August 2016

Ilya Somin - The Washington Post

Who was the biggest mass murderer in the history of the world? ... Both Hitler and Stalin were outdone by Mao Zedong. From 1958 to 1962, his Great Leap Forward policy led to the deaths of up to 45 million people – easily making it the biggest episode of mass murder ever recorded. Historian Frank Dikötter, author of the important book Mao’s Great Famine recently published an article in History Today, summarizing what happened: ... Dikötter’s work is noteworthy for demonstrating that the number of victims may have been even greater than previously thought, and that the mass murder was more clearly intentional on Mao’s part, and included large numbers of victims who were executed or tortured, as opposed to “merely” starved to death.

Frank Dikötter – History Today

... The Great Leap Forward from 1958 to 1962, when Mao thought that he could catapult his country past its competitors by herding villagers across the country into giant people’s communes ... A catastrophe of gargantuan proportions ensued ... But the true dimensions of what happened are only now coming to light ... What comes out of this massive and detailed dossier is a tale of horror in which Mao emerges as one of the greatest mass murderers in history, responsible for the deaths of at least 45 million people between 1958 and 1962. It is not merely the extent of the catastrophe that dwarfs earlier estimates, but also the manner in which many people died: between two and three million victims were tortured to death or summarily killed, often for the slightest infraction.

Roger Bootle - The Telegraph (Britain)

... Almost everyone seems to believe that extra expenditure on education is a good thing ... Yet this conclusion is ill-founded. For a start, just because some education is better than none, does not mean that, beyond some point, more education is always better than less. Secondly, whether or not individual students or their parents directly pay for it, education does not come free. There is always a cost incurred by somebody. ... The clearest sign of real progress would be if significant numbers of our weaker educational institutions closed down. Markets work not only by rewarding success but also by penalising failure. We urgently need a national debate about the role of education in the modern world, what the purpose of it is, how long it should go on for, how it can be renewed at later stages in life and how it should be paid for.

Ralph Nader

... Hillary is the clear reported choice for president not just by the Wall Street crowd. The champions of the military-industrial complex love her variety of extreme hawkishness, which rings the cash registers for ever more military weapons contracts ... She’s been endorsed by numerous retired Pentagon, C.I.A. and N.S.A. officials who find Trump’s “Why can’t we get along with Russia and China?” statements disturbing to their world views. Where Trump’s White House is seen as utterly unpredictable, Hillary’s White House is utterly predictable: more Wall Street, more military adventures. As Senator and Secretary of State she has never seen a weapons system or a war that she didn’t support.

Sheldon Richman

Again Trump has it backwards. According to NATO’s internal logic, the US should pay the members – not the other way around – for providing services to the empire and a tripwire for war. The empire doesn’t protect; it provokes and endangers. Who would willingly pay for that? ... NATO is America’s tool. The member states don’t need it. America’s ruling elite does. That elite got rather upset in 1966 when French President Charles de Gaulle, resenting US overbearance, withdrew his country from NATO’s military structure and asked for the removal of NATO troops from France ... Trump’s shtick is that the US is the aggrieved nation ... Hence, he certainly can’t say anything to suggest that rather than being the victim, the US is the victimizer.

Doug Bandow - The American Conservative

America collects allies like Americans collect Facebook friends: the more the better. As a result, Washington defends more than a score of prosperous European states, several leading Asian nations, and a gaggle of Middle Eastern regimes ... Washington officials simply have lost sight of why any country, America included, should participate in an alliance. They really believe that their goal should be to collect as many allies as possible. Never mind if a country is unable to do anything to advance America’s security, as is Montenegro, which has 2,080 men under arms. And don’t worry if the state could drag the U.S. into unnecessary ... Which allied states are vulnerable to attack? Which of them truly matters to U.S. security? The honest answer: not many.

Stephen J. Sniegoski

The neoconservatives were the driving force in the George W. Bush administration’s war on Iraq and, in so doing, went a long way toward forming US policy in the Middle East that has continued under Obama ... The neocons acknowledged that their policies would benefit Israel, maintaining that American and Israeli interests coincided, which is highly unlikely. The neocons do, however, view American Middle East policy through the lens of Israel’s interests, as seen by the Israeli Right ... George W. Bush was essentially a convert to the neoconservative policy. Prior to 9/11, he had never exhibited any strong understanding or interest in Middle East policy and was therefore in need of guidance, which the neocons could easily provide in a simple paradigm that Bush could find attractive.

University of Texas at Dallas - ScienceDaily

Your genes could be a strong predictor of whether you stray into a life of crime, according to a new research paper. The study focused on whether genes are likely to cause a person to become a life-course persistent offender, which is characterized by antisocial behavior during childhood that can later progress to violent or serious criminal acts later in life.

Ted Galen Carpenter - The National Interest

One especially disturbing trend in global affairs is the marked deterioration in relations between the United States and Russia ... Most anti-Russian hawks are backing Hillary Clinton, and the implications of a Clinton victory are extremely ominous ... It also would be the height of bitter irony if, having escaped a direct military clash with the Soviet Union (a truly dangerous adversary) during the Cold War, the United States stumbled into conflict with a mundane Russia because of a needlessly inflexible and confrontational approach. Yet that is now a real danger unless U.S. policy becomes more accommodating. Unfortunately, given the growing probability of a Clinton victory in November, U.S.-Russian relations, already in bad shape, are likely to deteriorate further.

Ann Wright - Consortium News

I’ve just ended two weeks visiting cities in four regions of Russia. The questions that were asked over and over were: “Why does America hate us? Why do you demonize us?” ... We [Russians] know the terrible costs of war. Our great-grandparents remind us of the 27 million Soviet citizens killed during World War II, our grandparents tell us of the Soviet war in Afghanistan in the 1980s and the difficulties arising from the Cold War. We don’t understand why the West continues to vilify and demonize us when we are so much like you. We too are concerned about threats to our national security and our government responds in many ways like yours. We do not want another Cold War, a war in which everyone gets frost bitten, or worse, a war that will kill hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people.

Michael Brenner - Consortium News

... As for the United States, the Obama administration flails about with no evident strategy in a vain effort to square circles. That places it in the untenable position of allying with Al Qaeda to unseat the Assad regime and, above all, to thwart Russia ... The core contradiction at the heart of the Obama administration’s confused actions in Syria is seeking simultaneously to get rid of President Bashar al-Assad and to suppress the jihadi group ... The other determining consideration in Washington’s thinking is the conviction that Russia represents the greatest security challenge for the United States – in the Middle East and in Europe. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter reiterated the oft-stated view that Russia is security threat Number One just last week.

BBC News – Video

“It's a shame the USSR collapsed,” is a sentiment that many in Russia accept. The Moscow correspondent of BBC News talks to Russians with fond memories of the USSR, 25 years after its collapse. Runtime: 2:48 mins.

Thomas J. Main – Los Angeles Times

Hillary Clinton attacked Donald Trump on Thursday for his cozy relationship with a new political movement, the Alternative Right, or Alt-Right ... The Alt-Right supports the mass deportation of undocumented immigrants and protectionist trade policies. It opposes feminism, diversity, gay rights, globalism, gun control and civil rights ... Alt-Right thought is based on white nationalism and anti-Americanism. The Alt-Right holds, in essence, that all men are not created equal, and that as racial equality has displaced white dominance, America has declined and no longer merits the allegiance of its white citizens. Alt-Right leaders, unlike Neo-Nazis or KKK supporters, are intellectually and rhetorically sophisticated.

M. Keneally - ABC News

One of the groups that has been emerging as a force during the 2016 presidential election is one that developed largely in the corners of the conservative web. The "alt-right," which is shorthand for the "alternative right," is composed of many far-right ideologies. The Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that monitors hate groups, defines the alt-right as "a set of far-right ideologies, groups and individuals whose core belief is that 'white identity' is under attack by multicultural forces using 'political correctness' and ‘social justice’ to undermine white people and 'their' civilization."

City University London - Neurosciencenews.com

Children as young as nine months-old prefer to play with toys specific to their own gender, according to a new study from academics at City University London and UCL. The paper, which is published in the journal of Infant and Child Development, shows that in a familiar nursery environment significant sex differences were evident at an earlier age than gendered identity is usually demonstrated. The research therefore suggests the possibility that boys and girls follow different developmental trajectories with respect to selection of gender-typed toys and that there is both a biological and a developmental-environmental components to the sex differences seen in object preferences.

The Washington Post

Georgetown University, a Catholic institution long known for scholarship on the Arab world, is intensifying its study of Jewish civilization with aid from a series of significant donations. The latest, to be announced Wednesday, is a $10 million gift for research on the Holocaust. A 13-year-old Jewish studies program in the Jesuit university's prestigious School of Foreign Service will be formally renamed the Center for Jewish Civilization next week .... The center will have a $20 million endowment, officials said, counting the new $10 million gift from Miami philanthropists Norman and Irma Braman. Its mission is to explore foreign policy pertaining to Israel; the Holocaust and genocide issues; Jewish-Catholic relations; and Jewish literature, culture and religious expression.

CNN

The rich are still getting richer in the U.S., with the wealthiest ten percent controlling three-quarters of all family wealth in the country. U.S. family wealth totaled $67 trillion in 2013. But slices of that pie were far from equal, according to a report released Thursday from the Congressional Budget Office. The top ten percent of families -- those who had at least $942,000 -- held 76 percent of total wealth. The average amount of wealth in this group was $4 million. Everyone else in the top 50 percent of the country accounted for 23 percent of total wealth, with an average of $316,000 per family. That leaves just one percent of the total pie for the entire bottom half of the population.

