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A Day of Remembrance Is Nothing Without Poetry

Monday, May 25th, 2015 - by Robert Wargas

I have always been deficient in expressing emotion through anything other than the written word. It’s one reason I always return to poetry when the occasion calls for some depth of feeling.

My favorite American poet, the late Richard Hugo, is a forgotten figure. You will not see his sinewy free verse quoted during special occasions in the manner one might invoke Shakespeare, Whitman, or Frost. But his strong, declarative style is appropriate for times of remembrance like Memorial Day.

A bombardier during the Second World War, Hugo continually returned to that conflict in his writing. His 1969 collection “Good Luck in Cracked Italian” distills many of the feelings he took with him from his combat missions in Europe. Here, for example, is the opening stanza of “G.I. Graves in Tuscany”:

They still seem G.I., the uniform lines
of white crosses, the gleam that rolls
white drums over the lawn. Machines
that cut the grass left their maneuvers plain.
Our flag doesn’t seem silly though plainly
it flies only because there is wind.

The last two lines might strike you as flippant. But what appears to be frivolity or cynicism, in a Hugo poem, often turns out to be simple bewilderment: something seen through the eyes of a broken man whose honesty has an unintended comic effect.

In “April in Cerignola,” Hugo ponders his own role in war and death:

I was desolate, too, and so survived.
I had a secret wish, to bring much food
and feed you through the war. I wished
you also dead. All roads lead to none.
You’re too far from the Adriatic
to get good wind. Harsh heat and roaring cold
are built in like abandonment each year.

This is a poetic voice lacking in any kind of self-dramatization; it’s almost clinical in its description. It might be why the poem sounds so odd and, in a way, so dated.

Poetry is how I make sense of strange times. Perhaps it can help you as well. With these modest offerings, I give endless thanks to our fallen guardians.

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One Hundred Years Ago Today: the Sinking of the Lusitania Drove America Toward War

Thursday, May 7th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh
Sunk by a U-boat off the coast of Ireland

Sunk by a U-boat off the coast of Ireland

Pretty much the trigger for the entry of the United States into World War One:

The British Admiralty had secretly subsidized her construction and she was built to Admiralty specifications with the understanding that at the outbreak of war the ship would be consigned to government service. As war clouds gathered in 1913, the Lusitania quietly entered dry dock in Liverpool and was fitted for war service. This included the installation of ammunition magazines and gun mounts on her decks. The mounts, concealed under the teak deck, were ready for the addition of the guns when needed.

On May 1, 1915, the ship departed New York City bound for Liverpool. Unknown to her passengers but probably no secret to the Germans, almost all her hidden cargo consisted of munitions and contraband destined for the British war effort. As the fastest ship afloat, the luxurious liner felt secure in the belief she could easily outdistance any submarine. Nonetheless, the menace of submarine attack reduced her passenger list to only half her capacity.

On May 7, the ship neared the coast of Ireland. At 2:10 in the afternoon a torpedo fired by the German submarine U 20 slammed into her side. A mysterious second explosion ripped the liner apart. Chaos reigned. The ship listed so badly and quickly that lifeboats crashed into passengers crowded on deck, or dumped their loads into the water. Most passengers never had a chance. Within 18 minutes the giant ship slipped beneath the sea. One thousand one hundred nineteen of the 1,924 aboard died. The dead included 114 Americans.

Coming on the heels of the Titanic, the sinking of the Lusitania was another shock to Britain and America; although Titanic has achieve pop-cultural status, the Lusitania disaster was of far greater historical importance.

The sinking enraged American public opinion. The political fallout was immediate. President Wilson protested strongly to the Germans. Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan, a pacifist, resigned. In September, the Germans announced that passenger ships would be sunk only with prior warning and appropriate safeguards for passengers. However, the seeds of American animosity towards Germany were sown. Within two years America declared war.

And the world was never the same again.


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The One Disruptive Tactic That Can Recover Our Constitution: Controversial New Book Has Practical Plan

Monday, May 4th, 2015 - by Scott Ott

The constitutional government of these United States of America is sick beyond the curative, or even palliative, powers of the ordinary process of legislation, elections, and the appointing of constitutional judges. Perhaps the only solution left to us is civil disobedience, to throw sand in the gears of the regulatory state. [See related episode of PJTV's Trifecta in video below.]

So says Charles Murray in his new book By The People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission, scheduled for release May 12. His remedy: create a “Madison Fund,” from private donations, to vigorously defend small businesses and individuals against the unconstitutional regulations that strangle our economy and our liberty. By flooding the zone, Murray hopes to cripple the ability of the regulatory state to fight a multi-front war against we, the people.

In a word, it’s the Cloward-Piven strategy, in reverse (my description, not Murray’s). Rather than overwhelming the welfare system to force total nationalization — to get more stuff from government — Murray would overwhelm government agencies to get them to stop arbitrary enforcement actions; to leave us alone except in situations that genuinely threaten public health and safety. He likens it to the way police don’t stop every speeding car, but only those that pose the greatest threat to the well-being of others.

Even Murray acknowledges his plan is a long shot, but it may be the last, best hope. (There’s much more to the plan than the brief summary in this review).

Charles Murray leaped onto the public stage in 1996 with The Bell Curve, which studied the links between intelligence, ethnicity and economic success in a world that increasingly makes mental acuity a prerequisite to prosperity. In 2013, he stirred the pot again with Coming Apart, a disturbing look at class division in America.

Although you may not agree with his proposal in By the People, his explication of the problem is must-reading.

All three branches of government have found it in their best interest to shirk responsibility and blame. Congress passes broad legislation and delegates both specifics and enforcement to executive branch agencies. This, in effect, allows the executive to usurp the role of the legislature, thereby violating the keystone of our Constitution — separation of powers. The Supreme Court, for its part, has let stand (stare decisis) precedents established by the Roosevelt court after FDR cowed it into submission with his threat to pack the Court with more justices until they blessed his budding autocracy. It was the most effective brush-back pitch in the history of the game, and now the Court hides behind stare decisis, rather than taking a swing that would undercut the power of big, centralized, remote-control government.

Murray is provocative to the core. But that’s not a bad thing in such times, especially because he backs his provocations with data, history, and rational analysis that leads you from skepticism, to acceptance. At the very least, he earns every penny of your investment of time and money. And perhaps, he’ll earn your allegiance to a plan that just might work.  Having run for local office, and seen the sausage factory from within, I feel Murray’s pain, and to a large extent agree with his diagnosis and prescription.


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How Will the Republicans Combat Vagina Politics?

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Brendan O’Neill (who will receive flack for his opinion because he has a penis) nails it (as I will receive flack for this innuendo-laden metaphor) over at Reason when it comes to women declaring unwavering support for Hillary simply because she, too has a vagina:

The bigger problem with such unabashed declarations of “vagina voting” is that they confirm the descent of feminism into the cesspool of identity politics, even biologism, and its abandonment of the idea that women should be valued more for their minds than their anatomy.

How can contemporary feminists get away with applying the same reasoning that has kept women out of the Oval Office for over 200 years? 2008, of course.

The current president’s victory was celebrated as the watershed moment for black men in America. Thanks to him, Loretta Lynch is the “first black woman” to hold her post as attorney general. The majority of Americans who don’t follow the news beyond the nightly national broadcast don’t know a thing about Lynch beyond the fact that she is black and a woman. Qualifications? Experience? Who cares. Black. Woman. That’s all we need to know. Instagram it and move on.

In an increasingly visual culture, what candidates will the Republicans proffer to fit the demographic bill? Even Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are too white and too male for this tough crowd. If they took a few lessons from Sofia Vergara they might stand half a chance. You know, jazz up that accent, tease the hair, get loud with the wardrobe, be ethnic. Sure, it was a strategy that kept your demographic out of office for the past 200 years, but times have changed. Race is in. Desi Arnaz would stand a better chance than these family values-laden dudes.

O’Neill rightly observes that “…modern feminism is pooping all over the suffragettes, who fought tooth-and-nail against the valuation of their viscera over their brains.” Perhaps that is the new campaign strategy. After all, if Obama and Lynch can screw with MLK’s “not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character” clause, why can’t Rubio, Cruz and the rest of the Republicans put race back into the race?

