The Moderate Voice http://themoderatevoice.com An Internet hub with domestic and international news, analysis, original reporting, and popular features from the left, center, indies, centrists, moderates, and right Sun, 29 Mar 2015 00:43:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Yemen: Saudi actions are destabilizing for the global UN-based order http://themoderatevoice.com/203876/yemen-saudi-actions-are-destabilizing-for-the-global-un-based-order/ http://themoderatevoice.com/203876/yemen-saudi-actions-are-destabilizing-for-the-global-un-based-order/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 00:35:15 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=203876 The Saudi intervention in Yemen as the lead military power in a Gulf coalition opens a Pandora’s Box that could be the first fatal step in unravelling the United Nations security system set up after World War II. The UN system prohibits military intervention in any foreign country without Security Council authorization and the UN’s [...]

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The Saudi intervention in Yemen as the lead military power in a Gulf coalition opens a Pandora’s Box that could be the first fatal step in unravelling the United Nations security system set up after World War II.

The UN system prohibits military intervention in any foreign country without Security Council authorization and the UN’s founding principle, considered sacrosanct by many, is non-interference in the internal affairs of another nation.

The US, former Soviet Union and Russia have regularly flouted these UN principles but no middle sized regional power has dared to do so.

The Saudi intervention sets a precedent that could be potentially more destabilizing for the UN’s peace and security system than Super Power interventions since the UN depends on adherence by all members.

It could start unravelling if other middle level powers begin settling scores militarily across borders with neighbors — much like the proliferation of nuclear weapons would puncture the global UN system if signatories to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) start flouting it with impunity.

The NPT expects forbearance although five major powers officially possess nuclear arsenals and four others, including Israel, have them. The ongoing negotiations with Iran are on this point.

Some 193 countries have signed up to belong to the United Nations mainly because of the mutual pledge of all members not to use armed force against any member’s territory and abjure interference in its internal affairs.

Most UN members accept occasional US violations of UN principles because US power is overwhelming and they broadly trust that Washington acts after transparent deliberations to prevent humanitarian disasters against civilians.

Saudi Arabia has not earned such an exceptional status. Its example will make countries more wary of neighbors especially if they profess a different religion or sect, and could heighten local and regional arms races.

With many countries already buying more lower-cost weapons from China, Russia, Israel and India, Washington no longer has control over national arsenals. If it acts as global or regional policeman, its coalition soldiers may face more unfamiliar and lethal weapons systems reducing the credibility of American force.

There is a real risk of reversal to a 19th century world when coalitions and temporary alliances regularly went to war to settle local quarrels. That is the opposite of the UN-regulated world order established by the US after World War II and kept within disciplines by the threat or use of American military power.

From its viewpoint the Saudi regime, which claims to lead all Sunni Muslims as the custodian of Sunni Islam, has good reasons to intervene militarily in Yemen’s internal affairs especially in light of Shia Iran’s rising influence in its near abroad. But this turns the situation into a religious war that has little to do with preventing global disorder.

The Saudis can cite as precedents American and European military interventions, not backed by the UN Security Council, in several countries including Serbia, Libya, Iraq and the Horn of Africa.

But there are crucial differences. Each American intervention was undertaken to prevent humanitarian catastrophes, had nothing to do with religion, and none was designed to obtain US or coalition political hegemony over the territories involved.

The broader goals were to promote democratic and inclusive governments committed to human rights protection although things often went horribly wrong because of prolonged infighting among the authoritarian governments and tribal militias from which the US tried to protect innocent civilians.

The Saudi intervention has no similar justifications. It was launched suddenly without any discussion at the UN and even Washington seemed surprised.

For boots on the ground, it has offers from the world’s two quasi failed regimes – Sudan whose president Omar al-Bashir is sought by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide, and Pakistan, which provides safe haven for al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists.

The chief Saudi purpose seems to be to enforce restoration of a Saudi-backed administration established in Yemen in 2012. President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi who fled the country earlier this week led that administration.

Another reason is Sunni Saudi Arabia’s fear of a takeover in Yemen by an offshoot of Shia Islam practiced by the Houthi tribe and former despot Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was a US-backed President for 13 years and a top Yemeni leader for 33.

Yemeni military units loyal to him are currently fighting alongside the Houthis to capture Aden, a strategic port for Saudi and global oil transport, and to help consolidate Houthi power in Sanaa, the capital.

Current indications are that the Saudis will not be able to control Yemen without putting Saudi boots on the ground, thus taking heavy casualties because Yemenis of any kind are no less fierce and hostile to foreign invaders than Afghans.

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‘The Walking Dead’: 5 Things You Need To Know Before Watching Season 5 Finale [SPOILERS] http://themoderatevoice.com/203874/the-walking-dead-5-things-you-need-to-know-before-watching-season-5-finale-spoilers/ http://themoderatevoice.com/203874/the-walking-dead-5-things-you-need-to-know-before-watching-season-5-finale-spoilers/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 19:20:30 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=203874 The Walking Dead season 5 finale will be bloody and fans are preparing themselves for the inevitable deaths. Here’s everything you need to know about what’s going on in Alexandria with minimal comic book spoilers. 1. Deanna’s exiled members Deanna has repeatedly stated she’s exiled people from Alexandria before and she’d do it again. She’s [...]

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The Walking Dead season 5 finale will be bloody and fans are preparing themselves for the inevitable deaths. Here’s everything you need to know about what’s going on in Alexandria with minimal comic book spoilers. 1. Deanna’s exiled members Deanna has repeatedly stated she’s exiled people from Alexandria before and she’d do it again. She’s never…

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The worst kind of leader vs. “the invented people” http://themoderatevoice.com/203872/203872/ http://themoderatevoice.com/203872/203872/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 19:14:12 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=203872 Sheldon Adelson, puppetmaster for rightwing politicians, is Mr. Moneybags for extremists in Israel. He believes Palestinians are “an invented people.” Netanyahu’s survival instincts are impressive. While he was arousing fear of Arabs and Scandinavians, he was relying on the support of an actual foreign patron, Sheldon Adelson, the American billionaire and casino operator. Adelson owns [...]

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Sheldon Adelson, puppetmaster for rightwing politicians, is Mr. Moneybags for extremists in Israel. He believes Palestinians are “an invented people.”

Netanyahu’s survival instincts are impressive. While he was arousing fear of Arabs and Scandinavians, he was relying on the support of an actual foreign patron, Sheldon Adelson, the American billionaire and casino operator. Adelson owns and publishes Israel Hayom (Israel Today), the country’s highest-circulation daily—a propaganda sheet whose sole purpose is to support the Prime Minister and Likud. Adelson is Netanyahu’s piggy bank and reflects a cruder version of his ideological impulses. Adelson has dismissed the Palestinians as “an invented people,” and he doesn’t mind if Israel strays from democratic principles and norms: “I don’t think the Bible says anything about democracy.” He was in a seat of honor and beaming with satisfaction when, three weeks ago, Netanyahu defied Obama and delivered his speech to Congress opposing a nuclear deal with Iran.

*

But isn’t Adelson backing the arrogant leader of what can be fairly called an invented state?

And yeah, “what about Hillary Clinton?” What indeed!

Now that he has been reëlected, Netanyahu has started to walk back his remarks, telling interviewers that he didn’t mean what he said about “droves” of Arabs, that he is all for a secure two-state solution. Nixon goes to China—again! But why should anyone believe it? Netanyahu’s victory—the way he achieved it and what it says about the politics of the Israeli majority—is clarifying. Josh Earnest, President Obama’s spokesman, said that the Administration was unmoved by Netanyahu’s post-election attempts to make nice, and declared that “the United States is in a position to reëvaluate our thinking.” The Republicans’ position is clear—you get the sense that their congressional leadership would like to see Netanyahu go big-time and get on the ballot in Iowa and New Hampshire—but what about Hillary Clinton? Will she have the political courage to speak frankly and risk alienating some of her more conservative donors? The Palestinians, for their part, have every reason to believe that Netanyahu has shown both his hand and his heart; they will likely drop any thought of negotiations and take their campaign for statehood to the United Nations. For the first time, they may not face a reflexive veto from the United States.

*

Invented state or not, Israel was once the good guy. What are the odds of the Israeli people regaining wide respect after the depredations associated with its political far right and the shameless arrogance of Benjamin Netanyahu, its current leader?

…In his imagination, he is Winston Churchill, the valorous protector of his nation, the singular leader of clear, unerring vision. Nearly two hundred former Israeli military and security chiefs, none of them naïve about the multiple dangers of the Middle East, have declared that further brinkmanship threatens the long-term stability of the nation. But Netanyahu is sure that he knows better. The tragedy is that the likely price of his vainglory is the increasing isolation of a country founded as a democratic refuge for a despised and decimated people. He will soon surpass David Ben-Gurion as Israel’s longest consecutively serving Prime Minister. Unfortunately, this has given Netanyahu plenty of time to erode the tone of his country’s political discourse. And so now, as he forms an unabashedly right-wing and religious government, he stands in opposition not only to the founding aspirations of his nation but also to those Israelis—Jews and Arabs—who stand for tolerance, equality, democratic ideals, and a just, secure peace.

*

The above excerpts come from commentary by New Yorker editor, David Remnick, following Netanhayu’s embarrassing trip to Washington and his election win in an increasingly bellicose, inhumane Israel.

Cross-posted from Prairie Weather

PHOTO: Bectrigger (Cropped from File:Sheldon_Adelson_21_June_2010.jpg) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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Mike Peters Guest Cartoon: Republican 2016 Presidential Nomination Race http://themoderatevoice.com/203868/mike-peters-guest-cartoon-republic-2016-presidential-nomination-race/ http://themoderatevoice.com/203868/mike-peters-guest-cartoon-republic-2016-presidential-nomination-race/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 17:44:59 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=203868 2016 Republican Presidential Nomination Race by Mike Peters OF RELATED INTEREST: --Rand Paul Suggests Gay Marriage Is The Result Of A ‘Moral Crisis’ In America –God and Jeb –Republicans and Reading the Newspaper –Ted Cruz doesn’t have a prayer: Why the Texas senator will never sniff the White House –The Donald’ for President? No way [...]

