Actress Jameela Jamil on Her "I Weigh" Movement and Protecting Yourself on Social Media   

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Jameela Jamil didn't want to start a social movement on Instagram specifically - "I was never much of a pictures girl," she told POPSUGAR ahead of a conversation at New York City's 92Y with writer Ashley C. Ford. What began as a single post about her weight in worth, not in numbers, quickly became an account for every type of person to contribute to this idea that we're more than what the scale says. With 870,000 Instagram followers, a community that's turning into a multimedia platform, and a push to fight for human rights, environmental justice, and mental health awareness, I Weigh has exceeded all of Jameela's expectations.

"I was very surprised that it turned into this whole movement around the world, but it's become about so much more than bodies now," she said. "We are able to mobilize young activists around climate change and ageism and gender discrimination and racial discrimination and trans discrimination. This has become an activist platform where we are going to leverage my privilege and my finances to try and help young activists worldwide who don't have access to that, to get the much-needed word out, because I can't be the spokesperson for everyone. I shouldn't be the spokesperson for everyone." The 33-year-old who plays Tahani Al-Jamil on The Good Place said that she's so invested in the movement that she's taking a break from her first-ever acting gig (the series finished filming and will come to a close after its fourth season). She'll be shifting her focus toward the launched of I Weigh into a full-blown activism platform. She's the investor and will be in the office with her team of women every day, hard at work.

Jameela first got the idea for I Weigh while scrolling through Instagram and seeing a post of the Kardashians with their weights written across their bodies. She said she's been campaigning for eating disorder awareness since she was 19 years old - she had her own experience with an eating disorder as a teen and says her life was "so messed up" - and the post immediately triggered emotions. Jameela explained, "I saw a post of women who deserve to be treated with more respect than any numbers written across their body that aren't even their net worth, it's their body weight. A photo like that of a man just wouldn't exist, nevermind a group of businessmen who are worth upwards of a billion or two billion dollars, and so that just made me so angry. That's why I decided to post what I weigh, which is actually my contribution to society, my financial independence, my relationships."

Once I Weigh started in March 2018, Jameela also began advocating for a safer space on Instagram. The social media platform, she stated, is full of unrealistic imagery, toxic messages, and diet and detox products endorsed by celebrities promising impossible transformations without clear side effects listed. Instagram itself wanted to have a meeting with Jameela - "I think they really supported I Weigh, and they'd been trying to clean up Instagram and turn it into a safe space for young people. It wasn't ever supposed to be what it became," she told us - so, before the meeting, she decided to act. Jameela started a petition called "Stop celebrities promoting toxic diet products on social media." In just three days, it got 250,000 signatures.

"We're just clearing the rubbish out of Instagram."
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Instagram listened. On Sept. 18, it announced a new policy that will block users they know to be under 18 from viewing posts that include price tags with the intent of selling weight-loss products or cosmetic procedures, according to a press release sent to POPSUGAR. It will also ban any posts that make a "miraculous claim" about these products and link to a "commercial offer such as a discount code," and people will be able to eventually report a post that they think violates the policy. Elle UK spoke to the actress about Instagram's new policy last month, so you can read her initial comments there. "We're just clearing the rubbish out of Instagram," Jameela told POPSUGAR.

"I don't really wish Instagram for anyone under the age of 18 currently where it's at," she said, adding that it has the capacity to be a great place "that a lot of amazing activism is taking place on." She pointed out, for instance, that the Me Too and Time's Up movements wouldn't have existed without social media, so these spaces do have tremendous power. "We just need to do more to legislate it and police it and make sure that young people are safe," she said.

Start Applying This Positive Change to Your Own Instagram Feed

Though some of what you see on Instagram isn't in your control, much of it is. Jameela gave us some tips for trying to cultivate this safety factor online. For one, she suggested, delete or mute accounts that make you feel lesser than. "I think anyone who makes you feel bad about your life or your clothes or your weight or your skin color . . . any of those people . . . you just delete them," she said. "Why would you ever purposefully show yourself upsetting images? It's not going to get you more money, it's not going to make you thinner, and it's not going to make you happier. It's just going to make you sad and take up your valuable time."

Also, you should get rid of the idea that you need to follow certain people to stay up to date on pop culture, she stated. If it stresses you out, if such people promote negativity or post photoshopped photos, you can curate your own social media space and check in on those accounts when you ever need to. (Jameela, in fact, gave me this advice when I told her that working in media makes me feel like I need to follow people to stay up to date. "They still exist," she assured me, "and when you need to find them, check on them.")

"Protect yourself. You deserve that."

Jameela continued, "I unfollowed all the supermodels, and I followed Ashley Ford and Roxanne Gay and these wonderful people. They're the influencers I'm interested in, people who can make my mind expand and people who are making me feel seen and who pushed me to learn." My favorite hack of Jameela's? To avoid upsetting images on her Explore page, click the "Animals" category on the top bar. Because of that, she's rarely seen a diet product - "Or ass!" she noted - on that page in years. Jameela doesn't let herself scroll aimlessly; cute animal pictures, after all, are better. "Protect yourself," she encouraged. "You deserve that."


          

WTF: Why Do the Trees Planted by VTRANS Keep Dying?   

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Drivers who regularly travel Route 7 through southern Chittenden County may have noticed a proliferation of dead and dying trees and bushes along a newly widened stretch of the highway. Two readers contacted Seven Days in the last few months to ask why many of the trees and shrubs, which were planted in the past two years as part of a major highway improvement project, are turning brown. "What's killing all the trees?" asked one reader, who theorized that the roadside trees and evergreen bushes were falling victim to a lethal combination of vehicle exhaust, road salt and a native blight. The other reader speculated that the plants were grown in and purchased from warmer states and thus ill-adapted to Vermont's harsh winters. Whatever the cause, the beige bushes dotting the embankments are considered an eyesore, if not a waste of tax dollars and a reminder of climate change's impact on nature. In a sense, the work of the Vermont Agency of Transportation, aka VTRANS, is akin to that of journalists: It's highly visible and under constant public scrutiny, and everyone checks your spelling. When done correctly, it often goes unnoticed. But when things go awry, the responsible parties get an earful. Jane Brown is a landscape architect and a 15-year veteran of VTRANS charged with repopulating roadsides with durable, low-maintenance, aesthetically pleasing plantings. She acknowledged that the trees in question, installed in 2017 and 2018 as part of the $20 million Ethan Allen Highway widening project through Charlotte, haven't fared as well as she expected. "There's a lot of landscaping on that project," Brown said of the nearly three-mile stretch of road. "Unfortunately, I think a lot of people focus on the problem areas." According to Brown, many of the affected property owners requested evergreen hedges, including several that were planted very close to the road. Although they look brown from the road, the opposite sides of the trees appear healthy. "They seem to be suffering from road salt," Brown confirmed. She added that she doesn't want to remove the still-living evergreens, even though "they are a little unsightly." However, she added, she likely won't plant hedges that close to a road in the future. Affected homeowners often ask the state to plant hedges to muffle road noise, but "it turns out that plants don't provide much of a sound barrier," Brown said. "It's more of a visual…
          

Federal Government Takes Nearly Three Years to Turn Over Public Records   

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The "wheels of justice turn slowly," as the old maxim goes. Less well known is how long the federal government can take to fulfill a public records request. Almost three years ago, in December 2016, Seven Days asked the federal Air National Guard for emails from Vermont Air National Guard officials about Lt. Col. John Rahill, a fighter jet pilot who crashed a small plane on a Lake Champlain island that September. Neither he nor his lone passenger was seriously hurt, and Rahill later said in an email to the Federal Aviation Administration that he'd been practicing emergency landings at the time of the wreck. He was later ordered to retake his civilian pilot's exam to keep his license. By November of that year, the National Transportation Safety Board had released its preliminary report on the crash. And by January 2017, the FAA gave Seven Days various emails and other documents as part of a different public records request. But it wasn't until July 23 — of this year — that the National Guard Bureau's Office of Information and Privacy turned over 12 emails printed on six pages. "This concludes our office's processing of your request," Jennifer Nikolaisen, chief of the office, wrote in a letter accompanying the emails. She did not explain why it took so long to comply with the request. In one email dated September 20, 2016 — one day after the crash — a lieutenant colonel in the 158th Fighter Wing of the state Air National Guard wrote a summary of what had happened. The government redacted the sender's name. "They are lucky to be alive," the person wrote of Rahill and his passenger. "...Another great wake-up call about how close we all are to being 6' under!" Among the emails is one from this reporter and another from someone who warned an unidentified recipient on the day of the incident that the crash "has picked up some media interest." Three years later, we're still interested.

The original print version of this article was headlined "Not Exactly Air Mail"


          

Gov. DeWine's gun plan doesn't include 'red-flag' law   

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Republican Gov. Mike DeWine's new proposals to address Ohio gun violence in the wake of the Dayton mass shooting don't include background-check requirements for gun sales or a so-called red-flag law to restrict firearms for people perceived as threats, despite his earlier support of those ideas.

Instead, his administration detailed legislative proposals detailed Monday intended to increase and improve background checks and ensure people don't have firearms if a court has deemed them to be a danger. Among other changes, the "STRONG Ohio" plan also would increase penalties for anyone who provides a gun to someone who is legally prohibited from having one, and require that certain types of protection orders and arrest warrants be reflected in state and federal law enforcement databases to ensure more accurate background checks.

DeWine said his team consulted with city leaders, lawmakers and many others and worked to produce proposals that he believes will get results, protect people's rights — and be able to pass the Republican-led Legislature.

"They do not infringe on Second Amendment rights for anyone who has a legal right to own a gun," Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said. "What the plan does is put dangerous people — criminals — on notice that if you're a threat to yourself or others, you are not legally allowed to possess weapons, and we're going to build a system to ensure that you don't."

Husted said the idea of a red-flag law that still protected gun owners' due process proved "inadequate and unworkable" because of the time required for due process and the danger that could pose for law enforcement and because removing a weapon doesn't ensure the subject won't harm themselves or others. So-called red flag laws allow a court to temporarily seize guns from people believed to be a danger to themselves or others.

The news conference included the legislation's sponsor, GOP Sen. Matt Dolan, of Chagrin Falls, along with supportive statements from Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and Whitney Austin, a gun owner seriously wounded in a Cincinnati shooting last year.

Whaley, a Democrat, recalled how a crowd chanted "Do something!" as she and DeWine attended a vigil after a shooter in Dayton killed nine people in August. The new proposals don't do enough but are an "important start," she said.

"This is the first time in my career that I have witnessed our state government seriously consider restrictions on access to guns instead of allowing more dangerous weapons in our communities," Whaley said.

The top Democrat in the House, Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes, of Akron, objected more bluntly.

"When the people told the governor to do something, they didn't mean to do just anything," she said in a statement. "Ohioans want common sense gun safety. STRONG Ohio is weak."

Advocates from the anti-violence group Everytown for Gun Safety also criticized DeWine, saying he abandoned his earlier proposals and offered legislation that lacks needed changes.

Another group, Ohioans for Gun Safety, said it applauds DeWine's proposal but will continue its separate, ongoing push to use a petition process to change state law to require background checks on virtually all gun sales.

A detailed summary of the STRONG Ohio bill is available here. Key components of the bill will:

  • Create a process in Ohio law, similar to the current probate court process that directs those suffering from severe mental health conditions into court-ordered treatment, to give hospitals and courts a better ability to help those who are legally declared to be a danger to themselves or others due to drug dependency or chronic alcoholism;
  • Ensure that citizens have full due process at all probate court hearings;
  • Ensure that those legally declared by a judge to be a danger to themselves or others do not have access to firearms;
  • Give family members of those who may be a danger to themselves or others because of drug dependency or chronic alcoholism the ability to more easily petition the probate court for court-ordered treatment;
  • Mandate that law enforcement agencies and courts enter certain protection orders and arrest warrants for serious crimes into state and federal law enforcement databases to ensure more accurate background check results;
  • Create a new private-sale background check process that will increase the number of background checks conducted in Ohio while also protecting the privacy of law-abiding gun owners;
  • Create a legal safe harbor for firearms sellers who require private-sale background checks;
  • Increase penalties for those who sell or provide a firearm to someone legally prohibited from possessing a gun;
  • Give judges a range of sentences for felony cases in which a gun was either possessed, brandished, or used;
  • Increase the penalty for those who are found with a gun while legally prohibited from possessing a firearm;
  • Increase the penalty for selling a gun to a minor;
  • Increase penalties for straw purchases and knowingly possessing a straw-purchased gun.

          

'I'm not afraid of dying': Alex Trebek opens up about latest round of cancer treatment   

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Alex Trebek is opening up about his latest round of cancer treatment as he films season 36 of "Jeopardy!" The beloved game show host spoke with Canada's CTV recently about restarting chemotherapy to fight stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

"I'm hanging in," Trebek said. "We're back on chemo and we'll see if the numbers go down. We'll keep playing by ear and keep chugging along until we either win or lose."

The 79-year-old also discussed his own mortality and said that he's not afraid of dying.

"I've lived a good life, a full life," Trebek said. "And I'm nearing the end of that life. I know that. I'm not going to delude myself. So if it happens, it happens. Why should I be afraid of it?"

Trebek first revealed in March that he had been diagnosed with cancer. "I'm going to fight this, and I'm going to keep working," Trebek said in his first video message to fans. "Keep the faith and we'll win. We'll get it done."

Just months later in August, Trebek announced he was "on the mend" and done with chemotherapy.

However, in September the host told ABC's "Good Morning America" that doctors advised him to undergo another round of chemotherapy after immunotherapy treatments did not take. Trebek told CTV that the immunotherapy did "diddly squat," and he ended up losing a large amount of weight.

He admits there have been moments of weakness during his second round of chemotherapy. The host has continued to film episodes for season 36 of "Jeopardy!", but said that sores in his mouth caused by the cancer treatment make it hard for him to speak and enunciate properly.

"I will keep doing it as along as my skills do not diminish," he said.

Early on in his cancer treatment, Trebek discussed his battle with depression that started when he was first diagnosed. The host recalled how he was "writhing in pain" between tapings during the end of the last season.

Since his diagnosis, Trebek has received an outpouring of support from fans, friends and family.

"They have been an inspiration to me. That's really what it's all about," he said.

Despite the support, Trebek said there are moments where he has some regrets about going public with his diagnosis. He talked about becoming the "spokesperson" for pancreatic cancer, and his struggles to be there for others who received the same diagnosis and are looking for support.

"A lot of people are coming to me and looking for help, reassurance, and that's tough," he said. "I don't know if I'm strong enough or Intelligent enough to alleviate some of that despair."


