Friday, August 18, 2017

Steve Forbes - Still A Good Man and Solid Thniker. Did Not Have What It Took To Be Nominated Much Less Elected.

“The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.”

     — Attributed to Ayn Rand, born Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum, 1905-1982, Russian-American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter.
Awesome.  A must listen:
Click above or here to watch this video
Teachers unions and other public school activists fight against them. Parents, teachers, and non-profit groups rally for them. What are they? Answer: Charter schools, and they are becoming a bigger part of the U.S. education system every year. Most states now utilize them to some degree. But what exactly are charter schools? And the question that most matters: are they good for students? Watch this week’s video to learn about this rapidly growing part of the U.S. education system.
This from a fellow memo reader I have never met who was asked to be added to my list by a mutual  friend. He is both a doctor and Jewish.(See below.)

I have  been  watching the news  very closely lately and  I have  made  several  observations:

1.  Politico-  a  left  sided  web site quoted  President Trump's  press conference  speech as :" they came at us with bats and clubs"  talking about the  left  wingers  attacking the  right wingers. The  people  at politico   tried  to  paint Trump as one of  the  right wingers  by using the work  "us".

Trump  actually said " they came at them with  clubs and  bats".. So again you can se  there is  fake news and no matter what  Trump says  , the  left  press will hit him hard and even distort what he said.

2.  I was watching  Squawk  Box 2  days  ago and  Andrew Sorkin one of the  hosts who is  almost a Communist ( he is also  Jewish)  was interviewing the CEO of Southern  Company.  He  tried to tell the CEO  and  even asked if  the CEO's  of  many  companies  felt threatened by Trump and were afraid of him. The CEO of   Southern company.told Sorkin he was dead  wrong and that there was no threat  from  Trump.

3. Again today  I was watching Squawk Box  (CNBC)  and Sorkin again was at it  attacking  a  Mr. Freiss  some  millionaire  businessman who was at a meeting in Jackson Hole  asking him if he  felt Trump  had  lost it and  was  not  good for business anymore. Freiss  told him  that he Sorkin was  dividing the country and that  Trump  was fine. Freiss also said   that  people inWashington D.C.  may think  trump is  all washed up but  he shouted back that  those of us  who live  out in the colonies  still support him fully.

4. Again today Sorkin was interviewing  McNeeley  the  former  CEO of Sun Microsystems  again  attacking  Trump and  asking if   the business men will no longer work with  Trump.  McNeeley  hammered back saying that Sorkin was all wrong and that the businessmen may on the outside  not be  supportive of Trump but   behind closed doors they absolutely would. He  really  nailed  Sorkin.

5. President  Trump  got  nailed   by the  press when he said that there were  also good  people on both sides  in Charlottersville.  The  press  said  how could he feel there were any good  people on the side with the  white  supremacist  and  Nazi. Well, what do you know.Yesterday, the New  York Times  posted a  picture and a story of a young man in his  20's  who is a  history  buff and not a  white supremacist or  Nazi who went  to Charlottesville  to  protest  against  taking down the  statue. He has  received  death threats. Again Trump was correct. Z---
Bannon banned from White House.  Not sure it will improve matters .  Mass media and Trump haters will now have to pick on someone else.

Will Trump eventually be forced into a plain vanilla cabinet?
You seldom hear about Steve Forbes unless you read his articles in Forbes Magazine.

I met him in Atlanta when he was running for the presidency.  I knew he would not get nominated but he had all the right ideas just not the looks, voice and personality to go with what is needed. (See 1 below.)
Trump is hated because he has tried to reverse the damage Obama has done and has not done it in a way that is "presidential" whatever the hell that means


The Medical Insurance Battle: Why GOP-Care Lost The Public

By Steve Forbes

WHY ARE CONGRESSIONAL Republicans flailing about on repealing and replacing Obamacare? Why has public opinion gone against them on an issue that was critical to the GOP's winning control of both the Senate and the House, not to mention the presidency? The law, passed more than seven years ago, had been immensely unpopular from the get-go.
Answer: The GOP, in an incredible blunder, let its opponents define the terms of debate. Suddenly, the issue became how many millions of people would be stripped of medical insurance. The public became convinced that the only real question for Republicans was how much misery they were going to inflict. The sick and the chronically ill would quickly find themselves without coverage and be forced to camp out in overcrowded emergency rooms, hoping for some help.

The GOP's prattling on about how many hundreds of billions of dollars it would rip out of the hide of Medicaid--money, moreover, that would be used to "pay" for tax cuts for the well-to-do--simply reinforced the public's perception that, bad as Obamacare was, it would be preferable to whatever the Republicans proposed. That's why every GOP health care bill polled worse than the Affordable Care Act. The mood became: Let's try to fix Obama's abomination as best we can rather than cruelly immiserate millions of our fellow citizens. The GOP became the party of Scrooge

The Democrats' assaults were mostly nonsense, but they stuck. Adding to the misconception was the "scoring" by the Congressional Budget Office, which hasn't made an accurate forecast in memory and which was stuffed with far-left liberals when the Democrats controlled Congress (all too typically, the GOP left them in place when it took over). Both the bill passed by the House and the legislation proposed by Senate leaders heaped on billions to make sure that those with chronic conditions weren't left out. Obama's vast expansion of Medicaid and the federal budgetary bribes to get states to go along with it (100% coverage until 2016, phasing down to 90% by 2020) were treated gingerly by Senate bill writers.
Even on this issue Democrats succeeded in getting some RINO (Republican in name only) governors to shill for them by mouthing their demagogic attacks.
Medicaid is the worst-designed health-insurance scheme ever devised by a free country: Spending is open-ended, yet outcomes for beneficiaries are awful. The only way to turn things around is to give governors the flexibility to design reforms that would improve coverage--30% of doctors now refuse to take on new Medicaid patients because reimbursements are low and paid out months later. Rhode Island, Indiana and other states have made some positive changes but had to battle Beltway bureaucrats to get the necessary "waivers" to do so.
Only days before a Senate vote did the White House hold an event at which some of the people who have been harmed by Obamacare appeared--and there are millions of them. Yet there was no major advertising or social media campaign to point out Obamacare's real-life horrors or to extol what the GOP was doing.
The P.R. battle was over before it began.
And don't count on the Republicans to do any better in the future.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

America 21017, Not A Happy Site. It Is Time For America To Wake Up To The Reality We Can Implode If We Continue On Our Path of Self-destruction.

