May 2017

J. Haskins - The Blaze

Fox News Channel host Jesse Watters hit the beach for Memorial Day weekend to quiz young people about the meaning of Memorial Day and past military conflicts involving the United States. The answers were both hilarious and horrifying ... There are plenty of “shameful” answers to Watters’ questions to choose from, but several worth highlighting came in response to Watters’ simple question about the Revolutionary War. “Who did America fight in the Revolutionary War?” asked Watters to several beachgoers. “The French,” responded one woman ... “China,” answered another young woman. “North versus South,” responded one particularly confident-sounding man. “The Confederate versus the Union.” ... Numerous studies and surveys have shown Americans know very little about their own history, and even less about world history.

Daily Mail (Britain)

The first ever full-genome analysis of Ancient Egyptians shows they were more Turkish and European than African. Scientists analysed ancient DNA from Egyptian mummies dating from 1400 BC to 400 AD and discovered they shared genes with people from the Mediterranean. They found that ancient Egyptians were closely related to ancient populations in the Levant - now modern day Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Israel and Lebanon. They were also genetically similar to Neolithic populations from the Anatolian Peninsula and Europe. The groundbreaking study used recent advances in DNA sequencing techniques to undertake a closer examination of mummy genetics than ever before. The study, published in Nature Communications, found that modern Egyptians share more ancestry with Sub-Saharan Africans than ancient Egyptians did.

Ted Galen Carpenter - The American Conservative

President Trump’s state visit to Riyadh and his actions there should deeply trouble all Americans. The president not only inked a deal to sell the Kingdom $110 billion in U.S. armaments, but he greatly intensified the overall security relationship ... It is difficult to justify those measures on the basis of rational U.S. security calculations. It is impossible to do so on the basis of any decent moral considerations. Unfortunately, President Trump is perpetuating and intensifying an extremely questionable bilateral relationship that has gone on for decades ... As Malou Innocent and I document in our book, Dubious Partners, the Saudi regime abets extremism in multiple ways ... Saudi Arabia makes Iran, for all its faults and repressive aspects, look like a Jeffersonian democracy.

Adam Johnson - LobeLog

The Trump administration wrapped up a weapons deal with the Saudi Arabian government this week that will be worth up to $350 billion over the next ten years. News of the deal came as Trump visited Riyadh and paid fealty to one of the United States’ most enduring allies in the Middle East. The vast majority of the reports on the topic, however, omitted a rather key piece of context — namely, whom the weapons will be used to kill. The famine and brutal two-year-long war in Yemen being waged by the Saudis that has killed over 10,000 civilians wasn’t mentioned once in reports of the $300 billion deal to Saudi Arabia ...

Reuters

Syrian rebels say the United States and its allies are sending them more arms to try to fend off a new push into the southeast by Iran-backed militias aiming to open an overland supply route between Iraq and Syria. The stakes are high as Iran seeks to secure its influence from Tehran to Beirut in a "Shi'ite crescent" of Iranian influence through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, where Sunni Arab states have lost out in power struggles with Iran ... While in Iraq the United States has fought alongside Iranian-backed Iraqi government forces and Shi'ite militias against Islamic State, in Syria Washington has lined up against Assad's Iranian-backed government and wants to block a further expansion of Iranian influence, with its regional allies.

Mark Weber

A specter is haunting the world -- the specter of Hitlerism. That, in short, is the stern warning of this provocative book, Hitler as Philosophe: Remnants of the Enlightenment in National Socialism, by Lawrence Birken… In spite of decades of vehement vilification, says author Birken, Hitler's views have enduring and dangerous appeal -- not because they are bizarre and alien, but precisely because they are rational and well grounded in Western thought.

SWI swissinfo.ch (Switzerland)

In a landmark trial, a Swiss man has received a two-year suspended sentence and a fine of 4,000 Swiss francs ($4,000) in a defamation case which involved him “liking” Facebook posts that accused an animal rights activist of racism and anti-Semitism. On Monday, a Zurich district court found the 45-year-old defendant guilty of defamation. The Zurich man had accused Erwin Kessler, the president of the animal protection organisation “Verein gegen Tierfabriken” and his association online of racism and anti-Semitism. The defendant had also liked six Facebook posts from other people that contained the inflammatory content, also commenting on and linking to several of the posts.

A. Jacobsen - The Daily Beast

In the run-up to WWII, British intelligence unleashed an astrologer on an unsuspecting American public to sway public opinion on the war. He was a persuasive fake / ... De Wohl’s newspaper column was part of an elaborate black propaganda campaign [1940-1941] to organize American public opinion in favor of Britain, and to ultimately get the U.S. to enter the war. In reality, de Wohl worked for British Intelligence (MI5) ... According to the CIA’s Office of the Historian, de Wohl’s handler was working directly with U.S. spy chief Colonel William Donovan to “coordinate and oversee U.S. intelligence collection and analysis efforts.”

F. Macdonald - BBC News

The word 'propaganda' might suggest some form of misinformation – yet in boosting morale during World War Two, the British government had to maintain a careful balancing act. While employing a range of psychological tricks, they had to be seen to be as truthful as possible ... “The MOI [Ministry of Information] used the notion of the barbarous Hun – first exploited on a massive scale in World War One – to show that they were still the 'same aggressor',” Welch tells BBC Culture ... The government declared a “Red Army Day”, marked in British cities with pageants and music. “Joseph Stalin, who had previously been depicted in British propaganda as a deceitful and conniving dictator, was suddenly transmogrified into an avuncular 'Uncle Joe',” writes Welch.

Associated Press

President Donald Trump asserted this week that Iran was six months from ruin before its economy was saved by the nuclear deal with the West. That scenario, though, does not fit with the circumstances of that time. Here's a look at Trump's statement on the 2015 deal that eased economic sanctions in return for a freeze on Iranian nuclear development ... What would have happened absent the deal is impossible to say, but such an imminent collapse of Iran's economy was highly improbable. International sanctions on Iran in response to its nuclear program had indeed driven its economy into crisis earlier this decade. But even before the nuclear deal, Iran had cut budget expenditures and fixed its balance of payments. It was still exporting oil and importing products from countries such as Japan and China.

Christian Today (Britain)

A heavyweight group of national Jewish leaders is demanding that Manchester University removes books by the Holocaust denier David Irving from 'open access' in its main library. A letter appealing to Manchester's vice chancellor Dame Nancy Rothwell will been sent this week, jointly signed by the Jewish Leadership Council, the Board of Deputies of British Jews ... The intervention marks a major boost for the ongoing campaign to persuade the university to change its position ... In response, the university said it was considering re-cataloguing the books but refused to move them from open display in the John Rylands library.

The Algemeiner (Brooklyn, NY)

An Anti-Defamation League (ADL) cyber-hate expert has called on Google to take action following revelations that Holocaust deniers are included in the image bar results for a search of “Holocaust historians.” Jonathan Vick — the ADL’s associate director of investigative technology and cyber-hate — said he was certain that Google would edit the algorithm for the search results to ensure the exclusion of deniers and antisemites. “[Google has] been confronted with this sort of issue in the past, and there is not real question of how they will respond,” Vick said. “These are unintended and painful consequences of an algorithm that clearly needs human intervention.” The very first “historian” listed is David Irving ...

Reuters

Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged US$124 billion on Sunday for his ambitious new Silk Road plan, saying everyone was welcome to join what he envisioned would be a path for peace and prosperity for the world. China has touted what it formally calls the Belt and Road initiative as a new way to boost development since Xi unveiled the plan in 2013, aiming to expand links between Asia, Africa, Europe and beyond underpinned by billions of dollars in infrastructure investment ... China formally calls the scheme in English the Belt and Road initiative. Some Western diplomats have expressed unease about both the summit and the plan as a whole, seeing it as an attempt to promote Chinese influence globally. China has rejected criticism of the plan and the summit, saying the scheme is open to all, is a win-win and aimed only at promoting prosperity.

VOA News

Just as President Xi Jinping was launching the One Belt, One Road [`Silk Road’] initiative to expand China’s geo-economic footprint, a former high-level U.S. trade official raised concerns that Beijing has been reversing its policies of reform and keeping the market to itself. Charlene Barshefsky, who worked as the U.S. Trade Representative under President Bill Clinton and witnessed China’s accession to the World Trade Organization, told a group of corporate executives gathered in Tokyo that “China has stopped the process of economic reform and opening, and instead has put in place a spate of measures that are zero-sum, highly mercantilist, and discriminate against U.S. and foreign companies.” Barshefsky accuses Beijing of “Sinicizing” the Chinese economy, all the while taking advantage of other countries’ open markets.

Patrick J. Buchanan

... For a century, Americans lived comfortably with the honoring, North and South, of the men who fought on both sides. But today’s America is not the magnanimous country we grew up in. Since the ’60s, there has arisen an ideology that holds that the Confederacy was the moral equivalent of Nazi Germany, and those who fought under its battle flag should be regarded as traitors or worse. Thus, in New Orleans, statues of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States of America, and General Robert E. Lee were just pulled down ... Behind this remorseless drive to blast the greatest names from America’s past off public buildings, and to tear down their statues and monuments, is an egalitarian extremism rooted in envy and hate.

