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Recent Publications from New English Review Press
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


















Friday, 27 March 2015
Actress Agnes Soral Analyzes Her Brother Alain's Descent Into Lunatic Antisemitism
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Here.

Alain Soral is the real "far-right" in France, and because that "far right" is characterized by one thing -- fanatical antisemitism -- he can and does make common cause with M'bala M'bala Dieudonne. Neither, of course, has anything bad to say about Islam. For the crazed antisemites, Islam  is not to be examined, analysed, criticised, worried about, because that would get in the way, you see, of the continued demonization of Jews, in and out of Israel. As in the late 1930s, antisemites are a security threat all over the Westen world. Then, they minimized or ignored the threat -- clear to Wiinston Churchill but not only to him -- of Hitler's Germany sometimes deriding it as merely a matter of "Jewish propaganda."  See, for more, John Roy Carlson's report on his descent into that world, which he compiled as his contribution to the American war effort, in his book Under Cover. It went through two dozen reprintings in 1943. It's worth reprinting now. And his Cairo To Damascus, about the attempt to smother at birth the nascent state of Israe, though last reprinted in 2008, needs to be reprinted again.

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Posted on 03/27/2015 8:35 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 27 March 2015
Amnesty International's Singular Explosion Of Candor On The Gaza Campaign
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The "Palestinian" rockets were responsible for the deaths of their own civilians, in two ways.

One we know about -- the deliberate firing of rockets right  from the middle of civilian areas, including schools, hotels, hospitals, and so on.

The second is what this report from Amnstey International discusses -- the number of Arabs killed by misfired rockets from their own bezonians.

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Posted on 03/27/2015 8:26 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 27 March 2015
Turkish Muslims In Germany: Those Gastarbeiter Now Neither Guests Nor Working
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The figures here.
 

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Posted on 03/27/2015 8:16 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 27 March 2015
Saudi Researcher Ali Al-Ahmed On Yemen, And The Fate Of The Al-Saud
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Described as a "Saudi researcher" -- an ambiguous description, because it does not make clear if he does research on Saudi Arabia or, more likely, is a native of Saudi Arabia, Ali al-Ahmed is, to judge by his name, Shi'a. But even if he is not, he does not favor the Al-Saud regime and rightly says that the Saudi bombing of the Houthis is done not to defend free elections and the constitution in Yemen, but simply to keep Yemen from becoming too dangerously independent and more of a danger to the Saudis..

Here.

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Posted on 03/27/2015 7:44 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 27 March 2015
Father of 'jihadi bride' schoolgirl attended 2012 Islamist rally attended by Lee Rigby's killer and led by preacher Anjem Choudary
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To quote the leading comment on the Daily Mail : That apple didn't fall far from the tree, then

The father of one of the three schoolgirl 'jihadi brides' attended an Islamist rally led by firebrand preacher Anjem Choudary. Abase Hussen can be seen chanting 'Allahu Akbar' amid dozens of protesters and standing just yards away as the flags of Israel and U.S. are burned. The footage shows him at the head of the demonstration which was also attended by Michael Adebolajo, the killer of soldier Lee Rigby.

His daughter, Amira Abase, 15, fled the UK with two of her closest friends to join Islamic State last month sparking a national outcry. Mr Hussen, who is originally from Ethiopia, led public appeals for her return as their families blamed the authorities for failing to stop them.He addressed MPs at the Home Affairs Select Committee and was filmed appealing for help while clutching his daughter's teddy bear.

But at no time has he mentioned his own passion for militant Islam or attendance at one of the most notorious rallies of the last few years

Mr Hussen was caught on camera in one of a wave of terrifying demonstrations that took place across the world in September 2012. Thousands took to the streets to protest against an obscure film called Innocence of Muslims, which was criticised for ridiculing Islam. In London, more than 150 clashed with police outside the U.S. Embassy in Mayfair as they chanted 'burn, burn USA' and 'Allahu Akbar' (God is great).

Images posted online show Mr Hussen at the head of the march, reaching towards an Israeli flag as it is burned.

A U.S. stars and stripes was also set on fire. His distinctive face can also be seen as the march moves along the street beside a line of police carriers and officers. He can also be seen marching behind a banner reading: 'The followers of Mohammed will conquer America.'

