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What we call the “Palestine Problem” is really a European Problem. No European society treated Jews as full members, and most have ugly records of anti-Semitism. Even relatively benign Western governments exploited, segregated or banished Jews (and such other minorities as Gypsies, Muslims and deviant Christians).  Less benign governments practiced pogroms, massacres and expulsions. European history reveals a pervasive, powerful and perpetual record of intolerance to all forms of ethnic, cultural and religious difference.

Jewish reaction to the various forms of repression was usually passivity but occasionally flight interspersed with attempts to join the dominant community. [Continue with part 1] – Michael’s Blog

The Kiev government of U.S. puppet Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is about to restart the failed attempt to subdue the southeastern region of the country known as Novorussia according to highly credible sources.

Colonel Igor Strelkov, a native Russian, helped create and led the Novorussian forces during the critical phases of resistance to the Kiev regime. At the height of his success, he left active command and was replaced by local leaders. As Strelkov sees it: [Read more] – Michael’s Blog

AlterNet Pew Research set out to find what’s behind what it considers the increasing political polarization of the United States; why the country is moving away from political moderation and becoming more and more divided between liberals and conservatives. Its first report on the phenomenon, which examines where people are hearing news and opinion in both regular and social media, shows that this is happening for very different reasons among people moving to the right than for people moving to the left.

Or that’s the charitable way to put it. The less charitable way is to say Pew discovered that conservatives are consuming a right-wing media full of lies and misinformation, whereas liberals are more interested in media that puts facts before ideology. It’s very much not a “both sides do it” situation. Conservatives are becoming more conservative because of propaganda, whereas liberals are becoming more liberal while staying very much checked into reality. [Read more] – Michael’s Blog

Last Sunday, Ted Cruz wrote an op-ed for USA Today about “ten critical priorities for the 2015 Congress,” that clearly disqualifies him from public office. In his op-ed, he claims Republicans need to repeal Obamacare, abolish the IRS, pass a balanced budget amendment, repeal Common Core, go to war with Iran, etc. You get the idea. Business as usual.

Cruz closed his op-ed by saying: [Read more] – Michael’s Blog

A few days ago, the FTC announced that it had appointed Ashkan Soltani as its chief technology officer. Soltani is a well-known (and often outspoken) security researcher who has worked at the FTC in the past. Nothing about this appointment should be all that surprising or even remotely controversial. However, recently, Soltani had been doing a lot of journalism work, as a media consultant at the Washington Post helping Barton Gellman and other reporters really understand the technical and security aspects of the Snowden documents. His name has appeared as a byline in a number of stories about the documents, detailing what is really in those documents, and how they can impact your privacy.

Apparently, this has upset the usual crew of former NSA officials. [Read more] – Michael’s Blog

In an op-ed last year in The Washington Post, former Sens. Joe Lieberman and Jon Kyl warned of “the danger of repeating the cycle of American isolationism.” That summer, Post columnist Charles Krauthammer heralded “the return of the most venerable strain of conservative foreign policy: isolationism.”

New York Times columnist Bill Keller then fretted that “America is again in a deep isolationist mood.” This November, Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens will publish a book subtitled The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder.

What makes these warnings odd is that in contemporary foreign policy discourse, isolationism—as the dictionary defines it—does not exist. Calling your opponent an “isolationist” serves the same function in foreign policy that calling her a “socialist” serves in domestic policy. While the term itself is nebulous, it evokes a frightening past, and thus vilifies opposing arguments without actually rebutting them. For hawks eager to discredit any serious critique of America’s military interventions in the “war on terror,” that’s very useful indeed. [Read more] – Michael’s Blog

The Canadian government indicated on Thursday that it intends to speed up proposals to toughen the country’s anti-terror laws in the wake of the attack on parliament in Ottawa, including a measure that would allow “preventative detention”.

