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American Dream: Expelled Nazis Collected Millions in U.S. Social Security Benefits

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OSIJEK, Croatia (AP) — Former Auschwitz guard Jakob Denzinger lived the American dream.

His plastics company in the Rust Belt town of Akron, Ohio, thrived. By the late 1980s, he had acquired the trappings of success: a Cadillac DeVille and a Lincoln Town Car, a lakefront home, investments in oil and real estate.

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Akron viaduct, Ohio

Then the Nazi hunters showed up.

In 1989, as the U.S. government prepared to strip him of his citizenship, Denzinger packed a pair of suitcases and fled to Germany. Denzinger later settled in this pleasant town on the Drava River, where he lives comfortably, courtesy of U.S. taxpayers.

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Drava River

He collects a Social Security payment of about $1,500 each month, nearly twice the take-home pay of an average Croatian worker.

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Osijek, Croatia

Denzinger, 90, is among dozens of suspected Nazi war criminals and SS guards who collected millions of dollars in Social Security payments after being forced out of the United States, an Associated Press investigation found.

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The payments flowed through a legal loophole that has given the U.S. Justice Department leverage to persuade Nazi suspects to leave. If they agreed to go, or simply fled before deportation, they could keep their Social Security, according to interviews and internal government records.

Like Denzinger, many lied about their Nazi pasts to get into the U.S. following World War II, and eventually became American citizens.

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Among those who benefited:

—armed SS troops who guarded the Nazi network of camps where millions of Jews perished.

—an SS guard who took part in the brutal liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto in Nazi-occupied Poland that killed as many as 13,000 Jews.

—a Nazi collaborator who engineered the arrest and execution of thousands of Jews in Poland.

—a German rocket scientist accused of using slave labor to build the V-2 rocket that pummeled London. He later won NASA’s highest honor for helping to put a man on the moon.

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The AP’s findings are the result of more than two years of interviews, research and analysis of records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and other sources.

The Justice Department denied using Social Security payments as a tool for removing Nazi suspects. But records show the U.S. State Department and the Social Security Administration voiced grave concerns over the methods used by the Justice Department’s Nazi-hunting unit, the Office of Special Investigations.

State officials derogatorily called the practice “Nazi dumping” and claimed the OSI was bargaining with suspects so they would leave voluntarily. Read the rest of this entry »

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[VIDEO] White House Forward Backward Forward: Travel Ban On/Off Table?

“It’s an option that will continue to be on the table, but it’s one that is not being considered right now.”

Two days after expressly ruling out a travel ban to and from Ebola-stricken countries, White House press secretary Josh Earnest admitted such a ban is now “on the table.” Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Center for Disease Control: Ebola Spreading in Africa Would Be ‘Threat to U.S. Health System for Long Time to Come’

“I will tell you, as the director of CDC, one of the things I fear about Ebola is that it could spread more widely in Africa. If this were to happen, it could become a threat to our health system, and the health care we give, for a long time to come.”

National Review Online


Bitter Concession Speeches The Only Things Americans Looking Forward To In Upcoming Midterms

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“I mean, the election would be a total waste of time if not for that moment when the candidate has to go out on stage and tell all the people who worked so hard for him that he failed and that their shared dream is suddenly gone.”

WASHINGTON—Calling them the only things remotely worthwhile about next month’s elections, the American public confirmed Wednesday that the dozens of bitter concession speeches to be given by losing candidates are the sole aspect of the upcoming midterms they are looking forward to.

“I really don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t look ahead to a bunch of people half-heartedly chanting their candidate’s name to make him feel better.”

