This Week in the News

Nuclear Incidents in the Arctic?

The Drive wrote on February 19:

“There have been rumblings regarding some sort of nuclear incident—or possibly incidents—in the Arctic over the last month. Multiple reports, some of them from official monitoring organizations, have reported iodine 131—a radioactive isotope often associated with nuclear fission—has been detected via air sampling stations throughout the region.

“The first detection of the isotope came during the second week of January, via an air sampling station located in Svanhovd, on Norway’s border with Russia’s Kola Peninsula. Within days, air sampling stations as far south as Spain also detected the presence of small amounts of the isotope. The fact that iodine-131 has a half-life of just eight days would point to the release occurring just days earlier, and not being a remnant of a past nuclear event.

“Because of the low levels of concentration, there is no health risk to the public or the environment, at least on a wide scale…

“After weeks without answers, the story seemed to pass as a peculiarity… until Friday when the US dispatched its WC-135 Constant Phoenix atmospheric testing aircraft to Europe without explanation. The highly unique aircraft are specifically designed to respond to nuclear incidents—especially those that include the detonation of nuclear warheads…

“You can check twitter to see loads of people claiming this is proof that the Russians have restarted nuclear weapons testing at Novaya Zemlya near the Arctic… There has been some talk about even the US restarting its nuclear testing under President Trump…

“A more likely possibility is that some sort of limited nuclear material storage, research, or power generation incident has occurred. Russia uses nuclear propulsion for many of its active submarines as well as its Kirov class battlecruisers and its icebreakers. Russia also uses nuclear power in the arctic region for multiple applications. Not just that, but Russia’s northerly naval bases near the arctic are nuclear graveyards of the Cold War. Hulls of decommissioned nuclear submarines sit idle still waiting to be denuclearized and disposed of. Many have said that over the decades following the end of the Cold War, these vessels are just an accident waiting to happen…

“The Arctic is also dotted with other Cold War relics that relied on nuclear power to function, these include Russia’s nuclear lighthouses and outposts. And this is just what you can see, below the surface, hulks of sunken nuclear vessels and other waste still pose a major threat to the environment. It is not really a question of if they will do harm, but when.

“During the Cold War, Russia dumped all types of nuclear waste in the Kara Sea, including an estimated 17,000 containers and 19 vessels full of radioactive waste. The USSR also pitched 14 nuclear reactors, some with spent fuel rods, into the same body of water and other forms of lower-level nuclear waste was just poured directly into the sea. The Russian submarine K-27, which was scuttled in the Kola Sea, is said to be literally a ticking time bomb. That is just that one area, and other areas in the region, such as the Barents Sea (K-159) and Norwegian Sea (K-278), also have abandoned nuclear submarines and who knows what else lining the sea floor. Even the US left its own portion of nuclear waste in the northern latitudes, such as the once secret reactor at Camp Century, in Greenland, although this is minuscule compared to what the Soviets left behind.

“With all this in mind, if there was a peculiar release of iodine-131 into the atmosphere, it is much more likely to have come from the nuclear wasteland that the Soviet Union created, or from operational reactors in the region, and not from some sort of clandestine atomic testing. That doesn’t mean it is impossible, just highly unlikely. There is even a possibility that it didn’t come from Russia at all, and was leaked by a reactor in Europe or elsewhere. Still, with the Arctic likely becoming a key battleground of the future… suspicions surrounding Russia’s true intentions in the region are at an all-time high…”

Radioactive Iodine 131 All Over Europe

The Sun wrote on February 20:

“Dangerous radioactive particles have been detected in seven different European countries and scientists can’t explain where they have come from. Traces of Iodine-131 were spotted in Norway, Finland, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, France and Spain in January, but the public were not immediately alerted. These radioactive particles are produced by atomic bomb explosions or nuclear disasters such as Chernobyl or Fukushima. They appear to be emanating from Eastern Europe, but experts have not been able to say exactly what produced them…

“The particles could [have] been produced by Russian nuclear submarines. Scientists detected the highest number of particles in Poland, although still not enough to spark a public health emergency.”

