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Recent Publications from New English Review Press
Out Into The Beautiful World
by Theodore Dalrymple
Unreading Shakespeare
by David P. Gontar
Islam Through the Looking Glass: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J. B. Kelly, Vol. 3
edited by S. B. Kelly
The Real Nature of Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
As Far As The Eye Can See
by Moshe Dann
Threats of Pain and Ruin
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum






















Saturday, 29 August 2015
Suspected Terrorist Obtains Class A Driver's Licence with Help of Minnesota Workforce Program
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He wants to be a schoolbus driver.

ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - A Minnesota man, who Homeland Security identifies as a terror suspect who is on the “No Fly” list, now has his Class A commercial license, which will allow him to drive semi-trucks.

The FOX 9 Investigators revealed last May that Amir Meshal was attempting to get his Class A license from a Twin Cities truck driving school. The $4,000 tuition was paid for through the state workforce program

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety confirms he was granted the license after passing a road test on August 8. A spokesperson said Meshal has also applied for a school bus endorsement, pending the outcome of a criminal background check.

In May 2014, Meshal was removed and trespassed from a Bloomington, Minn. mosque, Al Farooq, after he was suspected of radicalizing young people who would later travel to Syria. According to the police report, religious leaders said, “We have concerns about Meshal interacting with our youth.”  Meshal had previously been asked to leave an Eden Prairie, Minn. mosque for similar reasons.

The ACLU recently sued TSA and Homeland Security to have Meshal removed from the “No Fly” list.  But Homeland Security responded in a letter obtained by the FOX 9 Investigators that Meshal, “..may be a threat to civil aviation or national security,” adding that, “It has been determined that you (Amir Meshal) are an individual who represents a threat of engaging in or conducting a violent act of terrorism and who is operationally capable of doing so.”

In 2007, Meshal, a U.S. citizen of Egyptian descent, was arrested in Kenya by the FBI, suspected of leaving a terror training camp in Somalia. Meshal, via the ACLU, is also suing the U.S. government for detaining him overseas for three months. In the lawsuit, Meshal claims the FBI tried to convince him to become an informant -- an offer he says he declined.

The FOX 9 Investigators asked the Minnesota Department of Public Safety why they issued a Class A license for someone who Homeland Security believes has the “operational capacity” to carry out a terror attack. We have not heard back.

Statement from Hina Shamsi, ACLU attorney representing Amir Meshal

"Mr. Meshal has never been charged with a crime and has sued the government to obtain a fair process to challenge his wrongful inclusion on the No Fly List.  Like many other unemployed Americans, he’s trying to obtain credentials for a job so he can build a life for his family, including a baby.  Any suggestion that Mr. Meshal’s efforts to get a job somehow present a concern is shameful. On Mr. Meshal’s cases: his unlawful rendition and detention case is on appeal. The latest in the No Fly List case is described here."

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Posted on 08/29/2015 2:33 PM by John Constantine
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Saturday, 29 August 2015
Pakistan: Father, Uncle Throw Acid on Girl for Wanting to Marry the Man of Her Choice
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This is coming to a neighborhood near you unless we can defeat this virulent strain of Islam. What kind of warped monsters are capable of doing this to their own daughters? Islam is a religion of oppression, horror, torture and destruction. Forget that lie about Islam being a religion of peace. From the Pakistani paper, Dawn:

VEHARI: A girl suffered serious burn wounds on Thursday when her father and an uncle threw acid on her in Chak 56-K/B, Ludden, some 40kms from here.

Reports said that Rabia Bibi, with 70 per cent burns, was shifted to Nishtar Hospital in Multan in a critical condition.

Rabia had contracted marriage with her cousin Nazakat. After getting divorce from him, she eloped with another cousin, Jaffar. She returned home after a panchayat assured her that she would be married.

According to panchayat’s decision, Rabia was to tie the knot with Jaffar, but her father Shaukat and uncle Riaz were not agreed on it.

On Thursday, they threw acid on Rabia and informed police that Jaffar and his accomplices had committed the crime.

The Luddan police took Jaffar into custody, bur after investigation arrested Riaz who confessed to having committed the crime. Later, police also arrested Shaukat. A case has been registered against both accused under Section 336 B and 7-ATA.

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Posted on 08/29/2015 2:18 PM by John Constantine
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Saturday, 29 August 2015
Police arrest Erawan bomb suspect
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From the Bangkok Post

Thai police have arrested a young man in connection with the Erawan shrine bombing. He reportedly holds a Turkish passport although it could very well be fake. According to the report, Thai police raided an apartment on Soi Chueam Samphan 11 in Bangkok's Nong Chok district about two o'clock this afternoon, arresting its occupant. The reports also say bomb-making equipment was found, including ball-bearings very similar to those used in the Erawan shrine bombing. ..national police chief Somyot Poompanmoung said plainclothes police were instrumental in tracking down the suspect and that others were involved in the plot, possibly some Thais.

Voice of America reporter Steve Herman has tweeted that police informed him that the suspect is 28 years old and is apparently from Istanbul. 

Photos said to be of the suspect's passport are being shared through the social media and some are saying that it is clearly a fake. Even the capital "Istanbul" is spelled incorrectly in Turkish, sources say. Thai PBS reports that other passports were also found and the suspect had rented several rooms in the apartment. (Update: Thai police are now confirming the passport was forged.)

The PBS has just reported (5:30pm) that the suspect has been taken away from apartment and will undergoing intensive questioning. His nationality has not been confirmed.

Police have scheduled a press conference for 6pm.

6pm update In a surprisingly short (3-minute) statement, Police spokesman Pol Lt Gen-Prawut Thavornsiri confirmed that a foreign national of unspecified nationality has been taken into custody and is believed to be involved in both the Erawan shrine bombing and the Sathorn pier bombing. Pol Lt-Gen Prawut also showed photos of various bomb-making materials found in the apartment, including detonaters and a steel pipe. The man, the police say, may not have planted the bombs, but he is part of the network that carried out the operation.

Post Today reports tonight that five rooms were rented out in the apartment under the name AHEMET MEHMMET EMIN AYSE. Police have released more photos of materials found in the apartment and they do look suspicious suspicious indeed. It seems quite possible that members of the group involved were planning more attacks.

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Posted on 08/29/2015 11:49 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Saturday, 29 August 2015
No Refugee Resettlement Without Local Okay - Petition
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Posted on 08/29/2015 8:59 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Saturday, 29 August 2015
Sunday August 30, 2015 Find out Why Americans are United Against Iran Deal on Lisa Benson Show 4pm EDT
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Find out why Americans polled overwhelming  urge Congress  to reject the Iran Nuclear deal 2 to 1 by listening  to The Lisa Benson Radio Show  on KKNT960AM The Patriot August 30, 2015 4pm EDT, 3pm CDT, 2PM MD, IPM PDT and 11PM in Israel

Our Guests on this important broadcast are:

Congressman  Trent Franks (R-AZ), Chairman of the bi-partisan Congressional Israel Allies Caucus

Dr. Charles Jacobs of American for Peace and Tolerance, Committee Chair of the bi-partisan Boston Stop Iran Now Rally!

Mr. Barry Nussbaum Committee Chairman  of the bi-partisan  March to Save America!, Washington, DC, September 9, 2015

Listen live to the Lisa Benson Radio Show for National Security on KKNT 960The Patriot.

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Posted on 08/29/2015 6:20 AM by Jerry Gordon
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Friday, 28 August 2015
An Iraqi Priest Describes the Christian Genocide – There Is No Such Thing As Moderate Islam
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There are many people who keep on telling us that ISIS has nothing to do with Mohammedanism. That is a lie and they make that statement with no evidence to support their untruthful utterance. In actual fact, all the evidence without exception – let me repeat that with greater emphasis on one word: ALL the evidence without exception – firmly and beyond doubt proves that ISIS is a perfectly valid expression of Mohammedan beliefs.

That means that life for those non-Mohammedans caught up in the vomit-inducing barbarity of ISIS is usually painful and often brutally short. Below I quote from an Iraqi Roman Catholic Priest’s impassioned speech to The Meeting for friendship among peoples (known as the Meeting in Rimini) held, as usual, at Rimini in Italy this August and organised, as usual, by the lay Catholic movement Communion and Liberation (Comunione e Liberazione).

THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS MODERATE ISLAM

Father Douglas al Bazi Recounts the Christian Genocide in Iraq

“Please, if there’s anyone who still thinks ISIS doesn’t represent Islam, know that they are wrong. ISIS represents Islam one hundred percent.” Father Douglas al Bazi, an Iraqi Catholic parish priest in Erbil, raised his voice during an intervention at the Meeting in Rimini, with a choice of words – in a provocative way and in hard tones –  that few had ventured use so far.

He carries on his own body the scars of the torture he underwent nine years ago, when a band of Jihadists kidnapped him for nine days, keeping him in chains and blindfolds along with a broken nose from being kneed: “For the first four days they didn’t even give me anything to drink. They would walk past me saying ‘Father, do you want some water?’ All day long they would listen to the reading of the Koran to let the neighbours hear what good believers they were.”

Soft diplomatic language and fashionable respectability which is used to avoid clashing with various sensibilities, are not for Father Douglas. No room in his words either, for the debates on the more or less high level of moderation inherent in religions. The same goes for appeals to dialogue at all costs with the decapitators and hangmen of old, retired scholars and - even with the caliph himself. Father Douglas’s intervention is not very much in line with some western social and cultural debaters and ‘preachers’ but more along the lines of the local Bishops, such as the Patriarch of Baghdad, mar Louis Raphaël I Sako, who, in his book “Stronger than Terror” (Emi) accused the Ayatollah al Sistani, the highest authority of the Iraqi Shiites, of having remained silent regarding the Jihadists’ persecutions against minorities because “they won’t listen to me anyway”.

Father Douglas Al Bazi is in charge of two refugee shelters for Christians who survived the advance of the black horde - not far from Ankawa. After the marking of houses with the “n” of the Nazarene plus the Christians displaced on the Nineveh plain, a year ago, “from morning to night we receive thousands of refugees” and the exodus continues. “I’m proud to be an Iraqi, I love my country. But my country is not proud that I’m part of it. What is happening to my people is nothing other than genocide. I beg you: do not call it a conflict. It’s genocide”, said the priest, who doesn’t want to hear anything about “moderate Islam”: “When Islam lives amidst you, the situation might appear acceptable. But when one lives amidst Muslims, everything becomes impossible. I’m not here to instigate you to hate Islam. I was born amid Muslims and I have more friends among them than I have with Christians. But people change and if we go to my country, no-one will be able to distinguish the light from the darkness. There are those who say: “but I have lots of Muslim friends who are very nice”. Yes, certainly! They are nice over here! Over there the situation is very different!”

[...]

“I believe in the end they will destroy us”

Father al Bazi’s account is of one who runs the risk of being murdered on the street every day: We never know if coming out of the church we’ll be able to go into it again alive. In Baghdad they had the church explode right in front of me. They shot me on the legs with a AK-47, a type of Kalashnikov, and probably sooner or later they’ll kill me”. Yet his faith is solid: “When they put me in chains, during my kidnapping, they tightened a big padlock on my wrists. On the chain there were ten extra rings, which I used to recite the Rosary. I have never prayed it so earnestly as I did in that situation”. “I – added Father Douglas – don’t implore your help. I’m not frightened just as my people aren’t frightened either. I believe they’ll destroy us in the end. But I also believe that we will have the last word. Jesus told us that we need to carry our own crosses, and that is what we in the Middle East are doing. Yet the most important thing is not the carrying of the cross, but following it. And following it means accepting, challenging and committing oneself right to the very end”.

“We need to have patience and carry the cross each day, but we also must react”, said Father Ibrahim Alsabagh, parish priest in Aleppo, echoing him, and reported how the city is now “divided in tens of parts, each one of them in the hands of a different group of Jihadists. Our Church of St. Francis is sixty metres from the firing line. They have already hit many churches, we don’t know when it will be our turn”. Here is why Father Douglas, at the end of his intervention, launched a warning to the feeble West:

“Wake up! The cancer is at your door. They will destroy you. We, the Christians of the Middle East are the only group that has seen the face of evil: Islam”.

(The above is quoted from Rorate Caeli.)

There I must disagree with Father al Bazi. Once, all Christians knew that Mohammedanism, that we are now supposed to call ‘Islam’ because that’s what the Mohammedans want, was and is the face of evil. I have written elsewhere and often at NER about how Christians from the very first recognised Mohammedanism for the pernicious evil that it actually was and is. Today, there are good Christians who fail to recognise evil, who tell us that evil per se doesn’t actually exist, that the concept of evil is just an unhelpful construct that leads to the blaming of individuals for their actions, when their actions were more than likely driven by more rationally comprehensible and scientifically psychological reasons. For those Christians, and for many other people, there is no such thing as evil, there are just different motivations for actions and those motivations have to be understood along with the actor.

Well, that’s just rubbish, complete drivel. The idea that the jihadists of Mohammedanism and the believers in that vile, corrupt and filthy system of beliefs are not intrinsically evil is just ridiculous in the extreme. They live in the same world that I do: a world in which every other religion and secular group (the vast majority of the world’s population in other words) preaches kindness, co-operation, toleration and love, freedom and democracy (albeit the practice of these concepts is imperfect) and yet they choose, yes, they choose, knowing the alternatives, to follow the ugly, evil and irrational dictates of Mohammedanism, a creed that stands for not one virtue, for not one positive aspect of mankind. That choice, the rejection of all that is good, demonstrates the existence of evil far more clearly than any words of mine could ever do.

The next time that somebody lies to you and tells you that ISIS has nothing to do with Mohammedanism send them a link to this article and challenge them to reply to Father Douglas al Bazi!

 

 

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Posted on 08/28/2015 8:10 PM by John M. Joyce
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Friday, 28 August 2015
Sklaroff and Bender: The Senate Must Sue Obama to Block the Iran TREATY
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President Obama at American University

August 5, 2015

When we published "How Best to Overturn the Iran Nuclear Pact" in the August 2015 New English Review, we reviewed several options. One proposal suggested by Dr. Robert B. Skalorff entailed direct litigation by Congress before the Supreme Court under provisions of the US Constitution seeking a ruling  treating   the Iran nuclear pact as a  treaty requiring  advise and consent of the Senate . We  wrote:

That proposal entailed independent Congressional litigation on demonstrable Constitutional legal grounds regarding executive overreach. If the Senate was granted standing on direct appeal, based on the B. Altman SCOTUS ruling, it might result in a predisposed SCOTUS rendering a positive ruling thus quashing the Iran nuclear pact. Further, the ruling might unfetter the hands of any successor to President Obama on inauguration day in 2017 to undertake remedial actions. Such actions might reduce the current existential threats to both the US and Israel.