Sébastien Roblin - The National Interest

Northrop Grumman revealed this year it is developing a second flying wing stealth bomber, the B-21 Raider, to succeed its B-2 Spirit. However, it was a pair of German brothers in the service of Nazi Germany that developed the first jet-powered flying wing — which has been dubbed, debatably, “Hitler’s stealth fighter.” But maximizing speed and range, not stealth, was the primary motivation behind the bat-shaped jet plane ... The Ho 229 might have been a formidable adversary over the skies of World War II, but in truth the plane was far from ready for mass production by the war’s end. While it seems a stretch to claim that the Ho 229 was intended to be a stealth aircraft, there’s little doubt that it pioneered design features that continue to see use in low-observable aircraft today.

I24 News / AFP

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Washington has added tens of millions of dollars in extra defense aid for Israel, a day after US President Donald Trump wound up a visit. He did not say over what time frame the money would be disbursed. The addition comes on the heels of a weekend announcement of a massive US-Saudi arms deal. Under a 2016 agreement, Washington already bankrolls its Israeli ally's military spending to the tune of $3.8 billion dollars annually over ten years, making the Jewish state the top recipient of US assistance. “Three days ago, the US added another $75 million to the aid package for the missile defense program," Netanyahu said at a memorial ceremony for Israel's dead in the 1967 Six-Day War. He did not elaborate. Israel relies heavily on US military aid.

Philip Giraldi - The American Conservative

... American aid to Israel is something like a pot of gold that keeps on giving. Both sides in the discussion would probably agree that the domestic Israel Lobby has been instrumental in sustaining the high level of aid ... Since the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948, it has been “the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II,” according to the Congressional Research Service. The United States has provided Israel with $233.7 billion in adjusted for inflation aid between 1948 through the end of 2012, reports [the Israeli daily newspaper] Haaretz ... Israel also benefits in other ways, frequently due to legislative action by Congress ... The U.S.-Israel relationship is yet another instance where the perceived needs of an American “ally” take precedence over genuine national interests.

VOA News

Israel is looking to boost the amount of money the U.S. State Department sends it every year for military aid to as much as $5 billion, a number that would give it not only the largest chunk of U.S. defense aid money, but also more than triple the amount any other country receives in total aid from the U.S. For the past two years, the U.S. has given Israel $3.1 billion in what it calls "foreign military financing.” Together with Egypt, which has received about $1.5 billion each year, the two countries make up nearly 80 percent of the more than $5.5 billion in global U.S. military aid, according to VOA analysis of government data. By comparison, Pakistan, in third place, received $280 million in 2015.

Kit O’Connell - MintPress

A lawsuit warns that U.S. aid to Israel violates a law meant to prevent nuclear weapons proliferation, even as the United States prepares to increase the already massive Israeli aid program. Filed August 8, 2016, by Grant Smith, director of the Institute for Research: Middle East Policy, or IRMEP, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the suit alleges that U.S. aid to Israel violates two amendments to the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act, known as the Symington and Glenn Amendments, which collectively ban support for countries engaged in clandestine nuclear programs. In the lawsuit, Smith alleges that violating these amendments means that Israel has received approximately $234 billion in illegal aid since the passage of the International Security Assistance and Arms Export Control Act of 1976.

Middle East Media Research Institute / MEMRI (Washington, DC)

A weekend news broadcast, aired on Russia's Channel 1 television on April 2, reports on the history of the Rothschild family, using Nazi propaganda footage and anti-Semitic caricatures. It is titled “Money, Which Rules the World.” The item, which was broadcast following the death of American banker David Rockefeller, purports to shed light on another wealthy international banking dynasty, the Rothschilds ... The broadcast describes the major conspiracy theories regarding the Rothschild family, claiming that it is part of an international Jewish plot to take control of the world. This MEMRI TV clip includes excerpts from the original item, with translated captions in English. Linked is a translation in English of the narration. Runtime: 5:21 mins.

The Local – Germany

Fanta is for many the definitive orange soda. Popular worldwide, the brand has always been owned by Coca-Cola. But the drink was actually created in Germany, and owes its existence to ingredient shortages during the Second World War ... After war broke out in 1939 it became increasingly difficult to transport the syrups needed to make Coke to the German factories due to various embargoes on imports into the Nazi Reich. Because of this, production of Coke ceased in Germany during the war. Max Keith, the head of the company in Germany, didn’t want to give up altogether though, so he got together a few readily available ingredients ... Whey was used from milk factories and scraps of various fruits, mainly apples, from fruit pressing factories were added with various other ingredients to make the drink they called Fanta.

Mark Weber - Podcast

In this 45-minute talk, given at an IHR meeting, Weber reviews Donald Trump’s foreign policy record. Trump’s actual policies as president, Weber shows, have been a drastic betrayal of pledges he made before taking office. For example, Trump repeatedly spoke against US military involvement in the Syria conflict, especially without specific Congressional authorization. But as President he has stepped up the US role in the war, even ordering a missile strike against a Syria air base – a violation of both US law and international law. For President Trump, Israel’s enemies are America’s enemies. Consistent with that, he threatens war against Iran. Weber recalls President Eisenhower’s foreign policy record and outlook during the 1950s, and shows how they contrast sharply with those of President Trump.

Eric Margolis

... Trump has made this huge mess and must now live with it. Yes, he is being treated unfairly by appointment of a special prosecutor when the titanic sleaze of the Clintons was never investigated. But that’s what happens when you are widely detested. No mercy for Trump, a man without any mercy for others ... Isolated and besieged as Trump is, he may have to depend more on support from Israel and its American partisans rather than forcing a Mideast peace settlement. Israel insists there be no change to the status quo that leaves Palestine an open air prison. America has not so far become great again.

Sheldon Richman

... As for Israel, the region’s nuclear monopolist, it will tolerate no Middle East power that is not sufficiently obeisant to the American-Israeli agenda. Iran, moreover, has had the temerity to befriend Hezbollah, the only group able to keep Israel from having its way in Lebanon. Keep this in mind whenever you hear Iran condemned as the “world’s greatest state sponsor of terrorism.” Also recall that for years Israel has, with U.S. help, conducted covert and cyber war against Iran and has sponsored anti-Iran terrorism. Moreover, Israel’s ruling class is long on record as favoring destabilization of the Arab states. It expects the Jewish state to profit from chaos in the region. Meanwhile, Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians and the occupation of their land continues.

Reuters

President Donald Trump paid tribute at Israel's Yad Vashem memorial on Tuesday to the six million Jews killed in the Nazi Holocaust, calling it an indescribable act of evil. Holding hands, the president and First Lady Melania Trump walked solemnly to lay a wreath together upon the ashes of Holocaust victims, buried at the site's Hall of Remembrance. "Words can never describe the bottomless depths of that evil, or the scope of the anguish and destruction. It was history's darkest hour," Trump said in a short speech after the memorial ceremony. "It was the most savage crime against God and his children," said Trump, who is visiting Israel and the Palestinian Territories on the second leg of his first foreign trip since taking office in January.

Paul R. Pillar - The National Interest

... As usual, Iran is used as chief bogeyman, a habit that extends well beyond the Trump administration ... It is not Iran but instead another state [Israel] that has introduced nuclear weapons into the region and keeps the Middle East from becoming a nuclear weapons-free zone. Destabilizing activities? In the region’s biggest ongoing conflict in Syria, Iran, rather than trying to upset the status quo, has been trying to preserve it by backing the incumbent regime, which has been in power for decades. The Saudis and other Gulf Arabs have been most aggressive in stoking rebellion, in the course of which they have shown little worry about aiding extremists in the process.

John Bryson Chane - LobeLog

... Saudi Arabia outlaws Christianity as a public practice. There are no Christian churches in Saudi Arabia, and it is against the law to build them. The Saudi Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice actually prohibits the practice of any religion other than Islam. Freedom House, a US government- funded NGO, has designated Saudi Arabia as the “worst of the worst.” And lest anyone forget, 15 of the 19 hijackers who flew planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, killing over 3,000 people, were Wahhabi Sunnis from Saudi Arabia. I wonder if Secretary of State Tillerson understands that the Saudi Kingdom openly violates religious freedom, freedom of the press, and basic inalienable human rights, especially for women.

University of Toronto – ScienceDaily

Two studies by researchers at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto and their collaborators from the US, UK, France and China, show that six- to nine-month-old infants demonstrate racial bias in favour of members of their own race and racial bias against those of other races. In the first study, "Older but not younger infants associate own-race faces with happy music and other-race faces with sad music," published in Developmental Science, results showed that after six months of age, infants begin to associate own-race faces with happy music and other-race faces with sad music.

