the members of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces reconsider their eagerness to return to the barracks and hand over the reins of power to newly elected leaders. The potential for Egypt's revolution to take an anti-democratic turn -- either toward more radical, anti-liberal, anti-West policies or toward a new authoritarianism - is frighteningly high. Read more ..

War Against the Weak

Can America adequately Compensate its Citizens Sterilized During Eugenic Genocide?

September 12th 2011

Book Covers - War Against the Weak

America's pseudo-scientific crusade to create a white, blond, blue-eyed biologically superior "master race" was a misguided 20th-century quest called eugenics. More than 27 states joined the shameful decades-long utopian campaign. But only one state, North Carolina, is now considering a massive plan of financial reparations to its surviving victims. Just how much North Carolina should pay is now the subject of a historically wrenching debate.

Eugenics was a fraudulent social theory claiming that a better society could be created by eliminating "undesirable" human blood lines, while promoting the desirable types. Race science sprang to life in the socioeconomically convulsive first decade of the 20th century, during which Asians, Eastern Europeans, Mexicans, American Indians, blacks and other ethnic groups and racial mixtures flowed into U.S. cities, creating overcrowding and class conflict.

The intellectual, academic, scientific and financial elite believed that better men and women could be cultivated using the same techniques a farmer would employ to create a better herd of cattle or field of wheat — eliminate the bad stock and proliferate the good. They planned to eliminate all those who did not resemble themselves, 10 percent at a time — that is, as many as 14 million people at a slice. Their eventual goal was to eliminate as much as 90 percent of the population from the reproductive future of the United States.

The preferred method was gas chambers and other forms of euthanasia. The first public euthanasia laws were introduced into the Ohio legislature in 1908. That measure was unsuccessful, as were other death-panel bills. The next best thing was forced surgical sterilization under specific state authority that was validated as the law of the land in the U.S. Supreme Court by one of America's most stellar jurists, Oliver Wendell Holmes. In 1927, Holmes ruled on an obviously collusive lawsuit seeking to justify the forced sterilization of three generations of Carrie Buck's family:

"It is better for all the world," Holmes infamously wrote, "if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. … Three generations of imbeciles are enough." Read more ..

Egypt After Mubarak

Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Shows its Hand in Attack on Israeli Embassy

September 12th 2011

Egypt - Egypt attack on Israeli embassy

The leading role played by the Muslim Brotherhood in the street and in the Egyptian political system can no longer be denied. The mass demonstrations that continued after the fall of Mubarak’s regime weakened of the military leadership’s power, and led to attacks on the Israeli Embassy in Cairo, and escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Jonathan Dahoah Halevi, a fellow at the American Center for Democracy, and a former advisor for policy planning at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, saw the writing on the wall in August when Muslim Brotherhood-led anti-Israeli demonstrations -- fueled by Hamas attacks on Israel from Gaza -- went uninterrupted by the regime.

The ground was ripe in Egypt. The Brotherhood, Hamas’ parent organization, defined the Egyptian revolution as a necessary first step towards the” liberation” of all of Palestine. The Brotherhood successfully seized the opportunity to use the revolution, especially Mubarak’s overthrow and prosecution to motivate the masses, sending them to the streets. Read more ..

Remembering 9-11

Someday, Maybe, We Will Recall 9-11 Like We Remember the Civil War

September 11th 2011

Terrorism - Twin Towers 9/11

This week will mark the tenth anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001. It will be a solemn day for most Americans. Memorials will be held at “Ground Zero” in New York City, at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., in Shanksville, Pennsylvania (the site of the Flight 93 crash) and in countless smaller communities around the country. Most Americans who were alive that day will vividly recall where they were when the attacks occurred as well as the emotional response that pointed to a world forever changed.

Not surprising, the dominant theme of all these ceremonies will be focused on the remembrance of the victims as well as the survivors. For many families, including my own, we will remember loved ones who were lost that day. My cousin Alisha Levin worked as a vice-president for Human Resources for Fuji Bank, which was located on the 82nd floor of the South Tower. She achieved this position at the young age of 33. Rarely does a day go by that I don’t think of her.