Timothy Shenk - The Guardian

... The future looks more precarious for the guardians of True Conservatism ... A landslide defeat for Trump could still revive their cause, but they could just as easily be swept aside by a rising generation of rightwing activists with a more Trumpian set of concerns ... Trump may have unintentionally pointed the way for a new kind of American conservatism, driven by resentment at the globalist diktats of the hated managerial class. Over the last year, that anger has emerged in surprising venues. In language that [Sam] Francis would have recognised, the billionaire PayPal co-rounded and Silicon Valley guru Peter Thiel declared that America is no longer a democracy – since it has become a country “dominated by very unelected, technocratic agencies”.

UPI

... A new study from Princeton and Northwestern Universities concluded that the U.S. government represents not the interests of the majority of citizens but those of the rich and powerful ... The resulting data empirically verifies that U.S. policies are determined by the economic elite. "The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence," says the peer-reviewed study.

Michael Goodwin - New York Post

... Something else happening before our eyes is almost as important: the complete collapse of American journalism as we know it. The frenzy to bury Trump is not limited to the Clinton campaign and the Obama White House. They are working hand in hand with what was considered the cream of the nation’s news organizations. The shameful display of naked partisanship by the elite media is unlike anything seen in modern America. The largest broadcast networks – CBS, NBC and ABC – and major newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post have jettisoned all pretense of fair play. Their fierce determination to keep Trump out of the Oval Office has no precedent ... By torching its remaining credibility in service of Clinton, the mainstream media’s reputations will likely never recover, nor will the standards.

Thomas S. Harrington - CounterPunch

... The particular brand of theology being pushed? Neo-Liberal Imperialism, something the faith’s leading clerics ... Lest this all seem too speculative, I suggest you watch an interview with conducted with Udo Ulfkotte, a veteran German reporter and former assistant editor at the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, conducted in 2014. In it, he speaks of how he and other European journalists were, and are, routinely bought off by American operatives of one sort or another, going so far as to describe his country, Germany, as a “banana republic” and also a “colony of the Americans” where journalists who serve the interests of “trans-Atlantic” organizations are rewarded handsomely and where those that do not play along suffer dire consequences.

Antiques Trade Gazette (Britain)

An auction of a Thracian coin – minted in the city of Apollonia Pontica (in modern-day Bulgaria) in the 4th or 5th century BC – was halted by eBay on the grounds the listing was ‘hateful or discriminatory’. Munich-based auctioneers Numismatik Lanz listed the coin on the site earlier this month but were told it was classed among objects that ‘glorify or trivialize National Socialism’ which eBay prohibits on its German site. When the decision to remove the item was questioned – at which time bidding had reached 48 euros – the auctioneers were told: “We are aware of the fact that the symbol on the article you have listed was also in use in other countries and during other periods. However, within the current legal framework, a swastika is considered to be an anti-constitutional icon and not allowed. We therefore had to remove your listing.”

JTA

... [The Ukrainian] government’s controversial veneration of local pro-Nazi collaborators — amid an explosion of nationalist and anti-Russian sentiment — who were responsible for the murder of countless Jews and Poles during World War II. In Ukraine, that means the rehabilitation of “heroes” like Stepan Bandera, who last month had a street named after him in Kiev; Symon Petliura, a 1920s anti-Semitic statesman who in May was commemorated on public television, and Roman Shukhevych, a militia leader who will also be honored with a street name in Kiev ... [There are] similarly nationalistic gestures in Hungary, which is rehabilitating figures like the Nazi collaborator Miklos Horthy; Lithuania, where the pro-Nazi former ruler Juozas Ambrazevicius-Brazaitis is treated as a national hero, and other countries.

Scot J. Paltrow - Reuters

The United States Army’s finances are so jumbled it had to make trillions of dollars of improper accounting adjustments to create an illusion that its books are balanced. The Defense Department’s Inspector General, in a June report, said the Army made $2.8 trillion in wrongful adjustments to accounting entries in one quarter alone in 2015, and $6.5 trillion for the year. Yet the Army lacked receipts and invoices to support those numbers or simply made them up ... Disclosure of the Army’s manipulation of numbers is the latest example of the severe accounting problems plaguing the Defense Department for decades ... As a result, there has been no way to know how the Defense Department – far and away the biggest chunk of Congress’ annual budget – spends the public’s money.

S. Roberts - The New York Times

Ernst Nolte, a German revisionist historian who broke academic taboos by equating Nazism with Bolshevism and who was denounced as an apologist for Hitler and even the Holocaust, died on Thursday in Berlin … Professor Nolte, a respected scholar of fascism, provoked an ideological uproar in 1986 by suggesting in an essay that Nazisim had been a logical response in Germany to an “existential threat” posed by the Russian Revolution and its aftermath … After his 1986 essay was published, he told The Journal of Historical Review [published by the Institute for Historical Review], widely considered an organ for Holocaust deniers, that to name Stalin and Hitler “in the same sentence was to break a taboo of the time.” He characterized it as “more a matter of courage, let us say, than of insight.”

Ian B. Warren – Institute for Historical Review

... Over the years, his sometimes unconventional insights into twentieth century history and political philosophy -- presented in several books and numerous articles -- have earned him wide acclaim ... As even the most critical of his intellectual adversaries will concede, the often bitter controversy he touched off has been a landmark development in German awareness of twentieth-century European history. More than any other single person, he has encouraged a profound national self-examination of contemporary history, which in turn has engendered a new openness and maturity of thinking.

AFP

Controversial German historian Ernst Nolte, who sparked a massive dispute in the 1980s over his thesis on the cause of Nazism, died Thursday aged 93, this family told AFP. Nolte had contended that it was the Russian Revolution in 1917 -- in which the monarchy was dismantled and which led to communist rule -- that touched off events that led to Nazi rule and finally resulted in the Holocaust. He argued that fascism had gained strength as the middle classes sought a response against communism and that Soviet gulags were the examples on which Nazi death camps were later built. His views sparked what became known as the "Historians’ Dispute" that raged from 1986, with his detractors condemning his thesis as coming too dangerously close to justifying the Holocaust.

Mark Weber

Decades after its dramatic demise, the Third Reich continues to fascinate millions and provoke heated discussion … Consistent with the author's strong plea for a more thoughtful and objective look at the phenomenon of Hitler and National Socialism, Nolte presents his often highly unorthodox views without polemics, indeed with a certain reserve and tentativeness. Unlike those who incessantly insist that "we" must "never forget" the "lessons of the Holocaust," Nolte calls for an evaluation of the Hitler era as free as possible of strident, emotion-laden polemics and self-serving purposes.

Trevor Timm - The Guardian (Britain)

Saudi Arabia resumed its appalling war in Yemen last week and has already killed dozens more civilians, destroyed a school full of children and leveled a hospital full of sick and injured people. The campaign of indiscriminate killing – though let’s call it what it is: a war crime – has now been going on for almost a year and a half. And the United States bears a large part of the responsibility ... The fact that the Obama administration has allowed the Saudis to continue committing war crimes should be a full-fledged scandal ... In Washington, pundit after pundit has spent years now writing ad nauseam about how the Obama administration should be bombing Syria more to stop the humanitarian crisis there, despite the fact no one can explain exactly how more bombs will curtail, rather than exacerbate, the situation.

The Telegraph (Britain)

... The United States dominates global spending on defence, with a budget more than double that of the next biggest spender, China. It spends about $569 billion a year on defence -- the majority of which goes on operations, maintenance and personnel. This has decreased from $587 billion in 2014, according to data provided by IHS, which takes into account international exchange rates. While the USA’s defence spending is declining, China’s is increasing. Its budget stood at $191 billion in 2015 -- up from $176 billion in 2014. The United Kingdom, Russia and France are the next biggest spenders on defence. All of which are dwarved, however, by America's spending.

Eric Margolis

... America’s arsenal of nuclear weapons is also showing signs of advancing age, and may have to be replaced. One would think that the growing decrepitude of our nukes would be a fine time to dismantle and junk these horrible weapons. President Barack Obama has fulsomely preached for the past seven years on the need to get rid of the nukes. Very nice. Yet once away from the microphones, Obama has let the military-industrial-financial complex generate plans to refresh and update the US nuclear arsenal in a massive project estimated to cost at least $1 trillion ... Many will question such a huge expenditure at a time when bridges across the US are collapsing, airports are decaying, the air traffic control system is obsolete, and 44 million people live on food stamps ... Everyone says they hate nukes but we can’t seem to break the habit.

John Pilger

... The Obama administration has built more nuclear weapons, more nuclear warheads, more nuclear delivery systems, more nuclear factories. Nuclear warhead spending alone rose higher under Obama than under any American president. The cost over thirty years is more than $1 trillion ... This is the country that has attacked and sought to overthrow more than 50 governments, many of them democracies, and bombed from Asia to the Middle East, causing the deaths and dispossession of millions of people. No country can equal this systemic record of violence. Most of America's wars (almost all of them against defenceless countries) have been launched not by Republican presidents but by liberal Democrats: Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Clinton, Obama.

David Emery - Snopes

... One of the less well known aspects of the history of slavery is how many and how often non-whites owned and traded slaves in early America. Free black slave holders could be found at one time or another "in each of the thirteen original states and later in every state that countenanced slavery," historian R. Halliburton Jr. observed. That black people bought and sold other black people raises "vexing questions" for 21st-century Americans ... There were approximately 319,599 free blacks in the United States in 1830. Approximately 13.7 per cent of the total black population was free. A significant number of these free blacks were the owners of slaves.