As the House of Commons opened to rapturous applause for the sergeant-at-arms, the ceremonial security chief who prevented further tragedy by apparently killing the perpetrator of Wednesday’s brazen assault, prime minister Stephen Harper indicated that his government was resolved to toughen the country’s security legislation. [Read more] – Michael’s Blog

In one of the most famous passages of the New Testament, the apostle Paul writes to the Christians of Corinth, employing a complicated series of metaphors on the theme of transformation: from childhood to adulthood, from ignorance to knowledge, from sinfulness to a state of grace. “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child,” the epistle runs, in the memorable rhythms of the King James Version. “But when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

I’m not a believer, in the ordinary sense of that word, and I’m aware that Paul is a problematic figure in theological history, to put it mildly. But those words have resonated with me over the last two weeks. Painful recent events on the ground in Ferguson, Missouri — and the strongly divided national response to those events — offer us a chance to become aware of the ways we see race in America “through a glass, darkly,” and perhaps also the beginnings of a chance to see each other face to face, to know as we are known. Let me be clear that when I say “we” I am primarily addressing America’s white majority, to which I belong. We are the ones whose vision is occluded by the darkened glass of white privilege, and it’s up to us to do something about it. Black people can see white privilege pretty clearly, but from a different perspective, and it’s beyond their power to change it. [Read more] – Michael’s Blog

The tiger and the elephant and the polar bear may be stars at the Buffalo Zoo, but it was a humble wallaby that helped scientists prove that the family of viruses that gave rise to Ebola is tens of millions of years old, not a mere 10 millennia, as was previously supposed.

Jurassic Ebola.

The determination was made in recent years by scientists at the University of Buffalo who tested wallaby hair from the zoo along with a brown bat snared on campus to confirm what they had identified in existing databases for the first time: The genetic material of various small animals contains “fossil” fragments of filoviruses, the family that includes Ebola and Marburg. [Read more] – Michael’s Blog

Why Was the NSA Chief Playing the Market? | Foreign Policy

At the same time that he was running the United States’ biggest intelligence-gathering organization, former National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander owned and sold shares in commodities linked to China and Russia, two countries that the NSA was spying on heavily.

At the time, Alexander was a three-star general whose financial portfolio otherwise consisted almost entirely of run-of-the-mill mutual funds and a handful of technology stocks. Why he was engaged in commodities trades, including trades in one market that experts describe as being run by an opaque “cartel” that can befuddle even experienced professionals, remains unclear. When contacted, Alexander had no comment about his financial transactions, which are documented in recently released financial disclosure forms that he was required to file while in government. The NSA also had no comment. [Read more]

Edward Snowden Should Be Charged With Murder, Says Congressman Mike Rogers | Huffington Post

Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower who revealed the extent of American and British surveillance programmes, should be charged with murder, according to a senior United States congressman.

Republican Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House of Representatives intelligence committee, told a meeting in the House of Commons in London on Tuesday evening that Snowden was a “traitor” who was now living in the “loving arms” of Russian spies. [Read more]

Laura Poitras: “I knew this was going to piss off the most powerful people in the world” | Salon

Unlike most other documentaries, Laura Poitras’ new film “Citizenfour” both reports on a major news event and is, in itself, a news event. As I wrote after its world premiere at the New York Film Festival a couple of weeks back, “Citizenfour” is a real-life spy story that should be seen by everyone concerned with the scope of American electronic surveillance and the state of privacy and freedom in the electronic age. Since that interest group encompasses everyone on the planet, the film should be a huge hit, right?

Quite possibly not. Too many people already have their minds made up about the subject matter of “Citizenfour,” after the mainstream media’s assault on the perceived character and motivations of Edward Snowden. Poitras’ title refers to the pseudonym used by Snowden, then a contract consultant with the National Security Agency, when he first contacted her by email a bit less than two years ago. Since then, of course, Snowden has become a famous and/or notorious and extremely controversial figure, a hero to some and a traitor to others. Poitras convinced Snowden to let her film him beginning on the day when she and journalist Glenn Greenwald first met him in a Hong Kong hotel. So what you see in “Citizenfour,” for the first time, is not the clichés or assumptions or tabloid-style reporting on who Snowden was and why he chose to reveal an enormous trove of classified documents revealing much of the NSA’s worldwide spy campaign, but the man himself. [Read more] – Michael’s Blog


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