Top U.S. Universities Challenge Free Speech, Get Big Dollars

FNC: Controversial author Charles Murray is scheduled to speak at the University of Notre Dame on Tuesday and despite growing calls for protests from some students and faculty, organizers are standing behind the invitation.

The event comes weeks after violent protests broke out at Middlebury College where Murray was set to speak.

The 74-year-old author of “Coming Apart: The State of White America” was invited to the Catholic university as part of a lecture series for a constitutional law and politics class.


*** When domestic universities go global due to foreign money, do we really know what is being taught and why?

FNC: During the past 20 years, eight British universities — among them Oxford and Cambridge — have taken more than $292 million from Saudi Arabia and other Islamic governments. These contributions represent “the largest source of external funding to UK universities,” according to the director of Brunel University’s Center for Intelligence and Security Studies.

This phenomenon is also not isolated to the United Kingdom: Harvard alone has received more than $30 million from the Saudi government.

Image result for harvard

Stop and think about this.

Money used to fund professorships, scholarships and centers of study is coming from regimes with long histories of violating religious freedoms. As well-intentioned as the contributors might be, it is clear these contributions are not arriving without strings attached.  A cynic might say that they are buying off professors and universities in order to advance their own agenda, even while forbidding similar activities within their own countries. They are happy to exploit Western freedoms in order to strengthen their own theocracies.

They’re not just doing it via the academy, either.

Saudi Arabia also plays a significant role in the establishment of mosques — the centerpieces of Muslim communities — across the world. According to a hearing conducted before the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security in 2003, the vast majority of mosques in the United States were then under Saudi influence. In all, it is estimated that Saudi Arabia has spent more than $100 billion to spread the country’s worldview. More here from FNC.

What about our own government dollars going to universities? What influence does that have? Glad you asked…

FNC: Over a six-year period, Ivy League schools have received tens of billions in tax dollars, bringing in more money from taxpayers than from undergraduate student tuition. In fact, they received more federal cash than 16 state governments.

The stunning numbers are all part of a new report, first seen by Fox News, released Wednesday by Open the Books — a non-profit group whose stated mission is to capture and post online all disclosed spending at every level of government.

The 43-page report shows the massive amount of money flowing into not-for-profit Ivy League schools, including payments and entitlements, costing taxpayers more than $41 billion from fiscal year 2010 to fiscal year 2015.

The spending is controversial because these eight schools — Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University and Yale University — have enormous resources at their fingertips, including endowment funds (money raised from donors) in 2015 exceeding $119 billion. Take that total and split it up among Ivy League undergrads and it comes out to $2 million each.

The study says another federal perk — the schools pay no tax on investment gains on their endowment — a tax break is estimated at $9.6 billion over the six years of the study.

In a statement, Princeton, suggested the study was flawed because it didn’t take into account all the money the college receives and then reinvests. Robert Durkee, a Princeton vice president and secretary, said most of the tax incentives the college receives goes toward libraries, laboratories, classrooms, research and financial aid.

“The tax exemption for endowment earnings allows these institutions to use all of those earnings to support their missions of teaching and research, for this generation and for future generations,” Durkee said in a statement. “This means
that the universities spend earnings now, but they also reinvest a portion so they can continue to support their programs of teaching and research well into the future.”

Yale said that rather than being a drain on taxpayers — as the study suggests — the college is a huge financial boon to the towns that surround it.

“Since 2000, over 50 startups based on Yale inventions and located in New Haven have attracted over $5 billion in investment to New Haven and surrounding towns,” Tom Conroy, a Yale spokesman, told Fox News. “Alexion, which employs 1,200 people in New Haven, is a prime example of Yale’s impact.”

Conroy also pointed out that Yale funds a large portion of its research.

Some question if these schools should receive any federal funding…much less, such a large amount.

Here’s a reality check list:

  • With continued donations at the present rate, the money could provide free tuition to the entire student body in perpetuity,
  • Without new donations, the endowment could provide a full-ride scholarship for all Ivy League undergraduate students for 51 years

The report also shows that in fiscal year 2014, the balance sheet for all eight Ivy League schools combined showed accumulated gross assets of more than $194 billion, or the equivalent of $3.35 million per undergraduate student.

“The Ivy League needs to pay its own way…The taxpayer gravy train needs to end,” Adam Andrzejewski, founder of Open the Books, told Fox News.

His report does say that Americans should be proud of the schools and “applaud the many contributions of Ivy League colleges and graduates.” But he told Fox News he feels that “they don’t need taxpayer help, they don’t need taxpayer assistance.”