Bewildered Europe Wonders About Chaotic White House and Contradictory Messages

Bloomberg wrote on February 19:

“… for many of the Europeans… the perception of chaos in Washington also raised an equally unsettling question: How much should Europe start doing on its own?… Chancellor Angela Merkel called for increased military integration between Germany and France. With the U.K. negotiating to leave the EU, a major hurdle to long-shelved projects for creating a consolidated military command and even centralized funding will also be removed…”

“Mike Pence Widens US Rift with Europe over Nato Defence Spending”

The Guardian wrote on February 18:

“The US vice-president has delivered the most uncompromising message yet from the Trump administration to Nato allies that they have to step up financial contributions towards defence spending.  On his first visit to Europe since taking office, Mike Pence said ‘some of our largest allies do not have a credible path’ towards paying their share of Nato’s financial burden. Although he did not name individual countries, his targets included Germany, France and Italy. ‘The time has come to do more,’ he said. This section of his speech to the Munich security conference… was greeted with lukewarm applause.

“He was speaking immediately after the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, made it clear she would not be bullied by the US over defence spending. She said Germany had made a promise to increase defence over the next decade and would fulfil that commitment rather than be forced into the faster rises that Trump is looking for…

“In a thinly veiled warning, Pence said that while the US was bound by Nato’s article five – an attack on one member would be an attack on all – he also reminded the audience that article three contained a commitment to sharing the financial burden, echoing Trump’s warning last year that he did not feel bound to come to the defence of countries that did not pay their share.  Pence peppered his speech with regular references to Trump, stressing that he was delivering messages from the president…

“Pence also attempted to square the contradictory comments made by Trump towards Russia. While the US wanted a new relationship with Russia, he said that the US expected Russia to honour the 2015 Minsk peace agreement aimed at ending violence in Ukraine.

“With Pence in the room, [Merkel] avoided direct references to Trump even though many of her comments during her speech and in a question-and-answer session afterwards were aimed at him. Asked about attacks on the media, Merkel said: ‘Freedom of the press is a pillar of democracy.'”

Der Stern commented on February 18: “The performances of Pence and Merkel looked like the clash of two different worlds. Since this weekend, we know from the mouth of Mike Pence that payday is drawing near. The times will get more unpleasant.”

Europeans Challenge President Trump

The Telegraph wrote on February 17:

“European leaders have pushed back at Donald Trump’s ultimatum that they increase defence spending or risk America scaling back its commitment to Transatlantic protection… The president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker… said countries must not cave in to US demands… Mr Juncker said he was ‘very much against letting ourselves be pushed into’ an increase in defence spending. He said: ‘I don’t like our American friends narrowing down this concept of security to the military… If you look at what Europe is doing in defence, plus development aid, plus humanitarian aid, the comparison with the United States looks rather different. Modern politics cannot just be about raising defence spending.’…

“Meanwhile Germany’s defence minister, Ursula von der Leyen, acknowledged that her country would in [the] future be unable to step back and rely on American protection… But she also had a message for Donald Trump, warning him that he could not put European allies on an equal footing with an aggressive Russia. She said: ‘Our American friends know well that their tone on Europe and Nato has a direct influence on the cohesion of our continent… There cannot be a policy of equidistance to allies and to those who openly question our values, our borders and international law.’”

EU Council President Attacks Donald Trump

Express wrote on February 20:

“The EU Council president (Donald Tusk) railed against ‘brute force, egoism and arrogance’ in a series of jaw-dropping remarks which will be interpreted as a very thinly veiled assault on the Republican commander-in-chief. Polish eurocrat Mr Tusk admitted that nobody could ‘pretend that everything is as it used to be’ following months of verbal attacks from the Republican’s administration which have met with furious responses in European capitals. And in an extraordinary press conference following talks with Vice-President Mike Pence the top Brussels official effectively admitted that trans-Atlantic relations are in the gutter following the election of Mr Trump.

“In an exchange surely unprecedented in recent EU-US history he railed against the new US President’s ‘surprising opinions’ on European integration and said he had directly challenged his second-in-command over the administration’s hostility towards the bloc. The remarks came after signs earlier emerged of the gaping chasm emerging between the two sides as France railed against a speech the Republican gave to delegates in Munich in which he did not even mention the EU.

“Mr Tusk made no attempt to hide Europe’s dismay at the election of Mr Trump, and instead harked back to better times for trans-Atlantic relations under his predecessors Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan…”

Subsequently, Mike Pence was asked in a press conference what America will do if Europe does not fulfill America’s demands of contributing more to NATO’s defense costs. The journalist raised the question in regard to a comment that Europe must do so, “or else.” Mike Pence refused to explain what was meant by that comment and said that the future will have to provide the answer.

And Now: President Trump’s Fight with Sweden

Deutsche Welle reported on February 20:

“US President Donald Trump has tried to clarify his comments about a non-existent terror incident in Sweden. He said his remarks referred to a television report on immigrants. ‘You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden. Who would believe this? Sweden,’ Trump said. ‘They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible,’ he continued, implying the country had been the victim of a terrorist attack… Former Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt was… asking ‘what has he been smoking? Questions abound.’