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2016 Republican Presidential Nomination Race
by Mike Peters

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OF RELATED INTEREST:

--Rand Paul Suggests Gay Marriage Is The Result Of A ‘Moral Crisis’ In America
God and Jeb
Republicans and Reading the Newspaper
Ted Cruz doesn’t have a prayer: Why the Texas senator will never sniff the White House
The Donald’ for President? No way

Mike Peters is recognized as one of our nation’s most prominent cartoon artists for his outstanding work as both a political and comic strip cartoonist. His favorite expression “WHAT A HOOT” certainly sums up his outlook on his life and work which are inexorably entwined. Mike’s warm, easygoing and zany demeanor is evidence that his personality matches his creative talents. As so eloquently phrased by a colleague — “Mike is the Peter Pan of the cartooning world; he’s boyishly charming, good with a rapier and doesn’t spend a lot of time on the ground. And he doesn’t seem to want to grow up”.

The Comic Strip Mother Goose & Grimm appears in over 800 newspapers worldwide and consistently places in the top 10 most popular ratings. Licensees distribute Grimmy products all over the world, and the Grimmy TV show continues to air in several countries. Mother Goose & Grimm is included in the Toon Lagoon theme park at Universal Studios that opened in July 1999.

This copyrighted cartoon is licensed to be run on TMV and is from his website. Reproduction elsewhere is strictly prohibited.

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Roger Moore Under Fire for Saying Idris Elba Not ‘English-English’ to Play James Bond http://themoderatevoice.com/203867/roger-moore-under-fire-for-saying-idris-elba-not-english-english-to-play-james-bond/ http://themoderatevoice.com/203867/roger-moore-under-fire-for-saying-idris-elba-not-english-english-to-play-james-bond/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 17:34:27 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=203867 Sir Roger Moore is in a race row after he allegedly told French magazine Paris Match that Idris Elba is not “English English” enough to play James Bond. Does he realize that George Lazenby, Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan and Timothy Dalton aren’t “English-English” either? Moore said his remarks were “lost in translation.” After being slammed [...]

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Sir Roger Moore is in a race row after he allegedly told French magazine Paris Match that Idris Elba is not “English English” enough to play James Bond. Does he realize that George Lazenby, Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan and Timothy Dalton aren’t “English-English” either?

Moore said his remarks were “lost in translation.” After being slammed on Twitter, he said, “An interview I gave to Paris Match implies that I said something racist about Idris Elba. That is simply untrue.” Yeah, Moore has been shaken and stirred on social media.

Daily Mail:  Sir Roger told Paris Match: ‘A few years ago, I said that [black actor] Cuba Gooding Jnr would make an excellent Bond, but it was a joke!’ replies Sir Roger, 87, who starred in seven Bond movies between 1973 and 1985.

‘Although James may have been played by a Scot, a Welshman and an Irishman, I think he should be “English-English”,’ he continues.’Nevertheless, it’s an interesting idea, but unrealistic.’

Reaction on social media has been overwhelmingly negative with Twitter users accusing Sir Roger of ‘racism.’ Many commentators highlighted the fact that Elba was born and raised in the East End of London.

Here’s Roger Moore’s response to the “English English” comment:

Reaction on Twitter:

Idris Elba article cross-posted from The Hinterland Gazette.

Featureflash / Shutterstock.com

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Middle East Conflict Won’t Impinge On Iran Nuclear Talks http://themoderatevoice.com/203865/middle-east-conflict-wont-impinge-on-iran-nuclear-talks/ http://themoderatevoice.com/203865/middle-east-conflict-wont-impinge-on-iran-nuclear-talks/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 17:20:32 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=203865 In Switzerland, the U.S. is leading the push to conclude a deal with Iran that would halt Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for a lifting of sanctions. But 3,000 miles away in Yemen, the U.S. is backing its ally Saudi Arabia in a bombing campaign targeting an Iranian proxy in the conflict that’s engulfing the [...]

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In Switzerland, the U.S. is leading the push to conclude a deal with Iran that would halt Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for a lifting of sanctions. But 3,000 miles away in Yemen, the U.S. is backing its ally Saudi Arabia in a bombing campaign targeting an Iranian proxy in the conflict that’s engulfing the Middle…

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Cartoon: Iran Easter Bunny http://themoderatevoice.com/203863/cartoon-iran-easter-bunny/ http://themoderatevoice.com/203863/cartoon-iran-easter-bunny/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 17:17:50 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=203863 See great cartoons by all the top political cartoonists at http://cagle.com. To license this cartoon for your own site, visit http://politicalcartoons.com

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Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle

Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle


See great cartoons by all the top political cartoonists at http://cagle.com. To license this cartoon for your own site, visit http://politicalcartoons.com

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6 Health Conditions Yoga Can Actually Treat http://themoderatevoice.com/203859/6-health-conditions-yoga-can-actually-treat/ http://themoderatevoice.com/203859/6-health-conditions-yoga-can-actually-treat/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 16:42:34 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=203859 6 Health Conditions Yoga Can Actually Treat Yogis, hippies, and holistic medicine specialists have been touting the health benefits of yoga for years: it can improve your fitness level, fight cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and a variety of other disorders, they’ve argued. But when it comes to the science backing up these claims, a [...]

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6 Health Conditions Yoga Can Actually Treat

Yogis, hippies, and holistic medicine specialists have been touting the health benefits of yoga for years: it can improve your fitness level, fight cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and a variety of other disorders, they’ve argued. But when it comes to the science backing up these claims, a lot is still left unresolved. For example, research…

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The Arts: Phyllis Diller’s Parting Advice to Comedy Freelance Writer http://themoderatevoice.com/203857/the-arts-phyllis-dillers-parting-advice-to-comedy-freelance-writer/ http://themoderatevoice.com/203857/the-arts-phyllis-dillers-parting-advice-to-comedy-freelance-writer/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 16:37:53 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=203857 Phyllis Diller’s Parting Advice for Freelances by Linda Perret I had the privilege of spending an afternoon with Phyllis Diller a few short weeks before she passed. Phyllis was amazing. Not only because of her talent, which truly was astounding, but also because of her generosity and willingness to share her advice with others. And [...]

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Phyllis_Diller_Allan_Warren

Phyllis Diller’s Parting Advice for Freelances
by Linda Perret

I had the privilege of spending an afternoon with Phyllis Diller a few short weeks before she passed. Phyllis was amazing. Not only because of her talent, which truly was astounding, but also because of her generosity and willingness to share her advice with others.

And on this occasion, she didn’t let me down. We had a lovely visit but had to cut it short because I had to get home and go to work that night. It was a job I wasn’t thrilled about but yet I had agreed to be there and it was money. It was explained to Phyllis that we had to leave because “Linda had to work.” As we said good-bye, I apologized for having to shorten the visit. She took both my hands in her hands and said, “You have to do what you have to do.”

I’ve thought about that moment quite a bit since that afternoon. Usually when I find myself in a situation where I HAVE to do a job but it’s not the job I WANT to do.

As freelance writers (and performers) we face this challenge quite often. We often find ourselves in a position that we don’t really want to be in but for financial and other reasons can’t get out of it. We also tend to make excuses on why we are keeping our “day job.” And worse, we beat ourselves up over it. “I must be a failure because a success wouldn’t have to do this crummy job,” we berate ourselves.

Those were all feelings that I’ve experienced. In fact, that was the inner turmoil I was dealing with that July afternoon when we said good-bye to Phyllis. But with nine very short words, Phyllis let me know that it was okay. That what I was feeling was normal. And that I was “doing what I needed to do” and there’s nothing wrong with that. It really was okay.

We all have obligations. Whether we like it or not, sometimes those obligations get in the way of our dreams. The tricky part is not letting those obligations crush your dreams. Keep doing what you NEED to do along with doing what you WANT to do.

If you can only work on your comedy writing four hours a week, then give those four hours your all. You may want to get up on stage five nights a week, but family obligations may limit you to weekends. Instead of knocking yourself down for that, be determined to get the most out of those performances. Remind yourself that the work you have to do is temporary. Things change and slowly you can increase the time spent doing what you want to do.

If you find yourself in the same situation as me, borrow Phyllis’s words — I know she wouldn’t mind – and tell yourself, “I have to do what I have to do.” And then work hard to change things.

Linda Perret is an award winning comedy writer and author whose father Gene Perret is considered to be what one one website calls “the guru of comedy writing.” He has done comedy writing for comedians such as Phyllis Diller, Bob Hope, Carol Burnett, Bill Cosby, Tim Conway, and many others and won three Emmy Awards for his work on The Carol Burnett Show. She has written books on her own, works with her father on a major website that helps teach new and veteran comedy writers, and another website that now offers free up to date one liners and jokes. This article is cross-posted from her blog. She and her father have just published “Comedy Writing Self-Taught Workbook: More than 100 Practical Writing Exercises to Develop Your Comedy Writing Skills,” which is available on Amazon.

“Phyllis Diller Allan Warren” by Allan warren – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Phyllis_Diller_Allan_Warren.jpg#/media/File:Phyllis_Diller_Allan_Warren.jpg

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The Mark of Terror http://themoderatevoice.com/203853/the-mark-of-terror/ http://themoderatevoice.com/203853/the-mark-of-terror/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 02:06:00 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=203853 WASHINGTON — We don’t need to know the political or religious views of Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Gunter Lubitz to call his crashing of a crowded airliner into a mountainside an act of terrorism. And we don’t need any further evidence to recognize a cruel irony: Legitimate fear of potential terrorist attacks apparently made this tragedy [...]