Among the rabble-rousers at the march was notorious hate preacher Choudary, with Adebolajo at his side. Two men were arrested as the angry mob called for shariah law to be imposed across the UK

Earlier this week Mr Hussen travelled to Turkey with relatives of the other two girls. He has since returned to the flat he shares with his wife in East London but could not be contacted last night.

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Posted on 03/27/2015 3:35 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Thursday, 26 March 2015
This is Awkward
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From the Washington Post.

BAGHDAD — Iraqi militia forces that have led the fight against Islamic State militants in Tikrit balked at U.S. intervention Thursday, saying that although most would remain in their positions, they will refuse to proceed with an offensive on the city.

One Shiite militia, Kitaeb Hezbollah, which is designated by the United States as a terrorist organization, said it would go as far as shooting down any plane belonging to the U.S.-led coalition in the area.

Another militia announced that it intends to withdraw.

The opening of the U.S. airstrikes in Tikrit on Wednesday drew Washington into a battle that has pitted the militants against Iraqi forces dominated by Iranian-backed militias, many of which are hostile to the United States.

An estimated 20,000 ground troops involved in the Tikrit offensive belong to what are known as “popular mobilization units” — an affiliation of Shiite volunteer fighters that formed after a call to arms from Iraq’s leading Shiite cleric but which has also become an umbrella for Shiite militia groups.

 

Although the United States wants Shiite militias off the battlefield, Iraqi officials have indicated that they plan for at least part of the popular mobilizations to be included in a new offensive for the city. That sets Haider al-Abadi’s government up for a potentially embarrassing public power struggle. Although the Iraqi government claims to control the mobilization units, militia leaders say the units follow their command.

If the freeze stands, it will mean that official Iraqi security forces, which have so far played a limited role in the fight, will be left to clear Tikrit alone.

The fight for Tikrit is considered a crucial test in the wider fight to drive the Islamic State from strongholds in northern Iraq, including Mosul, which has been the symbol and center of Islamic State power in Iraq since the militants took it last summer.

“All the popular mobilization will refuse to fight until the American airstrikes stop,” said Moeen al-Khadami, head of the popular mobilization committee on Baghdad’s provincial council. “Let them try to do it without us. America is just trying to steal our victory.”

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Posted on 03/26/2015 3:14 PM by Rebecca Bynum
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Thursday, 26 March 2015
A Musical Interlude: Love Locked Out (Al Bowlly)
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Listen here.

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Posted on 03/26/2015 8:00 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 26 March 2015
Approaching The Humanities Through Soccer
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Here.

Harvard, humanities, Viktor Shklovsky, soccer -- what could be better?

The instructor who highfalutin'ly claims that  "shaking things up" through this kind of course is just like Viktor Shklovky's "ostranenie" or, anglice,  "making strange" or, in German,Verfremsdungeffekt, one of the most important of the literary devices Shklovsky identified in "Art As Devices" (Iskusstvo Kak Priyom) is off base, because shaking things up, by studying why some call soccer "a beautiful game,"  is not the same thing as making them strange. Or should I have refrained from using "off base" because it belongs to another sport?  And do you find it unsporting not to greet this addition to the curriculum with delight, and instead to deplore this effort of instructors to appeal cravenly to students, to try to get them interested, by holding up for solemn study what already receives too much attention, in concocting this course that surrenders to the spirit of the age, does not distinguish the permanent from the passing, and reveals a failure of these teachers of the humanities to take as their truest task the transmission of culture, history, literature. This soccer course may not be as unacceptable as courses about "the philosophy of Hip-Hop" that Harvard also endorsed when it hired, and then gave tenure, in the very department, Philosophy, that once included, at the same time, William James, Charles Sanders Pierce, Josiah Royce, to Tommie Shelby, son-in-law of Thomas Scanlon, professor and recently head of the Philosophy Department, after a "nation-wide search."  But that's faint praise.

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Posted on 03/26/2015 7:24 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 26 March 2015
The Objects That Are Disappearing From Our Lives
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Here.

And here's that passage in Pnin that must now be read with ubi-sunt awareness:  

"With the help of the janitor he screwed onto the side of the desk a pencil sharpener — that highly satisfying, highly philosophical instrument that goes ticonderoga-ticonderoga, feeding on the yellow finish and sweet wood, and ends up in a kind of soundlessly spinning ethereal void as we all must."