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Sen. Mike Lee’s New Books Nails ‘Willful Subversion’ of ‘Our Lost Constitution’

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015 - by Scott Ott

Utah Sen. Mike LeeI was not sure we needed yet another book to tell us how our republic has veered from the constitutional track and become mired in the morass of a federally protected wetland. But if you haven’t read one yet, Sen. Mike Lee’s Our Lost Constitution is a good one. If you’ve read much on the topic, you’ll still enjoy it, and learn something new.

Subtitled “The Willful Subversion of America’s Founding Document,” it’s currently Amazon’s best-selling constitutional law book, and comes recommended by Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, Ed Meese III, Larry Arnn and Sen. Mitch McConnell. (WAIT! Come back…Shucks, I lost him.)

For those still reading, I assure you that — McConnell blurb notwithstanding — Sen. Lee does a good job of mixing lively stories about our Founders and Framers with glute-clenching tales of modern government overreach, invasions of privacy and various other rights-stripping activities.

A “Tea Party” candidate who upset a three-term establishment Republican in 2010, Mike Lee once clerked for future Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito on the Third Circuit Court.  He loves the Constitution and the republic it birthed, and that passion bleeds through every page.

The Utah senator punches hard at executive encroachment on the legislative branch, but he’s never obnoxious, rarely partisan, and always graciously thoughtful. You won’t enjoy his horror stories about the untrammeled regulatory state, but you’ll be glad you read them.

My only beef with the book is the relatively weak proposed remedies.

Lee stays well within the boundaries of “regular order” pushing the passage of some landmark legislation, and encouraging readers to elect more constitutional representatives and senators. He does tell a wonderful story about the small-scale activism that started the recovery of our 2nd Amendment, but other than that he avoids exploring more aggressive options like an Article V Convention of the states, or the kind of civil disobedience advanced in Charles Murray’s forthcoming By the People. (I’ll review Murray’s book here soon.)

But I’ll admit, my hope for due-process reform has dimmed considerably, so I’m sure a less jaundiced reader will still find hope in electing better politicians who write better legislation.

So, even if you’ve lost all hope for change, Our Lost Constitution makes a good introduction to the nature of our crisis. I recommend it enthusiastically for that reason alone.

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‘Are You Afraid of Turkey?’: Harf Gets Owned on Armenian Genocide Questions

Friday, April 24th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Reporters tried to get the G-word out of the administration today on the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, but both the White House and State Department went through every verbal dance possible to not anger Turkey.

President Obama edited the word Ankara hates out of Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, issuing a lengthy statement marking “Armenian Remembrance Day.” He promised as a presidential candidate in 2008 to recognize the Armenian Genocide once in the Oval Office, but has never done so.

“This centennial is a solemn moment. It calls on us to reflect on the importance of historical remembrance, and the difficult but necessary work of reckoning with the past. I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view has not changed. A full, frank, and just acknowledgement of the facts is in all our interests,” Obama said.

“Peoples and nations grow stronger, and build a foundation for a more just and tolerant future, by acknowledging and reckoning with painful elements of the past. We welcome the expression of views by Pope Francis, Turkish and Armenian historians, and the many others who have sought to shed light on this dark chapter of history.”

Asked today what is preventing Obama from keeping his promise, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the president “has spoken very clearly and directly in the context of this specific statement so I’d refer you to those comments.”

“I’d also point out that United States Treasury Secretary Jack Lew led a U.S. delegation to the Armenian remembrance services and activities in Armenia,” Earnest said. “And again, I think that’s an indication of the president’s commitment to ensuring that we not allow even these very tragic incidents from going unnoticed. And that acknowledging what had happened in history is important.”

At the State Department today, Marie Harf got exasperated with questions about the Armenian Genocide.

“You’ve asked the same question everyday this week, and I gave the same answer,” she snapped at Matt Lee of the Associated Press.

“The president put out a very powerful statement speaking to the historical events that happened. It was a very lengthy statement. I know you’ve all read it,” Harf told reporters. “We understand that some people want to hear different language used. We believe this is the right course. But all you have to do is read the president’s statement to see how seriously he feels about these historical issues.”

She told Lee that he’s “certainly happy to have your own opinion about whether you like my answer or not.”

“Compared to what he usually does — it’s five paragraphs. Most presidential statements are not this long, OK? Speaking very forcefully to this issue and how he sees these historical events,” Harf said.

“Are you afraid of Turkey?” Lee asked.

“I’m not even sure how to answer that question,” Harf replied.

“What can Turkey do to a country as big and powerful as the United States?” he continued.

“As I said, we believe this is the right course to take, and I’m not going to have much more for you on this issue than that,” she answered.

Harf was presented with Obama’s statement that “amid horrific violence that so suffering on all sides, 1.5 million Armenians perished,” and asked if the administration would speak of “suffering on all sides” on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

“We’re just not going to compare any two historical events,” she said.

“Do you understand why people are making — why people are asking these questions?” Lee asked.

“We understand that some people would like to hear different language,” Harf replied.

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Obama Literally Edits Out the Genocide, Marks ‘Armenian Remembrance Day’

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

The White House moments ago issued President Obama’s annual statement to mark Friday’s Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, and as promised there is no genocide to be found.

In fact, the White House press release just called it “Armenian Remembrance Day.”

“This year we mark the centennial of the Meds Yeghern, the first mass atrocity of the 20th Century.  Beginning in 1915, the Armenian people of the Ottoman Empire were deported, massacred, and marched to their deaths.  Their culture and heritage in their ancient homeland were erased. Amid horrific violence that saw suffering on all sides, one and a half million Armenians perished,” Obama said.

Sounds genocidal.

“As the horrors of 1915 unfolded, U.S. Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, Sr. sounded the alarm inside the U.S. government and confronted Ottoman leaders.  Because of efforts like his, the truth of the Meds Yeghern emerged and came to influence the later work of human rights champions like Raphael Lemkin, who helped bring about the first United Nations human rights treaty,” he continued.

Armenian activists argue that the truth has not emerged from Obama’s lips: He promised on the campaign trail in 2008 that, as president, he would recognize the Armenian Genocide.

“Against this backdrop of terrible carnage, the American and Armenian peoples came together in a bond of common humanity,” Obama’s statement continues. “Ordinary American citizens raised millions of dollars to support suffering Armenian children, and the U.S. Congress chartered the Near East Relief organization, a pioneer in the field of international humanitarian relief. Thousands of Armenian refugees began new lives in the United States, where they formed a strong and vibrant community and became pillars of American society. Rising to great distinction as businesspeople, doctors, scholars, artists, and athletes, they made immeasurable contributions to their new home.”

“This centennial is a solemn moment. It calls on us to reflect on the importance of historical remembrance, and the difficult but necessary work of reckoning with the past. I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view has not changed. A full, frank, and just acknowledgement of the facts is in all our interests. Peoples and nations grow stronger, and build a foundation for a more just and tolerant future, by acknowledging and reckoning with painful elements of the past. We welcome the expression of views by Pope Francis, Turkish and Armenian historians, and the many others who have sought to shed light on this dark chapter of history.”

The pope’s condemnation of the genocide — using the word — led an angry Turkey to pull its ambassador from Vatican City.

“On this solemn centennial, we stand with the Armenian people in remembering that which was lost. We pledge that those who suffered will not be forgotten,” Obama said. “And we commit ourselves to learn from this painful legacy, so that future generations may not repeat it.”

Earlier this week, White House officials told Armenian leaders that Obama would, again, not be recognizing the genocide as genocide.

Turkey has paid D.C. lobbyists handsomely over the years to work against the Armenian Genocide resolutions that surface each Congress. Turkey has recalled its ambassador in a huff whenever the bill has made it out of committee. A large Turkey caucus in Congress — the Caucus on U.S.-Turkey Relations & Turkish Americans — also helps derail genocide legislation.

Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Chairman Ken Hachikian argued in testimony to the Helsinki Commission this week that “we must elevate America’s and all the world’s response to genocide from a political calculation to a moral imperative.”

“Very simply, Armenia cannot be safe as long as it is bordered by an over-armed and unrepentant perpetrator of genocide,” Hachikian said.