Some of the federal spending makes sense, like the study of AIDs. But, he said, some are less defensible.

One grant was given to Cornell for nearly $1 million to study whale presence in the Virginia offshore wind energy area. Other grants to Ivy League schools were to study college binge drinking, ethics in Tanzania and sex chromosomes in turtles.

“They have got an endowment, right?” Andrzejewski said. “They can use their endowed funds – they don’t need public funds – to fund studies.”

He went on to compare what he calls Ivy League, Inc. to “a hedge fund with classes.”

Finally, the report dives into some of the big bucks being paid out to Ivy League employees. It shows more than $62 billion in salaries, benefits and reportable compensation to faculty, staff and other employees from fiscal year 2010 to fiscal year 2014 and names four employees who made more than $20 million and three more who made more than $13 million.

Fox News reached out to every Ivy League school for comment Wednesday morning. Princeton and Yale replied, Dartmouth declined to comment, and the others have not responded.

The entire report can be read here.

Obama Hid Climate Change Money in all Agencies

Primer: Even the Pentagon and General Mattis are part of the Climate Change supporters.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis has asserted that climate change is real, and a threat to American interests abroad and the Pentagon’s assets everywhere, a position that appears at odds with the views of the president who appointed him and many in the administration in which he serves.

In unpublished written testimony provided to the Senate Armed Services Committee after his confirmation hearing in January, Mattis said it was incumbent on the U.S. military to consider how changes like open-water routes in the thawing Arctic and drought in global trouble spots can pose challenges for troops and defense planners. He also stressed this is a real-time issue, not some distant what-if.  

“Climate change is impacting stability in areas of the world where our troops are operating today,” Mattis said in written answers to questions posed after the public hearing by Democratic members of the committee. “It is appropriate for the Combatant Commands to incorporate drivers of instability that impact the security environment in their areas into their planning.” More here from ProPublica.

Image result for obama white house climate change

*** Obama’s Climate Change policy is here.

In November 2014, President Obama announced the United States’ intention to contribute $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to reduce carbon pollution and strengthen resilience in developing countries. The U.S. contribution builds on a bipartisan history of U.S. leadership to support climate action and will leverage public and private finance to avoid some of the most catastrophic risks of climate change. The strong U.S. pledge helped increase the number and ambition of other countries’ contributions and our leadership helped propel initial capitalization of the fund to over $10 billion, a threshold seen by stakeholders as demonstrating serious donor commitment.

*** Image result for obama white house climate change

To Protect Climate Money, Obama Stashed It Where It’s Hard to Find

Bloomberg: President Donald Trump will find the job of reining in spending on climate initiatives made harder by an Obama-era policy of dispersing billions of dollars in programs across dozens of agencies — in part so they couldn’t easily be cut.

There is no single list of those programs or their cost, because President Barack Obama sought to integrate climate programs into everything the federal government did. The goal was to get all agencies to take climate into account, and also make those programs hard to disentangle, according to former members of the administration. In some cases, the idea was to make climate programs hard for Republicans in Congress to even find.

“Much of the effort in the Obama administration was to mainstream climate change,” said Jesse Keenan, who worked on climate issues with the Department of Housing and Urban Development and now teaches at Harvard University. He said all federal agencies were required to incorporate climate-change plans into their operations.

The Obama administration’s approach will be tested by Trump’s first budget request to Congress, an outline of which is due to be released Thursday. Trump has called climate change a hoax; last November he promised to save $100 billion over eight years by cutting all federal climate spending. His budget will offer an early indication of the seriousness of that pledge — and whether his administration is able to identify programs that may have intentionally been called anything but climate-related.

Read more: Trump Said to Drop Climate Change From Environmental Reviews

The last time the Congressional Research Service estimated total federal spending on climate was in 2013. It concluded 18 agencies had climate-related activities, and calculated $77 billion in spending from fiscal 2008 through 2013 alone.

But that figure could well be too low. The Obama administration didn’t always include “climate” in program names, said Alice Hill, director for resilience policy on Obama’s National Security Council.

“Given the relationship that existed with Congress on the issue of climate change, you will not readily find many programs that are entitled ‘climate change,’” Hill, who is now a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, said in an interview. At the Department of Defense, for example, anything with the word climate would have been “a target in the budget process,” she said.

The range of climate programs is vast, stretching across the entire government.