The following was written by Alan Zimmerman, the president of Congregation Beth Israel in Charlottesville, VA. and I think it is worth reading and sharing. (See below.)

At Congregation Beth Israel in Charlottesville, VA, we are deeply grateful for the support and prayers of the broader Reform Jewish community. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of Heather Heyer and the two Virginia State Police officers, H. Jay Cullen and Berke Bates, who lost their lives on Saturday, and with the many people injured in the attack who are still recovering.
The loss of life far outweighs any fear or concern felt by me or the Jewish community during the past several weeks as we braced for this Nazi rally – but the effects of both will each linger.
On Saturday morning, I stood outside our synagogue with the armed security guard we hired after the police department refused to provide us with an officer during morning services. (Even the police department’s limited promise of an observer near our building was not kept — and note, we did not ask for protection of our property, only our people as they worshipped).
Forty congregants were inside. Here’s what I witnessed during that time.
For half an hour, three men dressed in fatigues and armed with semi-automatic rifles stood across the street from the temple. Had they tried to enter, I don’t know what I could have done to stop them, but I couldn’t take my eyes off them, either. Perhaps the presence of our armed guard deterred them. Perhaps their presence was just a coincidence, and I’m paranoid. I don’t know.
Several times, parades of Nazis passed our building, shouting, “There's the synagogue!” followed by chants of “Seig Heil” and other anti-Semitic language. Some carried flags with swastikas and other Nazi symbols.
A guy in a white polo shirt walked by the synagogue a few times, arousing suspicion Was he casing the building, or trying to build up courage to commit a crime? We didn’t know. Later, I noticed that the man accused in the automobile terror attack wore the same polo shirt as the man who kept walking by our synagogue; apparently it’s the uniform of a white supremacist group. Even now, that gives me a chill.
When services ended, my heart broke as I advised congregants that it would be safer to leave the temple through the back entrance rather than through the front, and to please go in groups.
This is 2017 in the United States of America.
Later that day, I arrived on the scene shortly after the car plowed into peaceful protesters. It was a horrific and bloody scene.
Soon, we learned that Nazi websites had posted a call to burn our synagogue. I sat with one of our rabbis and wondered whether we should go back to the temple to protect the building. What could I do if I were there? Fortunately, it was just talk – but we had already deemed such an attack within the realm of possibilities, taking the precautionary step of removing our Torahs, including a Holocaust scroll, from the premises.
Again: This is in America in 2017.
At the end of the day, we felt we had no choice but to cancel a Havdalah service at a congregant’s home. It had been announced on a public Facebook page, and we were fearful that Nazi elements might be aware of the event. Again, we sought police protection – not a battalion of police, just a single officer – but we were told simply to cancel the event.
Local police faced an unprecedented problem that day, but make no mistake, Jews are a specific target of these groups, and despite nods of understanding from officials about our concerns – and despite the fact that the mayor himself is Jewish – we were left to our own devices. The fact that a calamity did not befall the Jewish community of Charlottesville on Saturday was not thanks to our politicians, our police, or even our own efforts, but to the grace of God.
And yet, in the midst of all that, other moments stand out for me, as well.
John Aguilar, a 30-year Navy veteran, took it upon himself to stand watch over the synagogue through services Friday evening and Saturday, along with our armed guard. He just felt he should.
We experienced wonderful turnout for services both Friday night and Saturday morning to observe Shabbat, including several non-Jews who said they came to show solidarity (though a number of congregants, particularly elderly ones, told me they were afraid to come to synagogue).
A frail, elderly woman approached me Saturday morning as I stood on the steps in front of our sanctuary, crying, to tell me that while she was Roman Catholic, she wanted to stay and watch over the synagogue with us. At one point, she asked, “Why do they hate you?” I had no answer to the question we’ve been asking ourselves for thousands of years.
At least a dozen complete strangers stopped by as we stood in front the synagogue Saturday to ask if we wanted them to stand with us.
And our wonderful rabbis stood on the front lines with other Charlottesville clergy, opposing hate.
Most attention now is, and for the foreseeable future will be, focused on the deaths and injuries that occurred, and that is as it should be. But for most people, before the week is out, Saturday’s events will degenerate into the all-to-familiar bickering that is part of the larger, ongoing political narrative. The media will move on — and all it will take is some new outrageous Trump tweet to change the subject.
We will get back to normal, also. We have two b’nai mitzvah coming up, and soon, Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur will be upon us, too.
After the nation moves on, we will be left to pick up the pieces. Fortunately, this is a very strong and capable Jewish community, blessed to be led by incredible rabbis. We have committed lay leadership, and a congregation committed to Jewish values and our synagogue. In some ways, we will come out of it stronger – just as tempering metals make them tougher and harder.
This was sent to me by a dear friend, my most ardent critic and a fellow memo reader.  He just returned from Europe.  (See 1 below.)
The market is being roiled by the disintegration of our nation's political scene, The Fed's inability to decide what to do about interest rates, because of low inflation, the fear that our economy cannot recover in a more boisterous manner and the desire on the part of a large segment of our citizenry to be riled over Trump's dysfunctioning White House.

The mass media are certainly doing everything they can to contribute by their incessant beating up on Trump's every word, every action etc.

I do not believe corporate earnings can overcome the degree of hatred towards Trump so I see the market having a downward bias until such time as Republicans get their act together, Trump is able to get some meaningful legislation passed and calmer, wiser heads begin to dominate.  Lamentably I do not see this happening any time soon.  (See 2 below.)

