With states and cities struggling to support schools, infrastructure and other basic necessities, our government continues to spend wildly and wastefully with little political accountability. The latest such example is the $1.4 billion dollars spent on abstinence-only education as an effort to reduce the spread of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa from 2004-2013. A new study shows that the program never showed any success and yet the government continued to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into Africa because the program was politically attractive.
I have been writing about the increasingly hostile environment for conservatives and libertarians on our campuses as professors and activists shutdown events and censor or sanction unpopular views. The latest such case can be found at Cal State LA where officials canceled a speech by conservative journalist Ben Shapiro after students complained that they feared for their safety due to the mere fact of a conservative speaking on campus. Activists further compared the event to an “undercover KKK meeting.” Emails obtained by the site Heat Street through the Freedom of Information Act showed both the successful campaign to bar Shapiro as well as the backlash from people who believe in free speech.
We have followed the rapid destruction of the secular government and civil liberties in Turkey under the authoritarian rule of Recep Tayyip Erdogan — assisted by the long-standing and continuing support of the Obama Administration of Erdogan. Erdogan used the recent failed coup to push his effort to create a de facto Islamic regime and to complete his work in arresting his critics, including forcing the resignation of thousands of secular academics, and suspending all civil liberties in a proclaimed state of emergency. Recently, Erdogan threatened the United States that he wants his greatest critic, US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, delivered to him and that a failure to yield to his demands would be a “big mistake.” Now, he has ordered the round up of journalists despite the fact that journalists helped him stay in power during the coup by bravely continuing to broadcast during the coup. In addition, his government is now arresting people who express doubt (with many internationally) about the coup. Erdogan has been known to use trumped up events to expand his power and many believe that he is not only using the coup as an excuse but engineered the coup. His government now says that anyone raising such concerns is likely a coup plotter and should be arrested.
Former Democratic Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was booed of the stage by the Florida delegates today as anger continued to rise over emails showing that the DNC actively undermined Bernie Sanders and sought to rig the primaries for Hillary Clinton. Yet, in coming DNC interim chair (and Clinton supporter) Donna Brazile is calling for Wasserman Schultz to have a role at the convention as a reward for her past work. In an equally tone deaf response, Clinton has given Wasserman Schultz a formal job with her campaign — as opposed to the informal job that her critics have long alleged. The fact is that Wasserman Schultz has from the start been the most controversial DNC chair in the party’s history — well before the entrance of Bernie Sanders. Her tenure has been divisive and destructive for the party. The effort to reward her by party insiders like Brazile and bring her into the Clinton campaign only reaffirms the disconnect with voters.
The infamous Iranian Basij militia cracked down on the use of satellite dishes by confiscating 100,000 dishes in Tehran. Iranian prosecutors insisted that dishes expose families to UnIslamic influences and are “morally damaging.” The dishes were destroyed in a triumphant ceremony before General Mohammad Reza Naghdi, head of Iran’s Basij militia. Most people view Naghdi’s crackdown as a pathetic and laughable example of religious orthodoxy that still strangles Iranian society. However, Naghdi heralded the latest achievement of his extremist forces.
We have followed the rapid destruction of the secular traditions of Turkey by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has succeeded in creating a new Islamic authoritarian regime. With the support of Islamic parties, Erdogan used the recent failed coup to complete his work in arresting his critics, forcing the resignation of thousands of secular academics, and suspending all civil liberties in a proclaimed state of emergency. The United States helped create the tyranny rising in Turkey in its support of Erdogan as he systemically dismantled the only secular, free country in the Arab world. Recently, Erdogan threatened the United States that he wants his greatest critic, US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, delivered to him and that a failure to yield to his demands would be a “big mistake.” Now, one of Erdogan’s extremist followers, Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek, has suggested that U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen uses genies to “enslave” people. That’s right, genies.
Australian customers should have some legitimate questions about the sanitization of the Hungry Jack restaurant outside of Perth. It appears that a man died of a drug overdose in a toilet but was not found for roughly three days by the Australian franchise of Burger King. In a remarkable statement, the police have said that finding a man dead after three days in a toilet is “not being treated as suspicious.” I certainly understand the lack of a suspicion of a crime but at least we could agree that it is a bit curious.