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WASHINGTON — We don’t need to know the political or religious views of Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Gunter Lubitz to call his crashing of a crowded airliner into a mountainside an act of terrorism. And we don’t need any further evidence to recognize a cruel irony: Legitimate fear of potential terrorist attacks apparently made this tragedy possible.

Imagine the final moments of Flight 9525 as it hurtled toward oblivion. Passengers were screaming. Some, I am certain, must have been praying. According to French prosecutor Brice Robin, the pilot, who had stepped out of the cockpit for a moment, was pounding on the door, trying desperately to get back in.

But, according to Robin, Lubitz, 28, who had been thought of as a rising star at the airline, refused to open the door — and it was impossible for the pilot, identified by German media as Patrick Sonderheimer, to break it down. “The door is reinforced according to international standards,” Robin said Thursday, using the wrong verb tense. He meant “was” reinforced. The door is now in bits and pieces, along with the rest of the Airbus A320, scattered among the crevices of the French Alps.

In the post-9/11 era, the cockpit doors of airliners are made to be utterly impregnable. This is to ensure that terrorists cannot force their way inside and seize the controls — a logical precaution that probably has saved many lives. Terrorists may still attempt to smuggle explosives aboard commercial aircraft, but they know that invading the cockpit and crashing the plane would be all but impossible.

The deterrent is only effective, however, if nobody can open a locked cockpit door under any circumstances — not the passengers, not the flight attendants, not even the captain. Some sort of hidden latch or override switch would defeat the purpose, since terrorists could learn the secret. So the Germanwings plane was safe from terrorists — until the trusted co-pilot, in Robin’s account, committed a grotesque act of terrorism.

Officials involved in the investigation have been rejecting the word I just used. “There is no reason to suspect a terrorist attack,” Robin said, echoing the words of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other leaders. But I disagree.

What they mean is that there is no known link to terrorists or any known group such as al-Qaeda. Indeed, no such connection was immediately apparent from the sketchy outlines of Lubitz’s life that began to emerge Thursday. He reportedly had dreams of becoming a pilot since he was a teenager and belonged to a flying club in his hometown near Frankfurt. He started working for Germanwings, Lufthansa’s budget airline, in September 2013 and amassed 630 hours of flight experience. He was regarded as talented and full of promise.

Surely we will soon learn another side to this picture. Normal, well-adjusted young men do not commit terroristic acts of mass murder.

As Lufthansa’s chief executive, Carsten Spohr, noted, “When someone kills himself and 149 others, … it is not a suicide.” If Lubitz wanted to kill himself in a plane crash, he could have gone to any small airport on his day off, rented a Cessna and flown it into the terrain of his choosing.

According to the prosecutor, Lubitz decided instead to make his exit by killing a jetliner full of travelers heading from Barcelona to Dusseldorf. There was a group of high school students. There were two singers who had just performed at Barcelona’s grand opera house. There were three American tourists.

This is a statement. We may not yet know what it means — and I suppose it’s possible that we may never know. Murder of this kind, on this scale and for this purpose has to fit even the most narrowly drawn definition of terrorism.

It’s possible, I suppose, that Lubitz was profoundly delusional. But if this were the case, how could he have passed the airline’s annual medical exams? How could he have worked in such close quarters with fellow pilots, flight attendants and other personnel, day after day, without anyone noticing behavior that suggested a problem?

It looks as if Lubitz wasn’t just trying to end his life because he was depressed. He apparently decided to end 149 other lives as well because he wanted to tell us something. Tragically, this is precisely the kind of thing that terrorists do.

Eugene Robinson’s email address is eugenerobinson@washpost.com. (c) 2015, Washington Post Writers Group

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Experimental Night Vision Eye Drops ‘Let You See in the Dark’ http://themoderatevoice.com/203851/experimental-night-vision-eye-drops-let-you-see-in-the-dark/ http://themoderatevoice.com/203851/experimental-night-vision-eye-drops-let-you-see-in-the-dark/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 01:51:59 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=203851 A group of U.S. “citizen scientists” claim to have successfully tested night-vision-inducing eye drops. Using a solution that has previously been prescribed for night blindness – where a sufferer struggles to see in low light – the group, called Science for the Masses (SftM), tested the drops out on their principle testing consultant, Gabriel Licina. [...]

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A group of U.S. “citizen scientists” claim to have successfully tested night-vision-inducing eye drops. Using a solution that has previously been prescribed for night blindness – where a sufferer struggles to see in low light – the group, called Science for the Masses (SftM), tested the drops out on their principle testing consultant, Gabriel Licina. The…

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Cartoon: German Plane Suicide http://themoderatevoice.com/203848/cartoon-german-plane-suicide/ http://themoderatevoice.com/203848/cartoon-german-plane-suicide/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 01:41:41 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=203848 See great cartoons by all the top political cartoonists at http://cagle.com. To license this cartoon for your own site, visit http://politicalcartoons.com

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Joep Bertrams, The Netherlands

Joep Bertrams, The Netherlands


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Harry Reid Won’t Seek Re-Election: His Legacy Includes Years Of Verbal Sparring http://themoderatevoice.com/203846/harry-reid-wont-seek-re-election-his-legacy-includes-years-of-verbal-sparring/ http://themoderatevoice.com/203846/harry-reid-wont-seek-re-election-his-legacy-includes-years-of-verbal-sparring/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 01:34:55 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=203846 Don’t let his soft-spoken appearance fool you: Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has told his colleagues to “sit down and shut up,” likened Republicans to “greased pigs,” derided a reporter’s questions as “irresponsible and reckless” and dismissed another’s as a “clown question, bro.” These are some of soundbites the 75-year-old Reid has created while [...]

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Don’t let his soft-spoken appearance fool you: Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has told his colleagues to “sit down and shut up,” likened Republicans to “greased pigs,” derided a reporter’s questions as “irresponsible and reckless” and dismissed another’s as a “clown question, bro.” These are some of soundbites the 75-year-old Reid has created while leading…

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Senator Stabenow Takes Legislative Action Against Cotton Letters http://themoderatevoice.com/203844/senator-stabenow-takes-legislative-action-against-cotton-letters/ http://themoderatevoice.com/203844/senator-stabenow-takes-legislative-action-against-cotton-letters/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 00:07:49 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=203844 Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan is taking legislative action to prevent a repeat of the type of letter sent by Senator Tom Cotton, attempting to sabotage diplomatic talks regarding nuclear energy in Iran. She introduced an amendment (pdf here) which would defund “the purchase of stationary [sic] or electronic devices for the purpose of members [...]

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Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan is taking legislative action to prevent a repeat of the type of letter sent by Senator Tom Cotton, attempting to sabotage diplomatic talks regarding nuclear energy in Iran. She introduced an amendment (pdf here) which would defund “the purchase of stationary [sic] or electronic devices for the purpose of members of Congress or congressional staff communicating with foreign governments and undermining the role of the President as Head of State in international nuclear negotiations on behalf of the United States.”

The letter signed by 47 Republican Senators was highly irresponsible, and it is understandable why Senator Stabenow would like to defund any future such letters. The letter not only interferes with efforts to attempt to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, it undermines the ability of the current and every future president to negotiate on behalf of the United States.

Of course Democrats might also like to keep this issue alive considering how unpopular the letter was with voters. It never hurts to remind the voters of how utterly irresponsible and bat-shit crazy the Republican Party has become.

Originally posted at Liberal Values

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Weekend Photography http://themoderatevoice.com/203836/weekend-photography/ http://themoderatevoice.com/203836/weekend-photography/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 21:11:54 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=203836 It is weekend time again and we miss Ron Beasley’s beautiful photography. We hope he is doing well. As a consolation, above is a photograph taken recently by my grandson in the Seattle area, which I though was pretty neat. Below are some more weekend photos reminding us of our military at work 24/7. The [...]

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Seattle Sunset

It is weekend time again and we miss Ron Beasley’s beautiful photography.

We hope he is doing well.

As a consolation, above is a photograph taken recently by my grandson in the Seattle area, which I though was pretty neat.

Below are some more weekend photos reminding us of our military at work 24/7.

Multi Sail 2015

The guided missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald, right, comes alongside the Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Pecos during Multi-Sail 2015 in waters near Guam, March 26, 2015. Multi-Sail is an annual Destroyer Squadron 15 exercise designed to assess combat systems, improve teamwork and increase warfighting capabilities in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility

Swift, Silent, Deadly: 2nd Recon Bn. conducts Beach Operations

Marine Cpl David Elliot observes the beach during an amphibious beach exercise on Camp Lejeune, N.C., March 20, 2015. Elliot is assigned to 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division.

USS Bonhomme Richard activity

An MH-60S Seahawk helicopter delivers supplies to the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard during a replenishment in the East China Sea, March 24, 2015. The helicopter is assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25.

150325-N-ZZ999-500


F/A-18E Super Hornets from the Royal Maces of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 27 fly over Mt. Suribachi in honor of the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima during a return transit to Atsugi, Japan. VFA-27, part of Carrier Air Wing 5, is forward-deployed to Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan, to support security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. U.S. Navy photo by Cmdr. Spencer Abbot

US Marines, Gulf, international partners simulate amphib landing during Eagle Resolve

U.S. Marines assault a simulated objective during Exercise Eagle Resolve 2015 on Failaka Island, Kuwait, March 24, 2015.

USS Bonhomme Richard activity

A U.S. sailor waits to takeoff on an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter on the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard in the East China Sea, March 24, 2015. The sailor is a naval aircrewman assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25.