Today I bought a new TV to replace the one that got blitzed by a storm.  I have really not been listening to much TV, even though we have sets throughout the house. I have been doing a lot of reading instead.

I have also read every e mail I have been sent by those who are critical and those in agreement and responded to them all.

I understand the messages both are delivering and I understand their views and even their motivations etc.

America is going through another wrenching period over its history.  I believe what Henninger wrote, in 2 below, has a lot of merit and commend it to your reading.

As for myself, I have nothing really new to say.  I believe, like with sharks and other large fish, suckers have attached themselves to Trump and he has not dealt with them as well as many would like but then, I understand, nothing he says or does will satisfy those who hate him and yet they never raised an eyebrow when his predecessor acted in much the same manner. Obama never decried Black Panthers holding clubs outside a voting booth for instance.

The mass media have made their contribution to the inflammation the body politic is experiencing because they too hate Trump and want to sell ads and increase air time and by keeping the nation in a state of fervor they assist Democrats and stay true to their mistaken belief they are defending America and keeping us on a righteous path..

I continue to believe the mass media have lost their way.  They have become irresponsible and no longer deserve their former prominence as a worthy and respected fourth estate. That is both sad and dangerous because most still receive their information from the mass media.

Where all of this rancor leads us is far beyond my ability to predict.  All I know, until cooler heads prevail, America is going to stagger around consumed by hate. I do not believe we will put Humpty back together any time soon if at all. The fissures are too deep, the forces of discord too powerful and the protectors of the people no longer feel a high level of obligation because they have been pummeled by Obama and those who believe they were free to run with the ball he threw them.

I am criticized, the most, for leveling a lot of the blame for where we are at Obama's feet but he sought to transform us and he did and I believe we are paying the price of his success of dividing rather than healing. As I have noted in previous memos his past, his radical relationships and his chip on his shoulder never allowed him to fully accord with the nation he led for 8 years.

Trump's election is the consequence of the post Obama frustration caused by his failed foreign policy initiatives, his domestic failures rife with accumulated lies, use of federal agencies to intimidate and his weakening of our stature and enormous expansion of our deficit with nothing to show for it.

Meanwhile those who are committed to protecting Obama's legacy remain relentless and block Trump at every turn. (See 3 below.)

That said, from a conservative view, big government, cumbersome government, failing government is here to stay.  The best that can be hoped for is better management of government to keep its failures and debt creation from collapsing and melting the whole ball of wax.

Trump's economic agenda is still one I embrace.  It is an aggressive attempt to bring government down to a more manageable level so "Big Brother"  will not continue to drain the life blood benefits capitalism still offers the private sector from which all blessings flow. Were it not for capitalism and American ingenuity there would be no Republic because no economic system could support the cost and inefficiency of Congress.

By attacking and harassing Trump, pillorying him and impeding everything he wants to do to revive America the cost to our nation is beyond belief and rising. Our adversaries have to be licking their chops as they prepare plans and carry out their onslaught against western democracies. Meanwhile, Americans act as if we can continue our self-destruction and pay no price because we are who we are. United we might survive, divided we surely shall fall.

I understand the backlash feelings many are beginning to embrace because of extended privilege due to past sins but allowing  the worst elements of our society to speak for us , to ascend in control of our streets and be allowed to spew hatred is not the answer.  It is not the America we all know which has addressed its past and righted the ship in the direction of our constitutional principles.

The key is to get the economy growing , increase the numbers of the middle class, provide hope that upward mobility is within the grasp of those willing to work hard and take advantage of the opportunities that flow from a higher GDP and matters will settle down as they always do.  This is why I fervently believe those who impede Trump, for all his faults, are the biggest threat to our nation and this is why I lay much of the blame at the anti-Trumpers and fascistic movements that want to bring this nation down.

Wake up America before it is too late.
1)Dear President Trump: Aftermath of Charlottesville, Part II

By David Harris, AJC CEO
Dear President Trump,
I wrote on Monday morning urging you to reconsider your exceptionally ill-chosen words of Saturday – "on many sides" – following the tragic events in Charlottesville.

Shortly afterward, and I’m sure unrelated to my plea, you did so, or at least seemed to do so. I felt your new take on Charlottesville may have been somewhat devoid of passion and authenticity, but at least it was a start in the right direction, however late it might have been.

But barely 24 hours passed before you stood up again and reverted to your Saturday thinking, leaving Monday’s words in the dust. Indeed, your newest comments have rightly provoked outrage and dismay in wide swaths of the country, including within the Republican Party.

When I was a visiting faculty member, leading a course on the politics of memory, I asked my graduate students what were the most important safeguards against outbursts of deadly hatred and intolerance.

To a person, their first answer was the tone set by political leadership, beginning at the very top. They also mentioned the roles of religious and civic leaders, the media, schools, and, of course, families, but they kept returning to the first category, citing both positive and negative examples in history.

Sadly, the inescapable message received yesterday from your words will only inflame feelings in this country, drive a deeper wedge among Americans, and convince many that you really do see a moral equivalence between white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and Ku Klux Klan members, on the one hand, and those who oppose them on the other hand.

Mr. President, there is no moral equivalence, nor can there be – not when one side wishes to celebrate the racist, secessionist Confederacy and chant "Jews will not replace us," and the other side represents the voices of inclusion and diversity; nor when one side resorts to violence, leading to the murder of a young woman and injuries to 19 others, and the other side is the target.

As our nation’s top elected official, you are meant to be our moral leader-in-chief and our unifier-in-chief. Yet, sadly, you have abdicated both roles. Your remarks of Saturday and yesterday make that painfully clear, not to mention the five days that have passed without a visit to the family of Heather Heyer or your absence from her funeral today.

I fully understand that hatred was not born in this country as a result of your presidency. Indeed, in the decade of the 1990s, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) led a national campaign with the theme "No one is born hating."

We sponsored many advertisements in newspapers and helped build coalitions to stand against violence in the name of bigotry.

