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Fact-Checking Mötley Crüe’s Netflix Movie ‘The Dirt’
Pamela Anderson existed, John Corabi could speak, they had a singer before Vince Neil and other things that The Dirt gets wrong
By ANDY GREENE
In many ways, fact-checking a movie about Mötley Crüe is a ridiculous task, especially a film that says right off the bat it is merely “based” on a true story. It’s also a film that breaks the fourth wall and tells the audience that things didn’t happen quite as they’re being presented. The whole thing is also based on a book that bassist Nikki Sixx now claims has at least one story – in which he writes that he “pretty much” raped a woman – was “possibly greatly embellished or made up.” He also claimed he was on drugs during the interviews with writer Neil Strauss and doesn’t remember much at that time.
That begs the question: If the four members of Mötley Crüe were drunk or on drugs throughout much of the Eighties, might their memories of that time period be a little hazy? Ozzy Osbourne has always claimed to have no memory of the famous story in The Dirtmovie and book where he sniffs a line of ants in front of the band. But he was also blackout drunk back then. Can any of these people be trusted to have legit stories or are some of these famous tales merely the product of hopelessly compromised memory banks?
Pushing all those questions aside, The Dirt (which hit Netflix on Friday) actually gets a lot of the band’s history right. Tommy Lee and Sixx may have had pouffier hair than their onscreen counterparts, but the filmmakers went to great lengths to capture the look and vibe of the Eighties Sunset Strip scene. Much of the action onscreen sticks pretty close to the version of history presented in the book. There’s nothing as egregious as the inaccuracies in Bohemian Rhapsody, which shows Queen writing “We Will Rock You” in the Eighties and breaking up before Live Aid. But there are still many moments, big and small, where The Dirt deviates from the known historical record. Here’s a look at 14 of them.
1. Tommy Lee’s First Encounter With Nikki Sixx Is a Bit OffThe movie shows a teenage Tommy Lee going to see Sixx play a show with his band London at a Sunset Strip club and then bumping into him afterwards at a Denny’s. Sixx tells him the band is over and he is looking to start a new one. He invites Tommy to try out as his drummer even though the only experience he mentions is playing in his high school marching band. In reality, he was the drummer in a group called Suite 19 that Sixx had seen in concert and found very impressive. They met at the Denny’s specifically to talk about forming a new band. Nothing about it was random.
2. It Erases Their Original Lead Singer From HistoryWhen Mötley Crüe first went into the studio to record their earliest demos, Vince Neil wasn’t yet their singer. It was a fellow named O’Dean Peterson who, according to Tommy Lee, had a voice somewhere between Ian Astbury of the Cult and Klaus Meine of the Scorpions. But Nikki didn’t like his attitude and Mick Mars thought he was a hippie, which was basically a death sentence for a member of Mötley Crüe. They threw him out and history has basically forgotten that he ever existed. This movie does the same thing. (Though he still appears onstage occasionally in Los Angeles to cover the band.)
3. They Didn’t Meet Vince Neil at a Backyard PartyWhen Neil first comes onscreen in The Dirt, he’s singing Billy Squier’s “My Kind of Lover” at a backyard party while the women up front go insane for him. (Let’s overlook the fact that “My Kind of Lover” wasn’t even out at the time.) And while he was in a cover band back then, the first meeting took place at The Starwood in West Hollywood. Neil avoided the band for a lot longer than the movie suggests, as they had to basically stalk him for weeks before he even agreed to an initial jam session. And they didn’t play “Live Wire” at their first jam because Nikki hadn’t written the song yet.
4. Tom Zutaut Didn’t Sign Them That EasilyIn the movie version of the Mötley Crüe story, a young A&R rep from Elektra signs the band after talking to them for about 30 seconds at a bar. The only thing that slows the process down is the woman under the table trying to give him a surprise blowjob. In real life, the band created their own label, Leathür Records, solely to put out their own music before they ever met Zutaut (played by SNL’s Pete Davidson). When he initially approached the band, they were extremely suspicious and made him buy them many free meals throughout a long courtship. They were also accepting offers from Virgin. Zutaut did eventually sign them to Elektra, but it took a lot more than a quick hello at a bar.