          

Dr. Richard Daystrom on (News Article):US Navy pilot Says Mystery ‘Dark Mass’ Emerged from Ocean and Swallowed Torpedo   

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US Navy pilot Says Mystery ‘Dark Mass’ Emerged from Ocean and Swallowed Torpedo

Commander David Fravor shot to fame for his account of the USS Nimitz UFO encounter – but he has now claimed something even spookier was spotted

By Katy Gill  Video News Reporter

11:07, 7 OCT 2019   UPDATED 11:46, 7 OCT 2019

A high-ranking US Navy pilot has claimed a chilling "dark mass" was seen coming up from the depths of the ocean moments before a torpedo disappeared – 10 years before a world-famous incident.

Retired US Navy pilot commander David Fravor first shot to public attention in 2017 after describing how his squadron witnessed a 737-sized object just under the surface of the water during training exercises in the Pacific Ocean, 160km off the coast of San Diego.

The incident – which happened in 2004 – became known as the USS Nimitz encounter after pilots then saw a tic-tac UFO in the skies near the mass. In an explosive new account, the pilot has shared another UFO mystery that has "come out of the woodwork" since his story first emerged.

Talking to Joe Rogan, Cmdr Fravor said another pilot once had a similar encounter in the late 1990s off the coast of Puerto Rico. He explained the pilot was flying a CH-53 and was going to pick up a BQM (an unmanned drone used by the US Air Force).

A diver was dropped into the water to hook it up and to then fly back, when something truly bizarre happened. "They’re 50 feet (15 metres) above the water, he sees this kind of dark mass coming up from the depths,” he added.

“As they hoist the BQM up, he’s looking at this thing going, ‘What the hell is that?’ And then it just goes back down underwater. "Once they pull the kid and the BQM out of the water, this object descends back into the depths.”

The pilot thought the incident was “pretty weird” but, incredibly, the same thing happened a few months later. ISS live feed captures 'triangular US Space Force ship' hovering over Earth

Fravor said: “He’s out picking up a torpedo, they hook the diver up on the winch, and as they’re lowering him down, he sees this big mass. “He goes, ‘It’s not a submarine’, he’s seen submarines before, once you’ve seen a submarine you can’t confuse it with something else.

"This big object, kind of circular, is coming up from the depths and he starts screaming through the intercom system to tell them to pull the diver up, and the diver’s only a few feet from the water.”

"And all of a sudden, he said the torpedo just got sucked down underwater, and the object just descended back down into the depths. "They never recovered it.” Cdr Fravor said the helicopter pilot was adamant the torpedo “didn’t sink” as it “literally looked like it got sucked down”.

 

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Queen Nancy: Fly as I Say, Not as I Fly   

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And, of course, it's the double-barreled hypocrisy. There's the eco-hypocrisy of the Democratic leader who wags her finger at the rest of us for our too-big carbon footprints, and crusades for massive taxes and regulation to reduce global warming. Then there's the Bay Area hypocrisy of the woman who represents one of the most anti-military areas of the country soaking up military resources to shuttle her (and her many family members) across the country almost every weekend.

Remember: Pelosi's San Francisco is notorious for banning the Marines' Silent Drill Platoon from filming a recruitment commercial on its streets; killing the JROTC program in the public schools; blocking the retired battleship U.S.S. Iowa from docking in its waters; and attacking the Navy's Blue Angels -- which left-wing activists have tried to banish from northern California skies for the past two years.

Apparently, those anti-war protesters have no problem with evil military jets currying Pelosi and her massive entourages to the funerals of the late Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones and Charlie Norwood; foreign junkets to Rome; and politicized stops to Iowa flood sites to bash the Bush administration. One exasperated Department of Defense official, besieged with itinerary changes and shuttle requests back and forth between San Francisco International Airport and Andrews Air Force Base for Pelosi, her daughter, son-in-law and grandchild, wrote in an e-mail:

"They have a history of canceling many of their past requests. Any chance of politely querying (Pelosi's team) if they really intend to do all of these or are they just picking every weekend? ... (T)here's no need to block every weekend 'just in case.'"

Another official pointed out the "hidden costs" associated with the speaker's last-minute changes and cancellations. "We have ... folks prepping the jets and crews driving in (not a short drive for some), cooking meals and preflighting the jets etc." Upset that a specific type of aircraft was not available to her boss, a Pelosi staffer carped to the DoD coordinators: "This is not good news, and we will have some very disappointed folks, as well as a very upset speaker."

Three months ago, turmoil erupted over Queen Nancy's demand for the military to reposition her plane to fly out of Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, Calif., closer to where she had "business," instead of San Francisco Airport/SFO (1.5 hours away). A special air missions official wrote: "We have never done this in the past. The deal is ... that the Speaker shuttle is from D.C. to SFO and back. We will not reposition. We do not reposition for convenience even for the SECDEF. It is not (too) far of a drive from Travis to SFO. Did the escort suggest to the speaker that this is OK? If so, I hope you guys correct them immediately. If you agree with me that I am correct, then you need to stay strong and present the facts to the speaker's office."

Another official stated bluntly: "We can't reposition the airplane such a short distance. It is not a judicial use of the asset. It is too expensive to operate the jet when there is truly no need to do so."

A beleaguered colleague responded: "(Y)ou know I understand and feel with you ... but this is a battle we are bound to lose if we tell the speaker office. In the end, this is what will happen. ... I wish that I could say this is a one-time request, but we know it will probably happen again in the future."

In the end, the military won that battle. But a few days later, Pelosi was back with a new demand: that her military plane taking her from D.C. to San Francisco make a stop in New Jersey to bring her and three Democrats to an "innovation forum" at Princeton University involving 21 participants and no audience. A Gulfstream jet was secured for the important "official business."

No word on whether Pelosi required vanilla-scented candles, Evian water and fresh white lilies aboard the flight. But rest assured: Air Diva traveled in style, courtesy of your tax dollars and the forbearance of the U.S. military.


          

These Foreclosure "Victims" Deserve No Sympathy   

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But a closer look at ACORN's sob stories shows that the prototypical foreclosure "victims" don't deserve an ounce of sympathy -- or a cent of our money.

Earlier this week, ACORN activists broke into a foreclosed home in Baltimore. With a mob cheering and camera crew taping, Baltimore ACORN leader Louis Beverly busted a padlock and jimmied the door open at 315 South Ellwood Ave. The home once belonged to restaurant worker Donna Hanks, who assailed her evil bank for raising her mortgage by $300 and leaving her on the street. "This is our house now," Beverly declared with Hanks by his side at the break-in.

What ACORN didn't tell you: Hanks' house was sold in June 2008 for $192,000. She bought the two-story home in the summer of 2001 for $87,000. At some point during the next five years, she refinanced the original home loan for $270,000. Where did all that money go? (Hint: Think house-sized ATM.)

The property initially went into foreclosure proceedings in the spring of 2006. Hanks soon filed for bankruptcy and agreed to a Chapter 13 plan to pay back her bank and other creditors. In September 2006, the bankruptcy court ordered Hanks' employer to deduct $340/month from her salary to pay down the debt. Hanks did not comply with the legally binding plan. In December 2007, the loan servicer issued a notice of default on nearly $7,000 past due.

While she was reneging on her mortgage IOUs, she somehow managed to collect rent on her basement (for which she was taken to court) and rack up a criminal record on charges of theft and second-degree assault. The house was sold seven months ago after two years of court-negotiated attempts to allow Hanks to dig herself out of her debt hole.

Beverly, who claims to be a foreclosure victim himself, was charged with burglary for the break-in and released. He is literally a housing thug -- having been separately charged with second-degree assault and property destruction earlier this year; battery, assault, handgun possession and possession of a deadly weapon with intent to injure in 1992; and slapped with a peace order issued against him in 2006.

The Washington Post spotlighted Beverly's and Hanks' activism without following up on their criminal records and financial negligence. The paper also shilled for ubiquitous ACORN foreclosure "victim" Veronica Peterson of Columbia, Md., recycling uncritically her accusation that she had been tricked into buying a $545,000 home by a broker who inflated her income and misrepresented her assets. "These loans were weapons of mass destruction," the single mom of three and home day care provider who couldn't keep up with her mortgage bills told the Post reporter. "They destroyed our credit, our lives, and they blew up in our face."

But a look at court and real estate records exposed the truth. Edward Ericson Jr., a reporter for the independent Baltimore City Paper, discovered that the "victim" -- who took out a full mortgage with no down payment on a house she couldn't afford -- looks more like a predatory borrower. And amazingly, Peterson lived in the home more than year without paying rent or mortgage.

"The online court and land records show that Peterson closed on the house on Nov. 3, 2006, with two loans from Washington Mutual. The main mortgage, for $436,000, had a starting interest rate of 8.5 percent, adjusting in December. ... The second loan, often called a 'piggyback,' totaled $109,000 with an interest rate of 11.25 percent. ... Those two payments together would have totaled $3,386.17 per month. That's before property taxes, upkeep, utilities, etc. Peterson would have to earn at least $50,000 per year just to make her house payments."

The foreclosure was filed in July 2007. "The balance on the main note then was $435,735.86," Ericson reported, plus unpaid interest and late fees -- suggesting she made at most one payment on the house. "Had she made all of her payments, Peterson would have spent about $64,335 so far. Had she rented a similar place, she would have been charged around $2,500 per month -- a total of $47,500 -- since January 2007. Instead, she apparently paid nothing."

Who are the real suckers? Who are the true victims? If only the reporters swallowing their stories were half as diligent about background checks of ACORN thugs as they were with Joe the Plumber.


          

10/05 Links: Bari Weiss' revolutionary anti-antisemitism action plan; Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to headline J Street conference; Phyllis Chesler: Gilead Resembles an Islamic Theocracy, not Trump’s America   

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From Ian:

Bari Weiss' revolutionary anti-antisemitism action plan
I am intellectually curious about Weiss’s thoughts on the fourth pillar of antisemitism that contaminates Western Europe: Guilt-defensiveness antisemitism.

The Israeli psychoanalyst Zvi Rex famously remarked, with biting sarcasm, that “The Germans will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz.”

Based on my nearly 20 years of writing and analyzing contemporary antisemitism in Continental Europe, I posit that Rex’s formulation about German society punishing Jews because of the memory of the Shoah, which infuses pathological guilt into many Germans, needs to be updated.

In a modernized version of Rex, one might say that Western Europeans will never forgive Israel for the Holocaust. In short, that Western European countries such as France, Sweden, Austrian, Italy and others that were complicit in the Shoah are intensely focused on imposing discipline and punishment on Israel because of their guilt associated with Holocaust. What other plausible explanation exists for Western Europe’s relentless attacks on Israel and its singling out of Israel, only Israel, for a punitive demarcation of its products from the disputed territories in the West Bank and the Golan?

There has been progress recently in Germany in the fight against contemporary antisemitism, Weiss notes, for example the Bundestag decision to classify the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign targeting Israel as anti-Semitic.

However, there is still the problem that John le Carré described so forcefully in his novel The Little Drummer Girl (1983), when the Palestinain terrorist Khalil says, “We have many friends in Germany. But not because they love Palestinians. Only because they hate Jews.”

A 2017 German government study revealed that nearly 33 million Germans, out of a total population of 82 million, are infected with contemporary antisemitism–that is hatred of the Jewish state.

The report said, in a section titled “Agreement with Israel-related antisemitism,” that 40% of Germans who were polled approved of the following statement: “Based on Israel’s policies, I can understand people having something against the Jews.”
Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to headline J Street conference
The two most powerful Democratic politicians in America, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, will headline the annual conference of J Street, the liberal Israel lobby.

The conference, which drew 3,000 people last year, is among the most prominent liberal Jewish gatherings of the year. It will take place in late October, and Pelosi and Schumer will speak on the night of Oct. 28. Pelosi recently launched an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.

Schumer’s presence at the conference is especially notable because he has established a reputation as a traditional pro-Israel voice in the Senate. He is a perennial speaker at the annual conference of the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC, which is to the right of J Street. He also voted against President Barack Obama’s Iran nuclear agreement in 2015, a deal that J Street strongly supported.

J Street advocates for an end to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, and has been a frequent Trump critic. Its affiliated political action committee, JStreetPac, raised $5 million for more than 100 Democratic candidates in the 2018 midterm elections.

“At a time when many of our core values are under threat both in Israel and here at home, J Street is proud to stand with so many allies who are defending democracy and working towards a better future,” J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami said in a statement.

Swastikas in NJ Schools Symptom of Deeper Challenge of Antisemitism, Bigotry, Democratic Congressman Says
New Jersey is experiencing a “huge increase” in antisemitic activity and “every tool” needs to be used to combat the trend, the congressman representing the state’s 5th electoral district declared on Friday.

Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer was speaking on a conference call arranged to address a spate of swastika daubings and other antisemitic offenses in New Jersey public schools in recent weeks.

Highlighting the growing threat posed by white supremacist groups across the state, Gottheimer emphasized that his office was actively assisting security enhancement at religious institutions.

“We’re working together with our communities and our religious institutions by providing them with non-profit security grants,” Gottheimer said.

Grants of over $1 million this year have assisted synagogues, mosques, temples and other religious buildings with extra lighting, better locks and other safety measures.




Phyllis Chesler: Gilead Resembles an Islamic Theocracy, not Trump’s America
Misogynist thinking and actions exist in America today but not only among right-wing conservatives. It is also flourishing among our media and academic elites. Such thinking is flying high under the banner of “free speech,” “multi-cultural relativism,” “anti-racism,” and “political correctness.” Dare to question this elite’s right to silence and shame those who challenge their views—i.e., that the West is always to blame, that jihadists are freedom-fighters, that the Islamic face veil is a free choice or a religious commandment, that polygamy encourages sisterhood, that Islam is a race, not a religious and political ideology—and, as I’ve noted many times, one is attacked as a racist, an Islamophobe, and a conservative, and swiftly demonized and de-platformed.

While MGM/Hulu’s TV series is dramatically compelling, part soap opera, part horror movie, part Warrior Queen fantasy, the series is radically different from Atwood’s 1985 novel. For example, Atwood’s narrator, Ofglen, is not an increasingly daring, crazed, female assassin, as Elizabeth Moss brilliantly plays her. She is hardly heroic at all; under totalitarianism, heroism, collective or individual, is quickly ferreted out and destroyed. It exists but is rare.

Contemporary viewers are hungry for multi-racial characters, interracial and same-sex couples, “badass” women. Hulu gives them to us. Hulu’s Canada is a multi-racial, politically correct refuge for Gilead’s escapees; same-sex couples and feminists are government leaders. This is not true in the novel. On the contrary, in her 1985 Epilogue, Atwood has Canada rounding up and returning all Gilead escapees.

Atwood the divine novelist is absolutely entitled to depict whatever she wishes. But the current crop of reviewers as well as the filmmakers are playing partisan politics with her original vision and are refusing to see other and larger global dangers contained in her work.

