Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Manchester Muslim attack

Current American journalism is nearly as fake as Nazi journalism
If conscientious observers were to take seriously news headlines about President Trump, many would have to conclude that Americans had elected a Charlie Chan mustachioed despot sporting a Kookie hairdo (from 77 Sunset Strip), and a temperament hissing with Darth Vader-like venom or Larry-Moe-Curly buffoonery, depending on the situation. Clarion calls for impeachment from furrow-browed swamp creatures likely are motivated by President Vader’s pledge to drain their native habitat.

One response on their part, of course, is to launch another round of reductio ad Hitlerum diatribes about America’s politically incorrect chief executive. Analysts with cabooses of academic degrees and accomplishments trailing their names have shoveled heaps of verbiage into the public domain comparing Trump to Hitler. However, there is one sense in which linking the Trump era to the Third Reich doesn’t fail the smell test, though not in a way that puts President Trump’s detractors in a positive light. That is, while Trump brings Hitler to mind for a lot of journalists, for me many current news reports spark memories of Nazi newspaper accounts covering events during the war.

An explanation of this point is in order. Although I missed collecting memories from the Second World War (though not by much), my parents and grandparents lived through it, some fought in it, and my mother, bless her heart, saved many newspapers from those years. Reading English translations of German newspaper stories when I was a youngster left me in a state of bewilderment. How could they say such things? How could people hold such beliefs? How could Germans view the world in ways so unimaginably at odds with reality? In short, what was wrong with those people?

The newspapers I pored over are now too yellowed and fragile to use as a source, so I consulted online accounts that triggered the most intense recollections, especially reports of the German invasion of Poland in September 1939. One headline blared Hitler’s threat to “Meet Bomb with Bomb,” with the story beneath describing in vivid detail Polish aggressions against the Third Reich. In Hitler’s proclamation: “Germans in Poland are persecuted with a bloody terror and are driven from their homes. The series of border violations, which are unbearable to a great power, prove that the Poles no longer are willing to respect the German frontier. In order to put an end to this frantic activity no other means is left to me now than to meet force with force.” In short, according to Nazi accounts, Poland was ready to invade Germany.

Years later, William L. Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich appeared, and although academicians decried his journalistic approach, Shirer’s tome was invaluable in depicting the political atmosphere in Germany at that time. “How completely isolated a world the German people live in, I noted in my diary on August 10, 1939,” Shirer reported. He purchased some newspapers that thrust him into “"the cockeyed world of Nazism,” where one headline after another screeched with rage: “WARSAW THREATENS BOMBARDMENT OF DANZIG—UNBELIEVABLE AGITATION OF THE POLISH ARCHMADNESS!”; “COMPLETE CHAOS IN POLAND—GERMAN FAMILIES FLEE—POLISH SOLDIERS PUSH TO EDGE OF GERMAN BORDER!”; “THIS PLAYING WITH FIRE GOING TOO FAR—THREE GERMAN PASSENGER PLANES SHOT AT BY POLES—IN CORRIDOR MANY GERMAN FARMHOUSES IN FLAMES!” And so it went, at a fevered pitch throughout the Reich.

Does this comparison mean that American reporters today are as corrupted as their counterparts in Nazi Germany? The answer to this question is no, but many are headed in that direction. Indeed, in his review of a Harvard University study, Howard Kurtz stated, “You may have gotten the impression that the coverage of President Trump is kinda sorta pretty negative. That’s not quite right: It’s overwhelmingly negative. Stunningly negative. Head-shakingly negative.” More than that, many stories are based on sources so hateful, so partisan, so questionable, that their writers might as well have made them up. Which would put them in the same league as those who labored in Nazi media during World War Two: journalism was their name, fabrication, their game. Welcome to the “cockeyed world” of contemporary American political reporting.

Still, journalists who are offended by this unsavory allusion could proclaim that Germany was a totalitarian state, while America today is a democratic republic and at least has Fox News, talk radio, and a smattering of conservative think tanks here and there. But while this is true, one only need be reminded by the fact that everything Propaganda Minister Goebbels did during the 1930s was foreshadowed by the Nazi publication Völkischer Beobachter, and it was simply a matter of time for the regime to destroy freedom of the press when Hitler came to power. Similarly, anyone familiar with the academy’s totalitarian impulses to banish free speech — by force, if necessary — can project its eventual elimination once college snowflakes achieve critical mass and rule the entire country, and not just their protected enclaves within it. Should that horrible scenario unfold, Americans will then be faced with a regime of controlled speech like those enforced at any one of our worst universities. Or, a regime of oppression found in the country once dominated by Hitler.