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Posted on 03/26/2015 6:33 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 26 March 2015
Co-Pilot Gameel Al-Batouti Of Egypt Air Flight 990
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Posted on 03/26/2015 5:30 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 26 March 2015
One Pilot Locked Out in Germanwings Crash
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NYTimes:

PARIS — As officials struggled Wednesday to explain why a jet with 150 people on board crashed amid a relatively clear sky, an investigator said evidence from a cockpit voice recorder indicated one pilot left the cockpit before the plane’s descent and was unable to get back in.

A senior French military official involved in the investigation described a “very smooth, very cool” conversation between the pilots during the early part of the flight from Barcelona, Spain, to Düsseldorf, Germany. Then the audio indicated that one of the pilots left the cockpit and could not re-enter.

“The guy outside is knocking lightly on the door, and there is no answer,” the investigator said. “And then he hits the door stronger, and no answer. There is never an answer.”

He said, “You can hear he is trying to smash the door down.”

While the audio seemed to give some insight into the circumstances leading to the Germanwings crash on Tuesday morning, it also left many questions unanswered.

“We don’t know yet the reason why one of the guys went out,” said the official, who requested anonymity because the investigation was continuing. “But what is sure is that at the very end of the flight, the other pilot is alone and does not open the door.”

The names, nationalities and most importantly, the religions of the two pilots have not been released.

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Posted on 03/26/2015 4:49 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Thursday, 26 March 2015
Obama Administration Declassifies Secret Report on Israeli Nuclear Program
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Satellite Imagery of Israel's Dimona Nuclear Development Center in Negev

Just before Israeli PM Netanyahu addressed a joint meeting of Congress on March 3rd, the Pentagon declassified a secret 1987 report prepared by the Institute for Defense Analysis revealing Israel's classified nuclear program.  The release was occassioned by a Freedom of Information Act request  by the virulently anti-Israel  Institute for Reearch -Middle East Policy.   A long held mutual understanding that to declassify the secret report  would expose the Jewish nation's known but unrevealed nuclear weapons capabilities thereby making it a pariah state who is not presently a signatory to the Non Proliferation Treaty, that Iran is a signatory. This unilateral  action by the Obama Administration would would bring international pressure on Israel to become a signatory of the UN  Non Proliferation Treaty and be subject to intrusive UN IAEA inspections. A further consequence of the Administration's declassification of the secret report on Israel's nuclear program is it  would provide a targeting file on possible attack scenarios in any retaliatory exchange with rogue nuclear states.  Perhaps, Iran if it became a nuclear threshold state under the proposed political framework agreement of the P5+1, should that become a reality. This action is seen by many analysts as further evidence of the revenge campaign  unleashed by the Obama White House following the re-election  of Prime Minister Netanyahu on March 17th now poised to form a ruling coalition with a majority in the new Knesset.  

Read this Brietbart Reports, article, Administration Declassifies Top-Secret Doc That Reveals Israel’s Nuclear Secrets

The Pentagon has declassified a document that was once labeled “top-secret,” which goes into sophisticated detail about Israel’s nuclear weapons program. The document was released quietly just prior to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s March 3 speech to a joint session of Congress.

Israel has never officially confirmed or denied the existence of a nuclear weapon’s program within its borders.

The Pentagon declassified sections covering Israel’s nuclear program, but “kept sections on Italy, France, West Germany and other NATO countries classified, with those sections blocked out in the document,” Israel National News reported.

The 386-page top-secret memo, titled, “Critical Technological Assessment in Israel and NATO Nations,” goes into great detail about how Israel turned into a nuclear power in the 1970s and 80s.

“As far as nuclear technology is concerned the Israelis are roughly where the U.S. was in the fission weapon field in about 1955 to 1960,” the report assesses.

The report was written by the Institute for Defense Analysis in 1987, which was federally funded and contracted by the Pentagon.

Israel is “developing the kind of codes which will enable them to make hydrogen bombs. That is, codes which detail fission and fusion processes on a microscopic and macroscopic level,” the report states.

The report commends that the Israelis found “ingeniously clever” solutions to solve its problems in advancing the nuclear program, largely due to the “ingenious Israeli inventions” at a “key research and development laboratory in Israel.”

The Pentagon declassified the document after Grant Smith, an activist who heads a radical anti-Israel group, filed a Freedom of Information Act request, according to reports.

