[VIDEO] Alan Dershowitz on the Michael Flynn Controversy 

Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz on the controversy surrounding national security advisor Michael Flynn.


Farewell to the Era of No Fences 


Europe’s openness rests on America’s strength—you can’t have one without the other.

Bret Stephensrenocol_BretStephens writes: This was supposed to be the Era of No Fences. No walls between blocs. No borders between countries. No barriers to trade. Visa-free tourism. The single market. A global Internet. Frictionless transactions and seamless exchanges.

In short, a flat world. Whatever happened to that?

In the early 1990s, Israel’s then-Foreign Minister Shimon Peres published a book called “The New Middle East,” in which he predicted paradwhat was soon to be in store for his neighborhood. “Regional common markets reflect the new Zeitgeist,” he gushed. It was only a matter of time before it would become true in his part of the world, too.

[Order Robert Kagan’s book “Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order” from Amazon.com]

I read the book in college, and while it struck me as far-fetched it didn’t seem altogether crazy. The decade from 1989 to 1999 was an age of political, economic, social and technological miracles. The Berlin Wall fell. The Soviet Union dissolved. Apartheid ended. The euro and Nafta were born. The first Internet browser was introduced. Oil dropped below $10 a barrel, the Dow topped 10,000, Times Square became safe again. America won a war in Kosovo without losing a single man in combat.

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

Would Israeli businessmen soon be selling hummus and pita to quality-conscious consumers in Damascus? Well, why not?new-middle-east

[Check out Shimon Peres’s bookThe New Middle East: Protest and Revolution in the Arab World at Amazon.com

Contrast this promised utopia with the mind-boggling scenes of tens of thousands of Middle East migrants, marching up the roads and railways of Europe, headed for their German promised land. The images seem like a 21st-century version of the Völkerwanderung, the migration of nations in the late Roman and early Medieval periods. Desperate people, needing a place to go, sweeping a broad landscape like an unchanneled flood. Read the rest of this entry »

Charleston Shooting: ‘We Don’t Have All The Facts, But We Do Know That, One Again…’

Joel B. Pollak continues:

Obama is wrong on both counts. Innocent people were killed because a murderer–likely motivated by racial hatred–had a gun–but guns in the right hands have stopped, or interrupted similar attacks before. In South Africa, for example–whose racist past seems to have provided gruesome inspiration for the Charleston killer–a parishoner stopped a mass shooting by a black nationalist group against a multi-racial congregation by firing his .38 revolver at the assailants, who ran away.

The parishoner, Charl van Wyk, later wrote a book about his experience, called “Shooting Back: The Right and Duty of Self-defense.shooting back

[Check out Charl van Wyk’s book “Shooting Back: The Right and Duty of Self-defense at Amazon.com]

Charl Van Wyk was just an ordinary Christian man until July 25, 1993 – the day that would become known as the St. James Massacre. It was on this date that Van Wyk shot back at the terrorists who were attacking an innocent congregation gathered in prayer, and saved many lives in the process. More than just a remarkable story of courage under fire, Shooting Back deals forthrightly with the consequences of his actions, while addressing the concerns that plague so many God-fearing people in these lawless times, such as: Should we carry arms? When is it appropriate to defend ourselves and our families? What can we do when our God-given right to self-defense is legislated away from us? In Shooting Back, Van Wyk tackles these difficult questions using the light of Scripture and insights from his own experience to make the case for self-defense. Read the rest of this entry »

Cameron McWhirter: To Quote Thomas Jefferson, ‘I Never Actually Said That’


Librarian Tracks Sayings Misattributed to Founding Father; ‘A Fine Spiced Pickle’

Cameron McWhirter writes: Thomas Jefferson once famously wrote, “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”

[Also see Aldous Huxley and the Mendacious Memes of the Internet Age at National Review Online, by Charles C.W. Cooke]

Or did he? Numerous social movements attribute the quote to him. “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to U.S. Government and Politics” cites it in a discussion of American democracy. Actor Chuck Norris‘s 2010 treatise “Black Belt Patriotism: How to Reawaken America” uses it to urge conservatives to OB-VP466_BADQUO_BV_20121207000400become more involved in politics. It is even on T-shirts and decals.