In furtherance of that original proposal we are publishing  the following article by Dr. Robert A. Sklaroff and Lee S. Bender, Esq. which expands upon the original concept noting support from  Constitutional law experts and applicable case citations.

The Senate Must Sue Obama to Block the Iran TREATY

By Robert B. Sklaroff, M.D. and Lee S. Bender, Esq.

When Congress returns from recess after Labor Day, one of the most pressing issues on the agenda is the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known commonly as “the Iran deal.” Much has been discovered since the Corker-Cardin-Menendez bill was enacted, including the White House’s and State Department’s deceit which influenced the Senate to abandon its constitutionally-provided role regarding treaties.

Now it might take a lawsuit spearheaded by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to reverse not only the damage to the Constitution but also potential damage to America and our allies as a result of the provisions of the Iran nuclear-deal.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has overwhelming justification to sue President Obama over the JCPOA which constitutes a treaty and thereby must be ratified by a 2/3-vote of those present prior to implementation.

Such a suit could ultimately prompt the Supreme Court to disclaim Obama’s portrayal of this document as an Executive Agreement. It could also sustain the overwhelming will of the American people–according to polling data—to trash this “legacy” effort, for reasons that have been exhaustively detailed.

Blocking implementation of the Iran nuclear-deal would thereby necessitate the legislative branch triggering a confrontation between the judicial and the executive branches.

Two essays {authored by RBS} published in The Hill explored the legalities of this initiative, focused on its “treaty” [July 29] and “rule-of-law” [August 25] components.

In the interim [USA Today, August 5], Professor Alan Dershowitz recognized that a Supreme Court opinion challenged the President’s power to enter into long-term deals with foreign powers without the consent of Congress. He cannot avoid Congressional oversight by simply declaring an important deal with foreign powers to be an executive agreement rather than a treaty [Gibbons v. Ogden]:  “[G]eneral and permanent commercial regulations with foreign powers must be made by treaty, but…the particular and temporary regulations of commerce may be made by an agreement of a state with another, or with a foreign power, by the consent of Congress.” 

Two other authors, legal-authority Andrew C. McCarthy [National Review Online, July 17] and accomplished-author Caroline B. Glick [Jerusalem Post, July 21] also claimed the deal is a treaty, but none of these columnists proposed a remedy that would force a clash with this out-of-control Obama Administration. Jerry Gordon has detailed, comprehensively, “How Best to Overturn the Iran Nuclear Pact” [New English Review, August 2015].

The drip-drip-drip of news about details of the deal as well as “secret” side arrangements that has emerged this summer congeals into two major rationales for such litigation, addressing both specifics and lack of transparency. Specifically, multiple side-deals between Iran and the IAEA satirize the concept of “anytime, anywhere surveillance” but, perhaps more important, Obama and his cabinet-members “inexplicably” failed to reveal this information to Congress as secrets.  Moreover, the Administration also misled Congress and the American public about the nature of the deal and the resulting preservation of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure and right to continue advanced research that will provide it with a bomb when the pact expires in a mere decade to 15 years.

The “legislative intent” of the Corker-Cardin Bill (Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015) was focused exclusively on Iran’s nuclear program, contrasting with the final pact the Administration concluded that was expanded to allow lifting of conventional-weapon sanctions. Iran sought—and was granted—this specific concession at the very end of the negotiations.  This was outside what the Administration had originally advised Congress about the parameters of this deal, focused on nuclear-weapons capability and not conventional weapons (or ICBMs). Thus, the final version of the Iran nuclear-deal encompassed issues, such as weaponization, that the Administration did not disclose to Congress before it debated and passed the Corker-Cardin Bill.

(Other facets of the negotiation were also misrepresented by the Obama Administration prior to when Kerry inked the deal. For example, although release of American prisoners was not ultimately achieved, Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on  January 21, 2015 that the Administration’s negotiators “continue to insist” that Americans held in detention be released.)

This pattern of deception started before the Corker-Cardin Bill was passed in May. It was even maintained by Iran when the Tasmin News agency reported [June 15] “Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani reiterated that negotiations between Tehran and six major world powers solely focus on nuclear topics, dismissing any talk of military subjects in the talks.” And, reflecting the persistence of the deception,  it was manifest one week prior to when the deal was signed [July 14] during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing via testimony from Defense Secretary Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Dempsey that the arms embargo, pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1929, was not to be lifted [July 7].

Thus, overall, absent the ability to review all relevant data, the Senate (1)—cannot render an informed judgment, consistent with its “advise/consent” role, and (2)—cannot be viewed to be facing a 60-day deadline, for the Corker-Cardin Bill mandates that this “clock” start “ticking” only after the database has been completed.

Refusal to provide copies of side-agreements to Congress continues unabated, as per testimony on August 5 by chief-negotiator Wendy Sherman and IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano. We now know why normally-sedate Senator Corker exploded ("We cannot get him to even confirm that we will have physical access inside of Parchin") because such inspections have been serially outsourced by Obama to the IAEA and then, we learned more recently, by the IAEA to Iran.

The “toughest inspections-regime in history” forces America (and the world) to allow Iran to provide proof that Iran is not making nukes in Iran.

Perhaps more ominous is the dismissive posture adopted by Secretary of State Kerry [July 28] when confronted by Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing. The innocent hypothetical was unambiguous:  Would he “follow the law” governing existing congressional sanctions if Congress voted to override a veto? The elitist reply challenged rule-of-law:  “I can’t begin to answer that at this point without consulting with the President and determining what the circumstances are.”

Could BHO go rogue?

The ability of the Supreme Court to exercise “judicial review” is rooted in the Supremacy Clause, was affirmed in 1803 [Marbury v. Madison], and has never been tested again to this day.

But, because the Supreme Court does not command any enforcement-military, the remedy for potential lawlessness is unclear. Indeed, this concern would extend to any nullification effort by the President related to the prospect that the Supreme Court would declare the Iran-Nuclear Deal to be a “treaty” rather than the “executive agreement” the President has potentially improperly considered it to be, to skirt congressional oversight and approval.

These concerns were predicted [May 7] and corroborated [July 23] in essays that presage the current crisis [by RBS, both published in The American Thinker]. They were confirmed in an e-mail exchange by noted constitutional scholar, Dr. John C. Eastman [the Henry Salvatori Professor of Law & Community Service at the Dale E. Fowler School of Law at Chapman University and Founding Director of The Claremont Institute's Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence]:First, because only a ‘treaty’ is the Supreme law of the land, a mere executive agreement could not overturn statutorily-imposed sanctions.” Eastman continued in an e-mail, “And neither, in my view, could a change in the constitutionally-mandated default rule for adopting a treaty.  Second, if that is true, then members of the Senate who, collectively, had the votes to prevent ratification of a treaty would have standing to challenge the process that negated their vote.  That’s the Coleman v. Miller case on all fours.” This 1939 landmark decision ensured that Congress was empowered to specify a deadline by which an external entity was to affirm proposed legislation, such as a Constitutional amendment.

The Ottoman-Islamic defeat at the “Gates of Vienna” in 1683 is on the verge of being reversed by Obama/Kerry and their P5+1 partners, again in Vienna; the irony is that the West is validating Iranian-Islamic supremacism. It seems only the U.S. Senate can rescue (Judeo-Christian) Western Civilization from the Administration’s collaboration and perfidy.

The Senate must definitively impose a limit to the President’s executive lawlessness before a constitutional crisis erupts. Resolution by the courts may be the most effective way to check and to balance the scales that Obama has usurped.

Robert B. Sklaroff, M.D. is a physician-activist and may be contacted at [email protected].  Lee S. Bender, Esquire, is an attorney, activist and co-author of the book, “Pressing Israel: Media Bias Exposed From A-Z.”

 

 

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Posted on 08/28/2015 5:12 PM by Robert B. Sklaroff and Lee S. Bender
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Friday, 28 August 2015
Why We Love Falstaff
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Perfection is not of this world, and indeed we have difficulty even in conceiving of what it could be. We suspect that it might be boring and therefore, paradoxically, imperfect. Our natures are contradictory; we desire incompatible things and pursue incompatible ends, often at the same time; and we sometimes secretly love what we disapprove of or hate. Universal agreement and goodwill, if possible, would be tedious to us because we know that malice has its rewards. As William Hazlitt put it in “On the Pleasure of Hating”: “Without something to hate, we should lose the very spring of thought and action. Life would turn to a stagnant pool, were it not ruffled by the jarring interests, the unruly passions, of men.” And while a detective certainly wants to catch criminals, he does not want there to be no criminals, for he enjoys his work and desires it to continue.

In like fashion, I spent many years tending in hospital and prison to the victims and perpetrators of human weakness, folly, or wickedness. It goes without saying that the weak and foolish, far more than the wicked, were frequently their own victims, and that they exasperated me by their refusal to see or act upon the most evident common sense. But I had to admit, when I thought about it, that they had enriched my life enormously, the weak, the foolish, and the wicked, and that in my heart of hearts I wanted weakness, folly, and wickedness, if not to flourish or grow greater, exactly, at least not to disappear (not that there seemed much prospect of that). And in the back of my mind always ran the great anti-perfectionist utterance of Sir John Falstaff, Shakespeare’s indelible comic character, in Part 1 of Henry IV: “Banish plump Jack, and banish all the world.” A world of perfect sense and good behavior would be well-nigh intolerable: we need Falstaffs, even if we are not Falstaffian ourselves.

If we were to describe a man as deceitful, drunken, cowardly, dishonest, boastful, unscrupulous, gluttonous, vainglorious, lazy, avaricious, and selfish, we should hardly leave room in him for good qualities. No one would take it as a compliment to be described in this way, and we would avoid a person described in such a fashion. Falstaff was all those things, but probably no character in all literature is better loved. Only Don Quixote can compete; and our love of Falstaff is not despite his roguery but because of it. Certainly we would rather spend an evening in his company than with the totally upright Lord Chief Justice of Part 2 of Henry IV. A world of such rectitude, in which everyone had the justice’s probity, would be better, no doubt: but it would not be much fun.

But there is everything in the fat old knight to repel us also: he is almost certainly dirty, and, as a doctor, I would not have looked forward to performing a physical examination on him. He is so fat that the slightest physical effort causes him to exude greasy sweat. As Prince Hal says, he “lards the lean earth as he walks along.” To enjoy Falstaff, you have to be in a tavern; but the world, for most people, cannot be a giant tavern, and outside that setting, Falstaff is distinctly less amusing.

The eighteenth-century economist and essayist Corbyn Morris said of Falstaff that for the sake of wit, we forgive him his cowardice, and indeed we are fond of his cowardice because it is the occasion of so much of his wit:

It is impossible to hate honest Jack Falstaff. . . . [Y]ou cannot but love him for his own talents. . . . He has nothing to disgust you, and everything to give you joy. . . . This jovial and gay humour, without anything envious, malicious, mischievous, or despicable, and continually quickened and adorned with wit, yields that peculiar delight, without any alloy, which we all feel and acknowledge in Falstaff’s company.

But this is quite wrong. Doctor Johnson, who was certainly no enemy to taverns, was much nearer the mark in his preface to Henry IV:

He is a thief, and a glutton, a coward, and a boaster, always ready to cheat the weak, and prey upon the poor; to terrify the timorous and insult the defenceless. At once obsequious and malignant, he satirises in their absence those whom he lives by flattering. He is familiar with the prince only as an agent of vice, but of this familiarity he is so proud as not only to be supercilious and haughty with common men, but to think his interest of importance to the duke of Lancaster.

Doctor Johnson’s Falstaff is not just an irresponsible man of innocent fun, therefore; and Johnson is right. Falstaff’s vices are not minor, unless armed robbery be discounted as minor; and his jollity is mixed with an unpleasant propensity to bully underlings such as the serving staff of the tavern in Eastcheap. Prince Hal draws attention to this early in Part 1 of Henry IV, contrasting his own politeness toward them with the fat knight’s imperiousness: “Though I be but Prince of Wales, yet I am the king of courtesy, and [the serving staff] tell me flatly I am no proud Jack like Falstaff.”

When Falstaff toward the end of Part 2 of Henry IV learns from Pistol that the old king is dead and that Prince Hal has succeeded him, he immediately sees his opportunity for the unmerited advancement not only of himself but of his cronies. He knows the worthlessness of the rural magistrate, Robert Shallow, and of the ensign, Pistol, only too well; yet he says: “Master Robert Shallow, choose what office thou wilt in the land, ’tis thine. Pistol, I will double charge thee with dignities.” He gives not a moment’s thought—he is temperamentally incapable of doing so—to the consequences of treating public office as a means only of living perpetually at other people’s expense.

Again, when given the task of raising foot soldiers, Falstaff has no compunction in selling exemptions from service and appropriating to himself the money for arms and equipment, leaving his soldiers ill prepared for the battle and with, as he says, “not a shirt and a half” between them: “I have led my ragamuffins where they are peppered [with shot]. There’s not three of my hundred and fifty left alive.” Falstaff sheds not even a crocodile tear for his lost men; their fate simply does not interest him, once they have served his turn and he has made his profit from having recruited them. Even Doctor Johnson is too indulgent when he says: “It must be observed that he is stained with no enormous or sanguinary crimes, so that his licentiousness is not so offensive but that it may be borne for his mirth.” True, he is not sanguinary as a sadist is sanguinary; but depriving 150 men of the means to fight before a battle that ends in their deaths is no mere peccadillo, either.

Why, then, do we forgive and even still love him? If he had been thin, we might have been much less accommodating of his undoubted vices (Hazlitt, in his essay on Falstaff, emphasized the importance of his fatness). At a time when to be a “stuffed cloak-bag of guts,” as Prince Hal calls him, was unusual and most men were, of necessity, thin, Falstaff’s immense size was a metonym for jollity and good cheer—as fatness still is with Santa Claus. It would not have made sense for Julius Caesar, after noting that “Yon Cassius has a lean and hungry look,” to say that such men are well contented. And had Falstaff been slender, he would not have been what Johnson called him, “the prince of perpetual gaiety.”

Falstaff appeals to us because he holds up a distorting mirror to our weaknesses and makes us laugh at them. Falstaff’s dream is that of half of humanity: of luxurious ease and continual pleasure, untroubled by the necessity to work or to do those things that he would rather not do (Falstaff will do anything for money except work for it). There is luxury in time as well as in material possessions, and no figure lives in greater temporal luxury than Falstaff, to whom the concept of punctuality or a timetable would be anathema. Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was—or rather, appeared to be—a kind of Falstaff figure, admired by many, though eventually detested by even more, who seemed to lead an effortless life of merrymaking and who was unafraid of the world’s censure. He was therefore able to say heartless but witty things that the rest of us, cowed by the moral disapproval of others, laughed at under our breaths but would not dare to say ourselves.