“On Sunday, Trump tweeted that his statement was in reference to a Fox News report on immigrants and Sweden. On Friday, the network had aired an interview with documentary film maker Ami Horowitz about the alleged effects of immigration in Sweden. A number of officials have dismissed the documentary which alleges a rise in violent crime after a rise in the number of refugees coming to the country. Official statistics show that Sweden’s crime rate has fallen since 2005 even as it has taken in hundreds of thousands of immigrants.

“Trump took to Twitter again on Monday, attempting to shift focus back to Sweden’s ability to integrate immigrants. ‘The FAKE NEWS media is trying to say that large scale immigration in Sweden is working out just beautifully. NOT!’ the president wrote.

“With a population of around 9.5 million, Sweden has taken in nearly 200,000 refugees, mainly from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. The policy has meant the Scandinavian country has taken in more refugees per capita than any other European nation.

“The Swedish Embassy to the US tweeted on Sunday that it looked ‘forward to informing the US administration about Swedish immigration and integration policies.’ As part of the online responder to Trump’s comments, there has been a search for actual events in Sweden last Friday… They ranged from preliminary rounds for Sweden’s entry to the Eurovision Song Contest to a bad snowstorm.”

Bild Online wrote on February 20 that the Fox Report “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and its interview with Ami Horowitz, which President Trump was apparently referring to, was filled with inaccuracies, conspiracies and fake news. The paper quoted Ylva Johansson, Swedish Minister for Labor, saying that the whole world listens to President Trump when he speaks, and that he has therefore an obligation to explain what he means, when he comments “about Sweden in a manner which we don’t understand.”  

The story is also big news in Britain. The Telegraph published a lengthy and detailed story on February 20 with the title, “Last Night In Sweden: Celebrities and the Swedish Mock Donald Trump’s Bizarre Claims.”

The Independent added on February 20 that President Trump “admitted he was talking about a widely debunked Fox News report he had seen on television the night before… News of Mr Horowitz’s documentary made headlines last year when he told conservative outlets such as Breitbart News that there were Muslim ‘no-go zones’ in Europe…”

Subsequently, some news agencies published a few selected articles to the effect that there was some violence in Sweden, allegedly involving refugees. But these articles did by no means support the claim that terrorist activities were rampant in the country.   

John McCain Compares Today’s Atmosphere to Nazi Years

Newsmax wrote on February 17:

“Arizona Sen. John McCain delivered a series of blows to President Donald Trump Friday during a speech in Germany, and at one point he compared today’s political atmosphere to the Nazi years of the 1930s and 1940s…

“While making his case, McCain… mentioned Ewald-Heinrich von Kleist. Von Kleist was part of the group that plotted to assassinate Adolf Hitler in 1944. ‘What would von Kleist’s generation say if they saw our world today?’ McCain asked. ‘I fear that much about it would be all too familiar for them… They would be alarmed by the hardening resentment we see toward immigrants, and refugees, and minority groups, especially Muslims… They would be alarmed by the growing inability, and even unwillingness, to separate truth from lies. They would be alarmed that more and more of our fellow citizens seem to be flirting with authoritarianism…'”

Mike Pence and the Ignorance of Darwinists and Evolutionists

The following was an absolutely appalling and mean-spirited article, attacking Vice President Mike Pence’s belief in the Bible and upholding Darwin’s nonsensical evolution hypothesis. We chose to ignore most of it. But, the following inadvertent admissions are revealing:

The Daily Beast wrote on February 17:

“The vice president dodges the question of whether he believes in evolution but he has his own version of intelligent design… ‘The Bible tells us that God created man in His own image, male and female; He created them,’ Pence has said. ‘And I believe that God created the known universe, the earth and everything in it including man, and I also believe that some day, scientists will come to see that only the theory of intelligent design provides an even remotely rational explanation for the known universe.’

“Pence also argued that evolution should not be taught in schools without a parallel commentary of Biblical explanations as being equally valid…

“Darwin himself was an agnostic. Whether he actually believed that the hidden architecture of life that he had described for the first time had divine origin doesn’t really matter… All of which makes it strange that anyone today would think it reasonable to persist, as Pence does, with the idea of ‘intelligent design.’ Indeed, Darwin saw that idea coming and dealt with it dismissively: ‘It is so easy to hide our ignorance under such expressions as the ‘plan of creation’ ‘unity of design’ etc and to think that we give an explanation when we only re-state a fact.’’