“On a hot day in Virginia, I know nothing more comforting than a fine spiced pickle, brought up trout-like from the sparkling depths of the aromatic jar below the stairs of Aunt Sally’s cellar.”

–Never said by Thomas Jefferson

Yet the founding father and third U.S. president never wrote it or said it, insists Anna Berkes, a 33-year-old research librarian at the Jefferson Library at Monticello, his grand estate just outside Charlottesville, Va. Nor does he have any connection to many of the “Jeffersonian” quotes that politicians on both sides of the aisle have slung back and forth in recent years, she says.

“Winston Churchill had so many sayings misattributed to him that one academic gave the phenomenon a name: ‘Churchillian drift.'”

“People will see a quote and it appeals to an opinion that they have and if it has Jefferson’s name attached to it that gives it more weight,” she says. “He’s constantly being invoked by people when they are making arguments about politics and actually all sorts of topics.”

A spokeswoman for the Guide’s publisher said it was looking into the quote. Mr. Norris’s publicist didn’t respond to requests for comment.

jefferson memorial

The Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. A website lists bogus quotes attributed to the founding father. Bloomberg News

To counter what she calls rampant misattribution, Ms. Berkes is fighting the Internet with the Internet. She has set up a “Spurious Quotations” page on the Monticello website listing bogus quotes attributed to the founding father, a prolific writer and rhetorician who was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence.

“It’s a hopeless task. You would need an army of secretaries to reply to all these tweets. Twitter and Facebook have made it worse, because people glom onto these things and pass it on and there it goes.”

The fake quotes posted and dissected on Monticello.org include “My reading of history convinces me that most bad government has grown out of too much government.” In detailed footnotes, Ms. Berkes says it resembles a line Jefferson wrote in an 1807 letter: “History, in general, only informs us what 51BF9zMLqjL._SL250_bad government is.” But she can’t find that exact quotation in any of his writings.

[Check out Chuck’s bookBlack Belt Patriotism: How to Reawaken America” at Amazon.com]

Another that graces many epicurean websites: “On a hot day in Virginia, I know nothing more comforting than a fine spiced pickle, brought up trout-like from the sparkling depths of the aromatic jar below the stairs of Aunt Sally’s cellar.”

Jefferson never said that either, says Ms. Berkes. The earliest reference to the quote comes from a 1922 speech by a man extolling the benefits of pickles, she says.

“People will see a quote and it appeals to an opinion that they have and if it has Jefferson’s name attached to it that gives it more weight. He’s constantly being invoked by people when they are making arguments about politics and actually all sorts of topics.”

Jefferson is a “flypaper figure,” like Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, Winston Churchill and baseball player and manager Yogi Berra—larger-than-life figures who have fake or misattributed quotes stick to them all the time, says Ralph Keyes, an author of books about quotes wrongly credited to famous or historical figures. Read the rest of this entry »

[VIDEO] Kenneth Meshoe: Is Israel an ‘Apartheid State,’ as its Enemies Claim?

“We all need to recognize that those who say that what is happening in Israel is like apartheid South Africa are minimizing the suffering that black South Africans endured. They are taking the sting out of the pain that we suffered in South Africa. If South African apartheid was what people are seeing in Israel, there would never have been any need for an armed struggle. There would never have been any need for a Nelson Mandela to go to prison because he would have all the rights Arabs in Israel have.”

Who better to answer that charge than a Black South African who lived through apartheid? Kenneth Meshoe, a member of the South African parliament, fits that bill. He examines the evidence against Israel and draws a compelling conclusion.


There is widespread allegation — really a slander — that Israel is an apartheid state. 

That notion is simply wrong. 

It is inaccurate and it is malicious.

And it will not help to promote peace and harmony in the Middle East. Its only purpose is to demonize Israel, and to isolate her in an attempt to de-legitimize Israel’s existence. 

