The Polish First Lady Made My Morning

The story is how the Polish First Lady snubbed President Trump. That may not have been her intention. At the same time, he clearly expected to have his hand shook before his wife. His expression is priceless.
The Polish First Lady ignores President Trump momentarily.
This may not have been a snub, per se. Still, it made my morning.

This has been doing the rounds. The story is how the Polish First Lady snubbed President Trump. That may not have been her intention. At the same time, he clearly expected to have his hand shook before his wife. His expression is priceless.

What Palestinians ultimately want from Israel?

Israel is a complicated place. The perennial question is how to achieve peace with our neighbours? That question begs another question: what Palestinians ultimately want from Israel?

Israel is a complicated place. The perennial question is how to achieve peace with our neighbours? That question begs another question: what Palestinians ultimately want from Israel? Alwyn Lau answered that question in his article “What do Palestinians want from Israel?” in MalayMail Online recently:

From my conversations with people who support Palestine, the answers usually remain non-specific. It would appear the only precise “demand” which would satisfy their notions of justice would be for Israel to give back ALL the land to the Palestinians.

In other words, the only solution on the table would be for Israel to cease existing as a state in Palestine.

I didn’t know that former Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered the Palestinians such broad terms in exchange for peace back in 2000. The proposal was probably accompanied by a requirement that the Palestinians acknowledge the State of Israel and commit to peace, both of which were probably deal breakers for Arafat.

Israel’s critics focus so heavily on the distorted narrative created by the BDS and its allies, that they completely ignore the efforts made to achieve peace in the last 70+ years.

The thing is, we aren’t going to just throw our hands up in the air, admit defeat, and sacrifice ourselves and our homeland.  We will continue to raise our families, build our communities, and preserve our connection to our home (unless, of course, we destroy ourselves from within).

In the meantime, peace will continue to elude us. But we can live with that. Literally.

Source: Shoshanna Jaskoll

Shoshanna Jaskoll's tweet linking to the article
“Three rarest of all things on Twitter: accuracy, honesty, and integrity when discussing Israel and the Palestinians.”

“They sold out our country.”

Corruption at the top doesn't seem to be limited to so-called "Third World Countries" anymore. Just like South Africa, America is going to have to decide whether to accept such blatant corruption or whether to hold its leaders accountable?
Donald Trump Jr speaking at at event
Donald Trump, Jr. speaking with supporters of his father, Donald Trump, at a campaign rally at the Sun Devil Fitness Center at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona – Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0

Reading Dave Winer’s post, I can’t help but think that this quote could just as easily be about what has happened to South Africa (like this, for example).

Now you have to connect the dots. Find more meetings later in the summer and into the fall. Collusion is hardly the issue. Whether they broke the law, not the issue. They sold out our country. That should piss everyone off.

Such blatant corruption at the top doesn’t seem to be limited to so-called “Third World Countries” anymore.

America is still wading through misdirection and denials from its leadership. At some point it will find itself at a crossroads: either accept this blatant corruption or hold its leaders to account.

I am just as doubtful that the ANC will take real steps to remove the rot that has eaten away at South Africa as I am that Trump and his administration will be held accountable for their actions.

Suddenly Jacob Zuma just seems like a pioneer …

Postscript: For good measure, watch this Vox video titled “Why Donald Trump Jr.’s emails change everything“:

Postscript 2:

This discussion on Fox News towards the end of the week of 10 July 2017 is not what I expected from Fox News based on what I’ve read about the network’s apparent bias towards Trump and his administration:

Via Dave Winer.

Image credit: Gage Skidmore, licensed CC BY-SA 2.0

How The Guardian is documenting Trump’s first 100 days. It’s awesome!

The Guardian has a quirky data journalism project going for Donald Trump's first 100 days as President. It is awesome!

I noticed this quirky little sidebar widget on the front page of The Guardian today.

Quirky widget on The Guardian's website
Something quirky on The Guardian’s website

Of course I had to click on the “Read more” link and I am so glad that I did because this is what comes up:

The Guardian is watching ...
The Guardian is keeping an eye on Trump’s first 100 days for us.

I love this! This is a fun take on data journalism and defusing some of the tension around Donald Trump’s presidency. I am definitely going to check back from time to time for updates.

Today has become my personal “The Guardian Appreciation Day”. Thank you to whoever came up with this idea. It is awesome!

Trump’s American fascism was the stuff of 20th century fiction

Is Donald Trump fulfilling numerous prophecies of the rise of American fascism that were published in the first half of the 20th century? It certainly seems to be happening. Even if it isn't, those predictions are worth paying attention to.