Falstaff is not only the prince of perpetual gaiety but the prince of perpetual rationalization and self-exculpation. He has the extraordinary capacity to say what he knows to be untrue and to argue convincingly in favor of it whenever it is in his interest: a capacity that we all possess, to a certain extent, and of which we all sometimes make use. The more preposterous the thing argued for by Falstaff, the more we delight in it: our own dishonesty is held up to us, not as Puritans might hold it up—for uncompromising condemnation—but as comedy, as an inevitable part of the human condition. Falstaff both has self-knowledge and denies it, the condition of us all.

Some of his rationalizations have particular resonance for me because I heard them a thousand times from my patients (I would not stoop to such rationalizations, of course). In the first scene in which he appears, Falstaff accuses Hal of corrupting him, though he is three or four times Hal’s age: “Before I knew thee, Hal, I knew nothing, and now am I, if a man should speak truly, little better than one of the wicked.” Later, he says: “Company, villainous company, hath been the spoil of me.”

We laugh because it is so absurd. But in the prison where I worked as a doctor, practically every heroin-addicted prisoner whom I asked for the reason that he started to take the drug replied: “I fell in with the wrong crowd.” They said this with every appearance of sincerity, but at the same time they knew it to be nonsense: for if they had not, they would not have laughed when I said to them how strange it was that, though I had met many who had fallen in with the wrong crowd, I had never met any member of the wrong crowd itself.

By the use of the words “little better than” in “now am I . . . little better than one of the wicked,” Falstaff extenuates himself: for the words “now am I one of the wicked” would have a very different meaning. By such tiny verbal evasions do we all minimize our faults and our wrongdoing: we are one with Falstaff.

In the scene in which Falstaff first accuses Hal of corrupting him, Falstaff insincerely promises to change, from which promise Hal distracts him immediately by asking where they shall commit their next robbery. Falstaff responds enthusiastically, and Hal says: “I see a good amendment of life in thee: from praying to purse-taking.” To which Falstaff replies: “Why Hal, ’tis my vocation, Hal. ’Tis no sin for a man to labor at his vocation.”

More than 400 years later, I asked a burglar whether he intended to give it up. “How can I?” he replied. “I’m a burglar. Burglary’s what I do.”

Like all—or at least many—of us, and certainly like almost all of the prisoners, Falstaff is angered by the just appreciation of his character, precisely because it is just. When he asks his page, just before going to the wars, what the cloth-merchant, Dommelton, said about the satin that he has ordered from him for a cloak and breeches, the page replies: “He said, sir, you should procure him better assurance than Bardolph [Falstaff’s drunken associate in crime and revels]; he would not take his bond and yours; he liked not the security.” Falstaff, who must be aware that he has never paid a debt in his life, and indeed would regard it as infra dig to do so, reacts with outrage and fury, which—such being the capacity of the human mind to think in two ways at once—is both real and bogus.

Let him be damned like the glutton! . . . I had as lief they would put ratsbane in my mouth as offer to stop it with security. I looked a’ [he] should have sent me two and twenty yards of satin, as I am a true knight, and he sends me security.

As many people do when confounded by those to whom they think themselves superior, Falstaff, in his impotence and rage, insults Dommelton and wishes him ill, in the same way that Malvolio, in Twelfth Night, retreats after his final humiliation with the words “I will be revenged on the whole pack of you!” Well, says Falstaff of Dommelton, “he may sleep in security; for he hath the horn of abundance, and the lightness of his wife shines through it: and yet cannot he see, though he have his own lanthorn to light him.” (In other words, though he is rich, he is cuckolded; therefore, he is dishonored by a cuckold’s horns.)

Falstaff is outraged that a mere merchant—and one supposedly dishonored by cuckoldry, at that—should impugn his honor, though his repudiation of honor as an ideal is expressed in one of his most famous speeches. Just before the Battle of Shrewsbury, he tells himself:

Can honor set to a leg? No. Or an arm? No. Or take away the grief of a wound? No. Honor hath no skill in surgery then? No. What is honor? A word. What is that word honor? Air. A trim reckoning! Who hath it? He that died o’ Wednesday. Doth he feel it? No. Doth he hear it? No. ’Tis insensible then? Yea, to the dead. But will it not live with the living? No. Why? Detraction will not suffer it. Therefore I’ll none of it. Honor is a mere scutcheon, and so ends my catechism.

It is obvious that no virtue or ideal could resist Falstaff’s reasoning: but it is the reasoning that we are all tempted to use when it suits us. A man may never give a moment’s attention to the metaphysical problems of moral philosophy, but as soon as he finds himself accused of bad conduct, he turns moral philosopher and questions the foundations of moral judgment.

Prince of perpetual gaiety Falstaff may be, but prince of perpetual untruth he is also (the two aspects are intimately connected, as if truth inevitably leads to sorrow). Lies come naturally to his lips, and when found out, he immediately thinks of a plausible explanation for them. Though he shows genius in this, it is of all the forms of human genius the most widely distributed, for even the most unimaginative man can usually find an ingenious excuse for himself.

When Prince Hal exposes Falstaff’s lies after the robbery on Gad’s Hill, after which Prince Hal and Poins, disguised, robbed the robbers of their booty without so much as an exchange of blows, Falstaff changes his story and says, in the blink of an eye, that he knew all along that he was being attacked by Hal:

By the Lord, I knew ye as well as he that made ye. Why, hear you, my masters. Was it for me to kill the heir-apparent? Should I turn upon the true prince?

Falstaff’s cowardice, then, was loyalty.

During the Battle of Shrewsbury, Falstaff feigns death rather than continue a fight with the opposing Douglas. He lies down where Harry Hotspur is killed in combat with Hal. Hal then sees what he supposes is Falstaff’s corpse nearby, pronouncing a moving farewell speech:

Poor Jack, farewell!
I could have better spared a better man.

When Hal has left the scene, Falstaff rises and stabs the corpse of Hotspur (a supremely unchivalrous thing to do), preparatory to telling Hal later that Hotspur also rose from the apparently dead and that he and Falstaff fought a battle in which Falstaff killed Hotspur, this time for good. The cowardly Falstaff thus makes himself out to have been the hero of the day, and it is impossible not merely to be amused, but also captivated, by his effrontery.

But habitual liars end up by deluding themselves, perhaps because in the end they do not believe that there is a difference between truth and falsehood, appearance and reality. When Hal ascends to the throne, Falstaff hurries to the coronation with Shallow, the Gloucestershire magistrate and landowner, believing that his friendship with the madcap prince will bring him untold advancement and permit him to repay the thousand pounds (an immense sum) he has borrowed from Shallow on expectations of such advancement. He accosts Henry V, as he now is: “My king! My jove! I speak to thee, my heart!” The former Prince Hal turns to him and, with words of crushing finality, replies:

I know thee not, old man: fall to thy prayers;
How ill white hairs
become a fool and jester!

In fact, Falstaff has mistaken Hal from the first; the prince has played along with him and his companions but also kept a psychological distance from them, a fine example of the human mind’s ability to play two roles simultaneously. In his soliloquy early in the play, Hal says:

I know you all, and will awhile uphold
The unyok’d humor of your idleness. . . .
So when this loose behavior I throw off,
And pay the debt I never promised,
By how much better than my word I am,
By so much shall I falsify men’s hopes.

When Henry V utters his dismissal of Falstaff that we all know to be absolute and final, we are seized by melancholy for the old man, but he bounces back by means of cheerful rationalization. He tells Shallow:

Do not you grieve at this: I shall be sent for in private to him. Look you, he must seem thus to the world. Fear not your advancements; I will be the man yet that shall make you great.

We know this is pure illusion, which Falstaff knows is not true and yet half-believes at the same time; but we also know Falstaff well enough by now that when his untruth and illusion are exposed, he will, with his infinite capacity to invent, find another illusion to compensate. The Haitian peasants say, “Behind mountains, more mountains”; with Falstaff, it is “Behind illusions, more illusions.” And is this not a very human thing?

Falstaff does not appear in Henry V, as promised in the epilogue of Part 2 of Henry IV. In the later play, Mistress Quickly instead describes Falstaff’s death in her inn. For doctors, this passage is one of astonishing clinical accuracy; it is also deeply moving. Mistress Quickly, who (as we say in England) is no better than she should be, and who misuses words atrociously, shows herself a woman of true feeling:

’A made a finer end than any christom child; ’a parted even just between twelve and one, even at the turning o’ the tide: for after I saw him fumble with sheets and play with flowers and smile upon his fingers’ ends, I knew there was but one way; for his nose was as sharp as a pen, and ’a babbled of green fields. “How now, Sir John,” quoth I, “what, man! Be o’ good cheer.” So ’a cried out “God! God! God!” three or four times. Now I, to comfort him, bid him ’a should not think of God. I hoped there was no need to trouble himself with such thoughts yet.

Falstaff, then, very nearly dies with pleasant illusions; and Mistress Quickly speaks words that represent the triumph of life, kindness, and comfort over doctrine. According to doctrine, a man should always turn his thoughts to God, and not wait to his last moment on his deathbed; but who cannot warm to Mistress Quickly’s generous desire “to comfort him”?

Falstaff in the abstract is abominable: a thief, a coward, a liar, a poltroon, an eternal sponger, and a parasite. We should hate and despise him, but we love him. He enriches our life. Reflection on this paradox by itself can preserve us from what George Orwell, in his essay on Dickens, called the smelly little orthodoxies that are now contending for our souls. To hate Falstaff is to hate humanity (to “banish all the world”), for there is some of Falstaff in all of us.

First published in City Journal.

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Posted on 08/28/2015 7:48 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
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Friday, 28 August 2015
The Senate Should Vote on the Real Iran
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The immortal Marx -- Groucho not Karl -- was in Tehran, Iran on August 23, 2015 when he heard the Foreign Minister of Iran Mohammed Javed Zarif say to British Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond, “Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?”  Members of the United States Senate presently discussing the nuclear plan should take note, and vote accordingly.

Hammond was visiting the Iranian capital to reopen the British embassy that had been closed in November 2011 after it had been attacked and ransacked by a mob of protestors throwing stones and gas bombs, and burning documents as the result of financial sanctions being imposed on Iran. In the atmosphere generated by the moderate rhetoric of President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif and the enticing propaganda of Iranian public relations, Hammond, in similar fashion to Secretary of State John Kerry, eagerly accepted the view that Iran could be a cooperative state and had the capability to play a more positive role across the region of the Middle East.

The leaders of Britain and the United States have accepted the Iranian assertion that it is willing to open a new chapter in relations with the West. They hold that it is not possible to influence certain aspects of the behavior of Iran, such as violations of human rights, restraints on free speech, violence, abductions, stoning of women and homosexuals, persecution of minorities, assassinations, explosions of the property of critics, their actions in Syria or their financial and logistical support for terrorist organizations throughout the Middle East, unless there is a dialogue with Iran.

Western leaders have the naïve belief that they have identified some of the misunderstandings of the different positions of Iran and the West. They appear to be ignorant of the countless public commentaries, books, articles, and television programs that have made very clear what the positions and policies of Iran are and have been since the Islamic Republic was established in 1979.

Even Groucho might have been astonished to hear Hammond declare that many people in western countries had an incorrect image of Iran as “a desperately, theocratic, deeply religious society motivated by ideology.” On the contrary, Hammond saw Tehran as a perfectly normal, bustling, dynamic, entrepreneurial, thrusting, middle-income developing city that has enormous potential. Iran for the British leader was not a regimented, disciplined society with a population cowed by authority. He detected a change in the approach, the language, and the rhetoric about the UK.  He was impressed that the graves in one of embassy’s compounds had not been desecrated. 

The basis of Hammond’s argument, similar to that of the U.S. State Department, is the need to engage with Iran as a major player in the Middle East in order to seek to influence it. In this respect he was at his most fatuous concerning Israel. He knew of the fulminations of the former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who bordered on the edge of sanity, but felt that the current Iranian administration would act differently.

That administration, Hammond felt, had a “more nuanced” approach to Israel and should be judged by its actions as much as by its words. He distinguished Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s “revolutionary sloganizing” from what Iran actually does in the conduct of its foreign policy. Indeed, the Supreme Leader had called on the Muslim world to unite and destroy Israel. He proclaimed that it is the “big powers” who have divided the Islamic Ummah(community), “pursued their own interests and safeguarded the Zionist regime.”

Indeed, it may be desirable sometimes to distinguish rhetoric for internal political consumption from the reality of the conduct of foreign policy. Yet, although Iranian actions remain to be seen, their words are unmistakably clear, and words have consequences. A senior Iranian official immediately responded to Hammond. Hussein Sheikholeslam, foreign office advisor to the speaker of the Iranian parliament, declared that Iranian positions “against the usurper Zionist regime have not changed at all: Israel should be annihilated and this is our ultimate slogan.”

The Iranian spokesman even admitted that Iran had been pressed during the nuclear negotiations with the P5± 1to stop its involvement on Gaza, Syria, and Yemen, but had refused. The Western powers were told that Iran rejected the “existence of any Israeli on this earth.” They were also told that Iran had made concessions both in diplomatic gestures and in the nuclear deal, but they did not include agreement that Israel’s security will be ensured.

Iran still engages in conspiracy theories. Its intelligence minster, Sayed Mahmoud Alavi, asserted that the intelligence services of the U.S., the Mossad, MI6, and certain regional states were attempting to challenge the security and overthrow the Iranian Republic.

The British Government and the U.S. State Department have perhaps overlooked these intelligence activities. Nor might they know of the recent actions of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in putting commanders within more than 200 Iranian companies that will do business with the West once sanctions on Iran are lifted. Perhaps it will be useful for those U.S. senators still undecided on how to vote on the nuclear deal to know that the IRGC is a direct sponsor of terrorist groups.

First published in American Thinker.

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Posted on 08/28/2015 7:38 AM by Michael Curtis
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Friday, 28 August 2015
Rotherham Sex Scandal: More Than 160 Police Officers Under Investigation For Ignoring Victims
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From Breitbart

More than 160 police officers are under investigation in the Rotherham abuse scandal over allegations they systematically ignored complaints of widespread child sexual exploitation. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has already identified 60 officers as part of a major investigation into the scandal and 100 others are in their sights.

The watchdog is examining whether or not disciplinary or even legal action should be brought against police officers who are accused of ignoring victims’ claims that they were being sexually trafficked and abused.

The IPCC has received 47 referrals from South Yorkshire Police since the publication of the Jay report 12 months ago which exposed the scale of child rape, trafficking and grooming in the South Yorkshire town. Professor Alexis Jay’s report described how more than 1,400 children were sexually exploited by gangs of mainly Asian males in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.