Sheldon M. Stern – History News Network

... Incomplete depictions of the Atlantic slave trade are, in fact, quite common. My 2003 study of 49 state U.S. history standards revealed that not one of these guides to classroom content even mentioned the key role of Africans in supplying the Atlantic slave trade ... Historians estimate that ten million of these abducted Africans “never even made it to the slave ships. Most died on the march to the sea”—still chained, yoked, and shackled by their African captors — before they ever laid eyes on a white slave trader. The survivors were either purchased by European slave dealers or “instantly beheaded” by the African traders “in sight of the [slave ship] captain” if they could not be sold ... The history of the slave trade proves that virtually everyone participated and profited ...

Jacob S. Eder – Time magazine

... At this historical juncture, however, representatives of the American Jewish community, including prominent Holocaust survivors like Elie Wiesel, were also in the process of transplanting the perspective of Holocaust victims into the popular, political and academic culture of Germany’s superpower ally, the United States. The Kohl government’s Holocaust angst culminated in the opposition to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM). The museum, conceived in 1978 and completed in 1993, epitomizes what scholars like Alvin H. Rosenfeld have called the Americanization of the Holocaust ... Kohl even stated in 1998, his last year as chancellor, that the memory of the Holocaust had become the “core” of Germany’s “self-concept as a nation.”

Garett Jones -- Stanford University Press

... IQ predicts more than just conventional mental skills: IQ predicts virtue as well. An outrageous claim, but let’s make the outrageous claim concrete. Let’s see whether higher IQ not only predicts but even helps to create a particular set of virtues: the seven cardinal virtues ... Over two dozen psychology and economics studies find that people who do better on IQ tests are more likely to make patient choices, so it tends to be easier for them to have faith in the future ... Higher intelligence also predicts prudent thinking ... Unfortunately, IQ research is currently a taboo topic in much of academia, especially research into the reasons why nations and demographic groups currently differ in average IQ. But if human intelligence is such an important driver of human virtue, this taboo comes at horrific human cost ...

Patrick J. Buchanan

On Sept. 30, the end of fiscal year 2016, the national debt is projected to reach $19.3 trillion. With spending on the four biggest budget items — Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, defense — rising, and GDP growing at one percent, future deficits will exceed this year’s projected $600 billion. National bankruptcy, then, is among the existential threats to the republic, the prospect that we will find ourselves in the not-too-distant future in the same boat with Greece, Puerto Rico and Illinois. Yet, we drift toward the falls, with the issue not debated ... Another existential threat, if Western man still sees himself as the custodian of the world’s greatest civilization, and one yet worth preserving, is the Third-Worldization of the West.

J. Sides - The Washington Post

... The chart below reveals just how quickly the proportions of white, non-Hispanic Christians have declined across generations ... Today, young adults ages 18 to 29 are less than half as likely to be white Christians as seniors age 65 and older. Nearly seven in ten American seniors (67 percent) are white Christians, compared to fewer than three in ten (29 percent) young adults ... Falling numbers and the marginalization of a once-dominant racial and religious identity — one that has been central not just to white Christians themselves but to the national mythos — threatens white Christians’ understanding of America itself ... My argument in the book is that we have already experienced the passing of White Christian America. ... There are no indicators that the country will see the likes of White Christian America as a dominant cultural force again.

Pew Research Center

The U.S. religious landscape is already in the midst of some dramatic changes when it comes to the growth or decline of people with certain religious identities ... Some of the groups that have already been growing in recent years may be primed for continued growth. This includes people with no religious affiliation ... Members of some non-Christian faiths also are very young – U.S. Muslims and Hindus in the survey each have a median age of 33. About four-in-ten Muslim adults in the U.S. are under the age of 30, and nine-in-ten Hindu adults are under 50. At the other end of the spectrum, members of two Presbyterian denominations are among the oldest of the 30 religious groups we were able to analyze ...

D. Heinrich - Deutsche Welle (Germany)

Bad Godesberg was once home to diplomats working in Bonn. Today, Muslim women in veils and Arab shops and restaurants are abounding. Many long-term residents no longer feel at home / ... The debates about the refugee crisis and the burqa ban are touchy subjects in Bad Godesberg. Many people prefer not to comment, or say they're afraid of being labeled right-wing extremists ... Lavan adds that the transformation taking place in Bad Godesberg is a much bigger issue for her than the current political debates. She mentions the recent closing of "Aennchen," one of the last typically German restaurants left in Bad Godesberg.

Daniel L. Davis - The National Interest

It is now plainly evident, incontrovertibly so, that the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government consider what was once known as “federal law” to now be merely “federal suggestions.” Recent events confirm this to be true ... The 1973 War Powers Resolution restrains the administration’s ability to independently wage war. The law is explicit and irrefutable in its provisions. It requires that the “President in every possible instance shall consult with Congress before introducing United States Armed Forces into hostilities.” ... The net result is that the president ignores the law, and Congress refuses to hold him accountable to it. The lethargy of inaction has effectively amended the Constitution so that Congressional approval is no longer required for war and peace decisions.

Alex Berezow - American Council on Science and Health

... Some research is so politically controversial that few dare to speak of it in public for fear of running afoul of the PC police. And this fear, argues Nathan Cofnas in the journal Foundations of Science, obstructs the self-correcting nature of scientific inquiry ... To support his case, Mr. Cofnas focuses on the taboo subject of group differences in intelligence, which he says is suppressed by those who believe that even discussing the topic is “morally wrong or morally dangerous.” ... Such misguided efforts to maintain perfect equality can hamper the advancement of knowledge ... Certainly, many — perhaps most — people prefer to ignore reality in favor of feel-good fallacies. Mr. Cofnas believes this phenomenon is rooted in a “deep human impulse to conflate facts and moral values.”

Claude Fischer - The Berkeley Blog

... It is striking how the term “socialist” has been redefined so that almost any policy and anyone can get that label. Indeed, many a past president would qualify by these standards — surely FDR, Truman, and Democrats through Clinton — but so would Republican presidents. By the standards of people such as Ms. Van Orden and David Koch, Abraham Lincoln was surely an out-and-out “socialist-communist.”... Nixon? You mean the guy who signed the EPA into law? Who started affirmative action programs? And who tried to establish a Scandinavian-style “guaranteed annual income”? .. .And Reagan approved a tax increase to “save” Social Security, the centerpiece of FDR’s New Deal, rather than repeal that piece of a European-style welfare state.

Stephen J. Sniegoski - The Last Ditch

Despite the fact that they are forever scrutinizing Donald Trump, the mainstream media seem to have largely missed the fact that he advocates policies more supportive of Israel than those of any American president ... If Trump became president, he would enjoy closer connections with American Jews than any of his predecessors ... Two of his three married children - Ivanka and Eric - are married to Jews. The most significant of those is Ivanka ... She is married to an Orthodox Jew, Jared Kushner, and she converted to Orthodox Judaism before the marriage ... Trump also selected two very hard-line Jewish Zionists as his advisors on Israel - David M. Friedman and Jason D. Greenblatt. Both are strongly supportive of the Jewish settlements on the West Bank, which are illegal according to international law. The two are real-estate lawyers ...

Associated Press

Gov. Chris Christie has signed legislation that would bar the state's public pension fund from investing with companies that boycott Israel or Israeli businesses. The Republican governor, pointing a finger at Democratic President Barack Obama for criticizing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, signed the legislation on Tuesday during a statehouse ceremony. "Israel is the beacon of democracy in a region that is constantly in turmoil," Christie said. The legislation passed with overwhelming support in the Democrat-led state Legislature in June. The measure is part of a broader effort to oppose a boycott, divestment and sanctions [BDS] movement that targets Israel and Israeli businesses. The BDS movement, made up of unions, academic associations, churches and other grassroots efforts ...

JTA

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill prohibiting the state’s pension and annuity funds from investing in companies that boycott Israel or Israeli businesses. The measure, which was signed Tuesday, was passed in the state’s General Assembly in June by a vote of 69-3 with two abstentions. It had passed the state Senate unanimously in May. The state’s pension fund controls more than $80 billion in assets, according to The Associated Press, and provides coverage for about 800,000 current and retired public employees ... At least twelve states have passed anti-BDS legislation, and 21 have taken up such measures ... On Monday, he was one of 16 governors who signed the American Jewish Committee’s “Governors Against BDS” pledge.

News.com.au (Australia)

Australia’s university system is letting students down and pumping out graduates with “broken dreams and a large student debt”, the head of a body representing the country’s most prestigious institutions has noted. Group of Eight chief executive Vicki Thomson has highlighted the broken state of the system in a wideranging speech ... She said the removal of caps on student numbers and the introduction of a “demand driven” system, had led to unintended consequences. Universities were now pumping out an oversupply of graduates, making it hard for some to get jobs despite spending significant time and money on their education ... Ms Thomson said reaching this goal had not led to the “career utopia” many graduates dreamt of, and had come at enormous financial cost to the country.

D. Reilly – Life Zette

... While American college students struggle to pay for their higher education, and long to be the fortunate recipients of college scholarships, illegal immigrants find their path lined with institutionalized supports, loads of scholarship money -- and a healthy dose of "go get 'em kid," as they break U.S. law. This isn't an underground network of support. These entities who push avenues for illegals to obtain higher education are hiding in plain sight. Just this May, former Secretary of Homeland Security and current University of California president Janet Napolitano announced a three-year commitment to support illegal UC students university-wide ... The university reports it will earmark a staggering $8.4 million through the 2018-19 academic year for undocumented student support across ten campuses ....

