Friday, July 14, 2017

Hezbollah Blowing Smoke? Unhinged Democrat "Witch Hunt" Turns Into "Bitch Hunt."

Youngest grandchildren at Tybee

Click here: School Choice Saved My Life - YouTube


Click here: Black, Millennial, Female and… Conservative - YouTube

"Too Much of what is called 'Education' is little more than an expensive isolation from reality."   
Dr. T. Sowell
These two postings are good leads into a review of Newt's book: "Understanding Trump" which I hope to review in my next memo.(See 1 and 1a below.)
Is Hezbollah blowing smoke? (See 2 below.)

The IAF may have a few things up their own sleeve. (See 2a below.)

More ignoring of what is truly important?  You decide. (See 3 below.)

More fake reporting and this is leveled at school children to create bias against Israel. (See 4 below.)
Trump , for reasons that escape me, is probably going to certify Iran has been adhering to the terms of the Iran Deal. (See 5 below.)

The Democrats have become unhinged and are about rejecting the election  results because they cannot accept the decision by Americans who voted.  Their  'witch hunt' has actually turned into a 'bitch hunt' brought on by Pelosi, Jackson and Waters.

In the interest of total objectivity my paternal grandfather was Russian so I hope any meeting I ever had with Buddy Carter will not get him thrown out of Congress. (See 6 and 6a below.)

If Republicans had any guts they would be out attacking renegade Democrats but they cower whenever the Dems say boo.  How pathetic.

The logic of self-destruction.

Donald Trump secured a healthy segment of the Republican Party’s primary electorate by running against the Republican Party. A vote for Trump ratified a critique of the GOP popular among the right’s entertainer class, which holds that Republicans had only ever rolled over for Barack Obama and his Democrats. The battle cry for this nihilistic conceit: “Burn it all down.” The arson was unexpectedly delayed by the wonder of Trump’s presidential victory, but the Republican Party’s great reckoning may have only been postponed.

Though the president’s standing has fallen off among rank-and-file GOP voters, Donald Trump retains the approval of at least seven in 10 self-identified Republicans. The relationship between Trump and his core voters is, at this stage of the presidency, aspirational. For them, he represents the triumph those who resent the sneering cultural liberalism dominant on the coasts and in America’s urban centers, and that is enough. Republicans in Congress have a much more transactional relationship with the neophyte at the head of their party. With Trump’s approval ratings among GOP voters nearing levels similar to those enjoyed by George W. Bush before he lost both chambers of Congress in 2006, observers have been eyeing the GOP’s elected representatives to see who was veering toward an off-ramp. Donald Trump isn’t waiting around for the GOP to make the first move.

“I cannot imagine that Congress would dare to leave Washington without a beautiful new HealthCare bill fully approved and ready to go!” the president tweeted on Monday morning. This shot across the congressional GOP’s bow comes as Congress returns from the July 4th break but with only a handful of working days in the calendar before the August recess, and with the U.S. Senate no closer to a health care bill. Indeed, 
Republicans are starting to admit in public they may have to work with their Democratic counterparts on a compromise—an eventuality the GOP hoped to avoid by passing ObamaCare’s repeal and replacement with simple majorities via the Reconciliation process.

The president doesn’t care if Republicans are forced by failure to pass a health care bill that lacks typically Republican characteristics. Trump has called the House version of ObamaCare’s replacement “mean,” and added that it could benefit from both “more heart” and “more money.” Given those criteria, the president will surely approve whatever ObamaCare fixes the Democrats offer. What’s striking about the president’s tweet isn’t that he is publicly lobbying congressional Republicans to get him a bill as quickly as possible; rather,  he’s laying the groundwork to castigate them in the likely event that no bill is forthcoming before August.

Trump’s latest effort to wade into the Senate’s business follows a remarkable report that suggests the president is inclined to go to war with those in his own party who he feels are insufficiently zealous in their support for Donald Trump, the man. Politico’s Alex Isenstadt reported on Monday that Donald Trump has talked about spending $10 million of his personal income to see Republican Senator Jeff Flake defeated. That revelation follows a seven-figure advertising campaign by a pro-Trump outside group attacking Trump critic and GOP Senator Dean Heller, a campaign the president allegedly supported.