Here’s an excerpt from our statement in The New York Times on August 29, 1999:

"Enough is enough. Hatred is spreading – with fatal consequences. It struck in Illinois and Indiana over Independence Day weekend. African Americans, Asian Americans, and Jews were the victims. It struck again at a Jewish community center in Los Angeles, wounding five Jews, including children, and killing a Filipino American postal worker… Action is necessary now. As a start, Congress must hold full-scale hearings on groups that preach hatred and glorify violence… Hate groups must be fought through education, law, and political will."

So, no, it’s not a new phenomenon in the current era, but what is new is the delayed, hesitant, and contradictory reaction of our nation’s leader, when precisely the opposite response is so desperately needed.

I might add that those Congressional hearings are once again urgently needed as well.

And I also understand that violence and intimidation are not just tools of the far right, but have been used by the far left as well. Coming from parents who experienced the full force of both extremes in Europe, I don’t ignore one at the expense of the other.

But in the case of Charlottesville, unlike what happened at a baseball field in Virginia or at UC Berkeley, this was not about the far left, with its violent elements, setting the stage, but rather those who want to separate us by racial identity, create a hierarchy among us, and take a page from the Third Reich in how to deal with the Jews – which, presumably, applies every bit as much to your family today as it does to mine.

Mr. President, for many Americans, finding a path forward that narrows the differences and builds greater cohesion may seem like an impossible task. Yet as long as you are the occupant of the Oval Office, surely it needs to be among your foremost obligations, together with protecting our national security.

For the sake of us all, I can only hope that wise heads, who are determined to set us on that path, will prevail in the weeks and months to come. The national stakes couldn’t be higher.

David Harris
2)The Politics of Pointlessness

Charlottesville may be a prototype of a politics drifting away from normalcy.

By Daniel Henninger
Charlottesville was a warning. The warning is that America’s politics is steadily disconnecting from reality. Our politics is starting to seem psychotic.
Generally people get into politics to accomplish something concrete or achievable—the passage of a piece of legislation or of identifiable public policies whose purpose is to make things better. In a word, progress.
The right and the left have disagreed for centuries on what works, but they at least shared a belief that the point of their political activity was to accomplish something real.


Charlottesville was a political riot. Is Charlottesville the future?
Some may say the Charlottesville riot was the lunatic fringe of the right and left, with no particular relevance to what falls in between. But I think Charlottesville may be a prototype of a politics that is drifting away from traditional norms of behavior and purpose.

Street protest has become the politics du jour. Groups form constantly in the streets to chant slogans. America’s campuses live amid perpetual protest.
The protests no doubt are based in belief or sentiment of some sort, but it is more often than not difficult to recognize any political goal normally associated with conservatism, liberalism or progressivism. Much of it looks like acting out or pleas for attention.
In January the weekend that Donald Trump was inaugurated, I watched a group of protesters sit down and block traffic at a main intersection in Santa Barbara, Calif. It seemed like a play date. The cops watched like bemused adults.
Charlottesville wasn’t a play date. It was a pitched battle between two organized mobs—the white nationalist groups on the right and the badly underreported Antifa, or “antifascist,” groups on the hard-as-stone left. Stories about Antifa’s organized violence are trickling out now, but there is no conceivable journalistic defense for having waited so long to inform the public about this dangerous movement.
The phenomenon that enables politics without purpose is the internet. It is the group-organizing tool for psychologically disassociated young people on the left and on the right, like James Alex Fields Jr. , who allegedly drove his car into a crowd, killing Heather Heyer. She won’t be the last casualty.
Mr. Fields makes me think of the lone-wolf jihadists here and in Europe who explode out of the general population in a homicidal rage. These are people who sit endlessly in front of a computer screen, brainwashing themselves with online propaganda until they snap to make a “political statement.” The internet—websites, social media, message boards—is elevating political paranoia and delegitimizing normal politics.
Earlier this week, Britain’s head of counterterrorism policing, Mark Rowley, described the new reality: “What we’re wrestling with today is something which is more of a cultish movement where they are putting out propaganda and saying ‘anybody and everybody, act in our name and you’re part of our terrorist campaign.’ ”
But, the argument goes, these behavioral extremes have no relevance to or effect on the rest of public life. I’m not so sure. There have been a series of events lately that suggest the most basic requirements of intellectual or political seriousness are losing ground inside institutions that once provided ballast against the extremes.
The Google firing of James Damore was one of these big events. Its meaning was that the goal of diversity, whatever its original intent, has become mostly a totem. Mr. Damore was the little boy in the folk tale “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” who shouts, “But he doesn’t have anything on!” Google’s emperors banished James Damore for unmasking their diversity conceit.
Also certain to enter the era’s annals of anti-politics is the Republican party’s health-care meltdown.
All the endless hours that pour into political organizing, fundraising and campaigning are meant to win elections and then exercise political power. After winning control of Congress in the 2016 election, Republicans degenerated into what was essentially a traffic-blocking protest—against their own majority!
A young person new to politics and paying attention to what the Republicans did with ObamaCare reform, or to the Democrats’ content-free “resistance,” could reasonably conclude Congress is no longer about politics, but about something else. TV face-time or maybe Twitter , but not politics.
Traditional politics is being overtaken by a cult of self-referencing. From the nonstop street protests to what is going on in Washington—everything now is just a selfie.
Amid this torrent, an odd paradox emerges: People are consuming more content and detail about politics than ever, and more people than ever are saying, “I have no idea what is going on.” Someone is at fault here, and it is not the confused absorbers of information.
Charlottesville is being pounded into the national psyche this week as a paroxysm of white nationalism. On current course, the flight from politics is going to look like rational behavior.
3)The ‘Resistance’ Goes Lower

Green groups are attacking staffers merely for working in Trump’s government.