5. Doc McGhee Didn’t Meet The Band At Their ApartmentIn one of the movie’s most meta moments, the group’s future manager Doc McGhee is first seen when he knocks an unruly party guest to the floor with his fist. Mars then turns to the camera and says, “This didn’t actually happen. Doc never came to this filthy shithole. We met him at the Santa Monica Civic Center after a show. He also brought his partner, Doug Thaler. Doug was a good guy and it’s kinda shitty he got cut from this movie, but I think this is as good a version as any.” At this point, Thaler – seen briefly standing by Doc at backstage door – literally vanishes from the screen. But hey, give them credit for acknowledging they are changing history and literally erasing a major player.
6. Vince Neil Didn’t Have Sex With Tom Zutaut’s Girlfriend Backstage at The ForumMinutes before the movie version of Mötley Crüe take the stage at The Forum in Los Angeles, Neil has sex with Zutaut’s date in his dressing room as her leopard-skin bikini rests on the door handle. First off, they didn’t play The Forum until 1985 and this appears to be sometime in 1983. But Vince did have sex with Zutaut’s girlfriend that year. And she was wearing a leopard-skin bikini. But it happened at the US Festival, not the Forum. And it was after the show, not before. Movie Zutaut says “it hurt really bad” when he learned about it years later, but real-life Zutaut said the woman didn’t mean anything to him and he found the incident more amusing than heartbreaking.
7. Tommy Didn’t Meet Heather Locklear The Night of Vince’s Car AccidentIn the movie, Lee meets Heather Locklear at a house party the night of Neil’s drunken car crash that killed Hanoi Rocks drummer Nicholas “Razzle” Dingley. They actually met backstage at an REO Speedwagon concert after his accountant introduced them. The movie does get right, however, that he initially confused her with Heather Thomas from The Fall Guy.
8. John Corabi Has The Ability to SpeakAfter Neil left the band, they hired John Corabi as their new singer and cut a new album that they supported with a tour. Throughout all of that, he used his mouth to sing and even engage in conversations with actual words. Movie Corabi, however, seems to be incapable of this. He’s got the haircut right, but at no point does he demonstrate an actual ability to speak and not a single note of his music is heard. It’s quite possible some scenes were cut where he’s more than just a smirking guy in a couple of brief scenes. (Corabi is played by Anthony Vincent, an actual heavy metal singer best known for his 10 Second Songs series.)
9. Securing The Rights to Their Publishing Was Much More Difficult Than PortrayedZutaut serves as the physical embodiment of the entire Elektra label in The Dirt. In the movie, he meets Sixx at a bar shortly before Neil rejoins the band and tells him the label is giving him back the rights to his publishing. This actually happened in 1998, after Generation Swine tanked, and only following a long, nasty battle with label head Sylvia Rhone. By this point, Zutaut had left Elektra for Geffen and had no involvement with any of this.
10. They Didn’t Fire Doc McGhee Over An Incident With Nikki’s Estranged MotherThe movie begins with an adolescent Sixx battling his inattentive mother and basically pledging never to speak with her again after he leaves home. Near the end, McGhee surprises Sixx by bringing his mother to the lobby of his hotel. He’s furious and fires him on the spot. What actually happened is that McGhee organized the Moscow Peace Festival in 1989 with Bon Jovi, the Scorpions, Osbourne and Mötley Crüe. He told the Crüe that everyone would play truncated, no-frills sets. But when they showed up, not only were they placed on the bill prior to all the other acts, but Bon Jovi were doing a full set and had pyro. They fired McGhee on the spot and went with Thaler on his own, at least until the Corabi album bombed.
