How The Fight Started

My wife and I were sitting at a table at her high school reunion, and she kept staring at a drunken man swigging his drink as he sat alone at a nearby table.

I asked her; Do you know him?

Yes, she sighed; He’s my old boyfriend !

I understand he took to drinking right after we split up those many years ago, and I hear he hasn’t been sober since.’

My God, I said; who would think a person could go on celebrating that long?

Then the fight started !?

Will Britain Pass the Choudary Test?

If there was a single flaw in the British Prime Minister’s recent speech on countering extremism in the UK, it might be encapsulated in the name “Anjem Choudary.” His speech went into terrific detail on the significance of tacking radicalism through the education system, the Charity Commission, the broadcasting license authority and numerous other means. But it failed the Choudary test.

That test is: What do you do about a British-born man who is qualified to work but appears never to have done so, and who instead spends his time taking his “dole” money and using it to fund a lifestyle devoted solely to preaching against the state?


How Elections Messed Up Turkey’s Plans

Turkey, over the past two months or so, has been run by an interim government. The Turkish voters’ decision to deprive the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of its parliamentary majority for the first time since 2002 has not only altered the center of power in Turkish politics, it has also has forced the AKP into a compromised foreign policy.

The AKP’s leadership, in theory, is in coalition negotiations with the main opposition. A historic deal is not altogether impossible, but unlikely. In his unconstitutional campaign before the June 7 parliamentary elections, the AKP’s unofficial boss, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, asked for “400 deputies” who would amend the constitution to introduce an executive presidential system for him. He did not specify for which party he wanted 400 seats in parliament, but everyone knew he explicitly supported the AKP, which he had founded in 2001. (According to the Turkish constitution, the head of government is the prime minister, not the president. The president has symbolic duties in addition to his powers to appoint high-ranking officials. He must remain non-partisan.)

Instead, Turks gave the AKP 258 seats — not enough even to form a single-party government, let alone to amend the constitution. Knowing that he has nothing to lose, Erdogan wants repeat elections in autumn.

The prospect of another possibly inconclusive election in the autumn, and two months of interim governance, has been sufficient to prune the AKP’s assertive foreign policy, especially in the Middle East.


Superficial and inaccurate BBC reporting on cross-border incident in northern Israel

BBC Watch

At around 5:30 pm on the afternoon of August 20th, four missiles fired from Syria hit areas on the lower flanks of the Golan Heights and in the Galilee Panhandle. Several hours later an article appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page with the typical ‘last-first’ reporting style title “Israel fires missiles into Syria after rocket attack“.

Like all BBC News content, that article’s aim was to “[b]uild a global understanding of international issues” and to inform by means of the provision of “reliable and unbiased information of relevance, range and depth” whilst adhering to standards of accuracy and impartiality. But were those criteria met?Irua Galil Eliyon

The main photograph used to illustrate the report is captioned:

“Rockets fired into Israel caused brushfires after hitting open areas near Galilee” [emphasis added]

Two of the missiles landed in the Upper Galilee district – not “near” it – and…

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