He noted that Ottoman Turkey’s “campaign of genocide against its Armenian and other Christian subjects, in addition to murdering over 2,000,000 Christians and exiling of hundreds of thousands of others from their homelands of thousands of years, also involved the systematic destruction of churches and religious sites, illegal expropriation of properties, discriminatory policies, restrictions on worship, and other efforts to suppress and ultimately erase the Christian heritage of these lands.”

“As a result of these crimes – and Ankara’s continued obstruction of justice – only a small fraction of the historic Christian presence in Anatolia remains today in modern Turkey,” Hachikian said. “Estimates are that of the well over 2,000 Armenian churches, which existed in the early 1900s, far fewer than 50 are functioning today. Perhaps as few as 200 even remain standing today. The rest have been ground into dust with the properties illegally confiscated by the government. And, only a small fraction of the historic Christian population that once populated Anatolia remains today in modern Turkey to care for their cultural heritage.”

“…Ending Turkey’s denials can contribute to the reversal of this destruction, the return of churches, the restoration of Christian heritage, and the re-emergence of the Christian faithful upon these sacred lands. It is time for the United States and the rest of the world to stand up to Turkey’s shameless blackmail and demand justice not just for the Armenians, but for all of civilized mankind.”

Many lawmakers, Republican and Democrat, gathered last night on Capitol Hill to mark the Armenian Genocide Centennial.

“As the world’s greatest advocate for freedom, the United States has an obligation to fully acknowledge one of humanity’s most horrific crimes,” Rep. Bob Dold (R-Ill.) said.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who represents a district with a large Armenian constituency, spent an hour on the House floor Wednesday reading 1,000 names of Armenian Genocide victims.

“To read all of the names of the more than 1.5 million people murdered at the time, would take many weeks, and I hope that the recitation of the victims will help call attention to the magnitude of the crime,” Schiff said. “A name, unlike a number, is no abstraction – each was a son or daughter, a mother or father, a grandparent, an aunt or an uncle; each was a precious life.”

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) said he’s “disappointed” that Obama “will not give the Armenian Genocide appropriate recognition as a sitting president, as he did while serving in the Senate.”

“Genocide denial is the last act of a genocide and the first step in the next genocide – just as the Armenian Genocide, in part, prepared the world for the Holocaust,” Sherman said. “When Adolf Hitler sought the destruction of the Jewish people, those around him wondered how he could get away with it. Hitler pointed out that the Ottoman Empire had gotten away with it because no one remembered the genocide of the Armenians. That is why I have repeatedly asked my colleagues in the House and Senate to formally recognize the genocide – we cannot afford to wait another century.”

Turkey lashed out at Austria on Wednesday after the country’s parliament recognized the Armenian Genocide, calling the measure a “massacre of law.”

“It seems that Austria, with whom we fought on the same side during World War I, and which should be in the best position to recognize that this great tragedy cannot be defined as ‘genocide’, has also fallen prey to the efforts of some circles bent on manipulating perceptions, in complete insistence in ignoring the humanitarian and concrete initiatives of Turkey,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“The fact that the joint declaration does not even care to mention the Muslims who lost their lives during that same period all the while sharing the suffering of all Christian groups, is a sad and clear indication of discrimination on religious grounds by the very persons who claim to base their actions on humanitarian foundations.”

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Obama Administration Refuses to Recognize Armenian Genocide

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015 - by Chris Queen

As the world commemorates the 100th anniversary of the slaughter of nearly 2 million Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, President Obama and his administration are refusing to refer to the massacre as a genocide – the term most historians use to describe the event, as well as the same language Obama used before taking on the office of president.

“President Obama’s surrender to Turkey represents a national disgrace. It is, very simply, a betrayal of truth, a betrayal of trust,” Ken Hachikian, the chairman of the Armenian National Committee of America, said.

Officials decided against calling the massacre a genocide after some opposition from the State Department and Pentagon.

“We know and respect that there are some who are hoping to hear different language this year,” CNN quoted an administration official.

“We understand their perspective, even as we believe that the approach we have taken in previous years remains the right one — both for acknowledging the past and for our ability to work with regional partners to save lives in the present,” the official said.

On April 24, 1915, the Ottoman Empire set out to expel the Armenians from their region. Armenians had lived in what is now Turkey for 3,000 years, but by the early 1920s, a million and a half of them were dead, with many more expelled from the country. In 2010, a Congressional committee voted to recognize the massacre as a genocide, but the Obama administration still has not done so.

This move by the White House may not have stirred up so much passion had then-Senator Obama not made a campaign promise to call the incident a genocide. Critics suggest that Obama has performed his about-face as an act of loyalty toward Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan.

CNN reports that even California Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic leader of the House Intelligence Committee, expressed disappointment with the White House decision.

“How long must the victims and their families wait before our nation has the courage to confront Turkey with the truth about the murderous past of the Ottoman Empire?” Schiff wrote in a statement.

“If not this president, who spoke so eloquently and passionately about recognition in the past, whom? If not after 100 years, when?” he asked.

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Hillary and How Hollywood Turned Menopause into a Curse

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Language warning: NSFW

Praised for her raw take on women’s body issues, comedian Amy Schumer hosted Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Julia Louis-Dreyfus for a sketch taking on Hollywood’s treatment of middle-aged women on the latest episode of her Comedy Central show Inside Amy Schumer. It was a well-timed take on a rote discussion aired in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s declaration and the ensuing #HillarySoOld Twitter trend. Millennial voters barely old enough to remember Sally Field will never know that famed star Myrna Loy already covered this territory in the mid-40s when she went from being Cary Grant’s sexy career-woman love interest to his dowdy middle-aged wife in the span of one whole year.

Why has Hollywood never been kind to middle-aged women? For the same reason men get sexier as they age. Both have a lesser chance of being capable or inclined to reproduce. Angelina Jolie may have been more than willing to surrender her lady parts in the name of science, but the reality is that a lifetime of hormone replacement therapy will not be kind to her looks or her figure. (Fortunately for her she can afford to hide all that the way most menopausal women anxiously hoarding Oil of Olay in Wal Mart cannot.) At the same time, a man whose hair is embracing that touch of gray has gone from sexual threat to father figure. (See: George Clooney’s resume.)

This double standard is fueled by a goddess feminism obsessed with the idea that a woman’s ability to bear children is a biological curse that must be overcome if she is to obtain equality. Instead of embracing fertility, we drug it, abort it, or demand federal dollars to daycare it out of existence so we can get back to work, our beauteous forms intact. Therefore, why should it be any surprise that menopausal years are seen as our last “f**kable” golden hour of life before the only thing working in our favor — our beauty — fails us?

The grand irony is, of course, that one of the greatest cultural institutions presumed to support Hillary in 2016 will, once again, inevitably work against her. In the end, she just doesn’t fit their type.

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White House Summons Armenian Leaders to Tell Them Obama Won’t Honor Genocide Pledge

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

The White House pulled together Armenian leaders Tuesday to placate the community in advance of their latest ball-dropping on President Obama’s 2008 campaign promise to recognize the Armenian genocide.

But activists who have long been asking Obama to keep his word were not placated.

Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes confirmed to Armenian-American leaders that Obama will once again not recognize the genocide in his annual statement for this week’s genocide remembrance day.

“President Obama’s surrender to Turkey represents a national disgrace. It is, very simply, a betrayal of truth, a betrayal of trust,” said Armenian National Committee of America chairman Ken Hachikian.

“With the world’s attention drawn this April 24th to worldwide Armenian Genocide Centennial commemorations, President Obama will, tragically, use the moral standing of our nation not to defend the truth, but rather to enforce of a foreign power’s gag-rule,” Hachikian added. “He has effectively outsourced America’s policy on the Armenian Genocide to Recep Erdogan.”

The other group in the room with McDonough and Rhodes was the Armenian Assembly of America. Executive Director Bryan Ardouny said in a statement afterward that Obama’s “unwillingness to speak truthfully about the Armenian Genocide is not what we expect from a world leader on the centenary of the Armenian Genocide.”

“His failure to use the term genocide represents a major blow for human rights advocates and sets the clock back on genocide prevention.”