11. Mick Mars Didn’t Get Hip Replacement Surgery Until 2004The timeline gets hopelessly muddled around the time the band reunites with Neil and the events of 1996 to 2005 get all smashed together in a very confusing fashion. In the film, Nikki and Tommy meet up with Mick before they mend their relationship with Vince and greet him as he leaves a hospital following hip replacement surgery. It’s sometime around 1996 in the movie timeline, but he didn’t get the surgery until 2004.
12. The Reunion With Vince Neil Was Much, Much More ComplicatedMovie Vince seems to spend his entire post-Mötley Crüe life sitting in the same bar. There’s not even a hint that he tried to launch a solo career. When the guys show up at the bar after getting Mick from the hospital 10 years in the future, they sit down and hash out a reunion over drinks and make sobby amends. The whole thing wasn’t even remotely that simple or sweet. The band wanted to make another record with Corabi and only met with Neil very reluctantly at the urging of their managers. They actually met up with him at a Hyatt with a team of lawyers and managers around them. It was extremely tense, but Neil eventually agreed to stop by the studio and hear their in-progress record. Corabi was still involved at that point and briefly thought he’d remain as a second guitarist, but that made little sense and he was quickly pushed out.
13. The Whole Pamela Anderson Thing HappenedLee married Baywatch actress Pamela Anderson in 1995 after knowing her for just four days. They had two children. There was a sex tape. He was arrested for assaulting her and spent six months in prison. They divorced in 1998. She accused him of giving her hepatitis C. All of this insanity got about 10,000 times more attention than anything the band did in the Nineties, but there’s not even a single mention of her name in the movie. Lee is shown punching his girlfriend on a tour bus in the Eighties after she repeatedly calls his mother a “cunt” and stabs him in the shoulder with a pen.
14. The Nine Years Between 1996 And 2005 Isn’t Some Amorphous Blob of TimeThe movie cuts straight from a tearful group hug at the fictional Vince Neil bar reunion right to their real-life manager Allen Kovac (playing himself) knocking on their dressing room doors shortly before a big arena concert. It is implied that this is right after Vince rejoined, but they’re basically in their 2005 reunion tour outfits. There’s no mention of 1997’s Generation Swine, Tommy quitting the band in 1999, 2000’s New Tattoo, the death of replacement drummer Randy Castillo in 2002 and the band’s decision to go on hiatus that same year. It’s somehow 1996, 2005 and all points in between all at once. But at least it doesn’t show them writing “We Will Rock You” in the Eighties.
Mueller Delivers Report on Trump-Russia Investigation to Attorney General
- March 22, 2019
WASHINGTON — The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has delivered a report on his inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election to Attorney General William P. Barr, according to the Justice Department, bringing to a close an investigation that has consumed the nation and cast a shadow over President Trump for nearly two years.
Mr. Barr told congressional leaders in a letter late Friday that he may brief them within days on the special counsel’s findings. “I may be in a position to advise you of the special counsel’s principal conclusions as soon as this weekend,” he wrote in a letter to the leadership of the House and Senate Judiciary committees.
It is up to Mr. Barr how much of the report to share with Congress and, by extension, the American public. The House voted unanimously in March on a nonbinding resolution to make public the report’s findings, an indication of the deep support within both parties to air whatever evidence prosecutors uncovered.
Mr. Barr wrote that he “remained committed to as much transparency as possible and I will keep you informed as to the status of my review.” He also said that Justice Department officials never had to check Mr. Mueller because he proposed an inappropriate or unwarranted investigative step — an action that Mr. Barr would have been required to report to Congress under the regulations. His statement suggests that Mr. Mueller’s inquiry proceeded without political interference.
The letter that William P. Barr, the attorney general, sent to Congress.
Since Mr. Mueller’s appointment in May 2017, his team has focused on how Russian operatives sought to sway the outcome of the 2016 presidential race and whether anyone tied to the Trump campaign, wittingly or unwittingly, cooperated with them. While the inquiry, started months earlier by the F.B.I., unearthed a far-ranging Russian influence operation, no public evidence has emerged that the president or his aides illegally assisted it.