All photos, except Seattle sunset photo: DOD

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Pat Robertson Asks If Germanwings Co-Pilot Andreas Lubitz was a “Muslim?” http://themoderatevoice.com/203833/pat-robertson-asks-if-germanwings-co-pilot-andreas-lubitz-was-a-muslim/ http://themoderatevoice.com/203833/pat-robertson-asks-if-germanwings-co-pilot-andreas-lubitz-was-a-muslim/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 14:45:18 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=203833 Right wing evangelical Pat Robertson went there. During his 700 Club show yesterday, he asked if Andreas Lubitz, the copilot who “deliberately” crashed Germanwings flight 4U9525, was a “Muslim?” Who didn’t see that question coming from the right wing? “The co-pilot then takes the plane, pushes it into a dive and crashes it. The passengers [...]

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Right wing evangelical Pat Robertson went there. During his 700 Club show yesterday, he asked if Andreas Lubitz, the copilot who “deliberately” crashed Germanwings flight 4U9525, was a “Muslim?” Who didn’t see that question coming from the right wing?

“The co-pilot then takes the plane, pushes it into a dive and crashes it. The passengers are screaming as the plane went down. The pilot is yelling.”

“What a terrible tragedy,” the TV preacher continued. “Was that co-pilot a Muslim? Was he suicidal? What was it about him?”

Robertson later allowed for the possibility that Lubitz could have been “just psychotic.”

“What was it?” he wondered. “Why would he want to kill all those people?” Source: Rawstory

Watch Pat Robertson talk about Germanwings plane crash:

This was cross-posted from The Hinterland Gazette.

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A Farewell to Instagrams http://themoderatevoice.com/203830/a-farewell-to-instagrams/ http://themoderatevoice.com/203830/a-farewell-to-instagrams/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 02:01:58 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=203830 Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) distinguished himself in a very notorious yet meteoric career in Congress by, among other, decorating his Capitol Hill office in a “Downtown-Abbeyish” style the Sultan of Brunei would have killed for and by owning the only car in town with a cantankerous odometer that registered only half-a-mile for every mile of [...]

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Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) distinguished himself in a very notorious yet meteoric career in Congress by, among other, decorating his Capitol Hill office in a “Downtown-Abbeyish” style the Sultan of Brunei would have killed for and by owning the only car in town with a cantankerous odometer that registered only half-a-mile for every mile of mileage reimbursement.

Today, Schock — fresh from the covers of The Harvard Lampoon and Men’s Health — took some time from his busy House gym schedule to deliver an emotional farewell speech before a packed House

The speech was in some aspects reminiscent of General Douglas MacArthur’s farewell address (“young congressmen never die; they just fade away, temporarily”) but also had the qualities of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

And indeed, the young Representative humbly compared his life and career to that of the man who, eight score and thirteen years ago, had the foresight to bequeath his seat to Schock — albeit only for one term.

But Schock got the most thunderous applause from his Republican colleagues when he said that his only regret is that he won’t be in the House when it repeals Obamacare, abolishes the IRS and eliminates food stamps.

With that, Schock yielded back the balance of his time.

This post is political satire. Another in the series “Life Imitating Satire”

Lead image: www.shutterstock.com

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Jeb Bush Had Another Secret Email Account And Conservative Group Sues Clintons For Racketeering http://themoderatevoice.com/203828/jeb-bush-had-another-secret-email-account-and-conservative-group-sues-clintons-for-racketeering/ http://themoderatevoice.com/203828/jeb-bush-had-another-secret-email-account-and-conservative-group-sues-clintons-for-racketeering/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 17:55:35 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=203828 The Bush family and the Clinton family are tied so closely together, with many predicting, or rather fearing, that we will have another Bush v. Clinton election in 2016. Among their ties is a problem with private email accounts. While I have already noted news media reports of Jeb Bush having his own email problems, [...]

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The Bush family and the Clinton family are tied so closely together, with many predicting, or rather fearing, that we will have another Bush v. Clinton election in 2016. Among their ties is a problem with private email accounts. While I have already noted news media reports of Jeb Bush having his own email problems, yet another problem has arisen. AP reports that Bush had yet another secret email account:

When Bush released thousands of emails from his tenure as Florida’s governor as part of his preparations to run for president next year, he did so from the email account he shared openly, jeb@jeb.org.

Those emails also include references to another email address, jeb@gencom.net. Bush said through a spokeswoman that he was unaware of the account, although records showed that people wrote to him there more than 400 times between 1999 and 2004.

The same records show no replies from Bush coming from that address. Instead, when Bush responded, he did so from his more well-known email address. Writers sometimes also reached the governor at jeb@jebbush.org or jeb@myflorida.com.

Bush’s spokeswoman, Kristy Campbell, said Bush had no knowledge of the other email account. “He doesn’t know what that email address is,” she told The Associated Press Tuesday…

Though Bush said he knew nothing of that address, the emails clearly reached him: Bush often wrote back from his other account. In 1999, a writer corresponded with Bush about appointments to Brevard Community College. The email chain includes a reply, “Please respond to jeb@jeb.org.”

Hillary Clinton once again might be aided by conservative over-reach with her email problems:

The conservative group Freedom Watch has filed a racketeering lawsuit against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that accuses her of failing to produce documents under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

The civil suit, filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, argues that Clinton used her private emails to sell access to other officials in return for donations to the Clinton Foundation.

It alleges that, during her tenure, Clinton withheld documents requested under FOIA regarding State Department waivers given to businesses or individuals doing business with Iran, possibly undermining U.S.-imposed sanctions.

The complaint, which lists Bill and Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation as defendants, alleges the Clintons sold access to other U.S. government officials in return for donations to their organization, which they concealed, allegedly, by using a private computer server for her emails operated from their home in Chappaqua, New York.

While it has been established that Clinton violated the rules in effect when Secretary of State, and that she used the private server to improperly evade Freedom of Information Act requests, it is different matter to prove such racketeering. I fear that this will create yet another distraction, as with Benghazi, which prevents examination of the real issues regarding government transparency. Conservatives will fail to prove their case once again, and then Clinton apologists will use this to deny what Clinton has actually done wrong.

Originally posted at Liberal Values

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Co-Pilot, Andreas Lubitz, “Deliberately” Crashed Germanwings Flight 4U9525 http://themoderatevoice.com/203827/co-pilot-andreas-lubitz-deliberately-crashed-germanwings-flight-4u9525/ http://themoderatevoice.com/203827/co-pilot-andreas-lubitz-deliberately-crashed-germanwings-flight-4u9525/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 13:17:05 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=203827 Andreas Lubitz, 28, has been identified as the co-pilot of doomed Germanwings Flight 4U9525 that crashed in the French Alps. Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin said on Thursday that Lubitz made a “deliberate attempt” to crash the plane. Andreas Lubitz had 600 hours in flying time for the Airbus A320. The prosecutor said he had all [...]

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Andreas Lubitz, 28, has been identified as the co-pilot of doomed Germanwings Flight 4U9525 that crashed in the French Alps. Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin said on Thursday that Lubitz made a “deliberate attempt” to crash the plane.

Andreas Lubitz had 600 hours in flying time for the Airbus A320. The prosecutor said he had all the paperwork in place and was “fully qualified” to fly the plane. He is not on any terror list and they do not know his religion.

Robin revealed that the captain was identified as Stephen S, a father of two. He was deliberately locked out of the cockpit by Lubitz. At that point, Lubitz used the flight monitoring system to put the plane into a descent, which can only be done manually.

At that point, the co-pilot uses the flight monitoring system to put the plane into a descent – something that can only be done manually.

The pilot knocks and asks Lubbitz to let him in and then starts banging furiously when he got no response. Robin said, “His breath was not of somebody who was struggling. He never said a single word. It was total silence in the cockpit for the 10 past minutes.” Robin said, “Alarms were triggered to tell the crew how close the land was” and “then we hear violent blows as to break down the door.”

He added, “I don’t think that the passengers realized what was happening until the last moments because on the recording you only hear screams in the final seconds.” Brice Robin said “death was instantaneous.

This was cross-posted from The Hinterland Gazette.

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What Ted Cruz knows http://themoderatevoice.com/203826/what-ted-cruz-knows/ http://themoderatevoice.com/203826/what-ted-cruz-knows/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 12:53:37 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=203826 WASHINGTON — Sen. Ted Cruz is a decided underdog for the Republican presidential nomination, but he understands where his opening lies. And this, in turn, tells us a lot about the shape of the contest and the fight the GOP is about to have. It is no accident that Cruz began his campaign at Liberty [...]

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WASHINGTON — Sen. Ted Cruz is a decided underdog for the Republican presidential nomination, but he understands where his opening lies. And this, in turn, tells us a lot about the shape of the contest and the fight the GOP is about to have.

It is no accident that Cruz began his campaign at Liberty University — founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell — by asking evangelical conservatives to consolidate their support behind him. The most important sentence in his speech was this one: “Today, roughly half of born-again Christians aren’t voting,” Cruz said. “They’re staying home. Imagine instead millions of people of faith all across America coming out to the polls and voting our values.”

Although Cruz has always been a religious conservative, he is much better known for his crusade against Obamacare and his willingness to shut down the federal government. His evangelical turn is his first play to create a base on the right end of the party to challenge Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker as the main alternative to Jeb Bush.

The Cruz strategy starts with marginalizing former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson, the physician and best-selling author who has developed a significant following on the right. Huckabee and Carson are also in the running for evangelical votes. If Cruz pushes them aside, he can then go after Walker and, after that, Bush.

Perhaps all this is fanciful, but Cruz knows what he’s doing.

So far, Walker’s emergence is the key development in the Republican race. “Walker has made a decision to run at Bush from the right and he’s trying to consolidate the very conservative vote,” says Henry Olsen, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a shrewd conservative voting analyst. “The pop for Walker in the polls shows the deep desire of very conservative voters in the Republican Party to find an alternative to Bush.”

The numbers tell the story. A McClatchy-Marist poll released earlier this month showed Bush and Walker at the front of the Republican pack. Among Republicans and independents who lean Republican, Bush had 19 percent, Walker had 18 percent.