Smith’s Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy organizes an anti-Israel conference each year in Washington, D.C. Last year, the conference featured speakers from anti-Semitic and pro-Islamist publications. During the Q & A session, a speaker openly called for education about the supposed “Zionist-Nazi collaboration” during the Holocaust, while another endorsed the possibility that “Israel had a hand in 9/11.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted on 03/26/2015 2:32 AM by Jerry Gordon
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Thursday, 26 March 2015
Durie: Challenging Islam's Warrant to Kill
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Australian Anglican pastor and authority of Qu'anic doctrine, Dr. Mark Durie, is a well respected expert, widely published columnist,  and author of The Third Choice: Islam, Dhimmitude and Freedom. See our review of Third Choice in the February 2010 New English Review; Dhimmitude Dominates.


On January 19, 2015, Dr. Durie joined our noted colleague ,Dr. Richard L. Rubenstein, in a presentation “Responses to Jihad from Christian and Jewish Theological Perspectives,” sponsored by the Ethel and Irwin S. Hausman Memorial Speakers Series at Congregation Ahavath Torah in Stoughton Massacusetts in January 2015 moderated  by noted expert on Halacha Jewish and Sharia law, Rabbi Jonathan Hausman and frequent contribuor to the NER, his borther Matthew Hausman.   See also Durie's, "Bearing the Cross; A Letter to ISIS" in the current March 2015 NER.

In this Middle East Forum/FrontPageMagazine article, "Challenging Islam's Warrant to Kill", Dr. Durie cites and explains the Qur;anic doctrine used by the Hacking Division of the Islamic Doctrine providing a license to Salafist Muslim in the US to attack and behead US military personnel residing here. Remember that the Islamic State Calphate is emblematic of the purest form of Islam exemplified by Mohammed and his followers who became the earliest Caliphs. It is not the political correct view of Islam espoused by Sunni Muslim sheiks and Imams under the guise of  pure taqiyya; Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance- only among its adherants. Kauffirs- unbelievers when subjugated through Muslim conquest are offered a choice to  either convert, be killed or pay the jizya- hush money to avoid being beheaded- "smitten on the neck".

Durie writes:

There is much talk these days of radicalization and deradicalization. At the heart of both processes are religious ideas: theological dogmas.  What are some of the key theological principles which might cause a Muslim to take this call seriously? What is the Islamic reasoning given by the IS Hacking Division in support of its call to kill non-Muslims?

The Hacking Division quote two verses of the Qur’an:

  • Sura 9:123 ‘fight believers who are near to you’ and

  • Sura 9:14 ‘Fight them; Allah will punish them by your hands and will disgrace them and give you victory over them, and satisfy [actually yashfi ‘heal’] the breasts of a believing people’.

The meaning of these two verses hangs upon the word qātilū, translated here as ‘fight’. The verbal root q-t-l from which qātilū is formed means ‘kill’, so the the Arabic actually means ‘fight to kill’ (see discussion here). These Qur’anic verses truly are commands to kill non-Muslims.

The second quoted verse, from Sura 9:14, puts forward a view concerning what Muslims should do about emotional pain and anguish they may experience because of unbelievers.  ‘Allah’, the verse says, ‘will heal the breasts’ of Muslims, – and then the sentence continues into the next verse – ‘and remove the rage of their hearts’.

The key concept here is that if Muslims have strong feelings, including anger, against non-Muslims, their emotional distress will subside and be ‘healed’ as they kill, humiliate and triumph over non-believers. Strange therapy indeed for the human soul!  According to the Qur’an, in order to secure inner  ‘peace’, calm within the Muslim soul can be secured by shedding non-Muslim blood.

These are stock-standard verses used to urge Muslims to go for jihad against disbelievers. However what most caught my eye in the Hacking Division’s call to arms against infidels in America was but a reference to Muhammad’s teachings. The Hacking Division refers to hadith 4661 in a published English version of the Sahih Muslim (translated by Abdul Hamid Sidiqqi).

The Sahih Muslim is one of the most revered and authoritative sources for the teaching and example of Muhammad, whose life is considered exemplary and compulsory for Muslims to emulate.  This particular hadith can be found on page 1263 of Volume 3 of the English edition:

Chapter 789 (DCCLXXXIX)

About a man who killed a disbeliever and embraced Islam.
(4661) It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: A disbeliever and a believer who killed him will never be gathered together in Hell. [See here.]