And because it is so inaccurate, it betrays the memory of those who suffered through a real apartheid.  

As a black South African, who was born under apartheid, in the administrative capital of South Africa, Pretoria, I know what apartheid is. I’ve experienced it. My parents experienced it. 

But having been to Israel on a number of occasions, I know that nothing is happening in that country — that I have either seen or read — that can be compared to apartheid in South Africa. 

Let’s remember the major reason Nelson Mandela went to prison — why he was involved with the armed struggle. He was fighting for the right to vote, for the right to choose the leaders who one believes in, for the right to move and travel freely, to live wherever one wants, to be educated, and to be admitted to the hospital or medical facility of your choice.  Read the rest of this entry »

Stuart Stevens: How Obama’s Shallow Worldview Failed Us


The president puts too much faith in historical progress. The long arc of history won’t beat ISIS—but a determined effort will.

Stuart Stevens writes: Thursday, August 28th, 2014, will go down as one of those rare moments when a President of the United States admitted publicly that the United States didn’t know how to deal with a major foreign policy crisis. When President Obama declared, “we don’t have a strategy yet” to confront ISIS, he was merely admitting what his Administration’s actions, or lack thereof, had made obvious.GPOS-stamped

“The problems of applying a social justice framework to international crisis are not unlike applying a cold war formulation to, say, welfare reform. It just doesn’t work.”

Every President has to deal with a chaotic world that often seems focused on wrecking havoc on America’s self-interest. Presidents fail at foreign policy objectives more frequently than they succeed. Yet rarely have we seen a President so openly struggle with a declaration of American purpose and goals. Some of this is undoubtedly due to President Obama’s personality and the reluctance he shows in leading on many issues, foreign and domestic. But for the first time since JFK, we have a President who is not a product of the Cold War era—and the ramifications of that are profound.

[Also see Jonah Goldberg’s The Empty Threat of Future Judgment “Putin doesn’t care which ‘side of history”’ we think he’s on.” – National Review Online]

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, we’ve elected three Presidents. Clinton and George W. Bush were classic post-war baby boomers with a worldview formed by the Cold – and hot – Wars against communism. They were old enough to know “duck and cover” drills in schools and the formative figures of their political lives were key players in the Cold War era: President H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Senator Fulbright of Arkansas. Both stumbled in their first presidential campaigns over issues of their service, or lack thereof, in the fight against communism. Read the rest of this entry »

Mandela Coverage: The Banality of Goodness

FW de Klerk Nelson Mandela, right, in May 1990 in Cape Town. 'The Nobel peace prize was rightly shared between Mandela and De Klerk, a sharing ignored by almost all the obituaries. There were two good men in Cape Town in 1990.' Photograph: Denis Farrell/ASSOCIATED PRESS

FW de Klerk Nelson Mandela, right, in May 1990 in Cape Town. ‘The Nobel peace prize was rightly shared between Mandela and De Klerk, a sharing ignored by almost all the obituaries. There were two good men in Cape Town in 1990.’ Photograph: Denis Farrell/AP

 writes:  Enough is enough. The publicity for the death and funeral of Nelson Mandela has become absurd. Mandela was an African political leader with qualities that were apt at a crucial juncture in his nation’s affairs. That was all and that was enough. Yet his reputation has fallen among thieves and cynics. Hijacked by politicians and celebrities from Barack Obama to Naomi Campbell and Sepp Blatter, he has had to be deified so as to dust others with his glory. In the process he has become dehumanised. We hear much of the banality of evil. Sometimes we should note the banality of goodness.

Part of this is due to the media’s crude mechanics. Millions of dollars have been lavished on preparing for Mandela’s death. Staff have been deployed, hotels booked, huts rented in Transkei villages. Hospitals could have been built for what must have been spent. All media have gone mad. Last week I caught a BBC presenter, groaning with tedium, asking a guest to compare Mandela with Jesus. The corporation has reportedly received more than a thousand complaints about excessive coverage. Is it now preparing for a resurrection?