Medical Xpress

Neither Canada nor Japan cracked the top ten, and the United States finished a dismal 35th, according to a much anticipated ranking of healthcare quality in 195 countries, released Friday. Among nations with more than a million souls, top honours for 2015 went to Switzerland, followed by Sweden and Norway, though the healthcare gold standard remains tiny Andorra, a postage stamp of a country nestled between Spain (No. 8) and France (No. 15). Iceland (No. 2), Australia (No. 6), Finland (No. 7), the Netherlands (No. 9) and financial and banking centre Luxembourg rounded out the first ten finishers, according to a comprehensive study published in the medical journal The Lancet.

Jason Ditz - Antiwar.com

In his four months in office, President Trump has steadily been rebranding himself away from the outsider candidate willing to drift far afield of the conventional wisdom of US leadership, and toward a rarely well-spoken, and oftentimes downright surly facsimile of a modern, mainstream US president. With his speech in Saudi Arabia over the weekend, that transition appears complete ... Today, it was just the new Trump, who curtsied meekly before the Saudi king, while lavishing praise on the “magnificent kingdom.” Of course, Trump isn’t any more sincere in this new guise than he was in the former ...

Medea Benjamin

Donald Trump has selected Saudi Arabia as the destination for his first trip abroad, strengthening U.S. ties to a regime that is fueling the very extremism, intolerance and violence that the US government purports to eradicate. Here’s ten reasons why the United States should not be closely allied with the Saudi kingdom. One. The Saudis export an extremist interpretation of Islam, Wahhabism, around the globe ... Two. The Saudis fund terrorism worldwide. A Wikileaks-revealed 2009 cable quotes then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying, "Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide … More needs to be done since Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Lashkar e-Tayyiba and other terrorist groups."

Video – ITV (Britain) and PBS (USA)

Based on six months of undercover filming, this documentary portrays the Saudi Kingdom as a tightly controlled dictatorship that harshly stamps out dissent. It shows secretive beatings and beheadings, and exposes also exposes the extremes of wealth and poverty in this oil-rich country. It also tells the story of the men and women who dare to speak out against the Saudi dictatorship, and reveals the terrible price they pay for their courage. This film is a shared production by ITV and the Public Broadcasting Service in the U.S. Runtime: 52 mins.

NBC News

President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared together Monday and vowed to make a renewed effort at peace with the Palestinians and to confront Iran. "I wanted you to know how much we appreciate the American change in policy on Iran," Netanyahu said as the two leaders delivered joint statements ... In a thinly veiled knock at the Obama administration, the prime minister credited Trump for "your bold decision to act against the use of chemical weapons in Syria, and I want to tell you also how much we appreciate the reassertion of American leadership in the Middle East." Trump said he wanted to work with Netanyahu to take on the "threat of (the) Iranian regime...causing so much violence and suffering."

The Telegraph (Britain)

The astonishing decade-long ­association between Jeremy Corbyn and a cabal of Holocaust deniers can be revealed today. An investigation by The Telegraph shows Mr Corbyn was considered to be a “stalwart” supporter of an anti-Israel campaign group Deir Yassin Remembered (DYR) for several years after its organisers were exposed publicly for their extreme anti-Semitic views. While there is no suggestion Mr Corbyn shares their views, his association raises serious questions about his judgement. A Telegraph investigation shows DYR was riddled with prominent Holocaust deniers that included its founder Paul Eisen as well as Gill Kaffash, a former Labour councillor, who knew Corbyn for many years; Gilad Atzmon, a notorious Holocaust revisionist ...

Associated Press

Iran’s moderate President Hassan Rouhani trounced a hard-line challenger to secure re-election Saturday, saying his country seeks peace and friendship as it pursues a “path of coexistence and interaction with the world.” Friday’s election was widely seen as a referendum on the 68-year-old cleric’s push for greater freedom at home and outreach to the wider world, which culminated in the completion of a landmark 2015 nuclear deal that hard-liners initially opposed ... Iran continues to suffer from high unemployment and a dearth of foreign investment, putting pressure on Rouhani to show he can do more to turn the sluggish economy around. ... “Today, Iran — prouder than ever — is ready to promote its relations with the world based on mutual respect and national interests,” he said in a televised address ...

Trita Parsi

The Iranian population’s political sophistication continues to impress ... The overwhelmingly majority chose a non-violent path to bring about progress. They massively participated in the elections with a 75 percent turnout – compare that to the turnout in the U.S. elections in 2016, 56 percent – and handed the incumbent moderate President Hassan Rouhani a landslide victory with 57 percent of the vote. In a regional context, this election is even more remarkable ... Iran is today one of the few countries in the world where a message of moderation and anti-populism secures you a landslide election victory ... But the question is if Trump will unclench his fist and embrace this window for diplomacy.

R. Mackey - The Intercept

The hypocrisy of America’s support for unelected despots in the oil-rich Gulf states is not new, but Donald Trump’s lavish praise for them on Sunday, as allies against “Islamist extremism” and “the oppression of women,” was particularly striking, coming one day after Iranian voters danced in the streets to celebrate their reformist president’s landslide re-election. As Iran’s moderates celebrated on Saturday night, Trump and members of his cabinet were dancing with swords in Saudi Arabia ... Instead, the American president promised the monarchs and autocrats in the room that he would work with them “to isolate Iran.” He also promised, bizarrely, “to help our Saudi friends to get a good deal” from American arms makers.

Vice News (New York)

... Today, ultranationalist politics has a pronounced influence on Polish youth culture, from football stadiums to music to streetwear ... The annual Independence Day demonstration in Warsaw, organized by far-right nationalist groups, now draws estimated crowds of up to 70,000 people, marching under the slogan “Poland for the Poles.” ... After the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, the prevailing wisdom was that the generations that grew up in a democratic, post-Communist Poland would eventually share the liberal values of their peers in Western Europe. Instead, young Poles have been the driving force behind the rise of a radical far-right nationalism that in recent years has manifested in street-level political movements and across youth culture.

Reuters

Americans' debt level reached a record high this year, surpassing the peak touched just as the worst of the recession was taking hold in 2008, and marking a milestone for households that now lean less on mortgages and more on auto and student loans. Total U.S. household debt was $12.73 trillion at the end of the first quarter of 2017, up $473 billion from a year ago, according to a Federal Reserve Bank of New York survey released on Wednesday ... The quarterly survey on household debt and credit showed that overall delinquency rates were roughly flat at 4.8 percent. While balances have steadily shifted to more credit-worthy borrowers, New York Fed economists raised some concern over the eleven percent of student loan debt that was "seriously delinquent" at the end of March.

BBC News

Masked city workers in New Orleans [on May 19] are removing the last of four monuments to the pro-slavery rebellion defeated in the US Civil War. The 133-year-old statue depicts General Robert E Lee, the top military leader in the Confederacy, crossing his arms as he faces north towards his old enemy. Critics say monuments to the Confederacy are racially offensive, but supporters say they are important symbols of the city's Southern heritage. The three other statues were all removed at night to limit clashes. The workers on the job have been wearing bullet-proof vests.

Allan Levine - Winnipeg Free Press (Canada)

... Like many others who came into contact with Hitler before the Second World War, [Canadian Prime Minister William Mackenzie] King was plainly in awe of him, as is clear in the approximate 7,400-word moment-by-moment assessment of the meeting [in June 1937, in Berlin] he dictated to [secretary] Pickering for his diary. He praised Hitler more than once: "I spoke ... of what I had seen of the constructive work of his regime, and said that I hoped that that would continue ... That it was bound to be followed in other countries to the great advantage of mankind." ... “He has a very nice, sweet, and one could see, how particularly humble folk would come to have a profound love for the man... As I talked with him, I could not but think of Joan of Arc. He is distinctly mystic." ... “I believe the world will yet come to see a very great man ... in Hitler."

M. Godden - Sun (Britain)

These are the never-before-seen photos of evil Adolf Hitler produced by the Nazis to try and show what a nice chap he was. Hundreds of black-and-white images show the Nazi dictator grinning and interacting with children in an effort to portray him as a “personal friend and guardian of the German youth”. Other carefully staged snaps show Hitler feeding small deer to show his gentle side and portray a man in tune with nature. He is also pictured posing with his pet dogs – to give an impression he enjoyed life’s simple pleasures. The photographs were deliberately taken to present the Führer as a man who enjoyed the great outdoors and a visionary far removed from the banalities of everyday life.

RT News (Russia)

The commander of NATO and US forces in Europe has called for yet more armored vehicles and troops to be deployed on the continent to counter what he calls “a resurgent Russia.” Testifying before a Senate appropriations subcommittee on Tuesday [May 2], General Curtis M. Scaparrotti, head of United States European Command (EUCOM) – in charge of all US forces in Europe, as well as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander – accused Russia of threatening regional and global security. “Today we face the most dynamic European strategic environment in recent history,” he said in his testimony. “In the east, a resurgent Russia had turned from partner to antagonist as it seeks to undermine the Western-led international order and reassert itself as a global power.”