But their constituencies are very different. Among moderates, Bush, the former Florida governor, led Walker 26 percent to 15 percent; conservatives gave Walker 20 percent to 18 percent for Bush. Among those who called themselves very conservative, on the other hand, Walker walloped Bush, 24 percent to 7 percent.

Walker’s main competitors for the “very conservative” vote were Huckabee and Carson at 19 percent each. Overall, Huckabee got 10 percent and Carson 9 percent. Add those constituencies up and you have a number that competes with both Walker and Bush.

Cruz may now be at only 4 percent nationwide in the McClatchy-Marist survey, but he can build a base by grabbing those who currently support Huckabee and Carson. And Cruz’s talk about “liberty” and the Constitution could help him shake loose some votes from Sen. Rand Paul.

Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster who advises Sen. Marco Rubio, has a rule about his party’s nomination contests: “No one faction is large enough to nominate its favorite candidate,” he says. “Whoever is nominated will be rooted in one of the factions, but will be acceptable to a number of the factions.”

Bush’s base is some combination of the remaining moderates in the GOP and the less zealous conservatives who often go under the name “Establishment.” Bush’s first priority will be to eliminate all competition on that side of the party. This means it’s important to him that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s potential candidacy never gets off the ground and that Rubio not threaten him among more moderate voters. Bush then needs to be competitive enough with more conservative sections of the party, though he could luck out — as John McCain and Mitt Romney did — and get to watch as his more conservative rivals claw at each other and split up the vote at the right end of the GOP.

Cruz’s entry is thus very good news for Bush. He has as much interest in taking Walker down as Bush does, and the more right-of-center candidates there are on the ballot come next year, the better Bush’s chances will be.

Therefore, don’t believe anyone who says that little of what happens this year matters to an election that seems so far away. Cruz has just turned the battle for the political souls of religious conservatives into the first bloody crossroads of the GOP’s struggle. And Scott Walker needs to watch his back.

E.J. Dionne’s email address is ejdionne@washpost.com. Twitter: @EJDionne (c) 2015, Washington Post Writers Group

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Pilot Locked Out Of Cockpit: Report http://themoderatevoice.com/203822/pilot-locked-out-of-cockpit-report/ http://themoderatevoice.com/203822/pilot-locked-out-of-cockpit-report/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 04:36:54 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=203822 Pilot Locked Out Of Cockpit: Report One of the two pilots of Germanwings Flight 9525 appeared to be locked outside of the cockpit Tuesday as the Airbus A320 steadily descended from cruising altitude and eventually crashed into a mountainside in the French Alps, according to the New York Times, which cites a senior military official [...]

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Pilot Locked Out Of Cockpit: Report

One of the two pilots of Germanwings Flight 9525 appeared to be locked outside of the cockpit Tuesday as the Airbus A320 steadily descended from cruising altitude and eventually crashed into a mountainside in the French Alps, according to the New York Times, which cites a senior military official involved in the investigation into the tragedy…

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(Updates) Saudi Arabia Launches Airstrikes Against Rebels in Yemen http://themoderatevoice.com/203817/saudi-arabia-launches-airstrikes-against-rebels-in-yemen/ http://themoderatevoice.com/203817/saudi-arabia-launches-airstrikes-against-rebels-in-yemen/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 01:49:00 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=203817 Update (Tikrit) The New York Times is reporting that three major Shiite militia groups who were participating in the fight for Tikrit have “pulled out” of the fight “immediately depriving the Iraqi government of thousands of their fighters on the ground even as American warplanes readied for an expected second day of airstrikes against the [...]

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Update (Tikrit)

The New York Times is reporting that three major Shiite militia groups who were participating in the fight for Tikrit have “pulled out” of the fight “immediately depriving the Iraqi government of thousands of their fighters on the ground even as American warplanes readied for an expected second day of airstrikes against the Islamic State there.”

Apparently the pull-out is in protest of U.S. airstrikes against ISIL forces in Tikrit.

The Times:

Together the three groups represent as much as a third of the 30,000 fighters on the government side in the offensive against the Islamic State, which is also known as ISIS or ISIL, analysts said.
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“We don’t trust the American-led coalition in combating ISIS,” said Naeem al-Uboudi, the spokesman for Asaib Ahl al-Haq, one of the three groups which said they would withdraw from the front line around Tikrit. “In the past they have targeted our security forces and dropped aid to ISIS by mistake,” he said.

Read more here

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Update on Tikrit air strikes:

After an Iraqi government request, coalition fighter, bomber and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 17 airstrikes against ISIL terrorists.

The airstrikes struck an ISIL building, two ISIL bridges, three ISIL checkpoints, two ISIL staging areas, two ISIL berms, an ISIL roadblock and an ISIL-controlled command and control facility, officials said.
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“The ongoing Iraqi and coalition airstrikes are setting the conditions for offensive action to be conducted by Iraqi forces currently surrounding Tikrit,” said Army Lt. Gen. James L. Terry, who commands the combined joint task force. “Iraqi security forces supported by the coalition will continue to gain territory from [ISIL].”

Excerpt updates from Reuters:

Gulf broadcaster al-Arabiya TV reported that the kingdom [of Saudi Arabia]was contributing as many as 150,000 troops and 100 warplanes to the operations. Egypt, Jordan, Sudan and Pakistan were ready to take part in a ground offensive in Yemen, it said.
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There was no immediate confirmation of those figures from Riyadh. Al-Arabiya also said the United Arab Emirates was sending 30 warplanes to join the operation, along with 15 each from Bahrain and Kuwait, 10 from Qatar, six each from Jordan and Morocco and three from Sudan.

[..]

A widening Yemen conflict could also pose risks for global oil supplies, and Brent crude oil prices shot up nearly 6 percent soon after the operation began.
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Unidentified warplanes had earlier launched air strikes on the main airport in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, and its al Dulaimi military airbase, residents said.
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A Reuters witness in the capital said four or five houses near Sanaa airport had been damage. Rescue workers put the death toll from the air strikes at 13, including a doctor who had been pulled from the rubble of a damaged clinic.

[..]

A senior leader of Yemen’s Houthi movement said the Saudi air strikes amounted to aggression against his country and warned they would set off a “wide war” in the region.
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Houthi-run al-Masirah television reported that the Saudi-led air strikes had hit a residential neighbourhood north of Sanaa and caused dozens of casualties. It also urged medical personnel to report to hospitals in Sanaa immediately.

[..]

Although the news sparked jitters in the oil market, Asian importers said they were not immediately worried about supply disruptions.
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Most oil tankers from Arab producers such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Iraq have to pass Yemen’s coastlines via the narrow Gulf of Aden in order to get through the Red Sea and Suez Canal to Europe.

[..]

“Just because Saudi and others conducted air strikes doesn’t mean the oil market becomes suddenly tight,” said Masaki Suematsu from brokerage Newedge Japan in Tokyo.
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“But there will be repercussions … If Saudi’s oil facilities are attacked, the impact would be huge.”

UPDATE I:

In what is now a fast-developing story, Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir said in Washington that airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen began at 7 p.m. Washington time and would last until Yemen’s “legitimate government” was restored, according to the Washington Post.

The Post:

…the White House announced late Wednesday that President Obama had authorized U.S. forces to provide logistical and intelligence support to the operation. American forces were establishing a “Joint Planning Cell” with Saudi Arabia to coordinate military and intelligence assistance, the statement said.
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Jubeir said the .airstrikes had targeted sites around the country, including Sanaa. “The operations are limited to defending the government and preventing its collapse,” he said.

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Original post:

After U.S. and coalition military forces began operations in support of Iraqi security forces in Tikrit by conducting air operations to expel ISIL from that city and after reports last night that Saudi Arabia was moving “heavy military equipment including artillery to areas near its border with Yemen,” there is now breaking news that Saudi Arabia has begun a “military campaign” in Yemen.

The New York Times reports that the campaign — including by air — is, according to a Saudi official, the beginning of an effort to restore the Yemeni government that collapsed after rebel forces took control of large parts of Yemen.

The Times:

The Saudi announcement came during a rare news conference in Washington by Adel al-Jubeir, the kingdom’s ambassador to the United States.
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Mr. Jubeir said that the Saudis were part of a coalition of about 10 nations determined to blunt the advance of Shiite Houthi rebels, who have overrun Yemen’s capital and forced the American-backed government to flee the war-racked country.
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“We will do whatever it takes to protect the legitimate government of Yemen,” said Mr. Jubeir, who spoke to reporters shortly after the air campaign had begun.
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Mr. Jubeir did not name the other nations involved in the military campaign, but said that American military forces were not involved in the airstrikes.

The Stars and Stripes provides additional information on the Saudi airstrikes here.

Back to the U.S./coalition operations against ISIL in Tikrit. “The joint, combined task force is providing air strikes, airborne intelligence capabilities, and advise and assist support to Iraqi security force headquarters elements to enhance their ability to defeat ISIL,” officials said.

DoD adds:

In addition to airstrikes, coalition forces also continue to provide critical training to Iraqi security forces, according to Centcom officials. There are currently 4,800 Iraqi troops in training at four building partner capacity sites in Iraq, with 3,000 of those troops entering training three weeks ago.
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“We are building their capacity while enabling and supporting their operations throughout the country,” Ryder said. “So we are doing a lot, especially in the past three weeks. And we are doing all of this simultaneously and in close coordination with our Iraqi partners.”

Coalition operations against ISIL

Map, released by Central Command, depicts the number and locations of air strikes conducted by coalition forces against ISIL in Iraq and Syria — and the effects — since March 2.

Lead image: www.shutterstock.com

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Obama Mideast efforts hard hit as Yemen ally flees http://themoderatevoice.com/203815/obama-mideast-efforts-in-tatters-as-yemen-ally-flees/ http://themoderatevoice.com/203815/obama-mideast-efforts-in-tatters-as-yemen-ally-flees/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 00:57:44 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=203815 President Barack Obama’s main ally in Yemen, the country that hosts al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), fled in a boat today to avoid capture by forces controlled by the strongman Washington helped to dislodge in 2012. President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who is also backed by the Saudi and Gulf regimes, was holed up [...]