Nonetheless, the damage to Mr. Trump and those in his circle has been extensive. A half-dozen former Trump aides have been indicted or convicted of crimes, mostly for lying to federal investigators or Congress. Others remain under investigation in cases that Mr. Mueller’s office handed off to federal prosecutors in New York and elsewhere. Dozens of Russian intelligence officers or citizens, along with three Russian companies, were charged in cases that are likely to languish in court because the defendants cannot be extradited to the United States.
Only a handful of law enforcement officials have seen the report, a Justice Department spokeswoman, Kerri Kupec, said. She said a few members of Mr. Mueller’s team would remain to close down the office. Mr. Mueller will not recommend any new charges be filed, a senior Justice Department official said.
Mr. Barr told congressional leaders that he would decide what to release after consulting with Mr. Mueller and Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who has overseen the investigation from the start. A White House spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said, “The next steps are up to Attorney General Barr, and we look forward to the process taking its course.” She added that the White House had not seen or been briefed on the report, although officials were notified that Mr. Mueller had delivered it shortly before Congress was notified.
In a joint statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the top Senate Democrat, warned Mr. Barr not to allow the White House a “sneak preview” of the report before the public views it. They said that he should both make the full report public and share Mr. Mueller’s underlying evidence with Congress.
“The White House must not be allowed to interfere in decisions about what parts of those findings or evidence are made public,” they said.
Even though Mr. Mueller’s report is complete, some aspects of his inquiry remain active and may be overseen by the same prosecutors once they are reassigned to their old jobs within the Justice Department. For instance, recently filed court documents suggest that investigators are still examining why the former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort turned over campaign polling data in 2016 to a Russian associate whom prosecutors said was tied to Russian intelligence.
Mr. Mueller looked extensively at whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice to protect himself or his associates. But despite months of negotiations, prosecutors were unable to personally interview the president.
Mr. Trump’s lawyers insisted that he respond only to written questions from the special counsel. Even though under current Justice Department policy a sitting president cannot be indicted, Mr. Trump’s lawyers worried that his responses in an oral interview could bring political repercussions, including impeachment, or put him in legal jeopardy once he is out of office.
Not since Watergate has a special prosecutor’s inquiry so mesmerized the American public. Mr. Trump has helped make Mr. Mueller a household name, attacking his investigation an average of about twice a day as an unfair, politically motivated attempt to invalidate his election. He never forgave former Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia inquiry, an action that cleared the way for his deputy, Mr. Rosenstein, to appoint Mr. Mueller.
Mr. Trump reiterated his attacks on the special counsel this week, saying Mr. Mueller decided “out of the blue” to write a report, ignoring that regulations require him to do so. But the president also said the report should be made public because of “tens of millions” of Americans would want to know what it contains.
“Let people see it,” Mr. Trump said. “There was no collusion. There was no obstruction. There was no nothing.”
Mueller Has Delivered His Report. Here’s What We Already Know.
More than two years of criminal indictments and steady revelations about Trump campaign contacts with Russians reveal the scope of the special counsel investigation.
In court, the evidence amassed by the Mueller team has held up. Every defendant who is not still awaiting trial either pleaded guilty or was convicted by a jury. Although no American has been charged with illegally plotting with the Russians to tilt the election, Mr. Mueller uncovered a web of lies by former Trump aides.
Five of them were found to have deceived federal investigators or Congress about their interactions with Russians during the campaign or the transition. They includes Mr. Manafort; Michael T. Flynn, the president’s first national security adviser; and Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former lawyer and longtime fixer. A sixth former adviser, Roger J. Stone, Jr. is to stand trial in November on charges of lying to Congress.
Those who know Mr. Mueller, a former F.B.I. director, predicted a concise, legalistic report devoid of opinions — nothing like the 445-page treatise that Kenneth W. Starr, who investigated President Bill Clinton, produced in 1998. Operating under a now-defunct statute that governed independent counsels, Mr. Starr had far more leeway than Mr. Mueller to set his own investigative boundaries and to render judgments.