Indeed, the families of the victims and survivors are a key component to 9/11 remembrance and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. They are involved in every aspect of 9/11 remembrance from the planning of museum exhibits to the organization of events that commemorate individual victims. Most of the television specials that are scheduled to air close to and on 9/11 are overwhelmingly centered on the stories of family members and survivors. In the case of my family a memorial run is being planned to help raise money for a scholarship in Alisha’s memory. Their involvement reinforces that for each one of us we are recalling lived history. Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

Euro-Parliament Should Endorse EU-U.S. Passenger Name Record Agreement

September 7th 2011

Travel - US passport

The EU–U.S. passenger name record (PNR) agreement—implemented in the wake of 9/11—is an information-sharing program requiring that key pieces of data on travelers to the U.S. be provided to American authorities prior to their arrival in the U.S. This information must be provided under U.S. law, and in May 2004, the EU and the U.S. entered into a formal agreement stating that airlines operating U.S.-bound flights would provide U.S. authorities with travelers’ data contained in their reservation systems before a flight’s departure.

The PNR agreement has been a robust counterterrorism tool, and U.S. authorities used PNR data more than 3,000 times in 2008 and 2009 to thwart several high-profile terrorist plots.[1] In October 2009, the self-confessed Mumbai attack plotter David Headley was arrested in Chicago after American authorities accessed his PNR data from a flight Headley had booked from the U.S. to Germany. Headley has also since pled guilty to a separate plot to murder journalists from the Danish Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten newspaper, which published a cartoon depiction of the Prophet Muhammad in 2005. Read more ..

The Edge of Genocide

North Carolina's Reparations for Eugenic Genocide is a Mere Down Payment on Justice

September 7th 2011

Book Covers - War Against the Weak

Twenty-seven American states joined a decades-long pseudo-scientific crusade to create a white, blond, blue-eyed, biologically superior "master race". Their misguided utopian quest was called eugenics. But only one state, North Carolina, is now readying a massive plan of financial reparations to its surviving victims. Just how much North Carolina should pay is now the subject of a historically wrenching debate.

Eugenics was a fraudulent social theory that a better society could be created by eliminating "undesirable" human blood lines and promoting the desirable types. Race science sprang to life in the socioeconomically convulsive first decade of the 20th century, during which Asians, Eastern Europeans, Mexicans, Native Americans, blacks and other ethnic groups and racial mixtures flowed into US cities, creating overcrowding and class conflict.

The intellectual, academic, scientific and financial elite believed better men and women could be cultivated using the same techniques a farmer would employ to create a better herd of cattle or field of wheat – eliminate the bad stock and proliferate the good. They planned to eliminate all those who did not resemble themselves, 10% at a time – that is, as many as 14 million people, at a slice. Their eventual goal was to eliminate as much as 90% of the population from the reproductive future of the United States.

The preferred method was gas chambers and other forms of euthanasia. The first public euthanasia laws were introduced into the Ohio legislature in 1908. That measure was unsuccessful, as were other death panel bills. The next best thing was forced surgical sterilisation under specific state authority that was validated as the law of the land in the US supreme court by one of America's most stellar jurists, Oliver Wendell Holmes. In 1927, Holmes ruled on an obviously collusive lawsuit seeking to justify the forced sterilisation of three generations of Carrie Buck's family. Holmes infamously noted:

"It is better for all the world if, instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind … Three generations of imbeciles are enough." Read more ..

Edge of Terrorism

The Post 9/11 Wars were Successful

September 6th 2011

Terrorism - WTC on Fire (credit: Macten)

It has been 10 years since 9/11, and all of us who write about such things for a living are writing about it. That causes me to be wary. I prefer being the lonely voice, but the fact is that 9/11 was a defining moment in American history. On Sept. 12, 2001, few would have anticipated the course the resulting war would take — but then, few knew what to think. The nation was in shock. In retrospect, many speak with great wisdom about what should have been thought about 9/11 at the time and what should have been done in its aftermath. I am always interested in looking at what people actually said and did at the time.