EBL News (Croatia)

Thousands of people participated in the commemoration of the Bleiburg 1945 massacre of Croatians in Loibach, Austria. The annual outdoor church service was observed and escorted by the Austrian police. Several different political parties, anti-fascist groups and human rights NGOs called on the Austrian state of Carinthia to ban the gathering. Opponents to the event argued that Neo-fascists groups would use the commemoration to promote their views.

Balkan Insight (Serbia)

Some 15,000 people, including the chair of the Croatian Parliament, Gordan Jandrokovic, and several Croatian ministers, attended Saturday’s commemoration in [near] the Austrian town of Bleiburg to mark the 72nd anniversary of the killing of Croatian collaboration forces and civilians who were captured at the end of World War II.

Video

In Zagreb, the Croatian capital, joyful crowds welcome German troops as liberators, April 12, 1941. Newsreel footage. German narration with Croatian subtitles. Runtime: 1:02 mins.

The Washington Times

There was an underlying sense of foreboding among Republican voters during the 2016 election. Many said they no longer recognized America, or complained that they “want their country back.” Now we have some numbers. Much of the nation agrees with this: “Seven out of ten Americans think the United States is losing its national identity, while just three in ten regard the country’s identity as secure, and these attitudes are related to threats to that identity and pride in several aspects of the country,” reports a new Associated Press survey ... The research found that respondents valued a fair judicial system and rule of law the most — cited by 88 percent — followed by individual freedoms defined by the Constitution, cited by 84 percent. The “shared use of the English language’ was in third place, cited by 73 percent.

Associated Press

Add one more to the list of things dividing left and right in this country: We can’t even agree what it means to be an American. A new survey from The Associated Press – NORC Center for Public Affair Research finds Republicans are far more likely to cite a culture grounded in Christian beliefs and the traditions of early European immigrants as essential to U.S. identity. Democrats are more apt to point to the country’s history of mixing of people from around the globe, and a tradition of offering refuge to the persecuted. While there’s disagreement on what makes up the American identity, seven in ten people - regardless of party - say the country is losing that identity ... The poll found about 52 percent of Republicans now regard the U.S. as the single greatest country in the world ...

Mark Weber – Podcast

America's ever more obvious cultural disintegration and social paralysis, and its erosion of national identity and purpose, are not minor or temporary problems, but are symptoms of a deep-rooted social-political illness and a systemic failure of the country's democratic-capitalist System. In large measure, this sickness is the predictable, inevitable consequence of America's basic ideology of "pursuit of happiness" individualism. This ideology, laid out in the US Declaration of Independence, greatly encouraged this country's astonishing dynamism, growth, inventiveness and prosperity, especially during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. But the core outlook that once contributed to this country's development is incapable of sustaining a stable and healthy society.

Glenn Harlan Reynolds - USA Today

I tell my constitutional law students that there are a couple of statements that indicate that a speaker is a constitutional illiterate who can safely be ignored ... The other hallmark of constitutional illiteracy is the claim that the First Amendment doesn’t protect “hate speech.” And by making that claim last week, Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont and Democratic presidential candidate, revealed himself to be a constitutional illiterate ... The term “hate speech” was invented by people who don’t like that freedom, and who want to give the — completely false — impression that there’s a kind of speech that the First Amendment doesn’t protect because it’s hateful. What they mean by “hateful,” it seems, is really just that it’s speech they don’t agree with.

David Cole

... So when I got into it on Twitter a few weeks ago with former Vermont governor and DNC chair Howard Dean, I could have stopped at just calling him a moron ... I’ll tell you why I lost my cool with the governor. There is, in my opinion, a direct link between the stunning ignorance (and in some cases deceit) exhibited by leftists in academia and politics regarding hate speech and the First Amendment, and the climate of censorship and violent bullying we see on college campuses (and elsewhere) whenever someone with right-of-center views dares speak them aloud. The more that dolts like Dean continue to spread the abject falsehood that “hate speech” is not protected, the more emboldened the bullies and censors become.

The Times of Israel

An Israeli minister called for the assassination of Syrian President Bashar Assad on Tuesday, saying he “does not have a place in this world.” Speaking at a conference outside Jerusalem, Housing and Construction Minister Yoav Galant, a retired IDF general, said that in light of recent allegations that Assad’s regime carried out mass executions and burned the bodies of the victims, he had to be killed. “The reality of the situation in Syria is that they are executing people, using directed chemical attacks against them, and the latest extreme — burning their corpses, something we haven’t seen in 70 years,” Galant said, in a reference to the Holocaust. The minister said Assad’s actions in Syria amount to nothing less than a “genocide,” with “hundreds of thousands killed.”

Paul R. Pillar - The National Interest

The United Nations always has had, and rightfully so, a strong role in handling the conflict between Arabs and Jews over land in Palestine ... The Trump administration’s tortured effort to attribute all malignity in the Middle East to Iran is motivated by the Israeli-originated use of Iran as a grand diversion. The Israeli government’s principal response whenever it begins to feel uncomfortable attention to its occupation is to declare that Iran is the “real problem” in the region and that’s what people should be giving their attention to instead. The Trump administration has been following the same script.

C. Lester Walker -- Harper’s (Oct. 1946)

… Tens of thousands of tons of material are involved. It is estimated that over a million separate items must be handled, and that they are, very likely, practically all the scientific, industrial and military secrets of Nazi Germany. One Washington official has called it "the greatest single source of this type of material in the world, the first orderly exploitation of an entire country's brain-power." … This one war secret alone, many American steel men believe, will revolutionize dozens of our metal fabrication industries. In textiles the war secrets collection has produced so many revelations that American textile men are a little dizzy … Army Air Force experts declare publicly that in rocket power and guided missiles the Nazis were ahead of us by at least ten years.

Doug Bandow – The American Conservative

... A quick glance at a map illustrates that the North does not threaten America. In fact, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has never threatened America. The two nations do not share a land border ... Since North Korea possesses no long-range bombers, Kim’s air force could not reduce U.S. cities to rubble. And even now the North does not have ICBMs capable of reaching, let alone accurately targeting, America ... However, Washington has been threatening the North for 67 years ... Put simply, Trump administration officials are running around Washington warning that missiles, if not the sky, may end up falling because the U.S. has chosen to intervene in the inter-Korean struggle. That involvement is a matter of choice. America actually does not have to police every region of the globe forever.

M. Trimble - US News

Most adults can't find North Korea on a map, according to a recent survey from The New York Times. In late April, Kyle Dropp of Morning Consult surveyed 1,746 adults at The New York Time's request. Of that group, only 36 percent could correctly place the country on the map, according to his findings. The study comes at a time when tensions are rising between North Korea and the U.S. over the authoritarian country's pursuit of nuclear weapons. North Korea over the weekend launched a ballistic missile. Those who could correctly locate North Korea were more likely to support diplomatic and nonmilitary strategies – like economic sanctions and cyber attacks – in dealing with the country compared to those who could not, according to The New York Times.

Ron Paul

By the end of this month, Defense Secretary James Mattis and National Security Advisor HR McMaster will deliver to President Trump their plans for military escalations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. President Trump would be wise to rip the plans up and send his national security team back to the drawing board – or replace them. There is no way another “surge” in Afghanistan and Iraq (plus a new one in Syria) puts America first. There is no way doing the same thing over again will succeed any better than it did the last time ... President Trump’s Generals all seem to be pushing for a major US military escalation in the Middle East and south Asia. The President goes back and forth, one minute saying “we’re not going into Syria,” while the next seeming to favor another surge.

Eric Margolis

... In this election, France’s traditional hard-line Left and Right parties have collapsed, being replaced by the National Front and the 39-year old Macron’s newly confected political party, 'En Marche', that has no presence in the National Assembly, France’s lower house of parliament ... French do not trust bankers or other financiers. During the 1940’s, France’s Vichy government repressed bankers and rounded up Jews for deportation to Germany. In 1937-1941, many if not most French saw Stalinist Communists as a far greater threat than Hitler’s National Socialist Germany. In fact, some French and other Europeans, including Ukrainians and Baltic peoples, waited to be ‘liberated’ by the Nazis from the Soviet threat.

Reuters

An 81-year-old German far-right activist has been arrested in Hungary on a European warrant for offences committed while serving a prison term for denying the Holocaust, Hungarian police said on Tuesday. Horst Mahler, once a founding member of Germany's leftist Red Army Faction guerrilla group in the 1960s before veering to the ultra-nationalist right, was detained in Sopron near Hungary's border with Austria, on Monday, police said. The Budapest chief prosecutor said in a separate statement that based on the European warrant Mahler's arrest was "justified". Hungarian officials made no further comment. German media reported in April that Mahler had left the country to avoid a new prison term for writing far-right tracts while serving a previous sentence for inciting racial hatred and denying Nazi Germany's Holocaust against Jews.

Reuters

The names of German military barracks honoring a handful of World War Two officers should be changed to show that the country's post-war armed forces have made a clean break from their Nazi past, Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said on Sunday. Having come in for criticism herself after accusing the Bundeswehr armed forces of "weak leadership" amid a national debate over whether there are right-wing extremists in the military, von der Leyen told Bild am Sonntag newspaper the barracks should no longer be named after Nazi-era officers ... The Bundeswehr removed the names of many Wehrmacht [Germany’s World War II armed forces] soldiers, who were seen by and large as honorable soldiers not tied to any war crimes, during reform carried out in the 1980s and 1990s.