Of course, Darwin did not state any “fact” supporting his fairy tale of evolution.

On a related subject, The Telegraph reported on February 22 that “life may have evolved on at least three planets within a newly discovered solar system that is 39 light years from Earth… Astronomers… have detected no less than seven roughly Earth-sized worlds orbiting a dwarf star in the system… Three of the new planets are said to be particularly promising because they could sustain oceans. [A Nasa spokesperson said:] ‘This gives us a hint that finding a second Earth is not a matter of “if”, but “when’”.

This is further nonsense, because Evolution did not create life anywhere in the universe. GOD created life, but there is no hint in the Bible that He created physical life anywhere else but on planet earth.

Trump Administration Lifts Federal Guidelines “Protecting” Transgender Students

The Associated Press wrote on February 22:

The Trump administration on Wednesday ended federal protections for transgender students that instructed schools to allow them to use bathrooms and locker rooms matching their gender identities. Stepping into an emotional national debate, the administration came down on the side of states’ rights, lifting federal guidelines that had been issued by the Obama administration…

“Without the Obama directive, it will be up to states and school districts to interpret federal anti-discrimination law and determine whether students should have access to restrooms in accordance with their expressed gender identity and not just their biological sex… the [Obama] guidance carried no force of law. But transgender rights advocates say it was useful and necessary to protect students from discrimination. Opponents argued it was federal overreach and violated the safety and privacy of other students…

“Conservative activists hailed the change, saying the Obama directives were illegal and violated the rights of fixed-gender students, especially girls who did not feel safe changing clothes or using restrooms next to anatomical males…

“Legal experts said the change in position could impact pending court cases involving the federal sex discrimination law, including a case to be heard by the Supreme Court in March involving Gavin Grimm, a transgender teen who was denied bathroom access in Virginia…

“Fifteen states have explicit protections for transgender students in their state laws, and many individual school districts in other states have adopted policies that cover such students on the basis of their gender identity…”

The left-liberal agenda, which protects and supports young boys declaring to be girls and therefore demanding access to girls’ locker rooms and showers, is a blatant abomination in God’s eyes.

Fox News Anchor Shepard Smith Stands Up to Donald Trump’s “Crazy” Press Conference

Yahoo! News reported on February 16:

“Shepard Smith, the Fox News anchor, on Thursday afternoon seemed to have had enough of Donald Trump’s slams at the media as peddlers of ‘fake news’ — or, when it comes to CNN, ‘very fake news.’ ‘It is crazy what we are watching every day, it is absolutely crazy,’ Smith said. ‘He keeps repeating ridiculous throwaway lines that are not true at all and sort of avoiding this issue of Russia as if we are some kind of fools for asking the question.’

“Smith then started to look into the camera and added, ‘Really? Your opposition was hacked, and the Russians were responsible for it, and your people were on the phone on the same day it was happening, and we are fools for asking those questions? No sir, we are not fools for asking those questions, and we demand to know the answer to this question. You owe this to the American people.’…

“As long as Trump’s press conference was… it was dominated by Trump’s attacks on the media…

“Smith’s reference to ‘ridiculous throwaway lines’ may not have just referred to Trump’s ‘fake news’ and ‘fake media’ catchphrases, but his fixation on the size of his electoral college victory. When Trump boasted that his 306 electoral votes (actually 304) was the largest since Ronald Reagan, reporters corrected him. Barack Obama got more in 2012 in 2008, as did George H.W. Bush in 1988 — facts that are easily verified by a Google search…

“CNN’s Jake Tapper, in his own state of disbelief about the press conference, also looked into the camera on Thursday and said, ‘President Trump… You legitimately won the presidency. Now get to work and stop whining about it.’”

Shepard Smith has all along been making critical and challenging comments about Mr. Trump. Subsequently, outraged hard-core Trump supporters demanded the resignation of Shepard Smith for “daring” to stand up to the President. They reject any news article from the “left-liberal” press, criticizing Mr. Trump, and appreciate more the likes of Sean Hannity, a Fox News conservative political commentator, who with total acceptance and uncritical approval supports everything which Mr. Trump says or does.  It is interesting that highly-praised and long-time moderators such as Megyn Kelly or Greta von Susteren have left Fox News. (Megyn joined NBC News, and Greta has a new show on MSNBC, called “For the Record.”).

In addition to Shepard Smith, another Fox News “icon,” (according to Der Stern), Chris Wallace, strongly rebuked Donald Trump in an interview with White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, saying that President Trump went too far for stating that the media is America’s enemy.