By Kimberley A. Strassel
In a better world, Americans would never hear the name Samantha Dravis. She wouldn’t be pictured on the front page of the New York Times or added to environmentalist “watch lists.”
This is no knock on Ms. Dravis, who is a talented attorney. Rather, it’s an acknowledgment that in the grand scheme of the federal government, she’s one of hundreds upon hundreds of “staffers.” As associate administrator for policy at the Environmental Protection Agency, she didn’t need Senate confirmation. She’s no cabinet secretary and never chose a public role.
But in today’s anti- Trump “resistance,” that counts for nothing. The left lost the election, lost the argument, and is losing President Obama’s precious legacy. Its response is a scorched-earth campaign against not only EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, but anyone who works for him.
Most vicious has been the retribution against Mr. Pruitt for his work to undo Obama-era climate rules. Environmentalists and Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse have ginned up an investigation at the Oklahoma Bar Association into whether Mr. Pruitt lied during his Senate confirmation. He testified that he didn’t use private email for work while serving as Oklahoma’s attorney general. Then out came a handful of emails, over years, sent to Mr. Pruitt’s private address. This is hardly Hillary Clinton behavior, yet Mr. Pruitt is having to pay for a personal attorney to fight the charges. The activists’ stated goal: disbarment.
Meanwhile, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is suing the EPA for documents as part of a laughable claim that Oklahoma’s past lawsuits against the agency mean Mr. Pruitt has too many “conflicts of interest” to make policy. California has no authority whatever to arbitrate such things. The federal Hatch Act sets out the rules surrounding conflicts, and the EPA’s ethics officer (a career staffer) has said Mr. Pruitt is well within that law. The suit is simply Mr. Becerra’s excuse to delegitimize Mr. Pruitt.
High-ranking appointees have always been demonized, but what makes this environmentalist campaign different is its purposeful extension of intimidation tactics to anyone willing to serve in the Trump administration. Political staffers have been put on notice that they may be watched, smeared and harassed, putting future job prospects at risk.
Ms. Dravis is tasked with reviewing the EPA’s current rules to ensure that they aren’t duplicative, that they live up to cost-benefit analyses, etc. The Obama administration, for the record, did the same sort of review. But Mr. Obama’s officials were never targeted like this.

Time For Some Humor.

Blacks, who were never slaves, are fighting whites, who were never Nazis, over a Confederate statue erected by southern Democrats because now Democrats can't stand their own history anymore......yet somehow it's Trumps fault!
Israel's Navy is small but important. (See 1 below.)
My friend and fellow memo reader, Ron Dolinsky, believes as I do.  Do not stay silent but also do not fight hate with hate. (See 2 below.)
More from Tobin regarding Trump and our bifurcated society. (See 3 below.)


The best response to hate. (See 3a below.)

The news lately has been heavy.  Humor is a good antidote. (See 4 below.)

The changing face of the Israel Navy

By Anna Ahronheim

Israeli warship
An Israeli warship arrives at an Israeli navy base in the Red Sea resort city of Eilat July 15, 2009.
(photo credit:REUTERS)
Some 30 meters underground in the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv sits the Navy War Room, whence senior officers can see every wave crashing on the nation’s shores and every ship and plane in or over its territorial waters.
The Israel Navy is small compared to other IDF corps, and it has a large territory to protect since the expansion of the country’s Mediterranean exclusive economic zone (EEZ) from 40 miles to 150 miles four years ago, a senior naval officer said on Tuesday.
“The expansion of the EEZ has changed the face of the navy,” the officer said before showing The Jerusalem Post the Naval War Room.
The expansion is also a “significant challenge” when the navy must use everything at its disposal to gather intelligence and keep the nation’s waters safe from any threat, including working with the air and ground forces, he added.
The navy is also tasked with securing the natural gas drilling rigs that are in Israel’s EEZ, clear targets for enemies to the north. The IDF believes that Hezbollah in Lebanon has long-range missiles that can hit the rigs, which fuel much of the electricity used in Israel.
Hezbollah is a “clear and major enemy” that continues to grow in terms of battlefield experience and its arsenal of advanced weaponry coming from Iran, senior naval officers told the Post.
Due to the threat posed by Hezbollah’s arsenal of Grad rockets and other, longer-range, projectiles, the navy is reported to have changed the design of the Sa’ar-6 corvette warships that are currently being manufactured for Israel in Germany to have two Iron Dome short-range defensive missile launchers instead of one.
Israel is economically dependent on the sea and has recently began to upgrade its entire combat fleet with Sa’ar-6 corvettes and Dolphin 2-class submarines, the largest submarines to have been built in Germany since World War II. The existing Sa’ar-5 and Sa’ar-4.5 ships are being upgraded with the integration of new radars and electronic warfare systems. In November, the navy received three new Super Dvora Mk III-class patrol boats.
While the threat posed by Hezbollah remains the main focus of the navy and of the IDF in general, that posed by Islamic State to the south is just as real.
With shared interests in fighting Islamic State, Israel has in the past carried out drills in order to maintain force preparedness, and continues to have good cooperation with the Egyptians.
“The Egyptians are doing a really good job in fighting Daesh [ISIS]. They understand the importance of Sinai and how it can have an impact not only on tourism but also on the Gaza Strip,” a senior officer with knowledge of international cooperation in the navy told the Post.
“The threat posed by waterborne attacks from Sinai is a major threat,” he continued, stressing that while “it is different from rockets striking one of our ships, they won’t stop trying and we must keep it in our mind that they are capable. The group is under pressure in [its capital in the Syrian city of] Raqqa and they will need to release that pressure somewhere.”
In the Naval War Room, the senior officer told the Post that the navy has in recent years understood that sea-based terrorist attacks can also come from under the water.
During Operation Protective Edge in 2014, five Hamas frogmen (naval commandos) tried to infiltrate Kibbutz Zikim before they were engaged and killed by the IDF. In the three years since the war, Hamas has significantly expanded its naval commando unit with a reported 1,500 frogmen.
“The navy is 100% concerned about underwater threats, both on the northern border with Lebanon and from Gaza,” he said, explaining that this was not the case three or four years ago. “The state-of-mind of the navy has changed. In the past we didn’t think that an underwater threat existed, but now we do and we are fully prepared.”
In 2015, the navy began deploying dozens of sensors from a new system named Aqua Shield that can detect and report suspicious underwater movement. The sensors were placed on the sea floor near the Gaza Strip and Lebanon’s water borders with Israel.
The navy has also placed greater emphasis on training for underwater infiltrations and in the beginning of August its Salvage and Underwater Missions Unit held a wide-ranging, two-week drill in Haifa dubbed “Noble Melinda” with counterparts from the US and France.
The three navies drilled scenarios involving naval mines, underwater demolitions and sea-based terrorist attacks. The exercises also involved the use of antitank weaponry.
It was the first time that the French were invited to take part in the annual exercise, which for the past two decades only saw Israel and the US take part. According the senior officer with knowledge of international cooperation in the navy, the French have increasingly docked in Israeli ports and for the past two years have even surpassed the Americans in visiting Israel.
“We share intelligence, knowledge and drill with the French,” the senior officer told the Post, adding that the navy is “very happy” with the increase of French visits.
But it’s not only the French who are sharing experience and knowledge with the Israel Navy.
According to senior naval officers, the civil war in Syria and other regional challenges such as Islamic State, and the ongoing discoveries of offshore energy are making the eastern Mediterranean more interesting to Israel’s allies.
Several dozen ships from countries such as France, the United States, India, Great Britain and Italy have docked in Israeli naval ports over the past year, carrying out drills with the Israel Navy and coming ashore for cultural excursions.
But there are of course strong navies that officials do not foresee any increased cooperation with.
With fighting raging in Syria, the Russian Navy has increased its presence in the area over the past few years. Israeli officials have stated that while the navy does not plan to expand any sort of cooperation with the Russian Navy, there is clear communication between the two, for safety reasons.
Another regional power, Turkey, and Israel normalized ties last year after a six-year rupture that began when Ankara broke off relations with Jerusalem following a raid by Israel Navy commandos on the Mavi Marmara protest ship trying to break the blockade of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. Ten pro-Palestinian Turks were killed after they attacked the commandos. The two countries used to participate in annual joint navy and air force drills, but following the downgrading of ties Jerusalem turned instead to Greece and the Greek Cypriots instead for exercises of air, sea and ground forces.
“The Greeks are a major and natural strategic partner,” the senior international cooperation officer said, adding that “someone had to fill the empty spot when we stopped doing drills with the Turks.”
Though the IDF may also want to work with the Turkish Navy, officials don’t see that happening.
By Ron Dolinsky
Charlottesville was an orchestrated plot by subversive's who dominate the progression faction of the Democrat party, actually most of the Democrat party. There will be more of these white supremacist PR rallies, which could have been predictable, and will be an opportunity for the radical left under the guise of resistance to racism to use racism to try to squash the first amendment rights of the so-called white supremacists, as well as any group of "white" people who oppose their agenda, and support Trump's agenda. We must not under estimate what the subversives are willing to do to achieve their ends. The governor of Virginia, who plans to run for the presidency, and the Charlottesville mayor allowed the two groups to create a riot by withholding police control before and during the confrontation. Well that was just what the media wanted. 