 

This is a most significant statement. It is saying that if a Muslim kills a non-Muslim, they cannot both end up in hell.  The alternative to hell is paradise, so in other words, killing a non-Muslim – who is destined for hell due to their unbelief – can provide a sure ticket to paradise for a Muslim.

 

 

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Posted on 03/26/2015 1:33 AM by Jerry Gordon
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Wednesday, 25 March 2015
Ithaca Newspaper response to Project Veritas Cornell ISIS Video: "wildly misleading and dumb"
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When I  commented this about the Project Veritas Cornell  ISIS video on my personal Facebook page::

O'Keefe Project Veritas exposes Cornell Dean of Students suggesting that Student activities funds might support an ISIS Club. Is this carrying freedom of expression to the ultimate extreme at one of America's elite universities? We wonder how many other elite campus Student Deans would follow Assistant Dean Scaffido's reasoning. Moreover, what would be the reaction of Cornell's President and Trustees to Scaffido's comment in this latest O'Keefe investigative video.

Below is the response by the editor of the on-line news outlet The Ithaca Voice" to the O'Keefe Project Veritas  video alleging an Assiistant Dean supported an ISIS chapter at the Ithaca, New York Campus.  In it you will find a comment from Cornell's President, David Skorton.

Editorial: Video about Cornell dean and ISIS is wildly misleading and dumb

Ithaca, N.Y. — A hidden camera video purporting to show an assistant dean at Cornell supporting ISIS is getting widely circulated in the online media today.

This is a shame, because the video is both wildly misleading and very dumb.

The video, released by James O’Keefe’s “Veritas Project,” aims to prove that a secret Ivy League conspiracy supports the terrorist group the Islamic State. In fact, all it shows is that O’Keefe has no ethical or intellectual reservations about publicly shaming someone without cause.

We could point out the false and misleading narration, the interviewer’s lack of explicit reference to “ISIS,” the bizarre video editing. We could point out that the person being interviewed clearly doesn’t understand what he’s being asked, or that he’s merely doing his job as a university official.

But let’s go to the more fundamental question: Do even the people who made the video really believe that a Cornell assistant dean supports a student group backing ISIS? And if the videographers do believe this, why wouldn’t they ask the dean this question? Why pretend to ask the Cornell official about a “humanitarian group” helping victims in Syria and Iraq if they want to learn Cornell’s stance on the group universally known as “ISIS?”

We know the answer: Because the interviewer and O’Keefe are more interested in getting a video they can use to grab attention than in actually learning what’s happening on university campuses.

President David Skorton released a statement Wednesday pretty much saying as much, confirming what was already readily apparent to the neutral-minded observer:

“It is shameful that any individual would pose as a student facing racial discrimination at another university, ask leading questions on hidden camera about Cornell’s tolerance for differing viewpoints and backgrounds, and then conveniently splice together the resulting footage to smear our assistant dean and our University,” Skorton said.

“After speaking with Assistant Dean (Joe) Scaffido, I am convinced that he was not aware of what he was being asked.

What’s remarkable to us about Skorton’s statement is not what it said but that it needed to be released at all.

This was the case, regrettably, because the video has been taen seriously by media outlets in sites such as Fox News, Syracuse.com, CNYCentral.com, Capital New York and Mediaite.

These writers hide behind a veil of “reporting” on an event, trying to distance themselves from the claims in O’Keefe’s video. But by neutrally recirculating the video’s claims, they are complicit in its ethical lapses.

 

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Posted on 03/25/2015 2:55 PM by Jerry Gordon
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Wednesday, 25 March 2015
Sgt. Bergdhal Charged with Desertion
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Breaking Fox News reports that "Sgt. Bergdahl is charged with  Desertion Officials say':

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was taken captive by the Taliban after abandoning his post in Afghanistan and later freed in exchange for five Guantanamo detainees, will be charged with desertion, officials told Fox News. 

The development comes nearly one year after his May 2014 release -- which initially was a joyous occasion, with his family joining President Obama in celebrating the news in the Rose Garden. But that gave way to controversy in Washington as Bergdahl was accused of putting his fellow soldiers in danger by abandoning his post five years earlier. The trade of five hardened Taliban fighters for his freedom raised deep concerns on Capitol Hill that the administration struck an unbalanced deal. 