Certainly, Trump’s detractors have made good points about his policies and temperament, but too many journalists destroyed their credibility during the “long, slobbering love affair” they had with President Obama. Conservative critics rightly point out that President Trump has little or no serious intellectual foundation to feed his mind, nourish his thoughts, or control his adolescent rhetorical impulses. Many on both sides of the ideological divide wish he wouldn’t talk (or tweet) so much, which recalls the comment a British observer made about Kaiser Wilhelm: “The other sovereigns are so much quieter.”

This is good advice for the president today, as well as for many of his critics. At least until all parties learn that you must not fabricate stories just to make political points. After all, we’re not invading Poland.


Trump Signals a Reset Between Israel and US

It’s time to patch up America’s second “special relationship” after eight years of frayed feelings between the United States and Israel.

That’s the message President Donald Trump is sending in his early-presidency trip to Israel and unprecedented visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Trump said of his Monday visit to the Western Wall, a first for sitting American presidents, that the visit was potentially a path to a “deeper” friendship with Israel.

Conflicts over policy and philosophy strained the relations between former President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and led to distrust between the two countries.

By going out of his way to entreat with Israel, Trump is at least signaling that a reset is in store.

Israel plays an essential role in American foreign policy—and not only in the Middle East. The war against radical Islamists has global implications in which the two countries have overlapping interests.

America’s Other ‘Special Relationship’

It is almost taken for granted today that Israel has been such a reliable foreign policy partner. This was only due to the careful diplomacy and alignment of key national and cultural interests between the two countries.

The nature of this partnership in many ways mirrors the so-called “special relationship” between Great Britain and the United States.

However, it is important to remember that before World War II, the U.S. and U.K. spent a century as mortal enemies and had deep reasons to distrust one another.

World War I pushed the U.S. and U.K. closer together after a century of suspicion and hostility. The fires of World War II and the Herculean efforts of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill sealed a the long-term collaboration between the countries—an example of the importance of wise statesmanship from American and British leaders.

It is important for American leaders to recognize and cultivate just such a relationship with Israel.

While the United States has always been supportive of Israel’s nationhood since 1948, the two countries were not always so intertwined. The complex nature of the Cold War in the Middle East occasionally put the U.S. and Israel at odds.

U.S.-Israel ties grew closer after Israel defeated a coalition of Arab states backed by the Soviet Union in the Yom Kippur War and the country proved itself to be a valuable Cold War ally.

The wisdom of this cooperation is even more apparent after the rise of radical Islamist sentiment that became a cornerstone aspect of American foreign policy after the terrorist attack on 9/11.

Israel was in a prime position to help combat this pernicious ideology, which has strong ties in the Middle East.

Countering Iran and Syria

Trump addressed a few major issues of immediate concern to the U.S. during his visit to Israel.

Of course, the thorn of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, and other radical, subnational Islamist groups in the region remain high on the U.S. agenda, and Israel is a key partner in destroying these factions.

But the national threats of Syria and Iran, which have acted recalcitrantly toward the West and are well-known funders of terrorist groups, are of particular concern and also require close cooperation with Israel.

Trump has already shown that he is willing to make limited strikes in Syria to enforce the red line on chemical weapons. This action was strongly supported by Israel, and was seen as a rebuke to both Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria and also Iran.

On Monday, Trump sent a strong message to Iran that its terror funding and nuclear ambitions would not be tolerated.

As Middle East expert Jim Phillips argued in a recent Heritage Foundation report, “Iran remains the chief long-term regional threat to the U.S. and Israel.”

Trump has not yet followed through on his promise to tear up the Obama administration’s 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, pending a formal policy review of whether the nuclear deal advances vital American national interests.

Nevertheless, Trump said in a speech that Iran was guilty of “deadly funding, training, and equipping of terrorists and militias,” and that it acted inappropriately after the deal took place.

As Phillips noted, it is vitally important to either change the terms of this treaty or step away from it entirely to stem Iran’s “continued support for terrorism, expanding ballistic missile program, and deepening military intervention in Syria.”

Israel is among the most important counterweights to this hostile regime in the Middle East, especially in upholding economic sanctions and controlling arms flowing to and from Iran.

The ‘Ultimate Deal’

Trump made numerous commitments regarding Israel during the campaign.

Currently, his promise to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move an American embassy there has failed to materialize. This remains a thorny issue for the Palestinians in particular. It would also create a challenge for Trump’s desire to broker the “ultimate deal” between Israel and the Palestinians.