If you want your country and the constitution to survive this onslaught you CAN'T be a bystander. Use Facebook, Twitter, emails, and phone calls to like-minded people and encourage them to do the same. These ARE the best weapons to fire the bullets of the truth. Then inundate media outlets with a strong statement opposing any activity by the anarchists to attempt to deny anybody in their free-speech rights at rallies and on college campuses.  The cockroaches are a relatively small number but they are enabled by progressives/Democrats that have been brainwashed for decades. 

Trump’s Moral Equivalence Trap

The moral bankruptcy of the ‘many sides’ argument.

Hate and terrorism don’t lend themselves to nuance. That’s why those seeking to parse President Trump’s various statements about what happened in Charlottesville, Va., in such a way as to validate his claim that the violence there was the fault of “many sides” or that there were “very fine people” among both those protesting a plan to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee and the counter-protesters are deeply wrong.
Even if there were some violently inclined left-wingers present in that college town that weekend, the correct response to a torch-light procession of neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members chanting anti-Semitic and racist slogans, followed by a vehicular terrorist attack that claimed the life of an innocent counter-protester can never be to assert moral equivalence between the two sides in Charlottesville. (The president disingenuously denied in an early morning tweet today that he had made such a moral equivalence.)
We live in an increasingly bifurcated society in which left and right have ceased viewing the other side as fellow citizens and see them instead as trying to destroy their liberties. In such an atmosphere, rational thinking disappears and is replaced by a willingness to demonize opponents answer any argument by pointing to bad behavior by opponents. Politics therefore becomes a form of warfare a zero-sum game in which either giving or receiving quarter from the enemy is both weakness and a betrayal.
Trump’s unwillingness to consistently single out neo-Nazis, the KKK or assorted alt-right extremists for opprobrium — even when they are clearly the guilty parties as they were in Charlottesville — is explained by some on the left as proof that he sympathizes with them. Trump is no anti-Semite or Nazi but, like many on the right, he thinks the liberal media establishment won’t tell the truth about left-wing extremism and is out to smear him by claiming alt-right haters were more than a tiny fraction of the nearly 63 million who voted for him. That’s why he instinctively rebels against efforts to get him to play the role of national healer since he views such pieties as surrender to a liberal narrative that is implicitly aimed at delegitimizing his presidency. The same reason explains why his fans dismiss all critiques of his behavior no matter how egregious it might have been.
But to understand what motivates him and others reflexively responding to Charlottesville by pointing out bad things the left has done is not to excuse it.
What happened in Virginia was started by far-right groups that have embraced a symbol of the Confederacy as an excuse to vent racism and anti-Semitism. They were the ones who organized the rally and staged a neo-Nazi parade. That and the subsequent murderous car attack render irrelevant the discussion about the merits of statue removal or whether some left-wing anarchists or Antifa (anti-fascist) members present among the counter-protestors might have also behaved badly.
There’s nothing wrong with Trump or anyone else calling out left-wing political violence and anti-Semitism. Both are, as we have seen in numerous recent instances and the rise of the BDS movement, real and deserve to be denounced. It is equally true that the debate about whether to purge public squares of Confederate statues raises questions about whether revisionists will demand the same treatment for slave owners like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson or even manifest destiny advocates like Theodore Roosevelt. Personally, I think a rational society is capable of distinguishing between monuments honoring patriotism and those erected to bolster racism but these are not taboo topics.
But when faced with Klan/Nazi incitement and violence, any hesitation in singling out those responsible for Charlottesville or efforts to change the subject are morally bankrupt.
In other contexts, most conservatives have little trouble viewing hate and terror with moral clarity. When friends of Israel read accounts of Palestinian terror that rationalize murder, ignore incitement or places the victims and the Israeli police and army seeking to stop the violence on the same moral plane with those perpetrating it, they rightly cry foul.
When Jews are slaughtered for being Jews, we have no patience for those who want to contextualize the discussion with talk about alleged Israeli wrongdoing in order to distract us from what has happened.
The same rules should apply to Charlottesville. When it comes to Nazi hate and violence, there should be no talk of “many sides” or the existence of allegedly “very fine people” who stand with the haters.
Jonathan S. Tobin is opinion editor of and a contributing writer for National Review. His column appears monthly. Follow him on Twitter at: @jonathans_tobin.