More serious is the obligation that the cult of the media-event should owe to history. There is no argument that in the 1980s Mandela was “a necessary icon” not just for South Africans but for the world in general. In what was wrongly presented as the last great act of imperial retreat, white men were caricatured as bad and black men good. The arrival of a gentlemanly black leader, even a former terrorist, well cast for beatification was a godsend.

Visiting and writing about South Africa in the last years of white rule in the 1980s, I was acutely aware that the great struggle was not so much between the white South Africans and Mandela’s ANC, whose leaders were in prison or exile, but within Afrikanerdom. This was no rebellion against a foreign power. It was a potential conflict between an impotent majority and a potent minority, in which the likelihood of the latter giving way to the former seemed minimal – and unnecessary in the short term.

Read the rest of this entry »

Funeral Spice

Relish the accidental comedy in a humorless world

pic_main_121313_SM_Funeral-Spice-Barack-Obama-RevMark Steyn writes:  ‘I don’t want to be emotional but this is one of the greatest moments of my life,” declared Nelson Mandela upon meeting the Spice Girls in 1997. So I like to think he would have appreciated the livelier aspects of his funeral observances. The Prince of Wales, who was also present on that occasion in Johannesburg, agreed with Mandela on the significance of their summit with the girls: “It is the second-greatest moment in my life,” he said. “The greatest was when I met them the first time.” His Royal Highness and at least two Spice Girls (reports are unclear) attended this week’s service in Soweto, and I’m sure it was at least the third-greatest moment in all of their lives. Don’t ask me where the other Spice Girls were. It is a melancholy reflection that the Spice Girls’ delegation was half the size of Canada’s, which flew in no fewer than four Canadian prime ministers, which is rather more Canadian prime ministers than one normally needs to make the party go with a swing.

But the star of the show was undoubtedly Thamsanqa Jantjie, the sign-language interpreter who stood alongside the world’s leaders and translated their eulogies for the deaf. Unfortunately, he translated them into total gibberish, reduced by the time of President Obama’s appearance to making random hand gestures, as who has not felt the urge to do during the great man’s speeches. Mr. Jantjie has now pleaded in mitigation that he was having a sudden hallucination because he is a violent schizophrenic. It has not been established whether he is, in fact, a violent schizophrenic, or, as with his claim to be a sign-language interpreter, merely purporting to be one. Asked how often he has been violent, he replied, somewhat cryptically, “A lot.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Bad News: Danish PM Won’t Post the Obama-at-Funeral Pic, She’s keeping it to her selfie!


The infamous selfie of President Obama from Nelson Mandela‘s memorial service is not going to be shared, the Danish prime minister who snapped the shot says, since it’s not a very good picture.

The little lady who started selfie-gate, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, dashed the hopes of those wanting a peek at the pic when she revealed to the Danish press that the image won’t be seeing the light of day.

The blond beauty says she has no regrets instigating the photograph with UK Prime Minister David Cameron and President Obama at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service Tuesday.

President Obama posed for a selfie with UK PM David Cameron and Denmark’s Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt. The photo of the incident went viral — garnering considerable attention.

The Dane sat between the American and British leaders at the affair and held out her phone to capture the moment, while Cameron and Obama leaned in and flashed cheesy grins.

Insisting the mood at the Tuesday service was “festive,” the Scandinavian leader doesn’t think it was inappropriate to seize the moment for a selfie, according to Danish tabloid Ekstra Bladet.

Brushing aside the controversy, she hinted that she finds all the press about the incident “funny.”

Really? The impromptu pic went viral with commentators the world over questioning the propriety of behavior at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela.


Really? The impromptu pic went viral with commentators the world over questioning the propriety of behavior at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela.

Previously she was relatively unknown to the world, but she’s been plunged into the spotlight and her image was plastered across front pages across the globe — given her high-profile posing partners at the South African event.

Read the rest of this entry »

Gut Check: Lessons in Lockstep


Greg Gutfeld writes: Last week, Nelson Mandela died. There were more than enough touching eulogies, and any attempt by me would be shoddy, with the depth of a contact lens. Better to sit back, shut up, and think about a lesson to learn from this great man’s life.