“Honestly, all that matters is that I get to watch some defeated politician stiffly read some remarks and offer a totally disingenuous congratulations to the victor,” said Des Moines, IA, resident Lindsey Abbot, one of the millions of American voters whose only consolation on election night will reportedly be finding out who will lose their composure as they apologize for letting down their supporters. Read the rest of this entry »


Why Raising Minimum Wage Means Less Money in Your Pocket

The Butcher:

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“The Affordable Care Act demonstrates the phenomenon. This landmark piece of social legislation extended free or highly subsidized health insurance to millions of additional Americans. But it also, therefore, increases the loss of benefits to low-income workers after a raise.“

Originally posted on TIME:

Will you actually be richer when your pay is raised to $15 per hour?

Perhaps the question seems ludicrous. Of course you’re better off making $15 an hour than you were at $9 per hour, right? But the answer is, unfortunately, not as obvious as you might think. And the question itself—will workers getting a raise be better off?—has been missing from debates in cities from New York to Los Angeles over whether to establish $15 per hour minimum wages for some workers.

Instead, we’re seeing the same old arguments — from San Francisco, where voters must decide on a November ballot measure proposing a new $15 per hour wage floor, to Seattle, which will begin phasing in $15 per hour next year — over whether the minimum wage hurts business and jobs, or whether it boosts local economies by giving workers more money to spend. For the record, I…

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U.S. Federal Grand Jury Indicts Benghazi Suspect on Charges that Carry Death Penalty

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Ahmed Abu Khatallah to face 17 new charges over alleged involvement on September 2012 attacks on US diplomatic compound in Benghazi that saw four US citizens killed

A US federal grand jury issued a new indictment on Tuesday that includes a possible death penalty against Ahmed Abu Khatallah, a Libyan militant accused of involvement in the September 2012 attacks on the U.S. chris-stevens-bodydiplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

“Obama administration officials, including Susan Rice, currently White House National Security Adviser, stoked political controversy by initially saying the attack was a spontaneous protest against an anti-Muslim video.”

The indictment supersedes earlier accusations brought against Khatallah in July, and adds 17 new charges, including allegations he led an extremist militia group and conspired with others to attack the facilities and kill U.S. citizens.

Khatallah was captured in Libya in June by a US military and FBI team and transported to the United States aboard a U.S. Navy ship to face charges in Washington federal court.

A lawyer for Khatallah did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

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Four Americans were killed in the attack, including the US Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens. The attack ignited a political firestorm in Washington that could still resonate if Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State at the time of the attack, runs for president as expected in 2016.

Read the rest of this entry »


This Day in History: Chuck Yeager First to Break the Sound Barrier, Oct. 14, 1947

Capt. Charles E. Yeager is in the cockpit of the Bell X-1 supersonic research aircraft. He became the first man to fly faster than the speed of sound in level flight on October 14, 1947.

Capt. Charles E. Yeager is in the cockpit of the Bell X-1 supersonic research aircraft. He became the first man to fly faster than the speed of sound in level flight on October 14, 1947.

 “He had remarkable 20/10 eyesight, tremendous physical coordination, and an uncanny ability to stay focused in stressful situations. Those traits coupled with a competitive streak and his understanding of machinery caught the attention of his instructors.”

Elizabeth Howell, for SPACE.com, June 11, 2014: Chuck Yeager was an American test pilot wh51ZgqYqwuAL._SL250_o was the first person to break the sound barrier — the point where a speeding object (such as an airplane) passes the speed of sound.

[Get Tom Wolfe's classic book "The Right Stuff" from Amazon.com]

Yeager made his history-setting flight on Oct. 14, 1947 in an airplane he dubbed Glamorous Glennis, after his wife. The Bell X-1 rocket plane (which today hangs in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum) passed Mach 1 following a drop from a B-29 airplane.

Chuck Yeager, The Right Stuff.

[Everything Chuck Yeager at Amazon.com]

The monumental “top secret” event was kept classified until 1948, but once it hit the public airwaves, Yeager became a celebrity. He also received a prestigious aviation award called the Collier Trophy, which called his flight the greatest achievement in aviation since the Wright brothers first took flight in 1903.chuck-yeager-portrait

“Yeager continued his flight testing duties for many years after breaking the sound barrier, including testing Lockheed’s XF-104, an aircraft that was capable of going double the speed of sound.”

