’s ironic that a number of (mostly right wing) commentators have been invoking the ideals of freedom of speech and expression while praising an authoritarian leader who has cracked down on these freedoms more than any of his nation’s authoritarian predecessors. American and European analysts on the right have called Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi an Islamic “reformer” and an ally in the quest to deliver the message of Western freedom to Muslims.
The praise for Al-Sisi comes in the aftermath of his January 1, 2015 speech at Al-Azhar University, during which he called for an Islamic “religious revolution” to combat extremist thought in the Muslim-majority world. Analyses (which accelerated after the Charlie Hebdo attacks) have suggested that American leaders need to let Al-Sisi lead the charge against Islamist extremism and the Christian Post’s Richard Land even compared his talk to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
It’s troubling that Westerners claiming to be lovers of human rights would overlook, or downplay, Al-Sisi’s policy record—which features a military coup against a democratically elected president, large-scale massacres of civilian protesters, the imprisonment of tens of thousands of people (including many journalists), the shutting down of all oppositional media outlets, and the banning and effective elimination of key political competition, among other gross human rights violations.
Many Western writers have demonstrated a near-complete lack of contextual awareness. Read through the lens of Egypt’s political context, Al-Sisi’s talk of a “religious revolution” is about political domination, not religious reform. The 2013 military coup was not a confrontation against extremism: it was an attempt by Egypt’s “deep state” to reverse the nation’s democratic gains and to once again assume complete control over its political economic system.
Israel’s March elections are fast approaching-and still too close to call. Even for devoted Israel watchers, though, it can be difficult to follow the fluctuations of a political scene that features over half-a-dozen parties jockeying for parliamentary position. And that’s before one bumps up against the Hebrew language barrier. Fortunately, Tablet is here to help.
How can one keep track of the many polls released each week-and how reliable are they? Which analysts are writing in English and offering detailed blow-by-blow accounts of the race’s developments? And who makes the best political parody videos lampooning the contest’s participants? Our primer has the answers.
In the era of Nate Silver, nothing carries more currency with political junkies than the latest polls. Israel’s, however, have proven notoriously unreliable. Pollsters have consistently overestimated the support for large parties and underrated smaller ones, often by dramatic margins. These errors are compounded by the fact that over a third of Israeli voters tend to be undecided before they get to the ballot box. With such a large late-breaking swing vote, and a parliament whose seats are determined by vote percentage, it can seem near impossible to predict Israel’s elections with any certainty.
Enter Project 61. Run by analyst Nehemia Gershuni, and drawing its name from the 61 seats required to form a majority coalition in the Knesset, Project 61 aims to be the FiveThirtyEight of Israel’s elections. Drawing on Nate Silver’s own methodology, the project aggregates Israel’s many polls, then weights the average based on the historical reliability of each pollster. Those with a better track record for accuracy count for more, and vice versa. The result, displayed in easily understood infographics, is likely the best look at the political state-of-play possible before election day. For example, at the top of the page is Project 61’s latest breakdown.
Reporting and Analysis
From top political reporters like Channel 2’s Amit Segal to Channel 10’s Nadav Perry, there is no shortage of quality election coverage in Hebrew. But what about in English? Thanks to the proliferation of online English media from Israel, some native and some translated, there’s plenty to choose from among outlets like the Times of Israel, Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, and many others.
But beyond the usual publications, there are also particular writers well worth following for up-to-the-minute coverage. Lahav Harkov, ace Knesset reporter at the Jerusalem Post, tweets breaking news, polls, photos and analysis from countless rallies and other electoral events.
Lamont and Manny were students in our ninth grade English inclusion class, comprised of typically developing students and students with disabilities. There was nothing typical about Lamont or Manny since both were gifted and talented. However, Lamont was gifted in many areas, while Manny was asynchronous and, we believe, twice-exceptional (gifted but possessing a disability). Unfortunately, due to a lack of services for low-income twice-exceptional students, the outcomes for Lamont and Manny were drastically different.