The country was in shock, and shock was a reasonable response. The country was afraid, and fear was a reasonable response. Ten years later, we are all much wiser and sure that our wisdom was there from the beginning. But the truth is that, in retrospect, we know we would have done things superbly had we the authority. Few of us are being honest with ourselves. We were all shocked and frightened. Our wisdom came much later, when it had little impact. Read more ..

Egypt after Mubarak

Egyptian Military Tribunals are Turned on Civilians and Dissidents

September 5th 2011

Egypt - Bye bye Mubarak

By subjecting civilians to military tribunals, Egypt's military rulers risk confrontation with the public.

Since assuming control of Egypt following Hosni Mubarak's February 11 resignation, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) has subjected civilians to military trials at an unprecedented rate. The increased use of military trials has become a rallying cry for Egypt's major political forces against the SCAF, and a new round of demonstrations is being planned for September.

Egypt's rulers have long used military tribunals to achieve desired verdicts by circumventing the relatively independent judicial system. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Egypt's British rulers established military tribunals to avoid the country's national courts and expedite trials of Egyptians accused of offenses against British soldiers.

Later, Gamal Abdul Nasser relied on military tribunals to try cases involving political opponents, controlling the outcomes by picking judges and retaining authority to approve verdicts. After Nasser's death, Anwar Sadat mostly discontinued the practice, apparently believing that judicial independence would bolster foreign investment; political dissidents were thus sent to state security courts rather than military ones. Read more ..

Mexico’s Wars

Mexican War on Drugs Undermined by Political Demagoguery

August 30th 2011

Mexican Topics - Felipe Calderon in 2009
President Felipe Calderón

As in the United States, the Mexican campaign season for president is now in full swing.
One of the main issues being debated by the current crop of presidential hopefuls prior to Mexico’s July, 2012 presidential elections is whether or not the current policy of fighting the drug cartels is sustainable.

President Felipe Calderón and his party, the Party for National Action (PAN) are being attacked by the Revolutionary Institutional Party (PRI) and by the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) because of Calderón’s heavy hand on the drug cartels. The PRI has openly stated that if elected it will seek some sort of accommodation with the drug cartels.

This kind of rhetoric is not merely political demagoguery but stems from a large amount of public discontent with Calderón’s war on the cartels. There is a sense among large sectors of the population who argue that if it weren’t for the war on drugs there would not have been such large numbers of victims. So far, 40,000 people have died since early 2006.

What is worse, many in Mexico believe that the war on drugs is not a Mexican problem but an American problem. They can understand why Americans are concerned but believe the U.S. is at the root of the problem since that is where the demand for narcotics comes from. The belief is that since Mexico is only a distributor (and even the producer of some drugs), and if the demand were not there, their way of life would not be disturbed. Read more ..

Religious Freedom

Roger Cohen Discovers Antisemitism

August 30th 2011

UK Topics - BU Blackshirts 1930s
British Union “Blackshirts”

For some years, New York Times columnist Roger Cohen thrived in his role as a bête noire of pro-Israel advocates in the United States. In his writings on Iran, especially, Cohen attracted considerable ire for discounting Israel’s anxieties about the nuclear ambitions of the ruling mullahs, and for generally pushing the idea that the unresolved Palestinian question lies at the heart of the myriad conflicts in the Middle East and wider Islamic world.

And then he moved to London.

Back in the city where he grew up, Cohen has now—as his latest column announces—discovered that antisemitism is not some dastardly fabrication of the Israel lobby, but a real phenomenon experienced on many levels by many Jews. Off the back of that revelation, Cohen declares himself nostalgic for those same assertive Jews with whom he tussled back in the States.

Here, in brief, is what lay behind this sudden transformation. Visiting his sister’s house, he ran into her lodger, who, having noticed Cohen fiddling with his BlackBerry, referred to it as a “JewBerry.” Cohen didn’t follow. The lodger then explained that the free messaging services that come with the device make it a “JewBerry,” because Jews are always on the lookout for something free. Read more ..