The regulations that govern Mr. Mueller, who is under the supervision of the Justice Department, only require him to explain his decisions to either seek or decline to seek criminal charges in a confidential report to the attorney general. The attorney general is then required to notify the leadership of the House and Senate judiciary committees.
During his Senate confirmation hearing, Mr. Barr promised to release as much information as possible, saying “the country needs a credible resolution of these issues.” But he may be reluctant to release the part of Mr. Mueller’s report that may be of most interest: who the special counsel declined to prosecute and why, especially if Mr. Trump is on that list.
The department’s longstanding practice, with rare exceptions, is not to identify people who were merely investigative targets in order to avoid unfairly tainting their reputations, especially because they would have no chance to defend themselves in a court of law. Mr. Rosenstein, who has overseen Mr. Mueller’s work and may have a say in what is released, is a firm believer in that principle.
Glimpses of the Mystery That Is the Mueller Investigation
Here are some pieces of the jigsaw puzzle. The full picture is missing.
In a May 2017 letter that the president seized upon as justification for his decision to fire James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, Mr. Rosenstein severely criticized Mr. Comey for announcing during the previous year that Hillary Clinton, then a presidential candidate, would not be charged with a crime for mishandling classified information as secretary of state. Releasing “derogatory information about the subject of a declined criminal investigation,” Mr. Rosenstein wrote, is “a textbook example of what federal prosecutors and agents are taught not to do.”
Weighing that principle against the public’s right to know is even more fraught in the president’s case. If Mr. Mueller declined to pursue criminal charges against Mr. Trump, he might have been guided not by lack of evidence, but by the Justice Department’s legal opinions that a sitting president cannot be indicted. The department’s Office of Legal Counsel has repeatedly advised that the stigma and burden of being under prosecution would damage the president’s ability to lead.
Mr. Trump has said the decision about what to release it up to Mr. Barr. But behind the scenes, White House lawyers are preparing for the possibility they may need to argue some material is protected by executive privilege, especially if the report discusses whether the president’s interactions with his top aides or legal advisers are evidence of obstruction of justice.
Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York and the head of the House Judiciary Committee, has argued that the department’s view that presidents are protected from prosecution makes it all the more important for the public to see Mr. Mueller’s report.
“To maintain that a sitting president cannot be indicted, and then to withhold evidence of wrongdoing from Congress because the president cannot be charged, is to convert D.O.J. policy into the means for a cover-up,” he said before the House approved its nonbinding resolution to disclose the special counsel’s findings.
Some predict that any disclosures from Mr. Mueller’s report will satisfy neither Mr. Trump’s critics nor his defenders, especially given the public’s high expectations for answers. A Washington Post-Schar School poll in February illustrated the sharp divide in public opinion: It found that of those surveyed, most Republicans did not believe evidence of crimes that Mr. Mueller’s team had already proved in court, while most Democrats believed he had proved crimes that he had not even alleged.
Recent weeks have brought fresh signs that the special counsel’s work was ending. Five prosecutors have left, reducing the team from 16 to 11. Mr. Mueller’s office confirmed that Andrew Weissmann, a top deputy, is also expected to leave soon. A key F.B.I. agent, David W. Archey, has transferred to another post.
Mr. Rosenstein was expected to leave the Justice Department by mid-March, but may be lingering to see the report to its conclusion.
BRET MICHAELS On Daughter RAINE's SPORTS ILLUSTRATED Swimsuit Success: 'I'm Really Proud Of Her'
POISON singer Bret Michaels has told Fox News that he could not be prouder of his eldest daughter, 18-year-old Raine Michaels, who was recently announced as one of six finalists in the 2019 Sports Illustrated model search competition. This means that she has a one-in-six chance of shooting a spread for this year's edition of the iconic magazine issue.
"As a father, I'm there from the cutting of the umbilical cord till right now, and I mean her mom too. I'm saying this, both of us, as parents, really, really proud of Raine," Michaels said. "She's done a great job. She is going to school at a really good university for broadcast journalism. She loves it. She's in Tennessee doing that."