Stephen Zunes - National Catholic Reporter

The 2015 Iran nuclear deal should have curbed the longstanding bellicose rhetoric coming from Republican and Democratic political leaders toward the Muslim country ... Despite this, the Republican and Democratic platforms adopted at their respective conventions last month are both more belligerent toward Iran than they were four years ago ... The Democrats' insistence that the United States should "not hesitate to take military action if Iran violates the agreement," like the Republicans' promise to "retain all options" regarding Iran, is nothing short of rejection of U.S. obligations under the United Nations Charter.

Otto Ernst Remer - Institute for Historical Review

… The initial successes of our forces against the Soviets were due to the fact that the Russians were not stationed in defense positions, but were instead positioned right at the front for attack, which made it possible for us to quickly encircle large Soviet forces. Thus, in the first weeks of the war, we were able to capture more than three million prisoners of war as well as enormous quantities of war equipment, all of which was on the frontier, positioned for attack. That's the truth of the matter, which can be proven.

JTA

The Anti-Defamation League condemned the actions of a former teacher at a prestigious Catholic school in Belgium whose caricature comparing Israel and the Nazis won a prize in Iran’s cartoon contest mocking the Holocaust. “Malice or ignorance” were the teacher’s “only possible explanations for comparing Israel to the Nazis and entering an Iranian Holocaust cartoon contest,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt in a statement Friday. Luc Descheemaeker, who is retired from the Sint-Jozefs Institute high school in the city of Torhout, in May received a $1,000 prize from Tehran and an honorable mention for a caricature featuring the words “arbeit macht frei” atop a wall representing Israel’s security barrier against Palestinian terrorists.

D. Horovitz - The Times of Israel

Slowly, far, far, too slowly, Israel is waking up to the gigantic fraud being perpetrated from here by binary options crooks: to the scale of the crime; to the heartlessness of the criminals; to the staggering lack of will by the regulatory authorities, the police and the political leadership to tackle what may well be the single greatest corruption scandal in the history of modern Israel (in terms of how much money is being fleeced from duped “investors” all over the world) ... The bitter reality that Israel is a world leader in a cynical industry of theft. Thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of largely young Israelis get up and go to work each day to commit robbery.

Editorial - The Times of Israel

... Much of this industry, which employs thousands of people — many of them young, many of them immigrants — is nothing more than theft. Far from investing in any legitimate, conventional options-buying process, the hapless clients of the fraudulent companies are actually gambling in a crooked casino ... Unfortunately, Israeli fraudsters have already tarnished the country’s reputation abroad with scams such as the aggressive sale of radically overpriced Dead Sea products in shopping mall kiosks, as well as a complex rip-off involving locksmiths in parts of the United States which also relies on manipulation of Google and other search engines. The scale of the binary options fraud, however, dwarfs such scams, both in its cynicism and in the colossal sums of money involved.

The Times of Israel‎

The Israeli financial agency responsible for protecting investors has vowed to urgently tackle massive worldwide fraud by Israel-based binary options companies, acknowledging that the global scam is causing devastating damage to Israel’s international reputation. Shmuel Hauser, chairman of the Israel Securities Authority (ISA), said in an interview that he is recruiting all arms of law enforcement, will push for new legislation as needed, and has full political support to grapple with the flourishing fraudulent industry, which, The Times of Israel has reported, employs thousands of Israelis working for more than 100 companies that defraud victims all over the world of billions of dollars.

Andrew Robinson - New Scientist

... At long last, we are offered a clearer picture in Marconi: The Man Who Networked the World, a deeply researched and almost all-encompassing biography by Canadian media studies academic, Marc Raboy ... A permanent outsider who longed to belong, [Guglielmo] Marconi was born in Italy in 1874 to an Italian Catholic father and an Irish Protestant mother, made his name and fortune in imperialist Britain at the turn of the century, and became a visiting celebrity in the US and Canada. He eventually returned to Italy to embrace Mussolini and Italian fascism ... Despite Marconi’s limited original contribution to technology and science, we shall always owe him an enormous debt for his vision of universal communication.

The Washington Post

Vanderbilt University announced Monday that it will delete the word “Confederate” from the stone pediment at the entrance to a student dormitory known as Memorial Hall, becoming the latest in a wave of schools to alter how their campuses display words and images associated with the southern cause in the Civil War. To make the change, the private university in Nashville was required under the terms of a 2005 court ruling to pay $1.2 million to the Tennessee division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy ... School officials believed that the stone-etched name — honoring rebels who fought in the 19th century for a secessionist movement that supported slavery — was out of step with the image of inclusiveness that Vanderbilt wanted to show the world in the 21st century.

EJP

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said Israel would be key in an alliance to fight the spread of radical Islam. In a foreign policy speech in Ohio, he declared :’’ As president, I will call for an international conference focused on this goal,” he said. “We will work side by side with our friends in the Middle East, including our greatest ally, Israel.” ... Trump also said he would test would-be immigrants for anti-Semitic beliefs. He said his national security policy would include what he called “extreme vetting” for would-be immigrants, including for those who would reject what he described as American values of tolerance.

Stephen Kinzer - Boston Globe

... The Cold War was simply a temporary phenomenon that masked centuries-old political, social, cultural, and religious conflicts. Nationalism and tribalism, which began shaping the world long before Communism was invented, have reemerged rather than fading away. Our wrongheaded reaction to the end of the Cold War was America’s first major contribution to today’s global turmoil. The next was our decision to invade Iraq. That invasion continues to shape the world ... Blaming the masses for stupidly supporting demagogic politicians is mistaken. People quite reasonably resent what their leaders have done to them over the last quarter century. They demand something different, whatever it is. That is the central cause of the new world disorder.

Jon Entine - Genetic Literacy Project

... Those who do not understand the power of genes might argue that the medal podium for runners should reflect a rainbow of diversity, as no country or region should have a lock on desire or opportunity. But just the opposite has happened in track and field: running has become almost segregated by ancestry. The trends are eye opening: Among men, athletes of African ancestry hold every major running record, from the 100m to the marathon ... But still journalists, unschooled in genetics 101, who bow to political correctness, attempt to persuade us that environment and culture are what matters most at the elite levels of competitive sports ... The cultural arguments pale against the hard science ... Evolution has shaped significant physical and physiological differences ... We have no choice but to face this third rail of genetics and sports.

Sebastien Roblin

In 1839, England went to war with China because it was upset that Chinese officials had shut down its drug trafficking racket and confiscated its dope. Stating the historical record so plainly is shocking  —  but it’s true, and the consequences of that act are still being felt today ... Today, the First Opium War is taught in Chinese schools as being the beginning of the “Century of Humiliation” — the end of that “century” coming in 1949 with the reunification of China under Mao. While Americans are routinely assured they are exceptional and the greatest country on Earth by their politicians, Chinese schools teach students that their country was humiliated by greedy and technologically superior Western imperialists.

The Guardian‎ (Britain)

“It was rare for us to see him in the mornings,” says Brunhilde Pomsel, her eyes closed and chin in her hand as she recalls her former boss ... Pomsel is giving one of the first, and last, in-depth interviews of her life; at the age of 105, and having lost her sight last year, she says she is relieved that her days are numbered ... Pomsel is unrepentant. As she holds court, gesticulating wildly, with a broad grin on her face, it seems as if she even takes something restorative from her insistence that she simply acted the same way as most other Germans ... She was sentenced to five years’ incarceration in various Russian prison camps in and around Berlin. “It was no bed of roses,” is all she will say about that time. It was only when she returned home that she became aware of the Holocaust, she insists, referring to it as “the matter of the Jews”.

Mark Weber

…The popular image of this man, particularly in the United States, is a crude caricature… Contrary to popular belief, Goebbels was successful as a propagandist not because he was a master of the "Big Lie," but rather as a result of his fidelity to facts and truth. As biographer Heiber notes: “Goebbels was accordingly able to celebrate his information policy as being not only superior to the enemy's in its monolithic character, but also of a `seriousness and credibility’ which `simply cannot be surpassed.’ The boast could be made with some justification: Seen in the long view, Goebbels preached, the best propaganda is that which does no more than serve the truth."

Video

Dr. Goebbels’ addresses a mass rally in Berlin on Feb. 18, 1943, just a few weeks after the catastrophic defeat of German and allied forces in the Battle of Stalingrad. The Reich Minister frankly explains the mortal danger that threatens all of Europe. Germany could lose the war, he solemnly warns. To counter the formidable Soviet threat from the East, he goes on, the nation must adopt stern and radical “total war” measures. From the German weekly newsreel, “Die Deutsche Wochenschau.” With English subtitles. Runtime: 3:06 minutes.

Soeren Kern - Gatestone Institute

Germany's migrant rape crisis has now spread to cities and towns in all 16 of Germany's federal states. Germany now finds itself in a vicious circle: most of the perpetrators are never found, and the few who are frequently receive lenient sentences ... Up to 90 percent of the sex crimes committed in Germany in 2014 do not appear in the official statistics, according to André Schulz, the head of the Association of Criminal Police. “There are strict instructions from the top not to report offenses committed by refugees. It is extraordinary that certain offenders are deliberately NOT being reported about and the information is being classified as confidential." -- High-ranking police official in Frankfurt, quoted in Bild.

Reuters

Popular support for Chancellor Angela Merkel has plunged according to a poll conducted after attacks in Germany, with almost two-thirds of Germans unhappy with her refugee policy. The survey for public broadcaster ARD showed support for Merkel down twelve points from her July rating to 47 percent. This marked her second-lowest score since she was re-elected in 2013. In April last year, before the migrant crisis erupted she enjoyed backing of 75 percent. Merkel’s open-door refugee policy has come under attack from critics after five attacks in Germany since July 18 have left 15 people dead, including four assailants, and dozens injured.