This chafing irritation is mutual. Senate Republicans are allegedly frustrated with Trump, too. They are exasperated by his public comments undermining their efforts to craft consensus around controversial legislation. They are frustrated by his attacks on their vulnerable members. They are annoyed by his attempt to remake the party in Congress in his name, an effort that is visible in the Republican National 
Committee’s conspicuously sluggish response to requests for support on behalf of Alabama Senator Luther Strange. The appointed senator faces a field of primary challengers, all of whom (including Strange), are competing to appear more Trumpian than the other guy.

The list of grievances that is tearing the loose alliance between the GOP in Congress and the White House apart is long and growing. According to Isenstadt, the lingering antipathy between the Senate GOP and Trump stems from the 2016 campaign and, in particular, the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape, which prompted a number of Republicans to call for Trump to relinquish the GOP’s presidential nomination. Like the object of their affections, Trump’s defenders are apt to conflate the personal and the public. They may see the president’s efforts to remake the party over which he presides in his image as perfectly justified, even if targeting vulnerable members in swing states may jeopardize the GOP’s majorities. After all, what good are those lethargic, factional Republican majorities anyway? This is the logic of “burn it all down.”

If, however, the pro-Trump right is inclined to support the president—either through the uncompromising logic of partisan loyalty, the hectoring of the talker class, or antipathy toward the slow pace of Congress—it weakens their value as a wing of the Republican coalition. The president’s pique-fueled resolve to punish his party’s members for their insolence is self-defeating; weakening his allies in Trump-skeptical states like Nevada and Arizona will result in fewer allies. Those inclined to support the president along this self-destructive course (among many others) cherish their grievance more than governance.

If August comes and goes without any major legislation becoming law, President Trump may be preparing to shift the blame for that historic debacle onto congressional shoulders. The president’s supporters will cheer this destructive civil conflict, while most members of the GOP conference in Congress unable to return fire. All the while, enthusiasm for the Republican project will wane ahead of what should be an already difficult election cycle for the governing party. This isn’t an unforeseen consequence of Donald Trump’s ascension to lead the GOP. Indeed, it was the original intent.

1a) Running the Schumer Blockade

The GOP Senate needs to stop Democratic abuse of the rules.

the Editorial Board

The Trump Presidency is well into its seventh month but the Trump Administration still barely exists. Senate Democrats are abusing Senate rules to undermine the executive branch, and Republicans need to restore normal order.

President Trump got an inexcusably slow start making nominations, but in the past few weeks he’s been catching up to his predecessors. According to the Partnership for Public Service, as of June 28 Mr. Trump had nominated 178 appointees but the Senate had confirmed only 46. Barack Obama had 183 nominees confirmed by that date in his first term, and George W. Bush 130.

The White House has understandably begun to make a public issue of the delays, and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says it “has only itself to blame.” But a press release Mr. Schumer sent out Monday made the White House case, showing that the Senate has received 242 nominations but confirmed only 50 through June 30. Democrats are now the problem.

Among the non-controversial nominees awaiting confirmation: Kevin Hassett to lead the White House Council of Economic Advisers; David Malpass, under secretary at Treasury for international affairs; two nominees needed to review pipelines and other projects at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; and Noel Francisco for Solicitor General. Mr. Malpass was nominated in March and voted out of committee in mid-June. Mr. Trump’s State Department is barely functioning with only eight confirmed appointees.

Democratic obstruction against nominees is nearly total, most notably including a demand for cloture filings for every nominee—no matter how minor the position. This means a two-day waiting period and then another 30 hours of debate. The 30-hour rule means Mr. Trump might not be able to fill all of those 400 positions in four years. The cloture rule also allows the minority to halt other business during the 30-hour debate period, which helps slow the GOP policy and oversight agenda.

Democrats have also refused to return a single “blue slip” to the Judiciary Committee, which has the effect of blocking consideration of judicial nominees from their home states. Senators like Minnesota’s Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar are holding hostage the eminently qualified Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras for the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals for no reason other than politics.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s troops are even invoking an obscure rule that prohibits committees from doing business more than two hours after the Senate opens for the day. Republicans have had to cancel briefings on national security and Russia electoral interference, as well as scrap a markup of two human-trafficking bills.