Y. Engler – Dissident Voice

Weirdly, even some self-declared “anti-fascists” who claim to be intent on “punching Nazis” get uncomfortable when you criticize the Jewish Defense League ... The Toronto-based JDL organized a mob that attacked protesters at last month’s American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington DC. Over the past decade the JDL has built itself up by aggressively harassing pro-Palestinian activists in Toronto, which has won them active or passive support from much of the Jewish establishment, dominant media, and the city’s broader power structure ... Until recently liberals largely treated JDL thuggery with kid gloves ... On that issue the JDL acts as the thuggish tool of the Israeli nationalist Jewish establishment, which themselves operate within a decidedly pro-Israel Canadian political culture.

Max Blumenthal – The Nation

State Assemblyman Dov Hikind was deeply involved in the Jewish Defense League, which the FBI listed as a “violent extremist Jewish organization.” Other officials should be questioning him, not the college / ... The press conference was organized by a man who has been suspected by the FBI of involvement in several terrorist bombings and who was a top cadre in an organization currently identified by the FBI as a “violent extremist Jewish organization.” He is Dov Hikind, a Democratic State Asssemblyman who, despite his links to acts of terrorism and violence against racial minorities, has emerged as a political kingmaker in New York State politics.

David A. Graham – The Atlantic

... For all the high-profile removals, there remains a stunning number of Confederate Civil War monuments, memorials, and namesakes in public spaces around the country, as a new inventory taken by the Southern Poverty Law Center makes clear. Relying on federal, state, and local databases, the often-controversial liberal group took a tally of Confederate-related sites around the country and found more than 1,500 in 31 states ... Six states include elements of Confederate flags in their official flags today. There are nine official state Confederate holidays ... The fierce resistance when Confederate monuments are in question stands as a reminder of the issues at stake in the Civil War, and the ways in which they remain unsettled in contemporary American society.

Judicial Watch (Washington, DC)

The radical leftist group that helped a gunman commit an act of terrorism against a conservative organization was officially reprimanded by the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) for its hateful attacks, according to documents obtained by Judicial Watch. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is an extremist nonprofit that lists conservative organizations that disagree with it on social issues on a catalogue of “hate groups.” The previously undisclosed DOJ rebuke is a vindication for groups targeted by the SPLC’s witch hunts, and is especially impactful because the Obama administration was tight with the SPLC and even hired the controversial nonprofit to conduct diversity training for the government.

J. Stinson – LifeZette

The Southern Poverty Law Center [SPLC], a longtime liberal anti-racism group, will face a federal complaint Wednesday [April 5] from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). The complaint will allege that the organization openly and repeatedly violated its nonprofit tax status nearly 50 times during the 2016 presidential election. The complaint to the Treasury Department, provided first to LifeZette on Tuesday, accuses the center of participating in communication activities prohibited by the IRS in a “flagrant, continued, and intentional campaign” targeting then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and other Republican candidates.

USA Today

Mom and dad brace yourselves: 26 percent of Millennials in college say they plan on moving back home once they earn their degree to help save to pay off student loans, according to TD Ameritrade's Young Money Survey. The burden of college debt continues to weigh on the finances and life choices of young people between the ages of 20 and 26, according to the new survey set for release Thursday, with 32 percent saying they owe anywhere from $10,000 to more than $50,000 on student loans. The average student loan balance was $10,205, but was even higher ($11,475) for those still in school ... Owing all that money is forcing cash-strapped individuals to move back home, continuing a trend that has been going on for years.

The Washington Post

For the first time in modern history, more 18-to-34-year-olds live with their parents than in any other living arrangement, according to a Pew Research Center report ... In 2014, nearly one-third of young adults lived in their parents’ home, a bigger group than those living with a spouse or romantic partner, living alone or with roommates, or living as single parents ... Since 1880, when the Census Bureau started keeping track, the most common arrangement for young people had been to live with a spouse or a significant other. That peaked in 1960, at 62 percent ... A big reason is a decline in economic opportunities. As the cost of living has escalated and wages have stagnated, mounting student debt and rising home prices create obstacles to cohabitation and marriage.

BBC News

Angry exchanges have erupted during the final televised debate before Iran's presidential election next week. President Hassan Rouhani accused one of his rivals of abusing religion to win power and another of wanting to beat up students. In return he was accused of corruption, economic mismanagement and failing to bring any benefits from a landmark nuclear deal. Mr Rouhani is seeking a second four-year term in next Friday's election. Although seen by some as a reforming figure, Mr Rouhani has cast himself more as a moderate pragmatist working within the establishment. It was, however, clear that the reformist vote remained an important focus, given the three hours of fierce exchanges with hardline opponents.

Euronews (France)

Islamist terror group ISIL [“Islamic State”] released a video deliberately threatening Iran for supporting military campaigns against the self-proclaimed caliphate and for Tehran’s tolerant views on Jews. In a propaganda video released in Farsi, three ISIL militants condemned Iran’s religious freedoms tolerant of Jews living in the country. They claimed Iran’s paradoxical relationship towards Iranian Jews and Tehran’s often anti-Israel political rhetoric is a Jewish conspiracy ... The ISIL video was an attempt by the jihadi group to revise Iran’s long co-existence with Middle Eastern Jews, which dates back to biblical times. An estimated 20,000 Jews live in Iran ... Altogether they have about 15 synagogues, a hospital and a cultural association.

The Times of Israel - AFP

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday urged Muslims to throng to the Temple Mount in a show of solidarity with Palestinians as he issued a string of challenges to Israel, which he called “racist and discriminatory.” ... “Each day that Jerusalem is under occupation is an insult to us,” he added, at the opening ceremony of the International Forum on al-Quds Waqf in Istanbul, Turkey’s Hurriyet news reported ... In the blistering speech, which also criticized Israeli legislation and US plans to move their embassy to Jerusalem, Erdogan also called Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians “racist and discriminatory” and said the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the Gaza Strip “has no place in humanity.”

Lisa-Marlen Gronemeier – Middle East Monitor

Half a century has elapsed since Israel established its brutal occupation of Palestine, and almost seven decades have passed since the 1948 Palestinian Nakba, which constitutes the beginning of discrimination, dispossession and displacement for Palestinians and their persistent suffering ... In the light of this, Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ) has commissioned a report – “Above the Law: Israel’s Non-Implementation of UN Resolutions” ... The main finding of the study is that Israel has blatantly disregarded all UN resolutions criticising its illegal activities and their dire consequences for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people since 1948. The study also finds that Israel’s occupation of Palestine is intricately linked with its apartheid system.

William D. Hartung

... In this century of nonstop military conflict, the American public has never fully confronted the immense costs of the wars being waged in its name. The human costs ... are surely the most devastating consequences of these conflicts. But the economic costs of our recent wars should not be ignored ... The figures should stagger the imagination. Direct war spending accounted for “only” $1.7 trillion of that sum, or less than half of the total costs ... Trump is requesting a $54 billion increase in military spending for 2018. No small sum, it’s roughly equal to the entire annual military budget of France, larger than the defense budgets of the United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan ... It’s a reasonable bet that never in history has a society spent more on war and gotten less bang for its copious bucks.

Patrick J. Buchanan

... Since 1991, we have lost our global preeminence, quadrupled our national debt, and gotten ourselves mired in five Mideast wars, with the neocons clamoring for a sixth, with Iran. With the New World Order and global democracy having been abandoned as America's great goals, what is the new goal of U.S. foreign policy? What is the strategy to achieve it? Does anyone know? ... Like the British and French empires, the American imperium is not sustainable. We have issued so many war guarantees it is almost assured that we will be dragged into every future great crisis and conflict on the planet. If we do not review and discard some of these war guarantees, we shall never know peace. Donald Trump once seemed to understand this. Does he still?

E. Green - The Atlantic Monthly

A new study finds that fear of societal change, not economic pressure, motivated votes for the president among non-salaried workers without college degrees / ... Sixty-eight percent of white working-class voters said the American way of life needs to be protected from foreign influence. And nearly half agreed with the statement, “things have changed so much that I often feel like a stranger in my own country.” ... Nearly two-thirds of the white working class say American culture has gotten worse since the 1950s. Sixty-eight percent say the U.S. is in danger of losing its identity, and 62 percent say America’s growing numbers of immigrants threaten the country’s culture. More than half say discrimination against whites has become just as problematic as discrimination against minorities.

P. Weiss - Mondoweiss

Alan Dershowitz gave a pep talk on Jewish influence to an orthodox audience in Scarsdale [New York] Tuesday night [May 9] ... That was Dersh’s theme: We earned our influence in this country by contributing more to its success than others, so now use your influence ... Jews should use Jewish power, from intellectual to financial, to punish those who criticize Israel ... “We have to hit them in the pocketbook. Don’t ever be embarrassed about using Jewish power” [he said] ... “We should be the most powerful lobby in Washington ... We are a very influential community. We deserve our influence. I hope all of you will participate in this great period of Jewish American, Jewish Israeli life, you have so much to contribute. Use what you’ve earned, use your influence to support Israel and support Jewish values.”