Women’s freedom and women’s lives worldwide are under the most profound siege. To focus solely on the United States or on the Caucasian, Judeo-Christian West is diversionary. It scapegoats one country, one culture, for the far greater crimes of other countries and cultures.
Most Wars Don't Get Named Until Years After the Fighting Is Done. Others, Like the Yom Kippur War, Are Different.
The confidence of 1967 had turned out to be arrogant pride in 1973; its optimism, the folly of wishful thinking. Although there had been ample indications of the impending Egyptian and Syrian attack, Israel’s leadership had refused to believe it would happen and had not taken the necessary precautions. Menachem Begin, then the leader of the opposition, was speaking for all Israelis when, shortly after the war’s end, he declared in the Knesset:
Grief over the terrible mistake [of not calling up the reserves in advance and/or undertaking a preventive strike] . . . will never cease to haunt us. All would have been different, militarily and politically, were it not for the New Moon to the Tenth’s blindness.

Begin, a master rhetorician, had chosen his words carefully. “The New Moon to the Tenth,” beyn keseh l’asor, is a traditional rabbinic phrase for the ten “days of awe” from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur; the literal meaning of keseh (based on Psalms 81:4) is “covering up,” that is, the disappearance of the old moon at the month’s end before the new moon is sighted. Furthermore, the literary term used by Begin for “blindness,” likuy m’orot, which in Hebrew signifies more a judgmental or moral loss of vision than a physical one, also means “eclipse.” The intended parallelism was painfully apparent: as the light of the moon is eclipsed at the beginning of the ten days preceding Yom Kippur, so was the judgment of Israel’s leaders.

Ever since 1973, Yom Kippur has had a significance in Israel that it does not have in the rest of the Jewish world. Besides being a day of judgment for the sins of the individual, it has been seared into Israeli consciousness as a day of judgment for the nation—one on which a whole country was found guilty of the sin of hubris and made to pay a terrible price for it.

In colloquial Israeli speech, the words yom kippur have come to denote any shocking comeuppance, so that saying that something was someone’s “Yom Kippur” is like saying in English “It was his Waterloo.” There will never again be a Yom Kippur in Israel without this double sense of it, and the day’s heavy somberness is felt even by those who do not relate to it religiously. It will indeed always continue to haunt.
The War of Attrition: The “War Between The Wars”
Israel is the only country in the world that lives in a status called “the war between the wars.” Since it is surrounded by enemies who seek its destruction, even when not in official wartime, it is constantly dealing with small scale attacks from those enemies. The greatest example of this status is the three-year period from 1967 to 1970, a period which is now referred to as the “War of Attrition.”

One would have thought that Israel’s resounding victory over all the neighboring Arab countries in the June 1967 Six Day War would have given the Jewish state a few years of peace and quiet.

But this wasn’t the case.

Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser was determined to do whatever possible to win back the Sinai Peninsula which Israel captured during the war that ended on June 9, 1967. While the Six Day War was over, it wasn’t long until the War of Attrition began.

As early as July 1, Egyptian commandos moved to within 10 miles of the Israeli position on the eastern side of the Suez Canal. Israel, working under a plan to prevent Egyptian forces gathering in the area, attacked the commandos and lost one soldier with 13 wounded. The next day, the Israeli air force bombed the Egyptian artillery that was providing cover for its commandos. That led to an Egyptian air force strike against Israeli forces in the Sinai and, for all intents and purposes, the June 9 ceasefire was no longer relevant. Skirmishes between the two sides continued throughout July with numerous Egyptian fighter jets shot down by Israel and Israel sinking two Egyptian torpedo boats.

There was relative quiet during August, September and most of October but then on October 21, 1967, the Egyptian Navy sunk the Eilat, an Israeli naval destroyer, in international waters off the coast of Port Said, killing 47 Israeli sailors. Israel retaliated with extensive bombing of Egyptian oil refineries and depots in the region, resulting in significant artillery battles between the two sides, with the Egyptians suffering civilian casualties.
Iranian hackers reportedly targeted Trump 2020 presidential campaign
Microsoft said Friday that it believed that hackers linked to the Iranian government have recently targeted a US presidential campaign, as well as government officials, media targets and prominent expatriate Iranians.

Overall, the hackers attempted to penetrate 241 accounts — four successfully — though none of those penetrated was associated with presidential campaigns or current or past US officials, Microsoft said. A company spokeswoman declined to identify those targeted, citing customer privacy.

Reuters and The New York Times reported that the attacks targeted US President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, but this could not be independently confirmed.

A review of publicly available internet records by AP showed that the Trump campaign’s official website is linked to Microsoft’s email service.

The campaign website is the only major candidate’s site connected to Microsoft’s cloud email service, and his campaign has spent tens of thousands of dollars on the company’s products, Reuters said.

The New York Times report saying Trump was targeted cited two people with knowledge of the attacks who were not allowed to discuss them publicly, and said it wasn’t clear if the campaign had been compromised in any way.
Israel and Gulf states said working on ‘non-aggression pact’ as they face Iran
Israel is reportedly negotiating with several Gulf states on a “non-aggression pact” between them as they face off against an increasingly emboldened Iran. The deal, which Channel 12 news described as potentially “historic,” aims to put an end to the state of conflict between these states and Israel.

Advancing the Israeli initiative, Foreign Minister Israel Katz met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last month with several foreign ministers from Arab Gulf states, Channel 12 news reported Saturday night.

There was no immediate comment from the Foreign Ministry, but Katz himself on September 23 tweeted that he had held talks with an unnamed counterpart from an Arab country with which Israel does not have formal relations, and said they discussed “ways to deal with the Iranian threat” and a process for boosting “civilian cooperation.”

Katz, who is leading the effort with the backing of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, agreed with his Gulf Arab interlocutors to set up working teams to take the non-aggression pact forward, the TV report said.
Foreign Minister Israel Katz and his Bahraini counterpart Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa (R) pose for a photograph at the State Department in Washington on July 17, 2019. (Courtesy)

Katz presented his Gulf counterparts with a draft text of the intended pact, which was drawn up by the Israeli Foreign Ministry, the TV report said. It reportedly highlights the opportunity to advance common interests in the context of the threat posed by Iran, and is drafted in accordance with principles of international law. Among other elements, the TV report said, the draft text specifies cooperation in the fields of war, the fight against terror, and economic interests.
Saudis said moving toward detente with Iran amid US reluctance to act militarily
Sensing US reluctance to respond forcefully to Iranian aggression in the region, and following the devastating September attack on its oil facilities blamed on Tehran, Saudi Arabia is quietly moving toward possible rapprochement with the Islamic Republic, according to multiple media reports.

The New York Times reported Friday that the Trump administration’s failure to react militarily to the September 14 missile and drone attack on Saudi oil facilities, which jolted global oil prices and temporarily knocked out nearly 6 percent of the world’s daily crude production, had led Riyadh to recalculate.

“The worst outcome for the Saudis is to move to a confrontation with Iran expecting the US to support them and find out they won’t,” Philip Gordon, a former White House Middle East coordinator told the Times. “This administration has shown it’s not really ready to take on Iran.”

The strikes were claimed by Houthi rebels in Yemen, but Saudi Arabia, the US and other Western powers have said the attack was sponsored by Tehran. In its aftermath, US President Donald Trump was presented with a range of military options, including potential airstrikes on targets inside Iran. But he was also warned that military action against the Islamic Republic could escalate into war, according to US officials familiar with the discussions.

Trump during a White House meeting last Friday put off, at least for now, any immediate military strike on Iran, but approved a broader effort to beef up security in Saudi Arabia and the region. He told reporters that showing restraint “shows far more strength” than launching retaliatory strikes now.
2 rockets fired from Gaza set off sirens, fall short of border fence, IDF says
Two projectiles fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip on Friday fell short of the border fence, landing inside the Hamas-held territory, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.

The launches triggered incoming rocket sirens in the Gaza border community of Kissufim in southern Israel shortly before midnight.

The incident came hours after a Palestinian man was killed during riots along the Gaza-Israel border fence on Friday, according to the Hamas-run health ministry, as thousands took part in weekly protests.

Alaa Hamdan, 28, was shot in the chest by IDF soldiers in a clash near Jabalia in northern Gaza, the ministry’s spokesman said. The IDF had no immediate comment on the death.

Israel’s Channel 12 said the death may have been caused by a Palestinian grenade.

Five other demonstrators were wounded by gunfire, the Hamas-run ministry said.

Around 6,000 Palestinians took part in the day’s protests with some rioters throwing rocks and explosives at the security fence and troops along the border.
Ramallah Youths’ Discovery of IDF Camouflaged Surveillance Camera May Hurt Microsoft Startup
Youths from the village of Kober, northwest of Ramallah, posted a video and photos showing a camouflaged video camera that was hidden inside a concrete block by Israeli security forces in the village cemetery, Ma’an reported Friday.

According to Arab social network sites, the young men who found the spy device set it on fire after confirming it was a broadcast camera that transmits their movements.

In a video posted on the website of the journalist Tamer Barghouti from Kober, the young men appear to dismantle the device, which included a camera, a transmitter, and a battery, and celebrate their discovery with great joy.

On Tuesday, the IDF arrested three young men from Kober, out of whom it released two brothers and kept suspect Nassim Barghouti in detention.

According to Ma’an, the surveillance device was made by the Holon-based Israeli company AnyVision (“We build the future, Pixel by Pixel”), which specializes in facial recognition technology.

In June, Microsoft’s M12 venture fund announced its investment in AnyVision, just as soon as it is determined whether its products adhered to Microsoft’s tough AI ethics standards. Eventually, AnyVision reported that all its investors, including Microsoft, were satisfied it was a “tool for good.” But by mid-July, Haaretz reported that the IDF is using AnyVision’s face recognition technology at Judea and Samaria checkpoints as well as inside Arab communities, leading to a wave of criticism of Microsoft’s investment in AnyVision.
PA agrees to accept tax funds from Israel, ending stand-off over terror salaries
The Palestinian Authority has agreed to accept hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues collected by Israel, after months of declining them in protest over Jerusalem withholding money over payments to terrorists, Palestinian officials said Friday.

The transfers amount to some 600 million Israeli shekels (about $170 million) a month and are a key source of financing for the PA.

The PA had refused to accept the funds because Israel was withholding an amount equal to what the Palestinians pay to terrorists and their families, but the cash-strapped PA appears to be retreating in the face of an economic crisis.

Israel says the so-called Martyrs’ Fund rewards and encourages violence, while the Palestinians say it is a way to provide for needy families affected by the decades-old conflict.

Hussein al-Sheikh, an aide to Abbas, tweeted Friday that he had met with Israel’s Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon the day before to discuss “all outstanding issues” and that committees would continue the negotiations on Sunday.

“The agreement was also on transferring a payment from the #PA’s financial dues. The dispute (remains) over the salaries of the families of #prisoners and #martyrs. We are determined to pay their dues at all costs.”
Egypt parliament speaker praises Hitler to defend government spending
The speaker of Egypt’s parliament on Wednesday clarified his praise of Adolf Hitler a day earlier to justify spending on government construction projects.

At the opening session of parliament Tuesday, Ali Abdel Aal implored lawmakers to back Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi amid anti-government protests. According to the Middle East Eye news site, Aal asked lawmakers to observe a minute of silence as a sign of support for Sissi’s “project to build the modern Egyptian state.”

“Hitler had his mistakes, but what allowed him to expand eastward and westward was that he created a strong infrastructure for the German state that remains the source of its leading position in the First World,” Aal was quoted saying.

After the remarks were reported on, Aal said Wednesday that Hitler “has committed a lot of crimes” and that his praise was of German civilization and development, not the Nazi leader.

“Everybody is aware of what Adolf Hitler has done to humanity; hence no one with the minimum level of knowledge can praise him for his actions,” Aal said during a parliamentary session, Egypt Today reported.
MEMRI: Warm Encounter Between Arab League Secretary-General, Syrian Regime Representatives On Margins Of UNGA Reignites Speculation About Syria's Reinstatement In Arab League
Unexpectedly, on the margins of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, Arab League secretary-general Ahmad Abu Al-Gheit approached the Syrian delegation, greeted Syrian Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Walid Al-Mu'allem and called him "brother," shook his hand and the hand of his deputy Faisal Al-Miqdad, kissed them both, and said he was happy to see them.

Apparently, this friendliness towards the Syrian leadership on the part of the secretary-general of the Arab League – which suspended Syria's membership on November 12, 2011 because of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's harsh repression of the Arab Spring protests in the country[1] – is further evidence of an uptick in Syria's status in the Arab world and of the erosion of Arab opposition to the Syrian regime.[2]

For some three years, a number of Arab states – including Egypt, Iraq, Tunisia, Lebanon, Algeria, and the Palestinian Authority – have been calling to allow Syria back in to the Arab League.[3] UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash even stated, in a June 7, 2018 interview, that "expelling Syria from the Arab League was a mistake."[4] In addition, the Arab Youth and Environment Union, which belongs to the Arab League, announced on October 2 that it would reinstate Syria as a member in the next few days.[5]
Seth J. Frantzman: Why did Iraqi forces shoot protesters?
A variety of videos coming out of Baghdad show security forces shooting at protesters. Over the last twenty-four hours, as Friday turned to Saturday, the number of reports of snipers gunning down activists has grown. The elephant in the room cannot be ignored: Someone in Iraq’s government told a section of the security forces to use live-fire to kill protesters. It wasn’t a mistake, it wasn’t because police were outnumbered, and it wasn’t isolated incidents.

Why would Iraqi forces shoot the protesters from the same cities and southern provinces that many of the security forces or Popular Mobilization Units are drawn from? The question may is worth asking because there have been various rumors and claims about the protests in Iraq that have posited that those doing the killing and using the most heavy-handed measures are Iranian-linked groups. This creates an easy narrative of “Iran suppressing protests in Iraq,” as part of the larger Iranian goal to control Iraq for its own purposes.

To support the narrative of Iran’s role there have been stories about “Farsi speakers among the security forces” and “units changing uniforms” before attacking protesters. There are stories about plain-clothes officers among the security forces which leads to claims those in plain clothes are outsiders. In this narrative, spread in Arabic on social media, an “Iranian Revolutionary Guard Brigade” was permitted to enter Iraq by Fatah Alliance leader Hadi al-Amiri. Evidence? Some people tweeting about it.

The claim of foreign interference goes both ways. Others have pointed out that a concerted social media effort has been made to fuel protests and some of the accounts are located abroad. Lastly voices in pro-Iranian media have portrayed the protests as directed by foreign powers.