There is much indignation over the school to prison pipeline that funnels children into the criminal justice system, especially regarding the large number of special education students within this population. As many as 70% of those arrested possess some kind of disability. Lamentably overlooked, though, is the other at-risk population, gifted and talented students. In fact, the gifted may comprise as much as 20% of prisoners, according to Marylou Kelly Streznewski’s Gifted Grown Ups: The Mixed Blessings of Extraordinary Potential.
own some new rules that require foreign tech companies selling technology to banks to hand over proprietary source code and adhere to the nation’s encryption algorithms. U.S. business lobbies are calling for “urgent discussions” on the new regulations.
In a letter to China’s Central Leading Small Group for Cyberspace Affairs, dated January 28, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce warned that harm would result from an “overly broad, opaque, discriminatory approach to cybersecurity policy,” according to a Reuters report.
“The domestic purchasing and related requirements proposed recently for China’s banking sector … would unnecessarily restrict the ability of Chinese entities to source the most reliable and secure technologies, which are developed in the global supply chain,” according to the letter, which was also signed by 17 other U.S. business groups. The groups also urged Beijing to postpone the implementation of the new rules.
The best thing about science is that when they get it wrong they correct it once discovered, and that usually comes pretty quickly.
A French-language report from scientists associated with the Planck cosmology mission has thrown even more cold water on last year’s claims about the detection of gravitational waves from the inflationary Big Bang. If the report truly indicates the way things are going, the final splash of disappointment may be imminent.
The saga began last March, when physicists from the BICEP2 experiment at the South Pole reported seeing the signature of primordial gravitational waves in polarized patterns of microwave radiation. If the results were confirmed, they would have been a surprisingly strong confirmation of inflationary Big Bang theory and might have earned someone a Nobel Prize. But follow-up results from the Planck mission suggested that the polarization could have been caused instead by higher-than-anticipated levels of galactic dust, and that there might not be any excess signal pointing to primordial gravitational waves. To make sure, the Planck and BICEP2 teams decided to combine their data for a final analysis.
For some, the “manosphere” offers a place to air real grievances about issues such as bias in family courts or sexual abuse suffered by men. But it also has spawned a network of activists and sites that take Farrell’s ideology in a disturbing direction. Men’s rights forums on sites like 4chan and Reddit are awash in misogyny and anti-feminist vitriol. Participants argue that false allegations of rape and domestic abuse are rampant, or that shelters for battered women are a financial scam. Others rail against women for being independent or sexually promiscuous.
Many devotees say they had their “red pill” moment when they discovered Farrell’s ideas, among them that domestic violence is a two-way street.
These ideas have given rise to aggressive tactics and rhetoric. The National Coalition for Men—whose board of advisers includes Farrell—has fought to cut off state funding for domestic-violence programs if men aren’t included. A Voice for Men’s founder, Paul Elam, who is a friend and protégé of Farrell’s, has justified violence against women and written that some of them “walk through life with the equivalent of a I’M A STUPID, CONNIVING BITCH—PLEASE RAPE ME neon sign glowing above their empty little narcissistic heads.” Other activists have published names of women they consider enemies and have praised online stalkers, such as the “Gamergate” mobs who bombard feminist critics with rape and death threats.
In the late 1990s, Angelucci joined the National Coalition for Men; he later founded the Los Angeles chapter and began filing lawsuits to force battered women’s shelters to take men in too, alleging they were discriminatory. (One case ended in a ruling requiring state-funded shelters to do so.) Angelucci has also fought to make the draft compulsory for women, and he has worked to water down the Violence Against Women Act.
Elam, who had been working as a drug and alcohol counselor, became convinced that his field was rife with anti-male bias. “We began to identify and treat masculinity as the disease and the cure for it was misandry—the hatred of men and boys,” he would later write. “Men’s groups devolved into sessions of shame, clinically applied and charged for by the hour.” Elam began raising unsettling questions, such as why women checking into the clinic were routinely asked whether they’d been battered while men were asked whether they’d hit their wives. . .
“I felt that it was a tasteful message that had not been communicated effectively to women about how powerless men feel around the beautiful woman’s body,” Farrell told me. Cupping a hand over his crotch, he added, “Our upper brains stop working and the lower brain starts working.”
