“To be happy–one must find one’s bliss”
― Gloria Vanderbilt
“The highest form of bliss is living with a certain degree of folly.”
― Desiderius Erasmus
“Adversity is a mirage.
People, situations, and relationships sometimes change for the worst
but inevitably clear a path for far better replacements.
The continued journey will always find bliss.”
― Carl Henegan
“I guess ignorance is bliss – when I do interviews people always say,
“Aren’t you upset that people make fun of you?” and I’m like,
“Are they making fun of me?” I guess I just don’t get it.”
― Pamela Anderson
“Ignorance might be…
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The EU-Turkey migrant deal, designed to halt the flow of migrants from Turkey to Greece, is falling apart just two months after it was reached. European officials are now looking for a back-up plan.
The March 18 deal was negotiated in great haste by European leaders desperate to gain control over a migration crisis in which more than one million migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East poured into Europe in 2015.
European officials, who appear to have promised Turkey more than they can deliver, are increasingly divided over a crucial part of their end of the bargain: granting visa-free travel to Europe for Turkey’s 78 million citizens by the end of June.
At the same time, Turkey is digging in its heels, refusing to implement a key part of its end of the deal: bringing its anti-terrorism laws into line with EU standards so that they cannot be used to detain journalists and academics critical of the government.
Way, way back in another era during the Six Day War in my public high school teachers had two choices for that week, have the television on whatever channel was covering the Arab Israeli war or have an empty classroom. The choice was that simple. Teachers who had the television tuned to the news coverage had classes filled to the brim on the first two days as students simply reported to school and went directly to the classroom they knew would have their agenda correct. My high school was close to 80% Jewish and the remainder skipped school if they were not interested in the war as they knew there was no taking roll, as anything that organized was hopeless. By the end of the war virtually every classroom had the news on and the teachers had caught the fever of realizing that we were learning something, we were learning…
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Many are hailing the election of London’s new mayor, Sadiq Khan, admirably the “son of a Pakistani bus driver,” as the sign of a new, tolerant London and that Britain’s Black and minority ethnic communities are making progress.
But there are concerns. Khan has called moderate Muslims “Uncle Toms” – not quite what one would expect to hear from a supposed advocate of equality.
The irony of course is that to show you are not a racist, you are using racist terminology. Is that what an anti-racist should sound like?
Branding someone an “Uncle Tom” also implies that the poor primate cannot think independently or formulate an opinion apart from his ethnicity. Basically, the accusation would seem an attempt to intimidate those within a community to conform to whatever the group-think is; anyone who disagrees must therefore be a traitor. But name-calling is usually just a form political blackmail designed to close down discussion before it even begins. It seemingly does not wish to take into account that someone might just have a different opinion.
Turkey and the European Union (EU) have been negotiating a deal that ostensibly would stem the flow of hundreds of thousands of migrants into Europe; Turkey, on its part, would bring dozens of laws and regulations, including its draconian anti-terror laws, in line with Europe’s; and nearly 80 million Turks would then be given visa-free travel to the EU’s borderless Schengen zone. But now, as Turkey refuses to amend its anti-terror laws, the deal seems to be facing a stalemate.
That is hardly the heart of the matter. In reality, both Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the EU are pursuing a deal that will not work.
In theory, Turkey would complete some tough homework, containing a list of 72 items. All went well until recently, when apparently the most controversial item on the list, which obliged Turkey to change its anti-terror laws, stalled the deal.
On May 14, according to Hansjörg Haber, the EU’s top envoy in Ankara, the European Commission was still working to find an acceptable solution to the impasse with Turkey over the definition of “terror.” Haber commented that “Turkey has long been mature for visa liberalization. I personally feel we had to do it much long ago. I still remain optimistic that we will eventually manage it.”