None of these stories present a full picture of what happened. Like the proverbial elephant, they all only capture one part of what happened. From the first moments of the protest the security forces that were sent used heavy-handed tactics. Video showed men in camouflage uniforms, heavily armed, involved in clashes, as well as other police-style units in darker uniforms.
Iraqi protesters claim Iranian forces firing on demonstrations
Farsi-speaking Iranians, not Iraqi forces, have been firing on protests in Iraq in which 65 people have died, said one protester interviewed by Reuters, according to Al Arabiya.

"There is no work, you come to protest, they fire at you. Live gunfire,"said the unnamed protester."They are all Iranian-speaking in Farsi. You want to speak to them, they answer in Farsi. The Iraqis would not fire at you."

The Shi'ite Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) milita in Iraq is backed by Iran.

Witnesses at the protests in Baghdad said that pro-Iranian security forces opened fire on protesters.

Protests broke out throughout Iraq against the deterioration of living conditions and health services, government corruption, unemployment and Iranian interference in the country.

The protests have no clear leader and seem to consist of gatherings of angry protesters.
In apparent swap, Iran frees Australian travel bloggers charged with spying
In a possible swap, an Australian-British blogger and her fiancé returned home Saturday after being freed from a three-month detention in Iran.

The couple, Jolie King and Mark Firkin, returned to Australia after all charges against them were dropped.

At the same time, Iran’s state TV reported that an Iranian scientist, Reza Dehbashi, who was detained for 13 months in Australia over purchasing a defense system for his country from the United States, had returned home.

“We are extremely happy and relieved to be safely back in Australia with those we love,” the Australian couple said in a statement. “While the past few months have been very difficult, we know it has also been tough for those back home who have been worried for us.”

They thanked the Australian government for helping secure their release.

There was no immediate acknowledgment Saturday by Iranian officials or in the country’s state media of the couple’s release. However, that has happened in previous cases.

Iranian TV said that the Australian judiciary had planned to send Dehbashi to the US but that he was released through Tehran’s diplomatic efforts.
Man crying ‘Allahu Akbar’ tries to run into Berlin synagogue with knife
A man armed with a knife attempted to run into a synagogue in central Berlin Friday evening, German media reported Saturday.

The man, apparently a Syrian refugee, was tackled by security personnel at the entrance to the Neue Synagogue. According to the Bild website, he was heard calling out “Allahu Akbar” (“God is Great” in Arabic) and “F##k Israel.”

German police said the man, identified as Murad M., was hit with pepper spray by guards and then subdued and disarmed.

Officials said he carried documentation identifying him as 23 years old, originating from Damascus and with a residency permit, which ends in December 2020.

The incident occurred at around 5:30 p.m. according to Bild, likely shortly before the start of Friday’s evening prayer service.

Police said the assailant had no prior record and was not known to authorities.

The investigation was ongoing, but German media said that the man was released from police custody on Saturday morning.
John Mann warns against risk of understating problem of antisemitism
The Government’s new antisemitism adviser has warned that between overstatement and understatement of antisemitism, “the biggest danger is that we will understate the problem.”

Speaking after his first public engagement in his new job, John Mann MP, who has resigned from the Labour Party and will become a crossbench peer in the House of Lords, explained that he accepted his new advisory role to prevent “good people, young people” from deciding to emigrate from the UK because of rising antisemitism.

Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Antisemitism Barometer has shown that 40% of British Jews have considered leaving the country due to antisemitism.

If action were not taken against antisemitism, he warned, “the reality will be that good people will leave. Not necessarily quickly — but good people will not see their future on the continent of Europe or on the UK because they are Jewish, and they wish for their identity to be proudly held at all times. We are not going to accept – and government is not going to accept — that impingement on civil liberties in this country.”

Observing the rise of antisemitism on university campuses, Mr Mann noted too the “pernicious, silent, isolating disdain” shown towards Jewish students “from hostile elements in their universities,” adding that he would be pushing for the adoption and application of the International Definition of Antisemitism by “our major institutions, football clubs, universities — this is achievable.”
CAA condemns University of Nottingham for inviting suspended MP Chris Williamson to speak
The University of Nottingham has defended a decision to invite Chris Williamson MP to speak on its campus.

Mr Williamson was suspended from Labour and then readmitted, only to be resuspended following a public outcry after claiming that Labour has been “too apologetic” over antisemitism.

The disgraced MP is scheduled to speak on 11th October as part of a series on “British Politics in Crisis” at the Centre for British Politics.

Jewish students at the university have reportedly called for the invitation to be withdrawn, citing Mr Williamson’s “history of Jew baiting.”

Gideon Falter, Chief Executive of Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “It is a damning reflection on the University of Nottingham that it chooses to invite a politician suspended from the Labour Party over his attempts to minimise the Party’s antisemitism crisis and who has a record of praising antisemites to give a lecture. If the university wishes to teach its students why British politics is in crisis, it might start by exploring why leading institutions are so ready to legitimise Labour antisemitism by inviting one of its chief defenders to speak.”

On 28th May, the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched a full statutory investigation following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.
Labour MP Emma Dent Coad likes Facebook comment claiming Israel “disgraces all of us Jews worldwide”, then apologises
Emma Dent Coad, who was elected as a Labour MP in 2017 for Kensington, ‘liked’ a comment on Facebook by another user that read: “I’ve always been a Bevanite — my ultimate political hero…and as a Jew, the current Israeli apartheid regime disgraces all of us Jews worldwide.”

The comment was posted in response to a post by another user that criticised “Blairite” MPs and “members of the Netanyahu fan club”.

Following media attention, Ms Dent Coad apologised and ‘unliked’ the comment.

On 28th May, the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched a full statutory investigation following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.

In recent months, twelve MPs and three peers have resigned from the Labour Party over antisemitism, along with a large number of MEPs, councillors and members.

Over 55,000 people have now signed our petition denouncing Jeremy Corbyn as an antisemite and declaring him “unfit to hold any public office.”
Conservative MP Crispin Blunt suggests British Jews “demand special status” and reportedly says grants for Jewish security are a waste of money
The Conservative MP Crispin Blunt made a reference to “the demand for special status” on the part of British Jews in an interview on the sidelines of the Conservative Party Conference this week.

Mr Blunt made the comment following a fringe event at the Party Conference in his capacity as patron of the Conservative Humanists group. At the event, which was held in conjunction with Humanists UK, the chair of Conservative Humanists protested previous comments by the Chief Rabbi, who had apparently suggested that some humanists were becoming intolerant of religion.

Asked for his reaction to the chair’s comments, Mr Blunt suggested: “I think what he was saying was regarding the demand for special status…what’s required is for everyone to have tolerance of other people’s position and not to impose unfair views.”

The notion, however casually expressed, that Jews demand or receive special status in British society is baseless and offensive. Any dispensations that Jews do receive, for example in the workplace, are also shared by other faith groups and protected classes.
Alison Chabloz and the Criminalization of Holocaust Denial
Late last month, a musician named Alison Chabloz was sent to prison in the United Kingdom for violating the terms of an earlier court decision prohibiting her from using social media — a decision stemming from her dissemination of videos featuring songs she wrote that mocked the Holocaust. In the UK, this story made many of the major papers, but it has hardly registered at all in the United States.

But here’s why it should:
This case was a watershed decision in the battle against antisemitism. The UK has laws expressly forbidding hate speech that tries to incite hatred of other groups or is grossly offensive in nature. As such, and in light of her social-media malfeasance, Chabloz — who has posted content on her website alisonchabloz.com with headlines such as “In Defence of a Myth–‘Holocaust’ lobby shifts into top gear” and “Hear the Jew cry out in pain as the White lady sings” was incarcerated for a couple of days before being released pending her appeal hearing. That is scheduled for late October.

Chabloz, who has remained unrepentant despite her losing cause, has become something of a symbol of resistance to anti-hate speech legislation. Her supporters argue that Chabloz shouldn’t have been put in jail just for singing songs. They claim that regardless of the fact that Chabloz perpetuated an utterly repellent ideology through her music, the idea of instituting such a harsh punishment for posting content on social media is extreme in light of a person’s right to self-expression.
Why did UK’s Holocaust memorial events remove references to Jews?
The University College Union in the United Kingdom sent an email to branches that excluded mention of Jews among the groups persecuted during the Holocaust. According to The Jewish Chronicle, the UCU has since apologized. However, in a review of several websites connected to upcoming commemorations of Holocaust Memorial Day 2020, which will be held on January 27, references to Jews appear to be too often missing.

In the case of the UCU, a long list of those persecuted were mentioned, just not Jews. This included members of “trade unions” and “Roma” and “black people,” as well as gays and lesbians and “Jehovah’s Witnesses.” In addition, “non-Jewish Poles,” were mentioned – but not Jews. The UK’s special envoy for post-Holocaust issues, Eric Pickles, said the incident sends a “chilling message.”

But the problem is much larger than just the UCU. Holocaust Memorial Day 2020 is already being wrapped into the easier to pronounce acronym “HMD 2020,” which in itself removes the word “Holocaust.” On some websites, such as the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust’s page devoted to “75 memorial flames,” it is clearly noted that the Holocaust was “the genocide perpetrated by the Nazis against the Jews of Europe.” However, a press release from April about the “HMD 2020” theme, called “Standing Together,” doesn’t mention the word Jew. The press release, also at the Trust’s website, notes that “HMD 2020 will also include marking the 25th anniversary of the Genocide in Bosnia.” It is interesting that while Bosnia is mentioned, the place that the Shoah began in Germany is conveniently left out, lest anyone recall it was Germany that began the Holocaust and was largely responsible for it.

The April press release of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust notes that it is “calling people to Stand Together in memory of the millions of people affected by the Holocaust, Nazi persecution and more recent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.” The UCU seems to have used similar language as part of the Stand Together campaign.
Antisemitism in Victorian schools is a monumental and hidden crisis
I well up with emotion when I hear of Jewish kids being subjected to physical assaults, bigoted stereotypes and insults, exclusion, degrading text messages and social media lynching. The day is not too far off when young people will have to hide their Jewish faith so as not to be singled out and vilified by their classmates. The victims are traumatised, filled with feelings of despair and abandonment, convinced that the system has failed them. And they are right.

Not infrequently, distraught parents are concerned that the anti-Semitic abuse will escalate if they notify the school since their child will become an even-bigger target. Some remain silent believing that the school leadership will not be sympathetic to their complaint. In fact, some administrators trivialise the attacks as a childish aberrations, as "kids being kids", or blame the victims ("it's your child's fault since they provocatively choose to exhibit their Judaism" or "we are a non-Jewish school so if you don't like it, leave"), are very slow to respond, and do not impose the appropriate punishment. In effect, they are enabling the wrongdoers by sending a crystal-clear message that Jewish pupils are fair game.

The elephant in the room is that very few of our elected representatives are actually speaking out about the darkening clouds that are gathering. And so, this cancer of intolerance, which is spreading like wildfire, must end. All of it. Because we literally have no choice and because that is not who we are as a nation. Good intentions and words are not enough. We now need bold action by the state and federal governments that matches the scale of the runaway problem we face, and which effectively tackles this menace at every single step. One solution is to institute mandatory reporting so schools are obliged to notify the Education Department when such incidents occur. Such reporting will then necessitate the investigation of each individual case and if warranted, appropriate penalties for the perpetrators.

Countering religious bigotry in the long run also hinges on making anti-bias and Holocaust education compulsory in every class. One example is the Anti-Defamation Commission's Click Against Hate program, a free, groundbreaking educational program, which equips students with the skills to respond to the hate they encounter in schools, urging them to action when it happens to them or when they see it happening to others. Further training for teachers and headmasters is also urgently needed so they understand that antisemitism is a threat to our way of life and that inaction is not an option. It's time for the adults in the room to stand up and protect the defenceless and vulnerable - our children.
Minister orders review into schools at centre of anti-Semitic bullying
Victoria’s Education Minister James Merlino has ordered an immediate review into the way two Melbourne schools dealt with separate "appalling and shocking" cases of sustained anti-Semitic bullying earlier this year.

Federal treasurer Josh Frydenberg also weighed into the "completely unacceptable" incidents, calling for lessons on the Holocaust, in which about 6 million Jews were killed in Europe, to be included in the Australian curriculum.

Mr Merlino said he would also meet with the parents of the two Jewish boys; a 12-year-old year 7 student who was at Cheltenham Secondary College, and a prep student at Hawthorn West Primary School. The meetings are scheduled to take place on Monday.
James Merlino has ordered a review into how two schools handled separate cases of anti-Semitic bullying.

James Merlino has ordered a review into how two schools handled separate cases of anti-Semitic bullying. Credit:AAP

Both boys have since left the schools where they were bullied, after their parents lost confidence in the schools' handling of the matter.

The year 7 boy was made to kneel and kiss the shoes of a Muslim boy in a public park, under threat of being bashed by several other boys who were watching on.

The humiliating act was filmed and published on social media.

The boys who were watching on were not Muslim, the victim’s mother said. She sought out the offender’s parents, who were horrified.


Israeli hospital donates equipment and knowhow to Nepal
Five physicians from Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center recently brought medical equipment to Kathmandu and shared their expertise on women’s and children’s health with the medical staffs of two local hospitals.

Sponsored by the Embassy of Israel in Nepal, the Israeli team led a week of workshops and continuing medical education courses in neonatology, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology. They taught the Nepali medical professionals how to use the new lifesaving technologies they donated.

Senior gynecologist Dr. Ronit Almog said this was the fifth such foreign delegation sent out by Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center in the past year.

“Our aim is to reduce fetal and maternal morbidity and mortality in developing nations,” she said. “We met warm and welcoming medical teams and had a great cooperation. We saw a very good health level and system in Nepal and look forward to future mutual cooperation.”

Dr. Shyam Sundar Dhaubhadel, founder and president of Siddhi Memorial Foundation – which provides accessible healthcare services for women and children through Siddhi Memorial Hospital– compared the two nations to siblings. “Nepal is a toddler; Israel is a grown-up sister that has to share her expertise.”
Eric Pleskow, Holocaust refugee and producer of Oscar-winning films, dies
Eric Pleskow, who escaped the Nazis to become a film executive whose movies won the Academy Award for best picture seven times, has died. He was 95.

Pleskow was the president of the United Artists studio when it took home the best picture Oscars for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Rocky” and “Annie Hall” in 1975, 1976 and 1977, respectively — an unprecedented three-peat for a movie studio.

Later, as the co-founder of Orion Pictures, he oversaw four more winners for top film: “Amadeus” (1984), “Platoon” (1986), “Dances With Wolves” (1990) and “Silence of the Lambs” (1991).

Pleskow was born Erich Pleskoff in Vienna in 1924. He escaped the city with his family in 1939 after the SS had seized their home, which was blocks away from Sigmund Freud’s office, according to The Washington Post.

After arriving in New York City, he briefly worked at a film company, and was later drafted into the U.S. Army, where he was tasked after the war with reviving a film studio in Bavaria. From there he was hired as an executive at United Artists’ foreign department.