In a readout of the White House meeting, National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said, “Recalling the deep ties between the Armenian and American peoples, they discussed the significance of this occasion for honoring the 1.5 million lives extinguished during that horrific period, and welcomed the principled advocacy of the Armenian American community on behalf of justice.”

“They  pledged that the United States will use the occasion to urge a full, frank, and just acknowledgement of the facts that we believe is in the interest of all parties,” Meehan said. “They also noted that the President has asked Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew to lead a Presidential Delegation to Yerevan on April 24, to stand in solidarity with the Armenian people as they commemorate this most solemn of anniversaries.”

Obama has been called out by Armenian groups every year of his presidency for not using the G-word.

“The facts are undeniable,” Obama said in a Jan. 19, 2008, statement. “An official policy that calls on diplomats to distort the historical facts is an untenable policy. As a senator, I strongly support passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106 and S.Res.106), and as president I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.”

Meanwhile, Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) introduced a resolution Monday commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

“It is past time for this atrocity to be recognized for what it was: a targeted ethnic cleansing of the Armenian population. This resolution makes clear that it is unacceptable to deny the facts and history of the Armenian Genocide and continue to silence the voices of those who perished,” Menendez said. “As the world gathers to commemorate the centenary of the Armenian Genocide on April 24th, the United States must commit itself to recognizing the full meaning, magnitude and history of this genocide in order to both honor the innocent victims and prevent similar tragedies from happening again.”

“More than 20 countries, 43 U.S. states and Pope Francis have unequivocally affirmed the Armenian Genocide and it is time for the United States to join them,” Boxer said.

Kirk stressed that “100 years is far too long not to call the murder of 1.5 million Armenians what it was: genocide.”

Turkey has paid D.C. lobbyists handsomely over the years to work against the Armenian Genocide resolutions that surface each Congress. Turkey has recalled its ambassador in a huff whenever the bill has made it out of committee.

A large Turkey caucus in Congress — the Caucus on U.S.-Turkey Relations & Turkish Americans — also helps derail genocide legislation.

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Remembering Mark Harding, the man “sentenced to Islam” before 9/11

Monday, April 20th, 2015 - by Kathy Shaidle
Mark Harding and friend. (Photo: Blogwrath)

Mark Harding and friend. (Photo: Blogwrath)

Tonight I’ll be attending a memorial service for Toronto pastor Mark Harding.

A friend remembers:

Let me just say now that what shortened his life and caused his untimely death was his passion to help others. He was one of the first Christian ministers to see the threat of the militant Islam. He didn’t hate Muslims – he saw them as misguided souls in a need of help to get out of their trap. Some of them loved him back and appreciated his efforts, others, and they were the majority, hated him and did everything in their power to destroy him. In 1997, through the efforts of the Muslim fanatics, he was convicted for “hate speech” over criticizing Islam

As his “community service,” Harding was sentenced to study the Koran for over 300 days.

I’m not kidding.

Here’s Ezra Levant with Harding’s story, and a conversation with the man himself:

YouTube Preview Image

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FBI Chief Likens Poles to Nazis, Hears About It Pronto

Monday, April 20th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

It seems every major post in the American government is now occupied by a blithering idiot:

Polish officials were up in arms Saturday after FBI Director James Comey suggested that their country shared responsibility for the Holocaust. Comey, in a Friday column in the Washington Post, compared Poles and Hungarians to the Nazis during World War II.

“In their minds, the murderers and accomplices of Germany, and Poland, and Hungary, and so many, many other places didn’t do something evil,” Comey wrote. “They convinced themselves it was the right thing to do, the thing they had to do. That’s what people do. And that should truly frighten us.”

Whoops! Might want to check your history books on that one, Jimbo. Poland was one of the first victims of World War II, attacked, partitioned and occupied by the two socialist bosom buddies, Nazi Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1939. The Poles had a government-in-exile in London, the Polish underground fought heroically, and even infiltrated Auschwitz to try to warn the world what was happening.

Anne Applebaum quickly straightened Comey out, also in the pages of the Post:

The Polish ambassador to Washington has protested, the Polish president has protested, the speaker of the Polish parliament (to whom I am married) has protested — and the U.S. ambassador to Warsaw has apologized profusely. Why? Because James Comey, the director of the FBI, in a speech that was reprinted in The Post arguing for more Holocaust education, demonstrated just how badly he needs it himself. In two poorly worded sentences, he sounded to Polish readers as if he were repeating the World War II myth that most drives them crazy: Namely, that somehow, those who lived in occupied Eastern Europe shared full responsibility for a German policy.

So no, it is not true, as Comey made it sound, that “murderers and accomplices” in Germany, Poland and Hungary and lots of other places were somehow responsible for the Holocaust. And no, it isn’t true that the Holocaust is a story of so many otherwise “good” people who “convinced themselves it was the right thing to do.”

On the contrary, it’s a story about the power of fear, the danger of lawlessness and the horror that was made possible by a specific form of German state terror in the years between 1939 and 1945 – a terror that convinced many people to do things that they knew were terribly, terribly wrong. If the FBI director wants to take some lessons from Washington’s excellent Holocaust museum, that’s very admirable. But first he should make sure he’s understood what he’s seen.

Good Lord.

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Turkey Increasingly Upset About Armenian Genocide Being Referred To As ‘Genocide’

Friday, April 17th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

Silly people and their truth.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s president, has accused the EU of declaring “enmity” on his country as next week’s centenary commemorations of the massacres of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire descend into bitter rows over what to call them.

Both the European Parliament and Pope Francis this week referred to the killings as a genocide, a term recognised by much of the rest of the world but fiercely disputed by Turkey.

The European decision prompted a furious response from Mr Erdogan.
“Such decisions are nothing but expressions of enmity against Turkey by abusing Armenians,” he said while on a visit to Kazakhstan. “Come on, let’s leave history to historians.”

Earlier he had made an implicit threat to deport Armenian citizens, many of whom work in Turkey.

Well, it’s been 100 years so it kind of has been left to the historians, and the historians tend to refer to it as a genocide. Those who don’t usually opt for “Armenian holocaust” instead.

Here is another classic example of a dictator used to tightly controlling the messaging at home getting upset when he bumps into the big, bad, connected rest of the world.

President Erdogan can take comfort in the fact that Russell Crowe seems to be on his side.

Erdogan will be fine. After all, being a Holocaust denier really never hurt Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s United Nations or Ivy League speech opportunities.

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Heat Turned Up on Obama to Recognize Armenian Genocide After Pope Angers Turkey

Monday, April 13th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Armenian lobbyists say that Pope Francis angering Turkey over recognition of the Armenian genocide sets the stage for President Obama to keep a 2008 campaign promise — or not.

“The facts are undeniable,” Obama said in a Jan. 19, 2008, statement. “An official policy that calls on diplomats to distort the historical facts is an untenable policy. As a senator, I strongly support passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106 and S.Res.106), and as president I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.”

That’s never happened.

In a Mass marking the 100th anniversary of the killing of 1.5 million Armenians, the pope said, “In the past century our human family has lived through three massive and unprecedented tragedies. The first, which is widely considered ‘the first genocide of the twentieth century,’ struck your own Armenian people, the first Christian nation, as well as Catholic and Orthodox Syrians, Assyrians, Chaldeans and Greeks. Bishops and priests, religious, women and men, the elderly and even defenseless children and the infirm were murdered.”

“It is necessary, and indeed a duty, to honour their memory, for whenever memory fades, it means that evil allows wounds to fester,” the pontiff said. “Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it!”

The Turkish foreign ministry, in addition to recalling its ambassador to the Vatican and summoning the Holy See ambassador in Turkey for consultations, issued a lengthy statement accusing Pope Francis of practicing “discrimination between the sufferings by solely emphasizing the sufferings of the Christians and foremost the Armenians.”

“With a selective point of view, he ignored the tragedies that befell on the Turkish and Muslim people who had lost their lives in World War I. During this Holy Mass, history was instrumentalized for political aims… Given his statements of today, we understand that Pope Francis is under the influence of the Armenian narrative which persists to derive enmity from history instead of leaving a legacy of friendship and peace to the future generations.”