Democrat Harry Reid didn’t have the cloture headache when he was Majority Leader because in 2013 he cut a deal with Republicans. The GOP traded the ability to offer more amendments to legislation in return for letting Mr. Reid limit post-cloture debate for most nominations to eight hours. This rule let Mr. Reid confirm dozens of judicial and lower-cabinet nominations every week. But the deal expired in early 2015, and good luck getting Mr. Schumer to grant the GOP the same terms.

Frustrated Republicans may soon begin listening to Oklahoma Senator Jim Lankford, who wants the majority to impose the eight-hour rule unilaterally. Most debate about nominees occurs during vetting and in committees. Eight hours on the floor is enough for all but the most controversial nominees, and the Senate could then get back to other business.

As for the blue-slip tradition, it was designed to facilitate advice and consent by allowing Senators to use their home-state knowledge about local judges to better inform the White House. But it is a courtesy, not a rule, and Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley can ignore Senators who are using their blue slips as ideological vetoes of qualified candidates.

Mr. Trump has nominated first-rate judges, and Mr. Grassley is justified in suspending blue-slip privileges on a case-by-case basis. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has also been starting the Senate at different times of the day to get around the Democratic sabotage of committee work. But note Mr. Schumer’s childishness in forcing a game of Senate hide-and-seek.

Mr. McConnell will be wary of Mr. Lankford’s advice to change a Senate rule in the middle of the term, but the Majority Leader rightly did so when Democrats staged a historic filibuster of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. Democrats aren’t using cloture to raise the level of debate or highlight unqualified nominees. They are using it—and have said as much—to sabotage a Presidency. That isn’t what the Founders intended, and Republicans have every right to stop this abuse of process to let the President form a government.
Hezbollah threatens to 'surprise Israel' in next war
French report releases new and alarming details on underground weapons facilities the Shi'ite terror group operates in Lebanon.
Hezbollah vows to “surprise Israel” during any upcoming war, upping the war of words between the Lebanese Shi’ite terror group and Israel.

In an interview with Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV channel on the 11th anniversary of the Second Lebanon War, the head of the group’s Executive Council Sayyed Hashem Safieddine said that Hezbollah has been changing and developing new military capabilities.

According to Safieddine, who oversees Hezbollah’s social and economic activities and was added to the United States counterterrorism blacklist in March, Israeli reports on Hezbollah’s weaponry are “inaccurate as the enemy intelligence agencies can never reach veracious data in this context.”

Israel fought against Hezbollah in the 34-day Second Lebanon War in 2006. Since then hostilities between them have been limited to occasional firing across the border and reported air strikes by Israel against Hezbollah leaders and military equipment in Syria, where the group is fighting in support of President Bashar Assad.

Last week Chief of Staff Lt.- Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said that the IDF has used the time since the Second Lebanon War to dramatically improve its abilities and now has better intelligence and operational capabilities than ever before.

According to Eisenkot, Hezbollah’s rockets are not particularly accurate at the moment and Israelis “should put things in perspective and not panic” regarding reports that Iran has helped Hezbollah to operate and manage underground weapons factories.

Speaking to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Eisenkot said that “decreasing Iranian influence in the areas near Israel’s borders is no less important than defeating Islamic State, and for Israel perhaps even more.”

Last March, the Kuwaiti Al-Jarida newspaper cited an unnamed deputy head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as saying that Hezbollah has operated and managed underground weapons factories set up by the IRGC in response to alleged Israeli strikes against weapons convoys in Syria.

According to the report, the factories can produce missiles with a range of over 500 kilometers as well as surfaceto- air and antitank missiles as well as unmanned aerial vehicles able to carry explosives.

A recent report by the French web magazine Intelligence Online identified the locations of two of the factories as well as the type of munitions they produce.

According to the report, one underground facility located near Hermel in northeastern Lebanon produces the Fateh- 110 rocket which can carry half-ton warheads and is relatively accurate with a range of 300 kilometers, covering the majority of Israel.

The second facility, located near the Mediterranean coast between the cities of Tyre and Sidon in southern Lebanon manufactures smaller munitions.

At a briefing with journalists last week Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman warned that the smuggling of sophisticated weaponry to Hezbollah was a redline for Israel, which will continue to act to prevent the group from getting them.

“We take everything seriously. We are certainly aware of the reports and we will do what needs to be done. This is a significant phenomenon and we cannot ignore it. Precise weapons such as these missiles are a challenge. Compared to past wars they will hit deep inside Israeli territory,” Liberman said.