Investigators have now served misconduct notices on 27 officers to advise their specific actions are under investigation. In total 41 misconduct notices have been served, as some officers have received multiple notices as they are involved in more than one complaint. Of those served with notices so far, seven are retired. A spokeswoman confirmed this is an ongoing process as investigative and analytical work continues.

She said:“Analysis of all the referrals has so far identified more than 60 officers.“Further assessments are being carried out to establish the specific allegations against these individuals to determine what further actions are needed. Work is ongoing to identify more than 100 officers who are referenced in the referrals but are unnamed.”

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Posted on 08/28/2015 2:36 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Thursday, 27 August 2015
French intelligence fears Islamist 'missile strike on airliner' or 9/11-style attack
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French security forces are bracing for the eventuality of civil unrest and fear there could be a missile strike on a passenger airliner or a September 11-style attack, according to sources close to French intelligence.

“Airlines have been warned of a possible attack on a plane with an anti-tank missile,” a source told The Telegraph. “But pilots are unsure how to take evasive action.”

After Friday’s thwarted attempt to massacre passengers on an Amsterdam-Paris train and a series of terrorist attacks and attempted killings in France this year, President François Hollande warned the nation to prepare for more violence, considered inevitable as the Islamist threat grows.

The army has made contingency plans for the “reappropriation of national territory”, meaning to win back control of neighbourhoods where the population become hostile to the security forces and where guns are easily obtainable, according to the source. I do hope this is true. I wish the UK would follow suit.

“There are a lot of alienated and angry fourth-generation immigrant kids in the suburbs and the prospect of radicalisation is increasingly likely,” the source said. “The idea that attacks like the one on the train are carried out by individuals acting on their own is not credible. We’re dealing with highly-organised networks of militant Islamists embarked on a campaign of violence and determined to intensify it.”

As early as 2010, an anti-tank missile was seized by police along with several tons of cannabis. Since then, an unknown number of rocket-propelled grenades and missiles are believed to have been smuggled into the country.

A missile attack could be devastating for an airliner, particularly if the plane was taking off and full of fuel. The main Paris airport at Roissy is near drug-infested suburbs of the capital prone to violence.

Agents of the DGSI, France’s equivalent of MI5, warned they are powerless to improve surveillance of Islamist militants bent on losing their lives to cause maximum carnage, and have been “lucky” to have avoided far worse catastrophes since the Paris Islamist attacks in January that killed 17, Le Canard Enchaîné, the investigative and satirical weekly, reported. 

An agent told the newspaper there were fears of “an upcoming 11 September à la française where (intelligence) services are mere spectators”. Luck rather than judgment had allayed larger-scale strikes, another is cited as saying. 

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Posted on 08/27/2015 2:32 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Thursday, 27 August 2015
Senators Who Took Money From Iran Lobby, Support Nuke Deal
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Daniel Greenfield writes in Frontpage:

Senator Markey has announced his support for the Iran deal that will let the terrorist regime inspect its own Parchin nuclear weapons research site, conduct uranium enrichment, build advanced centrifuges, buy ballistic missiles, fund terrorism and have a near zero breakout time to a nuclear bomb.

There was no surprise there.

Markey had topped the list of candidates supported by the Iran Lobby. And the Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC) had maxed out its contributions to his campaign.

After more fake suspense, Al Franken, another IAPAC backed politician who also benefited from Iran Lobby money, came out for the nuke sellout.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen, the Iran Lobby’s third Dem senator, didn’t bother playing coy like her colleagues. She came out for the deal a while back even though she only got half the IAPAC cash that Franken and Markey received.

As did Senator Gillibrand, who had benefited from IAPAC money back when she first ran for senator and whose position on the deal should have come as no surprise.

The Iran Lobby had even tried, and failed, to turn Arizona Republican Jeff Flake. Iran Lobby cash had made the White House count on him as the Republican who would flip, but Flake came out against the deal. The Iran Lobby invested a good deal of time and money into Schumer, but that effort also failed.

Still these donations were only the tip of the Iran Lobby iceberg.

Gillibrand had also picked up money from the Iran Lobby’s Hassan Nemazee. Namazee was Hillary’s national campaign finance director who had raised a fortune for both her and Kerry before pleading guilty to a fraud scheme encompassing hundreds of millions of dollars. Nemazee had been an IAPAC trustee and had helped set up the organization.

Bill Clinton had nominated Hassan Nemazee as the US ambassador to Argentina when he had only been a citizen for two years.  A spoilsport Senate didn’t allow Clinton to make a member of the Iran Lobby into a US ambassador, but Nemazee remained a steady presence on the Dem fundraising circuit.

Nemazee had donated to Gillibrand and had also kicked in money to help the Franken Recount Fund scour all the cemeteries for freshly dead votes, as well as to Barbara Boxer, who also came out for the Iran nuke deal. Boxer had also received money more directly from IAPAC.    

 In the House, the Democratic recipients of IAPAC money came out for the deal. Mike Honda, one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Iran Lobby backed the nuke sellout. As did Andre Carson, Gerry Connolly, Donna Edwards and Jackie Speier. The Iran Lobby was certainly getting its money’s worth.

But the Iran Lobby’s biggest wins weren’t Markey or Shaheen. The real victory had come long before when two of their biggest politicians, Joe Biden and John Kerry, had moved into prime positions in the administration. Not only IAPAC, but key Iran Lobby figures had been major donors to both men.

That list includes Housang Amirahmadi, the founder of the American Iranian Council, who had spoken of a campaign to “conquer Obama’s heart and mind” and had described himself as “the Iranian lobby in the United States.” It includes the Iranian Muslim Association of North America (IMAN) board members who had fundraised for Biden. And it includes the aforementioned Hassan Nemazee.

A member of Iran’s opposition had accused Biden’s campaigns of being “financed by Islamic charities of the Iranian regime based in California and by the Silicon Iran network.” Biden’s affinity for the terrorist regime in Tehran was so extreme that after 9/11 he had suggested, “Seems to me this would be a good time to send, no strings attached, a check for $200 million to Iran”.

Appeasement inflation has since raised that $200 million to at least $50 billion. But there are still no strings worth mentioning attached to the big check.

Questions about donations from the Iran Lobby had haunted Kerry’s campaign. Back then Kerry had been accused of supporting an agreement favorable to Iran. The parameters of that controversial proposal however were less generous than the one that Obama and Kerry are trying to sell now.

 The hypothetical debates over the influence of the Iran Lobby have come to a very real conclusion.

Both of Obama’s secretaries of state were involved in Iran Lobby cash controversies, as was his vice president and his former secretary of defense. Obama was also the beneficiary of sizable donations from the Iran Lobby. Akbar Ghahary, the former co-founder of IAPAC, had donated and raised some $50,000 for Obama. 

It’s an unprecedented track record that has received very little notice. While the so-called “Israel Lobby” is constantly scrutinized, the fact that key foreign policy positions under Obama are controlled by political figures with troubling ties to an enemy of this country has gone mostly unreported by the mainstream media.

This culture of silence allowed the Iran Lobby to get away with taking out a full-page ad in the New York Times before the Netanyahu speech asking, “Will Congress side with our President or a Foreign Leader?”

Iran’s stooges had taken a break from lobbying for ballistic missiles to play American patriots.

Obama and his allies, Iranian and domestic, have accused opponents of his dirty Iran deal of making “common cause” with that same terror regime and of treason. The ugly truth is that he and his political accomplices were the traitors all along.

Democrats in favor of a deal that will let a terrorist regime go nuclear have taken money from lobbies for that regime. They have broken their oath by taking bribes from a regime whose leaders chant, “Death to America”. Their pretense of examining the deal is nothing more than a hollow charade.

This deal has come down from Iran Lobby influenced politicians like Kerry and is being waved through by members of Congress who have taken money from the Iran Lobby. That is treason plain and simple.

Despite what we are told about its “moderate” leaders, Iran considers itself to be in a state of war with us. Iran and its agents have repeatedly carried out attacks against American soldiers, abducted and tortured to death American officials and have even engaged in attacks on American naval vessels.

Aiding an enemy state in developing nuclear weapons is the worst form of treason imaginable. Helping put weapons of mass destruction in the hands of terrorists is the gravest of crimes.

The Democrats who have approved this deal are turning their party into a party of atom bomb spies.

Those politicians who have taken money from the Iran Lobby and are signing off on a deal that will let Iran go nuclear have engaged in the worst form of treason and committed the gravest of crimes. They must know that they will be held accountable. That when Iran detonates its first bomb, their names will be on it.

 

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Posted on 08/27/2015 10:55 AM by John Constantine
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Thursday, 27 August 2015
Is Polyamory Next?
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As I've said all along, same sex marriage opens the door to polygamy and the destruction of the nuclear family which is the foundation of our culture. Robert P. George writes in The American Interest:

The Youngs are women in a committed relationship who love and care for and look after each other. They share domestic duties and financial responsibilities. They share a bed and make love. They have a child (courtesy of sperm donation and in vitro fertilization) and intend to have two more. They were united in a ceremony in which they wore beautiful white wedding gowns and were walked down the aisle by their fathers. They are just like any ordinary Massachusetts opposite- or same-sex married couple. Only they’re not a couple. Doll, Kitten, and Brinn Young are a throuple. And, for now at least, Massachusetts, like other states, does not recognize as marriages “polyamorous” unions (romantic partnerships of three or more persons).But Doll, Kitten, and Brinn think that’s unfair and should change. They want marriage equality for themselves and other polyamorists. They are proud that their home state was in the vanguard of legally recognizing same-sex partnerships as marriages, thanks to the bold intervention of the liberal-dominated Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. But they insist that the same principles that generated what they and most liberals (and, it seems, more than a few conservatives) believe to be “marriage equality” for gays should produce the same result for other sexual minorities, especially polyamorous people like themselves.

If gender doesn’t matter for marriage, they ask, why should number matter? “If love makes a family”, as the slogan went when the cause being advanced was gay marriage, then why should their family be treated as second class? Why should their marriage be denied legal recognition and the dignity and social standing that come with it? Doll, Kitten, and Brinn love each other and are as committed to each other and their child and future children as are, say, Donald Trump and his third wife, or Elton John and his husband. They find fulfillment in their long-term sexual partnership, just as opposite- and same-sex couples find fulfillment in theirs. The dignity of their relationship, not to mention their own personal dignity, is assaulted, they believe, when their marriage is treated as inferior and unworthy of legal recognition. Their child and future children are stigmatized by laws that refuse to treat their parents as married. And to what end? How does it harm the marriage of, say, John and Harold, the couple next door, if the Commonwealth of Massachusetts recognizes the Youngs’ marriage? Indeed, what justification can be given—what legitimate state interest can be cited—for dishonoring Doll, Kitten, and Brinn and their marriage? Surely, the only explanation, apart from religious scruples of the sort that may not constitutionally be imposed by the State, is animus and a bare desire to harm people who are different?

Over the past couple of years, a number of mainstream websites, newspapers, and magazines—Salon, Slate, USA Today, Newsweek, the Atlantic—have run sympathetic stories about polyamory. Newsweek reports that, though polyamory remains unconventional, it is far from unheard of: there are approximately 500,000 polyamorous households in the United States today. Polygamous and polyamorous relationships, often with children in the picture, are depicted as just one more historically misunderstood way of being a family—and those who enter such relationships as an often-victimized minority. The polyamorous partners profiled in the stories sometimes weave discussion of the ordinary challenges and simple joys of domestic life—dealing with disagreements, getting the kids to do their homework or practice the piano, celebrating birthdays and other special occasions—together with peek-a-boo accounts of what it’s like for throuples or larger polyamorous units to share a bed and have sex.

Last month, the New York Times published an essay by University of Chicago law professor William Baude urging readers to keep their minds open towards polygamy and other multiple-partner sexual relationships. He noted that they could have some advantages over monogamous partnerships—for example, more parents available to look after the kids and share other domestic duties—and he easily identified the weaknesses in anti-polygamy arguments made by writers like Richard Posner, who support redefining marriage to include same-sex partnerships but want to draw the line there. “We should remember”, Baude observed, “that today’s showstopping objections sometimes come to seem trivial decades later. Very few people supported a constitutional right to same-sex marriage when writers like Andrew Sullivan and [Jonathan]Rauch were advocating it only two decades ago. (Judge Posner, for example, did not.) As we witness more experiments with non-nuclear families, our views about plural marriage might change as well.”

Many polyamorous people say that their desire or felt need for multiple partners is central to their identity, and that they have known from an early age that they could never find personal and sexual fulfillment in a purely monogamous relationship. The message is that they are the next sexual minority whose human rights, including of course the right to marriage equality, must be honored. They’re following the same playbook as same-sex marriage advocates in mainstreaming polyamory and putting in place the cultural predicates for its legal recognition. And it’s working. In the most recent polling, fully a quarter of Americans are now prepared to recognize polyamorous marriages, and among religiously unaffiliated citizens (whose numbers are climbing in the United States) the figure is 58 percent. These percentages represent far higher support than gay marriage had within the memory of more than a few readers of this essay.

For years, of course, many advocates of sexual freedom and same-sex marriage counseled against openly advocating polyamory—whether in the form of polygyny (one husband having several wives) or in the form of group bonds like the Youngs’—lest the horses be frightened. But not everyone listened. University of Arizona professor Elizabeth Brake, for example, a prominent advocate in the world of academic philosophy for broadening the historic understanding of marriage, has for many years promoted what she calls “minimal marriage”, in which “individuals can have legal marital relationships with more than one person, reciprocally or asymmetrically, themselves determining the sex and number of parties, the type of relationship involved, and which rights and responsibilities to exchange with each.”[1] Judith Stacey—a New York University professor who is in no way regarded as a fringe figure—also let the cat out of the bag in the course of testifying before Congress against the Defense of Marriage Act. She expressed hope that redefining marriage would give it “varied, creative, and adaptive contours . . . [leading some to] question the dyadic limitations of Western marriage and seek . . . small group marriages.”[2] Indeed, as far back as a decade ago, in a statement then titled “Beyond Gay Marriage”, more than 300 “LGBT and allied” scholars and advocates called for legally recognizing as marriages or the equivalent sexual relationships involving more than two partners.[3] Among the signatories were such influential figures on the left as Gloria Steinem, Barbara Ehrenreich, and Kenji Yoshino.

These and other open advocates of polyamory and its legal recognition now look like they were ahead of their time. With USA Today, Newsweek, and other respected publications sympathetically presenting polyamory, more and more polyamorists and allies of their cause will feel safer coming out. The politicians aren’t there yet, of course, but in this late season of our experience we all know that they are almost always among the last to arrive at the party. Soon enough, a small number will break the ice, just as they did on same-sex marriage. They will, to use President Obama’s famous description of his own flip-flop on same-sex marriage, “evolve.”