Pleskow rose to become president of the studio in 1973, and raised its profile by working with directors such as Woody Allen and Jonathan Demme. He broke off to co-found Orion in 1978.
Demi Lovato's mom defends trip to Israel: 'I will undoubtedly, unapologetically go again'
While Demi Lovato apologized for her trip to Israel — after receiving backlash — her mother won’t be following suit.

Dianna De La Garza, who accompanied Lovato on the free trip this week, said their visit was one of “only love” and that she will “unapologetically go again.”

Along with a photo of their two hands touching the Western Wall, De La Garza wrote that stop in the Old City of Jerusalem “was the highlight of my trip.” She said she will “never forget that day... or that trip as we celebrated life and Christianity as we learned about the Jewish faith while listening to the Muslim call to prayer. There was no fighting, no judgement, no cruel words...only love.”

De La Garza made it clear that there will be no apology coming from her, adding, “And I will undoubtedly, unapologetically go again one day.”

On Wednesday, Lovato found herself apologizing for the free trip — during which she was baptized in the Jordan River and had a spiritual awakening — amid criticism that she was taking a side in the country’s longstanding conflict with Palestine. Lovato apologized to those she offended in a message on social media, saying the trip was not mean to be “a political statement.”
What it was like growing up as a hidden Jew in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq
When Ceen Gabbai argued with her first-grade teacher about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, she didn’t realize how big of a risk she was taking.

The year was 2000 and students across the world held strong opinions about the Second Intifada, an outbreak of violence that claimed thousands of lives and began in September of that year. But Gabbai’s situation was different: She was one of the few Jewish students in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Standing up for Israel in a Baghdad elementary school was not an advisable move.

“Saddam was all crazy about Palestine,” she told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “I go to school and they’re talking about what a horrible thing that is and how Israel was horrible. And I go and I’m like, ‘I think that’s a lie.’”

Gabbai was called to the school office, took a letter home to her mother and her parents had a meeting with the principal. Soon after they moved homes and she switched schools. Following the episode, her parents did not talk with her about Israel or Judaism.

Gabbai has had a dangerous life. Born a Jew under an Iraqi dictatorship, she endured constant anti-Semitism from a young age, then survived the American invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the years of war that followed.

In 2015, Gabbai received asylum in the United States. She is now living in an Orthodox neighborhood in Brooklyn, raising a child, teaching elementary school and writing children’s literature. She does not look back fondly on the hardships she endured, but feels they taught her to persevere no matter the situation.
Tombs, palaces, poverty and plague: Follow Montefiore’s early Holy Land travels
You may have heard that Sir Moses (Moshe) Montefiore was the force behind Mishkenot Sha’ananim, the first Jewish neighborhood outside Jerusalem’s Old City walls. But were you aware that the wealthy English knight visited pre-state Israel seven times, most often with his wife, Lady Judith?

Dr. Louis Loewe, a linguist and author who was not only intimately acquainted with the couple but had even accompanied them on journeys around the world, greatly admired Sir Moses and Lady Judith. In a book, the “Diaries of Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore,” which he published in 1890, he depicts them as a compassionate, caring, and observant Jewish couple that lived life to the full. They were also quite the wine connoisseurs. In fact, wine is mentioned in the diaries 24 different times.

One of their most interesting trips to the Holy Land, described in detail in Loewe’s book, took place in 1839. The volume abounds with descriptions of their overnights in tents, palaces and elegant homes. They rode horses atop mountains, along easy roads and atop barely discernible paths. The Plague was rampant that year, and they were careful to stay away from infected towns and villages.

Wherever the Montefiores went they distributed money and gifts, all the while taking the time to find out what their fellow Jews needed in order to improve what was very often a miserable existence. Quite possibly it was this trip that planted the seed for the eventual establishment of Mishkenot Sha’ananim in 1860.

That pioneering neighborhood came equipped with a windmill produced in Canterbury, a copy of one that stood near the Montefiore estate. With its help, the residents were meant to grind wheat into flour and become self- sufficient. In 1892, more buildings were added and the new neighborhood was called Yemin Moshe.



We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.
          

Profit, not politics: Trump allies sought Ukraine gas deal   

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KYIV, Ukraine – As Rudy Giuliani was pushing Ukrainian officials last spring to investigate one of Donald Trump's main political rivals, a group of individuals with ties to the president and his personal lawyer were also active in the former Soviet republic.

Their aims were profit, not politics. This circle of businessmen and Republican donors touted connections to Giuliani and Trump while trying to install new management at the top of Ukraine's massive state gas company. Their plan was to then steer lucrative contracts to companies controlled by Trump allies, according to two people with knowledge of their plans.

Their plan hit a snag after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko lost his reelection bid to Volodymyr Zelenskiy, whose conversation with Trump about former Vice President Joe Biden is now at the center of the House impeachment inquiry of Trump.

But the effort to install a friendlier management team at the helm of the gas company, Naftogaz, would soon be taken up with Ukraine's new president by U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, whose slate of candidates included a fellow Texan who is one of Perry's past political donors.

It's unclear if Perry's attempts to replace board members at Naftogaz were coordinated with the Giuliani allies pushing for a similar outcome, and no one has alleged that there is criminal activity in any of these efforts. And it's unclear what role, if any, Giuliani had in helping his clients push to get gas sales agreements with the state-owned company.

But the affair shows how those with ties to Trump and his administration were pursuing business deals in Ukraine that went far beyond advancing the president's personal political interests. It also raises questions about whether Trump allies were mixing business and politics just as Republicans were calling for a probe of Biden and his son Hunter, who served five years on the board of another Ukrainian energy company, Burisma.

On Friday, Trump told a group of Republican lawmakers that it had been Perry who had prompted the phone call in which Trump asked Zelenskiy for a "favor" regarding Biden, according to a person familiar with Trump's remarks.

The person, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity to describe a closed conversation among GOP officials, recounted that Trump said it was Perry who asked him to make the July call to discuss "something about an LNG (liquefied natural gas) plant." Trump's remarks were first reported Saturday by the news site Axios.

While it's unclear whether Trump's remark Friday referred specifically to the behind-the-scenes maneuvers this spring involving the multibillion-dollar state gas company, The Associated Press has interviewed four people with direct knowledge of the attempts to influence Naftogaz, and their accounts show Perry playing a key role in the effort. Three of the four spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation. The fourth is an American businessman with close ties to the Ukrainian energy sector.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Energy Department said Perry, a former Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate, was not advancing anyone's personal interests. She said his conversations with Ukrainian officials about Naftogaz were part of his efforts to reform the country's energy sector and create an environment in which Western companies can do business.

Perry was asked about the AP's reporting on Monday while in Lithuania, where he was meeting with officials from Ukraine and other eastern European countries to discuss energy security and cooperation. He said any suggestion that he tried to force a management change at Naftogaz was a "totally dreamed up story."

"We get asked for our recommendations about people who are experts in areas, various areas," Perry said. "Folks who have expertise in particular areas. Obviously having been the governor of the state of Texas, I know a lot of people in the energy industry."

Perry also confirmed he had urged Trump to call Zelenskiy, but said the subject was the potential growth of Ukraine's energy sector.

"Absolutely, I asked the president multiple times, 'Mr. President, we think it is in the United States' and in Ukraine's best interest that you and the president of Ukraine have conversations, that you discuss the options that are there,'" Perry said, recounting his conversations with Trump.

The Trump and Giuliani allies driving the attempt to change the senior management at Naftogaz, however, appear to have had inside knowledge of the U.S. government's plans in Ukraine. For example, they told people that Trump would replace the U.S. ambassador there months before she was actually recalled to Washington, according to three of the individuals interviewed by the AP. One of the individuals said he was so concerned by the whole affair that he reported it to a U.S. Embassy official in Ukraine months ago.

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THE BUSINESSMEN

Ukraine, a resource-rich nation that sits on the geographic and symbolic border between Russia and the West, has long been plagued by corruption and government dysfunction, making it a magnet for foreign profiteers.

At the center of the Naftogaz plan, according to three individuals familiar with the details, were three such businessmen: two Soviet-born Florida real estate entrepreneurs, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, and an oil magnate from Boca Raton, Florida, named Harry Sargeant III.

Parnas and Fruman have made hundreds of thousands of dollars in political donations to Republicans, including $325,000 to a Trump-allied political action committee in 2018. This helped the relatively unknown entrepreneurs gain access to top levels of the Republican Party – including meetings with Trump at the White House and Mar-a-Lago.

The two have also faced lawsuits from disgruntled investors over unpaid debts. During the same period they were pursuing the Naftogaz deal, the two were coordinating with Giuliani to set up meetings with Ukrainian government officials and push for an investigation of the Bidens.

Sargeant, his wife and corporate entities tied to the family have donated at least $1.2 million to Republican campaigns and PACs over the last 20 years, including $100,000 in June to the Trump Victory Fund, according to federal and state campaign finance records. He has also served as finance chair of the Florida state GOP, and gave nearly $14,000 to Giuliani's failed 2008 presidential campaign.

In early March, Fruman, Parnas and Sargeant were touting a plan to replace Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolyev with another senior executive at the company, Andrew Favorov, according to two individuals who spoke to the AP as well as a memorandum about the meeting that was later submitted to the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, formerly known as Kiev.

Going back to the Obama administration, the U.S. Energy Department and the State Department have long supported efforts to import American natural gas into Ukraine to reduce the country's dependence on Russia.

The three approached Favorov with the idea while the Ukrainian executive was attending an energy industry conference in Texas. Parnas and Fruman told him they had flown in from Florida on a private jet to recruit him to be their partner in a new venture to export up to 100 tanker shipments a year of U.S. liquefied gas into Ukraine, where Naftogaz is the largest distributor, according to two people briefed on the details.

Sargeant told Favorov that he regularly meets with Trump at Mar-a-Lago and that the gas-sales plan had the president's full support, according to the two people who said Favorov recounted the discussion to them.

These conversations were recounted to AP by Dale W. Perry, an American who is a former business partner of Favorov. He told AP in an interview that Favorov described the meeting to him soon after it happened and that Favorov perceived it to be a shakedown. Perry, who is no relation to the energy secretary, is the managing partner of Energy Resources of Ukraine, which currently has business agreements to import natural gas and electricity to Ukraine.

A second person who spoke on condition of anonymity also confirmed to the AP that Favorov had recounted details of the Houston meeting to him.

According to Dale Perry and the other person, Favorov said Parnas told him Trump planned to remove U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and replace her with someone more open to aiding their business interests.

Dale Perry told the AP he was so concerned about the efforts to change the management at Naftogaz and to get rid of Yovanovitch that he reported what he had heard to Suriya Jayanti, a State Department foreign service officer stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv who focuses on the energy industry.

He also wrote a detailed memo about Favorov's account, dated April 12, which was shared with another current State Department official. Perry recently provided a copy of the April memo to AP.

Jayanti declined to provide comment. Favorov also declined to comment.

A Florida lawyer representing Sargeant, Christopher Kise, issued a statement Monday confirming that his client was at the Houston dinner with Parnas, Fruman and Favorov, but insisted he was there only to offer "broad industry guidance and his expert view on the challenges presented by operating in foreign markets."

"Attending a single, informal dinner in Houston does not place Mr. Sargeant at the center of any Naftogaz or Ukrainian business plan," Kise said. "Mr. Sargeant never discussed any role or participation in any Ukraine venture, nor any specifics regarding the potential business ventures of the other dinner participants."

The statement did not address whether Yovanovitch's fate was discussed at the dinner. Kise also said Sargeant has not met at Mar-a-Lago with Trump since he became president.

On March 24, Giuliani and Parnas gathered at the Trump International Hotel in Washington with Healy E. Baumgardner, a former Trump campaign adviser who once served as deputy communications director for Giuliani's presidential campaign and as a communications official during the George W. Bush administration.

She is now listed as the CEO of 45 Energy Group, a Houston-based energy company whose website describes it as a "government relations, public affairs and business development practice group." The company's name is an apparent nod to Trump, the 45th president.

This was a couple of weeks after the Houston meeting with Favorov, the Naftogaz executive. Giuliani, Parnas and Baumgardner were there to make a business pitch involving gas deals in the former Soviet bloc to a potential investor.

This time, according to Giuliani, the deals that were discussed involved Uzbekistan, not Ukraine.

"I have not pursued a deal in the Ukraine. I don't know about a deal in the Ukraine. I would not do a deal in the Ukraine now, obviously," said Giuliani, reached while attending a playoff baseball game between the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins. "There is absolutely no proof that I did it, because I didn't do it."

During this meeting, Parnas again repeated that Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador in Kyiv, would soon be replaced, according to a person with direct knowledge of the gathering. She was removed two months later.

Giuliani, who serves as Trump's personal lawyer and has no official role in government, acknowledged Friday that he was among those pushing the president to replace the ambassador, a career diplomat with a history of fighting corruption.

"The ambassador to Ukraine was replaced," he said. "I did play a role in that."

But Giuliani refused to discuss the details of his business dealings, or whether he helped his associates in their push to forge gas sales contracts with the Ukrainian company. He did describe Sergeant as a friend and referred to Parnas and Fruman as his clients in a tweet in May.

As part of their impeachment inquiry, House Democrats have subpoenaed Giuliani for documents and communications related to dozens of people, including Favorov, Parnas, Fruman and Baumgardner's 45 Energy Group.

The House Intelligence Committee also issued sweeping document requests to Parnas and Fruman, due Monday, and scheduled depositions for later in the week.

John Dowd, a former Trump attorney who now represents Parnas and Fruman, said he and his clients have not yet decided whether to comply. Democrats on Monday threatened to issue subpoenas if they don't show.

Baumgardner issued a written statement, saying: "While I won't comment on business discussions, I will say this: this political assault on private business by the Democrats in Congress is complete harassment and an invasion of privacy that should scare the hell out of every American business owner."

Baumgardner later denied that she had any business dealings in Ukraine but refused to say whether the replacement of Ambassador Yovanovitch was discussed.

Dowd said it was actually the Naftogaz executives who approached his clients about making a deal. Dowd says the group then approached Rick Perry to get the Energy Department on board.

"The people from the company solicited my clients because Igor is in the gas business, and they asked them, and they flew to Washington and they solicited," Dowd said. "They sat down and talked about it. And then it was presented to Secretary Perry to see if they could get it together.

"It wasn't a shakedown; it was an attempt to do legitimate business that didn't work out."

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THE ENERGY SECRETARY

In May, Rick Perry traveled to Kyiv to serve as the senior U.S. government representative at the inauguration of the county's new president.

In a private meeting with Zelenskiy, Perry pressed the Ukrainian president to fire members of the Naftogaz advisory board. Attendees left the meeting with the impression that Perry wanted to replace the American representative, Amos Hochstein, a former diplomat and energy representative who served in the Obama administration, with someone "reputable in Republican circles," according to someone who was in the room.