Yeager had a colorful aviation career long even before breaking the Mach barrier. Born in 1923 in a small town near Hamlin, West Virginia, Yeager grew up working on his father’s pickup trucks, according to Yeager’s website.

His high school graduation in 1941 took place just six months before the United States entered World War II that December. By that point, Yeager was a young member of the Army Air Corps. He was tapped for flight training in July 1942, and quickly distinguished himself among his peers.

“He had remarkable 20/10 eyesight, tremendous physical coordination, and an uncanny ability to stay focused in stressful situations. Those traits coupled with a 513SsJ0RC1L._SL250_competitive streak and his understanding of machinery caught the attention of his instructors,” his website stated.

[Check out "Thunder in the Desert: Behind the scenes at the most famous Air Force base in the world" at Amazon.com]

Yeager received his pilot wings in 1943 and served in WWII, flying 64 combat missions for 270 hours in Europe. He was shot down on March 5, 1944, over Bordeaux, France, but with the assistance of French resistance movement the Maquis, Yeager made it back to neutral territory a few weeks later.

Capt. Charles E. Yeager and Bell X-1 - Portrait

Breaking the barrier

Following the war, one of Yeager’s assignments as an assistant maintenance officer in the fighter section at the Flight Test Division in Wright Field, Ohio. Yeager’s website describes the location as “the center of Army Air Forces R and D [research and development]“, and said his main assignment was to fly the fighters being developed there. Read the rest of this entry »


Report Finds 6.9 Million Multiple Voters in 28 States: 6,951,484 Overlapping Voter Registrations, ‘Tip of the Iceberg’

Senate Leadership Speaks To Press About Stimulus Package

RICHMOND, Va. — Some 6.9 million Americans are registered to vote in two or more states, according to a report obtained by Watchdog.org.

“Duplicate registration is an open invitation to voting fraud. This ability to vote more than once dilutes the legal votes and changes the results of elections.”

“Our nation’s voter rolls are a mess,” says Catherine Engelbrecht, president of the election-watch group True The Vote.CatherineEngelbrecht

“Sensible approaches to roll maintenance are fought tooth and nail by radical special interests who can use the duplicity in the system to their advantage,” she said.

[Also see: John Fund's Voter Fraud: We’ve Got Proof It’s Easy]

The latest interstate voter cross check tallied 6,951,484 overlapping voter registrations, and they’re just the tip of the iceberg.

The cross-check program involves only 28 states and does not include the three largest: California, Texas and Florida.

“Duplicate registration is an open invitation to voting fraud,” said Clara Belle Wheeler, a member of the Election Board in Albemarle County, Va. “This ability to vote more than once dilutes the legal votes and changes the results of elections.”

The interstate cross-check program matches first and last names and dates of birth to identify multiple registrations.But the data are not routinely used to purge duplicates.

“Increasingly lax standards in our election process produce increasingly unreliable results.”

“The few conversations that are had about how to shore up these weaknesses are immediately seized on by certain politicians and special-interest groups as fuel to further divide American voters based on trumped-up race and class-based narratives,” she said. Read the rest of this entry »


Voters Excited To Use Midterms To Put Country Back On Different Wrong Track

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“It will take a lot of work to turn the country around and ensure a different type of horrible future, but I believe there are candidates out there who have the awful principles and ideologies to march into Washington and do it.”

WASHINGTON—Expressing dissatisfaction with the current course the country is taking, voters across the nation told reporters Monday that they are eager to use next month’s midterm elections to help put the United States back on a different wrong track. “We’ve been going down the wrong path for the past few years, and now it’s time to get some new people in there who can lead our country astray in a different direction,” said North Carolina voter Lisa Berkland, adding that Washington D.C. needed an influx of new misguided politicians with their own terrible visions for the country to change the manner in which the nation is veering off course. Read the rest of this entry »


Take Back Columbus Day

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The idiot ideologues who have been dismantling the American identity will be stopped only if we fight back

NRO‘s Ira Straus writes: The effort to deconstruct America’s identity continues apace. Seattle has abolished Columbus Day. So has Minneapolis. So has South Dakota.