The late and extraordinarily influential legal philosopher and constitutional theorist Ronald Dworkin, a champion of aggressive judicial action to advance liberal causes, taught that law is fundamentally about a society making commitments to certain moral principles and working out their implications over time. Fundamental to that enterprise is treating like cases alike. The heart of the case for same-sex marriage was that gender differences are irrelevant to what marriage actually is, namely, a form of committed sexual-romantic companionship or domestic partnership. The challenge for same-sex marriage supporters is either to accept polyamory on the basis of the very same vision of marriage, or to offer a new and more specific vision—one that can explain why number is relevant but gender is not.

Even as an increasing number of “marriage equality” supporters agree that the time for recognition of polyamorous marriages has come, some still try to avoid that challenge. Only a few same-sex marriage supporters have been willing to take the latter course and hold the line against polygamy as a matter of principle—to say “gender doesn’t matter, but number does: marriage is, as a matter of principle, a two-person partnership; so unions of three or more persons ought to be denied the dignity of legal recognition.” The trouble for those in this last category is that they can’t come up with anything approaching a plausible argument. They either try to make something out of the alleged “fact” that homosexuality is a “sexual orientation” but polyamory is not, or they point to practical difficulties in administering principles of family law for partnerships involving more than two people. Occasionally, you will hear an advocate of gay marriage who opposes polyamory say “a person cannot fully give himself or herself to two people as he or she can to one person.” And even more rarely someone will suggest that polyamorous unions are not psychologically or morally appropriate for bringing up children.

From the perspective of polyamorous people and their allies, all of these arguments are weak to the point of being contemptible—thin rationalizations for excluding them from a recognition and status that others in relevantly similar relationships are given. For poly people, being poly is as central to their identity—and being in polyamorous relationships is as vital to their fulfillment—as being gay and being in a same-sex partnership is for persons who are sexually or romantically attracted to persons of the same-sex. Polyamorists object to being the sexual minority that gets thrown under the bus, forced to settle for a relationship that fails to fulfill them or respond to who they are, or denied the social support and legal recognition that others’ relationships receive.

As for practical problems, they note that modern law in a wide variety of areas deals with complexities far greater than those that the legal recognition of Doll, Kitten, and Brinn Young’s marriage would pose. Administrative burdens are, they observe, no basis at all for denying them the basic civil right to marry. And they find it insulting when non-poly people claim that being polyamorous is not central to their identity and fulfillment, or assume that people like Doll, Kitten, and Brinn cannot give themselves as fully to each other as gay or straight monogamous people do. Based on their personal experience and what they know from the experience of other poly people, they also reject the view that being in a multiple-partner union increases the likelihood of marital problems arising from jealousy. To them, this is stereotyping, sheer prejudice, dressed up in scientific garb.

Finally, they do not buy the idea that polyamory would unavoidably or, in the modern world, even frequently lead to women’s subordination. In any event, why should their rights to be who they are and to have their relationship honored and their children protected be held hostage to a fear that other people will conduct their marriages in morally bad or psychologically unhealthy ways? If forms of patriarchy that were common in the past provide reasons to limit marriage, they equally provide reasons to abolish marriage altogether.

Of course, the case for polyamory and its legal recognition presupposes that marriage is in fact what so-called “marriage equality” advocates have depicted it as being: committed sexual-romantic companionship or domestic partnership. And this is precisely what has been denied by defenders of what used to be known as “marriage” and is now called “traditional marriage” (i.e., as the union of husband and wife). Those defenders are most assuredly right when they say that the new idea of marriage is an innovation—not an “expansion” of marriage but a genuine redefinition, one that treats what has historically been regarded as a relevant difference, namely sex or gender, as if it were irrelevant, not central to the very idea and social purposes of marriage.

In our law and culture, marriage has historically been understood as a conjugal union in which a man and woman consent to unite in a bond that is (1) founded on their sexual-reproductive complementarity, (2) consummated and renewed by acts that unite them as a reproductive unit (“one flesh”) by fulfilling the behavioral conditions of procreation (whether or not the non-behavioral conditions happen to obtain); and (3) specially apt for, and would naturally be fulfilled by, their having and rearing children together. Participating in marriage as a conjugal union is regarded as inherently humanly fulfilling, i.e., valuable not merely as a means to something else—even the great good of having and rearing children—but in itself.[4]

The idea of marriage as a conjugal union explains the structuring features of marriage in our moral and legal traditions, including (1) the rules of consummation (including annulability for non-consummation, but not for infertility); (2) the requirements of (a) monogamy, (b) sexual exclusivity (fidelity), and (c) permanence of commitment (“till death do us part”); and (3) the treatment of marriage as a properly public matter, something that law can and should recognize, support, and regulate, and not a merely private or religious matter, like baptisms, bar mitzvahs, and ordinary friendships (even the closest and most intimate).

This understanding of marriage is radically different from the revisionist conception that one must adopt if sexual-reproductive complementarity is irrelevant to marriage. According to revisionists, marriage is essentially a union at the affective level. What sets it apart is a certain emotional bond. It unites partners in an especially close or intense form of friendship, one which ordinarily involves sex but just as a way of fostering and expressing affection. Sex is thus, strictly speaking, incidental, not inherent, to the relationship. The same is true, of course, of procreation—it is merely incidental. In the words of John Corvino, a leading philosophical defender of the revisionist view, marriage is “your relationship with your Number One person.”

The conjugal idea of marriage, by contrast, conceives of persons as unities of body and mind, and of marriage as uniting spouses at all levels of their being: the biological as well as the affective and rational-dispositional. Acts of bodily union fulfilling the behavioral conditions of procreation are the distinctive completion and seal of this uniquely comprehensive union. These acts don’t just produce feelings of intimacy; they literally embody the spouses’ marital union by making them a biological (sexual-reproductive) unit.

Sex is thus integral to marriage, which is part of what distinguishes marriage from other forms of companionship. All friendships are unions of hearts and mind; marriage, however, is a union not only at that level, but at the bodily—biological—level as well. It is not distinguished from ordinary friendships, as on the revisionist view, merely by its degree of emotional intensity, but in kind. It is not accurately understood as “your relationship with your Number One person.”

As a conjugal relationship, rather, marriage is the type of bond that is ordered to procreation and would naturally be fulfilled by spouses having and rearing children together. On the conjugal understanding, marriage is the relationship that unites a man and woman as husband and wife to be father and mother to any children who may come of their union. Its social role is to maximize the chances that children will grow up in the context of the committed love—the matrimonial bond—of the man and woman whose actualization and renewal of that bond brought them life, linked to their parents and to their parents’ families. It ensures that as many children as possible will be reared with the advantages of both maternal and paternal role models, influences, and care.

The revisionist challenge, especially as a result of the sexual revolution and its mainstreaming of non-marital sex and cohabitation, out-of wedlock child bearing, and divorce (especially with the introduction of “no fault” divorce), has eroded the public understanding and support of marriage as conjugal union, though this vision has not been completely lost. The erosion helps to explain why an idea that was quite literally inconceivable as recently as a generation ago—the idea of “same-sex marriage”—has not only suddenly become intelligible to but indeed overwhelmingly dominant among cultural elites. For many cultural elites, it is now the traditional conception of marriage—the idea of marriage as a conjugal union—that is unintelligible, to be explained only by animus, prejudice, or antiquated religious dogmas.[5]

Of course, if marriage is distinguished mainly by its emotional intensity, then there really is no reason that two men or two women cannot marry. Any two people, after all, can feel romantic affection for each other, commit to providing support and care for each other in a shared domestic life, and believe that their relationship is enhanced by mutually agreeable sex acts with each other. But so can three men. Or three women, say, Doll, Kitten, and Brinn. Or a man and two women (whether the three are united as a polyamorous ensemble, or the man is in separate marriages with each woman). Or a woman and two men. Or four people. Or whatever.

In Obergefell v. Hodges, five justices of the Supreme Court, led by Justice Anthony Kennedy, claimed to find in the Due Process Clause of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment the revisionist understanding of marriage. Now, the actual words of the clause—“No state shall deprive any person within its jurisdiction of life, liberty, or property without due process of law”—seem to be all about justice in criminal cases or in analogous civil or administrative actions. States may not execute someone (depriving him of life), imprison someone (depriving him of liberty), or subject someone to a monetary fine or forfeiture (depriving him of property) without affording him such basic procedural protections as the presumption of innocence, an impartial judge and jury, and so forth. But the Supreme Court instead followed a long, if notoriously intellectually dubious, tradition of reading this clause “substantively” to include unenumerated rights that enough justices believe people should enjoy. Thus Kennedy, joined by Ginsberg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan, announced the discovery of a right to same-sex marriage that would certainly have shocked the Americans of the late 1860s who ratified the 14th Amendment—and even Americans of the 1960s, for all their sexual-revolutionary pretensions.

For Kennedy, the conjugal understanding of marriage had to be jettisoned in favor of the revisionist conception because the dignity of persons who construct their identities around same-sex attraction and find their fulfillment in same-sex partnerships requires it. This dignity is conferred by the state and is, in effect, withheld when the state treats marriage as a conjugal union rather than as sexual-romantic companionship.

Lacking any warrant in the text, logic, structure, or original understanding of the Constitution—or even any clear and disciplined engagement with other court cases, right or wrong—Kennedy’s opinion merits the condemnation that John Hart Ely, the late Dean of Stanford Law School (and himself a pro-choice liberal) heaped on Justice Harry Blackmun’s opinion in Roe v. Wade: “It is not constitutional law and gives no sense of an obligation to try to be.” The four dissenting Justices in Obergefell—Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito—had no difficulty skewering, even ridiculing, Kennedy and the majority for failing to identify an even remotely plausible constitutional ground for their decision. Whatever one’s beliefs about the comparative merits of the conjugal and revisionist conceptions of marriage, it is difficult to see how the Constitution can be said to have dictated a choice. In the tradition of Dred Scott v. Sandford, Lochner v. New York, and, to be sure, Roe v. Wade, the decision is a straightforward play by a Supreme Court majority to usurp the authority of the people acting through representatives (and directly, in state referenda). It unconstitutionally imposes on the nation the beliefs of five unelected, unrepresentative men and women about what counts as social progress.

But lay all that aside for now. I introduce the case because it forces us to focus on the logical implications of abolishing the conjugal understanding of marriage in our law and replacing it with the revisionist idea of marriage as sexual-romantic companionship or domestic partnership, all by judicial fiat. Here is where Professor Dworkin’s point about the centrality of principle to law has its significance for the cause of polyamory, at least for his fellow liberals who approve of the role assumed by the judiciary in cases such as Roe and Obergefell. Where the same principle requires it, he who says A must say B. And he who says that the judiciary has the power to dictate A must say that the judiciary has the power to dictate B, even if B doesn’t yet share A’s popularity and even if the people’s representatives in the legislature say no to B. The constitutional case for the judicial imposition of same-sex marriage requires belief that the Constitution—somewhere, somehow (perhaps lurking in “penumbras formed by emanations”)—incorporates the idea of marriage as sexual-romantic companionship. But if it does, then there can be no reason of principle for withholding legal recognition from the marriage or marriages of, say, Yemeni immigrants or fundamentalist Mormons who are in polygamous partnerships, or polyamorous people like the Youngs. To observe that 75 percent of the public still opposes legal recognition of such marriages is only to highlight the need for the courts to intervene to vindicate the marriage equality rights of those in multiple-party relationships—people who cannot count on their fellow citizens to treat like cases alike when it comes to sexual partnerships that they happen disapprove of on moral or religious grounds.

By constitutionalizing the issue—by purporting to find a certain vision of marriage in the Constitution—the Court eliminated the possibility of accommodations and compromises in the political process. By its own lights, the question is no longer properly left to the moral or political judgments of the people or the vagaries of democratic bargaining. As a matter of constitutional principle, it is an all-or-nothing game—a game that only judges are permitted to play. The American people have been told by the Obergefell majority to watch from the bleachers.

If Obergefell stands—and, for what it’s worth, I myself hope it will not—the question of legal recognition of polygamous and other polyamorous partnerships cannot be avoided. The arguments of those who want to retain the idea of marriage as mere sexual-romantic companionship or domestic partnership while denying legal recognition of polyamorous marriages will sound weaker and weaker, more and more like mere rationalizations for stigmatizing what many people (for now, at least) still find icky. Under the pressure of the natural human desire for rational consistency, the liberal movement and the Democratic Party will gradually come to embrace the polyamorists’ cause. And liberal jurists, though they may swat away on procedural grounds the first few constitutional challenges to marriage laws excluding polyamorists’ romantic bonds from recognition, will eventually have to say B.

Will there be a C? Sure. That will likely be the abolition of laws against consensual adult incest (parent-child or sibling) and, correspondingly, the elimination of consanguinity laws forbidding marriage between a parent and his or her adult child and between adult siblings. Western Europe was a bit ahead of the U.S. on same-sex marriage, and is now pointing the way forward for sexual liberals on incest as well. Germany’s National Ethics Council this year issued a report urging parliament to revoke legal prohibitions of incest involving consenting adults, arguing that these prohibitions violate “fundamental freedoms” and “force people into secrecy or to deny their love.” The Council described opposition to consensual adult incest as a mere “social taboo”, and declared that “neither the fear of negative consequences for the family, nor the possibility of the birth of children from such incestuous relationships can justify a criminal prohibition. The fundamental right of adult siblings to sexual self-determination has more weight in such cases than the abstract protection of the family.”

If one grants the premises of sexual liberalism—that consenting adults have a right to enter into whatever types of sexual relationships they like without state interference—and embraces the revisionist conception of marriage as committed sexual-romantic companionship, then what the German Ethics Council says has to be correct. Its logic is impeccable. If there is a flaw, it must be in the premises. And yet the premises are precisely the ones that have been adopted by the liberal movement and the Democratic Party in our time. So C will come in due course, unless A is abandoned.

 

[1]Elizabeth Brake, “Minimal Marriage: What Political Liberalism Implies for Marriage Law”, Ethics 120 (2010): 303.

[2] See Gallagher, “(How) Will Gay Marriage Weaken Marriage as a Social Institution”, 62.

[3] “Beyond Same-Sex Marriage: A New Strategic Vision For All Our Families and Relationships”, BeyondMarriage.org, July 26, 2006, http://beyondmarriage.org/full_statement.html.