Perry's push for Ukraine's state-owned natural gas company Naftogaz to change its supervisory board was first reported by Politico.

A second meeting during the trip, at a Kyiv hotel, included Ukrainian officials and energy sector people. There, Perry made clear that the Trump administration wanted to see the entire Naftogaz supervisory board replaced, according to a person who attended both meetings. Perry again referenced the list of advisers that he had given Zelenskiy, and it was widely interpreted that he wanted Michael Bleyzer, a Ukrainian-American businessman from Texas, to join the newly formed board, the person said. Also on the list was Robert Bensh, another Texan who frequently works in Ukraine, the Energy Department confirmed.

Gordon D. Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, and Kurt D. Volker, then the State Department's special envoy to Ukraine, were also in the room, according to photographs reviewed by AP. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to fear of retaliation, said he was floored by the American requests because the person had always viewed the U.S. government "as having a higher ethical standard."

The Naftogaz supervisory board is supposed to be selected by the Ukrainian president's Cabinet in consultation with international institutions, including the International Monetary Fund, the United States and the European Union. It must be approved by the Ukrainian Cabinet. Ukrainian officials perceived Perry's push to swap out the board as circumventing that established process, according to the person in the room.

U.S. Energy Department spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said Perry had consistently called for the modernization of Ukraine's business and energy sector in an effort to create an environment that will incentivize Western companies to do business there. She said Perry delivered that same message in the May meeting with Zelenskiy.

"What he did not do is advocate for the business interests of any one individual or company," Hynes said Saturday. "That is fiction being pushed by those who are disingenuously seeking to advance a nefarious narrative that does not exist."

Hynes said the Ukrainian government had requested U.S. recommendations to advise the country on energy matters, and Perry provided those recommendations. She confirmed Bleyzer was on the list.

Bleyzer, whose company is based in Houston, did not respond on Saturday to a voicemail seeking comment. Bensh also did not respond to a phone message.

Perry has close ties to the Texas oil and gas industry. He appointed Bleyzer to a two-year term on a state technologies fund board in 2009. The following year, records show Bleyzer donated $20,000 to Perry's reelection campaign.

Zelenskiy's office declined to comment on Saturday.

In an interview Friday with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Perry said that "as God as my witness" he never discussed Biden or his son in meetings with Ukrainian or U.S. officials, including Trump or Giuliani. He did confirm he had had a conversation with Giuliani by phone, but a spokeswoman for the energy secretary declined to say when that call was or whether the two had discussed Naftogaz.

In Lithuania on Monday, Perry said he could not recall whether Bleyzer's name was on the list provided to Zelenskiy. But Perry confirmed he had known Bleyzer for years and called him "a really brilliant, capable businessman."

"I would recommend him for a host of different things in Kyiv because he knows the country," Perry said of Bleyzer. "He's from there. So, why not? I mean I would be stunned if someone said that would you eliminate Michael Bleyzer from a recommendation of people you ought to talk to about how to do business in the country, whether they're knowledgeable. It'd be remarkable if I didn't say, 'Talk to Michael.'"

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Biesecker and Lardner reported from Washington. Associated Press reporter Alan Fram contributed.

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Key findings from this story are summarized at the AP News website.

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Follow AP investigative reporters Desmond Butler at http://twitter.com/desmondbutler, Michael Biesecker at http://twitter.com/mbieseck and Richard Lardner at http://twitter.com/rplardner

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Contact AP's global investigative team at Investigative@ap.org.

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This story has been corrected to show Bleyzer's first name is Michael, not Robert.


          

Diahann Carroll, Oscar-nominated, pioneering actress, dies   

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NEW YORK (AP) — Diahann Carroll, the Oscar-nominated actress and singer who won critical acclaim as the first black woman to star in a non-servant role in a TV series as "Julia," has died. She was 84.

Carroll's daughter, Susan Kay, told The Associated Press her mother died Friday in Los Angeles of cancer.

During her long career, Carroll earned a Tony Award for the musical "No Strings" and an Academy Award nomination for best actress for "Claudine."

But she was perhaps best known for her pioneering work on "Julia." Carroll played Julia Baker, a nurse whose husband had been killed in Vietnam, in the groundbreaking situation comedy that aired from 1968 to 1971.

"Diahann Carroll walked this earth for 84 years and broke ground with every footstep. An icon. One of the all-time greats," director Ava DuVernay wrote on Twitter. "She blazed trails through dense forests and elegantly left diamonds along the path for the rest of us to follow. Extraordinary life. Thank you, Ms. Carroll."

Although she was not the first black woman to star in her own TV show (Ethel Waters played a maid in the 1950s series "Beulah"), she was the first to star as someone other than a servant.

NBC executives were wary about putting "Julia" on the network during the racial unrest of the 1960s, but it was an immediate hit.

It had its critics, though, including some who said Carroll's character, who is the mother of a young son, was not a realistic portrayal of a black American woman in the 1960s.

"They said it was a fantasy," Carroll recalled in 1998. "All of this was untrue. Much about the character of Julia I took from my own life, my family."

Not shy when it came to confronting racial barriers, Carroll won her Tony portraying a high-fashion American model in Paris who has a love affair with a white...


          

[UPDATE] Sheriff’s Department Releases Description of the Vehicles Involved in Home Invasion Near Blocksburg Where One Person Was Shot   

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"They pistol-whipped everybody....Shot one in the hand."
          

The Latest Immigration Crackdown May Be Fake Social Security Numbers   

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The Social Security Administration may be the latest front in the Trump administration's crackdown on illegal immigration. The agency is reviving the controversial practice of sending "no match" letters to businesses across the country, notifying them when an employee's Social Security number doesn't match up with official records. That may sound innocuous. But these no-match letters are expected to set off alarm bells. That's what happened when they arrived in the mail back in the mid-2000s. "It was a scare tactic," said Julie Pace, an employment lawyer at the Cavanagh Law Firm in Phoenix. Back then, as now, the federal government was trying to crack down on unauthorized workers. Pace understands the need to keep accurate records. But she thinks these letters were also intended to threaten employers who might have undocumented workers on the payroll. "They were like the very old school formal government letter that scared you," she said. There are a lot of reasons someone's Social
          

Dr. Richard Daystrom on (News Article):Here’s an Example of the Crazy Lengths NASA Goes to Land Safely on Mars.....   

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-EYES ON MARS —

Here’s an Example of the Crazy Lengths NASA Goes to Land Safely on Mars..........

15 years of work for 10 seconds of action.

ERIC BERGER - 10/7/2019, 9:08 AM

  • Over three weeks in April and May of 2019, NASA's Lander Vision System flew 17 flights attached to the front of a helicopter.
  • The vision system is an integral part of a guidance system called Terrain-Relative Navigation on the Mars 2020 rover.
  • The missions took place in the Mojave National Preserve as well as Death Valley.
  • While it is hotter than Mars, the terrain has a similar appearance.
  • The vision system took pictures and processed them as if it were coming into a landing on Mars.
  • The vision system performed well during these tests.

If all goes well, the Mars 2020 mission will launch toward the Red Planet next July. Then, after a six-month cruise to Mars, a lander carrying a 1-ton rover will detach from the spacecraft and attempt to make a soft landing in an ancient lake bed named Jezero Crater.

Most likely, it will all go well despite the enormous challenge of safely sending spacecraft to Mars. Historically, about 50% of missions have failed. But NASA has gotten pretty good at this stuff, and there's a reason for that. The agency works really hard at getting all of the details right.

Probably the most challenging part of the Mars 2020 mission involves putting the rover on the ground. It is true that NASA performed pretty much the same landing profile in August 2012 with the similarly sized Curiosity rover. However, there is one key difference—whereas Curiosity sought a safe landing site in the relatively smooth terrain of Gale Crater, the Mars 2020 mission will land in a more sporty location with boulders and other hazards.

To increase the odds of success, therefore, the Mars 2020 mission will have an added technology called Terrain Relative Navigation, essentially an autopilot. And this autopilot has been meticulously developed. An engineer named Andrew Johnson at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California has spent most of the last 15 years working on the technology that will guide the 2020 spacecraft's flight for just 10 seconds.

"These 10 seconds may make the difference in whether we land safely on Mars or not," said Johnson, who is responsible for the lander's vision system.

How it works

At 4.2km above the surface, as the lander is descending under parachute power, an on-board computer begins to rapidly take pictures of the Martian surface. Each image has a resolution of 6 meters per pixel, and the landing system is looking for features such as craters, cliffs, and large boulders to compare against previously captured orbital imagery. After the on-board computer has made 15 landmark "matches," it switches to a higher-resolution mode to fine-tune the landing positioning. Previously, a lander could estimate where it was on Mars to within about 3km. The new vision system seeks to bring this error down to 40 meters.

There's about a 10-second period in this sequence during which the on-board computer must assess the high-resolution imagery, calculate the expected landing position, compare this location to satellite imagery of the Martian surface, and determine whether to alter the vehicle's course. All of this must be done before the separation of the back shell, after which a rocket-powered diversion of up to 600 meters would no longer be possible.

 On Sept. 28, 2019, engineers and technicians working on the Mars 2020 spacecraft at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, look on as a crane lifts the rocket-powered descent stage away from the rover after a test.

NASA

Making all of this work requires both new hardware, including a "vision compute element," as well as a lander camera. And writing the software and creating algorithms for all of this has taken a long time, but Johnson knows the system must work. There are no do-overs. "This is what will allow us to land in a site of high scientific interest, like Jezero Crater," Johnson said.

Without the landing vision system, the rover would most likely still make it to Mars. There is about an 85% chance of success. But this is nowhere near good enough for a $2 billion mission. With the landing camera and software Johnson has led development of, the probability of success increases to 99%.

Test program

NASA, of course, can't test the landing vision system on Mars, so it has turned to the next best thing—the Mojave National Preserve and Death Valley. Johnson and other engineers developed a test program and, in April and May, participated in a series of drop tests to simulate landing on Mars, where the vision system has observed Mars-like terrain such as Kelso Dunes.

Working with Pursuit Aviation, Johnson would fly in a helicopter up to 5km above the Earth's surface, with the vision system attached to the front of the vehicle to take and process images. The vision system has flown more than 600 simulated Mars landings, and it has performed well in terms of identifying its location, assessing hazards, and finding safe landing sites.

"It's pretty incredible to watch these guys work," said John Tamburro, a pilot for the aviation company that flew the Airbus H125 helicopter used for the tests. "They dedicate their lives to this. It's incredible that Andrew has been on this project for 15 years. They are all in."

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Ex-Arsenal great says there's "no way" Liverpool will match the Gunners' 'Invincibles' season   

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Liverpool may be one win away from breaking the Premier League record for consecutive victories, but Paul Merson thinks they shouldn't get carried away.Writing in Sky Sports, the former Arsenal midfielder says Klopp's side have "no chance" of emulating the Gunners and going the whole season unbeaten."They weren't great the other day," he said."When Leicester got to 1-1, they looked like the team that might nick it, even though Liverpool didn't deserve to lose."Arsenal's Invincibles season saw them amass 90 points overall, with 26 wins and 12 draws.Both Liverpool and Manchester City eclipsed that in last year's campaign, reaching 97 and 98 points respectively.And despite the gap at the top already being eight points, Merson has warned of how quickly things can turn around:"I don't want to say it's Liverpool's title to throw away because there's a long way to go."The players had the title snatched from them last year. It was taken away from them after Man City won 14 straight football matches and Vincent Kompany stuck one in the top corner from 30 yards."This Manchester City team can get on a roll and reel off 10 on the trot so there's a long, long way to go."The Invincibles question was raised last season with Liverpool too, after they made it until December without losing.Klopp's response was to quickly quash it, saying:“I don't really think we are invincible and if we think that we have a manager that would put both feet on the ground.”And he's been quick to keep the same party line this season, saying before the game against Sheffield United:“Thank God we lost from time to time in the Champions League or other cup competitions, because we still know how it feels."That’s really important because we want to change things when we lose a game."Now Read...The 10 best teams that didn't win the Champions LeagueWhy Liverpool fans shouldn't fear Jurgen Klopp leaving for the German national team job
          

Ukraine ‘Anti-Corruption’ Director Bragged About Helping Hillary Clinton In 2016: Leaked Audio   

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Zero Hedge | "They were coordinating an investigation with the Hillary team on Paul Manafort with Alexandra Chalupa,"
          

   

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The hateful extremism of the British government

I have just had an extensive look at "Challenging Hateful Extremism", a recent emission of the British government.

There is only one form of extremism in Britain that frequently kills people and that is of course Muslim extremism. So you would think that the report would focus heavily on that form of extremism and leave other forms of extremism to be summed up in a single chapter.  That is not remotely so.

The report does mention Musim hate speech but it is most heavily concerned with the words of British patriots who resent the favoritism shown towards Muslims by the British government.  And that favoritism is surely hateful extremism. 

The Left will deny anything so will probably deny any favoritism towards Muslims but the report itself is evidence of that bias.  It was chaired by Sara Khan, a former  president of an Islamic youth organisation.  No expectation of bias there, of course.

So rather than be preoccupied with the grievous attacks from Muslims that can erupt anywhere any time, the British government wants to muzzle citizens who are concerned about such attacks.  A more hateful form of extremism would be hard to imagine -- JR







British cops covering up for one-another

It's what cops do but it must be exposed

Five detectives were cleared of wrongdoing over their handling of bogus VIP sex ring allegations following a "lamentable and inadequate" inquiry by police watchdogs, a former High Court judge has said.

Sir Richard Henriques believes the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) carried out "no effective interrogations" during its review of Operation Midland, which focused on false allegations by fantasist Carl Beech.

He also expressed alarm at the IOPC's "lack of knowledge of criminal procedure" as it prepares to publish a report explaining why it exonerated officers involved in the disastrous sex abuse probe.

Writing in the Daily Mail, Sir Richard said he finds it "difficult to conceive that no misconduct or criminality was involved by at least one officer" involved in the Midland inquiry.

"Whilst all five, absent any proper investigation, must be presumed innocent, the responsibility of the IOPC was to carry out a high quality investigation in a timely manner," he added. 

"The delay in reaching their findings of almost three years is gross and inexcusable and goes some way to inhibiting any further investigation."

Beech was jailed for 18 years for perverting justice by claiming he had been abused by Sir Edward Heath, the former Prime Minister, Lord Brittan, the former Home Secretary, Lord Bramall, the former head of the Army and Harvey Proctor, the former Tory MP.

He also claimed he had witnessed members of the gang murder three boys, prompting police to launch a £2.5 million homicide investigation.

Instead of testing the claims, the Metropolitan Police declared they were  "credible and true", something Sir Richard said had devastating consequences.