How the Israeli Air Force is becoming like Google and IBM

 and filed under IsraelNews.

)Sgt. Ilan Regenbaum (pictured), an American immigrant to Israel who grew up in Atlanta, was supposed to complete his military service in the Israeli Air Force's Innovation Department a year ago, but stayed on due to his love for the work. Credit: IDF.
Sgt. Ilan Regenbaum (pictured), an American immigrant to Israel who grew up in Atlanta, was supposed to complete his military service in the Israeli Air Force's Innovation Department a year ago, but stayed on due to his love for the work. Credit: IDF.

High up in the Israeli Air Force’s (IAF) building at military headquarters in Tel Aviv, a unique department is hard at work, bringing problem-solving techniques from the world of high-tech firms into the Middle East’s most powerful air force. 

Founded a little more than three years ago by Maj. Omer Yuval, a former combat soldier who went into the private sector before returning to the military, the small IAF Innovation Department is mostly staffed by immigrants, many of whom have worked at high-tech giants like Google and IBM, where they developed cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence. 

The unit became highly active and increasingly influential during the past year, Sgt. Ilan Regenbaum, an American immigrant to Israel who grew up in Atlanta, told 
South African-born Regenbaum was supposed to complete his military service in the department a year ago, but stayed on due to his love for the work. His background is typical of many of those in the department. He has a degree in finance and business management from New York’s Yeshiva University—though Regenbaum’s journey into the world of business began much earlier, when he was in middle school. At the time, he launched his first start-up, an events photography company that still exists today. In 2013, Regenbaum arrived in Israel on a Birthright Excel program, a visit that he says led him to discover the “start-up nation.” 

A year later, he immigrated to Israel, and went to work for a start-up before moving to a venture capital firm. He then joined the IDF.

Today, Regenbaum said his IAF department works around the clock for “the goal of increasing the culture of innovation within the air force, and the military….not so much on the technological side, but more on the side of culture and organization—the way the air force functions.”

Many of the department’s projects cannot be publicized for security reasons. But Regenbaum affirmed the department is injecting techniques that are commonplace in major firms like Google and Facebook into the heart of the IAF.

“[Tech giants] don’t have a head of innovation, because it’s in their DNA to be innovative,” said Regenbaum. “It means that an employee, whether they are a 20-year veteran, or a first-year, have mechanisms and pathways to bring up problems and ideas, and be taken seriously.”
Maj. Omer Yuval (left), founder of the Israeli Air Force's Innovation Department, with Sgt. Ilan Regenbaum. Credit: IDF. 
When Google allowed employees to work on their own projects, one of the results was Google Sheets, which is now a huge part of the internet giant’s business application—“all because one person said, ‘Give me a few developers, give me a few designers,’” Regenbaum noted. 
“In the military, when you see an opportunity or problem on the ground, for us, it’s more of a challenge,” he said. “We are not a revenue-based organization…if a soldier or officer says, ‘Here’s an issue, let’s fix it,’ or, ‘Here’s a project that can save millions of shekels, or improve the lives of tens of thousands of soldiers,’ how do you manage all of that in a structural, regimented organization?”
During the past 18 months, the IAF Innovation Department has started doing just that. It has allowed soldiers who see problems on the ground, or have ideas on new ways of working, to list their proposals on an air force computer system that is linked to officers who are authorized to make decisions. “Our goal is to connect decision-makers with the need-knowers,” Regenbaum said.

The computer system, known as the “innovation platform,” is available to any soldier of any rank. Recently, a soldier used it to ask the air force if there was a way to automate a mundane data entry task. Sure enough, the Innovation Department helped create a computer script that ended up saving the inquiring soldier’s unit 200 work days per year. 
The department is now encouraging soldiers to change the way they think about problems. “If you really want to complain, come up with a better way of complaining,” Regenbaum said, adding that complaints should lead to solutions.

The Innovation Department is also attempting to develop a platform that will enable IAF personnel to hitchhike safely. 

“It is highly illegal and dangerous for soldiers to hitchhike,” Regenbaum explained. “We have many terrible stories. But if anyone’s ever been on a train on a Sunday morning heading up north, or down south, you’ve been inundated with soldiers and these giant backpacks. So why is it that in the world of Waze Rider and Moovit Carpool, a soldier can’t open his application and see that there are 20 officers driving army cars in his neighborhood?”