The Best Response to Hate

To fight or not to fight – that is the question.
A diverse variety of responses have been offered to the horrifying events in Charlottesville this past weekend.  We are a diverse nation, and while certain truths are deemed to be self-evident by the vast majority of us,  even amongst those who hold fast to the principles of liberty,  equality, and tolerance,  there are still variances in belief on how to assure and protect those virtues. 
But before we discuss the issues on which we disagree, it is worthwhile to begin with the things that the majority of Americans can commonly accept and admit about Charlottesville.
1) The perpetrator of the car ramming is a murderer and a domestic terrorist and should be prosecuted to the full measure of the law.
2) The victims deserve our prayers.
3) White supremacy is a racist ideology.  
4) It is important to identify hate groups and to make clear that their beliefs and tactics are unAmerican.
5) There is far too much hatred and violence in our country today, and we need to do something to de-escalate the current situation.
From this foundation of common sentiment, we can now identify some areas where we are less in sync.  First, there is a clear partisan divide when it comes to the roots and causes of the quagmire in which we find ourselves. 
The left will assign blame to Trump's own feelings of white supremacy, or  at the very least to his failure to distance himself  from the alt right.   The right will point to Obama's promotion of identity politics  and his stoking of the flames of antipathy between people of color and caucasians.
These are matters of opinion, and though each side will insist on its facts and obvious truths, it is futile to try to convince one another .  People are entitled to their perspectives, and the goal of productive dialogue is not to convert the other, but to hear the other and to consider our beliefs and opinions in the context of the new information that the other brings to our attention.  Perhaps that information will strengthen our convictions, or  it is possible that it will challenge us to reevaluate and reformulate our position. 
What is absolutely unhelpful is blaming and shaming those who have no affiliation to violent extremist groups but who have voted differently from ourselves.   Blame  forces the other into defensiveness and a further entrenchment in his/her position.  If we are genuinely looking to affect change, then blame is the last thing we should be offering to one another.
A more productive question than who is to blame is how we should address the situation now in order to de-escalate the current tensions.  What,  quite simply, is the most effective response to hate? 
Unfortunately, this is not so easy to agree  upon either.
The most natural and instinctive response to hate is reciprocal  hate.   Biologically, we are programmed to respond to aggression with defensive  force.  It makes sense.  But it does not necessarily make progress. 
Nevertheless, there are many at the moment who insist that we must fight back.  We must raise our voices to drown out the chants of those who scream and shout and threaten.  We must display the strength of our will and the extent of our conviction.  We must declare the inherent evil of those who declare us inherently evil.  Let them come, we’ll be ready for them! 
Yet others warn that this is precisely what hate groups want from us.  Such a response,  they will argue, is evidence that the incitement  of the extremists  is working like a charm.  They’re calling for a fight, and we’re responding with a hearty acceptance of their offer. 
But what else are we to do?  Shall we stand down and allow them to trample us in our cowed submission?  Shall we let them march forward and bolster their ranks while we pyrrhically refuse to sink to their level?  Does it benefit us to be more evolved if we will soon be overrun?
What are we to do if fighting feeds their bloodlust and passivity enables their incursion?
There is a third alternative that negotiates the fine line between violence and inaction. "Peace,” wrote psychologist and famed global practitioner of conflict resolution Marshall Rosenberg,  “requires something far more difficult than revenge or merely turning the other cheek;  it requires empathizing with the fears and unmet needs that provide the impetus for people to attack each other.”
Our task, Rosenberg challenges us, is to actively engage those who hate, but not with brute force similar to that with which they engage and provoke us.   While they present us with fists and aggression, we receive them with ears and compassion.
It sounds almost ludicrous doesn’t it?  It certainly sounds dangerous and dubious.   How can we possibly respond to hate with patience and empathy?  How is that any less weak and passive than ignoring their provocation and/or turning the other cheek?  Aside of the risks involved, why should we believe for a moment that this type of response is any more effective than those we have already considered?
Perhaps we can accept the testimony of Arno Michaelis, a former Neo-Nazi who founded one of the most violent white supremacist gangs in the midwest before he left his former life behind to seek a new path and rescue others from violent extremism:
“My life changed because people demonstrated the courage and inner peace necessary to defy my hostility rather than reflect it,” Michaelis writes.  “People who I had claimed to hate - a Jewish boss, a Lesbian supervisor, black and Latino co-workers  - refused to lower themselves to my level, instead choosing to model the way that we human beings should treat each other. Examples of kindness, compassion and forgiveness changed the course of my life.”
Those who hate are mired in pain, Michaelis attests.   They are subjects of their upbringing and their difficult life experiences.  As hard as it is to admit in this moment of shock and outrage,  these are people like the rest of us.  They are not animals any more than we, who they accuse of being subhuman, are animals.
While we are justified in our rage, anger and violence do not benefit us or make our society more safe.  On the contrary,  as Michaelis asserts about his life as a white supremacist,  “we lived for violent opposition. We thrived on it. Violence of any sort, no matter how it may be rationalized, is the bread of hatred.”  On the other hand,  “human warmth and compassion,” he writes, “has the capability to crush everything the “alt-right” is about.”
Within the past days there has been an effort to identify the people who marched with the alt-right in Charlottesville, to post their names and make them accountable to their friends, families and employers.  It seems to be a reasonable action – after all, those who assembled did not hide their identities and should not mind being identified.  Furthermore, they should know that there are consequences to their actions.
But Michaelis responded to this intiative with a rare sensibility that reflects both his empathy and his pragmatism:
“Be mindful that people with nothing to lose are the most dangerous.   Someone getting fired and publicly humiliated can easily become the next Dylann Roof or Wade Page. I'd be all for this if it led people to dialogue,  learning,  growth,  and ultimately,  love.   If this just leads to punishment it will only make things worse. You can't punish the suffering out of people.”
We all suffer.  We all have our biases and our imperfections.  Some of us are more damaged and wounded than others, and some of us inflict more damage and pain than others.  Our goal at this time of crisis must be to mend the rifts that are threatening to tear us apart.  The anger and hatred that is mounting throughout the country may be countered by more of the same, but it will only be diminished and resolved by something quite different.
It is difficult to transcend our innate emotions, particularly in the heat of passion and a moment of great tension and trepidation.  But it is time to hold ourselves to a higher standard and call forth our higher potential. 
As Abraham Lincoln famously said at a time in our history when the very existence of our union was at stake, “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
All of this is not to say that our duty at this moment is to seek out our nearest KKK klavern and go embrace a Klansman.  While we have spoken here primarily of the response to the type of hatred that is perpetrated by violent extremists,  and while Lincoln was speaking in context of a war that literally pitted Americans against one another on the battlefield, the “better angels of our nature” that he alludes to will be more commonly applied today to daily interactions with those who are not nearly as threatening to our physical well-being.   
Unfortunately, the rage that is spreading through out the country at this moment is often directed at those whose sole offense is the possession of beliefs and perspectives different from our own.   Our scorn and antipathy is being stoked by those who would have us subscribe to an ‘us vs. them’ mentality that pits us not against extremists, but against our fellow citizens who differ with us not in their general morality or basic decency, but in their  political persuasion and their opinions on how liberty, security, and stability are best manintained.
The hatred that we must address and counter is not simply the explicit racism and exclusionism that is manifest by fringe radicals, but even more commonly and importantly the subtle divisiveness and blamefulness that is creeping into our daily discourse and driving a wedge into the heart of our social cohesion.
While it is difficult to imagine  empathic engagement with those who marched for the alt-right in Charlottesville, at least we can, and must endeavor to,  practice the type of compassionate communication that Rosenberg, Michaelis, and Lincoln advocate in the context of our quotidian relationships. 
Whether it is our family members, our friends, our co-workers, or casual acquaintances  that we encounter in the course of our daily routine, we can all benefit from a more patient and generous attention to the commonality that binds us as citizens of our country and our world.  With such a consciousness we will greet aggression with restraint and respond with the composure that will enable us to transform tension into communion and productive collaboration.
In response to the tragedy of Charlottesville,   there are those calling for revenge, there are those calling for impeachment,   there are those casting blame , shame, and ire in every direction they are able.  They point to our failings and exacerbate and exaggerate our differences. 
But there are also those calling for forebearance and reconciliation, who recognize this moment as an urgent cry for a return from the brink and an opportunity to celebrate both our diversity and our commonality.   Now is the moment to enhance the bonds of humanity that transcend race, creed, and class. 
The most appropriate response to Charlottesville is to exploit every chance we have to display the generosity and magnanimity of our best selves,  to seek opportunities for collaboration and cross-communal outreach, and to demonstrate to those who are mired in anger and hate that there is an inherent and inevitable kinship that we all share which no amount of incitement or antagonism can ever  eradicate or overrun.
4)A lovely Jewish story 