[4] According to the conjugal understanding, marriage is a uniquely comprehensive union. It involves a union of hearts and minds; but also—and distinctively—a bodily union. Just as bodily union within a person consists in coordination of all the parts for a single bodily end of the whole (survival), so bodily union between two people involves coordination (coitus) toward a single bodily end of the couple as a whole (their reproduction). Hence marriage, the bond embodied by that act, is inherently extended and enriched by procreation and family life and objectively calls for similarly all-encompassing commitment, permanent and exclusive. In short, marriage unites a man and woman holistically—emotionally and bodily, in acts of conjugal love and in the children such love brings forth—for the whole of life. For a fuller account, and a response to criticisms advanced by revisionists against the conjugal understanding (such as the claim that the conjugal view cannot rationally justify its historic willingness to recognize as valid the marriage of a man and woman who, due to infertility, cannot conceive children together), see Sherif Girgis, Ryan T. Anderson, and Robert P. George, What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense (Encounter Books, 2013).

[5] That is why they are not content with merely revising the law to enshrine “same-sex marriage”; anti-discrimination statutes and ordinances as well as well as informal cultural means (shaming, ridiculing, hounding) must be used to crush those who dissent from the new orthodoxy. We see that conviction at work in the fates of the photographers, bakers, and florists who refuse to participate in same-sex weddings, the counseling student who declined to train to counsel same-sex couples, the fire chief of Atlanta who wrote a book defending biblical teachings on marriage and sexual morality, and Brendan Eich, the technology genius who was pressured to give up the top job at Mozilla because he had contributed to a pro-traditional marriage referendum in California.

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Posted on 08/27/2015 8:22 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Thursday, 27 August 2015
Nearly 200 Former Generals and Admirals Sign Letter Opposing Iran Nuke Deal
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Former Marine Commandant Gen. Charles Krulak

Nearly 200 former generals and admirals signed a letter sent to Congress rejecting the Obama nuclear pact with Iran. Many general and flag officers served under both Democratic and Republican Administrations. Among them are former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence under President Bush Gen. William "Jerry" Boykin, USAF Lt. Gen. Tom McInerny and former Marine Commandant  Gen. Charles Krulak.The letter adressed to both House and Senate Republican and Democratic leaders rebuts one sent a week ago by 33 generals and admirals supporting the President's nuclear deal with Iran. We hope that Gen. Barry McCaffrey signed up given his rejection of the opportunity to support the Iran deal. According to the Washington Post (WP):

The letter faulted the JCPOA for not cutting off “every pathway” Iran has to develop nuclear weapons, as well as for allowing Tehran to benefit from billions in sanctions relief, which may be used to “continue to support terrorism in Israel, throughout the Middle East and globally, whether directly or through proxies.”

The full text of the letter can be found on the WP website:

It concluded:

This agreement will enable Iran to become far more dangerous, render the
Mideast still more unstable and introduce new threats to American interests as well as our allies.

The WP noted comments from retired Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerny, former vice commander of US Air Forces in Europe:

 He considers the agreement the most dangerous nuclear accord in U.S. history.

“What I don’t like about this is, the number one leading radical Islamic group in the world is the Iranians,” he said. “They are purveyors of radical Islam throughout the region and throughout the world. And we are going to enable them to get nuclear weapons. Why would we do that?”

McInerney said he thinks that most retired general officers do not support the agreement, but he said some did not sign the letter because they feared negative career repercussions.

“I don’t think the retired general officers necessarily speak with one voice,” he said. “We’ve all gone our own way when we retired.”

Note what the Washington Post reported about author of this letter and his motivation to get it circulated:
Leon A. “Bud” Edney, a retired admiral who served as vice chief of naval operations, initiated the letter after he read the letter by other retired officers in support of the agreement.

“I looked at the letter they published, and thought it was very weak,” Edney said. “I just don’t agree with it.” He then got the alternative viewpoint rolling through e-mails sent to some of his Navy and Marine friends. They in turn passed it on.

The Tower reported:

Earlier this month, retired general Charles Krulak, the former commandant of the Marine Corps, commented that out of the many retired officers who could have signed the letter supporting the deal, “only 30+ could be found to do so."

Speaking before the Birmingham, Alabama Jewish Federation in mid-August Gen Krulak said:

I don’t think there is much value in repeating that rationale other than to say that we went into this process with specific goals as a baseline and came out with many of those goals either partially achieved or not achieved at all. Even those partially achieved are, at the end of the day, dependent on Iran acting like a trustworthy member of the world community. I am unable to bet the safety of my Country or the State of Israel or any other country for that matter on the trustworthiness of Iran. In all fairness, there are others who disagree and do so with great passion and belief in their point of view. I respect their beliefs and do not, for a minute, minimize them. …

At the same time, I am very concerned that not enough focus is being placed on what I would call “the day after tomorrow” if the JCPOA is adopted. What steps will be taken, at the strategic level, to safeguard our Nation and the State of Israel beyond all the supposed safeguards found in the JCPOA? What are the unintended consequences of the JCPOA on the Nations within the region? What can we reasonably expect to happen as new oil begins to flow from well heads in Iran? Or when sanctions are lifted and billions of dollars flow into the coffers of the largest exporter of terrorism in the world? Or when weapons are sold on the open market? Or when other countries, concerned about the potential of a nuclear Iran, start their own programs?

The Tower noted other veterans forming groups to reject the Iran nuclear deal:

A number of Iraq war veterans recently formed a group to oppose the JCPOA. Michael Pregent, the executive director of the group, Veterans Against the Deal, said, “Our main argument is that veterans know Iran better than Washington, D.C., does. You’ve got a lot of veterans out there who are pretty upset about this, so we are looking to capture their voices and make sure they are heard.”

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Posted on 08/27/2015 6:39 AM by Jerry Gordon
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Thursday, 27 August 2015
The French-German Disconnect
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A recent article in the French newspaper Le Monde drew attention to an important difference between the French and the Germans. The French, said the author, think that the government spends other people’s money; the Germans think that the government spends their own money. This, if true, is important because each attitude must affect the politics as well as the economic policy of its respective country.

How could such a difference arise? Is it accountable by the fact that a higher percentage of Germans than French pay income tax? (In France, half the population pays none.) Income tax is the most obvious form of tax, and if you don’t pay it you may be under the absurd impression that you pay no tax at all. But if something can be bought or sold, done or not done, the chances are that it is taxed.

Income tax is in fact but a small proportion of government receipts, though it is popularly taken as a metonym for taxation as a whole; and it would be interesting to know whether the Germans have a more accurate knowledge than the French of how much of the price of a gallon of fuel, for example, or of a packet of cigarettes is accounted for by tax. If people had an accurate knowledge of such matters, they might be less inclined to accuse the oil companies of greed when they raise their prices by what is a tiny fraction of the total that the customer will pay; but in any case, in France there seems to be a cultural predisposition to assume that while private profit is reprehensible, public expenditure paid for by tax is inherently good. Paradoxically, this does not preclude in France a private avidity for money or a belief that cheating or deceiving the taxman is a proper sport, like cycling or swimming, for everyone to indulge in. If this is a contradiction – well, which of us is entirely consistent?

And, to add complication to paradox, it must be admitted that the French, by comparison with the British, say, receive good value for their taxation. The country is conspicuously well-administered, as anyone who has driven through it will attest; and, in my experience, French bureaucrats, however much their onerous and Byzantine exactions may be detested, are much more intelligent and efficient than British ones. The French have a faith in their state which is in part justified. Its benefits are obvious every day; its stultifying effects are less evident except to the smaller proportion of the population that attempts something new.

The Germans, by contrast, have, or want to have, faith in their currency. The folk memory of inflations is still strong in Germany and with reason. Inflation is their bugbear and fiscal rectitude therefore their policy, irrespective of who is in power. The rebuilding of the country and the achievement of monetary stability is their source of national pride. Financial rectitude is visible in their private lives as well: the Germans use credit cards far less than the French, let alone the British. When the German banks joined in the financial debauchery of the 1990s and 2000s, afraid of missing out, it turned out that they were no good at it. Speculation was not their forte.

The article that drew attention to the national differences said that the Germans had never been keen on Keynesianism – unlike the French. But this, it seems to me, is to misunderstand Keynes. Like everyone else, the Germans have run deficits in their time, but never with the idea that deficit-spending was a route to wealth, let alone the route to wealth. For the Germans, you could have deficits provided you also sometimes had equal and opposite surpluses.

This, surely, is closer to what, rightly or wrongly, Keynes thought. He thought deficits an expedient to deal with a temporary decline in demand consequent upon the business cycle. He was an old fashioned liberal: he did not see government deficits as the creator, the onlie begetter, to quote the dedication to Shakespeare’s Sonnets, of demand itself. Indeed, he saw two kinds of deficits, those of investment and those of consumption. The former would bring some kind of economic return; and it is true that France now disposes of a splendid infrastructure that conduces to economic efficiency, to say nothing of its addition to the amenities of life; but the latter, deficits for the sake of current consumption, are (regrettably, in Keynes’ view) sometimes necessary for social and humanitarian reasons, as well for economic ones. What Keynes did not envisage was deficits as a permanent way of life, just as the founders of the British Welfare State did not envisage welfare as a permanent way of life.

There is another source of difference in attitude between France and Germany, namely demographic. France has a growing population, Germany a declining one. The ageing of Germans means that more and more of them will be living on savings and fixed incomes. The stability of the currency is therefore in their interest; by contrast, more of the French have an interest in expropriating creditors (the old) to the advantage of debtors (the young). As Keynes himself put it in Social Consequences of Changes in the Value of Money with characteristic brio:

… a change in prices and rewards, as measured in money, generally affect different classes unequally, transfers wealth from one to another, bestows affluence here and embarrassments there, and redistributes Fortune’s favours so as to frustrate design and disappoint expectation.

To cobble together in a monetary union two large countries – two large blocs of countries – with such different attitudes and interests was in the highest degree irresponsible. One of the justifications regularly trotted out for the European Union is that it brings peace, as if, without it, Slovenia would attack Spain. In fact, by making neither living together nor divorce feasible, it is fostering, at least potentially, a conflict such as that of the former Yugoslavia. The old hatreds are stirring: at the end of a book titled Bismarck Herring: The German Poison just published, and available everywhere in France, the French left-wing – yes, left-wing – politician and former presidential candidate, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, says that France still has independent military power, with the clear implied message that Germany does not. Boches beware!

First published in the Library of Law and Liberty.

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Posted on 08/27/2015 5:29 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
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Wednesday, 26 August 2015
Does Israel have a “No Choice” Military Option for Iran’s Nuclear Program?
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In 1964, I sat in a darkened movie theater in Washington, DC with a fellow Army Intelligence officer watching Stanley Kubrick’s brilliant dark satire film on how to live with thermonuclear warfare, Dr Strangelove: or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.  My colleague and I laughed nervously as we had just finished secret intelligence assignments. That memory was triggered by a recent American Thinker article by veteran nuclear war gaming and arms control expert, John Bosum, “Thinking About the Unthinkable: An Israel-Iran Nuclear War”.  That was a reference to books and articles by nuclear game theorist and Hudson Institute co-founder Herman Kahn and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger on limited nuclear warfare.  

Scary prospects then, scary prospects now with the world on the verge of concluding a nuclear agreement with the apocalyptic Islamic Republic of Iran virtually assuring it of an arsenal of nuclear weapons in a decade, if not sooner funding in part by the lifting of $150 billion in sanctions.  The US says it has the means of striking back at Iran if it is found cheating, a reference to possible military actions. The reality is that the Administration has hollowed out the nation’s military capabilities leaving Israel isolated. The Jewish nation would doubtlessly be reviled by world opinion, should it undertake a strike of its own on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The Israeli Limited Nuclear Attack Scenario

There are daunting prospects facing Israel with the looming Congressional vote rejecting the Iran nuclear pact in the face of a likely veto threat by President Obama that may not be overridden.  John Bosum, in his American Thinker article vets a possible limited nuclear attack by Israel against Iran's nuclear facilities.  His credibility stems from his considerable expertise and professional background in nuclear war gaming and arms control.   He posits an attack scenario using conventional air craft equipped with US supplied GBU 28 “bunker busters” followed by tactical nukes or nuclear tipped cruise missiles launched from Israeli Dolphin subs offshore in the Arabian Sea.  That scenario faces the realities of estimated losses by Israel Ministry of Defense planners. They have estimated that such a scenario might result in the loss of 40 percent of air crews-a heavy price to pay for young IAF pilots.  Then there is Bosum’s suggestion that Israel might use a low altitude EMP attack on Iran by a Jericho 2 missile.  Ex-CIA official Chet Nagle suggested that Israel might pursue that during a Capitol Hill  EMPact program on the EMP Threat several years ago. There is also the non nuclear option using swarms of Drone- launched CHAMP cruise missiles that could take out specific targets.  Examples are computer controllers and major power transformers for underground enrichment and centrifuge R& D facilities as well as command and control networks.    Israeli encrypted software managing large swarms of drones may provide a stealth shield against the Russian supplied S300 batteries. In September 2008 the IAF flew simulated missions against Greek S300 systems   involving swarms of IAF aircraft that rattled the IRGC military. From that exercise the IAF may have developed electronic means of spoofing these Russian systems version of S-300 air defense systems.  

 Bosum believes that Israel’s anti-missile umbrella including the Arrow anti-ICBM, David Sling, Iron Beam and Iron Dome systems, might not be able to withstand barrages of Iranian rockets and medium range ballistic missiles.   There is evidence from the Tel Aviv University Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) November 2012 Iran attack simulations that a conventional attack might succeed in setting back the Iranian program by three years.  Moreover, the simulations suggest that the anti-missile umbrella may destroy significant numbers of incoming Iranian missiles sparing Israel’s major population centers. From reliable sources we understand that Israel may have successfully conducted tests against North Korean developed Shahab 3 missiles likely candidates for nuclear equipped MIRV warheads.

The real issues for Israel are priorities and staging of a limited nuclear attack scenario on Iran’s nuclear program.  From release of  interview audio tapes  this weekend on Israeli Channel 2  by the authors of a forthcoming memoir of  former Defense Minister Ehud Barak   there were allegations  that  Netanyahu was thwarted  from undertaking possible Iran nuclear attack missions  because of objections from  former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, “cold feet” of Ministers Yuval Steinitz, Minister of Defense Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon  and  looming joint Israel US military exercises in 2012. There were reports that President Obama threatened to invoke the Brzezinski Doctrine with orders to shoot down IAF aircraft attacking Iranian targets.  Problem is Barak’s representations may have been part of a promotional effort to enhance his reputation and legacy.  There were also rumors that current Minister of Defense, Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon may have also revisited the limited Iran nuclear attack option this past year.  He broadly hinted  that “steps” might have to be taken during a May 5, 2015 conference in Tel Aviv hosted by the Israel Law Center, sufficient to bring a reaction from Iran’s UN Ambassador. Ya’alon was cited in a Times of Israel report saying:

 “Certain steps” Israel might consider against tyrannical regimes threatening the nation’s security.