Showdown Between Ford and Donald Trump?

AFP wrote on February 17:

“US car maker Ford is sticking with a plan to open two auto-parts plants in Mexico this year, despite earlier announcing it had scrapped plans for a separate factory there. Ford without warning last month canceled plans to build a $1.6 billion project in San Luis Potosi, an auto-making area in central Mexico. Gabriel Lopez, president and CEO of Ford Mexico, said however that this did not affect two other projects it has under way in the country since 2015, which are scheduled to begin production this year.

“The plants… will make engines and transmissions. They will supply Ford factories in the United States, South America, Europe and Asia. The two facilities will cost about $2.5 billion and employ some 3,800 people…

“Ford is one of several US companies under pressure from the country’s new President Donald Trump. He has offered inducements to keep some US manufacturers in the United States, and threatened others with punishing tariffs if they go. Ford has been operating in Mexico for about 90 years. It currently employs around 9,000 workers in Mexico, according to Lopez.”

New “Trump Directives” Create Panic in Mexico

The Associated Press wrote on February 22:

“Mexicans fear deportee and refugee camps could be popping up along their northern border under the Trump administration’s plan to start deporting to Mexico all Latin Americans and others who entered the U.S. illegally through this country. Previous U.S. policy called for only Mexican citizens to be sent to Mexico. Migrants known as ‘OTMs’ — Other Than Mexicans — got flown back to their homelands. Now, under a sweeping rewrite of enforcement policies announced Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, migrants might be dumped over the border into a violence-plagued land where they have no ties while their asylum claims or deportation proceedings are heard in the United States. U.S. officials didn’t say what Mexico would be expected to do with them.

“The only consensus so far in Mexico about the new policies of President Donald Trump is that the country isn’t remotely prepared… It’s unclear whether the United States has the authority to force Mexico to accept third-country nationals. The DHS memo calls for the department to provide an account of U.S. aid to Mexico, a possible signal that Trump plans to use that funding to get Mexico to accept the foreigners…”

The Guardian added on February 22 that “Mexico has indicated it would not accept the Trump administration’s new immigration proposals, saying it would go to the United Nations to defend the rights of immigrants in the US.”

Deutsche Welle added on February 23:

“US officials met with Mexican officials to affirm positive relations, but success was limited. The US Homeland Security chief said immigration operations would not use ‘military force,’ contradicting the president…

“Trump [had] described a sweeping campaign of deportation across the US as a ‘military operation.’ However, Kelly appeared to undermine Trump’s remarks, telling a press conference that ‘there will be no use of military force for immigration operations.’ ‘There will be no, repeat, no mass deportations,’ Kelly said…”

“New Trump Immigration Orders Target Nearly All Illegal Immigrants in US”

Deutsche Welle reported on February 22:

“Nearly all of the United States’ 11 million illegal immigrants can be subject to deportation under the Trump administration’s new immigration guidelines released on Tuesday… Under the previous president, illegal immigrants not linked to serious crime… were not targeted for deportation. Both the Obama and George W. Bush administrations also attempted to create an immigration framework that would allow long-term undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States.

“The new memos pave the way for mass deportation that critics say will uproot families and damage economies…”

ACLU Will Challenge Trump’s New Immigration Directives

The Associated Press reported on February 21:

“Any immigrant who is in the country illegally and is charged or convicted of any offense, or even suspected of a crime, will now be an enforcement priority… That could include people [with a traffic violation or] arrested for shoplifting or minor offenses — or simply having crossed the border illegally… Overstaying a visa is a civil, not criminal, offense. Those who do so are not specifically included in the priority list but, under the memos, they are still more likely to face deportation than they had been before…

“The American Civil Liberties Union said it would challenge the directives. ‘These memos confirm that the Trump administration is willing to trample on due process, human decency, the well-being of our communities, and even protections for vulnerable children, in pursuit of a hyper-aggressive mass deportation policy,’ said Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project…

“The directives do not affect President Barack Obama’s program that has protected more than 750,000 young immigrants from deportation. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals remains in place, though participants could be deported if they commit crimes or otherwise are deemed to be threats to public safety or national security, according to the department… The directives indicate that some young people caught crossing the border illegally by themselves may not be eligible for special legal protections if they are reunited with parents in the United States. And those parents or other relatives that the government believes helped the children would face criminal and immigration investigations…”

Jewish Groups Oppose President Trump’s New Immigration Directives

The Times of Israel wrote on February 22:

“Jewish groups expressed alarm… ‘These new rules are extremely ill-advised and counter to our values as a nation that has always served as a beacon of hope for people around the world,’ Anti-Defamation League head Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement.