The former judge pinpointed 43 separate mistakes by officers in his own report on Operation Midland.

His scathing report says there were numerous opportunities to spot Beech's lies in the early stages of the inquiry and shut the case down.

In response, Scotland Yard's Deputy Commissioner Sir Stephen House admitted "mistakes were made" but said the force does not agree with "everything Sir Richard wrote in his report or indeed all of his recent statements regarding further investigations into the actions of officers".

SOURCE 







Anger as BBC Today presenter Justin Webb says Rory Stewart should not try to be London mayor because standing against black and Muslim rivals as a white Old Etonian 'is not very 2020'

BBC Today presenter Justin Webb suggested Rory Stewart should not stand for London mayor because he is a white man and an Old Etonian.

The ex-Tory cabinet minister, 46, appeared on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme to discuss his mayoral campaign.

However Today presenter Justin Webb, 58, argued that Mr Stewart standing in the mayoral race was not 'really 2020'.  

Mr Stewart is up against Conservative Party candidate Shaun Bailey and member of the Labour Party Sadiq Khan.

Mr Webb said: 'You mention that you are proud of the diversity of the mayoral race in London, you are a white guy and Old Etonian - it's not really 2020 is it, really, to be challenging a black man who is the conservative candidate and the Muslim mayor.'

Mr Stewart added: 'You are absolutely right it is a fantastically diverse group of candidates which reflects a diverse city.'

'And you are saying don't elect them, elect a white Etonian,' said Mr Webb who was educated at private Sidcot School, Somerset.

The ex-minister said: 'I'm definitely not saying that.'

'It kind of is what you are saying isn't it because you are standing,' Mr Webb retorted.

Mr Stewart said: 'I am saying that you should not be voting for me on the basis of my ethnicity but on the basis of the fact that I feel that as an ex-cabinet minister, as someone who has run for big projects internationally, as somebody who can get things done and has proved in government that I can turn things around.

'I can make the role of mayor something bigger than it has been in the past - I think there is huge potential in the role of mayor of London.'

Mr Stewart added on the Today programme: 'I think British political parties are dragging towards the extremes. I think there is a gaping hole in the centre...'  'I'm obviously not a partisan of Sadiq Khan's or indeed of any political party - I think that mayoral roles can be done very well by independents.  'And I think the danger of mayors being part of political parties is they carry the whole damage and the baggage of those manifestos with them.' 

Mr Stewart has been highly critical of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's approach to Brexit, leading to him being sacked as a Tory MP by Mr Johnson last month - along with 20 other colleagues - for voting against a no-deal exit. 

Over the coming weeks, the Remain campaigner intends to emulate his walk across Afghanistan in 2002 - which the ex-diplomat wrote about for a travel book - by touring each borough of London on foot as part of a listening mission before the campaign kicks off.

'I can make the role of mayor something bigger than it's been in the past - I think there's huge potential in the role of mayor of London,' Mr Stewart insisted. 'I think it's something that we see in cities like New York, I don't think we've begun to see the potential of it.'

Mr Stewart insisted that he sought to position himself as the London mayoral candidate without ties to either Jeremy Corbyn or Boris Johnson.

He added how mayors who were part of political parties carried 'baggage' of their manifestos and suggested he could 'really focus' on London's interests 'rather than being tied to Jeremy Corbyn or Boris Johnson.'

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted yesterday: 'Rory Stewart wholeheartedly backed Tory cuts that have ripped the heart out of our communities and done so much damage to our police, NHS and schools. He would be a disaster for London.'

Responding to the criticism on BBC Breakfast this morning Mr Stewart told presenter Charlie Stayt: 'You have just put your finger there on the classic thing, which is we are back to party politics again. 'But I think what we shouldn't do is get into this world of everybody throwing personal insults.'

Mr Stewart said London Mayor Sadiq Khan had 'made the most' of the role and that it was 'not clear' what his dreams are for the capital.

SOURCE 






Australia: Journalists won't face facts over false claims of abuse in divorce proceedings

CHRIS KENNY

Astounding as it might seem, fact can sometimes be portrayed as fiction because politicians and journalists are more interested in their own positioning than realistically dealing with the proposition at hand.

Afteryears of campaigning for reform of the Family Court system, Pauline Hanson last month welcomed the government's decision to grant her wish of a parliamentary inquiry, complete with her place as deputy chair.

In one of her first interviews Hanson told Radio National Breakfast's Hamish McDonald that women sometimes used false domestic violence claims so as to win sole custody of their children. "I'm hearing of too many cases where children, or parents I should say, are using domestic violence to stop the other parent from seeing their children. Perjury is in our system, but they're not charged with perjury," said the One Nation Senator.

McDonald, rightly, pressed Hanson for evidence to support her claim, and she, rightly, relayed cases forwarded to her, including one involving her son, as anecdotal evidence while arguing this was one of the issues the inquiry should examine in order to establish verifiable information. Hanson went on to make similar comments on Nine Media and elsewhere, dubbing some women "liars".

Cue outrage. "One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has caused outrage after making a series of comments on ABC Radio this morning, implying women who report domestic violence are often lying," reported News.com.au. "Pauline Hanson sparks fury with claim domestic violence victims are lying to family court," screamed The Guardian Australia. "Pauline Hanson slammed," opened The Project while host Carrie Bickmore said Hanson "sparked outrage taking aim at domestic violence victims" — which seemed to draw a long and inflammatory bow.

In the Sydney Morning Herald, journalist David Leser wrote Hanson "has already demonstrated her lack of fitness for the job by accusing women of fabricating domestic violence claims in order to get custody of their children". The Guardian Australia's political reporter, Katharine Murphy, opined: "Hanson has kicked off with inflammation, ventilating the old chestnut that women are making up domestic violence claims in custody battles."

In Nine Media newspapers Jacqueline Maley and Bianca Hall quoted former Family Court chief justice Elizabeth Evatt: "The first-ever chief justice of the Family Court says Senator Pauline Hanson's claim that women fabricate family violence complaints is 'appalling' and 'not true."

With such outrage afoot the safest place for politicians (especially men) to be was anywhere but agreeing with Hanson. While Labor and the Greens lined up to attack her, even Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton pushed back. "Pauline Hanson is passionate about a lot of issues and she was wrong in relation to some of the comments she made during the course of the week," he said.

Surely for journalists there was one crucial question that had to be addressed — and it wasn't whether or not you agreed with Hanson's language, supported her priorities, or whether you thought false claims were the biggest problem when it came to the Family Court and domestic violence. The question was simply whether she was right.

The ABC ran a story on the second day of this controversy saying domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty had "called out" Hanson's comments, yet in the next paragraph quoted Batty saying there are "some women who abuse the system".

The Project, The Guardian Australia and others went to journalist Jess Hill, whose book on domestic violence cited, among other things, a study showing men made false claims at three times the rate of women. Hill was keen to condemn Hanson but did she disprove her claims? On The Project, Bickmore asked Hill: "Jess, what do you make of Pauline's comments? Are false abuse claims a big problem in our Family Courts?"

The response was emphatic and fascinating. "No," said Hill, "we actually have data for a really long time telling us about the average number of false claims, or deliberately false allegations — they're at about 10 per cent"

On RN Breakfast the day after his initial Hanson interview, McDonald followed up by interviewing domestic violence expert Dr Jane Wangmann from University of Technology Sydney. Asked whether or not false claims happened, her initial response mentioned that this was "a very powerful narrative that has come from men's rights groups" and she went on to say "there is no evidence to support her (Hanson's) allegations".

Yet, live to air, Wangmann cited studies in Canada and Australia tracing false claims involv-ing child abuse and family court matters. "They have found allegations that are false are very, very small, ranging between 4 and 12 per cent," she said. Wangmann clarified that the 12 per cent figure related to the Australian study but insisted: "There is no evidence to support this is a widespread concern in which we might need to have an inquiry."

So here we had RN Breakfast and The Project persisting in their outrage that Hanson was perpetrating a falsehood about women making false claims, at the same time their chosen experts confirmed false allegation rates of 10 and 12 per cent. In neither case did the interviews note that false claim rates of 10 per cent or more only under-scored Hanson's point.

Instead the media angle was to remain aligned with their guests — that is, opposed to Hanson. This is a dear case of the media maintaining their ideological position despite the facts, journalism siding with political style over factual substance.

Judging whether someone is right or wrong is not a matter of making hierarchical comparisons with other issues. Hanson did not say false claims are a bigger issue than the number of women being killed in domestic violence attacks, or that this was easy or that it was the only issue. Hanson said there was a problem with false claims and that it might be a factor in the high rates of male suicide. And while politicians rushed to distance themselves, so did the media.

But even in their efforts to de-bunk Hanson they revealed figures suggesting one in every 10 claims put before the system is false. It seems we have cultivated such a superficial public debate that participants fear conceding any point to Hanson might see them identified with her agenda. So, figures that proved Hanson
had a point were used to pretend she was wrong.

Child psychologist Clare Rowe deals in such matters daily. "People might not like Hanson's politics, or priorities, or how she speaks about these issues, but the reality is false claims are a problem," Rowe told me. "This topic should not be taboo because, while we know the court must err on the side of caution, these cases do occur, and it means hundreds of children are being denied a parent under false pre-tences."

That sounds like an issue worthy of media examination. But it requires a bit more time and effort compared to the usual Hanson backlash angle.

Story from the Brisbane "courier Mail" of 7 October, 2019

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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.  Email me (John Ray) here

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MAGA Hat Wearers Harass the Elderly (Kidding, It Was Antifa)

Antifa's special brand of bullying madness has arrived in full force in Canada. Left-wing thugs can be seen on video chanting, "Nazi scum! Off our streets! Nazi scum! Off our streets!" at an elderly couple trying to do nothing more than use a public crosswalk. As you can see, the woman can apparently get around only with the aid of a walker, yet still poses some kind of threat to Antifa.

The reason for Antifa's appearance was to "protest" an event at Mohawk College sponsored by Maxime Bernier, leader of the People’s Party of Canada, and American libertarian political commentator Dave Rubin.

ASIDE: Pardon the scare quotes above, but a in my mind it isn't a protest when you're there to harass private citizens. That's nothing better than a temper tantrum at best.
The local Hamilton Spectator reports that more than 100 Antifa showed up at the sold-out event. The school allowed Sunday's show to go on, despite "concerns" raised by various students and faculty members' about PPC's supposed "far-right" agenda.

Bernier is a former Canadian cabinet member under PM Stephen Harper's Conservative party government, but left to form the PPC last year. Bernier complained that the Conservatives had grown too "intellectually and morally corrupt" to take on "extreme multiculturalism," which he believes creates division among Canadians.

Sunday's event sold out the 1,000-seat McIntyre Art Centre at $50 per ticket. Not a bad showing at a school of 30,000 students, and the extra security the administration had to provide wasn't to keep the conservatives and libertarians in line.

Meanwhile in Seattle, Major League Soccer caved to Antifa hooligans, agreeing to allow the black flag to fly during a Seattle Sounders games at CenturyLink, and elsewhere.

Give in to thugs, get more thuggery.

I was about to say things are going to get ugly, but they already have. The question is, how much uglier we'll let things get before the inevitable backlash.

SOURCE 






Another false accusation of abuse from a female

It's been a running gag at Instapundit for years now that if it weren't for fake hate crimes, there'd be hardly any hate crimes at all. So it probably shouldn't come as a huge surprise to learn that yet another fake hate crime allegation has been proven false.

It was all over the major papers late last week, when 12-year-old Amari Allen, a black student, claimed that three white boys held her down and forcibly cut some of her dreadlocks at their Christian school.

Wiser bloggers demurred from covering the story until more information could come to light.

Yet the NYT and other outlets breathlessly reported the sixth-grader's accusation in a phone interview. "They put me on the ground," she claimed. "One of them put my hands behind my back. One put his hands over my mouth. One cut my hair. They were saying that my hair was ugly, that it was nappy." And Twitter was all lit up because of the supposed Mike Pence connection -- his wife Karen teaches at the Immanuel Christian School where the assault never happened.

DailyKos is on it! Let's see if A) They retract this tweet, or B) double down on stupid.

No, they didn't. The girl recanted. Nevertheless, school principal Stephen Danish released a statement this morning bemoaning the "tremendous pain for the victims and the hurt on both sides of this conflict."

Both sides? Did Allen's feelings get hurt when she had to retract her false accusation?

Well, we almost have all the daylight we need on this one, thanks. I do have one question still unanswered: Will Allen face anything like the discipline the boys would have (and should have) if her accusations hadn't been lies?

SOURCE 






Who Cares About You?

Walter E. Williams
  
During my student days at a UCLA economics department faculty/graduate student coffee hour in the 1960s, I was chatting with Professor Armen Alchian, probably the greatest microeconomic theory economist of the 20th century. I was trying to impress Alchian with my knowledge of statistical type I and type II errors. I explained that unlike my wife, who assumed that everyone was her friend until they prove differently, my assumption was everyone was an enemy until they proved otherwise. The result: My wife’s vision maximized the number of her friends but maximized her chances of betrayal. My vision minimized my chances of betrayal at a cost of minimizing the number of my friends.

Alchian, donning a mischievous smile asked, “Williams, have you considered a third alternative, namely, that people don’t give a damn about you one way or another?” Initially, I felt a bit insulted, and our conversation didn’t go much further, but that was typical of Alchian — saying something profound, perhaps controversial, without much comment and letting you think it out.

Years later, I gave Alchian’s third alternative considerable thought and concluded that he was right. The most reliable assumption, in terms of the conduct of one’s life, is to assume that people don’t care about you one way or another. It’s an error to generalize that people are friends or enemies, or that people are out to either help you or hurt you. To put it more crudely, as Alchian did, people don’t give a damn about you one way or another.

Let’s apply this argument to issues of race. Listening to some people, one might think that white people are engaged in an ongoing secret conspiracy to undermine the achievement and well-being of black people. Their evidence is low black academic achievement and high rates of black poverty, unemployment and incarceration. For some, racism is the root cause of most black problems including the unprecedentedly high black illegitimacy rate and family breakdown.

Are white people obsessed with and engaged in a conspiracy against black people? Here’s an experiment. Walk up to the average white person and ask, “How many minutes today have you been thinking about black people?” If the person isn’t a Klansman or a gushing do-gooder liberal, his answer would probably be zero minutes. If you asked him whether he’s a part of a conspiracy to undermine the achievement and well-being of black people, he’d probably look at you as if you were crazy. By the same token, if a person asked me: “Williams, how many minutes today have you been thinking about white people?” My answer would probably be, “Not even a nanosecond.” Because people don’t care about you one way or another doesn’t mean they wish you good will, ill will or no will. They just don’t give a damn.