“…What we expected from a divine rank as the Holy See is not to give credit to the one-sided interpretations of historical events and to religious discrimination but rather to support peace and joint approaches that will ensure a global language which rejects ethnic and religious discrimination, especially nowadays when our world is facing confrontations, divisions and intolerance.”

Turkey has paid D.C. lobbyists handsomely over the years to work against the Armenian Genocide resolutions that surface each Congress. Turkey has recalled its ambassador in a huff whenever the bill has made it out of committee.

Earlier this month, Rep. Bob Dold (R-Ill.) led a letter with 48 bipartisan colleagues calling on Obama to recognize the killings as genocide in his expected April 24 statement.

“A clear recognition of the Armenian Genocide, particularly in this Centennial year, would affirm that the Armenian Genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence,” the lawmakers wrote. “A principled presidential statement clearly citing the Armenian Genocide would help strengthen condemnations of the past, and recognize the important relationship the United States shares with Armenia today.”

Armenian National Committee of America Executive Director Aram Hamparian said the pope’s “historic sermon on the Armenian Genocide sets the stage for President Obama to honor his own pledge to recognize this horrific crime.”

“By openly rejecting Turkey’s gag-rule against the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, President Obama would, with a bold stroke, end a truly shameful era of complicity in Ankara’s efforts to deny the truth and obstruct justice for this crime,” Hamparian said. “Such a principled position by President Obama would put America back on the right side of this issue, while also advancing U.S. regional interests in fostering a better future for Armenian-Turkish relations based upon an honest reckoning with the past.”

In a separate statement, Hamparian stressed that “Turkey underestimates, at its own risk, the power of our worldwide movement – a profoundly moral movement inspired by truth and driven by our shared hope for a fair and enduring peace based on a just international resolution of the Armenian Genocide.”

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‘Fictional victims are much more important than actual people’

Monday, April 13th, 2015 - by Kathy Shaidle



Gavin McInnes — or rather, his beta male leftoid “brother,” Miles — makes his debut at TheRebel.media.


This is satire, but you may find it hard to distinguish from an actual “conversation” you’ve had with a far-left relative or co-worker.

You may want to share it with the “Miles” in your life…

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Today in History: 150th Anniversary of the Surrender at Appomattox

Thursday, April 9th, 2015 - by Kathy Shaidle

TheRebel.media, historian John Robson observes:

The series of 150th anniversaries of key Civil War events has received surprisingly little attention especially, it seems, from the White House, curious given the importance of a black president in ending the long racial nightmare. But it deserves our attention, both for what was achieved through forgiveness after Appomattox and what tragically was not.

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[VIDEO] College Students Can’t Answer Basic Questions About the Holocaust and WW II

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

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Jerry Amernic, author of The Last Witness, asked university students in Toronto some very simple questions about the Holocaust and World War II. Their answers demonstrate a remarkable ignorance of some of the most important events of the 20th century. The students couldn’t answer even the most basic questions, like how many Jews died in the Holocaust or who perpetrated the atrocities. They were also clueless about D-Day and they didn’t know who FDR or Churchill were.

Makes you wonder if they have Common Core in Canada.


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When Jews Flee, Christians Become the Target

Saturday, April 4th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Israel National News reports on Israel’s UN Ambassador Ron Prosor’s latest speech to the United Nations Security Council regarding the grotesque mistreatment of Christians in the Islamic world:

Amb. Prosor began by explaining that these days, as the Jewish Passover approaches, there is a terrible new “exodus” that is plaguing the Middle East, one “driven by a plague of [Islamic] persecution aimed at Christians, Kurds, Yazidi, Bahai, and of course, the Jews.”

He related that after the Muslim countries murdered thousands of Jews and forced hundreds of thousands to leave the host Muslim countries, the Muslims had no one left to persecute. So, the “extremists have turned on the Christians.

At the turn of the twentieth century, Christians comprised 26% of the Middle East’s population. Today, that figure is less than 10%.” In ISIS-plagued Iraq, “Christians were given the grim choice of converting to Islam or face death by beheading, stoning or crucifixion. Fearing for their lives, tens of thousands of Christians have fled to northern Iraq and taken refuge in Kurdistan.”

Amb. Prosor stated on behalf of the Israel government that “The Kurds are the leading force in the fight against ISIS. They have shown tremendous courage and fortitude. The Kurds need the support of the international community and they deserve political independence.”

Prosor’s speech is a timely reminder that as both Jews and Christians sit down this weekend to celebrate freedom and tune into The Ten Commandments, redemption, like slavery, is as much a physical act as it is a spiritual one. Not only does it require a good, hard look at reality, it also demands the willingness to unify in order to cross the great divide.

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When Hillary Stumps on The View, Will Monica be Asking the Questions?

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

In TV land, touting your victimhood really pays off. Just ask Monica Lewinsky, who finally hooked herself up with the right PR agent. After dawdling in obscurity she manages to reshape herself as the “first victim of cyber-bullying” morphing into a hot commodity among the causeheads in Hollywood, including Barbara Walters.

Attempting to reshape her popular women’s daytime talk show that spawned such spin-offs as The Talk and the distastefully named The Chew, along with the racially cool The Real, Barbara Walters is looking to class up The View in the wake of Rosie O’Donnell by casting none other than Monica “Blue Dress” Lewinsky as the chick who will draw in a high-class crowd.

But, Walters doesn’t hold the reigns any longer. ABC is tossing around names like child star Raven Symone and fashion host Stacy London, but Walters is standing firm, believing that “after a decade-long silence” she “has a lot to say.” With 2016 looming, the real question is, will she get to say it to Hillary or Bill?

Perhaps that’s just the ratings juggernaut Walters is looking for.

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Poll: American Support for 2 State Solution in Israel Hits 20 Year Low

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

So much for that story.

Support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is at nearly a 20-year low among Americans, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Only 39 percent of respondents in the poll expressed support for a two-state solution, down from 58 percent in 2003, according to a Gallup Poll.

It is worth noting that Politico is running a huge picture of a Code Pink anti-Israel protest. That’s a powerful, not-so-subtle attempt to undermine the very news in the post running below the picture.

Also, it’s rather difficult to ascertain if Americans are losing hope, realizing that this is a part of the world that will always be in turmoil.

One thing is certain: the relationship between the United States and Israel is going to need a lot of repair when President Fundamentally Transform finally exits the arena. If he stays around to muck up the works like Jimmy Carter has all these years, things may never be patched up.

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United Arab Army Forms in Wake of Obama’s Iranian Negotiations

Monday, March 30th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

The New York Times reports:

The Arab states said on Sunday that they had agreed to form a combined military force to counter both Iranian influence and Islamist extremism, a gesture many analysts attributed in large part to their drive for more independence from Washington.

The agreement came as American and other Western diplomats in Lausanne, Switzerland, were racing to beat a self-imposed deadline of Tuesday to reach a deal with Iran that would restrict its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of economic sanctions. In response, Saudi Arabia and other American allies in the region have made clear that they are seeking to bolster independent regional security measures because they see the proposed accord as a betrayal of Washington’s commitment to their security.

In other words, not only does Congress not trust Barry. Not only does Netanyahu not trust Barry. Now nearly the entirety of the Arab world doesn’t trust Barry to the point that they’re uniting and forming their own military force?

Could it be that they feel Obama has declared a War on Muslims?

This wouldn’t be the first iteration of an Arab League coalition force. First formed in 1945, the force quickly disbanded after attacking and losing to the nascent Israeli Army in 1948.

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Mecca, Medina. . . Dabiq? Why This Syrian Town Is Key to Understanding ISIS

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 - by Kathy Shaidle

Dabiq – the ISIS propaganda magazine.


At TheRebel.media, Marissa Semkiw interviews world religions professor Dr. Tony Costa.

He explains why, next to Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem, the otherwise unremarkable Syrian town of Dabiq is one of the key places in Islamic mythology.

As the Muslim equivalent of “Armageddon,” Dabiq is the alleged site of the final battle between Islam and the infidels.

That’s why ISIS considers it so important.

(Note that they named their propaganda magazine after it.)

This concise video gives you a terrific layman’s overview of Muslim end-times theology.

(It’s especially timely for Canadians, since today Parliament begins debating Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s proposed extension of Canada’s mission in Syria.)