The military plans to address the case at a press conference Wednesday afternoon at Fort Bragg in North Carolina

Now Playing

Army Sgt. Bergdahl to be charged with desertion

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was taken captive by the Taliban after abandoning his post in Afghanistan and later freed in exchange for five Guantanamo detainees, will be charged with desertion, officials told Fox News. 

The development comes nearly one year after his May 2014 release -- which initially was a joyous occasion, with his family joining President Obama in celebrating the news in the Rose Garden. But that gave way to controversy in Washington as Bergdahl was accused of putting his fellow soldiers in danger by abandoning his post five years earlier. The trade of five hardened Taliban fighters for his freedom raised deep concerns on Capitol Hill that the administration struck an unbalanced deal. 

The military plans to address the case at a press conference Wednesday afternoon at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. 

 

Fox News has learned he will be specifically charged with desertion and misbehavior toward the enemy. A senior U.S. official said he will face a court martial and likely trial. 

Bergdahl walked away from his post in Afghanistan and was captured, then released by the Taliban in a prisoner exchange. 

Gen. Mark Milley, head of U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, has been reviewing the massive case files and had a broad range of legal options, including various degrees of desertion charges. 

A major consideration was whether military officials would be able to prove that Bergdahl had no intention of returning to his unit -- a key element in the more serious desertion charges.

Fox News' Jennifer Griffin and Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

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Posted on 03/25/2015 2:08 PM by Jerry Gordon
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Wednesday, 25 March 2015
What Muslims Have Destroyed, Just In The Recent Past, And Why
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Daniel Pipes, without any "islamist" business, here.

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Posted on 03/25/2015 1:57 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 25 March 2015
A Musical Interlude: Kissing In The Dark (Memphis Minnie)
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Listen here.

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Posted on 03/25/2015 1:19 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 25 March 2015
New O’Keefe Video: Cornell Dean Advises on Starting ISIS Club
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Posted on 03/25/2015 12:14 PM by Rebecca Bynum
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Wednesday, 25 March 2015
Overblown Facebook Personas Can Leave Friends Deflated
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Kathleen Burge writes about the weird psychological aspects of facebook in the Boston Globe.

If you are one of Catherine Pisacane’s 792 Facebook friends, you got a glimpse into her life a couple of weeks ago. She posted a selfie, taken by her sister, of the two of them smiling and snuggling outside the Museum of Fine Arts.

Her Facebook posts didn’t mention that her knee ached, or that she and her sister had encountered an aggressive driver on their way to the MFA — or any daily irritations that everyone experiences but few mention on social media.

Facebook and other social media allow users to present a curated self, showing friends or the public a happier or more accomplished version of a person. Most of the time, as with Pisacane’s post, it is trivial. But in some cases, the gap between reality and the Facebook version can be striking, and troubling, psychologists say.

Studies have suggested that looking at idealized versions of our friends’ lives leaves us feeling less attractive, less secure about our careers, and generally, more unhappy with our own lives. In a 2013 study, a University of Michigan research team checked in with subjects five times a day and compared how they felt with how often they had been on Facebook.

“The finding was the more people used Facebook, the worse they felt, and the less satisfied they were with their lives,” said Ethan Kross , an associate professor of social psychology at the University of Michigan.

At the extreme end of the divide between curated reality and real life is Erika Murray , the Blackstone woman charged with fetal death concealment after the bodies of three children as well as four living children were discovered in a vermin-infested home. Murray had recently posted cheerful pictures on Facebook of her cooking and updates about her two older children.

“Its official,” Murray wrote in July. “I have a teenager! Happy Birthday [daughter’s name]. I love you so much.”

For most people, the split between online and offline selves isn’t so remarkable, the realities so much at odds. Humans have long tailored the image we show the world with the clothes we wear, the haircuts we choose, the cars we drive — even the smile we routinely put on for photos. But social media offer even greater control over the versions of ourselves that we make public.

“There’s certainly an opportunity that people have to carefully curate how people appear,” said Kross. “You can choose which photo to post. Not the one with the big pimple.”

But even small gaps between social media users’ real and virtual identities can cause people to feel bad about themselves, said Cambridge psychologist Craig Malkin .

They know that the images they are building up online aren’t genuine. Hiding less flattering aspects of their lives can damage their self-esteem, he said. The problem: they’re not truly the people who are being rewarded with “likes.”