Recovery on Edge

Impediments to Wealth

August 25th 2011

Contributors / Staff - Armstrong_Williams

There are literally hundreds of impediments that prevent people from building wealth. Whether they are particularly complex (misreading the stock market) or extremely simple (miscalculating your budget), these impediments can literally keep you and your family from financial stability. Various people face various hurdles, but one thing is for sure: every living person will face obstacles along their wealth-building path.

After careful examination, I have found that most impediments fit into four basic realms: family, education, social, and personal. Within each of these realms, most people encounter at least one obstacle that they need to overcome to reach their potential wealth. By analyzing each realm, you will better understand what impediments to be aware of and how to overcome them.


If you want to build wealth, you must take care of your family life. First, make sure you only marry and begin having children when you are ready. Marrying too early or having unplanned children can greatly impede your chance for financial stability. Those who rush into marriage or parenthood often are forced to take dead-end jobs or sacrifice their education to make money.

Because they become forced to support their family, they lose the opportunity to train for bigger and better jobs that would allow them to reach financial stability. In general, if your family life is stable, your financial life will be a lot easier to improve. Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

Norway Needs a Single Standard Against Terrorism

August 25th 2011

Israel Topics - Svein Sevje - Norway Ambassador to Israel
Svein Sevje, Norway’s Ambassador to Israel

In a recent interview, Norway’s Ambassador to Israel has suggested that Hamas terrorism against Israel is more justified than the recent terrorist attack against Norway. His reasoning is that, “We Norwegians consider the occupation to be the cause of the terror against Israel.” In other words terrorism against Israeli citizens is the fault of Israel. The terrorism against Norway, on the other hand, was based on “an ideology that said that Norway, particularly the Labor Party, is foregoing Norwegian culture.” It is hard to imagine that he would make such a provocative statement without express approval from the Norwegian government.

I can’t remember many other examples of so much nonsense compressed in such short an interview. First of all, terrorism against Israel began well before there was any “occupation”. The first major terrorist attack against Jews who had long lived in Jerusalem and Hebron began in 1929, when the leader of the Palestinian people, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, ordered a religiously-motivated terrorist attack that killed hundreds of religious Jews—many old, some quite young. Read more ..

Israelis and Palestinians

Defensible Borders Trump Negotiated Settlements

August 23rd 2011

Israeli Military - IDF On Guard

Events in Israel over the past week have a “back to the future” vibe. Terrorism from over the Egyptian border, renewed rocket attacks from Gaza, threats of violence from the Palestinian Authority and Hezbollah, continuing violence in Syria and shock waves in Jordan all are reminders that ultimate responsibility for the security of the citizens of Israel has to be in the hands of the Israeli government, and that defensible borders trump negotiated settlements.

Chaos around Israel—including along the long-quiescent Israel-Egypt border—and death and destruction inside, mean that Israel has returned to the days that nothing can be taken for granted, including Arab partners and American support. Read more ..

Religious Freedom

Indian Constitution Violates Itself in View of Dalit Caste

August 18th 2011

India Topics - Dalit Protests

Article 15 of the Indian Constitution gives fundamental rights to all Indian citizens against any form of discrimination either by the state or any citizen on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, or any of thesem. Every Indian is proud about this guarantee without much knowing that the same constitution violates itself on the basis of religion. The Scheduled Caste, known as untouchables or Dalits, have suffered under this violation for 61 years.

Presidential Order 1950 enacted Para 3 of Article 341, which discriminates against Dalits on the basis of religion by limiting fundamental rights guaranteed under Indian Constitution. Read more ..

Financial Jihad

The “Boycott Israel” Movement is a “No Peace” Movement

August 17th 2011

Israel Topics - Western/Wailing Wall

Compromise is the cornerstone of peacemaking. In the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, the international consensus for ending this conflict is the two-state solution that would create an independent State of Palestine living side-by-side with the State of Israel in peace. Israel, including its current government, explicitly accepts this principle as the basis for peacemaking.