James Petras

... The rise of Judeo-centrism, as an economic and political force, occurred in the last half of the 20th century. The Jewish-Zionist seizure, occupation and ethnic cleansing of historic Palestine and their rising economic and political influence within the United States has created a formidable power bloc with significant implications for world peace ... As mentioned above, Jews represent a substantial minority among the top multi-billionaires, but they are still a minority. Below the top level of wealth are the single digit billionaires and triple and double digit multi-millionaires; here the proportion of 'Jews' increases. These 'less-than-super-billionaires' are among the most active and the biggest financial and political supporters of the ethnocentric ideology and tribal cohesion.

Revisionists.com

Douglas Reed was a noted journalist, author and playwright who for years served on the editorial staff of the London Times, but whose considerable influence waned greatly after he wrote frankly about Jewish-Zionist power. In Somewhere South of Suez (1950), for example, he wrote: “... During all that period and to the present time, it was not possible freely to report or discuss a third vital matter: Zionist Nationalism. In this case the freedom of the press has become a fallacy during the past two decades ... In daily usage, no American or British newspaper, apparently, now dares to print a line of news or comment unfavorable to the Zionist ambition ...”

Ilana Mercer

Farming in South Africa is the most dangerous occupation in the world. Farmers there suffer more murders per-capita than any other community on earth outside a war zone. Since the dawn of democracy in the country, farming South Africa has been slaughtered by black South Africans in ways that would do Shaka Zulu proud ... While the number of whites is shrinking as a percentage of the total population, their proportion among the scalded, shot, sliced and garroted is growing ... Let not the swirl of statistics conceal the flesh- and- blood casualties of this black-on-white offensive. South Africa’s farmers, undeniably, are the focus of ethnocide ... South Africa’s commercial farmers operate in the “most violent environment in the world outside of a war zone,” and they’re the best in the world.

Jonathan Cook

A decade ago I published a book, Israel and the Clash of Civilisations, that examined Israel’s desire to Balkanise the Middle East, using methods it had refined over many decades in the occupied Palestinian territories. The goal was to unleash chaos across much of the region, destabilising key enemy states: Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. The book further noted how Israel’s strategy had influenced the neoconservative agenda in Washington that found favour under George Bush’s administration. The neocons’ destabilisation campaign started in Iraq, with consequences that are only too apparent today ... The current arena for destabilisation, as I warned, is Syria. But if successful, the Balkanisation process will undoubtedly move on and intensify against Lebanon and Iran.

Patrick Cockburn - The Independent (Britain)

Politicians and establishment media have greeted what they see as President Trump’s return to the norms of American foreign policy. They welcome the actual or threatened use of military force in Syria, Afghanistan and North Korea, and praise his appointment of a bevvy of generals to senior security posts ... There is a more general reason why Washington may in future be more inclined to employ the threat or use of military force to project its power. This is because its political, economic and ideological power is declining relative to the rest of the world. It was at its apogee between the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the financial crisis of 2007-8. The rise of China and the return of Russia as an international player cramps its ability to act unilaterally. The election of Trump is evidence of a deeply divided society.

J. Hayward - Breitbart

Legendary conservative columnist and author Pat Buchanan joined SiriusXM host Alex Marlow on Tuesday's Breitbart News Daily to look at President Donald Trump's first 100 days in office and consider the state of the conservative movement ... As to whether he was optimistic about the future of the Trump administration, Buchanan professed he was a "historical pessimist." ... “I don't think the future is going to be very positive in terms of relations among Americans," he said. "I think, quite frankly, many Americans dislike and detest each other, as I've written many times, and really regard the ideas of their opposites as 'neo-fascist' and all the other names we've been called."

CNN

Puerto Rico has filed for bankruptcy. It's the biggest municipal bankruptcy filing ever in the US. Puerto Rico currently owes its creditors a whopping $70 billion, far higher than Detroit's $18 billion bankruptcy in 2013. “Given the deficit that we have inherited, it is my responsibility to guarantee the best interests of the Puerto Rican people," Governor Ricardo Rosselló said Wednesday [May 3]. Bankruptcy won't be an easy process ... Puerto Rico's situation is ugly. The island has been in an economic recession for about a decade and the unemployment rate is 11.5 percent ... People are literally fleeing Puerto Rico to go and live in the mainland US, especially Florida. The island's population has declined by 350,000 in the past ten years. Even worse, CNNMoney found that a doctor a day has left Puerto Rico, causing a severe shortage ...

Associated Press

Puerto Rico is closing 179 public schools in a move expected to save more than $7 million amid a deep economic crisis that has sparked an exodus to the U.S. mainland in the past decade, officials said Friday [May 5]. More than 27,000 students will be moved elsewhere when their schools close at the end of May, said newly appointed Education Secretary Julia Keleher. "We have a fiscal crisis and few resources and we've spent ten years handing out nearly $3 billion in a system that hardly has any books," she said. "We cannot keep doing what we're doing because we don't have the resources." The news about the school closures raised concerns it could speed up the ongoing exodus from Puerto Rico. Nearly 450,000 people over the last decade have already left for Florida and other parts of the U.S. mainland to flee the worsening economic crisis.

The Guardian (Britain)

While overall life expectancy is rising in America, the size of the gap between its most affluent and impoverished counties demands urgent action, say researchers / Your average life expectancy now varies by more than 20 years depending on where you live in the United States, according to an in-depth study by the University of Washington. America’s “life expectancy gap” is also predicted to grow even wider in future, with 11.5 percent of US counties having experienced an increase in the risk of death for residents aged 25–45 over the period studied (1980-2014). No previous study has put the disparity at even close to 20 years. “This is way worse than any of us had assumed,” said Ali Mokdad, professor of global health at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and one of the authors of the study ...

Doug Bandow - The Washington Times

... Without [President Woodrow] Wilson’s misguided decision to take the United States into World War I — despite the lack of any serious American interest in that tragic conflict — there probably would have been no Bolshevik revolution, and there certainly would have been no Nazi triumph or World War II. Even the Middle East would have looked dramatically different ... Perhaps the most important reason Wilson chose war was a desire to transform the world. Only as president of a victorious belligerent power could he impose his vision ... Messianic self-delusion simply blinded Wilson ... As Mr. Powell shows so well in Wilson’s War, the only certain impact of needless warmaking is enormous tragedy. Only the forms of that tragedy will remain uncertain.

A. Pillalamarri - The American Conservative

... Regardless of whether or not one believes in internationalism, the era of American hegemony is clearly drawing to an end — though the United States will remain a great power. Now is a good time to outgrow the dangerous, failed Wilsonian ideology that we can longer afford to maintain ... Continued adherence to Wilsonian norms only sets the United States up for continued disappointment as such an ideology compels the U.S. to pursue goals it cannot possibly achieve. But by understanding and mastering realist geopolitical notions and the balance of power between nations, the United States can remain both secure and a great power for a very long time.

Paul Gottfried

Burton Yale Pines’s work , America’s Greatest Blunder: The Fateful Decision to Enter World War One, is ... a comprehensive case for why the U.S. should have stayed out of World War I. Pines also shows (if further proof is needed) that from the outset the American government took sides in the European conflict and flubbed every opportunity to make peace between the warring blocs ... Pines demonstrates that conventional accounts of the German danger faced by the U.S. in 1917 have been inaccurate. Germany posed absolutely no “military or security threat” to the U.S., when Wilson dragged the U.S. into war in the spring of 1917 ... It was the Central Powers, never the Allies, who from 1916 on were looking to end the war with a negotiated peace and which grabbed at the proposed (insincere) American efforts to mediate.

Michael Howard - Paste

... Syria is proof of how low mainstream Western media are prepared to sink in the service of state power; it’s where journalistic standards, like global jihadists, go to die. Rank propaganda is the order of the day. Honest observers are appalled ... Patrick Cockburn registered a similar concern, writing that “Western media has allowed itself to become a conduit for propaganda for one side in this savage conflict.” This has grave implications ... The list of media half-truths and outright lies in the context of Syria is endless ... You see, people in the West need to be shown dead or suffering children before they can, on the one hand, apprehend how despicable war is and, on the other, support another bloody US military adventure in the name of humanitarianism.

CNN

Russian President Vladimir Putin showed off ballistic missiles, armored tanks and new aircraft systems at a World War II commemorative parade in Moscow on Tuesday. More than 10,000 troops marched in formation through Red Square to mark Victory Day, an annual event to celebrate the Soviet Union's triumph over Nazi Germany in a series of battles that ended on May 9, 1945 ... Russia is the world's third largest military spender after the US and China. In 2016, Russia spent over $69 billion on its military. In his remarks, Putin said that World War II taught Russia to be vigilant and ready for any assault. But he also called for international unity in the fight against terrorism.