He continued: "She's one of those people who's a kind soul. She's humble. At the same time, she's a fighter. I'm really proud of her. I'm thankful for the views and the votes. Sports Illustrated — because I'm a sports fanatic — I'm so proud of her because it's also a great magazine for them to get recognized. All of the girls that entered, I give credit to, and the six finalists, it's amazing."
Asked if he initially had any reservations about his daughter flaunting her figure for the magazine, Bret said: "I knew she wanted to model... You know they call it 'coming of age.' They're going into their own. She's 18 years old. She's making her decision on college, so you hope that you gave her the right skills and the right mindset to make the right decisions. That's all you can do and I'm there for her no matter what.
"No matter what happens in her life, I'll be there as a dad because you want to be a good provider and a good protector, and I also tell her the risks that come with it," he added, noting that "there's a lot of great people and people that are going to be behind her and great, and you're also going to get some people that aren't great people — whether they are trying to talk her into some bad contract or they're perverts or whatever they are, you know.
"She's going to have to deal with the good and the bad."
Raine and 13-year-old Jorja Bleu, along with their mom and Michaels's on-off love Kristi Gibson, appeared in the short-lived 2010 reality show "Bret Michaels: Life As I Know It".
Jorja Bleu co-wrote Bret's new single, "Unbroken", which was released on March 15. "She played piano on it and she sang the harmonies with me," Bret said about Jorja. "It was a great bonding experience. The song is about overcoming adversity."
Photo credit: Mark Mazzanti
Trump's Golan Fiasco
Recognizing the disputed territory won't help Israel. But it will reverberate all over the world.
By TAMARA COFMAN WITTES and ILAN GOLDENBERG
March 22, 2019
Tamara Cofman Wittes is a senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution.
Ilan Goldenberg is director of the Middle East Security Program at the Center for a New American Security. He previously worked at the Pentagon, State Department and Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
President Donald Trump announced his decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights on Twitter Thursday, sending a sudden thrill through the Israeli electorate just two weeks ahead of the election on April 9. Israel’s embattled prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, immediately welcomed the announcement – and so, helplessly, did Netanyahu’s election opponents.
Whatever the symbolic power of Trump’s recognition for Israelis – and it is symbolic, as the strategic 500 square-mile plateau has been under Israeli control since 1967, when Israeli troops seized it from Syria – his Golan move will have a fierce afterburn. It damages Israeli security and undermines American interests in the Middle East and beyond, while stirring a hornet’s nest that didn’t need stirring.
Netanyahu, facing voters for the fourth consecutive time in just two weeks, is in the fight of his political life. His re-election quest has run into two major roadblocks. The first is a looming indictment for multiple corruption charges -- Israel’s attorney general has already announced his intent to indict the prime minister. The second is the Blue-White Coalition, an unexpectedly strong challenge from a new electoral alliance headed by three former army chiefs of staff and a former finance minister. Only a decisive electoral victory and the chance to pass a law granting him immunity while in office might rescue Netanyahu from an ignominious fate.
Facing these challenges, Netanyahu has pulled out all the stops. He has used his bully pulpit to label the corruption investigation (by his handpicked attorney general) a witch hunt. He has brought even the most extreme parties under his wing – even Otzma Yehudit, widely condemned as racist within Israel and among American Jewish groups – with promises of ministerial portfolios. And he has relentlessly pressed the case that no one can match the respect he wins from world leaders – especially the one in Washington.
Rather than waiting for a dramatic Oval Office moment when Netanyahu visits Washington next week, Trump tweeted out the news Thursday afternoon. The sudden announcement caught fire in Israel and overshadowed a new corruption story about how a distant cousin of Netanyahu’s had bought the prime minister’s shares in a struggling steel company, giving him a suspiciously large profit for what by all indicators seemed like a failed investment.