The Department of Agriculture created “climate hubs” to help farmers and ranchers cope with extreme weather. The Department of Health and Human Services began analyzing the effects of climate change on occupational safety. The Bureau of Reclamation started a program called “West-Wide Climate Risk Assessments,” measuring changes to water supply and demand. The Bureau of Indian Affairs created the Tribal Climate Resilience Program. The Agency for International Development created a program to help “glacier-dependent mountain areas” deal with the risk of those glaciers melting.

In other cases, agencies expanded existing programs to account for global warming. In 2012, the Federal Highway Administration made climate-adaptation projects eligible for federal aid. Last year, the Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded $1 billion through its Community Development Block Grant program to projects protecting against climate change-related natural disasters.

Meanwhile, a handful of lesser-known offices saw their funding increase while Obama was in office. The budget for NASA’s Earth Science program increased 50 percent, to $1.8 billion. Funding for the U.S. Global Change Research Program, which is mandated by Congress to report every four years on the state of climate change, rose 45 percent to $2.6 billion. At the National Science Foundation, the geosciences program almost doubled to $1.3 billion.

Republican Demands

Republicans noticed, and tried to force the administration to offer a tally of climate funding. Last December, senior House Republicans sent a letter to Obama’s budget director, demanding that his office report how much federal money had gone toward climate programs in fiscal years 2015 and 2016.

Any cuts may face opposition in Congress, as Democrats and some Republicans support the spending, especially that to help communities withstand floods, hurricanes or droughts associated with climate change. Wednesday, a group of 17 Republicans announced their support for climate science — and policy measures to address it.

“Budget cuts to programs — or elimination of entire agencies — designed to help stem the costs of climate change will only hurt ranchers, agriculture producers, and coastal communities already experiencing the impacts of this global challenge,” Christy Goldfuss, managing director of the Council on Environmental Quality in Obama’s White House, said by email.

‘Gravy Train’

Some in Trump’s party now urge him to use his authority to find those programs, and take them apart.

“The Trump Administration needs to defund the entire apparatus of the climate change federal funding gravy train,” said Marc Morano, a former Republican staffer for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “In order to dismantle the climate establishment, agencies and programs throughout the federal government need to be targeted.”

“The climate funding has spread to almost every aspect of the federal government with sometimes wacky results,” said Morano, who doubts global warming and runs the website He cited one example of a Department of Transportation query about the link between climate change and fatal car crashes.

Others argue that the spread of climate programs throughout the federal government simply reflects the evolving nature of the risk.

“It is irresponsible not to examine the possibilities and understand our sensitivity to them,” said Ed Link, a former director of research and development for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who led the forensic analysis of Hurricane Katrina’s effect on New Orleans. If federal agencies stop doing that work, he said by email, “shame on them.”

Shady Globalism Hurts Personally When it Involves Water

We witnessed the Flint, Michigan water crisis, where it was just safe to drink and few cared until they did. The water crisis goes far beyond Michigan where drinking water and water for showers, cooking and washing clothes is just not safe. Gray or used water is scooped to flush toilets. Where you ask? California and it was not due to the 5 year drought. The crisis goes beyond California, it is in Arizona and the corn/wheat belt in the middle of the country.

Really? How does globalism fit into the issue?

Big corporations, Wall Street and Hedge Funds as well as Saudi Arabia and Qatar are part of the crisis.

Individual farmers and small agriculture business has faded away, sold out to big Agri-corporations where offers to buy the land is a cover as the water and aquifers are more valuable. Water is the new gold or oil. Urban and suburban areas, just plain people are paying the price to save water for the sake of water to be available for bigger operations. In fact it is so bad, domestic and foreign interests are pumping water in one location and transferring via privately owned pipe to locations up to and perhaps more than 100 miles away.

When it comes to the EPA controlling water access and use, the agency was not wrong but it was actually wrong for reasons far beyond the headlines. The EPA is protecting, controlling and managing water not for the individual but rather for Wall Street firms and foreign investments.

The EPA is not the only agency, it includes the Department of Agriculture. Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue has not yet been confirmed however Scott Pruitt has been confirmed as Secretary of the EPA.

Saudi Arabia

Exports of U.S. food and agricultural products to Saudi Arabia reached a record $1.5 billion in fiscal year 2014. Major exports include coarse grains, soybeans, dairy products, and vegetable oils.

In September 2012, the United States signed a trade and investment framework agreement (TIFA) with the Gulf Cooperation Council (which includes Saudi Arabia, as well as the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain) to continue expanding and liberalizing trade relations. More here.