The department also runs an accelerator, a concept borrowed from the start-up ecosystem. Teams work on identifying core problems and then draw up a list of solutions, which they present to a senior officer. 

“Airbnb went through a Y Combinator accelerator when it was two founders working out of an apartment,” Regenbaum said. “Now, it is a multi-billion dollar company. We in the IAF have ideas, and we have top, top people. How do we connect them through this mechanism. We take a problem, and for 10 weeks, teams work on it. Our version functions like a start-up accelerator. In a number of weeks, the teams will be presenting all of their research in front of a panel of officers from the air force, as well as some civilian experts.”

In recent months, soldiers from the department have facilitated a course at Tel Aviv University for IAF members, in which they heard lectures about innovation from representatives of large companies.

“While different in many ways, we view the air force as being, at the end of the day, an organization with tens of thousands of people,” said Regenbaum, “with challenges, like other organizations.”

Why Are Some Liberals Silencing the Truth on Iran?

avatarby Evan Barrett

American options for constraining the Islamic Republic of Iran are limited and problematic. Sanctions inevitably hurt regular Iranians more than their government, because the regime uses its access to illicit markets to insulate the ruling class from the impacts of economic exile. In the military sphere, targeted airstrikes on particular facilities are unlikely to significantly impede Iran’s ability to develop nuclear technology — and an actual invasion of the Islamic Republic would come at unthinkable cost.

Nevertheless, the specter of war with Iran has caused many “responsible” liberals to actively seek a different sort of constraint: limits on the discussion or coverage of Iranian crimes. This deeply anti-democratic impulse — that an honest account of Iranian behavior would only lead to war — was a basic assumption of Obama-era Iran policy.

Even now, as the Trump administration takes incredibly modest steps against Tehran — such as preventing Iranian aircraft from targeting US partners in Syria — a subset of liberals seek to obfuscate or ignore Iranian provocations in the name of avoiding a disastrous, costly conflict.

Take a typical example published this week in the online foreign policy venue Lobeblog, where CIA veteran Paul Pillar discusses the words that many people use to talk about Iran, and the ‘pro-conflict bias’ of that terminology:
The vocabulary has become so repetitive and widely used that it rolls off tongues automatically: Iran is a “theocratic autocracy” and the “largest state sponsor of terrorism” that engages in “nefarious,” “malign,” and “destabilizing” behavior as part of its “drive for regional hegemony,” etc. The verbiage has become a substitute for thought and for any careful examination of exactly what Iran is and is not doing and how it does and does not affect US interests. Such a commonly accepted mantra means that anyone making a focused attempt to stir up trouble with Iran starts with a built-in advantage in mustering public and political support.
In this casting, verifiable crimes of the Iranian regime are reduced to political tools that are used by defense hawks to gin up public support for an inevitable war — a war that in Pillar’s mind, its proponents would be shopping irrespective of Iranian behavior. This attitude was present at the highest levels of the Obama administration. Former Secretary of State John Kerry and even the president himself deliberately denied or underplayed Iranian violations of the JCPOA on numerous occasions.

The Obama administration also undermined credible international institutions that were issuing an unbiased accounting of Iranian compliance. When the Obama State Department was asked to comment on a German intelligence report, cited by Angela Merkel, detailing Iranian efforts to procure nuclear material in Germany after the signing of the JCPOA, the State Department simply denied any knowledge of such violations.
Why would the Obama administration, and now their ideological fellow travelers, actively underplay Iranian violations? Ben Rhodes explained the answer about why it was so crucial that the Obama spin machine avoid the pitfalls of regular democratic process: “I mean, I’d prefer a sober, reasoned public debate, after which members of Congress reflect and take a vote,” he said, shrugging. “But that’s impossible.”

In other words, the normal democratic processes for evaluating policy are no longer valid when it comes to Iran.

In this context, the important question is not what Iran is up to, or how to constrain bad behavior, but how one’s own lies can offset the pro-war propaganda coming from known quarters. This is a sort of Bill Simmons meta-foreign policy — we don’t discuss what’s good or bad, but whether things are over, under or properly rated by the powers that be.