Moishe, a Jewish actor is down and out. He is ready to accept any acting gig that he can find. Finally, he gets a lead. A classified ad states, "Actor needed to play an ape." "This I can do!," shouts Moishe, with delight.

To his surprise, the employer turns out to be the Central Park Zoo in New York. Owing to recent budget cuts and the current recession they can no longer afford to import an ape to replace the recently deceased ape. So, until they can raise sufficient funds to import another ape they decided to place an actor in an ape suit instead.

Out of sheer desperation, Moishe accepts the offer. At first, his conscience keeps nagging him that he is being dishonest by fooling the zoo visitors. Moishe also feels undignified in the ape suit, stared at by the attending crowds who watch his every move.

After a few days on the job he begins to enjoy all the attention and starts to put on a decent show for all the zoo visitors. Moishe hangs upside down from the branches by his legs, swinging about on the vines. He then climbs up the cage walls and roars with all his might whilst beating his chest. Soon, he's drawing a large crowd.

One day, whilst Moishe is swinging on the vines showing off his prowess to a group of school kids, his hands slip and he goes flying over the fence into the neighboring cage, the lion enclosure. Terrified, Moishe backs away as far as possible from the rapidly approaching male lion, covering his eyes and praying at the top of his lungs, he shouts "Shama Yisroel Adonoi Eloheinu, Adonoi Echud!"

The lion opens his powerful jaws and roars "Baruch Shem K'vod Malchuso! L'olam Va'ed"!

From a nearby cage, a panda yells "Shut up you schmucks, you'll get us all fired!”