Trade is a good thing for sure for farmers but the little guy is shut out of the trade system due to access of water and volume. The United States is feeding the Middle East.

The Office of Agricultural Affairs (OAA) is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), which has 93 offices covering 171 countries

OAA promotes and facilitates exports of U.S. agricultural products to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

OAA promotes exports of U.S. agricultural products by:

  • Conducting and participating in market development activities with non-profit U.S. high value food product and commodity trade associations.
  • Hosting trade promotion events.
  • Identifying possible opportunities for U.S. products, and placing potential importers in contact with U.S. exporters.
  • Recruiting representatives of Saudi food and agricultural product importers to attend major regional and U.S. based food and agricultural shows.
  • Providing match making and trade lead services.

OAA facilitates the export of U.S. agricultural products by:

  • Reporting on market opportunities and conditions.
  • Resolving trade policy issues by working with the governments of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, and with the Gulf Standardization Organization (GSO).
  • Counseling and informing exporters and importers of U.S. agricultural products.
  • Developing and maintaining contacts in the food, logistics and agriculture sectors.
  • Coordinating workshops, technical seminars, and other events with non-profit U.S. commodity trade associations and other organizations.


The Middle Eastern kingdom, Saudi Arabia, needs hay for its 170,000 cows. So, it’s buying up farmland for the water-chugging crop in the drought-stricken American Southwest. 14,000 acres to be exact. Almarai Co. bought land in January that roughly doubled its holdings in California’s Palo Verde Valley, an area that enjoys first dibs on water from the Colorado River. The company also acquired a large tract near Vicksburg, Arizona, becoming a powerful economic force in a region that has fewer well-pumping restrictions than other parts of the state.

“Southern California and Arizona have good water rights. Who knows if that will change, but that’s the way things are now,” said Daniel Putnam, an agronomist at the University of California, Davis.

Over the last decade, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates emerged as significant buyers of American hay as their governments moved to curb water use. Together they accounted for 10 percent of U.S. exports of alfalfa and other grasses last year.

The land purchases signal that Almarai doesn’t just want to buy hay; it wants to grow. And it’s not the only Arab-owned Gulf company to take that approach.

Al Dahra ACX Global Inc., a top U.S. hay exporter based in Bakersfield, California, is owned by Al Dahra Agriculture Co. of United Arab Emirates. It farms extensively in Southern California and Arizona and, according to its website, plans to add 7,500 acres in the United States for alfalfa and other crops. The exporter packages crops grown across the West at its two plants in California and one in Washington state.

Most of the farms that Arab companies own worldwide are in developing nations. For instance, Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund has holdings in Latin America and Africa.

But part of the kingdom’s long-term food security strategy means investing in higher-cost countries with greater political stability, said John Lawton, owner of Agriculture Technology Co., a farming company in Saudi Arabia.  More here from CSMonitor.

*** What about household use of water that is not drinkable?

The problem is that the groundwater it is using is unsafe for nearly 800,000 residents, according to the state’s water resources control board, because of longtime contamination from nitrates and arsenic.

That’s meant less drinkable water in California’s struggle to survive more than three years of severely dry weather.

“Most areas affected by contamination don’t have surface water supplies so they have to find new groundwater sources,” said Kurt Souza, a branch chief of the division of drinking water at the California State Water Resources Control Board.

“But that’s not always easy to do,” Souza added. “Sometimes you can find new ground locations for water and sometimes you can’t.”

The lack of rain and subsequent heavy demand on ground wells—which are also facing supply problems—is making a bad situation worse, said Sara Aminzadeh, executive director of the California Coastkeeper Alliance, a statewide advocacy group for safe water. According to the state water resources study, unsafe levels of arsenic are the top contaminant in groundwater supplies, followed by nitrates.

Nitrates are most often traced to farming chemicals and animal waste. Arsenic is found naturally in soil and rock in much of the world and seeps into groundwater.

Chronic low exposure to arsenic has been traced to respiratory problems in children and adults as well as having links to diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancers of the skin. More here from NBC, video included.

For more confusion on the shadiness of the whole thing, here are a few additional items. If it is going on in California, perhaps we need to investigate and ask the same questions in other farming regions of the country. Then perhaps we need deeper research out of the EPA and the Department of Agriculture where most of this gained additional traction and success under the Obama administration.

By the way, it was never really about that pesky Delta Smelt fish that the other environmentalists were trying to protect. That was a cover story.