While most of us Israelis support the principle of two-states, we find deeply problematic the unilateral nature of the Palestinian Authority’s statehood efforts that would override bi-lateral peace negotiations. This is an important distinction often lost in the noisy debate over this issue.

In a rejection of peaceful compromise, however, the movement spearheading the effort to impose boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS) on Israel issued a statement last week denouncing the Palestinian Authority’s intention to declare independence unilaterally at the United Nations in September. Read more ..

Oil Addiction

OPEC’s New Management

August 15th 2011

Contributors / Staff - Gal Luft

The recent appointment of Islamic Revolutionary Guards veteran Rostam Ghasemi as Iran’s new petroleum minister is not only the Islamic Republic’s latest poke in America’s eye but it is also harbinger of things to come with respect to Iran’s petro-politics. Ghasemi, a notorious hardliner and the head of the economic wing of the Guards, is personally sanctioned by both the EU and the US. In his new position he will be able to do exactly what his patron Mahmoud Ahmadinejad explained in his nomination support speech before the Majlis: “transform this complex [oil industry] in line with national interests.”

Transforming Iran’s oil industry in line with national interests begins in the Vienna headquarters of OPEC. There, Ghasemi’s first goal would be to continue to erode Saudi Arabia’s hegemony in the cartel. Iran is currently the rotating president of OPEC which means that for the next few months Ghasemi is the oil cartel’s de facto president. In this capacity he will be able to influence decisions on production quotas and crude price negotiations. In recent months, Iran has taken upon itself to challenge Saudi Arabia which has traditionally called the shots in Vienna. Last June, in what was described by Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi as one of the worst OPEC meetings he has ever attended, Iran redefined greed. Ignoring the fragility of the world economy it led a radical wing within OPEC to vote against Saudi Arabia’s plan to increase production. All of a sudden, inflated as it was, the Saudi target price of $100 looked like a bargain. Read more ..

England on Edge

England's Riots Give Evidence of Failure in Post-Modern Society

August 15th 2011

Europe Topics - London rioters

Why should anyone be surprised at the rioters when we've been saying for decades there is no right or wrong?

As London burned, pundits rushed to provide rationales for the destruction, and answers to the problem. Some blame poverty, some blame government cuts to services, others blame the breakdown of the family, or the fact that “bankers aren’t moral, why should the youths of Tottenham be?”

But to blame it on these last is to diagnose a symptom as a cause. Why are the bankers immoral? Why has the family broken down? Why are millionaires’ children looting the streets? Why is anyone looting the streets?

A common answer seems to be, “Because they can”. It may shock those who believe in the innate goodness of man -- who have no basis for believing that those who come from good environments could behave like beasts -- that this attitude could be so widespread. Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

Obama Administration Withholds Pakistani Aid as Goals Differ

August 9th 2011

PakistanTopics - Pakistani military brass

The Obama administration is withholding $800 million of the $2 billion in current aid to Pakistan, angry over the (limited) level of Pakistani pursuit of Taliban elements attacking U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. The United States believes intelligence information provided to Pakistan has been shared with insurgents and that the Pakistani government is not committed to "cleaning out" Taliban strongholds in the tribal areas. The Pakistani government, on the other hand, believes the United States violated Pakistan's sovereignty by capturing Osama Bin Laden without prior consultation and by killing Pakistani civilians in drone strikes in the tribal areas. Pakistan is furious about the aid reduction, particularly the $300 million meant as reimbursement for expenses already incurred. Read more ..

Media on Edge

Rupert Murdoch: The Last Titan of Publishing

August 2nd 2011

Contributors / Staff - Armstrong_Williams

Amid the crying of foul and media hype surrounding Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World Scandal a fundamental fact seems to have been lost. That is, before Rupert Murdoch came along and almost single-handedly saved it, the newspaper industry as we know it was dying an ignominious death.