“‘The guidelines released today treat vulnerable people, many of whom are unaccompanied children and asylum seekers, like criminals,’ warned Mark Hetfield, president of the Jewish refugee rights group HIAS…”

Immigrants Seek to Naturalize

The Associated Press reported on February 21:

“Since last month, immigrants have been rushing to prepare applications to become U.S. citizens… The growing interest in citizenship follows a surge in naturalization applications last year amid Trump’s anti-immigrant campaign rhetoric and ahead of a December increase in filing fees. Nearly 1 million people applied to naturalize during the 2016 fiscal year, the largest number in nine years…

“Immigrants historically have sought citizenship for the many new opportunities it brings: the ability to vote, better job prospects, an American passport for travel, bringing relatives here from overseas. This year, it’s more about fear in a Trump administration… For years, immigrant advocates have urged lawful permanent residents, also known as green card holders, to naturalize, which would protect them from deportation were they ever convicted of a crime…”

Jewish Alumni Implore Jared Kushner to Change His Father-in-Law’s Mindset on Immigration

JTA wrote on February 21:

“Some 180 alumni and former staff of a New Jersey yeshiva high school implored graduate Jared Kushner to use his influence with President Donald Trump, his father-in-law, to ease the path for refugees coming to the United States… Kushner’s grandparents were Holocaust survivors who came to the United States after spending over three years in a displaced persons camp in Italy.

“‘Like you, many of us are the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of those who escaped to this country when the lands of their birth promised almost certain death; like those of your grandparents, many of their parents, siblings and extended families did not make it to our shores and perished in the Holocaust…’

“The letter references the Torah calling on Jews ‘to love and welcome the stranger, for we too were once strangers in Egypt.’ ‘We implore you, as a Jew and as a graduate of an institution that instilled you with Jewish values, to exercise the influence and access you have to annals of power to ensure others don’t suffer the same fate as millions of our co-religionists. We ask you to ensure they gain the second chance our grandparents received to succeed and thrive in America,’ it concluded.”

Will Mr. Kushner respond to this plea, and will President Trump listen?

President Trump Decries Threats against Jewish Centers

JTA wrote on February 21:

President Donald Trump denounced anti-Semitism a day after bomb threats were made to 11 Jewish community centers across the country and a large-scale cemetery was vandalized in the St. Louis area. Under pressure to condemn anti-Semitism in the wake of what has been called an uptick in incidents since he was elected, Trump told MSNBC on Tuesday morning, ‘Anti-Semitism is horrible and it’s going to stop, and it has to stop.’…

“Jewish groups and political leaders have called on Trump to speak out against anti-Semitism, especially after four waves of bomb threats called in to dozens of JCCs across the country in the past five weeks. After yesterday’s bomb threat hoaxes were reported, officials at various Jewish groups, including the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League and the Zionist Organization of America, issued remarks urging the president to make a personal condemnation of anti-Semitism.”

In a related article, JTA wrote on February 21:

That it took so long for Trump to condemn anti-Semitism after twice being asked about it last week, and coming on the heels of a White House International Holocaust Remembrance Day statement that somehow omitted any mention of the Jews, was ‘mind-boggling’ to many groups…”

Stephen Bannon’s Beliefs and the Possibility of Civil War in the USA

Business Insider wrote on February 21:

“In a revealing interview, historian Neil Howe candidly discusses his perspective on Steve Bannon, the former head of the website Breitbart News who is now President Donald Trump’s chief strategist. Bannon is a proponent of the theory that history generally moves in 80-year cycles, with each cycle ending in a crisis that destroys the old order and ushers in something new…

“In widely reported remarks, Bannon believes the US has had three ‘turnings’ — the American Revolution, the Civil War, and the Great Depression/World War II — and is now in the midst of another emanating from the 2008 financial crisis…

“In the wide-ranging interview, Howe also detailed his own views about the possibility of civil war in America by discussing the mood in the US just before the Civil War in 1859: ‘Right up to the end, no one really realistically thought that actual war would happen. It just seemed incredible.’”

Holy Intifada Against Israel?