Even if we accept, as I do, the calamitous potential of a war with Iran, is it true that the American public is subjected to a constant litany of Iranian crimes? Do Americans know, for example, that Afghan refugees are picked up on the streets of Tehran and offered the choice of an indefinite jail term or to go fight in Syria?
Do Americans know that thousand-year familial residents of Damascus, one of the most diverse cities in the Middle East, are being uprooted from their ancestral home to make way for apartment blocks to house permanent Iranian military advisers?

Do Americans — or Europeans, for that matter — understand that the refugee crisis that they are now dealing with, is — in part — the direct result of an Iranian ethnic cleansing campaign that seeks a Shia-only territory spanning from Tehran to Beirut?

Even after the departure of the Obama administration, liberal doves continue to suppress the truth about Iranian crimes, keeping them off the front page and out of American minds. As so many liberals decry the anti-truth political climate heralded by Trump, they should acknowledge that on Iran, it is the Left that’s afraid of the facts.

Evan Barrett is an independent analyst with a focus on Syria. Previously he served as the deputy director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force.

Shocking Research: Biased US Textbooks Turn Young Americans Against Israel

A close examination of US textbooks may explain why young Americans’ support for Israel is declining – they are taught lies!

Anti-Israel bias in the textbooks used by many American high schools may be to blame for the decrease in sympathy for Israel among young adults.

According to the Brand Israel Group, only 54 percent of US college students lean more toward Israel than the Palestinians, down from 73 percent in 2010. The decrease was even sharper among Jewish college students, dropping from 84 percent to 57 percent.

“The problem starts in high school,” Dr. Sandra Alfonsi, founder of Hadassah’s “Curriculum Watch” division, told “There’s no doubt the lack of sympathy for Israel on college campuses today is at least partly the result of several generations of teenagers being educated with textbooks that are slanted against Israel.”

‘‘Unabashed Propagandizing’

One of the most controversial texts used in high schools around the country is the Arab World Studies Notebook, a 540-page volume authored by Audrey Parks Shabbas. She heads Arab World and Islamic Resources and School Services, a curriculum publisher that seeks to promote a positive image of Arabs and Muslims in US schools.

After parents in Anchorage, Alaska, complained to their local board of education in 2004 about the book’s slant against Israel, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) prepared a 30-page analysis of the Notebook. The AJC found it to be riddled with “overt bias and unabashed propagandizing,” such as depicting Israel as the aggressor in every Arab-Israeli war and praising Muslim conquerors throughout the ages for their “gentle treatment of civilian populations.”

As a result, the Anchorage Board of Education removed the book from the local high school curriculum. School authorities in Tulsa, Okla., have also withdrawn the text.

Shabbas has claimed the book has been distributed to more than 10,000 teachers, and “if each notebook teaches 250 students a year over 10 years, then you’ve reached 25 million students.”

“The most important statistic is the number of workshops that Shabbas has given to instruct teachers in how to use the book,” Curriculum Watch’s Alfonsi said. “She has conducted hundreds of such three-day teacher-training sessions.” Shabbas’s website names 211 schools where she ran teacher workshops from 2000-2006. Other years are not listed.

Shabbas did not respond to requests for comment from

Dispute in Massachusetts

The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) recently published a 108-page monograph, “Indoctrinating Our Youth,” which describes how high schools in the Boston suburb of Newton have been using biased texts such as the Arab World Studies Notebook and inviting anti-Israel speakers to address their students.

The controversy began in 2011, when a Newton South High School parent complained about a passage from the Notebook accusing Israel of torturing and murdering hundreds of Palestinian women. Other parents soon joined the protests. Matt Hills, vice chair of the Newton School Committee, dismissed the critics as “McCarthyesque.”

In early 2012, Newton Superintendent of Schools David Fleishman said the Notebook had been removed from the curriculum because it was “outdated.” But an investigation by Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT), a Boston-based activist group, found that the Notebook was still being used in Newton as late as the 2013-2014 school year.

The dispute has been complicated by the refusal of Newton school authorities to identify which Israel-related materials were being used by teachers. Many school districts around the country list their curriculum materials on their websites. APT President Charles Jacobs told his group “will continue to build support for a policy of transparency, so that parents and citizens can know what is being taught to Newton’s students.”
In response to a request for copies of the materials, Fleishman said the requester would need to pay $3,643 to cover photocopying expenses. Eventually, a Freedom of Information request filed by community activists forced the release of some of the materials.