Cases in which we feel like we don’t have the answer by surgical operations we might take certain steps that we believe…should be taken in order to defend ourselves.

Of course, we should be sure that we can look at the mirror after the decision, or the operation. Of course, we should be sure that it is a military necessity. We should consider cost and benefit, of course. But, at the end, we might take certain steps.

He was reminded of US president Harry Truman who “was asked how you feel after deciding to launch the nuclear bombs, Nagasaki and Hiroshima, causing at the end the fatalities of 200,000, casualties? And he said, "When I heard from my officers the alternative is a long war with Japan, with potential fatalities of a couple of millions, I thought it is a moral decision.

We are not there yet, Ya’alon then added.

Iranian President Rouhani and Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan with Fateh-313 Sold Fuel Missile, August 22, 2015

Source: Iranian Presidential office/AP

The Hezbollah Attack Scenario

The release in mid-August 2015 of a definitive national strategy document by IDF Chief of State (COS) Gen. Gadi Eizenkot,  criticized failures to combat both Hamas and Hezbollah, raised the risk from non-state fundamentalist Islamic State, but downplayed the Iran threat.   It is not without moment in late August that there was a stream of contradictory declarations from PM Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ya'alon that Iran is behind a series of low intensity and rocket attacks on Northern Israel and the Golan frontier since the beginning of this year. The attacks involved IRGC officers and Iranian proxies Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.  Israeli PM Netanyahu referencing acceptance of the Iran nuclear pact by world powers said, “You rush to embrace Iran, they fire rockets at us. We will harm those who harm us”

 From the assessments of retired Maj. Gen. Yaakov Amidror, former National Security Adviser, the immediate objective is the elimination of the near enemy and proxy of Iran, Hezbollah.  Recently Iran unveiled a new solid fuel surface to surface missile, the Fateh 313, that President Rouhani threatened  ballistic missile exercises would demonstrate the ability of longer range missiles to strike both Israel and Saudi Arabia.  The limited range of 310 miles of the Fateh-113 makes the weapon suitable for possible launch from Syria and Lebanon against population centers in Israel. Further, this threat is bolstered by the turmoil in Lebanon behind the unresolved political crisis over the possibility of a power grab by Hezbollah.

An Israeli pre-emptive attack scenario is at the heart of Jon Schanzer's article, “The Iran Nuclear Deal Means War between Israel and Hezbollah”.   Schanzer argues that the Iran nuclear deal may trigger a major war against Hezbollah to eliminate the Iranian- supplied rocket and missile inventories and the command and control echelons of Hezbollah.  Schanzer refers to discussions with senior Israeli defense officials who appear committed   to dislodge Hezbollah and destroy the huge inventory of 150,000 rockets and missiles in Lebanon. Israel has both air and naval combat capabilities to achieve this including interdiction of Iranian and Chinese supplied anti-ship missiles. Further, the IDF would not have to rely on those US-supplied GBU-28’s bunker busters.  It has sophisticated weapons like the Rafael SPICE precision guided glide bombs used to foil weapons deliveries from Syria to Hezbollah in the Bekaa Valley. It also has its own variant of the Boeing CHAMP cruise missiles capable of non-nuclear EMP effects against command and control nets. Moreover, unlike the inconclusive Second Lebanon War of 2006, the IDF has learned its lessons about unit training, command and control and effective means of taking out anti-air,  anti-tank rockets and  launching precision battlefield missiles, using the Iron Beam, Trophy and Pereh systems.   

This sequencing of threat priorities was reflected in a Wall Street Journal Weekend Edition Interview by Sohran Ahmari with former Saudi General and National Security Advisor Anwar Eshki, “The Saudis Reply to Iran’s Rising Danger.”  General Eshki held colloquies with Dr. Dore Gold   director general of the Israel Foreign Ministry. The most notable one was the public forum at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. General Eshki's conclusion drawn from a Socratic dialogue on the near versus far enemy decision paradigm was: "Israel is thinking first of all to destroy Hezbollah, to solve the problem with Hezbollah. After that they can attack Iran."

Walla News in Israel reported a senior defense official   saying that Israel may be capable of undertaking an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities and defending Israel against a retaliatory strike:

Every year that passes, the IDF improves. We never stand still. The professional level increases. In the coming year we will receive another submarine, F-35 fighter jets and other platforms. Intelligence is improving as well.

Further, Walla reported IDF COS Eizenkot instructing deputy, Maj. Gen. Yair Golan to revise military plans for a possible military strike. But it cautioned that the military option was off the table until there are ‘significant developments’.  That may be for public consumption. Israel has a tradition of saying nothing or opaquely very little when such events occur

Conclusion

The planners in the Ministry of Defense pits in Tel Aviv have multiple threats and must prioritize resources. By necessity Israel must plan for taking out the near enemy, Hezbollah, which would enable them to have a clear path to attack Iran.  Thus, it must be prepared to accomplish both threats.  At issue is whether Israel I PM Netanyahu and the security cabinet have the resolve to accomplish both despite adverse world opinion and likely intervention by the Obama Administration.

When Israeli PM Begin ordered the “raid against the sun’ in 1981 that took out Saddam Hussein’s  Osirak nuclear reactor , it took a decade for former Vice President Dick Cheney to thank Israel when the US led coalition unleashed the First Gulf War.  No such thanks came from the Bush Administration following the IAF’s successful obliteration of the Syrian al-Kibar nuclear bomb factory following the September 2007 raid.  . The Obama Administration has demonstrated its inability or unwillingness to exercise a possible military option should Iran be found cheating under the terms of the JCPOA. It has hollowed out the US military capability under the Congressional Sequester.  We have the smallest navy since WWI and the smallest Army since before WWII. We have less than 26,000 first line aircraft.  Israel has no choice, but to undertake its sovereign right to defend the Jewish nation against such existential threats.

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Posted on 08/26/2015 10:07 PM by Jerry Gordon
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Wednesday, 26 August 2015
National Dog Day
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Posted on 08/26/2015 3:50 PM by Rebecca Bynum
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Wednesday, 26 August 2015
King Salman Talks of Peace between Saudi Arabia and Israel
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It was a gratifying surprise, and a sign of the changing political configurations in the Middle East that the retired Saudi major general, Anwar Eshki, director of the Middle East Center for Strategic and Legal Studies in Jeddah, spoke on panels in Washington and New York in 2015 together with Dore Gold, the Israeli international relations expert soon to become director general of Israel’s foreign office, and advisor of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The improbable duo agreed on two crucial issues:  bringing peace between Arab countries and Israel; and building a Saudi-Israel peace which among other consequences could counter the expansion of Iran.

It would be fruitful and rewarding for the world, as well as the Middle East, if King Salman of Saudi Arabia could write a statement that would address the issue in the same manner. If one were presumptuous enough to write his statement it might go like this:

King Salmon’s letter to the International Community 

In view of the challenges we are facing in the Middle East it is imperative to call on the Arab nations in particular and the international community in general to initiate changes to foster peace in the area. We must move forward to positive activity in our area. All are now far more concerned with the threat of Iran and now also with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria than with the State of Israel.

The people of Saudi Arabia in a recent public opinion poll made known their views of who is the main adversary of their country: 53 per cent thought it was Iran, 22 thought it was the Islamic State, and only 18 per cent thought it was Israel. The world has noticed that we did not express any considerable criticism of Israel during its Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in 2014. I can reveal that there was talk of Israel offering its Iron Dome missile defense technology to us for use in Yemen.

The time is long overdue for my country, and the other Arab countries, to establish peace, diplomatic relations, economic and financial arrangements with the State of Israel. Our two countries seek the same objective, peace in our area, and are both aware of the major danger in the Middle East. Israel does not threaten any country, in the Middle East or elsewhere, but is itself threatened, as is Saudi Arabia, by a shared adversary, Iran.

Our two countries know that Iran’s intentions are twofold: to extend hegemony over the whole Middle East, and revive the “Persian Empire”; and to achieve as soon as possible a nuclear arsenal.

Saudi Arabia and Israel both realize that Iran is a state with an active offensive policy, one that is likely to be strengthened as a result of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action signed in Lausanne, an agreement, which at a minimum, will allow Iran to be in a position to develop nuclear weapons in the not too distant future.

Saudi Arabia and Israel are both concerned over Iran’s nuclear program and its regional ambitions.

We know that Iran will challenge us and boost its oil production as soon as sanctions are lifted. We are conscious of the impending danger. On August 23, 2015, Phillip Hammond the British Foreign Secretary remarked during his visit to Tehran that the United Nations Security Council sanctions will be removed in the spring of 2016.

It is true that Israeli and Saudi plans to deal with the common enemy are not completely aligned, especially regarding the possibility of an Israeli air strike against Iran. We also understand that Israel may first be concerned and anxious to deal with Iran’s proxies in the area, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, before committing itself to the larger problem of Iran.

We on the other hand call for a joint Arab military force to increase regional stability. We have already taken action to fight the Houthi rebels in Yemen who are backed by Iran. The rebels have ousted the president of Yemen and captured Sana’a, the capital of Yemen, and they are helping Iran to destabilize the region. We have helped stop the attempt of Iran to control the Bab al-Mandeb Strait. 

We favor the creation of a Greater Kurdistan, containing parts of Turkey, Iraq, and Iran, to reward the brave Kurds for their fight against terrorism and their actions to limit Iran’s ambitions in the Turkish territory. This will help in the struggle to control the Islamic State which is not only expanding its control of territory but also developing chemical, and perhaps also biological, weapons as has been shown by its use of chlorine in home made bombs.

We also realize that the Iran Supreme Leader and those who agree with his intentions, though they are Shiites, may have ambitions to capture Mecca and Medina, our two Holy Places. 

It is regrettable, in view of the changing nature of the Middle East, that we have no diplomatic relations with Israel, and have only had some private meetings with Israelis during the last few years. We proposed the Arab Peace Initiative in 2002. We understand that some of the original proposals, withdrawal of Israel from the Golan Heights and the return of Palestinian refugees to Israel, are not acceptable to Israel.

But the situation in the Middle East has changed in the ensuing 13 years, and the need for reconciliation with and understandings with Arab countries, is of the upmost importance. We suggest some changes, a new seven-point plan, to the original proposal. We therefore favor, and trust that other Arab states will follow the same policy, the establishment of diplomatic relations with Israel and the conclusion of a peace treaty with Palestinians. We are seriously considering the ending of the Arab League boycott of Israel.

We know that the Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, is planning to visit Iran in the near future, and that the PA, which already has an embassy in Tehran, wants to strengthen its relationship with Iran. We hope this will not prevent the Palestinians from pursuing negotiations with Israel.

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Posted on 08/26/2015 10:09 AM by Michael Curtis
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Tuesday, 25 August 2015
Could a Trash Crisis In Lebanon Bring Hezbollah to Power?
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Trash bins in Beirut, Lebanon

Source:  Daily Star

 

Trash has been piling up in the streets of Beirut for nearly two months.  This weekend violence erupted in the Grand Serail in central Beirut with the Army rushing in with water cannons to quell the crowds; dozens were reported injured.  An alleged non –sectarian activist group “You Stink” is directing its ire at the government, which lacks a President, usually a Maronite Christian in the confessional political system of Lebanon.  The Sunni premier, Tammam Salam is under fire, as Cabinet Ministers rejected new tenders to end the trash dispute.  Noteworthy is the alliance between Hezbollah’s and the Christian Maronite group Lebanon Forces are suggesting that a new government be elected, despite the postponement of a national election till 2017.  Such is the topsy turvy politics in Lebanon’s enigmatic political system, given the overarching problems of contending with Hezbollah involvement in the Iranian regime backed alliance with Syria’s Assad. The Lebanese trash crisis gives new meaning to the well tuned phrase by 19th Century American journalist, Charles Dudley Warner: “politics make strange bedfellows.”  Despite the alleged resilience and durability of the Lebanese confessional political system, could failure to obtain new tenders for the removal of stinking piles of trash on the streets of Lebanon’s cities result in Hezbollah emerging as the eminence grise behind a new government in Beirut?

Reuters has the latest developments in the roiling trash dispute turned violent, Lebanese ministers walk out of meeting over garbage crisis:”

The powerful Shi'ite party Hezbollah and its Christian allies walked out of an emergency Lebanese cabinet meeting on Tuesday in protest at a proposed solution to a garbage disposal crisis that has ignited violent protests in Beirut.

The national unity government led by Prime Minister Tammam Salam also canceled a tender to select new refuse collection firms, underscoring the difficulties it faces overcoming the crisis that has brought popular calls for it to step down.

Public anger that has come to a head over the trash crisis turned violent at the weekend, with scores of protesters and security forces injured. Salam has threatened to resign, expressing frustration at the failings of his cabinet, which groups Lebanon's rival parties.

Failure to agree a solution to the crisis has laid bare wider political stagnation in Lebanon, where sectarian and power rivalries have been exacerbated by Syria's four-year-old conflict.

Ministers including members of Hezbollah and Christian politician Michel Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement walked out of Tuesday's emergency meeting, the information minister said.

Hezbollah in a statement slammed the "mounting and worsening corruption" it said the garbage crisis reflected.

A government statement released after the walkout said tenders announced on Monday to award contracts for waste disposal to private companies had "included high costs", and had therefore been rejected.

Media reports and activists had accused the cabinet of awarding the contracts to a number of companies based on regional and political affiliation, reflecting alleged corruption and politicization of the issue.

The government said that as a temporary measure rubbish, which has festered on the streets of Beirut, would be tipped in Akkar province in north Lebanon, in return for a $100 million "sum" that would go toward development projects in that region.

The information minister said it was the proposed sum that triggered the walkout. Akkar, one of the poorest regions in Lebanon, is mostly Sunni but also has many Christian areas.

“You Stink” Cartoon

Source: The Daily Star, Beirut

Worsening problems emerge in the trash crisis.

Beirut-based activists from the "You Stink" campaign held two large rallies over the weekend and a smaller march on Monday, with calls for a solution to the rubbish crisis quickly turning into calls for the cabinet to resign.

Protest organizers have called on Lebanese at home and abroad to join them in a large rally on Saturday.

Lebanon's army commander General Jean Kahwaji said late on Monday the armed forces would protect any peaceful demonstrations but would not tolerate "security violators or infiltrators" who sought to sow "sedition and chaos."

Organizers of protests, which began peacefully, have blamed the violence on troublemakers whom they say are connected to rival sectarian parties. The U.N. special coordinator for Lebanon on Monday urged "maximum restraint" by all sides.

Calm has prevailed since the weekend clashes, however, and later Tuesday, workers were removing concrete blast walls erected the day before outside the cabinet headquarters which protesters had covered with colorful anti-government graffiti.

