Settling Scores

On a warm evening, a man walks into a bar one night. He goes up to the cheerful looking bartender and asks for his favorite premium beer.

“Certainly, sir. That’ll be 1 cent.”  

“One single penny?!” exclaimed the man. 

The barman replied, “Yes, sir. Just one penny.”  

As he takes the glass of delicious beer and takes a satisfying gulp, the guy glances over at the menu and asks, “Could I have a nice juicy T-bone steak, with fries, peas, and a salad?”

“Certainly sir,” replies the bartender. 

“But all that comes to real money.” 

“How much money?” inquires the guy. 

“Four cents,” he replies. 

“Four cents?!” exclaims the guy. 

“Where’s the guy who owns this place?” 

The barman replies, “Upstairs with my wife.” 

The guy asks, “What’s he doing with your wife?” 

The bartender replies, “Same as what I’m doing to his business.”

Turkey and EU: Can this Marriage be Saved?

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When Turkey first applied for full membership in the European Union in 1987, the world was an entirely different place — even the rich club had a different name: the European Economic Community. U.S. President Ronald Reagan had undergone minor surgery; British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had been re-elected for a third term; Macau and Hong Kong were, respectively, Portuguese and British territory; the Berlin Wall was up and running; the demonstrations at the Tiananmen Square were a couple of years away; the Iran-Contra affair was in the headlines; the First Intifada had just begun; and what are today Czech Republic and Slovakia were Czechoslovakia.

In March 2003, just a few months after he was elected Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that Turkey was “very much ready to be part of the European Union family.” In October 2005, formal accession negotiations between Turkey and the EU began.

Today, 31 years after the first date, the alliance seems to be broken, with no signs in the foreseeable future of a marriage between two perfectly unsuitable adults. Knowing that, both sides in the past decade have played an unpleasant diplomatic game of pretension: not be the one that throws away the ring. This boring opera buffa is no longer sustainable.

Turkey’s democratic deficit has grown just too bitterly huge to make it compatible with Europe’s democratic culture. According to the advocacy group Freedom House:

via Turkey and EU: Can this Marriage be Saved?

The shameful abandonment of Asia Bibi

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It is hard to think of a more deserving case for asylum than Asia Bibi.

A Christian in Pakistan, Asia Bibi has been freed after eight years in solitary confinement on death row for committing blasphemy, a crime of which she has now been acquitted by Pakistan’s supreme court.

The accusation against her was a travesty. As she picked berries with other Punjabi farmworkers in June 2009, a quarrel developed with two Muslim women after she was asked to fetch water and they said they wouldn’t drink from a vessel touched by a Christian. The women later alleged to a village mullah that Asia Bibi had insulted Mohammed, accusations which the supreme court said were “concoction incarnate”.

The acquittal prompted thousands of violent demonstrators to take to the streets calling for Asia Bibi to be hanged and threatening the supreme court judges with death. The leader of the Islamist party Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan threatened that if she left the country there would be war.

She is now in hiding for her life in Pakistan after the new prime minister, Imran Khan, succumbed to the pressure and allowed a petition against the court decision as part of a deal to halt the protests. Several commentators have said the refusal to allow her to leave Pakistan effectively signed her death warrant.

via The shameful abandonment of Asia Bibi

Iran Takes New American Hostage

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Three things.

1. The US should take a hard line against its citizens traveling to Iran. That’s for their own protection. An American in Iran is a potential hostage. And since we haven’t yet mastered the Rooseveltian art of declaring, “Perdicaris Alive or Raisuli Dead”, we’re vulnerable.

2. Iran is testing us. Failing that test would be dangerous and will mean an escalation of violence on other fronts.

3. One potential trigger for this may have been the planned withdrawal from Syria. That doesn’t mean the withdrawal is wrong, but that Iran may see it as a capitulation, even though it has nothing to do with Iran, and may be probing to see if we’re vulnerable now.

That’s how terrorists operate. And that’s why it’s important to forcefully push back when they do.

via Iran Takes New American Hostage

BBC News’ ‘different side’ to Gaza is much of the same

BBC Watch

A video titled “The Instagrammer who wants to show a different side of Gaza” appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page on December 30th with a synopsis that begins as follows:

“A Palestinian Instagrammer in the Gaza Strip wants to show us a different side of life there.”

However, far from bringing audiences “a different side” to that usually seen in BBC reporting from the Gaza Strip, the synopsis went on to promote the corporation’s standard mantras, including the usual uninformative slogan concerning the context to Israeli counter-terrorism measures.

“Gaza has seen three major wars between Israel and Hamas, the militant group that controls the strip. Gaza’s economy has also been badly hit by a blockade by Israel and Egypt – needed, they say – for security reasons.” [emphasis added]

In among Kholoud Nassar’s photos of cheesecake and coffee, historic buildings, well-stocked markets, a garden…

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The Reality on the Universally Spreading of Anti-Semitism

Beyond the Cusp

We hear the tales of how anti-Semitism was historically completely found only on the right politically. The claims were that the left, the progressives were enlightened and incapable of hatred of such as it was disdainful. Why has this trope being peddled? Simple, to attempt and cleanse any guilt historically of hatred on the political left and build a structure from within which they could reflect any accusations by claiming that anyone amongst the progressive left who is caught making anti-Semitic commentary is merely an aberration, an outlier who is the exception and as such can be ignored. These will be the types of commentary made to excuse Jeremy Corbyn and his anti-Semitism. While he may lead the British Labor Party, his anti-Semitism is not really a part of the British Labor Party and thus his statements cannot be attributed to their party. The left has also forged an alliance…

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ACLU Falsely Claims That Anti-Boycott Legislation Limits Free Speech

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) — at one time the nation’s premiere civil rights organization — has falsely characterized legislation that would penalize companies that boycott Israel as limiting free speech.

A letter posted on the organization’s website claimed that the bipartisan Congressional legislation, which supports state laws barring contracts with businesses that boycott Israel, “flies in the face of the First Amendment’s guarantee that the state should impose no law infringing on the right to speak freely and to associate with those of like mind.”

Commercial conduct, however, is not speech.

As legal expert Eugene Kontrovich observed in July 2017, the proposed legislation is nothing more than an updating of existing legislation that prohibited American companies from participating in the Arab boycotts of Israel that dates back to the 1970s. That’s an inconvenient fact for opponents of the legislation, who also fail to mention that the original Arab boycott provisions were upheld against several First Amendment challenges.

via ACLU Falsely Claims That Anti-Boycott Legislation Limits Free Speech