Newton Mayor Setti Warren, a member of the nine-person School Committee, attended committee meetings on the textbooks issue but did not actively participate in the discussions, according to community members. The mayor, who is now a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Massachusetts governor, did not respond to requests for comment.

Several mainstream Jewish organizations in Boston, including the local chapter of the Anti-Defamation League, initially denied that biased materials were being used in the schools. They also criticized APT for organizing protests against the Newton school authorities. Later, the New England ADL changed its position, agreeing that the Arab World Studies Notebook and another anti-Israel text, A Muslim Primer, should not have been used in schools.

The CAMERA monograph reports that as a result of the controversy, “there has been some change in the selection of materials” by Newton officials and “more careful vetting of them.” Yet some of the supplemental materials that Newton teachers use “continue to favor fringe perspectives,” according to the study.
Steven Stotsky, the monograph’s author, told the situation “remains unresolved,” pointing out that Newton North High School hosted another anti-Israel speaker in June. Since no curriculum materials have been shown to the parents since 2014, “it is impossible to know” if any of the anti-Israel books are still being used, Stotsky said.

Controversies Around the US

Other texts have been at the center of similar controversies elsewhere around the US in recent years.
Parents in Tennessee’s Williamson County complained to school authorities in 2013 over a textbook called The Cultural Landscape: An Introduction to Human Geography. In a section on the reasons for the rise of terrorism, the book asks: “If a Palestinian suicide bomber kills several dozen Israeli teenagers in a Jerusalem restaurant, is that an act of terrorism or wartime retaliation against Israeli government policies and army actions?”

The protests, which were led by Christian pro-Israel activist Laurie Cardoza-Moore and supported by the Jewish Federation of Nashville, prompted the Tennessee state legislature to take steps to ensure greater parental involvement in the selection of textbooks.

Further, the book’s publisher, Pearson Education, removed the suicide bomber passage from subsequent editions. But Cardoza-Moore told her campaign was “only a partial victory, because the book contains other biased statements about Israel that were not removed.”

In Georgia’s Sumter County, Campbell Middle School parent Hal Medlin complained in 2011 about a class assignment featuring a fictitious letter from a Saudi woman who defended Islamic sharia law and her husband’s polygamy, on the grounds that she was being “cared for” by her husband. Conservative activist Pamela Geller, who joined the protests against the Campbell Middle School assignment, told the letter was “an outrageous whitewash of the subjugation of women by Islam.”

The curriculum unit also included a document in which a pro-Palestinian activist suggested terrorist attacks against Israeli Jews are “understandable.”

In neighboring Henry County, school authorities responded to complaints about the text by withdrawing it from the curriculum. Sumter County officials took no such action, but Sharon Coletti—president of the InspirEd curriculum developer, which had prepared the controversial materials for Georgia public schools—told that “the topics of women’s rights and the West Bank have largely been dropped [from statewide curricula], so we removed” the texts.

Parents at a high school in Pittsburgh complained to Curriculum Watch’s Alfonsi in 2007 about a teacher’s use of Habibi, a young adult novel by Naomi Shihab Nye. Alfonsi found that the book has a “strongly pro-Palestinian slant, including extreme accusations about ‘Israeli oppression.’” The fact that it was being used in an Advancement Placement English class “meant that it was indoctrinating some of the brightest kids in the school,” she said. As a result of Alfonsi’s discussions with school officials, Habibi was dropped from the class’s curriculum.

“The problem is that for every school that removes an anti-Israel text, there are a hundred more that are continuing to use it,” Alfonsi said, adding, “When I began this work 20 years ago, we were reviewing curriculum materials used for the 6th to 12th grades. Now we are seeing anti-Israel bias in texts going all the way down to the 4th grade. I’m concerned that many in the Jewish community still do not recognize how serious this problem is.”