Suzanne Venker: The Traditionalist
For much of her career, Venker followed the path blazed by her aunt, the anti-feminist crusader Phyllis Schlafly. In 2011, the pair even cowrote a book, The Flipside of Feminism, arguing that freedom and power have only made women unhappy. But their paths began to diverge the following year when Venker, who in addition to authoring books is a frequent Fox News commentator, published a column on foxnews.com called “The War on Men.”. . .
…Venker argues that white men face oppression “unlike anything American women have faced,” …
I’ve often thought that our Patriarchal system is devised and maintained by Powerful Men to control Less Powerful Men by limiting their access to women.
Those that do get women have children and are committed to a form of wage slavery for the rest of their lives. Thus they are no longer competition for Powerful Men, but their pawns.
The sad thing in all this is that the women and children aren’t considered to be people in the eyes of the Powerful Men. They aren’t a threat and therefore only count as pawns —things to be used to manipulate any potential competition.
Those who behave well are rewarded with higher wages and occasional notice by the Powerful to stroke their egos. They earn enough to buy luxury cars and nice sparkly things for their females. Females like the nice sparkly things and being free of the adult responsiblities of providing for the family.
I call these women the Pedestal Elite. They are often the most vocal and fight the hardest to maintain the status quo. They revel in their role of non-human pampered pet and demand their status as if it is a divine mandate.
The system serves the Powerful Men well.
just my .02
UPDATE: Another Way Powerful Men remove possible competition: How Some of America’s Most Gifted Kids Wind Up in Prison - Quartz
It looks like Congress and the White House may finally get the ball rolling on crafting an authorization for the use of force (AUMF) for the war against ISIS in Syria and Iraq… only five or so months since said war began.
President Obama reiterated his call for an updated AUMF, tailored to the expected years-long campaign against ISIS, in his State of the Union, and Speaker John Boehner said in a 60 Minutes interview that “we will” pass such a measure.
And next week, as he tells Salon, Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff will introduce an AUMF to the House — a version that puts important limits on the White House’s power, and could set up a clash.
Schiff, as other outlets reported, was planning on introducing his resolution Wednesday, but got a request from the White House to review the language first. Now he’ll hold off until early next week until he gets their feedback.
Apartheid-era death-squad leader Eugene de Kock, dubbed “Prime Evil” for his role in the torture and murder of black South African activists in the 1980s and early 1990s, was granted parole on Friday after 20 years in prison.
“In the interest of nation-building and reconciliation I have decided to place Mr. De Kock on parole,” Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha told a news briefing, adding that the date and location of De Kock’s release would be kept secret.
De Kock was sentenced to two life terms plus 212 years in prison for his activities as head of the infamous Vlakplaas police death squad targeting anti-apartheid activists.
The highly decorated former colonel confessed to more than 100 acts of murder, torture and fraud before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), which was established in 1995 to consider amnesty for those who confessed their crimes during the apartheid period.
Japan and Jordan scrambled on Friday to find out what had happened to two of their nationals being held by Islamic State, after a deadline passed for the release of a would-be suicide bomber being held on death row in Amman.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said every effort was being made to secure the release of journalist Kenji Goto.
“We are gathering and analyzing information while asking for cooperation from Jordan and other countries, making every effort to free Kenji Goto,” he told a parliamentary panel.
Jordan’s army said state agencies were “working round the clock”.
The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday rewrote the definition of high-speed Internet, and chances are, your connection isn’t up to snuff.
The FCC commissioners voted 3 to 2 in support of the change. They are (left to right): Ajit Pai, Mignon Clyburn, Tom Wheeler (chairman), Jessica Rosenworcel, and Michael O’Rielly.
The FCC, tasked with overseeing the rules that govern the Internet, raised the standard for broadband at 25 megabits per second from 4 Mbps, while raising the upload speed to 3 Mbps from 1 Mbps. The commissioners voted 3 to 2 in support of the change, though the dissenting Republican commissioners blasted the move as “overreaching.” The move comes as the FCC published its 2015 Broadband Progress Report, which is what Congress uses to assess the US broadband market.
The new definition effectively means that millions of Americans subscribing to Internet service that clocks in at less than 25 Mbps are no longer considered “broadband” subscribers. The average speed of service delivered in the US is 10 Mbps. Using this new threshold, the agency determined in its report that true broadband speeds are not being delivered in a timely fashion.