  • The Monterey Amendment: Monterey Amendment ended up in court, challenged by the Planning and Conservation League, Citizens Planning Association of Santa Barbara County, and a small SWP contractor, the Plumas County Flood Control and Water Conservation District.In 2000, a state appeals court agreed with the challengers that the Environmental Impact Report for the amendment did not analyze provisions for completion of the SWP or permanent water shortages.

    In 2003, a settlement was reached that called for preparation of a new EIR, more detailed reporting of the project’s actual delivery capability and public participation on any project amendments.

    DWR in 2007 released a draft EIR, which discusses the project alternatives, growth inducement, water supply reliability, as well as potential areas of controversy and concern. The final EIR was released in 2009. DWR decided to continue to operate the SWP under the existing Monterey Amendment to the SWP long-term water supply contracts, including the Kern Water Bank transfer, and under the Settlement Agreement entered in PCL v. DWR. DWR’s decision was challenged by two groups of plaintiffs on issues relating to the adequacy of the EIR and the validity of the Monterey Amendment. The cases are currently being heard by the trial court. Final resolution of the issues is likely to take a number of years.

  • Roll International Corporation/Kern Water Bank: The Wonderful Company LLC, formerly known as Roll Global, is a private corporation based in Los Angeles, California. With revenues of over $4.8 billion,[1] it functions as a holding company for Stewart and Lynda Resnick, and as such is a vehicle for their personal investments in a number of businesses. The company currently counts as business divisions the following brands: flower delivery service Teleflora, juice company POM Wonderful, bottled water company FIJI Water, Wonderful Pistachios and Wonderful Almonds (formerly Paramount Farms), Wonderful Citrus (formerly Paramount Citrus), sea freight company Neptune Pacific Line, JUSTIN Vineyards and Winery, pest control company Suterra, and in-house marketing agency Wonderful Agency
  • Paramount Farming: Paramount Farming Company, LLC produces almonds, pistachios, and pomegranates in California. It also offers pomegranate, mango, tangerine, blueberry, and cherry juices. The company was founded in 1986 and is headquartered in Bakersfield, California. Paramount Farming Company, LLC operates as a subsidiary of Roll International Corporation.
  • Westside Mutual Water Co., LLC.
  • IN 2014, California will establish statewide management of water pumped from the ground, under legislation signed Tuesday by Gov. Jerry Brown. This really limits household usage and benefits big farming entities.
  • California is sinking even faster than scientists had thought, new NASA satellite imagery shows. Some areas of the Golden State are sinking more than 2 inches (5.1 centimeters) per month, the imagery reveals. Though the sinking, called subsidence, has long been a problem in California, the rate is accelerating because the state’s extreme drought is fueling voracious groundwater pumping. California Sinking Faster Than Thought, Aquifers Could Permanently Shrink
    New NASA imagery reveals that parts of California are sinking at an astonishing rate, with some parts of the San Joaquin Valley sinking as much as 2 inches per month.

    Credit: Canadian Space Agency/NASA/JPL-Caltech

    Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 2:00 p.m. E.T.

    California is sinking even faster than scientists had thought, new NASA satellite imagery shows.

    Some areas of the Golden State are sinking more than 2 inches (5.1 centimeters) per month, the imagery reveals. Though the sinking, called subsidence, has long been a problem in California, the rate is accelerating because the state’s extreme drought is fueling voracious groundwater pumping. 

    “Because of increased pumping, groundwater levels are reaching record lows — up to 100 feet (30 meters) lower than previous records,” Mark Cowin, director of California’s Department of Water Resources, said in a statement. “As extensive groundwater pumping continues, the land is sinking more rapidly, and this puts nearby infrastructure at greater risk of costly damage.” [It’s Raining Spiders! The Weirdest Effects of California’s Drought]

    What’s more, this furious groundwater pumping could have long-term consequences. If the land shrinks too much, and for too long, it can permanently lose its ability to store groundwater, the researchers said.

    The state’s sinking isn’t new: California has long suffered from subsidence, and some parts are now a few dozen feet lower than they were in 1925, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

    But the state’s worst drought on record — 97 percent of the state is facing moderate to exceptional drought — has only accelerated the trend. To quantify this accelerated sinking, researchers at the Department of Water Resources and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, compared satellite imagery of California over time. Thanks to images taken from both satellites and airplanes using a remote-sensing technique called interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR), which uses radar to measure elevation differences, researchers can now map changes in the surface height of the ground with incredible precision. For the current study, the team stitched together imagery from Japan’s satellite-based Phased Array type L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar and Canada’s Earth Observation satellite Radarsat-2, as well as NASA’s airplane-based Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar.