What are the implications of the people-don’t-care vision of how the world works? A major implication is that one’s destiny, for the most part, is in one’s hands. How you make it in this world depends more on what you do as opposed to whether people like or dislike you. Black politicians, civil rights leaders and white liberals have peddled victimhood to black people, teaching them that racism is pervasive and no amount of individual effort can overcome racist barriers. Peddling victimhood is not new. Booker T. Washington said: “There is a class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.” In an 1865 speech to the Anti-Slavery Society in Boston, abolitionist Frederick Douglass said that people ask: “‘What shall we do with the Negro?’ I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us!” Or as Patrick Moynihan urged a century later in a 1970 memo to President Richard Nixon, “The time may have come when the issue of race could benefit from a period of ‘benign neglect.’”

SOURCE 






Teaching girls to fear boys

Bettina Arndt

I’ve long been contacted by parents and teachers concerned about anti-male bias in school curriculums – I’ve made a previous video  with an Australian teacher about this issue.

So, I was really delighted to be contacted by a South Australian teacher, Christopher Vogel, who told me he’d just finished his Masters thesis showing his state’s school curriculum is systematically teaching children that males are the abusers with females as their innocent victims.

Christopher analyzed Keeping Safe, the mandatory child protection curriculum taught in all public schools in SA from kindergarten to year 12.

He talks to me about his fascinating results in my new video.



I hope you will help me promote this important research. We need to expose this education department for teaching girls to fear boys.

His research reveals systemic bias against boys. The curriculum provides 84 examples of males being aggressive to females (including child rape and abuse) and only one instance of a female being aggressive to a male (looking in his room without permission). See examples in the graphic below.

The introduction to the curriculum reveals the clear bias against boys, quoting from feminist advocacy groups like White Ribbon which are known to distort violence statistics, presenting only males as aggressors. Here’s a breakdown of the proportion of male to female aggressors in the introduction.



The bias against boys increases with the older age groups, as you can see here.



It wasn’t so long ago that our society realised, to our shame, that we’d failed victims of sexual abuse by choosing not to hear their stories. But now we have an entire school curriculum which deliberately ignores male victims of abuse, denying their experiences and making them reluctant to seek help. In Australia we have recently had hundreds of victims of child sexual abuse paraded in the media, as part of the Royal Commission into institutional sexual abuse. It was startling how many of these were boys.

It’s just one example of the dangerous grip of feminist ideology on our institutions, including school curriculum. South Australia certainly isn’t the only state where this is happening. I hope this inspires parents and teachers to check out whether children in your schools are being fed similarly dangerous nonsense. I’ll post Christopher’s thesis on my website to give the detailed information you might need to ask tough questions. You’ll be pleased to hear Kit received an HD for his thesis and was asked to present his results to senior education bureaucrats. We need to be writing to education ministers across the country seeking more balanced treatment of our children.    

Here are some of the curriculum’s examples of male aggression:



Via email from Bettina@bettinaarndt.com.au

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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.  Email me (John Ray) here

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Fortnite: Epic faces lawsuit due to addictive game   

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Fortnite: Epic faces lawsuit due to addictive game

A legal firm is seeking a class action lawsuit against Epic Games because its popular Fortnite game is too addictive.

Calex Légal is representing the parents of two children in arguing that Fortnite is designed to be addictive, and that Epic Games did not warn customers about the dangers. The firm, based in Montreal, is seeking authorization for a class-action lawsuit and inviting parents concerned about their children's dependence on the video game to come forward.

"We dug into it and we realized there was a strong case for it," said Alessandra Esposito Chartrand, a Calex Légal attorney, reports the CBC.

The suit cites a decision made by the Quebec Superior Court in 2015 that determined tobacco companies had not warned customers about the dangers of smoking their product. This duty to inform is what Calex Légal is focusing on. Furthermore, Chartrand claims that the game is actually made purposely to be as addictive as possible.

"Epic Games, when they created Fortnite, for years and years, hired psychologists -- they really dug into the human brain and they really made the effort to make it as addictive as possible," she said. "They knowingly put on the market a very, very addictive game which was also geared toward youth."

Also cited by the lawsuit is the classification of video game addiction as a mental disorder in the World Health Organization's international disease classification manual. It was amended to reflect the change in 2018.

While the terms of service for Fortnite require users to give up the right to go to court individually or as part of a class action lawsuit, Chartrand said this will not stand up in court in Quebec. The Consumer Protection Act there requires that companies clearly disclose risks associated with products.

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Coach Trip's Brendan Sheerin had to hide gay relationship for fear of arrest   

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The openly gay tour guide, 60, was in a relationship with his partner for 25 ... "They just said, 'Thank you for standing up for gay rights', because they ...


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Molecular Clouds in the Carina Nebula    

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They are not alive -- but they are dying. They are not alive -- but they are dying.



          

They Both Die at the End   

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They Both Die at the End
author: Adam Silvera
name: Thomas
average rating: 4.01
book published: 2017
rating: 5
read at: 2019/10/04
date added: 2019/10/04
shelves: 2019, e-book, science-fiction, young-adult
review:
There's a lot to unpack with this book, but the tl;dr version is: This is a powerful book that talks about living, filtered through the veil of death.

The premise of the book is simple: In the near-future, technology exists that can tell a person that they will die that day. We don't ever know what that technology is or how it works, but it does. It's never wrong. Two young adults learn they're dying on the same day, and find each other and share their last day together.

As much as I enjoyed the relationship of Mateo and Rufus, it bugged me that there were implications about the technology that were never addressed in the story. It leads to questions of free will versus destiny, and how knowing about one's own death may very well lead that person to their death, since the choices they make up to that point are influenced by that knowledge. I couldn't help but think this would have been a great philosophical, hard-science fiction novel had it addressed those questions.

I'm aware, though, that this isn't the point of Silvera's novel. The point (cliched as it is), is that everyone should live their lives as if this were their last day; he created the technology enough to drive his characters, and that was all he needed to make that point. Part of me wishes he had put some of the focus on those themes.

As much as I loved this book, I have to admit, I'd like to read THAT book, too.

          

Deutsche Bank analysts say the arrival of Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian 'changed everything' in the fight with Amazon Web Services (GOOG, GOOGL)   

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Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian at Google Cloud Next 2019

  • Analysts were skeptical for many years of Google Cloud being able to catch up to Amazon Web Services and Microsoft, but Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian is spearheading several changes.
  • Analysts point out that Google Cloud made several new leadership hires this year, which they see as costly, but worth the investment if it translates to winning bigger customers.
  • Google Cloud is poised to go from an $8 billion cloud business today to nearly $17 billion in revenue in 2021, Deutsche Bank research analyst Lloyd Walmsley wrote in a note for clients.
  • Google Cloud still doesn't have as many deals with large enterprises, but these companies are starting to at least consider Google Cloud, analysts say.
  • Google Cloud also has an advantage because it's known for being friendly with developers, who are becoming more influential in picking what cloud to use, analysts say.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

For years, analysts were skeptical that Google Cloud could ever catch up to its rivals Amazon Web Services and Microsoft — the first- and second-place cloud providers, respectively. 

Karl Keirstead, managing director at Deutsche Bank, tells Business Insider that he thought Google Cloud would remain a "distant third," But the arrival of Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian who came from Oracle, "changed everything," he said.  

For one thing, Kurian has been making several new leadership hires at Google Cloud, which Keirstead calls "one of the most impressive bursts of hiring that we've ever seen from a large tech firm." What's more, even though Google Cloud hasn't scored many "mega-deal wins" yet he says that large companies are increasingly viewing it as a viable option. 

"He's built a fantastic leadership team, essentially pulling talent from other tech organizations that also serve the large enterprise market," Keirstead told Business Insider. 

The reason for the earlier skepticism didn't have much to do with Google Cloud itself.

"Having been built by Google, it's world class," Keirstead said. "Google has never built up an enterprise sales marketing branding and presence that can hold a candle to Microsoft. Whereas Amazon started relatively early and also didn't have as much of an enterprise presence, they just had longer to build it out."

In the bigger picture, Google Cloud is making the right investments in hiring and infrastructure – and it's poised to go from an $8 billion cloud business today to nearly $17 billion in revenue in 2021, Deutsche Bank research analyst Lloyd Walmsley wrote in a note for clients.

"It's money well spent, and I think they will be able to scale to margins that look more to AWS in the next three to five years," Walmsley told Business Insider. "We don't think, looking three years from now, they'll get to AWS on the same scale, but we think they can get to attractive margins on a three to five year basis."

New hires

Under Kurian, Google Cloud plans to triple its salesforce in a move seemingly taken from his former employer Oracle. To help manage all that growth, Google Cloud has made some key hires. 

Keirstead highlights says former SAP exec Robert Enslin, president of global customer operations, is a key hire. Others include VP and Head of Platform Amit Zavery from Oracle, EMEA President Chris Ciauri from Salesforce, Engineering VP Sunil Potti from Nutanix, and Engineering VP Yanbing Li from VMware.

Those hires are a good start, say the Deutsche Bank analysts: It's not cheap to attract hires of that caliber, they say, but it's a worthy investment in helping signal to would-be customers how serious Google Cloud is about winning their business. However, the analysts warn, that doesn't automatically translate into winning those big deals. 

Read more: Here are 12 of the most important executives leading Google Cloud as it takes on Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure

The 'larger deal wins are likely to come'

Keirstead sees rising interest from Fortune 500 companies, making him "confident that the larger deal wins are likely to come."

Keirstead says he hasn't heard about many Fortune 500 companies fully embracing Google Cloud, but winning large deals against AWS or Microsoft will take time. Some of Google Cloud's recent major customer wins include HSBC, Mayo Clinic, Macy's, and KeyBank.

Keirstead said that he recently attended a Google Cloud event in New York City with mostly financial services and banks in attendance. He says that while it's true that most of them weren't Google Cloud customers, there's something to be said for the fact that these old-school institutions were at least taking it under serious consideration. 

"They tend to be cautious buyers that move relatively slowly," Keirstead said. "This will be one of the last big markets that Google Cloud will end up going after. We took some comfort in the fact that some very large banks were there, evaluating Google Cloud."

Another aspect Google Cloud will have to fix is cultural. While Google has traditionally focused on the technology above all else, Walmsley said, it will have to learn how to take customers' concerns more seriously and act on them. 

"That's something culturally that may still encumber them," Walmsley said. 

'Currying favor' with developers

Under the legacy IT model, it was the CIO or CTO who made major technology decisions, like picking which cloud to use. However, as evidenced by Microsoft's purchase of GitHub, cloud providers are becoming aware that it's increasingly developers who drive IT spending.

He says in this sense, Google has an advantage because it's active in open source, the community of developers who write software that's free for anyone to use and download. Google engineers often contribute code to popular projects — the popular cloud project Kubernetes was even created at Google

In comparison, while Amazon's cloud is known as being developer friendly, it has a reputation for using open source code without giving anything back, Keirstead says. He says that, anecdotally, smaller startups are increasingly looking at building on Google Cloud rather than AWS, which he takes as a reflection of Google's strength in open source.

"Currying favor with and providing good functional software to the developer community is fairly essential and becoming a big strategy for the cloud providers," Keirstead said.

With developers on Google Cloud's side, Keirstead says what's left is to grow its sales.

"If they can scale up the leadership team and close the sales gap with Microsoft and Amazon, I think that's all they need to have a legitimate market share in that space," Keirstead said.

SEE ALSO: A former Google Cloud engineering leader is joining Microsoft-owned GitHub to lead its data group

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Millennials are actually really good at saving — but it might be slowing down the US economy   

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Contrary to popular perception, millennials actually are saving. But it's not necessarily a good thing — at least for the economy.

That millennials are saving more than their parents did is creating an "economic imbalance," reported Pippa Stevens for CNBC. Data from the St. Louis Federal Reserve indicates the personal savings rate in the US has increased from 5.7% in 1996 to 8.1% in 2019, she wrote.

Stevens cited a note that Raymond James analyst Tavis McCourt sent to clients: The higher savings rate, he said, has driven slow growth and low inflation — the decrease in spending affects businesses, and ultimately, the economy.

You can thank the Great Recession for this behavior.

The Great Recession split millennials into two cohorts — and they have distinctly different money habits

While older millennials, who bore the brunt of the financial crisis, dealt with a tough job market and wage stagnation that made it more difficult to save, younger millennials experienced the recovery period and became risk-averse as they watched the recession unfold, Jason Dorsey, a consultant, researcher of millennials, and president of the Center for Generational Kinetics, previously told Business Insider.

According to Dorsey, younger millennials got the benefit of learning from older millennials without having to go through some of the economic pain the older cohort experienced. This has made younger millennials more aware of the risks of a bad economy and more practical when it comes to money, from saving for emergencies to contributing to a retirement account.

Read more: The Great Recession created a domino effect of financial struggles for millennials — here are 5 ways it shaped the generation

"They are increasingly risk-averse with their money and seeking to get more value from the items or experiences they buy," he said.

The investment-banking company UBS found in 2014 that millennials were the most financially conservative generation since the Great Depression. And, citing a 2015 Capital One study, Rebecca Lake of SmartAsset reported that 93% of millennials were wary of investing.

According to an INSIDER and Morning Consult survey from earlier this year that polled 4,400 Americans — 1,207 of which identified as millennials — 69% of millennials have a savings account, compared to 65% of Gen Xers. But while having a savings account is positive, 58% said they have less than $5,000 in their account, Business Insider's Tanza Loudenback reported.

When given an extra $1,000 in cash, the majority of respondents in the survey said they would pay off debt or save the windfall — only 6% said they would put it toward travel or shopping.

Millennials might not have much money to spend or save — but when they do, it seems they opt for the latter.

Read the full article at CNBC »

SEE ALSO: Meet the average American millennial, who has an $8,000 net worth, is delaying life milestones because of student loan debt, and still relies on their parents for money

DON'T MISS: Millennials have been called the 'brokest' and the 'richest' generation, and experts say both of those are true

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Whistleblower Explains How Cambridge Analytica Helped Fuel U.S. 'Insurgency'    

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When Christopher Wylie first began working for the British behavioral research company SCL Group, the company used data drawn from a number of sources as a means of potentially altering outcomes for their, sometimes military, clients. But over time, Wylie's mission — and that of the company — expanded. Conservative strategist Steve Bannon , who later worked in President Trump's White House, became involved with the SCL subsidiary Cambridge Analytica. Wylie, who served as Cambridge Analytica's research director for a year and a half, watched as his group began to use of data from Facebook and other online sources to target users for disinformation campaigns. "They targeted people who were more prone to conspiratorial thinking," Wylie says. "They used that data, and they used social media more broadly, to first identify those people, and then engage those people, and really begin to craft what, in my view, was an insurgency in the United States." Wylie adds: "The things that I was
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