Victor Davis Hanson - Los Angeles Times

... Undaunted, the Left continues to cherish the vision of a borderless world as morally superior, a triumph over artificially imposed difference. Yet the truth is that formal borders do not create difference — they reflect it. Elites’ continued attempts to erase borders are both futile and destructive ... People walk, climb, swim, and fly across borders, secure in the knowledge that boundaries mark different approaches to human experience, with one side perceived as more successful or inviting than the other ... Clearly delineated borders and their enforcement, either by walls and fences or by security patrols, won’t go away because they go to the heart of the human condition ...

John Pilger

... “We lost 58,000 young soldiers in Vietnam, and they died defending your freedom. Now don’t you forget it.” So said a National Parks Service guide as I filmed last week at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. He was addressing a school party of young teenagers in bright orange T-shirts. As if by rote, he inverted the truth about Vietnam into an unchallenged lie ... A third of the members of the United Nations have felt Washington’s boot, overturning governments, subverting democracy, imposing blockades and boycotts. Most of the presidents responsible have been liberal – Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Clinton, Obama ... This presidential campaign may not be about populism but American liberalism, an ideology that sees itself as modern and therefore superior and the one true way.

US State Dept.

Here is the full text of the 2004 “Global Anti-Semitism Review Act” law, which requires US government officials to monitor and complain about every single case of anti-Jewish (“anti-Semitic”) activity, including “harassment” and expressions of opinion, in every country around the world. American politicians have tellingly not seen the need to set up a comparable US government bureau to “review” and complain of “harassment” or attacks around the world against Christians, Muslims, Africans, Chinese or even Americans. Of course, most Americans would regard it as arrogant interference in this country’s internal affairs if foreign governments were to similarly monitor and complain of every individual act or expression of opinion in the US that might be considered “anti-Christian,” “anti-Muslim,” and so forth.

University of Cambridge – ScienceDaily

Reviewing over 20 years of neuroscience research into sex differences in brain structure, researchers have conducted the first meta-analysis of the evidence. The team performed a quantitative review of the brain imaging literature testing overall sex differences in total and regional brain volumes. They found that males on average have larger total brain volumes than women (by 8 to 13 percent). Looking more closely, the researchers found differences in volume between the sexes were located in several regions. These included parts of the limbic system, and the language system.

Chicago Tribune

Nearly one hundred people have been shot in Chicago in less than a week, pushing the number of shooting victims so far this year to more than 2,500 — about 800 more than this time last year, according to data kept by the Tribune. Between last Friday afternoon and early Thursday [Aug. 11], at least 99 people were shot in the city, 24 of them fatally. At least nine people were killed on Monday alone, the deadliest day in Chicago in 13 years, according to Tribune data. Among the wounded that day was a ten-year-old boy shot in the back as he played on his front porch in Lawndale. The number of shooting victims in Chicago stood at 2,514 Thursday morning. At this time last year, 1,725 people had been shot. The city has not seen this level of gun violence since the 1990s ...

Walter E. Williams

... The nation’s liberals — along with the education establishment, pseudo-intellectuals, and the courts — have waged war on traditions, customs and moral values ... We have replaced what worked with what sounds good. The abandonment of traditional values has negatively affected the nation as a whole, but blacks have borne the greater burden ... It is the height of dishonesty, as far as blacks are concerned, to blame our problems on slavery, how white people behave and racial discrimination. If those lies are not exposed, we will continue to look for external solutions when true solutions are internal. Those of us who are old enough to know better need to expose these lies.

Corporate Crime Reporter (Washington, DC)

A lawsuit filed in federal court in Washington, DC, claims that United States aid to Israel is illegal under a law passed in the 1970s that prohibits aid to nuclear powers that don’t sign the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The lawsuit was filed by Grant Smith, director of the Institute for Research: Middle East Policy (IRMEP). The lawsuit comes as the Obama administration is pushing to finalize a ten-year memorandum of understanding which will reportedly boost aid to Israel to $4 billion per year. Such aid violates longstanding bans on foreign aid to non-signatories to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) with nuclear weapons programs, the lawsuit alleges. Since the bans went into effect, U.S. foreign aid to Israel is estimated to be $234 billion.

Courthouse News Service

U.S. aid to Israel violates a long-standing ban on giving foreign aid to clandestine nuclear powers, the director of a Middle East policy nonprofit claims in a federal complaint. Grant Smith, director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy, says the United States has given Israel an estimated $234 billion in foreign aid since Congress passed the International Security Assistance and Arms Export Control Act of 1976. Discussing his Aug. 8 lawsuit in an interview, Smith said the pro se litigation has been ten years in the making. Though Israel is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Smith noted that it is a known nuclear power and recipient of U.S. aid.

Council for the National Interest

Our uniquely massive support for Israel has cost trillions of dollars and multitudes of lives. It has diminished our moral standing in the world, lessened our domestic freedoms, and exposed us to unnecessary and growing peril. The majority of Americans – as well as our diplomatic and military experts -- oppose this unique relationship. Yet, the lobby for Israel continues to foment policies that are disastrous for our nation and tragic for the region ... Below are the facts: ...

Jeremy M. Sharp - Congressional Research Service (Washington, DC)

A detailed 30-page report, issued in April 2014 by the research service of the US Congress. From the one-page Summary: “Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II. To date, the United States has provided Israel $121 billion (current, or non-inflation-adjusted, dollars) in bilateral assistance. Almost all U.S. bilateral aid to Israel is in the form of military assistance, although in the past Israel also received significant economic assistance. Strong congressional support for Israel has resulted in Israel receiving benefits not available to any other countries ...”

JTA

Parry Mitchell, a Jewish member of Britain’s House of Lords, said he will resign if Jeremy Corbyn is re-elected as Labour Party leader. Writing Tuesday in The Times of London, Mitchell said a report which found that anti-Semitism is not endemic in Britain’s Labour Party was an “insipid whitewash,” and vowed to leave the party if Corbyn retains his post in a September leadership contest ... The report, prepared by Labour member Shami Chakrabarti in the wake of several anti-Israel statements by Labour lawmakers, found that while there is “occasionally toxic atmosphere” against Jews in Labour, anti-Semitism is not prevalent in the party’s ranks. The report was harshly criticized by British Jews.

Associated Press

Americans, Japanese and many Europeans are glum about their national economies. By contrast, Chinese, Indians and Australians feel positive about theirs. Those are among the findings from a survey of 20,132 people in 16 countries by the Pew Research Center. Just 44 percent of Americans rated the U.S. economy as "good,'' although that proportion has risen steadily from 18 percent in 2011. China's economic growth has been decelerating for five years, but 87 percent of Chinese still describe their economy as good. So do 80 percent of Indians and 57 percent of Australians. People in Japan and in many European countries regard their economies as poor. But there are exceptions: Germans, Swedes and Dutch rank their economies highly. European men tend to rate their national economies higher than women do.

Richard v. Reeves, Isabel Sawhill - Milken Institute Review

... If the story on absolute mobility may be about to turn for the worse, the picture for relative mobility is already pretty bad ... Relative mobility rates in the United States are lower than the rhetoric about equal opportunity might suggest, and lower than people believe. But are they getting worse? Current evidence suggests not. In fact, the trend line for relative mobility has been quite flat for the past few decades ... America's presumed exceptionalism is rooted in part on a belief that class-based distinctions are less important than in Western Europe. From this perspective, it is distressing to learn that American children do not have exceptional opportunities to get ahead – and that the consequences of gaps in children's initial circumstances might embed themselves in the social fabric over time, leading to even less social mobility in the future.

Patrick J. Buchanan

... It was not “isolationists” who failed America. None came near to power. The guilty parties are the CFR [Council on Foreign Relations] crowd and their neocon collaborators, and liberal interventionists who set off to play empire after the Cold War and create a New World Order with themselves as Masters of the Universe. Consider just a few of the decisions taken in those years that most Americans wish we could take back ... To the CFR, the problem is not that we plunged headlong into this maelstrom of tyranny, tribalism and terrorism, but that we have tried to extricate ourselves. Hints that America might leave the Middle East, says Haass, have “contributed greatly to instability in the region.” So, must we stay indefinitely?

Stephen Kinzer

... To make one’s way in the American foreign-policy world, it is essential to work from what Barack Obama has called the “playbook.” Accepting hoary assumptions is required. Among them are: the world is locked in an eternal struggle between good and evil; the United States leads the forces of good; people around the world are half-formed Americans eager for U.S. guidance; and this guidance often requires the use or threat of military force, since evil cannot be confronted any other way. Challenging those assumptions is a career-killer ... Bacevich lists four reasons for a lack of resistance to America’s outdated and self-destructive foreign policies ... In the end, to cure the dysfunction in our policies toward the Middle East, it comes down to this: We must cure the dysfunction and venality in our own politics.

R. Cameron - BBC News

The assassination of Nazi police chief Reinhard Heydrich by Czechoslovak resistance fighters in 1942 was one of the outstanding feats of daring in World War Two. A new thriller called Anthropoid premieres in the US on 12 August, dramatising the ambush by British-trained Czechoslovak paratroopers Jozef Gabcik and Jan Kubis in Prague. Yet even today parts of the story are shrouded in mystery ... A campaign is now under way to get the Czech authorities to exhume the mass graves at Dablice, which contain the remains of an estimated 8,000 people. They include WW2 resistance heroes, Gestapo officers shot in 1945, and infants born to Communist-era political prisoners in the 1950s.