Referendum day is finally upon us – and so polls have been open since 7am (closing at 10pm) so Britain can have its say on whether to Remain or Leave the European Union. Both sides have issued their final messages to voters in today’s paper, with Ruth Davidson warning voters against “taking a leap in the dark”, while Boris Johnson says a vote to Leave would be a “turning point in the story of our country” as Britain could “prosper mightily” outside of the European Union. The race remains tight, with the bookies dubbing it the biggest political event for them in British history. Pollsters are insisting after four separate surveys yesterday that the vote is “too close to call”, so it all comes down to turnout today.
The world is looking on in the meantime, and we have rounded up what the international press is saying here. Bild has offered on behalf of the German people to acknowledge England’s controversial goal in 1966 World Cup and to use their towels to reserve the best spots by the hotel for British tours if Britain stays in EU. Republicans in the US have pledged to stand by Britain no matter how the vote goes, although Jean-Claude Juncker has been less warm, declaring that there could be no further changes to the renegotiation David Cameron agreed in February after the vote.
Ahead of the vote, Allister Heath has made a last-minute plea to Britons for voting Leave. “Forget the doom-mongers,” he writes this morning. “One question matters above all else: how should Britain and every other country be governed? We have rightly turned our back on absolute monarchy and aristocratic rule. Today we must reject technocracy, and vote leave to rebuild our democracy.” Former Tory leader Lord Howard and former Court of Appeal judge Sir Richard Aikens would sympathise, writing in today’s paper about how the EU court is picking apart British laws.
We’ll finally know how the nation voted once polls close at 10pm tonight and counting starts, with the first results expected from midnight. Some of you may be tempted to agree with Juliet Samuel, who hopes “this referendum will be the last we have to suffer through for a long time”. But the wait for the referendum result shouldn’t be too long, as the picture of how Britain voted should be clear by tomorrow morning as early as 5am. If you’re not planning to stay up to follow it, I’ll have all you need to know in a special referendum briefing tomorrow. If you are, make sure to follow our liveblog to stay on top of it all.
There’s the old joke about the book entitled The Jewish Sports Hall of Fame being a pamphlet. Last week, it added another page—albeit one marked with a slight asterisk—focused on a legendary footballer and fashion icon: David Beckham.
According to the UK’s Jewish Chronicle, in a recent interview event at London’s JCC with broadcaster Kirsty Young, the international sports star went into more detail about his relationship with his maternal grandfather, Joseph West, and his relationship with Judaism.
“My grandfather was Jewish, that was on my mother’s side,” said Beckham, demonstrating his knowledge of Jewish descent laws. “So yes, I do consider myself… I was never brought up Jewish, but like I said, my grandfather was, and every time we went to synagogue I was a part of that.”
In my childhood, one of the fun games in the daily newspaper was a “connecting the dots” puzzle. A simple system of drawing a line from one numbered dot to the other produced a picture any child could see. Every now and then a typo would occur in the printing of the paper and the result was an unsolvable puzzle with a blurred image. The newspaper would issue an apology to its readers and that was that. A harmless mistake in an innocent game.
The same solution does not hold true in more serious fields.
In the war on terrorism, substituting hard facts with esoteric rhetoric blurs the picture and creates confusion. The latest example of this situation, coming on the heels of the terrorist attack in Orlando, is the Department of Homeland Security’s interim report on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Subcommittee released this month.
This was not a wartime strategy report. On the contrary, this was the administration’s latest initiative to move further away from the war on terrorism and blur the picture as to who the enemy really is.
The subcommittee was formed as part of the DHS’s Homeland Security Advisory Council (“HSAC”) last November. It was described by the department as “an incubator of ideas.” It defines CVE as the actions taken to counter efforts by extremists to radicalize, recruit, or mobilize followers to violence. Who is a violent extremist you ask? According to the report, it is an individual who supports or commits ideologically-motivated violence to further political goals. And what type of weapons would one use in this fight? The committee recommends using “soft power tools.” Soft power is a conceptual idea that persuasive words are more important than the use of force in a time of war.