Trump has expressed a desire to create some kind of lasting solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an issue that has become a white whale for American presidents from Jimmy Carter to Obama.

All of these attempts have failed to achieve any kind of lasting peace, and some have exacerbated the conflict.

A more realistic approach would be to seek an interim agreement to make incremental progress on addressing Israeli security concerns and facilitating Palestinian economic development, which would help restore mutual trust and create a more supportive environment for later addressing touchy final status issues.

Sticking points like the “right of return” for Palestinians, the status of Jerusalem, the future of Israeli settlements, and the redrawing of borders are unlikely to be resolved anytime soon, given the glaring lack of trust and wide gaps in the negotiating positions of Israel and the Palestinian Authority.


Trump on Visiting Israel’s Western Wall: ‘It Will Leave An Impression On Me Forever’

Images of President Trump touching the ancient stones of the Western Wall in Jerusalem will send a strong signal to the Palestinians and their Muslim allies who have used U.N. forums to contest Jewish claims and heritage at the location of the biblical Temples.

Trump on Monday became the first sitting president to visit the wall, where he stood, placing his hands on the hewn stone, and slipped a note into a crack in line with Jewish custom.

“I was deeply moved by my visit today to the Western Wall,” Trump said afterwards. “Words fail to capture the experience. It will leave an impression on me forever.”

He was accompanied during the visit by the chief rabbi of the Western Wall, Shmuel Rabinowitz. Not present, despite a reported Israeli request, was Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, a reflection of the great sensitivity surrounding the site.

The Temple Mount is the most revered site in Judaism, but although the area has been under Israeli sovereignty since 1967 the nearest point where observant Jews are able to pray openly is the Western Wall, a remnant of a retaining wall on the western flank of the hilltop platform.

The hilltop itself is home to the al-Aqsa mosque, built after the 7th century Islamic invasion and regarded by Muslims as their third-holiest site, after the Ka’aba in Mecca and the Mohammed mosque in Medina.

The international community, including the United States, does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the area, or Israel’s claim to Jerusalem as its “indivisible and eternal” capital.

Later Monday, Netanyahu – as he often does with visiting foreign leaders – emphatically welcomed the president and first lady to his residence “in Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish people, the united capital of the Jewish state.”

The Palestinians want at least eastern Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent state, and Islamic theology calls for the Temple Mount – which Muslims call al-Haram al-Sharif (“Noble Sanctuary”) – to be in Muslim hands, exclusively and always.

Palestinian political and religious leaders have long challenged Jewish historical and religious claims to holy sites in Jerusalem and elsewhere.

These include the site of the temple first built by King Solomon some 3,000 years ago, as recounted in the Bible (2 Chronicles 3), and the rebuilt one – the one in which Jesus taught – which was finally razed by the Romans in 70 AD.

The Palestinians also contest Jewish rights to the traditional burial places of the biblical patriarchs and matriarchs in Hebron and Bethlehem.

In 2011, the U.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization became the first U.N. agency to admit the “state of Palestine,” and in recent years Arab states have introduced resolutions at UNESCO rejecting any Jewish connection to Judaism’s most important sites.

Some of the texts have referred to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall only by their Islamic names, and all have attacked Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem.

The Trump administration has navigated the tricky waters warily.

According to Israeli media accounts, U.S. diplomats involved in preparing for Trump’s visit turned down a request for Netanyahu to accompany the president to the wall, citing the sovereignty issue.

Asked the administration’s view on whether the Western Wall fell inside Israel, national security advisor H.R. McMaster last Tuesday demurred, calling it a “policy decision.”

On the same day, however, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley sided with Israel on the matter.

“I don’t know what the policy of the administration is,” she told CBN television, “but I believe the Western Wall is part of Israel and I think that that is how, you know, we’ve always seen it and that’s how we should pursue it.”

While campaigning for the presidency, Trump undertook – as have some of his predecessors – to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a step that would lend enormous weight to Israel’s claims to its capital.

Such a move could, however, alienate the very Arab and Islamic leaders Trump wants to rally in a concerted effort against what in his speech in Riyadh Sunday he called “Islamic terror.”

Many Israelis hoped Trump would announce the embassy move during his current visit, but U.S. officials ahead of the trip indicated that would not happen.

Relocating the embassy is a requirement of U.S. law, enacted in 1995, which called for the move by May 1999 at the latest, but also contained “national security” waiver provisions that have been invoked by presidents at six-monthly intervals ever since.

The current waiver expires on June 1, so Trump has a little over one week to renew it – or set the embassy move in motion.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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