You’ll feel smarter after watching it:

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How Is America Truly Exceptional?

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015 - by Chris Queen

The idea of American exceptionalism has become a topic of debate in the Obama years. Both sides in this often heated debate dig their heels in and stand firm in their convictions. But regardless of one’s political convictions, it’s hard to argue against the idea that the United States is unique among nations. In the 19th century, French historian and political scientist Alexis de Tocqueville recognized this and was among the first to recognize that America was an exceptional nation.

A recent Pew Research survey demonstrates that, nearly two centuries after de Tocqueville, the United States stands out from other nations in some surprising ways.

One area where Americans rank well above citizens of other countries is in the notion of individualism.

When Pew Research Center surveyed people in 44 countries last spring, 57% of Americans disagreed with the statement “Success in life is pretty much determined by forces outside our control,” a higher percentage than most other nations and far above the global median of 38%.

The American work ethic stands far above that of other nations as well.

True to the stereotype, surveys showed that Americans are more likely to believe that hard work pays off. When asked, on a scale of 0 to 10, about how important working hard is to getting ahead in life, 73% of Americans said it is was a “10” or “very important,” compared with a global median of 50% among the 44 nations.

Americans are exceptional among wealthy developed nations as a people of faith who place their moral convictions within the context of religious belief.

In general, people in richer nations are less likely than those in poorer nations to say religion plays a very important role in their lives. But Americans are more likely than their counterparts in economically advanced nations to deem religion very important. More than half (54%) of Americans said religion was very important in their lives, much higher than the share of people in Canada (24%), Australia (21%) and Germany (21%), the next three wealthiest economies we surveyed from 2011 through 2013.

People in richer nations tend to place less emphasis on the need to believe in God in order to be moral and have good values than people in poorer countries do. While the share of Americans holding that view is far lower than in poorer nations like Indonesia and Ghana (each 99%), the U.S. stands out when compared with people in other economically advanced nations. In the U.S., 53% say belief in God is a prerequisite for being moral and having good values, much higher than the 23% in Australia and 15% in France, according to our study of 39 nations between 2011 and 2013.

Finally, Americans tend to be far more optimistic than their counterparts in wealthier nations — a fact researchers discovered almost by accident.

Americans are also more upbeat than people in other wealthy nations when asked how their day is going. While we ask this question to help respondents get more comfortable with the interviewer, it provides a glimpse into people’s moods and reveals a slightly negative correlation between those saying the day is a good one and per capita gross domestic product. About four-in-ten Americans (41%) described their day as a “particularly good day,” a much higher share than those in Germany (21%), the UK (27%) and Japan (8%).

These findings ought to lead some politicians to rethink their conceptions of American exceptionalism. The statistics prove that the United States is truly unique among its peers.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock / Rawpixel

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VIDEO: Ayaan Hirsi Ali Speaks Out in New Book ‘Heretic’

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Watch as the infamous activist, blacklisted by Brandeis University for her anti-Islam views, discusses her new book Heretic and the concept of reforming Islam. Martha Raddatz has no problem outing herself as a turncoat feminist, accusing Hirsi Ali, herself a survivor of female genital mutilation, of unfairly attacking Islam now that she has left the religion.

Raddatz and the pro-Islam Manalo Omar are also quick to gang up on Hirsi Ali when she highlights one of the many Qu’ranic calls for death to infidels currently being used to justify Sharia law and jihad, citing both “the Torah” and “the Bible” as containing violent verses. When Hirsi Ali replies by questioning where the Christians are who take these verses as literally as their Islamic counterparts, Raddatz changes her line of questioning without changing her politically correct tone.

“Doesn’t [your book] incite people to hate Muslims?” is Raddatz’s conclusion, not her query, proving once again that the West’s multiculturalist elite are the greatest threat to Islamic reform.

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Kathy Griffin Ducks Behind ‘Gays and People of Color’ as she Runs from the Fashion Police

Friday, March 13th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Let’s be clear about one thing: The only time Kathy Griffin shows up anywhere is when her fellow D-lister Andy Dick is unavailable. And apparently even Andy Dick didn’t want to touch the hot mess that is Fashion Police in the wake of Joan Rivers’ untimely death.

The chaos began when the Empress of E! Giuliana Rancic lamely joked that Disney Princess Zendaya’s dreads smelled like “patchouli oil…or weed.” Because Zendaya is African American, the entire world jumped to defend her Marleyesque hairstyle, raking Rancic through the standard hot coals saved for politically incorrect commentators like herself. In the wake of the “scandal” Kelly Osbourne decided to leave the show and yesterday Kathy Griffin tweeted her resignation, commenting:

“…I do not want to use my comedy to contribute to a culture of unattainable perfectionism and intolerance towards difference. I want to help women, gay kids, people of color and anyone who feels underrepresented to have a voice and a LAUGH!”

Sounding more like Patricia Arquette backtracking after her Oscars flub about “gay people and people of color,” Griffin proved she’s no Joan. None of them are. That’s why Fashion Police couldn’t survive a day without her.

Gen-X and Millennial hacks the lot, watch Griffin and her crew run and hide behind their beloved “gays” and “people of color” like a human shield designed to protect their own inflated egos in the wake of the minefield of political correctness. Only Joan Rivers, born before all this post-1960′s liberation activist schlock could navigate this battle unharmed. In seeking out her replacement the only thing these doobs saw in Joan was a woman unafraid to offend. They didn’t see the honesty in her “Can We Talk” comedy because, to them, talk is nothing more than a media appearance and a quick paycheck. They’re too busy hiding behind the latest cause celeb to begin to attempt the kind of self-honesty Joan emoted with every barb.

Fellow narcissist Lena Dunham, a common victim of Joan’s silver-tongued quips, tweeted support for Kathy Griffin “saying enough is enough to intolerance”. Spare me, you Queens of Intolerance hiding behind a human shield of your own making. Come up for some air in-between Tweet praises and go shopping for matching outfits. You’ll need new camo when your beloved “gays and people of color” turn to you and say, “Can we talk?” Now that’s a show I’d watch.


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VIDEO: The Holocaust Survivor Band Takes Vegas by Storm

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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The New York Times reports:

Like many survivors of the Holocaust, after World War II, Saul Dreier and Reuwen (“Ruby”) Sosnowicz moved to America, started families and careers, grew old, and retired to Florida. For these octogenarians, settling near Boca Raton could have been the last chapter in their story.

But then, last summer, Mr. Dreier, 89, decided to start a klezmer band, drawing upon the music he grew up with in Poland. Playing the drums, he teamed up with Mr. Sosnowicz, an 85-year-old Polish accordionist. This Op-Doc video profiles the two men and their group, which they’ve named the Holocaust Survivor Band. In recent months they have performed for audiences at venues ranging from local nursing homes and temples to The Venetian in Las Vegas.

…For them, music is catharsis. The Holocaust Survivor Band summons the bittersweet memories of childhood, but more than that, it is a celebration of life.

Seniors Dreier and Sosnowicz prove that life doesn’t stop and start at the convenience of a radical dictator or cultural norm.

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Democrats Stonewalling Obama Request for Authorization of Force Against ISIS

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser


Republicans, who control Congress and criticize Obama’s foreign policy as too passive, want stronger measures against the militants and fewer limits on the use of U.S. combat troops than included in the plan.

But more serious opposition came from Obama’s fellow Democrats, who demanded a strict time limit for any combat troops. Many also want to repeal the 2001 AUMF the Obama administration has been using to justify the anti-Islamic State campaign.

“This AUMF, hardly anybody supports it that I know of,” Republican Senator Orrin Hatch told reporters.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee set its first major AUMF hearing, with testimony from Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, for Wednesday.

The panel’s chairman, Republican Senator Bob Corker, said he planned one or two more hearings. But without support from Democrats, he said he was not sure how it would move ahead.

I’m sure we will be hearing an outcry from domestic media sources (Reuters is international) about the “do-nothing” and “obstructionist” Democrats any time now, right.


It is infuriating that the Democrats still want to take the polite, “planned event” to war and let ISIS know exactly how long they have to lay low, because that worked out so well last time. At this point it seems Democrats in Congress or the press can’t remember anything that happened more than twenty four hours ago unless George W. Bush did it.