Newsreel – Video

Czech newsreel report on the funeral of SS General Reinhard Heydrich, who was killed in Prague in June 1942 by British-trained assassins. In the Czech capital, tens of thousands of people pay tribute to the murdered acting Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia. And in Berlin, Hitler and Himmler honor Heydrich in a solemn ceremony in the Reich Chancellery. "Aktualita” newsreel report, with Czech-language narration and German subtitles. Runtime: 11:44 mins.

Czech TV - Video

Footage of a mass killing of more than 40 German prisoners in May 1945, shortly after the end of World War II in Europe. This was aired by Czech TV in a documentary entitlled Zabíjení po česku, or “Killings Czech style.” Many German civilians and prisoners were killed in the aftermath of the war by Allied forces or their associates. This particular massacre, in or near Prague, may have been carried out by Soviet troops.

Patrick Krey - The New American

... Cuckservative: How “Conservatives” Betrayed America [by John Red Eagle and Vox Day] is an eBook that tries to explain the underlying arguments behind the term and its implication for the future of politics ... Much effort is given to making the book’s main argument that immigration is the most important issue of our day and that “cuckservatives” are on the wrong side ... Overall, the book provides a sound explanation of what’s wrong with the conservative movement, as well as why open immigration policies will spell certain political doom for our side ... There is definitely a major political realignment taking place, as this loose coalition of mostly young and savvy social media users, who are popularly referred to as the “alt right,” continue to push the envelope, one meme at a time.

The News & Advance (Virginia)

The national debt is big now, but it's projected to get a lot bigger in the years ahead. The federal debt held by the public is currently 75 percent of the total U.S. economy, as measured by the gross domestic product ... The Congressional Budget Office is projecting a return to annual deficits topping $1 trillion in future years as baby boomers retire and the obligations of the Social Security Trust Fund, which have been spent by Congress, must be paid and Medicare spending soars. In its recent report on the long-term budget outlook, CBO projected that federal debt held by the public would rise to 86 percent of GDP in 2026 and hit 141 percent of GDP in 2046 ... The CBO says future debt growth "poses substantial risks" to the nation.

Greg Mitchell - Huffington Post

Seventy-one years after the twin atomic attacks on Japan, historians continue to debate whether the first bombing, over Hiroshima, on August 6, 1945, was justified, and whether it was even the most important factor in the country’s swift surrender. Many of those who still defend President Truman’s decision on that assault, however, consider the bombing of Nagasaki three days later completely avoidable, even a crime of war ... After all, by this time, Truman (as recorded in his diary and by others) was well aware that the Japanese were hopelessly defeated and seeking terms of surrender ... “The rights and wrongs of Hiroshima are debatable,” Telford Taylor, the chief [US] prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials, once observed, “but I have never heard a plausible justification of Nagasaki” – which he labeled a war crime.

Daily Mail (Britain)

This newly released video shows the utter devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki shortly after atomic bombs obliterated the cities in August 1945. Soviet Union researchers captured the harrowing footage of the flattened Japanese cities around a month after the US bombings took place. The [four-minute] black-and-white video, which is around five minutes in length, was presented to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in June this year by the chairman of the Russian State Duma, Sergei Naryshkin. It is the first time the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have obtained footage of the aftermaths captured by the Soviet Union, reported The Asahi Shimbun.

Ron Forthofer - Countercurrents

The U.S. public has been kept in the dark or misled about foreign policy for much of our history. For example, as we commemorate the 71st anniversary of the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, let’s re-examine the myth of necessity of those barbaric acts. The myth that just won’t die and is believed by most Americans is that these bombings saved millions of lives and were necessary to end WWII in the Pacific. However, excellent work by Gar Alperovitz in his books and other writing, by Mark Weber in The Journal of Historical Review as well as by numerous other historians, strongly debunk this myth.

Eric Margolis

It’s been the week from hell for Donald Trump. Everything seems to be going wrong for him ... Donald Trump clearly does not understand the Mideast. He is trying to assess its complexities like an accountant. In fact, he is totally lost. I spoke with Trump last February and suggested very strongly that he needs urgent help in finding his way through the Mideast’s pitfalls and minefields. He has, it seems, relied on his own imperfect knowledge and instincts, and too often heeded Washington neocons and their media yes-men at the Wall Street Journal and Fox TV ... Finally, Trump’s accusation that the Obama administration bribed Iran to release four American citizens it held in prison is patent nonsense. The money had been illegally seized (‘frozen’) from Iran and was being paid back as part of the nuclear freeze deal with Washington.

Deutsche Welle (Germany)

... Physical violence rarely occurs on the streets, but nationalist rhetoric and overtly neofascist symbols are everywhere. "Right-wing extremist iconography is part of everyday life in Croatia," said Boris Raseta, a publicist and political analyst from Zagreb. "Even 20 years after the war, Croatia is living in an atmosphere dominated by wartime rhetoric," he added. "Independent Croatia grew out of a right-wing political movement. And patriotic rhetoric is still the measure of all things here." ... During World War II, the Ustasha regime [in Croatia] collaborated with Nazi Germany to abuse Serbs, Jews and communists and even erected concentration camps; now, that government is portrayed as the "patriotic defender of Croatian interests in difficult times." ... The neo-Ustashe have become socially acceptable.

H. Cockburn - The Independent (Britain)

More than 400 documents, including government files relating to the UK’s involvement in Israel’s alleged nuclear arsenal, have gone missing over the last four years, it has been revealed ... Notable missing files include 1970s documents on nuclear collaboration with Israel, as well as a letter from Winston Churchill. The losses include more than 60 Foreign office files, over 40 Home office documents, and six from the records of former prime ministers ... A 1979 document titled “Military and nuclear collaboration with Israel: Israeli nuclear armament”, is among the missing pieces. The file, contained among government files on arms control and disarmament in the 1970s, apparently relates to a United Nations resolution from 1978 which concerned “increasing evidence” Israel was attempting to acquire nuclear weapons.

Eric Margolis

... I always find conventions depressing affairs. Rather than the cradle of democracy, they remind me of clownish Shriners Conventions ... One thing that that amazed me was the Convention’s lack of attention to America’s longest ever war that still rages in the mountains of Afghanistan. For the past thirteen years, America, the world’s greatest military and economic power, has been trying to crush the life out of Afghan Pashtun mountain tribesmen whose primary sin is fiercely opposing occupation by the US and its local Afghan opium-growing stooges ... No one has the courage to end this pointless war. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Afghans are being killed. Too bad no one at the Democratic or Republican Conventions had time to think about the endless war in forgotten Afghanistan.

Gareth Porter - Consortium News

As Hillary Clinton begins her final charge for the White House, her advisers are already recommending air strikes and other new military measures against the Assad regime in Syria. The clear signals of Clinton’s readiness to go to war appears to be aimed at influencing the course of the war in Syria as well as U.S. policy over the remaining six months of the Obama administration ... The proposal for a “no bombing zone” has clearly replaced the “no fly zone,” which Clinton has repeatedly supported in the past as the slogan to cover a much broader U.S. military role in Syria.

Margot Kidder - CounterPunch

There is something I am going to try and explain here after watching the Democratic National Convention this evening that will invite the scorn of many of my friends ... I am half Canadian, I was brought up there, with very different values than you Americans hold ... The visions of all the dead children in Syria that Hillary Clinton helped to kill; the children bombed to bits in Afghanistan and Pakistan from Obama's drones, the grisly chaos of Libya, the utter wasteland of Iraq, the death and destruction everywhere caused by American military intervention ... You people have no idea what it is like for people from other countries to hear you boast and cheer for your guns and your bombs and your soldiers and your murderous military leaders and your war criminals and your murdering and conscienceless Commander in Chief.

Breitbart

An Austrian pensioner has been sentenced to six months probation for ‘hate speech’ on social media, and when a judge told him he was now a criminal the man replied, “super, very good”. The 63-year-old unnamed pensioner was sentenced in a Vienna court this week for writing posts that were considered hate speech by judges in the Austrian capital. The man wrote on Facebook on at least one occasion to specific crimes committed by migrants. The judge in the case claimed that the remarks were made with hateful intent toward migrants, breaking the strict Austrian hate speech laws, and sentenced the man to six months probation ... A total of nine posts made on Facebook were presented to the court ... He called the gang of migrants who attacked the police a “pack of rats”.

ČTK (Czech Republic)

The living survivors of the Czech Romany [Gypsy] Holocaust will get 2500 euros each in compensation as a result of negotiations between the Czech and German foreign ministries, Michaela Lagronova, spokeswoman for the Czech ministry, told CTK yesterday. "The negotiations lasted several months and they ended several days ago," she said ... German authorities earmarked 50 million euros for the compensation by 2018. The same sum of 2500 euros will also be paid to Germans subjected to forced labour during World War Two, including Sudeten Germans who were forced to work in Czech territory. According to the HlidaciPes.org server, the compensation would be paid from a German fund for non-Jewish victims of Nazi persecution.

Michael McCabe - Counter Terror Business Magazine

As a dedicated security professional I spend much of my time studying social, political and economic developments in our landscape and how these changes may impact the current, and more importantly, future security trends ... Conflict, poverty and population pressures in Africa and the Middle East are causing mass migration to Europe, at such a rate that the host nations are finding it impossible to effectively police, never mind assimilate the new arrivals ... Europe is heading for a clash of civilisations and any reaction by political groups to enforce European cultural dominance will be seen as discrimination, leading to further divisions and eventually if the political process cannot solve these issues, conflict and warfare.