    Certain hotspots are shrinking at an astonishing rate — regions of the Tulare Basin, which includes Fresno, sank 13 inches (33 cm) in just eight months, they found. The Sacramento Valley is sinking about 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) per month. And the California Aqueduct — an intricate network of pipes, canals and tunnels that funnels water from high in the Sierra Nevada mountains in northern and central California to Southern California — has sunk 12.5 inches (32 cm), and most of that was just in the past four months, according to the new study.

    The unquenchable thirst for groundwater in certain regions is largely a result of agriculture: Most of the state’s agricultural production resides in the fast-sinking regions around some of the state’s most endangered river systems — the San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers. As the heat and lack of rainfall have depleted surface-water supplies, farmers have turned to groundwater to keep their crops afloat.

    Subsidence isn’t just an aesthetic problem; bridges and highways can sink and crack in dangerous ways, and flood-control structures can be compromised. In the San Joaquin Valley, the sinking Earth has destroyed the outer shell around thousands of privately drilled wells.

    “Groundwater acts as a savings account to provide supplies during drought, but the NASA report shows the consequences of excessive withdrawals as we head into the fifth year of historic drought,” Corwin said. “We will work together with counties, local water districts, and affected communities to identify ways to slow the rate of subsidence and protect vital infrastructure such as canals, pumping stations, bridges and wells.”




The Vatican and Jimmy Carter Team up Against Israel?

When is enough…enough? How much land does Israel need to give up before the Palestinians are satisfied? The answer? ALL OF IT. If Israel was to vacate all of Israel and land on Mars, all the anti-Israel factions would still not be happy….why? Countless leaders and organizations was Israelis ….dead.


Vatican to Recognize Palestinian State in New Treaty

 Pope Francis at the Vatican in 2014 with Presidents Shimon Peres of Israel, left, and Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority. Credit Franco Origlia/Getty Images

ZOA Appalled: Vatican Tours Erase Israel –– Visiting Jerusalem Sites Labeled ‘Palestine’

A Sinister Echo of Replacement Theology

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has criticized the Vatican for organizing and promoting tours of Christian sites in Jerusalem, Israel’s capital city, as part of tours to ‘Palestine,’ erasing Israel from the picture. The ZOA regards this a sinister reiteration of Catholic replacement theology, whereby Jews and Judaism are theologically dismissed from history. Replacement theology served for centuries as the warrant and inspiration for theologically-inspired hatred, as well as vicious persecution of, and violence against, Jews.

A report from Italian journalist Giulio Meotti, a writer for the Italian daily, Il Foglio, indicates that Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi, a Vatican office that organizes pilgrimages to Christian sites around the world, sponsors a trip in “Palestine,” with iconic Christian sites in Israel’s capital city of Jerusalem. This is in addition to the fact that, as Meotti writes, “Catholic tourist maps and pilgrimage brochures omitted the name ‘Israel,’ using instead the sanitized expression ‘Holy Land,’ one of the visible effects of the Catholic ‘replacement theology,’ which adopts a deJudaizing language. It [is also] no secret that Catholic pilgrims spend virtually all their time visiting holy sites in Palestinian-run territory, staying in Palestinian Arab hotels and listening to Palestinian Arab tour guides. As a result, these pilgrims return filled with hatred towards Israel” (Giulio Meotti, ‘Vatican buses promote trips to Jerusalem, “Palestine,” Israel National News, November 23, 2016).

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “The ZOA is deeply critical of the Vatican’s organizing and promotion of tours to Israel, the biblical, historical and legal homeland of the Jewish people, which erase and thus deny the Jewish identity, indeed the very name, of the country, substituting ‘Palestine.’

“‘Palestine’ was never and is not now a sovereign state, much less one with legal responsibility or effective control of many of the sites being visited on these tours. Palestine is not even an Arab name but named by the Romans.

“With its Nostra Aetate declaration in 1965, the Catholic Church repudiated its historical position holding the Jewish people responsible for the death of Jesus, renounced its traditional claim that Jews had been rejected by God, condemned anti-Semitism, and called for ‘mutual understanding and respect’ between Catholics and Jews. It is difficult to see how this epoch-making new affirmation and policy is being in any way honored by the Vatican with respect to the tours to Israel that it organizes and promotes.

“When Pope John Paul II visited the Rome Synagogue in 1986 –– the first pontiff to visit a synagogue –– he embraced Rabbi Elio Toaff and declared Jews the ‘elder brothers’ of Christians. One does not treat an elder brother as non-existent and revise one’s language to avoid referring to him, while exclusively seeking the company of his hostile neighbors.

