Letters from Our Friend

Beyond the Cusp

A friend of ours sent us some of his musings on Donald Trump. He was amongst those who voted for President Trump more as a vote against Madam Hillary than for The Donald. He decided initially to just take a close listen to President Trump’s speech to Congress and from there gave the story of his relationship leading to his vote. We turned the two into the more sensible order with the reaction to the speech second and his commentary on Trump from the start. We asked his permission to use them which he gratefully gave. We all agreed that his relating might clear the picture to some degree for others who also tread his path during the elections. With no further ado, we present his thoughts starting with the beginning.

After a year and three quarters of watching our Twitter-in-Chief operate and manipulate his way to the top, I…

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Europe’s ‘Turkish Awakening’

Turkey, officially, is a candidate for full membership in the European Union. It is also negotiating with Brussels a deal which would allow millions of Turks to travel to Europe without visa. But Turkey is not like any other European country that joined or will join the EU: The Turks’ choice of a leader, in office since 2002, too visibly makes this country the odd one out.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is now campaigning to broaden his constitutional powers, which would make him head of state, head of government and head of the ruling party — all at the same time — is inherently autocratic and anti-Western. He seems to view himself as a great Muslim leader fighting armies of infidel crusaders. This image, with which he portrays himself, finds powerful echoes among millions of conservative Turks and [Sunni] Islamists across the Middle East. That, among other excesses in the Turkish style, makes Turkey totally incompatible with Europe in political culture.

Yet, there is always the lighter side of things. Take, for example, Melih Gokcek, the mayor of Ankara and a bigwig in Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP). In February Gokcek claimed that earthquakes in a western Turkish province could have been organized by dark external powers (read: Western infidels) aiming to destroy Turkey’s economy with an “artificial earthquake” near Istanbul. According to this conspiracy theory, the mayor not only claims that the earthquake in western Turkey was the work of the U.S. and Israel, but also that the U.S. created the radical Islamic State (ISIS). In fact, according to him, the U.S. and Israel colluded to trigger an earthquake in Turkey so they could capture energy from the Turkish fault line.

Matters between Turkey and Europe are far more tense today than ridiculous statements from politicians who want to look pretty to Erdogan. The president, willingly ignoring his own strong anti-Semitic views, recently accused Germany of “fascist actions” reminiscent of Nazi times, in a growing row over the cancellation of political rallies aimed at drumming up support for him among 1.5 million Turkish citizens in Germany.

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Are the Hard Leftists Aligned with Radical Islamists?

Since the presidential campaign began, and then right up until the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on February 24, 2017, President Donald Trump has kept saying the same thing: that the United States is at war with radical Islam, mainly represented by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Yet, the leftist media and other American liberals insist on portraying his position as a fight against Islam and Muslims. In fact, most moderate Muslims are not offended by the phrase “radical Islam,” because they are very distressed by the fact that their religion has been commandeered by the radicals and transformed from a religion of peace into a more radical version. Unfortunately, instead of the leftists giving a voice to and supporting these moderate Muslims, a kind of leftist-Islamist alliance has emerged.

Abdel Rahman al-Rashed, a Saudi columnist for pan-Arab newspaper Al Sharq al Awsat, said in 2004:

“It is a certain fact that not all Muslims are terrorists, but it is equally certain, and exceptionally painful, that almost all terrorists are Muslims… The majority of those who were suicide bombers on buses, other vehicles, in schools and other places, all over the world, were Muslim”.

This statement from a well-known columnist and a former General Manager of the Al Arabiya news channel demonstrates how moderate Muslims are critical of their own culture and how they are saddened by how their religion has been hijacked by radicals. However, these appeals fall on deaf ears with leftists; they call moderate Muslims passive, which instead supports and furthers the radical Islamists’ cause.

In 2009, while millions of Iranians were in the streets opposing a radical, theocratic regime as part of their Green Revolution, then U.S. President Barack Obama ignored this historic moment and continued reaching out to Iran’s rulers, who are designated by the U.S. government as sponsors of terrorism. His appeasing attitude was a clear sign that the US was so eager to reach a nuclear deal by befriending the Iranian regime, that it was willing to tolerate the mullahs’ brutal repression and its hegemonic policies across the region.

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The Most Expensive Record Never Sold: Discogs, Billy Yeager And The $18,000 Hoax That Almost Was

This is the story of a hoax that almost was. Its motivating force was a hunger for fame, or infamy, or whispered legend in a particularly American sort of way. It begins on a beach somewhere in south Florida.

Earlier this year, a test pressing (literally a test, for labels and artists to hear before ordering a full run of new record) of an unknown musician’s record was put up for sale on Discogs, a resale website popular with collectors. Two days later that test pressing almost became, at a price tag of $18,000, the most expensive album ever sold on the site, besting a record set last year for a sublimely rare Prince piece which sold for $15,000.

The lightning-fast turnaround on this record-breaking sale, however, seems to have been a fiction woven by the record’s creator. This morning, Discogs canceled the transaction.

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Turkish Displeasure

The story according to Reuters:

Erdogan says Turks in Europe should defy ‘grandchildren of Nazism’

President Tayyip Erdogan on Monday called on Turkish voters in Europe to defy the “grandchildren of Nazism” and back a referendum this month on changing the constitution, comments likely to cause further ire in Europe.

Erdogan has repeatedly lashed out at European countries, including Germany and the Netherlands, in campaigning for the referendum, accusing them of “Nazi-like” tactics for banning his ministers from speaking to rallies of Turkish voters abroad.

Both the Germans and Dutch have been incensed by the comparisons to Nazism and German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said the references must stop. “With this determination, we will never allow three or four European fascists … from harming this country’s honor and pride,” Erdogan told a packed crowd of flag-waving supporters in the Black Sea city of Rize, where his family comes from. “I call on my brothers and sisters voting in Europe…give the appropriate answer to those imposing this fascist oppression and the grandchildren of Nazism.”

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