Patrick Cockburn - The Independent (Britain)

... Five years ago, Turkey looked like the most stable and successful country in the Middle East – an example that its neighbours might like to follow. But, instead of Iraq and Syria becoming more like Turkey, it has become more like them in terms of political, ethnic and sectarian division. Erdogan’s personal authority is being enhanced by his bravery and vigour in defeating the coup attempt and by the removal of remaining obstacles to his rule. But the failed putsch was also a sign that Turkey – a nation of 80 million people with an army 600,000-strong – is becoming weaker and more unstable ... The Turkish armed forces used to be seen as a guarantee of Turkey’s stability, inside and outside the country. But the failed coup saw it break apart in a manner that will be very difficult to reverse.

Hungarian Free Press

Ronald Lauder, an American billionaire, prominent Republican politician, former ambassador to Austria and head of the World Jewish Congress ... Recently, in an interview he named Hungary the most anti-Semitic country in Europe. Lauder specifically mentioned the statues of Hitler-supporter Regent Miklós Horthy, a self-proclaimed anti-Semite who declared war on the United States ... The Hungarian government swiftly rejected Mr. Lauder’s accusations. Prime Minister Orbán’s PR staff claimed that Mr. Lauder is uninformed, gets bad advice and just doesn’t understand Hungary ... If you travel to the Hungarian countryside you will discover hundreds (yes, hundreds!) of recently-installed statues, plaques and memorials of fascists, racists, anti-Semites and convicted World War II criminals.

Daily Mail (Britain)

… Thousands of Germans passed through the unit that became known as the London Cage, where they were beaten, deprived of sleep and forced to assume stress positions for days at a time. Some were told they were to be murdered and their bodies quietly buried. Others were threatened with unnecessary surgery carried out by people with no medical qualifications. Guards boasted that they were 'the English Gestapo'. The London Cage was part of a network of nine 'cages' around Britain run by the Prisoner of War Interrogation Section (PWIS), which came under the jurisdiction of the Directorate of Military Intelligence.

The Guardian (Britain)

… The “London Cage” was a secret torture centre where German prisoners who had been concealed from the Red Cross were beaten, deprived of sleep, and threatened with execution or with unnecessary surgery. As horrific as conditions were at the London Cage, Bad Nenndorf was far worse … Prisoners were systematically beaten and exposed to extreme cold, where some were starved to death and, allegedly, tortured with instruments that his fellow countrymen had recovered from a Gestapo prison in Hamburg.

S. Rogovoy – Forward (New York)

As we all know, Jews control Hollywood, yeah, yeah, yeah, yadda, yadda, yadda. But that hasn’t stopped plenty of hosts and presenters at the Academy Awards over the years from poking fun at the notion, or from making the crowd and viewers uncomfortable with remarks bordering on the anti-Semitic ... But the Oscars have enjoyed their share of Jewish triumphs and tragedies alike. Herewith, the top ten Jewish moments in Oscar history: In 1968, Bob Hope, a longtime host of the Academy Awards ceremony, opened his monologue saying, “Welcome to the Academy Awards, or, as it’s known at my house, Passover.” The joke, which got a laugh or two, requires a bit of unpacking these days.

New American View

… The Jewish denial that Hollywood is controlled by Jews is a great lie which can be attested to by anyone who has ever been associated with the film industry … It is positively insulting for them to deny their influence and power -- particularly when they themselves are continually boasting in their own circles about their "overrepresentation" in these fields. And it is absolutely infuriating when this denial reaches the point that non-Jews are attacked by Jewish agitators and Zionist zealots for stating obvious facts and truth.

The Jerusalem Post (Israel)

A study released last week in Berlin showed widespread anti-Semitism among left-wing Germans. According to the academic survey conducted by the Free University of Berlin, 34 percent of the respondents defined as leftist extremists said Jews have “too much influence” in Germany, and that 16 percent of Germans who were classified as radical left-wing harbored anti-Semitic views. The study showed 34 percent of leftwing extremists affirmed the anti-Semitic attitude that Jews are “money-grabbing,” while of those termed radical leftists, 13 percent said Jews are consumed with money. Extensive studies on left-wing anti-Semitism are rare in Europe.

P. R. Huard - The National Interest

At first glance, you might think the Henschel Hs 129 was the perfect ground-attack airplane. Twin engines. A heavily armored cockpit that protected the pilot from small-arms fire. The aircraft even eventually had the heaviest and most powerful forward-firing cannon ever fitted to a production military aircraft during World War II. The Hs 129 was supposed to be the Luftwaffe’s ultimate aerial tank-killer, dealing death from above to Soviet T-34s on the Russian front. In other words, it would be easy to see it as a World War II-forerunner of today’s formidable A-10 Warthog. There was just one problem: By all accounts, the Hs 129 was a questionable performer.

Fox News

As the candidates formally enter the general election season after their conventions, the former secretary of state’s wealthiest backers are pouring money into political groups opposing Trump. Within the past year, according to a review by FoxNews.com, a total of 24 billionaires have donated more than $42.5 million to two Clinton campaign arms and three allied super PACs. All this is in preparation for a blitz of advertising and other efforts to defeat Trump over the next three months ... Famous Clinton donor colleagues include movie producers Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg, financiers Warren Buffett and George Soros ... The largest donor was Soros with $9 million ... This was followed up by mathematician and hedge fund manager James Simons at $7 million and Haim and Cheryl Saban, with $3.5 million each.

N. Guttman - Forward

Democratic mega-donor Haim Saban has an open line to Hillary Clinton and he’s not afraid to use it. “I told her: ‘don’t shout. Why are you shouting all the time? ... You don’t need to shout’,” Saban said in an interview with Israel’s Channel 10 TV. He said that he feels free to call the candidate up whenever he feels there is something he needs to tell her ... Saban would not put a dollar amount on his contributions to the Clinton campaign, but said it was an “eight figure” number. Addressing the unavoidable comparison to another Jewish billionaire pro-Israel political donor, Sheldon Adelson, who pledged to put his money behind Donald Trump, Saban said: “Sheldon loves the Jewish people and loves Israel. We don’t agree on the way, but the bottom line is the same.”

Stephen Zunes - The Progressive

The Democratic Party platform may indeed be, as some have proclaimed, the “most progressive” in the history of the party — at least on various important domestic issues. But some of its foreign policy planks reflect a disturbingly hawkish worldview consistent with those of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton ... The platform praises Israel’s supposed “democracy, equality, tolerance, and pluralism” — which would be news for the country’s Palestinian minority and those Palestinians living under direct military occupation or in forced exile. It calls on the Palestinians to negotiate an agreement that “guarantees Israel’s future” as a “Jewish state,” making it the world’s first peace treaty in which one party is obliged to recognize another country’s ethnic or religious identity over that of others.

Deutsche Welle (Germany)

Long-lost film material reveals a remarkably "friendly" and "modest" side of Adolf Hitler at the Bayreuth Festival ... The film footage of Adolf Hitler at the Bayreuth Festival [in 1936], revealing Adolf Hitler as a welcome guest in the Wagner family circle, was turned over to the Bavarian State Archive in December 2015 and has now been made available on CD to researchers ... “One sees a completely different side of Hitler, not the statesman, but quite a relaxed and friendly person," said Krauss. The silent films show the Nazi leader in civilian clothing, "listening, smiling, an astonishingly modest and even submissive Hitler," according to Christine Lemke-Matwey, a reporter for the German newsweekly "Die Zeit," who was also allowed to see the film material.

Associated Press

... In Braunau am Inn, where Klara Hitler gave birth to Adolf in 1889 and locals have spent decades debating the fate of Hitler’s homestead ... Austria’s government has felt compelled to rent the building for nearly 45 years to ensure that fascists could not transform it into a Nazi shrine. Most residents say they would like nothing more than to erase any association between their community and Hitler. Yet many oppose a new proposal by Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka to demolish the property ... The empty dwelling radiates interest from ordinary tourists and others on a darker journey. A Bulgarian man in his 50s who identified himself only as Boyko ran his fingers over the BM initials standing for Hitler’s secretary. “I’m here on a pilgrimage,” the man said.

Time/ Life.com

Ten color photos, by German photographer Hugo Jaeger. / For several years in the late 1930s and early 1940s, during the summer months, Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich held what came to be known as “A Day of German Art,” conceived as a kind of Aryan-inflected kickoff for the annual Great German Art Exhibition in Munich. Paintings, sculpture and spectacle combined to celebrate a strenuously Nazified vision of Teutonic culture — one in which German legends and myths were bent to the service (and the aesthetic) of the Reich.

Avi Weiss - The Washington Post

This week marks the 70th anniversary of the 1945 liberation of Auschwitz, the notorious death camp in Poland ... We cannot allow evidence of the atrocities of the Holocaust to be co-opted by other groups for other purposes ... The church remains, and its very existence at this sacred Jewish space is inappropriate, misleading and a violation of Shoah memory ... It’s up to people of moral conscience to raise a voice for the sake of Holocaust memory and declare loud and clear: A church has no place at Auschwitz II. It’s also within the power of Pope Francis, who has shown himself to be a great friend to the Jewish community, to order the congregation to leave ... The large crosses in front of and on top of the building should be removed.

Video

In this edgy skit, a gutsy young Israeli woman who personifies "the Holocaust" ("Shoah") visits the country's central Holocaust memorial center to call on Israel's Jews to gratefully acknowledge that she has been very good for the Jewish state. The "Shoah," she reminds them, has served as justification for Israel's wars, its nuclear weapons arsenal, and its imposed "ghetto of three million" Palestinians. Concept, script and performance by Natali Cohen Vaxberg. With English subtitles. Runtime: 7:58 mins.