“We urge the Vatican to cease organizing and promoting tours to Israel that do not name the country, do not refer to its Jewish history and which shun contacts with the country of its ‘elder brothers.’”

**** On to Jimmy Carter:

Jimmy Carter to Barack Obama: Recognize the State of Palestine

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter delivers a lecture on the eradication of the Guinea worm, at the House of Lords, February 3, London. Carter has called for Barack Obama to recognize the State of Palestine. Eddie Mullholland-WPA Pool/Getty

Newsweek: Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, who brokered peace between Egypt and Israel at Camp David, has called on Barack Obama to recognize the State of Palestine (as the United Nations refers to the non-member observer state) before he leaves office in January.

Of the U.N.’s 193 members, 136—more than 70 percent—recognize the State of Palestine and the Palestinian push for an independent state. But the U.S., Israel and dozens of other nations do not, with many arguing that the recognition of a Palestinian entity can only come about through direct talks and agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

The current U.S. government supports a two-state solution but Israeli ministers have suggested that the election of Donald Trump as the next president has dealt a huge blow to hopes of a Palestinian state. On the campaign trail, Trump pledged to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and called for continued Israeli settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Carter has now stepped into the debate with an op-ed for the New York Times on Monday.

“It has been President Obama’s aim to support a negotiated end to the conflict based on two states, living side by side in peace. That prospect is now in grave doubt,” he wrote. “I am convinced that the United States can still shape the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before a change in presidents, but time is very short.

“The simple but vital step this administration must take before its term expires on Jan. 20 is to grant American diplomatic recognition to the state of Palestine, as 137 countries have already done, and help it achieve full United Nations membership.”

Carter added that U.S. recognition of Palestinian hopes for a sovereign state, combined with a U.N. Security Council resolution “grounded in international law,” and U.N. membership for the Palestinians would assist future diplomatic efforts to seal a lasting peace agreement.

The former president, who published a book on the conflict entitled Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid in 2006, warned that the prospect of peace is slowly slipping away from the Israelis and the Palestinians.

He said that Israeli moves in the West Bank, past the armistice lines marked before its capture of the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War, are bringing both sides ever closer to a “one-state reality” where Israel would preside over more than four million Palestinians living in the two territories, as well as the Gaza Strip.

“Israel is building more and more settlements, displacing Palestinians and entrenching its occupation of Palestinian lands,” Carter writes in the New York Times. “Over 4.5 million Palestinians live in these occupied territories, but are not citizens of Israel. Most live largely under Israeli military rule, and do not vote in Israel’s national elections.”

He continued: “Meanwhile, about 600,000 Israeli settlers in Palestine enjoy the benefits of Israeli citizenship and laws. This process is hastening a one-state reality that could destroy Israeli democracy and will result in intensifying international condemnation of Israel.”

The last U.S.-brokered peace talks collapsed in April 2014 and Israel has rejected international initiatives proposed since, the most recent being the French plan to host an international peace conference in Paris. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that he is open to talking with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas but only bilaterally and without pre-conditions, such as the removal of settlers from the West Bank or the end of Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank.

To All those Paying Tribute to Fidel Castro

In 2014: Fidel Castro has signed an international manifesto “supporting Palestine,” demanding that Israel respect UN resolutions and withdraw from Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Obama Directs Intelligence to be Shared with Cuba

Fidel Castro at the National Press Club, April 20, 1959

By the time Castro arrived in New York City in September 1960, relations between the United States and Cuba were rapidly deteriorating. Since taking power in January 1959, Castro had infuriated the American government with his policies of nationalizing U.S. companies and investments in Cuba. Some American officials, such as Vice President Richard Nixon, believed that Castro was leaning perilously toward communism. (Castro did not publicly proclaim his adherence to communism until late-1961, when he declared that he was a “Marxist-Leninist”.) More here.

Forbes: Founded by their wealthy landowner father in 1915, Fidel and younger brother Raul Castro’s childhood home in Birán burnt down in 1954 but a replica was erected in its place in 1974.

Cuban President Fidel Castro examines photos of his relatives at his native house in Birán, Cuba. (Photo by Pablo Pildain/AFP/Getty Images)

A picture of Cuban leader Fidel Castro in his ancestral home which is now a museum. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Fidel and Raul’s parents, Ángel Castro and Lina Ruz González, are laid to rest at the Birán plantation. Castro’s privileged background (although non-bourgeois) contradicted his message, so to give himself street cred, he touted his grandparent’s background as “exploited Galician peasants” from Spain.