Netanyahu raised the prospect of U.S. recognition in January, after years in which the issue had lain dormant. After all, Israel has held uncontested control of the Golan for five decades and its continued control there was a matter of exactly zero controversy in most of the world. The Syrian civil war seemed only to strengthen the case for Israeli control. But Trump’s decision to make U.S. approval -- not just of control but of sovereignty -- official has major negative consequences: for Israel, for Arab-Israeli diplomacy and the U.S. leadership role in that endeavor, and for broader U.S. foreign policy interests as well.
Let’s first look at Israel’s interests. In Syria, where another capricious policy-by-tweet undermined the already small U.S. leverage over a political settlement of the war, Trump’s move has now eliminated it completely. Syria’s President Bashar al Assad gets to claim victim status and argue that a country that has approved the permanent acquisition of its sovereign territory by a neighbor should not have any say in Syria’s future governance. Iran and Hezbollah, too, get a windfall: With Israel’s occupation of the Golan now sanctified by the “Great Satan,” they will claim more justification for terrorism and other military operations against Israel -- and it will be harder for the Arab states to back Washington in opposing them.
Israel has been managing a very delicate situation in Syria, winning limited Russian acquiescence for Israeli strikes designed to prevent Iranian entrenchment and weapons transfers to Hezbollah. Trump’s Golan gift to Netanyahu does not come with any additional military backup for Israel in handling its problems to the north, and may even prompt the Russians, under pressure from Assad, Iran, and Hezbollah, to seize this opportunity to further constrain Israel’s freedom of action in Syrian skies. Israel may thus have won a symbolic victory -- but when it comes to the real battle its generals are waging in Syria, they are on their own.
Another serious blow struck by Trump’s apparent policy shift is to the long-awaited peace plan being put together by White House advisers Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt. That’s because this move undermines the prospect of Arab regional cooperation on which their efforts seem to depend. After the 1967 war, the United Nations passed Security Resolution 242, which calls for Israel to withdraw from territories captured in that conflict as part of a just, comprehensive and lasting peace. This has governed Arab-Israeli diplomacy for nearly half a century. Indeed, UNSCR 242 is written into the preambles to both the Egyptian-Israeli and Jordanian-Israeli peace treaties.
Trump’s move raises the question of whether the U.S. stands by those terms of reference, the foundations of Arab-Israeli rapprochement and of U.S. sponsorship and leadership of Arab-Israeli peacemaking. There’s some contention over whether UNSCR 242 applies to the Golan Heights, where neither Syria nor Israel ever had internationally recognized borders. But there’s no question that key Arab governments will read Trump’s move as undermining the U.S. commitment to 242. Given the president’s action, how likely are other Arab states to take on faith any U.S. commitments made on behalf of Jared’s peace plan? How likely are Arab governments to invest in a U.S.-sponsored peace plan now, when Trump has just undermined four decades of U.S.-sponsored Arab-Israeli diplomacy?
This announcement also hurts the Palestinians. In the past two years, Trump “took Jerusalem off the table,” as he put it, closed the Palestinians’ mission in Washington and America’s mission to the Palestinians in Jerusalem, and cut off aid to Palestinian civil society and humanitarian needs. The Golan action now sends a stark new message to Palestinians: Give up on peace. Members of Netanyahu’s party, which Trump is brazenly boosting to re-election, are increasingly speaking about passing a law to annex Area C of the West Bank, which makes up 60 percent of the territory and is currently controlled by the Israel Defense Forces. Such a move would mean an effective end of the two-state solution, but Trump’s actions on the Golan signal he might be preparing to support it.
Finally, the Trump administration’s view on the Golan Heights contravenes not only U.N. resolutions on the Arab-Israeli conflict, but the United Nations Charter itself -- specifically, Article 2’s principles regarding the peaceful resolution of diplomatic disputes and the rejection of threats to the territorial integrity of member states. In conflict zones around the world, U.S. diplomacy has relied on these core principles to press other states to negotiate instead of fight, and to end wars that have cost lives and destabilized regions.