And not just abolished it neutrally, but replaced it with something intended to be understood as its opposite: an “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” (or, in South Dakota, “Native Americans Day”). It amounts to declaring officially — or rather, implying officially, since it would not be safe for politicians to say openly what the theorists of this deconstruction say — that our American society, which Europeans built on the heels of Columbus’s voyage, is fundamentally wrong and needs to be replaced by its “Other.”

“…The political classes in Seattle and Minneapolis evidently are among those who are prone to hate it. They have joined hands with the activists who make it their profession to deconstruct America’s history and identity. They tell us that we should celebrate the Native Americans as co-shapers of our society, in place of celebrating the actual shapers — or more accurately, transmitters — of our society.”

Shame on Seattle. And on Minneapolis. And on South Dakota. Shame on their politicians and elites, who did the deed. Shame on their citizens, who voted for the politicians and who have not stood up to them when they proceeded to thumb their noses at America.

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Is there any honor in all this shame? Yes. Honor to the Italian Americans of Seattle! They alone stood up to this travesty.

But, honestly, even they deserve just a half-honor. They did not stand up as Americans; they stood up as another ethnic minority, demanding appreciation for the special Italian contribution to America through their native son Columbus. They tried to be broad-minded about it and agree to have an Indigenous Peoples’ Day too, as long as they kept Columbus Day for themselves. But they asked nothing to honor the roots and identity of America per se. That, apparently, would have required too much courage. Only minority groups are supposed to need recognition nowadays.

It means that no one stood up for what Columbus Day is actually about. No one. Read the rest of this entry »


Detroit Man: iPhone 6 in Exchange for House?

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A man from Detroit has offered to sell his house for an iPhone 6

The unnamed individual originally listed his three-bedroom property for $5,000 (£3,100) in June, but has now slashed the price to either $3,000, or the latest version of Apple’s iconic smartphone. He would also accept a 32GB iPad, and is willing to negotiate, according to his estate agent, Larry Else.

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The three-bedroom house in Detroit which can be bought for the price of an iPhone 6

“Detroit’s not a monster. It’s just ahead of the curve”

– Kevin D. Williamson

The 2,400-square foot house is in poor condition, with broken windows and peeling paint, in one of Detroit’s poorest districts. Even so, the trade has highlighted the contrast between America’s thriving technology industry in Silicon Valley and the economic blight still affecting other parts of the country. Read the rest of this entry »


Obama Time Machine: The Greatest Man on Earth Meets The Loneliest Man in the World

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On that magical night, for the New York Times, on November 4th, 2008,  Adam Nagourney wrote:

Barack Hussein Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States on Tuesday, sweeping away the last racial barrier in American politics with ease as the country chose him as its first black chief executive.

“The election of Mr. Obama amounted to a national catharsis — a repudiation of a historically unpopular Republican president and his economic and foreign policies, and an embrace of Mr. Obama’s call for a change in the direction and the tone of the country.”

Barack Obama Holds Election Night Gathering In Chicago's Grant Park

“…nothing short of a phenomenon, drawing huge crowds epitomized by the tens of thousands of people who turned out to hear Mr. Obama’s victory speech…”

But it was just as much a strikingly symbolic moment in the evolution of the nation’s fraught racial history, a breakthrough that would have seemed unthinkable just two years ago…

To the very end, Mr. McCain’s campaign was eclipsed by an opponent who was nothing short of a phenomenon, drawing huge crowds epitomized by the tens of thousands of people who turned out to hear Mr. Obama’s victory speech in Grant Park in Chicago.