The burial site of Cuban leaders Fidel and Raul Castro’s parents on the grounds of their childhood home in Birán, Cuba. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Like JFK, Castro’s father sent him to boarding school where he received a quality education (despite mediocre grades). Baseball, reading, and politics were among his interests. At 14, he even penned a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt congratulating him on his re-election while brazenly asking for $10 American cash (sounds like a secret capitalist).

As a 14-year old, Fidel Castro congratulated FDR on his re-election in 1940.

As a 14-year old, Fidel Castro congratulated FDR on his re-election in 1940. (National Archives document)

The Birán estate was more than a working sugar plantation. Prominent landowner Ángel Castro also established a primary school, hotel, pub, post office, a market store, and a ring for cockfighting (again, it sounds like a capitalist venture).

A building that served as a guest house on the Birán sugar plantation, founded by Fidel Castro’s father in 1915. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Castro ruled Cuba for 49 paranoid years. He moved frequently due to an estimated 600 assassination attempts by the CIA and other foes. The failed plots are infamous—exploding cigars and poison milkshakes included. Castro eventually ceded power to his brother Raul and retired to the gated community “Punto Cero” (Point Zero), his top-secret 75-acre suburban Havana home which resembled a vast military compound.

Fidel Castro meets with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and his brother President Raul Castro at Punto Cero near Havana in 2010. (Photo by Ricardo Stuckert/AFP/Getty Images)

Fidel Castro, Cuba’s communist dictator, former president and divisive world figure, died on November 25 at 90 years old—53 years and three days after his nemesis U.S. President John F. Kennedy. Despite their adversarial status, both men were born into wealth via extremely ambitious fathers, both loved sports, both had a mistress weakness, and both fought for their country to oust dictators. That’s where the similarities end.

JFK died young and Castro lived a long, well-heeled life. Castro survived 10 U.S. presidents. Although he didn’t live in a palace and streets weren’t named for him, Castro still lived more extravagantly and hypocritically than he wanted the world to know. Cuba’s revolution leader wasn’t as modest as he led on. A decade ago, Forbes estimated Fidel Castro’s personal net worth at $900 million. That’s a lot of socialist rationing for one person. Luxurious living arrangements were especially appealing to Castro. But for security reasons (after hundreds of assassination attempts), Castro’s paranoid personal life and residences were top secret. Even Cuban citizens didn’t know where he resided.

Fidel Castro was born on his father Ángel Castro’s prosperous 25,000-acre, 400-employee sugar plantation (called Las Manacas farm) in small town Birán, Cuba—about 500 miles from Havana on the eastern end of the island. The property now serves as a Castro museum.

Punto Cero, a pre-revolution golf course property, was reportedly set up by Castro in the 1970s. According to Castro’s former bodyguard, the estate complex includes orange, lemon, mandarin, grapefruit and banana trees, as well as cows and six greenhouses to grow food.

Castro's compound is on the former grounds of the Havana Biltmore Yacht and Country Club.

Castro’s compound is reportedly on the former grounds of the Havana Biltmore Yacht and Country Club.

Punto Cero was far from the “fisherman’s cottage” Castro publicly claimed as his main asset. The luxurious complex in the Jaimanitas neighborhood (15 miles outside Havana proper) served as Castro’s summer residence near the capital city’s embassy district. According to Castro’s former bodyguard (as reported by InCuba Today), he also owned a residences in Cayo Piedra (a stones throw from the Bay of Pigs), La Caleta del Rosario, which featured a private marina; and La Deseada, a chalet in Pinar del Río—reportedly one of Castro’s favorite duck hunting spots.

Fidel Castro in Pinar del Río after the 1959 Cuban revolution. Castro frequently visited and took up residence in the area too.

Fidel Castro in Pinar del Río after the 1959 Cuban revolution. Castro frequently visited and took up residence in the area too.

Retired Fidel Castro met foreign leaders, dignitaries and Popes at Punto Cero, including Pope John Paul II in 1998, Pope Benedict in 2012, and Pope Francis in 2015. Despite his Jesuit background, Castro was an atheist. Yet he still reveled meeting Popes, even exchanging religious books with them.

Pope Francis meets Fidel Castro in Havana, Cuba in 2015. The Vatican described the meeting at Castro’s residence as informal and familial, with an exchange of books. (AP Photo/Alex Castro)