I remember in college avoiding the apartheid issue because it wasn’t part of the way I saw the world. As a staunch anti-communist, I could not abide by the African National Congress, who were backed by the USSR among other nondemocratic entities. I was on the right team, no doubt, as history has shown, but I was wrong on where my allegiances took me, regarding South Africa. I wasn’t supportive of the place. I just wasn’t crazy about any of the players.

My point: The danger of dedicating yourself to “the team” is an immunity to critical thinking. You avoid having to make tougher decisions, or listening, or admitting you might be wrong if you adhere completely to the ideology of the group you’re in.

Don’t get me wrong. The fight against communism was the fight worth having. But it prevented me from seeing that, despite the relationship between communism and Nelson Mandela, I should have been able to handle several thoughts and truths. Why can’t I renounce communism, want to win the Cold War, but accept the necessity of Mandela’s fight? I can enjoy both death metal and poppy electronica — so why can’t I be a cold warrior and a proponent of legitimate revolution? It’s a shallow comparison, but I am a shallow person.

Read the rest of this entry »

Interpreter at Mandela Event: ‘I Was Hallucinating’


(JOHANNESBURG) — report:  The man accused of faking sign interpretation while standing alongside world leaders like U.S. President Barack Obama at Nelson Mandela‘s memorial service said Thursday he hallucinated that angels were entering the stadium, suffers from schizophrenia and has been violent in the past.

Thamsanqa Jantjie said in a 45-minute interview with The Associated Press that his hallucinations began while he was interpreting and that he tried not to panic because there were “armed policemen around me.” He added that he was once hospitalized in a mental health facility for more than one year.

A South African deputy Cabinet minister, Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, later held a news conference to announce that “a mistake happened” in the hiring of Jantjie.

Government officials have tried to track down the company that provided Thamsanqa Jantjie but the owners “have vanished into thin air,” said Deputy Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu.

Read the rest of this entry »

Top Ten Things That Are Almost As White As the Huffington Post’s Political Team


10. Matchy-matchy group-themed seasonal sweaters

9. A vanilla milkshake infused with white chocolate and cocaine

8. People who are still watching Agents of SHIELD

7. Three quarters of Hall & Oates

6. People who really like Kanye West from that interview they heard on NPR

5. Joan Walsh’s entire dating history; also, the periodic bouts of milky smegma occurring over the course Joan Walsh’s dating history

4. People who watched that video of the guy faking Sign Language at Nelson Mandela’s funeral and became outraged at the racism this man must have faced in Africa to drive him to commit fraud

3. LL Bean’s new, ill-advised clothing line, the Kasual Khaki Kollection

2. The victim profile of the many children that Harry Reid has strangled

…and the number one thing almost as white as the HuffPo Politics staff…

1. TIE:

These guys

Ace of Spades HQ

Crime: Burglars Break into Desmond Tutu’s Home During Nelson Mandela Memorial

South African Archbishop and Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu speaks during an interview in New Delhi, Feb. 8, 2012. B Mathur / Reuters

South African Archbishop and Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu   Mathur / Reuters

Second time the retired South African Archbishop’s home has been robbed

 writes:  Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu’s home was robbed as he attended Nelson Mandela’s memorial service on Tuesday, according to one of his aides.

Roger Friedman, and aide to the retired South African Archbishop, confirmed the break-in but said it was unclear what exactly was taken. The house was not pillaged, and neither Tutu or his wife were at home at the time of the robbery, AFP reports.

“I can confirm that there was a burglary last night,” Friedman said.

Tutu rebuked the crowd for being too loud at Mandela’s memorial service on Tuesday, calling on South Africans honor his passing in silence and follow in the footsteps of the nation’s former president.

This is the second time in five months burglars have broken into Tutu’s home. Tutu and his wife were at home sleeping when robbers hit their home in August, but were unharmed.