Charles Lutton – Institute for Historical Review

... In the United States, Britain, and other Western countries, there has been much self-congratulation about how "we" won the Second World War. Yet, it was on the Eastern Front that the outcome of the war was decided. Had the best of Hitler's forces not been fighting the Soviets, it is unlikely that there would have been any Allied victory in 1945, or anytime foreseeable thereafter ... The Soviet Union proved to be a far more resilient opponent than predicted ... Even through the last weeks of the war, German regular troops and officers were, on average, superior to their opponents in the East and the West. The Wehrmacht was simply overwhelmed by the forces of the Soviet Union and her Western Allies.

David Frum

… Max Hastings’s book, Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-45, rates among the most tragic books I have ever read. Opening in September 1944, after the battle for Normandy, when the western Allies believes the war was all but over, Hastings plunges into seven months of violence more total than anything our planet had ever suffered before, or ever will again barring a nuclear war … The Germans resisted to the last as ferociously on the western as on the eastern front. And since the German army, man for man, was the best fighting force in Europe, this extended resistance prolonged the war months beyond all Allied expectations.

The Times of Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday threw his support behind a controversial bill that would enshrine Israel as “the national home of the Jewish people,” dismissing criticism that the measure discriminates against Arabs ... The latest incarnation of the proposed law, like many of its predecessors in recent years, has already stirred objections from opposition lawmakers who contend the bill would discriminate against the country’s Arab minority ... Judaism is already mentioned throughout the country’s laws, and religious authorities control many aspects of life, including marriage ... According to the language of the proposal, while every individual has the right “to preserve his culture, heritage, language and identity,” the right to realize self-determination “is unique to the Jewish people.”

Jewish Insider

FBI Director James Comey [just recently dismissed] discussed those who participated in the Nazi atrocities during the Holocaust at the Anti-Defamation League’s annual conference on Monday afternoon ... Comey told the ADL gathering. “Good people helped murder millions.” ... In his remarks, the top law enforcement officer added that in order to better understand humanity’s perils, the FBI requires officers and analysts to tour Washington’s Holocaust Museum in addition to studying about Martin Luther King Jr and the civil rights movement. “I believe the Holocaust is the most significant event in human history. How could such a thing happen? How is that consistent in any way with the concept of a loving God?” Comey asked. “The answer for me is, I don’t know.”

David Cole - Taki's Magazine

... After three years of living peacefully in the U.S., [Ernst] Zundel was dragged from his home in 2003 ... Zundel was shipped to Germany, where he was immediately declared a security risk and put in yet another cell without bail as a “flight risk.” ... Zundel was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for the stuff he legally posted while legally residing in the U.S. The sentence was cheered by (here we go again) Jewish organizations, and, as before, free-speech advocates the world over remained silent ... In attempting to silence Holocaust denial, Jewish groups gave it a megaphone. Worse still, in trying to squash a man who spreads Jewish conspiracy theories, Jews acted just like the vengeful, world-controlling puppeteers Zundel portrays them as. In trying to suppress Zundel’s crude stereotypes, Jews ended up personifying them.

Mark Weber -- Institute for Historical Review (2000)

… Amazingly, "truth is no defense" in this bizarre proceeding. Neither the truthfulness (factuality) of a "complained of" writing, nor the motive of the writer, may be considered in determining if it is "likely" to expose persons to "hatred or contempt." … As a witness on Zündel's behalf, I experienced first-hand some of the absurdity and hypocrisy of Canada-style "human rights." … The same Jewish groups that demand, in the name of "human rights," that Zündel be silenced, have well-documented records as staunch defenders of, and apologists for, the Zionist regime in Israel that routinely, and as a matter of state policy, oppresses people on the basis of ancestry.

The Times of Israel

Leaders of French Jewry expressed both relief over the defeat of the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in the presidential elections and concern over her receiving more than a third of the vote. Le Pen, whom the chief rabbi of France and the CRIF umbrella of Jewish communities have decried as dangerous to democracy and minorities, received 34.2 percent of the vote compared to the 65.8 percent who voted for the centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron ... The vote was the best electoral result ever obtained by her National Front party, which was established in the 1970s by her father, the Holocaust denier Jean-Marie Le Pen, who has multiple convictions for inciting racial hatred against Jews. He clinched 18 percent of the vote in the 2002 presidential elections — the first time that National Front made it to the final round.

Reuters

The head of Germany's armed forces has called for an inspection of all army barracks after investigators discovered Nazi-era military memorabilia in a garrison, broadening a scandal about right-wing extremism among soldiers ... Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said the military must root out right-wing extremism ... Displaying Nazi items such as swastikas is punishable under German law, although possession of regular Wehrmacht [World War II armed forces] items is not. Von der Leyen said last week, however, she would not tolerate the veneration of the Wehrmacht in today's army, the Bundeswehr.

R. Smith - Fox News

Last month, President Trump promised the American people that he would "rebuild the military, eliminate the Defense sequester, and [initiate] one of the largest increases in national defense spending in American history." ... But here's the thing: Most American taxpayers think we're spending too much on the military already. In fact, most Americans think we should be cutting the defense budget instead. That's the upshot of a new poll conducted by the University of Maryland's Program for Public Consultation (PPC) ... Given their druthers, voters surveyed by PPC said they'd prefer to cut the 2017 Obama defense budget by $41 billion -- not increase it by $54 billion. Voters recommended cutting the base budget by five percent ($26 billion), pulling back internationally, and cutting OCO funding by 23 percent ($15 billion) in the process.

Jacob Heilbrunn - The National Interest

Is Donald Trump the Kaiser Wilhelm of 2017? For some time, Trump’s critics have been alleging that he bears a close resemblance to Kaiser Bill. The indictments are as sweeping as they are fierce ... Put aside Trump for a moment. It’s worth considering what the critics take as axiomatic; namely, was Kaiser Wilhelm really as bad as all that? Or did he get something of a bum rap, taking the fall for Germany’s failure to prevail in World War I? ... Whether the Kaiser really wanted war in 1914 is also open to dispute. The Kaiser espoused militarism, but he was more symptom than cause ... Kaiser Wilhelm’s record was at best checkered. But to make him the fall guy for everything that went wrong after 1914 is unpersuasive. Those intent on ransacking the past for figures with which to attack Trump should look elsewhere.

Graham Allison - The Washington Post

One hundred years ago [1914] this week, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany exchanged a series of telegrams to try to stop the rush to a war that neither of them wanted. They signed their notes “Nicky” and “Willy.” Cousins who vacationed together, hunted together and enjoyed dressing up in the uniforms of each other’s military officers when sailing on their yachts, these two great-great-grandsons of Paul I of Russia wrote to each other in English, affirming their mutual interests and outlining an agreement that would have resolved the crisis on terms acceptable to both rulers ... Had the kaiser and the tsar started sooner and been better statesmen, they might have prevented a world war that in the end both of them would lose.

Mark Weber – Podcast

The global conflict of 1914-1918 was the most destructive military clash in history, surpassed only by World War II. The war that American historian George F. Kennan called "the original catastrophe" not only brought destruction, misery and death to millions, it shattered the seemingly secure Western world order. It broke the confidence of Europeans in themselves and their long-held values, brought down dynasties that had ruled for centuries in Russia, Austria-Hungary and Germany, and forced a drastic reassessment of cherished assumptions about life and society.

T. Burrell - New Scientist

Something to live for. This simple idea is at the heart of our greatest stories, driving our heroes on. It is the thread from which more complex philosophies are woven ... The notion of purpose in life may seem ill-defined and even unscientific. But a growing heap of research is pinning down what it is, and how it affects our lives. People with a greater sense of purpose live longer, sleep better and have better sex. Purpose cuts the risk of stroke and depression ... In an analysis of 7000 middle-aged people in the US, even small increases in sense of purpose were associated with big drops in the chances of dying during a period of 14 years.

The Jerusalem Post (Israel)

President Donald Trump declared May to be Jewish American Heritage Month … Trump mentioned that the Jewish people have left “an indelible mark on American culture” through an ethical code and tikkun olam, or repairing the world. He also stated that Jews came to America to escape persecution and violence, and that American Jews have stood for “human freedom, equality and dignity.” Trump said he plans to celebrate the connection between the Jewish people and the United States with his daughter, Ivanka, and his son-in law, Jared Kushner … Last week [April 24], Israel observed Holocaust Remembrance Day, and Trump signed a proclamation to observe Holocaust remembrance for the week of April 23-28.

JNS - Jewish News Service

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel came under fire Friday for grouping together Jews and members of Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) as victims of the Holocaust. “Social Democrats were, like the Jews, the first victims of the Holocaust. The Social Democrats were the victims of political persecution, the others (Jews) were victims of race madness,” Gabriel, SPD’s former chairman, wrote in Germany’s Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper. The op-ed sparked fresh outrage following a diplomatic spat between Israel and Germany last week ... A spokesman for the German Foreign Ministry reaffirmed Gabriel’s commitment to Israel’s security and acceptance of Germany’s responsibility for the Holocaust.