To wit, Murdoch’s purchase (at a significant premium) of the Wall Street Journal in 2005 recued a dying operation that the original owners just could not afford to keep anymore. Several other newspaper organizations have not been so lucky. Perhaps the most incredible decline in recent years was the Tribune Co., owner of the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, which now languishes in bankruptcy after a breathtakingly swift decline. In 2009, national newspaper revenue fell an astonishing 27% amid a mass advertiser exodus to online media outlets. Since the peak of newspaper circulation in 2000, print circulation has dropped over 44%. The news print industry is undoubtedly undergoing a painful and costly transformation—one that requires entrepreneurs with ambition and deep pockets to drive forward. Read more ..

The Media Edge

A Whiff of Totalitarianism and Anti-Semitic Hypocrisy in Hungary's new Media Law

July 25th 2011

Europe Topics - Hungary Jobbik party rally
Members of Hungary's Jobbik party

Hungary's new media law, which went into effect on July 1, carries a distinctly unpleasant whiff of the country's fascist and communist past.

Under its provisions, all media outlets are required to register with a body called the Media Council. The council is empowered to impose fines of nearly $1 million upon those publications and broadcasters deemed to have "insulted" a particular group, along with an amorphous entity defined as "the majority." If a publication violates "public morality," it faces a fine. If its news coverage is judged "imbalanced," ditto. And woe betide any journalist who refuses an order from the council to disclose his sources.

With this one measure, Hungary has unraveled an emblematic achievement of those largely peaceful 1989-90 revolutions that brought communism crashing down across Eastern Europe -- namely, the freedom of the press. Instead of nurturing an environment conducive to free inquiry, the law creates a climate of fear and distrust, one of the hallmarks of totalitarian rule.

To add insult to injury, two recent cases have emerged that demonstrate that the media law is being applied with a scandalous double standard. Read more ..

Politics on Edge

A Terrible Gamble

July 25th 2011

Contributors / Staff - Armstrong_Williams

If you’ve been living in the United States during the past three months and you’re not aware of this “debt crisis” everyone inside the Beltway is talking about, then you’ve been living under a rock.

The sad truth is, the rest of the world knows about it as well, they’re watching, and let’s just say they’re even more scared than we are on these shores. The reason? The U.S. dollar acts as the reserve currency for hosts of commodities traded every second of every day around the world. Further, the dollar also acts as the “pegged” currency from which many more goods and services are linked, most notably oil.

And anyone waking up yesterday in London would have read this headline in the the London Sunday Times, “Washington Plays Poker with World Economy.” The editorial from which that headline came goes on to say, “It would be unthinkable now were it not for a dangerous stand-off between the White House and Congress over the country’s debt … With this humiliating and destabilising threat hanging over them, one would expect politicians in Washington would be rushing to strike a deal. Far from it. They are engaged in a game of political brinkmanship. The US economy is in danger of looking alarmingly dysfunctional.” Read more ..

Palestine on Edge

“Palestine,” The World’s Most Economically and Politically Coddled Entity

July 25th 2011

Palestine Topics - Gaza aerial shot 2011

SkyNews reporter Tim Marshall points out what other reporters don’t … point out.

“There are well over 200 NGOs in the West Bank and Gaza, and 30% of the GDP here comes from international aid. Palestinians are among the most foreign aid funded people in the world and the place is awash with money …”

“The billions that pour in here mean the Palestinian Authority does not need to try very hard to deliver the services expected by voters, it also stifles the private sector, inflates wages and causes an internal ‘brain drain’ … ”

“No Palestinian business can compete with NGOs which routinely triple what a local firm would pay …” Read more ..

The Philippines on Edge

The Limits of Tyranny in the Philippines

July 22nd 2011

Asia Topics - Sarah Duterte
Mayor Sarah Duterte, Davao City, Philippines

The television images tell it all, imagine how it was last July 1, Davao City Mayor Sarah Duterte, daughter of the all-powerful and most feared former-mayor Rodrigo Duterte (now vice-mayor), is surrounded by a crowd of followers and security personnel.  She is agitated, she wants her authority and position to be respected and obeyed without question.

The sheriff has been told by her to delay a court-approved demolition of a squatters' community for whom the city administration has failed to provide a resettlement site for as required by law.  Perhaps she wants the squatters to think she is their saviour and champion rather than part of their problem. Read more ..