"Where are the Congressional hearings on Hillary’s collusion with the Ukraine? Where are the hearings on her making it possible for Russian interests to control 20 percent of our uranium supply in exchange for donations to the Clinton Foundation? "
Call it “the Seinfeld meeting,” because the conversation between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer was a meeting with a nobody about nothing, from which nothing resulted. Yet in the Democratic and media (sorry for the redundancy) alternate universe, it is more worthy of attention than North Korea, ISIS, or jobs and the economy.
In a bit of irony, the lawyer with which Donald Trump Jr. was allegedly colluding, Natalia Veselnitskaya, was allowed to be in this country by the Obama administration and its attorney general, Loretta Lynch. Natalia may have overstayed her visa and at the time of the meeting may have been, dare we say it, an illegal alien. Extreme veting, anyone? As reported by Fox News Politics:
The Obama administration granted the Russian attorney who met with Donald Trump Jr. last June a special type of “parole” to be in the United States after she initially was denied a visa, Fox News has confirmed – though it remains unclear whether she had permission to be in the country when she attended the Trump Tower session. …
Well before the June 9, 2016, meeting, she was denied a visa to enter the U.S. in 2015, according to court filings first reported by the Daily Beast. She was granted a “parole” to be in the country from October 2015 through early January 2016. However, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York told Fox News on Thursday that their office did not extend that status.
“She was not granted a second parole by our office,” office spokesman James Margolin told Fox News in an email. “Her case-related immigration parole ended early in 2016, and it was not renewed by us.”…
“She shouldn’t have been in the country,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, told “Fox & Friends” on Wednesday. “I think the lady Russian lawyer that was there in that meeting, I’ve written to [The State Department and Department of Homeland Security] to find out what she was doing in the country when presumably either her visa or parole expired.”
Andrew C. McCarthy is a former federal prosecutor and a contributing editor at National Review.
“Collusion” is a hopelessly vague term. Alas, the word has driven the coverage and the debate about possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Vladi­mir Putin’s regime. But it is a term nigh useless to investigators, who must think in terms of conspiracy. Collusion can involve any kind of concerted activity, innocent or otherwise. Conspiracy is an agreement to commit a concrete violation of law.
Thus has the collusion question always been two questions: First, was there any? Second, if so, collusion in what?
The first question, to my mind, is no longer open to credible dispute. There plainly was collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. This is firmly established by emails exchanged in June 2016 between Donald Trump Jr. and an intermediary acting on behalf of Russian real estate magnate Aras Agalarov. A Putin crony, Agalarov is also a business partner of President Trump.
The emails report that Agalarov had met with Russia’s chief government prosecutor and that the latter offered to provide “official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary [Clinton] and her dealings with Russia.” The intermediary, Rob Goldstone (a publicist for Agalarov’s pop-star son, Emin), told Trump Jr. that the information “would be very useful to your father” and — more significant — that it was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
In a subsequent email, Goldstone told Trump Jr. that Emin Agalarov wanted Trump Jr. to meet with a “Russian government attorney” who would be flying in from Moscow. Trump Jr. agreed to the meeting and elaborated that it would include then-campaign manager Paul Manafort as well as Jared Kushner, Trump Jr.’s brother-in-law.
The meeting took place at Trump Tower. The Russian attorney, whom Goldstone accompanied, was Natalia Veselnitskaya. She is a former regime prosecutor who now represents Putin cronies and lobbies the U.S. government to repeal the Magnitsky Act, a human rights provision enacted to punish Russia for torturing and killing a whistleblower. The act’s undoing is known to be a Putin priority.
Consequently, we now have solid documentary evidence that the Trump campaign, fully aware that Putin’s regime wanted to help Trump and damage Clinton, expressed enthusiasm and granted a meeting to a lawyer sensibly understood to be an emissary of the regime. Top Trump campaign officials attended the meeting with the expectation that they would receive information that could be exploited against Clinton.
That is collusion — concerted activity toward a common purpose. We can argue about whether the collusion amounted to anything, in this intriguing instance or over time. That is under investigation, and deservedly so. To my mind, though, it is no longer credible to claim there is no evidence of a collusive relationship. It is there in black and white.
Now we are on to the real question: Collusion in what? There are two aspects to this question: legal and political.
As a matter of law, mere collusion is not a crime. As noted above, it must rise to a purposeful agreement to carry out a substantive violation of law. It is not a crime to collude with a foreign government, even a hostile one, if the point is to accept information in the nature of opposition research. The suggestion that it might violate campaign law to accept information — as a “thing of value” — would raise significant constitutional questions while trivializing the conduct, which is egregious because of the nature of the relationship, not the money value of the information. To rise to the level of conspiracy, there would need to be proof, for example, that (a) violations of U.S. law were orchestrated by the Russian regime, and ( b) Trump campaign officials knew about them and were complicit in their commission.

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