The Week: With America's president casually stirring racial and other hatreds, it would be helpful for our civic good to have an organization that tracks with honesty and precision what rabble his rhetoric is rousing. The Southern Poverty Law Center, the nation's largest (and richest) watchdog of hate groups, has long sought to fill that role. Unfortunately, the SPLC is not up to the task. It is too busy enforcing liberal orthodoxy against its intellectual opponents.
The SPLC's original mission was to be the go-to media guide covering extremists and hate groups. But center-right folks like myself who are deeply worried about the forces Trump is unleashing find that citing SPLC raises more questions than it answers. (I try hard to corroborate the center's claims by many independent sources before buying them.) read more
The US Air Force will this summer begin testing a laser that will be mounted on an F-15 warplane, an official said Monday. The Pentagon last year awarded a $26 million contract to Lockheed Martin for a laser program called SHiELD (Self-protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator.) The idea is to put a laser system on aircraft with an output of about 50 kilowatts to test their ability to zap drones or cruise missiles. Military laser beams are invisible to the naked eye. By focusing a beam on a target, the technology rapidly heats it up inside, causing it to crash or explode.
The story of Cambridge Analytica that the press, public and elected officials seem to have fixated on is that of a rogue company run amok with breached data that manipulated unwitting Americans into electing the candidate of the company's choice (the company denies all of the allegations). To add a bit of perspective to this debate, it is worth looking back at two key ways in which the Obama campaign pioneered the modern data-driven campaign that is at the center of the Cambridge Analytica debate. At the time of his election and reelection, Obama's data analytics researchers were heralded as technology heroes for the way they modernized how political campaigns wrangle data in the pursuit of votes. Outlets sang their praises as "digital masterminds" and lauded their "unorthodox" approaches. read more
President Trump's election victory over Hillary Clinton seemed to herald a new era for border security and immigration enforcement. But his polarizing and occasionally ignorant comments about immigrants have handed his adversaries a convenient pretext for stymying compromise on immigration reform: racism.
Left-leaning advocacy groups and a host of Democrats all too often shy away from the specifics of the debate and instead lean on cries of bigotry, resorting to claims like that of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who has described Trump's approach to immigration reform as an effort to "make America white again."
Claims that immigration enforcement equals racism ignore the reality that the group most likely to benefit from a tougher approach to immigration enforcement is young black men, who often compete with recent immigrants for low-skilled jobs. read more
Israeli national security officials sat around the same table on Tuesday morning with their counterparts from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, discussing a dire humanitarian situation unfolding in the Gaza Strip.
The summit on Gaza, called by Jared Kushner, the US president's son-in-law and senior adviser on Middle East peace, as well as Jason Greenblatt, his special representative for international negotiations, marks an unprecedented moment for Israeli diplomacy, as their dialogue with officials from Arab states is publicly recognized for the first time.
The Trump administration planned the meeting over the course of several weeks and released a list of attendees the morning of the summit, which also included officials from Egypt, Jordan, Canada and various European countries. Palestinian Authority officials did not attend the meeting. read more