Doug Bandow – The National Interest

Now he tells us. President Donald Trump admits that he said NATO was obsolete because, well, he didn’t know anything about the transatlantic alliance. So apparently his campaign comments now are inoperative ... The president appeared to be similarly ignorant about Syria, apparently not realizing that people die, often in terrible ways, in civil wars ... Only when he saw the “horrible” photos of those who died in a chemical attack — a few score compared to the hundreds of thousands killed so far — was he moved to do something ... Finally, the fact that candidate Trump admits he issued campaign proclamations without knowing anything about the relevant issue leads to the obvious question: does he stand behind any of his campaign promises? ... He has revealed himself as just an ignorant advocate of the conventional wisdom.

Military History Now

... One Second World War German interrogator managed to draw crucial military secrets from more than 90 percent of Allied fliers he questioned. And he did so using some rather unconventional methods — namely kindness. While the newly-captured air crew who stood before Hanns Scharff at the temporary Luftwaffe `transit camp’ at Oberursel, Germany were expecting to face pliers, thumbscrews or maybe rubber truncheons, what they got instead was hospitality, sympathy and even friendship. In fact, pilots became so close with Scharff, they ended up revealing a treasure trove of details about their planes, weaponry as well as air combat tactics ... Astonishingly, Scharrf was also asked to consult the Pentagon on interrogation techniques.

English Heritage (Britain)

The Romans were great trend-setters of the ancient world. What they didn't invent, they copied and adapted - transporting new ideas across the empire. When the Romans invaded Britain in AD 43, there was already a complicated tribal society in place - but few of the things we'd recognise in a modern civilisation. The impact of the Romans can be seen across England, from Dover to Hadrian's Wall. And they still have an impact on our modern landscape and culture. Take a look at seven ingenious innovations that you'd find in Roman Britain.

Jonathan Cook

Israel is to hold lavish celebrations over the coming weeks to mark the 50th anniversary of what it calls the “liberation of Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights” – or what the rest of us describe as the birth of the occupation ... The extravagance of the festivities also underscores the growth over five decades of Israel’s self-assurance as an occupier ... Israel’s imminent celebrations should lay to rest any confusion that the occupation is still considered temporary. But when occupation becomes permanent, it metamorphoses into something far uglier. It is past time to recognise that Israel has established an apartheid regime and one that serves as a vehicle for incremental ethnic cleansing. If there are to be talks, ending that outrage must be their first task.

Jack Dresser – CounterPunch

US-instigated and propelled wars have continued to rage for 15 years in fulfillment of influential neoconservative ideologue Michael Ledeen’s envisioned “creative destruction” through “total war.” General Wesley Clark related the Bush administration’s intention, reported by a Pentagon friend, to “take out” seven countries: Iran plus six Middle Eastern and North African Arab countries – all of which happened to be unfriendly to Israel. Egypt and Jordan, which had peace treaties with Israel, were not on the list. Nor was oil a common denominator ... This agenda fits Israel’s long-term strategic game plan recounted in 1982 by Israeli Foreign Service senior official and Jerusalem Post journalist Oded Yinon to control the Arab world by shattering its countries into sectarian political shards emasculated as nations.

Lawrence Davidson

On 15 March 2017 the United Nations’ Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) published a report on Israeli practices and policies toward the Palestinians. Using international law as its comparative criterion, the report came to a “definitive conclusion” that “Israel is guilty of Apartheid practices.” ... The moral failure at the U.N., represented by the withdrawal of the ESCWA report, is the result of Secretary General Guterres’s decision to acquiesce in a denial of reality – the reality of Israel’s practice of Apartheid ... This is, of course, a form of blackmail. Significantly, U.S. use of its financial clout at the U.N. mimics the same practice by the Zionist lobby in the halls of Congress.

TeleSur

... China’s Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, said Palestinians must be able to build an independent state to correct a “historical injustice.” In a press conference in Beijing with Palestine’s Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki, Wang reiterated China’s longstanding support for an end to Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine and the creation of an independent Palestinian state. Wang noted that 70 years after the U.N. General Assembly passed Resolution 181 calling for the creation of an independent Palestine alongside Israel, Palestinians are still being denied their independence. "This is unfair. This kind of historical injustice must be corrected. It cannot continue," Wang said.

EJP

Israeli President Rivlin has denounced French extreme-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen's recent comments denying France's responsibility in the deportation of Jewish citizens to the Nazi death camp as "uniquely disturbing." Speaking at a ceremony marking the end of Holocaust Remembrance Day at Kibbutz Lohamei HaGeta’ot in the north of Israel ... He added: “We must wage a war against the current and dangerous wave of Holocaust denial. We must resist the renunciation of national responsibility in the name of alleged victimhood.”

Uri Avnery (Israel)

... The limits to the ravages of war were fixed after one of the most awful conflicts in history – the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648). Its main battlefield was Germany – a flat country in the center of Europe, without defensible borders. Foreign armies entered it from all sides to fight it out between themselves. Armies devastated entire cities, killing, raping and looting. It started as a war of religion, but became a war for supremacy and gain. Millions died. In the end, two thirds of Germany was devastated, one third of the German population exterminated ... I have seen well-educated sons of “good families” commit terrible war crimes. When I met them again a few years later, they were law-abiding citizens, proud fathers of families ... There is no such thing as a really moral army.

Eric Margolis

... Not content with nearly stirring up a new war with North Korea, President Donald Trump is now waving the big stick at another of Washington’s favorite bogeymen, Iran. For the Trumps, Iran is poison ... The Trump administration seems increasingly influenced by Israel’s far-right Netanyahu government ... Iran is now being blamed for all Washington’s problems in the Mideast. So war fever against Iran is again mounting. Interestingly, Iran, which has 79.1 million people, is not cowering before this threat ... Any US invasion would be met by fierce resistance.

Patrick J. Buchanan

Has President Donald Trump outsourced foreign policy to the generals? So it would seem ... President Trump’s seeming renunciation of an anti-interventionist foreign policy is the great surprise of the first 100 days, and the most ominous. For any new war could vitiate the Trump mandate and consume his presidency ... It was not Iran, but the U.S. that invaded Iraq, overthrew the Baghdad regime and occupied the country. It was not Iran that overthrew Col. Gadhafi and created the current disaster in Libya ... Who is behind the seeming conversion of Trump to hawk? The generals, Bibi Netanyahu and the neocons, Congressional hawks with Cold War mindsets, the Saudi royal family and the Gulf Arabs — they are winning the battle for the president’s mind.

Tim Alberta - Politico

... All the ideas that seemed original to Trump’s campaign could, in fact, be attributed to Buchanan — from depicting the political class as bumbling stooges to singling out a rising superpower as an economic menace (though back then it was Japan, not China) to rallying the citizenry to “take back” a country whose destiny they no longer dictated ... Even if Trump delivers on the loftiest of his promises, Buchanan fears it will be too little, too late ... Buchanan refuses to indulge in the illusion that a return to this utopia of yesteryear is even possible ... “What I’m saying is the America we knew and grew up with, it’s gone. And it’s not coming back. Demographically, culturally, socially, in every way, it’s a different country. And I think it’s come to resemble more of an empire than a nation and a people.”

A. Blake - The Washington Post

Why couldn't we all just get along? That's what President Trump wants to know about the Civil War. In an interview with the Washington Examiner’s Salena Zito, our president-historian posits that the war might not have happened if only Andrew Jackson had still been around. The whole thing apparently could have been avoided if only we had a bona fide negotiator ... But that small matter aside, this actually sounds pretty familiar for Trump. Just last week, in an interview with Reuters, Trump suggested there was really no reason for the Israelis and the Palestinians to have been fighting for all these decades. “I want to see peace with Israel and the Palestinians,” Trump said. “There is no reason there's not peace between Israel and the Palestinians — none whatsoever ...”

N. Guttman - Forward (New York)

Among many moves aimed at reversing his predecessor’s policies, President Trump recently decided not to make public the White House visitors logs. Had they been open, the lists would reveal the profound change 100 days of a Trump administration had brought about to the Jewish community’s power structure ... Liberal-leaning Jewish activists, once the backbone of communal advocacy, had been pushed aside in favor of a new elite made up of activists who are more conservative in their politics and more Orthodox in their religious practice. The new leaders representing American Jewish interests in the White House are keen to shape policy on education and religious expression and to ensure a pro-Israel stance more in line with the Netanyahu government.

Q. Fottrell – MarketWatch

What’s going on with America’s middle class? Some members of America’s middle class are getting richer and moving up in the world. But millions of lower income people are also getting left behind. The share of people in the middle class in the U.S. is less than in any of eleven countries from Western Europe, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center, a nonprofit think tank in Washington, D.C., and has fallen to 59 percent in 2010 from 62 percent in 1991. “The American experience reflects a marked difference in how income is distributed in the U.S. compared with many countries in Western Europe,” the report said. “The U.S. has a relatively large upper income tier.”