When Hatreds Blind the World

Beyond the Cusp

The interesting thing about Mahmoud Abbas’s string of lies was that the media referred to it as a monumental speech which set straight the record and framed the problems which are still perplexing the Palestinian and Israeli sides and defined what is needed from Israel in cooperation instead of contention and hindrance to solve this problem once and for all. Let us start with the first lie and leave it there as if one wishes to suffer their minds, they can read it here, as he began with claiming Israel was defiling the al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount. Let us show you a series of pictures of how the Arab Palestinians are utilizing the al-Aqsa Mosque and you decide who the defiler is. Personally, we believe if one uses a religious building to store rocks, two-by-fours and other instruments for rioting and assaulting people they are defiling the…

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Dancing Naked in Public

If the contemporary art world seems like a place of pretension, status-seeking, and giant checks being paid through Larry Gagosian and David Zwirner, then it’s the critic Jerry Saltz who may be the last hope of bringing us all back down to earth. As Saltz once wrote: although contemporary art may not be of everyone’s taste, it’s still for everyone.

Born in Oak Park, Illinois, Saltz went to the Chicago Art Institute wanting to be a painter but dropped out; he soon became a long-distance truck driver, but after a decade of driving, he decided life couldn’t get any worse and that he might as well go back to his truest passion. So in the early-1980s, with no formal degree, he moved to New York and entered the art criticism scene, writing mostly for the Village Voice. Fast-forward to today and he’s now the senior art critic at New York magazine and has twice been named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Criticism.

Howard Halle, the chief art critic at Time Out New York, calls the 65-year-old “America’s art critic.” And yet, Saltz, although perhaps an American icon, has hardly become a universally beloved one.

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Sweden: Summer Inferno of Sexual Assaults

The Police’s Department of National Operations (NOA) began their report by going through all the sexual assaults at music festivals, street carnivals or New Year’s Eve celebrations that have been reported to the police:

“The complaints filed in 2015 and 2016 showed that girls aged 14-15 were the most vulnerable. The attacks have been perceived differently, depending on the [offender’s] modus operandi, but information given in the complaints clearly shows that several of the girls attacked have understandably been devastated and very ‘shaky after the incident took place.’ Especially shocking and frightening were those attacks carried out by a group, where the victim was not just held down and ‘groped’, but where the attackers also tried to rip the girl’s clothes off.

“Most of the attacks were carried out by single perpetrators. In most cases, the attack was carried out in crowded places, from behind, and the perpetrator put his hands under the victim’s trousers or under her blouse/sweatshirt and tried to kiss her and hold her down. Due to the struggle to get loose or because the attack happened from behind, it has often been difficult to get a good enough physical description of the suspect to get a positive identification later. In many cases, the victims were standing in an audience in front of a stage, making their way to their friends through a crowd, or standing around with one or more friends when they were attacked.”

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Turkey, Europe’s Little Problem

Nations do not have the luxury, as people often do, of choosing their neighbors. Turkey, under the 14-year rule of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamist governments, and neighboring both Europe and the Middle East, was once praised as a “bridge” between Western and Islamic civilizations. Its accession into the European Union (EU) was encouraged by most EU and American leaders. Nearly three decades after its official bid to join the European club, Turkey is not yet European but has become one of Europe’s problems.

Europe’s “Turkish problem” is not only about the fact that in a fortnight a bomb attack wrecked a terminal of the country’s biggest airport and a coup attempt killed nearly 250 people; nor is it about who rules the country. It is about the undeniable democratic deficit both in governance and popular culture.

In only the past couple of weeks, Turkey was in the headlines with jaw-dropping news. In Istanbul, a secretary at a daily newspaper was attacked by a group of people who accused her of “wearing revealing clothes and supporting the July 15 failed coup.” She was six months pregnant.

Also in Istanbul, a Syrian gay refugee was murdered: he had been beheaded and mutilated. One social worker helping LGBT groups said: “Police are doing nothing because he is Syrian and because he is gay.”

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The Presidential Debate Was a Battle of the Sexes

Monday night’s presidential debate was always going to be a battle of the sexes — the political version of the epic 1973 tennis showdown between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. The first female presidential nominee was debating a candidate who has called women “dogs” and “slobs,” who bragged about his testosterone score on Dr. Oz and talked about his private parts at a Republican primary debate.

But the fight between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was not fought on such overt terms at Hofstra University on Monday. On the surface, the two sparred over ISIS and crime and nuclear weapons and trade deals. But between the lines, the debate was fought in glares, eye rolls and interruptions.

From the beginning, the debate conformed to classic gender stereotypes. Clinton has been preparing for days, hunkered down with briefing books and rotating through several different stand-ins for her opponent, while Trump had reportedly barely studied, preferring instead to wing it. That’s consistent with research that shows that women tend to overprepare while men tend to have more confidence, a trend that starts in elementary school, where girls do more homework and get better grades than boys.

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Is Israel about to Sign a Terrible Deal?

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is an agreement between two parties — in this case, the governments of Israel and the United States. It is less than a treaty, more than a handshake. The first MOU was signed in 1981, recognizing “the common bonds of friendship between the United States and Israel and builds on the mutual security relationship that exists between the two nations.” The current MOU, signed in 2007, represented a 10-year commitment. The Obama Administration and the government of Israel have been negotiating a new 10-year agreement that will come into effect in 2017.

It is hard to get the nuance right in a security arrangement between a superpower and a small country, even if the small country is a first-world democracy in terms of education, income, technology, and political structure. It is harder when large sums of money are involved, and harder still when the small country is, in military terms, a “security producer,” one that provides more security to a region than it requires in assistance, but is still uniquely threatened in the world.

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