The Times of Israel wrote on February 21:

“Calling Israel a ‘cancerous tumor,’ Iran’s supreme leader on Tuesday expressed support for a ‘holy intifada’ to eradicate the Jewish state, arguing that the international community is headed toward confrontation with the ‘Zionist regime.’… ‘The people of Palestine have no option other than keeping the flames of fighting alight by relying on Allah the Exalted and by relying on their innate capabilities, as they have genuinely done so until today,’ said Khamenei…

“A wave of terrorism some called a third intifada, which began last year and manifested itself mainly in stabbings and vehicular attacks against Israelis troops and civilians, is ‘moving forward in a bright and hopeful manner,’ the ayatollah declared. ‘And by Allah’s permission, we will see that this intifada will begin a very important chapter in the history of fighting and that it will inflict another defeat on that usurping regime.’… The supreme leader declared the Palestinian plight as ‘the most important issue in the world of Islam and as the pivot of unity for all Muslims and all liberated individuals in the world.’”

Germany Searches for a Common Identity

MSN wrote on February 17:

Since World War II, trying to define the German national identity, much less celebrate it, has been taboo. Doing so was seen as a possible step toward the kind of nationalism that once enabled the Nazi regime. Flags were frowned upon, as was standing for the national anthem.

“But spurred by a sense of lost control over the country’s borders, economy and politics, many Germans are reaching for a shared identity but finding only an empty space. Into that vacuum slipped the Alternative for Germany, known by its German initials, AfD, the nation’s fastest-growing party with recent polls showing support at 12 percent, ahead of some mainstream parties. Only the AfD, whose populism puts it far outside of mainstream political norms, is openly promising to fulfill a desire for patriotism that would be routine in most other countries…

“The AfD, despite its rapid growth, remains a minority party… But as mainstream parties become more focused on defending against the far-right upstarts, the AfD’s populist agenda is trickling into their policies and messaging… Chancellor Angela Merkel opened her re-election bid in December by announcing a more populist agenda. She took a harder line on immigration and called for a ban on Islamic veils that cover the full face, saying they ‘do not belong to us’ and should be ‘forbidden wherever that is legally possible.’”

Martin Schulz, the “left Trump”

The Local wrote on February 21:

“The leader of Germany’s Social Democrats, Martin Schulz, could beat Chancellor Angela Merkel in September elections according to recent polls, thanks to a leftist programme that has earned him accusations of veering toward populism.  After years of languishing in Merkel’s shadow, Germany’s traditional workers’ party is almost giddy with excitement these days, hoping their new leader can end the decade-long reign of the ‘queen of Europe’. Schulz, the former president of the European Parliament, on Monday attacked a holy cow of his party, criticising the sweeping labour and social welfare reforms pushed through under former SPD chancellor Gerhard Schröder between 2003 and 2005…

“‘The Robin Hood of the SPD’, ran a comment in business daily Handelsblatt. ‘Martin Schulz changes the course of the Social Democratic Party to the left’… Schulz unashamedly shifts the SPD – the party more than 150 year old and now a junior partner in a ‘grand coalition’ government with Merkel’s conservatives – to the left, more in line with Britain’s Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn or the French Socialists under presidential hopeful Benoit Hamon. Schulz has been applauded by the German far-left party Die Linke. It has signalled it is now far more open to entering a left-wing coalition with the SPD after the September election, which would likely also have to include the ecologist Greens party.

“Criticism has rained down all the harder from the right. One of the leaders of Merkel’s Christian Democrats, Michael Fuchs, has accused Schulz of employing ‘social-populism’. Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble accused the SPD candidate of using ‘demagoguery’ by depicting as catastrophic the situation of workers in Germany while making fiscally irresponsible promises. ‘It’s almost word-for-word Trump,’ Schäuble told news weekly Der Spiegel in a recent interview…

“The newcomer can also count on a degree of voter fatigue with Merkel, who has been in power for over a decade, and has been weakened by the refugee crisis… A poll published Sunday by the Bild am Sonntag newspaper gave the SPD 33 percent support – one point ahead of Merkel’s party.”

Germany, France, Italy and Spain to Discuss Europe’s Future

Euractiv wrote on February 20:

“French President François Hollande said yesterday… there would be a summit in Versailles with the leaders of Germany, Italy and Spain on 6 March to prepare reforms for the European Union ahead of the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome on 25 March. ‘It’s not about deciding between the four of us what Europe should be… but we are four important countries and it is up to us [to] say what we want to do with the others, together,’ Hollande said at a news conference alongside Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in Malaga.

“On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties, EU leaders will hold a summit expected to finalise the formulation of a vision for the future of the Union after Brexit. The first two discussions were held at the EU informal summit in Bratislava on 16 September 2016 and at the Malta summit on 3 February. Rajoy and his Italian colleague Paiolo Gentiloni met on 27 January and discussed the EU summit in Rome this coming March to mark the 60th anniversary of the signing of the treaty establishing the European Economic Community.