The Obama Edge

America’s Heavy-handed Foreign Policy Not Working

July 18th 2011

Obama Admin Topics - Barack Obama Israel speech

The Obama administration is withholding $800 million of the $2 billion in current aid to Pakistan, angry over the (limited) level of Pakistani pursuit of Taliban elements attacking U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. The United States believes intelligence information provided to Pakistan has been shared with insurgents and that the Pakistani government is not committed to “cleaning out” Taliban strongholds in the tribal areas. The Pakistani government, on the other hand, believes the United States violated Pakistan’s sovereignty by capturing Osama Bin Laden without prior consultation and by killing Pakistani civilians in drone strikes in the tribal areas. Pakistan is furious about the aid reduction, particularly the $300 million meant as reimbursement for expenses already incurred.

There is, naturally, some justice on both sides, and the money—while important to Pakistan and not insignificant to the United States—is only a metaphor for the difficult relations between the two. The real problem is that the United States and Pakistan do not have the same goal for Afghanistan or for the future of Pakistan and we appear to have forgotten that it is, in fact, their country. Read more ..

Israel and Palestine

Purchasing Israel—not Stealing Palestine

July 17th 2011

Israel Topics - Titus memorial frieze 70CE
Arch commemorating Titus’s victory over the Jews in 70 CE

Zionists stole Palestinian land: that’s the mantra both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas teach their children and propagate in their media. This claim has vast importance, as Palestinian Media Watch explains: “Presenting the creation of the [Israeli] state as an act of theft and its continued existence as a historical injustice serves as the basis for the PA’s non-recognition of Israel’s right to exist.” The accusation of theft also undermines Israel’s position internationally.

But is this accusation true?

No, it is not. Ironically, the building of Israel represents about the most peaceable in-migration and state creation in history. To understand why requires seeing Zionism in context. Simply put, conquest is the historic norm; governments everywhere were established through invasion, and nearly all states came into being at someone else’s expense. No one is permanently in charge; everyone’s roots trace back to somewhere else. Read more ..

Edge on Terrorism

Obama administration Seeks to Release Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist

July 16th 2011

Terrorism - Abdurahman Alamoudi
Abdurahman Alamoudi

Just when you thought it not possible for the Holder Justice Department to become any more hostile to the national and homeland security interests of the American people, along comes yet another travesty.  This one threatens both, as it apparently would involve turning loose in America a convicted terrorist known to be a top Muslim Brotherhood (MB or Ikhwan in Arabic) operative and al Qaeda financier: Abdurahman Alamoudi.

According to a short Associated Press report on July 8th:

Federal prosecutors are asking a judge to cut the 23-year prison term being served by an American Muslim activist who admitted participation in a Libyan plot to assassinate King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

Alamoudi - who famously declared his support for Hamas and Hezbollah at a rally in Lafayette Square in Washington D.C. in October 2000 and was recognized by the Justice Department as a Muslim Brother - has been incarcerated with other top terrorists in the Supermax facility in Colorado.  As an American citizen, he would presumably be allowed to stay in this country upon his release.

Alamoudi at Large

Can it be precluded that, once he is freed, Alamoudi would take up again with those he did so much to help sponsor, foster and run as one of the leading Muslim Brothers in the country?  Lest we forget, as a driving force behind many of the myriad MB front organizations in the United States, he previously was deeply involved with the fulfillment of the Ikhwan's mission here as described in its 1991 strategic plan. Read more ..

Edge on Terrorism

Hezbollah's Really Really Bad Week

July 12th 2011

Terrorism - Hezbollah Troops

Back in 2006, the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah was riding high. Having fought the Israeli army to a standstill, the organization's leader Hassan Nasrallah declared "divine victory." The war was a public relations coup for the militia, which emerged from the campaign as the most favorable personification of Shiism in the largely Sunni Muslim world. So impressive was the alleged victory that the campaign sparked a widely reported trend of conversion to Shiite Islam in the region. Read more ..

