May 20, 2013
Genetic copies of living people from embryos no longer science fiction
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom :
The Kosher Gourmet by Cathy Pollak:
Jews Inducted into Rock Hall of Fame; Anton Yelchin co-stars in New "Trek" film; Kutcher (but not Kunis) visits Israel; Jewish TV Star Praises Jewish Rap Star
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May 13, 2013
Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo: Why the giving of the document that would permanently change the world could only be done in desolation
David G. Savage:
Church-state, literally? Supreme Court weighing public school graduation in a church
May 10, 2013
Rabbi Berel Wein: Be all that you should be
May 8, 2013
Peter Ford: Why China is welcoming both Israel's Netanyahu and Palestinians' Abbas
Obama administration quietly backs out of appeal over new contraceptive mandate
At Kerry-Putin meeting, US-Russia relations thaw --- a tad
The Kosher Gourmet by Leela Cyd Ross :
Almost too pretty to eat, this colorful salad with Sicilian inspiration will tickle the taste buds and delight your visual sensibility
May 6, 2013
May 3, 2013
Kids, kittens the Same?
With employee perks at struggling Internet pioneer Yahoo! it's hard to tell
Artificial kidney offers hope to patients tethered to a dialysis machine
April 29, 2013
Poland's new Jewish museum celebrates life, doesn't revisit Holocaust
Terrorism in America: Is US missing a chance to learn from failed plots?
Boston Bomber's 'Svengali' Revealed
Tiny satellites + cellphones = cheaper 'eyes in the sky' for NASA
April 26, 2013
Clifford D. May:
Defense in the Age of Jihadist Terrorism
Sharon Palmer, R.D.:
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April 24, 2013
Jewish World Review
Feb 8, 2012/ 15 Shevat, 5772
A U.N. --- but for good guys
The governments in Russia and China very much want to uphold the principle that every now and then the state must crush people who want freedom. That is why they worked together to veto a fairly toothless United Nations resolution condemning the regime in Syria and calling for President Bashar Assad, the lipless murderer who runs the place, to step down.
The free world, still nominally led by the United States, erupted in outrage. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denounced the U.N. Security Council veto as a "travesty." U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice said the U.S. was "disgusted" by it. French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said the Russian-Chinese veto was a "moral stain." A spokesman for British Prime Minister David Cameron proclaimed that "Russia and China are protecting a regime which is killing thousands of people. We find their position both incomprehensible and inexcusable."
Although I agree that the veto was disgusting and a travesty, I'm at a loss as to why so many people are shocked -- or at least are pretending to be shocked.
Isn't this what the United Nations is about?
I've never quite understood the idealistic enthusiasm people have for the United Nations. First of all, it's a club pretty much anyone can join so long as you have a government, internationally accepted borders, and someone is willing to vouch for your existence. As far as organizations go, that's a pretty low bar -- like a club exclusively for humans with a pulse.
The whole thing stinks from the top down. The Security Council isn't a democratic entity; it's based on brute force. Russia and China became permanent members when they were totalitarian dictatorships. They have seats because they are powerful, not because they are decent or wise or democratic. And the same is true for us. Our seat was bought with might, not right.
I think part of the confusion stems from a category error. We tend to anthropomorphize countries, talking about them as if they were people. U.N. members vote for stuff, so people think the U.N. is somehow democratic in more than a procedural way. But that's not true. There's nothing in the U.N. Charter -- at least nothing that has any binding power -- that says a government has to be democratic or even care for the welfare of its people. When the ambassador from North Korea claims to speak for his people at the U.N., it has no more moral legitimacy than a serial killer speaking for the victims he has locked in his basement.
But those who fantasize about creating a "Parliament of Man" overlook all of that, in no small part because they see the U.N. as a useful counterweight to the United States.
Less idealistic supporters of the United Nations insist that the place is important -- nay, vital -- because America must engage the world, and the U.N. is the place where deals get done. And that's true. But that's not a moral case for the U.N., it's an instrumental one.
None of this is an argument for getting rid of the U.N., though I'd certainly be happy to see it go. But it does point to the stupidity of expecting nobility and idealism from it. Sure, the U.N. does good things from time to time, but that is because good nations want to see good things done.
What would be so terrible about giving those good nations someplace else to meet? And by good, I mean democratic. A league, or concert, of democracies wouldn't replace the U.N., but it would offer some much-needed competition.
We've had to go around the U.N. before, and usually we go to NATO. That's what President Clinton did in the Balkans and what President Obama did in Libya. Now Hillary Clinton wants an ad hoc "friends of a democratic Syria" similar to the coalition that helped topple Muammar Gadhafi (and Saddam Hussein).
That's all fine, but there are problems with making these things up as you go. NATO is a military alliance. Many friends of a democratic Syria are not, themselves, democratic.
A permanent global clubhouse for democracies based on shared principles would make aiding growing movements easier and offer a nice incentive for nations to earn membership in a club with loftier standards than mere existence.
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