“If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer,” said Mr. Obama, standing before a huge wooden lectern with a row of American flags at his back, casting his eyes to a crowd that stretched far into the Chicago night…

Good times, good times. Fast forward to October. 7, 2014.

For the New York Times reports:

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In This Election, Obama’s Party Benches Him

CHICAGO — When he soared to victory by almost 10 million votes in 2008, President Obama won in states like Virginia that Democratic candidates had not captured since 1964. He was trumpeted as a transformational leader who remade American politics by creating a new electoral map and a diverse voter coalition to shape the Democratic Party for the 21st century.

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“But for now he has been reduced to something else: an isolated political figure who is viewed as a liability to Democrats in the very states where voters by the thousands had once stood to cheer him.”

“As November nears, Mr. Obama and his loyalists are being forced to reconcile that it is not only Democrats in conservative-leaning states, like Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas, who are avoiding him.”

Hmm…A repudiation of a historically unpopular Democrat president and his economic and foreign policies?

Read the rest of this entry »


Liberal Mansplaining and Double Standards: The Reckless Misandry of Jonathan Chait

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“Fashion tends to attract girls suffering from estrogen poisoning.”

Imagine a magazine article about soccer, golf, cosmetics, art, literature, tennis, finance, or…well, let’s say fashion, that included a phrase suggesting women’s interest in it was related to “estrogen poisoning”.

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Unthinkable. Ghastly. Unforgivable. There would be an immediate call for its author to be fired. An immediate, prolonged Twitter riot, a festival of shaming. The author’s name and home address would be leaked, the author would get death threats. Demonstrations in front of the magazine’s offices would begin. Calls by celebrities, business leaders, fashion editors, newsmakers, politicians, and perhaps even the president of the united states, for the publisher of the magazine to step down, publicly apologize, or both. Advertisers would flee. It would be the hot topic on news programs and talk shows for days, and days.

But write an article that includes a phrase like that in a New York magazine, in reference to boys, about sports? No problem. Here’s the actual quote:

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“Football tends to attract boys suffering from testosterone poisoning.”

I kid you not. I looked for evidence he was being ironic, self-aware, or humorous. Not there. Dude is serious. As most of us have heard it, when said by women, it’s tongue-in-cheek, a shot at male obsessions, like cars, or cigars, or boats, not exclusively about sports. Or, in an unguarded situation, when no men are in the room, I imagine, more at liberty to be frank, hostile and demeaning. Free to refer to the normal condition of being male as “poisoned”.

Since when do men say this? About boys?

Perhaps after years of exposure to it, Chait internalized the phrase, detached from any resemblance to humor or playful overstatement. Is this how liberals talk to other liberals? With a straight face?

Courtesy of Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine readers can endure a lecture by an insulting, sanctimonious, sexist, long-winded liberal, aimed at other misguided liberals, about sports. He thinks you don’t understand football. And he’s here to mansplain’ things.

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Wait, there’s more. Imagine, if you will, a sentence like this in a respected New York magazine:

“Interior design channels girls’ misandristic hysteria into supervised forms, shapes them within boundaries, and gives them positive meaning. These virtues, like those often attributed to the fashion industry, can feel like clichés imported from an earlier era.”

Think I’m exaggerating? Here’s Chait’s actual sentence:

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“Football channels boys’ chauvinistic belligerence into supervised forms, shapes them within boundaries, and gives them positive meaning. These virtues, like those often attributed to the military, can feel like clichés imported from an earlier era.”

There are other choice quotes, but you can read the whole spectacle here. But readers should know, the author a male. He is uneasy. And he wants you to know it.

Read the rest of this entry »


Heartache: Poll Finds Harry Reid’s Approval Rating At All-Time Low, 21%


Hemingway Grandsons Celebrate 60th Anniversary of Author’s Nobel Prize

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Hemingway, who lived from 1899 until his suicide in 1961, was a journalist, author, world traveler and sportsman. In the 1940s and 1950s, he spent half the year in Cuba and would summer in Idaho

“This is a really emotional day, being here with the people of Cojimar. It’s something personal, it’s a family thing, and I also think it is historic.” 