[AFP]  TIME.com

South Africans Are Indoctrinated to Hate Bush, Republicans: Bush’s Africa Legacy Stands

Upon arrival to the Gabane Community Home in Gabane, Botswana, President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush watch a performance by Gabane Village traditional dancers on Thursday, July 5, 2012. One of the most respected home-based care programs in Botswana, the Community Home is a pre-school program with a mission to provide quality care and support to the sick, orphaned and vulnerable children while empowering people to live positively with HIV and AIDS.  The long-term vision is to one day eradicating HIV/AIDS from the community of Gabane.  Photo by Shealah Craighead/The Bush Center

Upon arrival to the Gabane Community Home in Gabane, Botswana, President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush watch a performance by Gabane Village traditional dancers on Thursday, July 5, 2012.

Though I agree with Joel’s main point here — and today’s shameful booing of the former president is regrettable — I don’t agree with his suggestion that George W. Bush is uniformly hated in Africa. To the contrary, there are many in Africa who benefited from their partnership with the former president, and remember him fondly.

This article by Eugene Robinson, in the Washington Post, honors the former president’s efforts in Africa:

“…credit and praise must be given where they are due, and Bush’s accomplishment — the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR — deserves accolades. It is a reminder that the United States can still be both great and good…if Africa is gaining ground against AIDS, history will note that it was Bush, more than any other individual, who turned the tide…”

Recall that Bush’s decision to direct enormous financial support to combat AIDs in Africa–though ignored in recent history–was admired, and contributed to saving millions of lives. Read the whole thing.

To the uninformed, this is probably considered uncharacteristic of a Republican president. They don’t know Republicans, and they didn’t know Bush. Bush’s habit of deficit spending, not just on unpopular military campaigns, but also on controversial health and education programs and foreign aid, remains a divisive one among conservatives. Bush saw the AIDs initiative as a matter of national security (though as Robinson points out, the validity of that argument is questionable) as well as an altruistic imperative, and medical necessity, for a nation confronting a serious health crisis.

Why are South Africans taught to hate Republicans? Keep in mind, not all do. As we’ll see, Bush’s is legacy in Africa is more complicated than the global chorus of Republican-bashing Bush-haters would have us believe. But sadly, Joel does have a point.

Joel B. Pollak writes: Former President George W. Bush, as the American left gleefully observed, was booed by some in the audience at the memorial for Nelson Mandela at the First National Bank in Soweto, Johannesburg on Tuesday. President Barack Obama, in contrast, received a standing ovation–in which, Twitchy notes, Bush joined enthusiastically. Read the rest of this entry »

Mandela vs. the Iron Lady

A framed portrait of former president Nelson Mandela and flowers are placed outside Mandela's Johannesburg home Friday, December 6, 2013. (photo credit: AP/Denis Farrell)

A framed portrait of former president Nelson Mandela and flowers are placed outside Mandela’s Johannesburg home Friday, December 6, 2013. (photo credit: AP/Denis Farrell)

Netanyahu’s decision to skip Madiba’s memorial is principled but controversial, especially in light of that fact that he attended Margaret Thatcher’s funeral

Joshua Davidovich writes: Israeli papers feature a mishmash of domestic news on their front pages Tuesday morning, with Knesset laws, a coming winter storm, and a shortage of doctors and paramedics trumping reports of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s ninth visit to the region in as many months, and low-level talks over the Iranian nuclear deal in Geneva.

The decisions of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres not to attend a memorial service for Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg also gets some play on A1, with Netanyahu coming in for a not-small amount of criticism, though Peres, with a doctor’s note, gets a pass.

While former Israeli ambassador Alon Liel said Monday that Netanyahu’s decision to skip was the right one, seeing as how his policies are seen as anathema to Mandela’s and his presence might sully the service, Sima Kadmon writes inYedioth Ahronoth that she could die from embarrassment over Netanyahu’s reason for skipping, namely the high cost of such a trip.

“Netanyahu’s reason for not going is an affront to intelligence,” she writes. “And now that every news channel around the globe is citing his reason for not going, it’s an affront to the whole country.”