“Whenever we feel like we can’t be fully who we are in order to be liked or be admired, it’s bound to affect our self-esteem,” said Malkin, who is writing a book about narcissism that includes a chapter on social media. “There’s a sense of, ‘I feel like a fraud.’ ”

Ultimately, people become accustomed to not discussing problems or difficult parts of their lives. Our online selves may complain about minor annoyances but they rarely despair over dead-end jobs or marriages. They don’t argue with their siblings or get bored caring for their children.

They’re sharing more but revealing less, so they feel disconnected, Malkin said. “It’s not a genuine connection if you’re not sharing difficult emotions. Part of sharing connections to people means them really knowing who we are.”...

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Posted on 03/25/2015 11:17 AM by Geoffrey Clarfield
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Wednesday, 25 March 2015
Obama’s Revenge Unleashed on Israel
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White House Chief of Staff McDonough and President Obama

Source: Pat Dollard

President Obama and his staff are using the prop of the J Street Conference in Washington, DC this week to unleash an unparalleled attack on Israel in revenge, many believe, for Netanyahu’s electoral victory. It is reflected in the President’s press conference, yesterday, in which he blamed Israel for the impasse effectively ending negotiations for a Palestinian state, suggesting to some possible moves to achieve that goal at the UN Security Council. The same venue the President hopes to obtain a UN resolution for approval of the political framework for an Iran nuclear deal, effectively sidelining Congress. Earlier this week, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough ‘rock star’ appearance at the J Street Conference aligning the Administration with Palestinian and Hamas rhetoric to end the occupation of the disputed territories, Judea and Samaria saying “50 years of occupation must end”. This follows Israeli President giving the nod to Netanyahu to form a ruling a coalition with a majority of the elected Knesset, 67 seats. Obama’s anger at Netanyahu stems from the latter’s address at a joint meeting of Congress on March 3rd at the invitation of US House Speaker Boehner followed by the letter of Senator Tom Cotton (R-AK) signed by 46 colleagues sent to the leaders of the Islamic Republic. More recently, there are allegations that Israel may have spied on US Iran negotiations and then briefed members of Congress. Moreover, it appears that Israel’s calls to combat what PM Netanyahu has called a “very bad deal” has led to consultations with France’s Foreign Minister Fabius who has stiffened resistance to any deal with Iran unless it is demonstrably “fool proof.”

The Wall Street Journal published a lead editorial in today’s edition, “Obama’s Israel Tantrum”, suggesting that “the leader of the free world tales revenge on an ally”:

Even if you believe the main challenge in the region is getting Israel to cede more territory to the Palestinians, that day won’t happen until Israelis feel secure. But Israelis can be forgiven for feeling the opposite with a raging civil war in Syria, Islamic State and an offshoot of al Qaeda operating near the Golan Heights, Iranian General Qassem Soleimani leading Shiite militias in Iraq, and a U.S. Administration sounding and acting as if Iran can be a more constructive partner for peace than Israel.

The main threat to Middle Eastern peace today—even beyond Islamic State—is the rise of an imperial Iran using its own troops or proxies effectively to colonize Arab capitals. The prospect of an imperial Iran on the cusp of becoming a nuclear power has all of America’s traditional Arab friends in the region now closer to Mr. Netanyahu’s position on the Middle East than to Mr. Obama’s.

“We cannot simply pretend that those comments were never made.” These were the words Mr. McDonough used in his speech about Mr. Netanyahu’s election comments.

But Mr. McDonough’s words might be easily turned around. In a day when the President’s chief of staff invokes the lexicon of Palestinian terrorists to describe Israel’s democracy, Americans and the world are left to wonder whose side the leader of the free world is on. (Read More)

 