– John Hemingway

COJIMAR – Carlos Batista writes: Just like Ernest Hemingway used to do, two of his grandsons sailed into the fishing town of Cojimar on Monday, marking 60 years since the iconic US author won the Nobel prize.

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John and Patrick Hemingway sailed in from the Ernest Hemingway International Yacht Club west of Havana, through the Gulf waters where “Papa” used to fish, with a group of 16 that arrived Sunday.

[Explore books and other cool stuff about Ernest Hemingway at Amazon.com] 

“This is a really emotional day, being here with the people of Cojimar. It’s something personal, it’s a family thing, and I also think it is historic,” John Hemingway, 54, said in Spanish to about 200 people who gathered on the fishing town’s waterfront to greet them.

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The author, also known for works such as “The Sun Also Rises,” “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” and “A Farewell to Arms,” received the Nobel prize for literature in 1954.

About a dozen boats joined the four yachts carrying the Hemingway party in the two-hour sail over to Cojimar.

Hemingway, who lived in Cuba for over 20 years, rented a home in the town. He fished enthusiastically and was inspired here to write the classic “The Old Man and the Sea.0

Hemingway’s boat is in dry dock these days, near his Cojimar home, now a museum run by the government of Raul Castro, 83

The four yachts flew both US and Cuban flags; the two countries have not had full diplomatic ties since 1961.

Events like this “could contribute to some positive things between the United States and Cuba,” said John, a writer who lives in Montreal, alongside brother Patrick, 48, a photographer who lives in Vancouver.

Hemingway’s close ties to Cuba

Hemingway, who lived from 1899 until his suicide in 1961, was a journalist, author, world traveler and sportsman. In the 1940s and 1950s, he spent half the year in Cuba and would summer in Idaho.

“I met Hemingway myself when I was very young, maybe 13 or 14, and then we became friends.”

– Osvaldo Carrero Pina, now 78.

The dramatic twists were not just in his books; he struggled with mental illness and health consequences of heavy drinking even as he became an acclaimed author with a singular and strong spare style.

Married four times, Ernest Hemingway had three sons: Jack, Patrick and Gregory, the latter being John and Patrick’s father.

Ernest Hemingway was fascinated by game hunting and deep sea fishing, capped with drinks and some writing.

Ernest Hemingway and Carlos Gutierrez aboard Hemingway's boat, the Pilar, 1934. Photograph in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

Ernest Hemingway and Carlos Gutierrez aboard Hemingway’s boat, the Pilar, 1934. Photograph in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

The author, also known for works such as “The Sun Also Rises,” “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” and “A Farewell to Arms,” received the Nobel prize for literature in 1954.

And it was here in Cojimar that Hemingway docked his boat “El Pilar,” obsessed about marlin, knocked back mojitos, and where Cuban fishermen inspired his “Old Man.

When the Americas’ only communist government took power, around 1960, Hemingway left Cuba for the last time—but not before meeting longtime president Fidel Castro. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Netanyahu: The Malignancy of Militant Islam Is Growing and Spreading

“I wrote 20 years ago that you will see domestic international terrorists, because you will see them send people — jihadists — to live in the West to raise jihad against the West, and unfortunately that has come about.”

Said Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Face the NationBut an even greater danger exists, he says:

“…that they will marry their mad ideologies to weapons of mass death. That is a threat not only to my people — the Jewish people and the Jewish state of Israel — but to your people.”

Netanyahu continued… Read the rest of this entry »


Is Hillary Clinton’s Messaging Strategy Straight from the 1988 Dukakis Campaign Playbook?