Warnings about American fascism have been rife since Donald Trump’s election as President of the United States of America.

20th century writers warned about the rise of someone like Trump and it seems that their fears are being realized.

It is difficult not to see why so many are concerned if you just consider Trump’s first few weeks in office. His executive orders have challenged the foundations of one of the world’s most distinctive democracies to the point where commentators are warning about an impending constitutional crisis over his controversial travel bans.

The Guardian published a fascinating article titled “‘It will be called Americanism’: the US writers who imagined a fascist future” that makes more disturbing reading. One of the paragraphs that stood out for me is this one:

In 1944, an article called “American Fascism” appeared in the New York Times, written by then vice president Henry Wallace. “A fascist,” wrote Wallace, “is one whose lust for money or power is combined with such an intensity of intolerance toward those of other races, parties, classes, religions, cultures, regions or nations as to make him ruthless in his use of deceit or violence to attain his ends.” Wallace predicted that American fascism would only become “really dangerous” if a “purposeful coalition” arose between crony capitalists, “poisoners of public information” and “the KKK type of demagoguery”. Those defending the new administration insist it isn’t fascism, but Americanism. This, too, was foretold: in 1938, a New York Times reporter warned: “When and if fascism comes to America it will not be labelled ‘made in Germany’; it will not be marked with a swastika; it will not even be called fascism; it will be called, of course, ‘Americanism’.”

As Trump settles in to his new role, I think we will see many more parallels between his actions and fictional despots and fascists. Whether he will utterly subvert America’s democratic safeguards remains to be seen but the initial indications are not particularly promising.

Postscript:

Another article worth reading is David Frum’s “How to Build an Autocracy” in The Atlantic.

You can also listen to the article on SoundCloud if you’d prefer:

President Donald Trump is the champion of “love and tolerance” globally. Apparently

It seems President Donald Trump sees himself as a champion for "love and tolerance" globally, despite evidence to the contrary in recent days and weeks.

I just read an article on The Guardian about the statement President Donald Trump made last week to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day. This line in his statement stood out as particularly ironic, given Trump’s recent executive orders.

“Together,” he added, “we will make love and tolerance prevalent throughout the world.”

Here is his full statement:

It is with a heavy heart and somber mind that we remember and honor the victims, survivors, heroes of the Holocaust. It is impossible to fully fathom the depravity and horror inflicted on innocent people by Nazi terror.

Yet, we know that in the darkest hours of humanity, light shines the brightest.‎ As we remember those who died, we are deeply grateful to those who risked their lives to save the innocent.

In the name of the perished, I pledge to do everything in my power throughout my Presidency, and my life, to ensure that the forces of evil never again defeat the powers of good. Together, we will make love and tolerance prevalent throughout the world.

Source: White House defends Trump Holocaust statement that didn’t mention Jews | World news | The Guardian

Image credit: Gage Skidmore, licensed CC BY SA 3.0 Unported

White House advice from the Obama team to the Trump team

This White House Survival Guide from Time Magazine makes for fascinating reading and a remarkable behind-the-scenes look at working at the White House.

This White House Survival Guide from Time Magazine makes for fascinating reading and a remarkable behind-the-scenes look at working at one of the most famous offices in the world.

In the pages that follow, veterans of the Obama White House offer their own counsel to the incoming team—­including some of the best advice they got from the departing Bush team eight years ago. They cover every­thing from distinguishing what’s important from what’s merely urgent, to managing your health, mastering the computers and navigating the White House mess (closed between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m., so stagger your coffee runs). It’s unusual to move into a new workspace with nearly 100% turnover, with the incoming team just meeting one another for the first time under the bright glare of the inter­national spotlight.

Source: Obama Team Gives Trump Advice: White House Survival Guide

Image credits: 

  1. Featured image: White House
  2. Bush And Obama: Eric Draper—The White House/Getty Images; Obama and trump: Pete Souza—The White House

The surreal result of the UN Security Council resolution against Israel

The recent UN Security Council resolution against Israel led to a particularly surreal result: even Trump sounded reasonable. Hopefully this insanity will pass soon.

A particularly surreal result of the recent UN Security Council resolution against Israel was that even Trump sounded reasonable:

Hopefully the insanity (both the UN’s bias against Israel and Trump) will end in the near future. That is probably wishful thinking, though. Then again, with a new year comes the hope that it will be better than the last.

Image credit: UN Security Council chamber by Neptuul