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President Barack Obama’s main ally in Yemen, the country that hosts al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), fled in a boat today to avoid capture by forces controlled by the strongman Washington helped to dislodge in 2012.

President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who is also backed by the Saudi and Gulf regimes, was holed up in Yemen’s strategic southern port city of Aden, his hometown. He fled after Yemeni military units loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh captured a military base near Aden, occupied the international airport and bombed his residence. They also captured his defense Minister and other senior officials.

Earlier he fled from the presidential palace in Sana’a after that capital city fell to Houthi tribesmen from the north, who are longtime enemies of Saudi Arabia and receive support from Iran. The Houthis have recently become allies of Saleh, who hates Hadi, his former Vice President.

Hadi is seeking military and diplomatic help from the Saudis and Gulf Emirates, which meet tomorrow and might decide to intervene. Saudi troops and tanks have already moved close to Yemen’s northern frontiers but Saudi officials said the actions are purely defensive.

If the Saudis do enter militarily directly or using informal militias, Yemen could sink into the kind of sectarian Sunni-Shia chaos and civil war among tribal militias that has shredded Syria, Iraq and Libya.

Such a development would make tatters of Obama’s Mideast policies aimed at inclusive regimes that preferably provide democratic participation to all components of a country’s population.

It would also make it much harder to fight AQAP, a declared enemy of the US, which was also responsible for the January 2015 attack that killed 12 and injured 11 at Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket in Paris.

The US gave Yemen some $500 million in military and other aid since 2010 and used the military base near Aden to conduct drone strikes against AQAP. It evacuated all Americans from the base earlier this month.

The Houthis and Saleh are enemies of AQAP, a Sunni terrorist group that has taken advantage of the chaos to grab more territories in the south in recent weeks. Some reports say that the Islamic State (ISIL), an AQAP rival, has also grabbed small territories in other parts of Yemen.

A Yemeni affiliate of the Islamic State claimed responsibility for killing more than 130 people at Friday prayers in suicide attacks on Shiite mosques on Friday last week (March 20).

The Saudis see the Saleh and the Houthis as proxies of Iran because both belong to small Shia Muslim sects. But Saleh, a tough authoritarian, was a longtime friend of Saudi Arabia and the US until both engineered his removal from power after massive street protests against him.

Washington was pleased at his peaceful departure and helped to replace him with Hadi, who was more pliable and less demanding as an American ally than Saleh.

The current upheavals will turn into a monstrous quagmire for Obama and his Gulf allies if Yemen sinks into sectarian and tribal chaos similar to Syria, and ISIL and AQAP grab territories.

So far, Al Qaeda and its affiliates have stuck to terrorist acts against the US and its allies without seeking to govern territories. But the rivalry with ISIL’s Caliphate, which depends on possessing and governing territories, has become so acute that AQAP may also try to physically control parts of Yemen.

Both Houthis and Saleh loathe extreme Sunni Islam so viscerally that they might turn to Iran for more help, as Iraqi Shias have done. (However, some reports suggest that they might even ally with AQAP, which has more native Yemenis than ISIL, to consolidate their power after Hadi’s final defeat.)

Iran may not be able to avoid more involvement in the conflict if the Saudis, which became the world’s largest weapons importer from the US in 2014, enter the conflict to crush Shia pretensions to power.

The Saudi regime might decide to do so because it fears the 20% Shia minority in Saudi Arabia and the disenfranchised Shia majority in Bahrain.

Both the Saudis and Washington have a serious problem because the devastation and disorder caused by Saudi intervention may allow ISIL and AQAP to consolidate their holds over territorial segments.

Both are enemies of the Saudi regime, which they see as corrupt and no longer a custodian of “true” Islam. Destroying them in Yemen may also bring international criticism because it would cost too many civilian deaths and the destruction of many towns and villages.

The US would be widely blamed because it supplies almost all Saudi and Gulf weapons and military training.

Saudi success in a prolonged tribal and sectarian war in Yemen’s difficult terrain is also doubtful since it have never fought or won a war, although it is armed to the teeth with some of the world’s most modern weapons. The US and Western troops have always done almost all the fighting to protect its interests.

Obama needs such developments like holes in the head but the tide of events may become irresistible.

graphic via shutterstock.com

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Why Should Extremists Have All the Fun? http://themoderatevoice.com/203813/why-should-extremists-have-all-the-fun/ http://themoderatevoice.com/203813/why-should-extremists-have-all-the-fun/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 00:50:30 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=203813 Sometimes I wonder why I use good brain cells in a doomed attempt to combat extremism. By now I’ve concluded that extremism, factionalism, discord and bile are essential components of the human genome. We’re squabbling creatures, and I can do nothing to alter that essential truth. It would be like fighting primal and unstoppable forces [...]

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Sometimes I wonder why I use good brain cells in a doomed attempt to combat extremism. By now I’ve concluded that extremism, factionalism, discord and bile are essential components of the human genome. We’re squabbling creatures, and I can do nothing to alter that essential truth. It would be like fighting primal and unstoppable forces of nature: gravity, for example, or the Kardashians.

At my age I should be conserving my dwindling supply of gray matter for more immediately rewarding tasks, like figuring out how to replace a washer in a leaky faucet. Why bother crusading from the median strip of the political highway, when everyone seems to be zooming past me in both directions? Does anyone pay attention to that solitary figure with the sensible placard as the wind ruffles what’s left of his hair?

Well, here I stand, as Martin Luther proclaimed (though I doubt if I’ll have a church named after me): “I can do no other.” Let the extremists quake at my proclamation — assuming they can hear me as they whiz by with their radios blasting, always tuned to the same station.

Yes, extremists seem to be having all the fun. Here’s just a sampling of their antics over the past month:

The so-called Islamic State appears to have entered the demolition business: hacking ancient statues to bits, destroying Islamically incorrect Muslim shrines, ruining the noble ruins of ancient Assyria. If they ever spread their tentacles toward Egypt, all the archaeologists in the world will be powerless to stop them from dynamiting the Great Sphinx.

Of course, the armies of ISIS and their fanatical allies have been wreaking havoc on human life as well: over twenty Coptic Christians beheaded in Libya… nearly that many tourists gunned down at a museum in Tunisia… more than a hundred Yemenis blown up in suicide attacks at two mosques (wrong denomination)… a young Afghan woman beaten and burned to death by a savage mob for alleged offenses against a copy of the holy Koran. Now the Islamists are threatening attacks on European targets and random American soldiers. It’s ugly out there, and chances are we’ll be living with that ugliness until the day we’re lowered into the ground.

Meanwhile, in the Holy Land, veteran Israeli prime minister Netanyahu, finding himself lagging in the polls, cleverly made a sharp right turn to clinch a last-minute victory over his more moderate opponent. Suddenly declaring himself against Palestinian statehood, he roused his base and they showed their love in return. Moral of the story: never underestimate the power of extremism to galvanize the masses.

Here in the U.S., freshman Texas senator and Ivy-educated right-wing demagogue Ted Cruz officially launched the 2016 presidential campaign by announcing his candidacy. In a rousing speech before a captive audience at Liberty University, he exhorted “courageous conservatives” to restore America to greatness. Notice that he didn’t reach out to the American people as a whole; why bother when you can win by appealing to tribal loyalties? Here was factionalism in its purest state, ready to widen the already gaping gulf between the two Americas: beleaguered, science-denying, government-hating, gun-endorsing Bible-believers on the right… latte-sipping, NPR-listening, politically correct Whole Foods shoppers on the left.

Speaking of left-wing latte-sippers, a debate on “rape culture” at Brown University made the news because a member of the Sexual Assault Task Force created a “safe space” in the debating hall for sensitive young women who presumably would be traumatized by hearing the libertarian opponent (a woman, no less) poke holes in the rape culture narrative. Even The New York Times, in a piece by Judith Shulevitz that made the rounds online, seemed incredulous at the need for a literal safe space — a room equipped with (I still can’t believe it, but apparently it’s true) coloring books, Play-Doh, blankets and videos of frolicking puppies, as well as trained trauma counselors. Apparently we can’t let the delicate children of the progressive elite — even at renowned universities that are supposed to train and challenge the intellects of the next generation — have their orthodox world-view punctured by surly contrarians. It would be like forcing them to ingest GMOs, gluten, non-organic tomatoes and Velveeta all at once. Yes, American universities are doing their best to make the world unsafe for heretics. (Maybe that explains their peculiar sympathy for Islam.)

Of course, I don’t want to leave you with the impression that collegiate feminists, some of whom might still be reeling from first-hand experience with rape, deserve to be verbally brutalized while already suffering from PTSD. But if they choose to attend an honest-to-God debate, they probably need to steel themselves for opinions that might stray from scripture. College is not — should never become — a nursery for ideological sheep.

So, yes, the extremists are engulfing society from both ends. They’re gaining ground; they dominate public discourse and Internet message boards. The sensible middle, with its tricky nuances and lack of rhetorical heat, lies almost bereft of life, unable to mesmerize the public or enlist bright-eyed recruits. I admit it; we’re losing the popularity contest to these battling bozos. If you drew a graph of American political sympathies today, you’d see a hill at either end with a depression in the middle. That’s us, down there in the valley.

The extremists are winning converts, but are they really having all the fun? I have my doubts. The left today seems whiny, prone to neurasthenic vapors, and oblivious to common sense. The right, for its part, puts up a macho front that conceals an underlying terror of demographic and cultural change. Both sides come across angry, clannish, intolerant and ready to take offense.

That’s not how I want to spend my days. Moderation and common sense might not generate much heat, but at least we’ll go to our eternal reward (or the communal boneyard) with the knowledge that we tried our best to make sense of these bewildering times. And while we’re here, we can enjoy the heady rush of firing away at follies to the left and right of us. After all, we moderates deserve to have some fun.

Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate.

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The Closing of the Political Mind http://themoderatevoice.com/203807/closing-political-mind/ http://themoderatevoice.com/203807/closing-political-mind/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 23:21:44 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=203807 Ezra Klein assesses the damage on Vox.com. If you want to feel depressed about the future of American politics, Obamacare confirms an unnerving phenomenon that has been well-documented by social scientists: more and better information has almost no effect on the political mind.   There’s a simple theory underlying much of American politics. It sits [...]

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Ezra Klein assesses the damage on Vox.com.

If you want to feel depressed about the future of American politics, Obamacare confirms an unnerving phenomenon that has been well-documented by social scientists: more and better information has almost no effect on the political mind.

 

There’s a simple theory underlying much of American politics. It sits hopefully at the base of almost every speech, every op-ed, every article, and every panel discussion. It’s taught in civics classes and laced through TED talks. It’s what we might call the More Information Hypothesis: the belief that our most bitter political battles are mere misunderstandings.

 

The cause of these misunderstandings? Too little information — be it about climate change, taxes, Iraq, or Obamacare. If only the citizenry were more informed, the thinking goes, then there wouldn’t be all this fighting. Social scientists have tested this hypothesis again and again. It turns out to be not just wrong but literally backward. The more information partisans get, the deeper their disagreements become. When it comes to politics, people reason backward from their conclusions.

 

Yale law professor Dan Kahan has built something of a cottage industry out of these experiments. In one study, he tested people’s scientific literacy alongside their ideology and then asked about the risks posed by climate change. If the problem was truly that people needed to know more about science to fully appreciate the dangers of a warming climate, then their concern should’ve risen alongside their knowledge. But the opposite was true: among people who were already skeptical of climate change, scientific literacy made them more skeptical of climate change.

 

Politics, it turns out, makes smart people stupid.

 

Obamacare has been a real-time test of these theories. Much has happened to the law over the past five years. But opinions have barely budged. It’s easy to poll voters and lament how little they know, or have learned, about the law. But in Washington, where the information is both plentiful and regularly used, the hardening of opinions is, if anything, even worse. No congressional Democrats have watched Obamacare’s progression and turned against the law. No congressional Republicans have noticed the law covering tens of millions of people with cheaper-than-expected premiums and decided maybe it’s not such a disaster after all.

I recently had a sadly confirmatory experience in this vein. I am a big supporter of my college’s athletic teams and participate avidly in an on-line community of similarly enthusiastic fans. There is a politics board as part of this site that I occasionally post on to try out new ideas or sharpen debate skills. I got into a discussion of LGBT folks as parents with a fellow whose sports takes I have admired for their perceptiveness and lucidity. I think he either is or has been a coach. I knew he was on the other side politically but hoped because of his obvious intelligence we could at least have some productive dialogue.

Wrong.

I must plead guilty to the TED talk assumption: if I can marshall facts and carefully reasoned arguments then that will carry the day. Those facts and reasoned arguments proved to be gasoline on the fire. Further, his arguments betrayed some very basic, fundamental errors in interpreting and making meaning of scientific evidence. While I feel sure he knows more about football than I do, I feel just as certain that I know far more about research science. It became clear that he didn’t know what he didn’t know. As I gently began to expose and explain some of the beginner’s flaws in his arguments, he continued to escalate them with growing vehemence, declining coherence and hardening (if misplaced) certitude. Discouraged, I finally just let the matter drop.

Cross-posted from The Sensible Center

http://thesensiblecentercom.blogspot.com/2015/03/the-closing-of-political-mind.html

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Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva Thinks There Are Too Many “Ethnic Shows” on TV http://themoderatevoice.com/203811/nellie-andreeva-thinks-there-are-too-many-ethnic-shows-on-tv/ http://themoderatevoice.com/203811/nellie-andreeva-thinks-there-are-too-many-ethnic-shows-on-tv/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 20:27:46 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=203811 Race is a very touchy subject for many, but I wondered out loud why Deadline Hollywood would publish an article that seems to suggest that there are too many “ethnic shows” on television right now. According to Nellie Andreeva, white actors can’t find work in Hollywood because of the number of “ethnic shows,” including pilots. That [...]

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Race is a very touchy subject for many, but I wondered out loud why Deadline Hollywood would publish an article that seems to suggest that there are too many “ethnic shows” on television right now. According to Nellie Andreeva, white actors can’t find work in Hollywood because of the number of “ethnic shows,” including pilots. That includes “How to Get Away with Murder,” “Cristela,” “Fresh Off the Boat,” “Scandal,” “Black-ish.” “Empire,” and so on. Booohooo…..

Andreeva published an article at Deadline Hollywood, that laments about the changing television landscape that has shifted so much this season that white actors are finding it increasingly difficult to find roles.

Deadline:  The change is welcomed by talent agents who no longer have to call casting directors and ask them if they would possibly consider an ethnic actor for a part, knowing they would most likely be rejected. “I feel that the tide has turned,” one agent said. “I can pitch any actor for any role, and I think that’s good.”

But, as is the case with any sea change, the pendulum might have swung a bit too far in the opposite direction. Instead of opening the field for actors of any race to compete for any role in a color-blind manner, there has been a significant number of parts designated as ethnic this year, making them off-limits for Caucasian actors, some agents signal. Many pilot characters this year were listed as open to all ethnicities, but when reps would call to inquire about an actor submission, they frequently have been told that only non-Caucasian actors would be considered. “Basically 50% of the roles in a pilot have to be ethnic, and the mandate goes all the way down to guest parts,” one talent representative said.

Andreeva believes that the plight of white actors is reverse-racism because more qualified white candidates are being turned away as lesser talented actors who fit to bill to meet the “ethnic” quotas are being chosen.

“Instead of opening the field for actors of any race to compete for any role in a color-blind manner, there has been a significant number of parts designated as ethnic this year, making them off-limits for Caucasian actors,” Andreeva wrote.  She described a pilot in which the top two choices for regular parts were both white, but only one could be offered a position.

Nellie Andreevva said an agent told her, “Basically 50 percent of the roles in a pilot have to be ethnic, and the mandate goes all the way down to guest parts.” Shonda Rhimes clapped back:

This was cross-posted from The Hinterland Gazette.

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Hillary Clinton Jokes About Her Problems With The Media http://themoderatevoice.com/203810/hillary-clinton-jokes-about-her-problems-with-the-media/ http://themoderatevoice.com/203810/hillary-clinton-jokes-about-her-problems-with-the-media/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 19:52:04 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=203810 Hillary Clinton spoke at the Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting Monday night, and I do give her points for both humor and self-awareness: “I am well aware that some of you may be a little surprised to see me here tonight,” she said. “My relationship with the press has been at times, shall [...]

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Hillary Clinton spoke at the Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting Monday night, and I do give her points for both humor and self-awareness:

“I am well aware that some of you may be a little surprised to see me here tonight,” she said. “My relationship with the press has been at times, shall we say, complicated.”

“I am all about new beginnings: a new grandchild, another new hairstyle, a new email account,” she quipped, “Why not a new relationship with the press? So here goes. No more secrecy. No more zone of privacy.”

So far not bad. I heard more of her speech last night and had to go through several media accounts until I found one which included a reference one of the best lines: “Before I go any further, if you look under your chairs, you’ll find a simple non-disclosure agreement. My attorneys drew it up.” As I said, she showed self-awareness.

As is typical for Clinton, she also refused to take questions, but Dan Baltz, who won this year’s award, did offer to yield some of his time if Clinton would take some questions. She did not accept the offer.

This was a far better appearance for Clinton than her book tour or her press conference after the email scandal broke. It is questionable whether this will really repair her problems with the press. Joking around with the press hardly makes up for using her private server to block Freedom of Information Act requests for information from the media.

Clinton at least showed a better connection to reality than Breitbart which covered her speech in this manner:

“We need more than ever smart, fair-minded journalists to challenge our assumptions, push us towards new solutions, and hold all of us accountable,” she reportedly told mainstream media reporters who notoriously protect Democrats like Clinton.

I don’t think Clinton believed she was receiving any protection from the mainstream media when she received well-deserved criticism in the past month because of the email scandal from mainstream media sources such as The New York Times, NPR, AP, NBC News, MSNBC, and The Guardian. Plus there was the Boston Globe pushing for Elizabeth Warren to run against her, and far more scathing criticism from many liberal publications.

Originally posted at Liberal Values

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The Book of Judges and a “Modest” Proposal http://themoderatevoice.com/203808/the-book-of-judges-and-a-modest-proposal/ http://themoderatevoice.com/203808/the-book-of-judges-and-a-modest-proposal/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 17:16:50 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=203808 Reading the Old Testament book of Judges with the people of Living Water Lutheran Church in the past week has underscored an important truth articulated famously by Lord Acton: “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The Old Testament judges started out as people without status. But God called them to exercise military and judicial authority [...]

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Reading the Old Testament book of Judges with the people of Living Water Lutheran Church in the past week has underscored an important truth articulated famously by Lord Acton: “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

The Old Testament judges started out as people without status. But God called them to exercise military and judicial authority on behalf of His people. The judges often had success. But they often forgot that their power was from God, became selfish and self-serving.

Government, in a world composed of fallen human beings, is necessary. The Bible teaches that governmental authority is God’s idea, an emergency measure necessitated by the human penchant for selfishness and injustice. Christians are enjoined in the New Testament to pray for those in authority.

But what Judges makes clear is that power is a danger to the souls of those who exercised it and therefore, a danger to those over whom power is exercised.

It seems to me that in addition to terms of office, the dangers of power might be mitigated or minimized by deciding as a society that we won’t elect anyone to the presidency or any other public office who wants those offices.

Those who desire power, irrespective of their party, are probably more prone to the abuse of power and a sense of entitlement than others who are more indifferent to it.