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Hillary Clinton: Dukakis in a Pantsuit? 

editor-commen-deskYes, I confess, this is mainly an excuse to use this really scary photo of Hillary. We already know what Mrs. Clinton looks like in a pantsuit. But how many of us know what it’s like to be that close to one of her eyeballs? Highlights from Jonah Goldberg’s weekly G-File. It includes a bonus excerpt from Jonah’s review of Piketty’s Marxist book (there’s no other thing to call it) and since it’s a book that even dedicated neo-Marxists only pretend they read all of, I imagine even some of them are taking Jonah’s word for it. See that full review, in Commentary, here.

For the article excerpted below, see the full text here.  (I suggest you read all of it, otherwise you’ll miss the joke about spoon-banging on a high chair). Anything else? Yes! Order Jonah’s book here.

…I have no doubt that Clinton likes data. When she was working on Hillarycare in the early 1990s she assembled hundreds of wonks collecting literally millions of pieces of data, filling filing cabinets like the warehouse in Indiana Jones. When a journalist asked her if she needed anything else, Clinton replied something like “just a little more data.” As if her entire Rube Goldberg machine would click into place and hum with perfection if she just got a few more columns of numbers on heart-bypass rates in Missoula.

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But just because Clinton likes data doesn’t mean this isn’t a crock. Oh, it’s savvy. But if her husband taught us anything, it’s that bullsh*tters can be savvy. First, all of this data talk is a brilliant way to exploit the “Big Data” fad in elite circles these days and subtly play lip-service to the liberal conceit that “facts have a liberal bias.” If she were running in the late 19th century she’d be talking about canals on Mars.tyranny-of-cliches

[Jonah's book, The Tyranny of Cliches, is available at Amazon]

If she were running in the 1920s, she’d be saying “Engineering, Engineering, Engineering.” In the 1960s, she’d be saying “Plastics, Plastics, Plastics.” If she were running in 50,000 B.C. she’d be going around saying “Fire, Fire, Fire.” I talked about this a bit in my review of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century:

Marx tapped into the language and concepts of Darwinian evolution and the Industrial Revolution to give his idea of dialectical materialism a plausibility it didn’t deserve. Marx-TVSimilarly, Croly drew from the turn-of-the-century vogue for (heavily German-influenced) social science and the cult of the expert (in Croly’s day “social engineer” wasn’t a pejorative term, but an exciting career). In much the same way, Piketty’s argument taps into the current cultural and intellectual fad for “big data.” The idea that all the answers to all our problems can be solved with enough data is deeply seductive and wildly popular among journalists and intellectuals. (Just consider the popularity of the Freakonomics franchise or the cult-like popularity of the self-taught statistician Nate Silver.) Indeed, Piketty himself insists that what sets his work apart from that of Marx, Ricardo, Keynes, and others is that he has the data to settle questions previous generations of economists could only guess at. Data is the Way and the Light to the eternal verities long entombed in cant ideology and darkness. (This reminds me of the philosopher Eric Voegelin’s quip that, under Marxism, “Christ the Redeemer is replaced by the steam engine as the promise of the realm to come.”)

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But the more important point is that Clinton’s messaging gambit is an entirely obvious indictment of Barack Obama. The need for “evidence-based optimism” isn’t a shot at Republicans. It’s a shot at the guy who beat her out for the nomination in 2008 by running as the Pope of Hope. Read the rest of this entry »


Hong Kong Democracy Protests: Open Letter From Former U.S. Consuls General to Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-yin

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Three former U.S. consuls general wrote an open letter to Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. They say the government’s proposal for Hong Kong’s electoral future—in which candidates running for chief executive would be pre-screened by a nominating committee friendly toward Beijing—is in defiance of the city’s Basic Law.

Full text below:

 To the Honorable C.Y. Leung

  Hong Kong, China

 We are writing to you based on decades of inestimable interest and admiration for Hong Kong. We have loved the city, admired its citizens and promoted its vital role for business, culture and commerce for Asia and for China. Over the years, we’ve seen the buildings get taller and the harbour get smaller, and lived the exciting energy of one of the world’s greatest cities. We have seen the benefits of Hong Kong’s free markets, rule of law, civil discourse and people for China and the region. While we are Americans and write to you in our private capacity, we suggest that our views reflect the sentiments of the millions of traders, bankers, lawyers, sales teams, accountants, creative artists, film producers, bartenders and ordinary foreigners who have made Hong Kong their home at one moment or another in their lives.

