Is Iran Lobby Pro-US or Pro-Putin?

Earlier this year, Marcel H. Van Herpen, director of the Cicero Foundation, a think tank with branches in both Maastricht and Paris, published a comprehensive study entitled Putin’s Propaganda Machine: Soft Power and Russian Foreign Policy. It’s a timely work, well researched, well written, and comprehensive. And it certainly added greater context to Russia Today (RT), Russia’s flagship English-language network. He writes:

From 2009 onward, the focus of Russia Today began to change. From a defensive soft-power weapon, RT began to develop as an offensive weapon…. Anchors of RT programs (such as Peter Lavelle) did not hide their explicit anti-American views. RT also started inviting representatives of marginal, often extreme right antigovernment groups, who were presented as ‘experts.’ One of these groups was the so-called 9/11 truthers, people who believe that the 9/11 attacks were not the work of al-Qaeda terrorists but a US government conspiracy… Another group was the ‘birthers,’ people who doubted—against all evidence—that President Obama was born in the United States and denied that he was eligible to be US president… RT ‘experts’ also included Malik Zulu Shabazz, the leader of the New Black Panther Party, a hate group. Another invited pundit was Daniel Estulin, who considered the European Union to be the realization of a secret plan invented by the Bilderberg Group…. The same penchant for conspiracy theories was revealed in the RT program The Truth-seeker, which suggested the US government was behind the terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon in April 2013, in which two ethnic Chechen killed three people. Manuel Ochsenreiter, a guest speaker about German affairs on RT’s English-language channel, is actually the editor of the neo-Nazi magazine Zuerst!, a monthly radical-right magazine that…speaks out against ‘de-nazification.’

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Is Iran Lobby Pro-US or Pro-Putin?

Must-Reads from Magazine

The SPLC Has Its Nose Rubbed in the Dirt

Belated justice.

Few left-wing pressure groups are as vicious and mendacious as the Southern Poverty Law Center. Founded in 1971, the SPLC today mainly exists to smear opponents of full-spectrum progressivism as “bigots” and “extremists.” Once the Montgomery, Alabama-based outfit mislabels an individual or an institution this way, it becomes nearly impossible to clear the taint, since many reporters mistake the SPLC for a bona fide rights watchdog.

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The Triumph of Reason at the United Nations

A bright light in a dark place.

When UN Ambassador Nikki Haley announced America’s withdrawal from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) last October, it was clear this was only the beginning. UNESCO had spent decades defying American law and denying Israel ownership of its own cultural heritage. The organization’s “extreme politicization has become a chronic embarrassment,” Haley said. Quoting Ronald Reagan, who withdrew from UNESCO in 1984, she added that American taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for an institution that is “hostile to our values and make a mockery of justice and common sense.” That logic demands bold actions from the United States. After all, UNESCO isn’t the only arm of the United Nations that offends American sensibilities and advances the objectives of despots and thugs. Now, it seems the UN ambassador is ready to make her next move.

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A Bias in Favor of Bias

Selectivity in the social sciences.

Last year, I criticized universities for hurrying to implement programs to combat microaggressions, “mostly subtle, mostly inadvertent slights directed at racial minorities and other ‘marginalized” groups.’” According to a review of the research conducted by Scott Lilienfeld, professor of psychology at Emory University, there was little, if any, evidence that such programs do more good than harm. Universities, which should pride themselves on following the evidence wherever it leads, seemed to have succumbed to the pressure to “do something” about racism.

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The Party of Trump, If You Can Keep It

Will the reverence Trump inspires outlast his presidency?

Approximately once every quarter for the last two years, we’ve been bombarded by declarations that Donald Trump’s takeover of the GOP is complete. The frequency with which the verdict is rendered would suggest the thesis is flawed.

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Fossil Fools

Fanaticism.

Over the weekend, the Democratic National Committee voted in favor of refusing all future donations from fossil-fuel companies. They’re so proud of the decision that it was only publicized on Tuesday, and then only by reporters who had to do some digging to learn the news.

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