President Obama has unleashed revenge on Israel and PM Netanyahu outraged that the Jewish nation would assert its sovereign right to defend its people against the existential and conventional threats of Iran whose rising nuclear hegemony threatens the Middle East and the US. Israel's Netanyahu is thwarting Obama's rapprochement with Mahdist Iran over cooperation in the war against ISIS and concluding a political agreement enabling Iran to achieve nuclear breakout. Witness the air intelligence CENTCOM is providing Iranian Quds Force Gen. Suleymani orchestrating the battle to retake Tikrit in Iraq. The vicious attack on Israel blaming it for not concluding a peace deal with the implacable enemies the PA and partner Hamas may reflect the President's frustration at not succeeding to work behind the scenes to topple Netanyahu in the 2015 Knesset elections. That backfired when Israelis went to the polls and returning Netanyahu to a fourth non-consecutive term. But we knew this was coming. Just prior to the Israeli elections, the President appointed long term enemy of Israel, Robert Malley to be overall head of Middle East Policy, whose goal is imposing a draconian peace deal on Israel. As Israelis and US supporters of the Jewish nation, like South Carolina US Senator Lindsey Graham, know, unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 resulted in Iranian and home grown rockets raining all over Israel triggering three wars. Save for the Iron Dome system, enormous casualties would have resulted. White House Chief of Staff's Denis McDonough's call at the Soros-backed J Street Conference to end 50 years of occupation is straight out of the propaganda mills of the PA, Hamas, Iran and its proxy, Hezbollah. Shame on American Jews like Peter Beinert and members of the J Street Rabbinic cabinet for urging American Jewish youths to become martyrs in a summer campaign in Judea and Samaria.

Listen to this Voice of Israel Josh Hasten commentary with voice clips from McDonough’s speech at the J Street Conference and Sen. Lindsey Graham’s rebuttal.

 Noted theologian, post-holocaust scholar and author of Jihad and Genocide, Dr. Richard L. Rubenstein's prescient 2010 NER interview with this writer says it all: "Obama is the most radical US President ever"

 

 

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Posted on 03/25/2015 10:18 AM by Jerry Gordon
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Wednesday, 25 March 2015
Hadi And The Houthis
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Posted on 03/25/2015 9:08 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 25 March 2015
Obama's Fury Against Israel: Revenge, Frustration, Distraction From Failure
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An analysis of what prompts his uncovered animus -- it's back to the good old days of swallowing whole the version of history presented to Obama long ago by Rashid Khalidi -- here.

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Posted on 03/25/2015 8:26 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 25 March 2015
Ayaan Hirsi Ali On Islam And "A Basket Full Of Rotten Apples"
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Posted on 03/25/2015 8:01 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 25 March 2015
Ivan Rioufol: The Indecency Of Politicians, Trying To Display Their Humanity On Every Occasion
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Here.

In this case, it is political figures eager to make statements -- what statement need be made by a leader of a country, when there is a plane crash, or any other such disaster or loss of life? when did leaders of countries think they had to "offer condolences" the way Obama always does, or deplore the obviously deplorable? -- after the latest plane crash, and to display the ready tear, to show that they  "feel" the pain of the families, and your pain, my pain, the collective pain, the all-god's-chillun-got pain.

Ivan Rioufol suggests that a little more reserve, a little more pudeur, on the part of political figures is called for. He doesn't think that Francois  Hollande had to "make a statement" on the Germanwings crash, nor does he have to go off on a plane trip with Merkel and Rajoy to view the scene of the accident. And the same criticism might be made, in a different key, of  Barack Obama who thinks he must make statements whenever something about blacks and whites comes up; there was Skip Gates on Ware Street; there was George Zimmermann's neighborhood-watch struggle, in which Obama scandalously interfered, saying that if he, Obama, had a son, that son "would look like Trayvon," there was the trumped-up "hands-up-don't-shoot" farce at Ferguson, which required the Justice Department to finally admit that the Grand Jury was right, the policeman's version supported by all the evidence, and "eyewitnesses" lied; and no doubt there will be others. Barack Obama should have said nothing at all about things at this level, and should have attended to affairs of state, rather than feel the need to make pronouncements, and express sympathy, sometimes misplaced, on such matters.

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Posted on 03/25/2015 7:24 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 25 March 2015
The Mayor Of Haltern, His Memory Loss, His Choice Of Words
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Bodo Klimpel, the Mayor of Haltern, Germany, where a number of young students who died in  the Airbus A320 crash had lived, said that this "was the worst thing that had ever happened in Haltern," that there "had never been anything as bad." Such a remark prompted me, naturally, to wonder about other bad events that might have happened in Haltern. I found that before he died, Alexander Lebenstein, the sole survivor among the Jews of Haltern, was recorded, on videotape, recollecting what happened in 1938 in Haltern.

Here.

Memory loss in individuals is lamentable. The loss of historic memory in societies is deplorable.

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Posted on 03/25/2015 7:05 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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