We recently discussed the controversy over U.S. taxpayers giving billions to Egypt as that country persecutes homosexuals, including its recent ordering of anal examinations of suspected gay men. Now a new report indicates that the United States suspended aid temporarily when it learned that the Egyptian government was knowingly circumventing international trade bans with North Korea. While North Korea was threatening the world with nuclear war and specifically targeting the United States, our “ally” was secretly trying to pay North Korea $23 million for over 30,000 rocket-propelled grenades.
The only thing worse than Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government appointing Chelsea Manning as fellow was the school’s withdraw of the fellowship. The school today succeeded in demonstrating to the world that its fellowships have zero intellectual content by first appointing Manning without a clear explanation of her expected academic contributions and then terminating the appointment under pressure. As academics, we are not supposed to remove academic appointments because individuals are controversial or unpopular. If Harvard was sticking by its academic reasons for the appointment, it should stick by its appointee.
The incendiary and uncivil politics that has gripped the nation has been a long focus on this blog. I am honestly worried about how the insulting and personal attacks from both sides will change political dialogue in this country for a generation. These include some past comments made by President Trump as well as his political opponents. As the father of four children, I emphasize the need to maintain civility, but that lesson is undermined every time the kids watch the news. The latest such incident involves Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) who made troubling statements about White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, including calling the highly decorated veteran a “disgrace to the uniform.” The reason was that Kelly somehow did not prevent President Donald Trump from rescinding DACA. This age of rage appears to have given people license to vent their most insulting and unfair criticisms at one another. We can no longer have a simple disagreement over issues like immigration. People have to be labeled “terrorists” or white supremacists if they think DACA should be decided by Congress or oppose amnesty programs. Calling this man (who lost a son in the military service) a “disgrace to his uniform” is a sad moment for our country.
As many on this blog know, I am a military history nut so the one story this weekend was particularly exciting: the crew of billionaire Paul Allen has located the wreckage of the USS Indianapolis, which sank 72 years ago. We last discussed the Indianapolis during my visit to Tinian where it dropped off the atomic bomb parts in World War II. The ship rests in the Philippine Sea some 18,000 feet below the surface. Of 1,196 crew aboard the ship, only 317 survived.
It appears that Qatari will be left “waiting for Gadot” for some time after the government banned the move “Wonder Women.” The reason is that lead actress Gal Gadot (who plays Diana Prince) is Israeli. The government joins Lebanon and Tunisia in banning the film. The Muslim countries appear to agree with Wonder Woman in saying ” It’s about what you believe.” Gadot believes in the Torah and that is enough for the Qatar government. (Of course, Wonder Woman added “And I believe in love. Only love will truly save the world.”) That part is clearly not part of this decision.
For those hoping that Russians will gradually reject the authoritarian rule by Vladimir Putin, a new poll will be a disappointment. Russians have long favored the strongman leader and that taste for authoritarianism has not greatly diminished. A new poll shows that Russians place Stalin at the top of the list of the greatest historical figures of all time. Putin tied with poet Alexander Pushkin for second place. The poll was conducted by the Levada Centre.
Below is my column in the Hill Newspaper on the Supreme Court order lifting the stay over the Trump immigration order. With the exception of those with bona fide relationships, the Trump Administration has the authority to enforce its travel limitations. As discussed earlier, the order could prove not the next but final chapter of the immigration controversy given the 90 day period set under the Trump order. However, a more immediate issue of concern should be the prior coverage and court decisions leading up to the unanimous order of the Supreme Court.