So the fallout from Trump’s abandonment of these principles will extend well beyond the Golan Heights. Take American opposition to Moscow’s annexation of Crimea—Trump now has no leg to stand on. Moscow can likewise call out American hypocrisy in its refusal to recognize the Russian-sponsored “independence” of Abkhazia and South Ossetia from the Republic of Georgia. Morocco and Algeria can now dismiss the U.N. mediator for the Western Sahara, whose work Trump’s administration has sought to bolster. Or what if Saudi Arabia waltzes into Qatar? If Washington stops upholding the core international principle opposing the acquisition of territory by force, we should expect more states to seize territory they covet from their neighbors.
This dark prospect also suggests that any future American president will face an enormous challenge in seeking to restore U.S. strength and project U.S. power in a post-Trump era. Republican or Democrat, his successor will need to cooperate with multilateral institutions and like-minded governments. By overturning decades of U.S. investment in multilateral tools as instruments for peace, Trump has just made that work much harder.
Chance to see northern lights in Wisconsin this weekendPOSTED 6:57 PM, MARCH 21, 2019, BY MEGAN POSPYCHALA
MILWAUKEE — It could be a memorable weekend for sky-gazers.
According to the Space Weather Prediction Center, Northeast Wisconsin will be in good position to see the northern lights both Friday, March 22 and Saturday, March 23.
WLUK reports the lights may be seen as far south as Chicago.
Want to see the northern lights? Weather experts say you should find a dark place, away from city lights, with an open view of the north.
NORTHERN LIGHTS: WHERE TO WATCH AURORA BOREALIS FORECAST TO REACH NEW YORK, WISCONSIN, WASHINGTON STATEBY KASHMIRA GANDER ON 3/22/19 AT 7:11 AM EDT
Sky watchers as far south as New York, Wisconsin and Washington state could be treated to the sight of the ethereal northern lights this weekend.
A moderate solar storm is expected to hit Earth on Saturday following a flare on Wednesday, according to the Space Weather Prediction Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA.) It is predicted to reach our planet at around 12 p.m. UTC on Saturday.
“This one is dense & strong so it could pack a decent punch!” tweeted Con Stoitsis, a columnist for Sky & Telescope.
NASA prediction models agree we have an Earth-directed solar storm that will impact around 12:00UTC March 23! This one is dense & strong so it could pack a decent punch! Expect GPS/Radio disruptions on Earth's nightside. Plus Aurora is possible down to mid-latitudes!
The NOAA predicts the phenomenon, also known as the aurora borealis, could illuminate the skies above Washington state, New York and Wisconsin over the weekend.
The sun constantly sends a stream of solar particles and energy toward the Earth in the form of solar wind. And when the star belches out electrified gas in what is known as a coronal mass ejection, these particles shoot toward our planet at high speeds.
Our planet’s magnetic field blocks most of the particles. But some will pass down Earth’s magnetic field lines at each pole and enter the atmosphere, where oxygen and nitrogen molecules give off light. The result is a brush of vibrant color that dances across the night sky, in colors ranging from icy blues to vibrant magentas and neon-glow greens.
When this occurs in the Northern Hemisphere it is known as the aurora borealis, while such an event in the Southern Hemisphere is called the aurora australis.
You don’t need any fancy equipment to see the glorious display. But those closest to the auroral oval have the best chance of seeing the northern lights.
According to the Canadian Space Agency, "Auroral ovals are usually centered around the Earth's magnetic poles but can expand during periods of intense solar activity. When this happens, more southerly regions of Canada see the northern lights, typically on the horizon towards the north."
Skies need to be clear in order for sky watchers to be wowed by the spectacle. Because the northern lights occur above the clouds, check the weather forecast in your area before going out. And head as far from the light pollution of cities as you can. Visibility can partly come down to chance—it’s easier to see the aurora during a new moon, as the shine of a full moon can render the aurora invisible.
The Canadian Space Agency also recommends watching the aurora closely, as it can move and dance rapidly without warning. And cast your gaze in all directions, not just the Northern Hemisphere, to enjoy the full effect.