The terrorists are cunning, organized and committed to victory. None of those can be said about any of the politicians in charge of the military forces capable of battling them.

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Obama in Selma: The Single Most Powerful Word in Our Democracy Is “We”

Sunday, March 8th, 2015 - by Walter Hudson

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If you can bring yourself to ignore the contextual inconsistencies between his rhetoric and his record of action, President Obama’s speech commemorating the 50th anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday” march in Selma was pretty good. If you put aside the president’s bastardized definitions of words like “justice” and “freedom,” his observation that our American experiment plays out in continual societal change toward a libertarian ideal borders on insightful.

There was a snippet toward the end that stood out, however. As the president wove his 2008 campaign slogan into the tapestry of civil rights history, he expressed a sentiment precisely opposite that which should inform our thinking regarding Selma.

Because the single most powerful word in our democracy is the word “We.” We The People. We Shall Overcome. Yes We Can. It is owned by no one. It belongs to everyone. Oh, what a glorious task we are given, to continually try to improve this great nation of ours.

Confronted with this, my mind shifted to a lesser known novella authored by philosopher Ayn Rand entitled Anthem. Written in the first person, the story chronicles the struggle of a man living in a highly-controlled dystopian society which is so collectivized that each individual thinks of his self as “we.”

It’s the word “we,” and everything it represents when used in the manner that Obama wields it, which underscored the atrocities of Jim Crow. It’s collectivist thinking which enables and fuels racism in all is forms.

As Rand’s Anthem protagonist concludes:

The word “We” is as lime poured over men, which sets and hardens to stone, and crushes all beneath it, and that which is white and that which is black are lost equally in the grey of it. It is the word by which the depraved steal the virtue of the good, by which the weak steal the might of the strong, by which the fools steal the wisdom of the sages.

What is my joy if all hands, even the unclean, can reach into it? What is my wisdom, if even the fools can dictate to me? What is my freedom, if all creatures, even the botched and impotent, are my masters? What is my life, if I am but to bow, to agree and to obey?

One cannot judge a man by the content of his character without doing so individually. Thus the explicit goal sought by Dr. Martin Luther King, his resonate dream, requires us to dispense with “we” and deal solely in “I.” Individuals, not groups, exhibit character. Individuals, not groups, affect change for good or ill.

The appropriate call on this historic anniversary is not an appeal to “consensus,” as Obama makes. Rather, we each should seek a rational pursuit of life-affirming values. Reason defeats racism, as it does all forms of irrationality. Reason endows men both with the capability to judge character and to exhibit it. If we shall truly overcome the darkness which those who marched on Selma opposed, we will do so by individually embracing reason as our means of dealing with our reality and with each other.

(Today’s Fightin Words podcast is on this topic available here.)

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Beer — Still Beer After Nearly 200 Years At the Bottom of the Sea

Sunday, March 8th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

It’s true — and, after all, you can’t argue with science:

 Scientists have scrutinized the contents of four bottles of beer found in a Baltic Sea shipwreck from the 1840s, an amber ale that perhaps was brewed in Belgium and was on its way to ports in Russia or Scandinavia. The new analysis found that bacteria inside the beer bottles survived 170 years until it was discovered by divers in 2010, according to Brian Gibson, senior scientist at the VTT Technical Research Centre in Espoo, Finland.

“These bacteria were still alive,” Gibson said. The analysis “gave us some insight into the way that beers were brewed. We have a reasonably good idea about what kind of hops were used, different ones than today. These hops would have been harsher, these days they are quite mild. The one surprising thing is the beers were quite mild. The original alcohol level was 4.5 percent, nothing extreme.”

Alas, the taste was marred by seeping seawater:

Gibson and colleagues at the University of Munich published their chemical and microbiological analysis recently in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. While some breweries have recreated ancient beer recipes from colonial, medieval or even Egyptian eras, Gibson believes this is the oldest intact bottle of beer. Over time, seawater seeped through the cork and made the contents about 30 percent saltwater. As a result, the big tasting by beer experts in Finland was a bit of a bust.

“The beer was quite degraded, it had a sell by date and it appeared to be well past that,” he said. “For the analysis, it was difficult to pick out the original flavors. We invited some of the most experienced beer tasters in Finland. The flavors were from bacterial contamination and not the original flavors of the beer.”

The scientists turned to chemical analysis of the remaining sugars and alcohol compounds. “We looked at esters, which give beer a fruity or flowery taste. Most of the compounds that we would expect were there. In terms of the fruitiness, probably similar to modern beers. High level of 2-phenyl ethanol which gives a rose or floral aroma.”

Compared to modern craft brews, Gibson said it was like an amber or lambic ale, modern styles that are brewed with wild hops, floral and have sour notes.

Some things, it seems, are eternal and beer is most definitely one of them.

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Sens. Scott, Brown Lead Congressional Delegation to Selma

Friday, March 6th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Sens. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) led a congressional delegation down to Selma, Ala., today for the 50th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday civil rights march.

It the first Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimage for Scott, an annual event led by Civil Right Era veteran Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.).

Scott, the first African-American senator elected from the South since Reconstruction, and Brown kicked off the weekend by introducing a resolution before leaving Washington to commemorate the three 1965 marches from Selma to Montgomery with a postage stamp.

Co-sponsors of the resolution are Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).

“Fifty years ago, the nation watched as one of the defining events of the 20th century unfolded in Alabama,” said Scott in a statement. “As we prepare to mark the 50th anniversary of those historic marches from Selma to Montgomery, it is incredibly important to preserve the stories of those who marched and share their courage with younger generations. Each of these brave men and women risked life and limb to ensure that our country continued on the path to a more perfect union, and for their work, we should all be grateful.”

“The brave women and men who marched from Selma to Montgomery fifty years ago risked their lives to demand full and equal participation in our democracy,” Brown said. “We must honor their legacy and continue the fight to ensure that all Americans have the freedom and opportunity to exercise their constitutional rights.”

More than 100 lawmakers are expected to take part in the pilgrimage, which includes stops in Birmingham, Montgomery, Selma, and Marion.

Portman is one of those, and explained why in an op-ed this week.

“Even as we celebrate what we have overcome, we must not forget how much further we have to go,” Portman wrote. “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., standing on the steps of the capitol of Alabama in Montgomery at the conclusion of the march from Selma, said, ‘The moral arc of the universe is long but it bends towards justice.’ He was right, but it does not bend on its own. That is the work of us all.”

Portman noted that “while Jim Crow and institutionalized racism were long ago consigned to the dustbin of history, challenges not quite as visible but just as insidious remain.”

“Too many children still grow up in poverty,” he said. “Too many families are broken by drug abuse or by the absence of parents who are in and out of prison.”

The office of Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.), who is also attending the commemoration, told Politico on Thursday that 23 Republicans from both chambers were signed up for the trip. Both Roby and Scott were reportedly lobbying their colleagues to attend.

Congressional Black Caucus members, though, said they were disappointed that GOP leaders in Congress won’t be attending, including House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “The Republicans always talk about trying to change their brand and be more appealing to minority folks and be in touch with the interests of African-Americans. This is very disappointing,” said CBC Chairman G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.).

President Obama and former President George W. Bush will be there.

“The irony of nearly 100 Republican and Democratic Members of Congress going to Selma on the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act this weekend will not be lost on the country,” said D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D). “The Voting Rights Act that we will commemorate has been dismembered by the Supreme Court, and only the Members of Congress on this trip and their colleagues can reshape and restore it. Yet, we go empty handed without a bill that could be the occasion for a real celebration of even the promise of a bill.”

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‘My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me’

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh
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This story broke a couple of weeks ago, but it’s worth a read. File under: you can’t choose your ancestors:

In the mid-1990s, near the end of the period during which she lived in Israel, Jennifer Teege watched Steven Spielberg’s film “Schindler’s List.” She hadn’t seen the film in a movie theater, and watched it in her rented room in Tel Aviv when it was broadcast on television.

“It was a moving experience for me, but I didn’t learn much about the Holocaust from it,” she tells me by phone from her home in Hamburg, mostly in English with a sprinkling of Hebrew. “I’d learned and read a great deal about the Holocaust before that. At the time I thought the film was important mainly because it heightened international awareness of the Holocaust, but I didn’t think I had a personal connection to it.”