  We ask you, as the one person in your role as Chief Executive who can do so, to move to the forefront of efforts to settle the current dispute peacefully according to the terms of the Basic Law, the foundation of Hong Kong’s governance and status. The Basic Law embodies the ideas of peaceful evolution, self-administration and one country/two systems of Deng Xiaoping. Article 45 of the Basic Law says: “the ultimate aim is the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures.”

  The proposal currently on the table –that a committee like the ones who have chosen the Chief Executives so far should continue for an undefined period to choose two or three candidates under the guidance of Beijing—clearly fails to advance Hong Kong’s system toward being more broadly representative or democratic, and in tightening the nominating committee rules would seem actually to retreat from those goals. Read the rest of this entry »


UPDATE: IBTimes Reports on Alleged Battlefield Suicide of YPG Fighter Ceylan Ozalp

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“We’re not scared of anything. We’ll fight to the last. We’d rather blow ourselves up than be captured by Isis.”

– Ceylan Ozalp

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UPDATE: after several days of trying to find authentication of the Ceylan Ozalp story, we’ve seen a few modest breakthroughs. First, a German magazine picked up the story. And this morning, an item appeared by Gianluca Mezzofiore, an investigative reporter for IBTimes UK. Though it also can’t verify the authenticity of the report on her suicide, it’s the first article in English that we’ve seen to take on the story, and look into it.

It also contains a link to BBC’s Gabriel Gatehouse’s report, which I’d missed (we’ve linked Gatehouse’s BBC video, but not the article) It’s possible that Gatehouse is the only western journalist to meet and talk to Ceylan Ozalp while she was alive. And Mezzofiore may be the first investigative reporter to take what has so far only appeared in Turkish media outlets, circulated by pro-Kurdish politicians, and echoed by countless social media sites and blogs, but few, if any, news organizations, or western media outlets. We’ll add new updates as they come.

For example, this tweet appeared about nine hours ago. I wonder what newspaper is displayed in this photo? If anyone knows let us know.

 Syria: 19-Year-Old Kurdish Woman Fighter Kills Herself Rather Than Falling into Isis Hands

For the International Business Times in the UK, investigative reporter Gianluca Mezzofiore writes:gianluca-mezzofiore

A 19-year-old Kurdish fighter who appeared on a BBC report about Kurdish YPG women warriors in Syria has reportedly killed herself rather than falling into the hands of Isis (now known as Islamic State).

Ceylan Ozalp: ‘One of our women is worth a hundred of their [Isis] men’ 

Ceylan Ozalp found herself surrounded by Islamic State forces near the northern Syrian Kurdish city of Kobani, where a key battle is raging against the Sunni Islamists’ threat. Read the rest of this entry »


Phone Apps Spy on Hong Kong Protesters

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Security experts say China is a leading source of hacking attacks aimed at foreign governments and companies to computers in China

HONG KONG (AP) — The Chinese government might be using smartphone apps to spy on pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, a U.S. security firm said.

“The Xsser mRAT represents a fundamental shift by nation-state cybercriminals from compromising traditional PC systems to targeting mobile devices.”

The applications are disguised as tools created by activists, said the firm, Lacoon Mobile Security. It said that once downloaded, they give an outsider access to the phone’s address book, call logs and other information.

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The identities of victims and details of the servers used “lead us to believe that the Chinese government are behind the attack,” said a Lacoon statement.

China is, along with the United States and Russia, regarded as a leader in cyber warfare research. Security experts say China is a leading source of hacking attacks aimed at foreign governments and companies to computers in China. Read the rest of this entry »


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