Fox News

Underwater -- that’s where the personal ratings for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump remain. More American voters view Clinton unfavorably (55 percent) than favorably (44 percent), giving her a net negative rating of minus eleven points. Last month she was underwater by 14. That’s still better than her opponent. Only 36 percent of voters have a positive opinion of Trump, while 63 percent feel the opposite, giving him a net score of minus 27 points. That’s worse than his minus 18 rating in June. “Voters are more comfortable voting for people they like, so this is not good news for either candidate," says Republican pollster Daron Shaw, who conducts the Fox News Poll along with Democratic pollster Chris Anderson. "The unfavorable ratings for the major party candidates we show here are almost unprecedented ...”

Time magazine

... Rio hosted one of the biggest slave ports in the world, and its legacy echoes down the ages, from the foundation of the first favela shantytown nearby to the growth of samba music, created by former slaves. Though the slave wharf and many public records about the extent of slavery have been destroyed, the past — with which Brazil has never truly reckoned – cannot easily be forgotten. More than 5.5 million slaves set sail from Africa bound for Brazil between the 16th and 19th centuries. 4.9 million arrived alive, and of those, more than two million docked in Rio de Janeiro, with half of those coming in the first half of the 19th century alone. In contrast, less than 400,000 slaves disembarked in mainland North America in total.

Time magazine

... Eighty years ago, when the Summer Olympics opened on Aug. 1, 1936, in Berlin, that creed nearly crumbled ... Some athletes and Olympics organizers in the United States and Europe considered pulling out of the Olympics altogether to compete elsewhere ... Several aspects of the 1936 games still exist today, says David Clay Large, author of Nazi Games: The Olympics of 1936. The Berlin Olympics were the first to host the torch relay and the first to be broadcast on television — and some of its deeper-seated elements have continued as well. “Those games really set the stage for the Olympics as we know them today,” Large says.

Mike Walsh

August 2016 marks the 80th anniversary of the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The Berlin event was unique in that it boasted the largest number of foreign athletes in the history of the Olympics. The Berlin Olympic Village was so beautifully designed that every Olympic village since has been modelled on it. The Berlin stadium boasted seating for 100,000 spectators. Attending were four million fans and journalists from 41 nations. The Berlin Olympics was the first to be televised. Competing in the 1936 Games was a record number of participants: 4066 athletes, including 331 women, from 49 countries. The 1936 Berlin Olympics is invariably referred to as the Olympics during which American Negro, Jesse Owens, 'humiliated Nazi Germany and destroyed the myth of Aryan superiority.' The truth is quite the opposite.

Video

Opening ceremonies of the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin. The large, enthusiastic crowd welcomes the various national teams as they enter the stadium. Hitler formally announces the opening of the games. Excerpts from the Leni Riefenstahl film, “Olympia.” Runtime: 6:09 mins.

Rick Shenkman

Everyone knows that at the 1936 Olympics Hitler snubbed Jesse Owens. As the story goes, after Owens won one gold medal, Hitler, incensed, stormed out of Olympic Stadium so he wouldn't have to congratulate Owens on his victory … Several other misconceptions about the 1936 Olympics are prevalent. Not only was Owens not rebuffed by Hitler, Owens wasn't shunned by the German audience at the Berlin stadium either … It is forgotten that Germany managed to pick up more medals than all the other countries combined.

James W. Carden - Consortium News

The mood among some of the Democratic Party’s foreign policy cognoscenti here is one of an unadulterated smugness bred of certainty mixed with a sense of global entitlement. One Democratic U.S. senator lamented to a roomful of well-heeled donors and foreign policy experts on Monday that the U.S. had “lost” Ukraine. Lost? Was it ever America’s to begin with? ... A Hillary Clinton presidency will more likely than not be a faithful replication of her husband’s tenure. Her record as Secretary of State speaks to the kind of foreign policy she will pursue. She continually sought to embroil the U.S. in the Syrian civil war (2011-present), and pushed President Obama to unleash NATO forces in helping to overturn the Libyan government (2011) ... As a candidate she has surrounded herself with liberal hawks ...

Byron York - Washington Examiner

... Trump instead has chosen to deliver a stream of consciousness performance designed to capitalize on his celebrity, to entertain, to attack opponents, and to address the actual issues in the race. And most of all, to keep his audience awake and paying attention. Trump wanders all over the lot ... He will talk about anything that comes to mind. This goes on for 10, 20, 30, 45 minutes, and often more than an hour. There's a lot of bragging in Trump's speeches. He can seem strangely needy, repeatedly asking the audience to affirm that he did a good job with this or that. But mostly he's telling voters how great he is, how everything he does and everything he possesses is the best, and how he will be a great, great president. It's all part of the show ... Trump almost never expresses a complete thought without going down some side road.

University of Edinburgh - ScienceDaily

Genes play a greater role in forming character traits -- such as self-control, decision making or sociability -- than was previously thought, new research suggests. A study of more than 800 sets of twins found that genetics were more influential in shaping key traits than a person's home environment and surroundings. Psychologists at the University of Edinburgh who carried out the study, say that genetically influenced characteristics could well be the key to how successful a person is in life.

Ron Paul

It is a sad commentary on the state of political life in the United States that our political conventions have become more like rock music festivals than competitions of ideas. There has been a great deal of bombast, of insults, of name-calling, and of chest-beating at both party conventions, but what is disturbingly absent is any mention of how we got to this crisis and how we can get out ... How are these candidates going to fix the problems we face in America if they have absolutely no idea what caused the problems? No matter who is elected, Americans are going to be very disappointed in the outcome. The warfare/ welfare state is going to proceed until we are bankrupt. There is hope, however. It is up to us to focus on the issues, to focus on educating ourselves and others, and to demand that politicians listen.

Christopher A. Preble - The National Interest

... The American people are hungry for something different, but they don’t quite know what that would look like. And, because foreign policy is not a particularly salient issue, it is unlikely to be a major factor in the election. Our wars are far away, seem relatively cheap, and directly affect only the small segment of the population that actually has to fight them. But that doesn’t mean that the wars are unimportant. Far from it. So that puts the burden on the news media going into the general election. They should press all candidates to discuss America’s global role. They should ask them what they’ve learned from America’s experiences in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and other invisible places.

Patrick J. Buchanan

... We have been at war since 2001. And as one looks on the ruins of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen, and adds up the thousands dead and wounded and trillions sunk and lost, can anyone say our War Party has served us well? On bringing Estonia into NATO, no Cold War president would have dreamed of issuing so insane a war guarantee ... Are U.S. war guarantees in the Baltic republics even credible? If the Cold War generations of Americans were unwilling to go to war with a nuclear-armed Soviet Union over Hungary and Czechoslovakia, are the millennials ready to fight a war with Russia over Estonia? Needed now is diplomacy.

Glen Greenwald - The Intercept

For all the chatter about animosity between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Washington Post reports that “a senior Israeli official will arrive in Washington next week for a final round of negotiations involving the largest military aid package the United States has ever given any country and that will last more than a decade after President Obama leaves office.” The U.S. already transfers $3.1 billion in taxpayer money every year to Israel – more than any other country by far -- but the new agreement Obama is set to sign “significantly raises” that amount, and guarantees it for ten years. In response to this massive windfall, Netanyahu is angry that he is not getting even more.

teleSur (Venezuela)

With more unemployed people than at any time in U.S. history, President Obama next week is scheduled to sign the most lavish foreign aid package in the country's history – $3.1 billion in military assistance to Israel – raising an urgent question: can the U.S. afford it? The United States already transfers $3.1 billion in taxpayer money to Israel every year, far more than any other country, but the deal that will be signed into law next week will guarantee foreign aid to the country until the year 2027, a decade after Obama has left office ... With the U.S. presidential elections just three months away, both political parties are campaigning to restore the once-vaunted middle-class prosperity in the country, but Israeli aid is all-but-sacrosanct in the electoral discourse.

Mark Weber

Thor Heyerdahl first captured world attention in 1947 when he sailed a hand-built balsa wood craft, the Kon-Tiki, from Peru across thousands of miles of Pacific Ocean to the Polynesian islands ... In his book Early Man and the Ocean, first published in 1978, and in other writings, he lays out detailed evidence to support his view that the advanced civilizations found by European explorers in the 1500s in what are now Mexico and Peru had been established by much earlier visitors from the Old World ... Even casual observers have long been struck by similarities between the great pyramids of ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt, and those of pre-Columbian America. Other remarkable parallels, cited by Heyerdahl, also suggest trans-oceanic cultural links.

Deutsche Welle (Germany)

Saxony-Anhalt's highest court is under fire for a precedent-setting lenient sentence on a former mayor convicted of Holocaust denial. The far-right politician from former East Germany remains unapologetic. / Historians and a prominent Jewish council are protesting the "scandalous" acquittal announced by an appeals court, which threw out an already lenient financial judgment against a former mayor who wrote blogs questioning Nazi Germany's attempt to exterminate Europe's Jews. Hans Püschel was forced to resign in 2013 as mayor of Krauschwitz, a town of around 600 people, for statements he published on the internet that minimized or denied Nazi crimes ... On the current role of Jews in German society, he wrote of "the dubious to virulent and devastating influence of Jews and Zionism on Germany."

The Algemeiner (Brooklyn, NY)

Jewish and pro-Israel groups in Britain called for the expulsion of a controversial British peer on Friday, following her remarks yesterday blaming Israel for the global rise of terrorism. In an address to the House of Lords, Baroness Jenny Tonge said, “The treatment of the Palestinians by Israel is a major cause of the rise of extreme Islamism and Daesh [ISIS].” According to Tonge, Israel is “creating a generation of terrorists who will have a justified grudge against Israel and the countries who support her.” ... Tonge’s comments prompted outcry from prominent Jewish groups in Britain, who called for her immediate dismissal.