Indeed, it was not until years later that Teege, a German-born black woman who was given up for adoption as a child, discovered that one of the central characters in the film, Amon Goeth, was her grandfather. Many viewers recall the figure of Goeth, the brutal commander of the Plaszow concentration camp in Poland – played in the film by Ralph Fiennes – from the scenes in which he shoots Jewish inmates from the porch of his home. But Teege, who had not been in touch with either her biological mother or biological grandmother for years, had no idea about the identity of her grandfather.

The discovery came like a bolt from the blue in the summer of 2008, when she was 38 years old, as she relates in the memoir “Amon,” which was published in German in 2013 (co-authored with the German journalist Nikola Sellmair), and is due out in English this April under the title “My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me: A Black Woman Discovers Her Family’s Nazi Past.”

Teege was born on June 29, 1970, in Munich, the offspring of a brief affair between her mother and a Nigerian man. At the age of one month, she was placed in a Catholic children’s home, and when she was three, she was transferred to a foster family, which adopted her formally when she was seven. That also marked the end of the loose ties she had had until then with her mother and her grandmother.

Wow. Have a look at this amazing woman and her story:

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Dresden, 70 Years After the Firebombing

Friday, February 13th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh


Today is the anniversary of one of the most controversial Allied decisions of the war in Germany: to destroy the hitherto untouched Saxon city of Dresden in a night and day of firebombing. As luck would have it, I was in Dresden thirty years ago today for the reopening of the historic Semper Opera House, which like most of the major buildings in the city had been destroyed. On a bitterly cold evening, I stood outside along with ordinary Dresdeners in the Theaterplatz to listen to East German party chief Erich Honecker give a stem-winding denunciation of Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative, aka “Star Wars,” a s part of the memorial observances.

Then we all went inside to hear a performance of Carl Maria von Weber’s Der Freischuetz, which was the last opera performed before the house was destroyed. Four years later, the German Democratic Republic vanished in the fall of the Berlin Wall, as gone as Nazi Germany before it.

The survivors recall the bombing, in which an estimated 25,000 people were killed — burned alive, sucked into the vortex, their bodies exploding in the heat, heads raining down out of the sky like bowling balls as people were ripped apart in the maelstrom. Here’s one:

Soviet troops were pressing into Germany from the east and the other Allies from the west, but for 12-year-old schoolboy Eberhard Renner the war seemed far away. Dresden had been spared the destruction suffered by other cities like Berlin and Hamburg, and Renner clung to the hope that the Saxon capital would stay off the target list with the war so clearly near its end.

Even as air-raid sirens started screaming 70 years ago Friday, Renner’s father dismissed the attack as another reconnaissance mission. Then the bomb fell into Renner’s backyard. It blew the thick oak door off the shelter where the family had taken refuge, slamming him and his mother to the ground. Somebody yelled that the roof was on fire, and they ventured out into the streets as the bombs rained down.

The raid left the city littered with corpses, and tens of thousands of Dresden’s buildings had been turned to rubble, including its famous opera house and museums in the historic old city. The baroque Church of Our Lady, appeared initially to have survived, but, weakened by the intense heat, it collapsed two days after the bombing under its own weight.

As Renner wandered the streets of Dresden, he saw a dead body for the first time in his life. In the days to come, he would see many more. Renner remembers the streets still being littered with bodies a week after the attack and coming across the corpse of a woman in a square. ”She was burned to a cinder, had become very small, but her hand was held up and on it was her gold wedding band, shining, not blackened at all,” said the 82-year-old retired architecture professor. “I will never forget this scene.”

The Atlantic has a vivid and moving collection of photos of the destruction here. And then there’s this:

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‘Waterloo Uncovered’: Archaeologists to Excavate Famous Battle Site

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015 - by Michael Walsh

Not the playing fields of Eton

How cool is this?

An international team of archaeologists specialised in battlefield excavations is headed for Waterloo in Belgium on the 200th anniversary of Napoleon’s famous defeat at the hands of British and Prussian forces.

Tony Pollard, head of the Centre for Battlefield Archaeology at the University of Glasgow, told the press agency AFP that the excavations starting in April will allow a better understanding of the confrontation. ”We hope archaeology can provide answers to many of the questions about Waterloo that remain unanswered,” Mr Pollard said on Monday. ”These include the location of graves, which from accounts appear to have been scattered across a wide area,” he added.

Tens of thousands of bodies are believed to have been buried in mass graves at the site after the June 18, 1815 clash which forced Napoleon into exile. The project, named “Waterloo Uncovered”, is the brainchild of two British army officers from the Coldstream Guards, which played a decisive role in the battle under the Duke of Wellington’s command.

The team of Belgian, British, French and German archaeologists will be accompanied by British army veterans — some of them wounded in recent campaigns. The excavation will be supervised by Belgian authorities charged with preserving the historic site and the organisation that is overseeing preparations for a large-scale commemoration this summer.

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VIDEO: Obama Dubs Paris Jewish Supermarket Attack ‘Random Shooting’

Monday, February 9th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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It was a typical rambling Barry interview until 1:45 when he declared,

It is entirely legitimate for the American people to be deeply concerned when you’ve got a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris.

We’re in a War on Muslims, folks, and Offensive General Obama has no trouble causing much offense when it comes to the Jews. While American Jewish leaders scramble to speak out against Netanyahu’s upcoming address to Congress, General Barry is warning his soldiers not to “bow” to Jewish donors. He’s also paying lip service to America and Israel’s historic relationship while making it very clear that he and Netanyahu disagree on Iran. Then there’s that pesky “anybody but Bibi” V15 campaign kerfuffle that’s appearing more and more like an undercover op by the day.

But this isn’t just about the Jews. When he’s not picking on Christians for their near-thousand year-old response to the war crimes of the radical Islamic world, General Obama is meeting with his War on Muslims coalition, including representatives from the Muslim Brotherhood. The General is right when he states this isn’t a Republican/Likud versus Democrat/Labor thing. This is obviously a reality versus War on Muslims thing, and the General is doing everything he can to make sure the world knows he has 2 years left to use both Jews and Christians on the front lines of his own personal Operation Human Shield, better known as “Bunches of Random Acts of Violence.”

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Canadian State Broadcaster Disappointed By ‘Distressingly Low’ Campus Rape Numbers

Monday, February 9th, 2015 - by Kathy Shaidle

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Canadian liberals have always been jealous of their American comrades for getting all the “cool” history, like the civil rights movement and Watergate.

But at least those two things really happened (if not always quite the way they’ve been reported).

In a new low, left-wing Canucks are now whining that our campus rape stats aren’t as high as America’s (aren’t, actually.)

Sex assault reporting on Canadian campuses worryingly low, say experts

Has the CBC hired that disgraced Rolling Stone rape beat reporter or something?

Ha! Show’s what you know. At a cost to taxpayers of over $1 billion a year, the CBC is perfectly capable of screwing up their own narrative all by themselves, thanks.

As they permit one of the libeled universities in this “study” to point out:

The CBC has chosen to ignore the flaws inherent in its research in an effort to present comparative data with no relevance to many of the universities in its survey sample. Presenting comparative data on a per 10,000 student basis has no relevance for a university campus with only 3,500 full time students unless it is a deliberate effort by reporters to sensationalize an otherwise extraordinarily important and complex issue.

Even commie pinko Ryerson “University,” which has never seen a “progressive” fad it didn’t like, suddenly doesn’t believe in a “campus rape epidemic” anymore. At least, not at their campus!

At Ryerson University, which is situated in downtown Toronto, 57 assaults were reported to the university between 2009 and 2013. In 2013, Ryerson had a full-time student population of almost 24,000.

“Regarding the data, unfortunately, there is little consistency in how Canadian post-secondary institutions collect and report sexual assault data,” the university told CBC News in a statement. “[At Ryerson] we also collect data that includes non-community members reporting incidents that have happened within our precinct, which extends over a large area of downtown Toronto.”

A likely story, Ry-High. What were you wearing?

Now hurry up and get yourselves raped, young ladies.

Don’t let math be the only thing hard around here!

We need to get those stats up, stat!

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