“France, Germany and Italy are founding members of the EU, while Spain joined in 1986. The future of Europe has been discussed at various formats, including at ministerial level between the foreign ministers of the six founding members of the European Union, Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. But EU countries outside this group decried the gatherings.”

No Set of Circumstances in which Scotland Will Stay in the EU

The Telegraph wrote on February 21:

“Scotland will be outside of the EU regardless of the terms of the UK’s Brexit deal or whether Nicola Sturgeon [First Minister of Scotland] wins a second independence referendum, David Mundell will tell MSPs this week. The Scottish Secretary will tell a meeting of Holyrood’s Europe and external relations committee on Wednesday that there is ‘no set of circumstances’ in which Scotland will stay within the EU when the UK leaves. Even if there was a vote for independence, he will say Scotland would have to apply for EU membership from scratch and advised against making ‘easy assumptions’ about how long this would take and the terms that would be offered by Brussels.

“… His intervention will come after an analysis published by two academics concluded that it would take a minimum of five to six years after an independence referendum for Scotland to become an EU member state…”

The New World of AI

The website of reported the following on February 16:

“The European Parliament has voted on a resolution to regulate the development of artificial intelligence and robotics across the European Union… the proposed rules include establishing ethical standards for… artificial intelligence, and introducing an insurance scheme to cover liability for accidents involving driverless cars…

“There still is a bit of a process before any hard and fast laws are established, with the proposals now moving through to the executive branch of the Union, the European Commission. The Commission is not legally obliged to institute the Parliament’s recommendations but it must state fair reasons for anything that’s rejected.”

The Potential Curse of AI

The New York Post wrote on February 17:

“Tech billionaire Elon Musk believes artificial intelligence could be catastrophic for humanity who are set to become a cyborg race which will have to grapple with 15 percent of the global workforce being without a job… self-driven cars were just 10 years away from usurping human driven vehicles completely…

“[He said:] ‘Make sure researchers don’t get carried away – scientists get so engrossed in their work they don’t realize what they are doing.’… Musk also discussed how he saw human beings as already being ‘cyborgs’ as we become more and more dependent on technology.”

Robots Take Over…

The San Diego Tribune wrote on February 20:

“The wave of automation that swept away tens of thousands of American manufacturing and office jobs during the past two decades is now washing over the armed forces, putting both rear-echelon and front-line positions in jeopardy… The U.S. military is very likely to pursue forms of automation that… remove soldiers from non-combat deployments where they might face risk from adversaries on fluid battlefields, such as in transportation… Driver-less vehicles poised to take taxi, train and truck driver jobs in the civilian sector also could nab many combat-support slots in the Army.

“Warehouse robots that scoot goods to delivery vans could run the same chores inside Air Force ordnance and supply units. New machines that can scan, collate and analyze hundreds of thousands of pages of legal documents in a day might outperform Navy legal researchers. Nurses, physicians and corpsmen could face competition from computers designed to diagnose diseases and assist in the operating room. Frogmen might no longer need to rip out sea mines by hand — robots could do that for them…

“… warships [are] increasingly designed to… reduce the number of sailors required for operations… The highly automated guided-missile destroyer Zumwalt that arrived in San Diego in December carries 147 sailors — half the crew that runs similar warships — and deploys up to three drone MQ-8 Fire Scout helicopters to find targets, map terrain and sniff out bad weather. The Office of Naval Research and the Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office continue to experiment with what futurists call a ‘ghost fleet’ of unmanned but networked surface and underwater boats — and their flying drone cousins overhead.

“Tomorrow’s sailors could begin to encounter what scores of bookkeepers, cashiers, telephone operators and automotive assembly line workers already faced in the past two decades as increasingly fast and cheap software and automated machinery replaced some of their tasks in factories and offices. And that trend isn’t diminishing.  Advances in artificial intelligence, software and robotics threaten nearly half of all American civilian jobs during the next several decades… While such cuts might hit low-wage manual laborers the hardest, the cheap cost of high-speed computing also will slash many ‘high-income cognitive jobs’ while triggering the ‘hollowing-out of middle-income routine jobs’…

“In the United States, the push to automate blue-collar trades accelerated after the 2009 global financial crisis. American factories installed 27,500 units in 2015, triple the number six years earlier… They also bought 60,000 robots between 2010 and 2015, second only to China’s nearly 90,000 units.”

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