The Grid's Edge

BULB Act is Dim-witted

July 11th 2011

Energy / Environment - 3 kinds of lightbulbs
Lightbulbs: incandescent, LED, CFL

In 1879, Thomas Edison invented a way to create light by heating up a thin strip of material (called a filament) until it was hot enough to glow. This was the incandescent light bulb.

Since then, Americans and people all over the world have been using these same light bulbs that produce 90% heat and only 10% light. I think Thomas Edison, being a man ahead of his time, would agree this makes little sense today. I believe that one of our premier American innovators would be supportive of American innovation making his revolutionary invention just a bit more efficient.

It took us over a century, but a few years ago Congress realized that a simple efficiency standard could spur innovation to make incandescent light bulbs that create less heat and more light while using less energy. Read more ..

Edge on Politics

Where is our Morality President?

July 11th 2011

Contributors / Staff - Armstrong_Williams

These are questionable times in our country’s storied history. The current Congress remains grid locked on nearly every issue of the day, unable to move even basic legislation regarding public safety, transportation, even the Post Office. Meanwhile, a president elected in a modern-day landslide, who vowed to embark on a new era of governing, could go down in history as one who promised so much yet delivered so little.

And while Washington burns with pressing policy concerns, the rest of the nation is swirling in a tempest of questionable practices, poor judgment, and plain stupid behavior that rises to the most elite and highly-regarded in our society.

At a time when the President could stand up and rightly (and righteously) call out the abominable behaviors of our fellow countrymen, silence is his only response. At this time, we need a president willing to decry the injustices perpetrated on the innocent. We need a president who can set a new tone both inside and out of Washington—one of simple morality. Read more ..

Edge on Islam

Academic Upheaval in Mideast Studies May Still Rebound in Sound Understanding of the Region

July 7th 2011

Contributors / Staff - Daniel Pipes bw

The troubled academic study of the Middle East and Islam by Americans is changing in fundamental ways. I offer some thoughts based on 42 years of personal observation:

From Western offence to Islamic offence: Muslim relations with Christians divide into four long periods: from Muhammad's hijra to the First Crusade, 622-1099, during which time Muslims expanded at Christian expense; to the 2nd siege of Vienna, 1099-1683, which saw a mix of Muslim advances (e.g., Anatolia) and retreats (Iberia); to the Arab oil boycott, 1683-1973, with Christians on the offense; and since 1973, with Muslims on the offense.

When I entered the Middle East and Islam field in 1969, Americans looked almost exclusively at the Western impact on modern Muslims; today, the Muslim impact on the West features almost as prominently, from American slavery to the problems of Malmö, Sweden.

From Arab to Muslim: Books on "The Arabs," "the Arab world," "Arab politics," "Arab nationalism," and "Arab socialism" flew off the press during my student years. With time, however, the hollowness of this modern concept of Arabs became evident. I was one of those who argued for Islam as the real defining factor, devoting myself thirty years ago to proving that "Islam profoundly shapes the political attitudes of Muslims." Met with skepticism back then, this understanding has now become so blindingly self-evident that Amazon.com lists no fewer than 3,077 items in English on jihad. Read more ..

Second Flotilla to Gaza

Seizure of Gaza Flotilla by Greece May be Harbinger of Better Days for Israel

July 5th 2011

Palestine Topics - Audacity of Hope seizure

With extraordinary economic problems and its public in a very bad mood, the Government of Greece seemed an unlikely hero in the saga of the Hamas-organized flotillas. But Greece is, indeed, the hero. While several countries - including the United States - denounced the idea of boats breaking legal Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the Hamas government in Gaza, and a few - including Turkey - withdrew government support - it was left to Greece to stop the ships. [Ed. Note: Another vessel was stopped shortly after this article was submitted. The Greek Coast Guard and Special Forces boarded a ship leaving northeastern Crete for Gaza and towed it back to port.]

Several ships had been in Greece, awaiting the results of local inspections to be permitted to sail. The inspections themselves were carried out to the letter of Greek law, delaying the ships for more than a week. On Friday, organizers on "The Audacity of Hope" decided to sail without authorization. Read more ..

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