In Maariv, Michal Aharoni says Netanyahu seemed fine making the funeral of Margaret Thatcher, so why not Mandela’s, (though her scathing prose is somewhat undermined by insisting Netanyahu is skipping a funeral, and not a memorial service — plus she misspells Newseum).

“Oh, you’re not flying to save money? It costs a lot to fly to the memorial? There are security procedures and short notice? Strange. Margaret Thatcher, a former prime minister of Britain, died less than a year ago, and the prime minister and his wife managed fine flying there. And not only did they fly together, the plane was outfitted with a special half-million shekel bed and security arrangements were good and there was enough warning,” she writes. “What values, as a country, do we place higher, values of justice and ethics, or the economic values of Margaret Thatcher, who after her death Brits went out drinking and waved signs condemning her?”

Haim Schein in Israel Hayom, however, writes that the press is being too harsh on the prime minister, who he says would be attacked whether he went or not, seeing as he recently came under fire for spending too much state money on trips abroad, scented candles and other non-essentials.

Read the rest of this entry »

Obama’s Speech at Mandela Memorial’s Cost to Taxpayers: $500,000 Per Minute


President Barack Obama’s expected 10-minute speech at Nelson Mandela’s memorial will cost taxpayers at least $500,000 per minute.

That’s not counting any cakes and coffee he and his inner circle consume aboard Air Force One during the 18,000-mile round trip to Johannesburg, via Dakar, in Senegal.

The 28-hour two-way flight will cost $5 million because the four-engined Boeing 747 costs roughly $180,000 an hour to operate, according to a May 2012 report by the Congressional Research Service.

The cost includes jet fuel and subsequent maintenance of the aircraft’s engines, electronics and hotel-class facilities.

Obama has been accompanied by the First Lady, Attorney General Eric Holder, national security advisor Susan Rice and confidante Valerie Jarrett.

Read the rest of this entry »

How Nelson Mandela Came to Embrace Free Markets


Note: The original title of this article: “Why the ‘left-leaning’ Nelson Mandela was such a champion of free marketsis weirdly naive, dishonest, or intentionally tempered and softened to the point of being comical.  Left-leaning? By that measure, should we reframe Fidel Castro as a “left-leaning” communist revolutionary? Or describe Pat Buchanan, Peggy Noonan, or George Will as “right-leaning” columnists?  That minor quibble aside, Jake Bright‘s essay is a timely and welcome addition to the ongoing review of Mandela’s remarkable leadership and paradoxical legacy. 

Jake Bright writes:  One often overlooked aspect of Nelson Mandela’s legacy is South Africa’s economy. Parallel to everything amazing the man is connected to—freeing the country from the shackles of apartheid, subordinating retribution in favor of peace and reconciliation, and unifying a volatile nation at risk of civil war—he laid the groundwork for South Africa as the continent’s economic powerhouse.

There are a lot of directions Mandela could have taken the country in those early post-apartheid days. At each juncture, he seemed to make the right call. When it came to the country’s economic policy, he chose free markets. Today, South Africa is Africa’s most powerful economy—though Nigeria may overtake it any day—and  in 2010 was added to the elite BRIC grouping of fastest-growing economies (Brazil India China Russia, now known as BRICS to include South Africa). It has Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest stock market capitalization, most heavily traded currency, highest sovereign credit rating, and highest purchased government bonds. South Africa also maintains Africa’s most modern business infrastructure and attracts the greatest foreign direct investment and number of global companies.

That Mandela would embrace the open-market path that led to this is somewhat remarkable given the African National Congress’s (ANC) and his own Marxist-communist leanings. In 1990, he lauded Fidel Castro’s Cuba as “a source of inspiration to all freedom-loving people.”

Read the rest of this entry »

[VIDEO] CNN: Cornel West Warns Against the ‘Santa Claus-ification’ of Nelson Mandela

By Friday evening, nearly every cable news commentator on the planet had gotten a chance to weigh in on the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela. But none of them had a take quite like that of Dr. Cornel West, who joined Jake Tapper on CNN to denounce what he sees as the “Santa Claus-ification” of the South African leader.