The protest campaign, which has mobilized independently of the big sectarian parties that dominate Lebanese politics, blames political feuding and corruption for the failure to resolve the crisis that has left piles of uncollected garbage stinking in the scorching sun in recent weeks.

The cabinet and parliament are deadlocked, and politicians have been unable to agree on a new president for more than a year while Syria's war next door has aggravated sectarian tensions and driven more than one million refugees into the country.

The Salam cabinet, formed last year with the blessing of regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran, has avoided a complete vacuum in the executive arm. It brings together Sunni Muslim former Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri's Future movement, Shi'ite Hezbollah and Christians.

But it has struggled to take even basic decisions and tension in cabinet has escalated over appointments in the security agencies and army.

Dr. Mordechai Nisan

This latest crisis comes as we are about to publish in the September edition of the NER   a book review and interview with Dr. Mordechai Nisan, a well published author  lecturer and  respected Israeli expert on Lebanon and minorities in the Middle East. In our interview with Nisan we asked a question about the survivability of the 80 year confessional political system in Lebanon. Here is the exchange:

 Gordon:  Did the assassination of Lebanese PM Hariri and the Cedars Revolution of 2005 spell the demise of the confessional system in Lebanon?

Nisan:      The durability of Lebanon's confessional political system remains in place. It is both traditional and consensual that the President be a Maronite, the Prime Minister a Sunni Muslim, and the Speaker of the Legislature a Shiite Muslim. These arrangements have persevered for some 80 years as an organic model for the special case of Lebanon.

In our review of his latest book, Politics and War in Lebanon: Unraveling the Enigma, we noted Nisan’s concluding commentary set against the background to the present political crisis:

With a vacant presidential post and parliamentary elections postponed until 2017, trouble looms for the country caught up in the vicissitudes of the Syrian civil war spilling over its borders bringing a flood of refugees and a roiling trash crisis.Nisan wrote about a hopeful sign, “The March 14 camp asked Patriarch Beshara a – Ra’I to suggest names for the presidential post. Maybe somehow two Maronites –patriarch and president would help save the country from oblivion.” The expression in Hebrew is, Alevai. Its English meaning, “That should only be.”

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Posted on 08/25/2015 11:57 AM by Jerry Gordon
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Tuesday, 25 August 2015
Mother Sends Son to Somalia to Escape Gangs in Minnesota
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That's the story anyway. Unfortunately, he was killed by the Somali locals instead.
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Posted on 08/25/2015 11:13 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Tuesday, 25 August 2015
Trump Bashes $4 Billion In IRS Refunds To Illegals
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Robert W. Wood writes in Forbes:

President Obama and Donald Trump see immigration differently. The President’s aggressive executive action on immigration is still being litigated, and Mr. Trump proposes action of a different kind. In the meantime, tax credits and refunds for illegal immigrants have become controversial. Mr. Trump says illegal immigrants get $4.2 billion in tax credits. He can point to a 2011 audit by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. It confirms that individuals who are not authorized to work in the United States were paid $4.2 billion in refundable credits.

It sounds crazy, and yet one source says Trump is the one being unfair, taking this out of context, and not counting their taxes paid. Bear in mind that undocumented immigrants cannot legitimately get Social Security numbers. However, they can file taxes with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number or ITIN. They are not supposed to get the Earned Income Tax Credit, but they can receive the additional child tax credit.

That, rather than Mr. Trump, is the culprit. Mr. Trump might also point out the arguably bigger flap over the illegal immigrants whose status would be legitimized under the President’s executive action. That boondoggle is arguably even bigger, involving the Earned Income Tax Credit. Yet, it is the same refundable tax credit responsible for billions in fraudulent refunds

The recipe goes like this. First, get a Social Security Number, then claim the Earned Income Tax Credit for the last three years. Then, wait for the IRS to send you three years of tax refunds. The gambit could apparently work even if you never paid taxes, never filed a return, and worked off the books. And the IRS says this is the way the Earned Income Tax Credit works.

Cautious IRS Commissioner Koskinen himself explained the seemingly bizarre result to Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa). Illegal immigrants covered by the President’s amnesty deal can claim back tax credits for work they performed illegally, even if they never filed a tax return during those years. This written response clarified the IRS chief’s earlier statements, confirming that illegals can get back taxes. ...

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Posted on 08/25/2015 10:52 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Tuesday, 25 August 2015
The Holocaust is Still With Us
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On August 21, 2015 the Israeli born actress Natalie Portman, who won an Oscar in 2011 for her role as an obsessed ballerina in the film Black Swan, made a controversial debut on the political stage. She commented that the Holocaust has been the focus of too much attention from some in the Jewish community, and that it should not be used as a paranoid way of thinking that we (Jews) are victims.

Ms. Portman is recognized as an impressive actress but her political views and the timing of her political statement would not receive an Oscar. Portman may not be obsessed by the question of the Holocaust, but other contrary views appeared virtually simultaneously. The Holocaust issue was ignited about the same time of her statement by non-Jews in two ways: one by the notorious British Holocaust denier David Irving; the other by the publication of extraordinary heartrending photographs of the humiliation and murder of Jews in Ukraine during World War II.

With brazen immodesty David Irving sells himself as the world’s most respected historian, and the world’s top expert on World War II. Most of the world thinks otherwise. He lost a court case when in 1996 he sued Professor Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin Books for defamation concerning his denial of the existence of Nazi gas chambers, and in another case was sentenced to three years imprisonment by an Austrian court in 2006 for denying the Holocaust.

In London in late July 2015, Irving addressed a secret meeting of 120 fascist sympathizers and neo-Nazis, some of whom wore black T-shirts with the logo of European fascist groups, and others were dressed in camouflage with chains. Other speakers at this gathering of the most well known international holocaust deniers included an individual who describes himself as the “best friend” of Rudolf Hess, and the American Mark Weber, director of the Institute for Historical Review and publisher of a journal that promotes holocaust denial.

More startling than the disgraceful ignorance and bigotry of these Holocaust deniers is the publication in August 2015 in the London Daily Mail of evidence of the still not fully revealed enormity of the Holocaust in Ukraine. This evidence is mainly due to the work of a French Catholic priest Father Patrick Desbois, consultant to the Vatican and co-founder in 2004 of Yahad-in-Unum, whose objectives are to confront antisemitism and to further relations between Catholics and Jews.

Desbois a forensic anthropologist, published Holocaust by Bullets, on the Nazi mobile units that killed the Jewish population of small villages. Over the last decade he has been concerned with identifying and locating mass graves of Jews killed during the Holocaust in Eastern Europe. In careful research in Russia, Germany, and Washington D.C., and by inspections of villages across the Ukraine and Eastern Europe and interviews with residents, Father Desbois and his team of Yahad-in-Unum have uncovered 2,000 mass killing sites in the continent of extermination.

Unlike Natalie Portman and like-minded persons, Desbois wants to make the world more, not less, aware of the assassinations of Jews. He asserts that some of the facts of the genocide have not been declared. He estimates that more than 1.5 million, more than the usually quoted figure, of victims were buried in the graves he found in Ukraine. He is anxious to locate all the sites, there may be more than 6,000 other sites to be uncovered, before all the witnesses, who only recently were ending their vow of silence about the atrocities, have died. Thus history will not die with the witnesses. Desbois is aware that otherwise the Holocaust deniers will overreact, as they have always done, and proclaim that Jews have falsified the story.

The sickening photographs and script made public in August 2015 reveal in horrifying detail the humiliation, public beatings in the street, whippings, and individual murder of perhaps as many as 1.6 million Jews who were summarily shot and buried in graves nearby. Often, Jews were forced to dig pits and to strip naked before being killed, or were buried alive. Jews were killed for fun, or because of boredom, anger, drunkenness, or to rape the girls. The perpetrators ransacked the clothes of the victims for cash and valuables.

Another interesting point emerges from this history. In the town of Rava Ruska the Germans killed 25,000 Soviet prisoners. There is now a memorial for those prisoners. But an even larger number of Jews were murdered there or in the area, and there are no memorials for the mass graves of the Jews.

The Nazis of course were responsible for the Holocaust, but the Ukrainian local Auxiliary Police forces, trained by the Nazis, played an active role. In Lyov, where more than 4,000 Jews were killed, a Ukrainian mob took part in the stripping and humiliation of Jewish women in the streets. It is horrifying to see the smiling faces of Ukrainian bystanders who watched Jewish men and women being humiliated. It is a reminder that about a quarter of all Jews killed in the genocide were Ukrainian Jews.

One remembers that Ukrainians suffered in the years of 1932-33 with the Holodomor, the intentional famine policy of Stalin, which they address as a genocide equal to that of the Nazi genocide. Nevertheless, it is disconcerting that Ukrainians spokespeople excuse their past and stress this while ignoring the antisemtism and the role Ukrainians played in the mass murder in their country.

Ukraine has yet come to terms with the past, as Germany and Poland have tried to do. Jews are still being assaulted in Kiev, Jewish synagogues, monuments and cemeteries are still being desecrated. Antisemitic pamphlets are being distributed. Ukrainian nationalists still express antisemitic sentiments. Oleh Tyahnybok, the leader of the political party Svoboda, called on the president of the country to end the “criminal activities of organized Jewry,” as well as asserting that Ukraine was controlled by a “Moscow-Jewish Mafia.” 

Above all, there have been little or no official or unofficial apologies for the brutal actions of Ukrainians during the war, apologies that have come from other countries, especially France and Germany. At this moment when Ukraine seeks sympathy and American aid in its struggle with Russia, and when the U.S. considers its policy towards the area, it might do well to apologize for its misdeeds in the past and attempt to close the dark pages of its history.

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Posted on 08/25/2015 10:26 AM by Michael Curtis
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Tuesday, 25 August 2015
French President Hollande’s Message to Turkey: Strike ISIS not Kurds
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French President Hollande and Turkish President Erdogan

The revelations about the Moroccan Jihadi, who brave Americans, Brit and French took down on the Thayles fast train last Friday, clearly indicated Ayoub El-Kanazzi’s travels to Turkey, were to confer with alleged French ISIS fighters.   Following the glowing tributes and medals bestowed at the Elysee Palace to Americans, Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler and Brit Chris Norman, French President turned his political attention to Turkey’s President Erdogan.  He issued a statement today suggesting that Erdogan concentrate hitting ISIS targets instead of Kurdish PKK forces in both Syria and Iraq. Reuters reported these developments in an article, “France’s Hollande: Turkey Needs to Ramp up Islamic State Fight:”

 French President Francois Hollande said on Tuesday Turkey must do more to tackle Islamic State in Syria and urged it to restore dialogue with Kurdish groups after launching strikes against them more than a month ago.

Hollande delivered his annual foreign policy speech to French ambassadors a day after the Turkish foreign minister told Reuters that Turkey and the United States would launch air operations to push Islamic State from a border area in northern Syria, something that could help prevent the militants bringing in fighters and arms in.

"All the players need to be part of the solution. I'm thinking of Gulf Arab states and Iran. I'm thinking of Turkey that needs to be involved in the fight against Islamic State and needs to relaunch dialogue with the Kurds." Hollande said.

Turkey's critics say it has used its role in the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State as a cover to attack Kurdish PKK fighters and stem Kurdish political and territorial ambitions. Ankara says it is conducting a "synchronized war on terror"

[…]

Hollande also said the deal reached with Iran over its nuclear program opened a window of opportunity to include it in resolving regional crises such as Syria, where it is Assad's primary backer.

"We must ask Iran to associate itself with the resolution of crises that are devastating the region," Hollande said. "Iran must be a constructive player."

Hollande is putting on brave face following the close call last Friday with a heavily armed Moroccan Jihadist on the Thalys train taken down by US, Brit and French heroes. He's requesting that Turkey's Islamist President Recep Tayyip Erdogan go after ISIS instead of the PKK and Kurdish resistance forces in both Iraq and Syria. Add to that hoping that Iran, an accomplice in the Axis of Evil including Russia, Syria and North Korea, would aid in removal of Bashar Assad is truly whistling past the graveyard. But then Hollande acquiesced to approval of the Iran nuclear pact given glowing economic opportunities for French companies like Total and Peugeot.

 Erdogan is caught in a trap of his own making. He snookered his admirer Obama by relenting on the use of the Incirlik air base, while sending his F-16s to attack PKK bastions on the Quandil Mountain in northern Iraq, leaving the USAF to attack ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq. Then he rounded up the usual PKK suspects in southeastern Turkey and found both he and his security forces in an internal revolt by Kurds in Southeastern Turkey.

Because the minority Kurdish party in the Ankara parliament, the HDP, won eighty seats, by attacking the Kurds inside Turkey, that will ensure another political fiasco now that he's called for a new snap election in October. So-called Conservative Kurds who fell for his sinuous Islamist appeal are bailing, which translates to the HDP increasing its stake of possible seats in this coming election. Add to that the swooning Turkish economy. So, the neo Ottoman Sultan in Ankara may find himself in a stalemate quagmire of his own making and the elusive executive authoritarian Presidency beyond his reach.

Having said all that Hollande unlike Obama is correct that Turkey has to shut down the cross border flood of ISIS wannabees into Syria. But then Erdogan wouldn't make illicit profits from the sale of antiquities and smuggled oil from the Islamic State. Moreover, his ally, the IHH Muslim charity, involved with the Mavi Marmara incident off Gaza in 2010, wouldn't be able to ship cash and weapons for the Sunni supremacists in Raqaa, Syria. Further, his seeking that 60 mile buffer zone in northwest Syria abutting the Turkish frontier may not become a reality. The US and others suggest that a no-fly zone based on the model from the 1990's in Saddam Hussein's Iraq may be the best solution. Besides the buffer zone was supposed to solve two problems: a means of sending back Syrian refugees and blunt a Kurdish push to seal the frontier perhaps all the way to the Mediterranean. So, thank you President Hollande for the honors you bestowed on our heroic boys and for the clarity of your message to Islamist recalcitrant, Turkish President Erdogan, an alleged NATO ally. On Iran, M. Hollande, you bought into the nuclear pact because of glittering economic prizes to French companies.  You may have inadvertently  have let loose the dogs of war against Israel via proxy Hezbollah.

 

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Posted on 08/25/2015 9:14 AM by Jerry Gordon
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Tuesday, 25 August 2015
Rhett: "I want to see if somewhere there isn't something left in life of charm and grace."
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Forget it, says Elizabeth Boyd. She wants to ban southern belle balls.

Is there nothing humorless academics can't ruin?

"I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow."
 

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Posted on 08/25/2015 8:14 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Tuesday, 25 August 2015
The Horror of It!
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Football Coaches and Chaplains 'Instill Christianity in Vulnerable Young Men.'
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Posted on 08/25/2015 8:04 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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