America has been and remains fortunate that we have never had a tyrant in the presidency, partly because of the genius of our constitutional system. But we have seen in the presidency of Richard Nixon how corrupting the desire for power can be.

So far as I know, only two of our presidents came to office without seeking it: George Washington and Franklin Pierce. Washington was a triumph, worthy of historian Garry Wills’ assessment that Washington is the greatest political leader in world history. Pierce was a lowest common denominator choice of pols in a smoke-filled room and was a disaster.

That 50% success rate doesn’t daunt me. I would much rather opt for picking people not animated by a desire for power than for those who disingenuously insist that they only want power as a means of doing good.

It’s all a pipe dream, of course. But if, by this principle, we had a 50% chance of getting an even a lower-case Washington, wouldn’t it be worth trying?

Cross-posted from MarkDaniels.blogspot.com

Graphic via shutterstock.com

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Josh Marshall on Why Ted Cruz Won’t Get Elected http://themoderatevoice.com/203698/josh-marshall-ted-cruz-wont-get-elected/ http://themoderatevoice.com/203698/josh-marshall-ted-cruz-wont-get-elected/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 12:33:23 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=203698 Josh Marshall thinks Ted Cruz has no chance to be elected President and spells out why on Talking Points Memo. Starting with most obvious, Cruz would not survive first contact with the range of blue states and swing states where a Republican must compete. Some say, they didn’t think he had a chance in Texas [...]

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Josh Marshall thinks Ted Cruz has no chance to be elected President and spells out why on Talking Points Memo.

Starting with most obvious, Cruz would not survive first contact with the range of blue states and swing states where a Republican must compete. Some say, they didn’t think he had a chance in Texas either. Well, Texas, as they say, is a whole ‘nother country. Both on the issues and temperamentally Cruz embodies the caricature of Republicans which nominees studiously work to dismantle in the general election phase of the campaign. Indeed, Cruz would run so poorly in many blue “reach” states that he would probably bring down a non-trivial congressional Republicans because he is so toxic to non-right wing ideologues. He won’t win a national election. Not at the top of the ticket.

 

Second, no one wins the presidency who does not come off as a good guy, someone you would like, to a majority of the population. The one possible exception is Richard Nixon, though a significant part of his 1968 success was combating this problem. Lots of people hated Clinton and Bush and now Obama too. But most people liked them. Likable guys, not, in a word, assholes. People who come off like assholes don’t get elected president. From college and law school to the Senate and seemingly everywhere in between, Cruz has found small groups of admirers while convincing the vast majority of people as a consummate asshole.

 

This isn’t just me sounding off; it’s not trash talk. This is a really basic dynamic of presidential elections. There were plenty of Democrats who thought W was an entitled jerk. Most of the population did not feel that way. Many republicans felt Clinton was a slippery charlatan. But even many of them found it difficult to resist his charm. Indeed, that was one of the reasons they hated him.

 

Most people, including most Republicans, find Ted Cruz grating, divisive and arrogant. That makes it extremely hard to make the kind of emotive connection with voters who come to elections without strong ideological moorings. Cruz’s great strength, albeit with a small but intensely devoted slice of the national conservative electorate, is that he has taken the unbridled self-assertion and norm-breaking which make him intolerable to many up close and cast them as the ultimate expression of the right-wing id. Also another thing, people don’t like assholes.

 

Third, establishment Republicans: Ted Cruz does not play ball. He is arrogant. He causes lots of damage for Republicans who either have moderate views or are in the business of politics. Ted is not good for business in either the good or bad senses of the term – whether that’s people who simply want to govern or those most focused on delivering goods for constituents (or getting people who are not named Ted Cruz elected). Ted will never be elected president. And I think it is very, very unlikely he will get the GOP nomination. The most likely outcome is that he will pull well with far right Republicans and pull the field to the right.

Cross-posted from The Sensible Center

http://thesensiblecentercom.blogspot.com/2015/03/josh-marshall-on-why-ted-cruz-wont-get.html

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The albums that changed my life http://themoderatevoice.com/203805/the-albums-that-changed-my-life/ http://themoderatevoice.com/203805/the-albums-that-changed-my-life/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 11:50:44 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=203805 So this is taken from my blog Chocolate Films… but it is about the albums that have changed my life. It’s going to be a weekly thing, so if you fancy that type of guff be sure to check the blog every Thursday. Peace. … 10 – What’s the Story (Morning Glory) (Oasis) For the [...]

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So this is taken from my blog Chocolate Films… but it is about the albums that have changed my life. It’s going to be a weekly thing, so if you fancy that type of guff be sure to check the blog every Thursday. Peace.


10 – What’s the Story (Morning Glory) (Oasis)

For the better part of 10 years, I have had to defend this album to close friends and family. I believe hand on heart that it is the most important British record I have ever heard. And yes, I know Sgt. Pepper, Exile on Main Street and The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust exist. I simply adore this album because I heard it at a time when my musical pallet was… well, racist.

I grew up with a father who had a very multi-racial musical pallet. Yes, he’d listen to soul, reggae and African music, but he was also a huge country music fan. My father loved himself some Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. He also loved Dire Straits and Smokie… and The Carpenters. That is one of the things I remember very fondly about my dad – you couldn’t pin him down when it came to his musical tastes.

I was very different. The closest thing to white music that I would listen to was Michael Jackson and a little later on, someone called Eminem. But right around the time I was 16 I decided to give Oasis’ What’s the Story (Morning Glory) a try and I was blown away. Morning Glory begat, OK Computer, which begat Let it be, which begat All things must pass and so on.

Basically, What’s the Story (Morning Glory) heralded the whitest musical listening period of my life and for that I am truly grateful.

I also think What’s the Story stands up as a monumental record today, which more than holds its own against the usual suspects of iconic British records.

PS… Noel Gallagher is a genius. He should be awarded a Knighthood for his writing on this record alone.

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Track list

Hello

Roll with it

Wonderwall

Don’t look back in Anger

Hey Now

Untitled

Some Might Say

She’s Electric

Morning Glory

Untitled Part 2

Champagne Supernova

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Cartoon: GOP Rants at Obama http://themoderatevoice.com/203803/cartoon-gop-rants-at-obama/ http://themoderatevoice.com/203803/cartoon-gop-rants-at-obama/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 10:46:47 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=203803 See great cartoons by all the top political cartoonists at http://cagle.com. To license this cartoon for your own site, visit http://politicalcartoons.com

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 Daryl Cagle, CagleCartoons.com


Daryl Cagle, CagleCartoons.com


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Netanyahu says what is expedient (Guest Voice) http://themoderatevoice.com/203801/netanyahu-says-what-is-expedient-guest-voice/ http://themoderatevoice.com/203801/netanyahu-says-what-is-expedient-guest-voice/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 04:16:35 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=203801 Netanyahu says what is expedient By Rabbi Dow Marmur JERUSALEM–Those of us naïve enough to believe that politicians mean what they say, especially during election campaigns, have had our eyes opened. Two statements that Prime Minister Netanyahu made on the eve of the elections that shocked many of us at the time turned out to [...]

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Netanyahu says what is expedient
By Rabbi Dow Marmur

JERUSALEM–Those of us naïve enough to believe that politicians mean what they say, especially during election campaigns, have had our eyes opened. Two statements that Prime Minister Netanyahu made on the eve of the elections that shocked many of us at the time turned out to be untrue: his warning that Arabs were coming out to vote “in droves” and that he no longer believes in a two-state solution.

He has now told a handpicked delegation of Israeli Arabs that he didn’t mean what he said about them, and he has told the international media that he’s still wants to make peace with the Palestinians by enabling them to have a state of their own.
It was expedient to say one thing before the elections and it’s expedient to say its opposite after the elections. Truth doesn’t come into it. When integrity yields to expediency it’s called politics.

Should we’ve forgotten the elections promises that weren’t kept in the past, we’ve been reminded that there’s no earthly reason to believe that any promises made this time will fare better. Those in power will continue to use truth “creatively” in order not to interfere with what they really want to do. They’ll settle for pleasing themselves and satisfying accomplices (in this case also known as coalition partners).

The sad thing is that what Netanyahu said before the elections worked to his advantage. It may not have wooed liberals, but he managed to take seats from the other like-minded right-wingers in his “family” who’re openly hostile to Arabs (e.g., Lieberman) and who don’t want peace because it would mean giving up settlements (e.g., Bennett). Perhaps this entitles us to view the whole thing primarily as a tiff within a dysfunctional though powerful family.

The majority of Israelis seem to agree with that family. Netanyahu isn’t to blame for his victory nor are Herzog and Livni for their defeat. It was a democratic election and the people have spoken.

The opposition is nowhere near as much on the left as the government is on the right. Herzog and Livni never suggested that the settlements should be dismantled other than hinting that some outlaying ones may have to go or be relocated. And they wouldn’t consider having the United Arab list (the third largest party in the next Knesset) to be part of the government, even if the Arabs would have wanted that (which they say they don’t).

This time, however, for reasons of their own, the opponents of Netanyahu – including the United States administration – have chosen to take him at his word despite the attempt to retract it. Arab and Jewish politicians in Israel in opposition continue to paint the prime minister as a racist. Statesmen abroad – even those who support Netanyahu, e.g. Prime Minister Harper of Canada – emphasize with renewed vigor and implied rebuke that the two-state solution is the only legitimate way of solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“This isn’t an apology, this is policy” reads a headline in my daily paper. Both what was said before the election and the attempts at retraction afterwards seem to be tools deployed in the game of politics. The fact that so many of us refuse to recognize it is a sad reflection on us as much as it is an indictment of the cynicism of those who succeed to manipulate us.
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Rabbi Marmur, spiritual leader emeritus of Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto, now resides in Israel. This article is reprinted from San Diego Jewish World which, along with The Moderate Voice, is a member of the San Diego Online Media Association.

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