Asked if Mandela’s passing has caused the media to “cover up” how some people, especially those on the right in American politics, viewed him in the not-so-distant past, West answered affirmatively. “I think no doubt we are,” he said. Calling Mandela a “spiritual giant, moral titan and political revolutionary,” West described what we are now witnessing as a “Santa Claus-ification” of his legacy.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mandela’s Virtue

He prevented a South African explosion. Will his successors do the same? 

Travis Kavulla writes: Dignity, humility, and courage. Those are the words, predictable as they are proper, that are being used to describe Nelson Mandela after his death on Thursday.

Few other people in the annals of the 20th century suffered such great personal indignities and yet turned the other cheek. Few others, too, managed such an explosive political moment so deftly.

Certainly no African leader is more deserving of a cult of personality (on a continent where this practice is widespread). Yet Mandela was one of those Gandhi-like figures who, if occasionally vain and tempestuous, was no self-indulgent demagogue.

In the 1980s and ’90s, as the chorus to end apartheid reached its high notes, a guerilla campaign was waged on all sides in South Africa — white segregationists versus blacks, a Zulu nationalist faction versus Mandela’s African National Congress, “coloreds” (a South African term for the Afrikaans-speaking, darker-skinned, but not black, population) on both sides. There was a very real chance that South Africa would become another Zimbabwe. The forecast was for civil war, followed by an inevitable victory by black nationalists, and then decades of score-settling through expropriation and clannish misrule.

That South Africa has avoided this outcome thus far is remarkable. The country’s internal social and economic inequality makes the United States look like a nation of levelers. (South Africa’s distribution of income is the most unequal of any country for which the World Bank compiles statistics.) Even today, it is not clear what fruits the end of apartheid has delivered to most black South Africans — except the basic dignities of the freedom of movement and the freedom of the ballot, which are not to be mocked, but which at the same time don’t fill empty bellies. Read the rest of this entry »

After Snubbing Thatcher Funeral, Obama and Michelle to Visit South Africa for Mandela


Ben Shapiro writes: On Friday, the White House announced that President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama would travel to South Africa next weeks to pay their respects to Nelson Mandela. Obama has already announced that the White House will fly the flags at half-staff though December 9 in Mandela’s honor.

When former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher died, President Obama did not lower the White House flags, nor did he attend her funeral, instead sending ex-Secretaries of State George Shultz and James Baker III. The Sun reported, “[Downing] Street is most angered by rejections from Obama, First Lady Michelle and Vice-President Joe Biden. And none of the four surviving ex-US leaders – Jimmy Carter, George Bush Sr., Bill Clinton and George Bush Jr. – is coming either.”


Oh No, Not Again: White House Marks Mandela’s Death with Another Obama Selfie, Barry Photo-Op in Mandela’s Cell


On Thursday, in the aftermath of South African iconic leader Nelson Mandela’s death at age 95, President Obama’s White House account tweeted a tribute to Mandela – a picture of Obama in Mandela’s Robben Island prison cell, along with a quote from Obama about Mandela: Even in paying tribute to a historic figure, President Obama couldn’t help but make it about him.

Obama in Mandela’s Cell: History is just a pretty backdrop

Anti-Apartheid Revolutionary


Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid revolutionary who became the first black South African president after 27 years in prison, died Thursday at the age of 95.

Mandela died in Johannesburg, current President Jacob Zuma announced there just before midnight on Friday.

“What made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human. We saw in him what we seek in ourselves. And in him, we saw so much of ourselves,” Zuma said.

“He is now resting. He is now at peace,” Zuma continued. “Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father.”

Mandela has suffered from poor health for a year, with reports that he was near death circulating last Christmas.

But the African leader known worldwide as a symbol against oppression had repeatedly battled back from illness.

Mandela was inaugurated as South Africa’s president in May 1994. He served one term, and stepped down in 1999.

Mandela twice spoke to joint sessions of Congress, months after his release from prison in 1990 and four years later, after he had been elected president.

Read the rest of this entry »