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August 2015

Herding Elephants in New Hampshire By Alexis Levinson

Manchester, N.H. — The Voters First Forum was the first attempt at corralling the giant field of Republican presidential hopefuls onto a single stage.

It proved to be as difficult as it sounds. Fourteen of the 17 candidates seeking the Republican presidential nomination participated in the event were here at St. Anselm College on Monday night. To abide by the RNC’s rules governing debates, none of the candidates could appear on the stage at the same time, so candidates cycled on and off one at a time, in a rapid-fire format reminiscent of speed dating. Each sat on the same elevated stool — only Carly Fiorina seemed to really find a comfortable way to position her legs on it — and spoke as fast as possible, straining to cram as much as possible into the less than ten minutes allotted per candidate over the course of the two-hour debate. Eleven contenders appeared in person, while three senators — Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul — teleconferenced in from Washington, D.C. due to Senate duties.

Obama’s Clean Power Plan Will Cost Billions and Lower Temps by Two-Hundredths of a Degree Celsius by 2100 By Jillian Kay Melchior — August 4, 2015

The Obama administration today announced its Clean Power Plan rules, which set limits on carbon emissions from power plants nationwide. At a White House event, President Obama trumpeted the rule as “the single most important step America has ever taken in the fight against global climate change.”

Unfortunately, the Clean Power Plan packs neither the environmental nor diplomatic punch the Obama administration has claimed. Moreover, contrary to the White House’s assertion, it offers states little flexibility and comes at enormous economic expense.

Dear Mental-Health Industry, Stop Blocking Reform By D. J. Jaffe

Mental-health programs received $172 billion in federal and state taxpayer funds in 2014. As a result of lobbying by the mental-health industry, however, little of it went to reducing homelessness, arrest, incarceration, and hospitalization of the 10 million who have serious mental illness such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Instead, as in previous years, a vast amount went to improving the “behavioral health” of the masses. As a result, 164,000 adults with serious mental illness are homeless; 365,000 are in jails and prisons; 770,000 are on probation or parole; 95,000 who should be hospitalized can’t get a bed because of the shortage; and headlines are full of “psychotic killer on rampage” headlines.

Four smart and compassionate legislators are trying to fix the problem and help the seriously ill, but the government-funded mental-health industry is using its government funds and clout to fight them. Unfortunately, they’re having an impact. The industry wants to continue to receive mental-health dollars for their programs, often from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) — without any obligation whatsoever to demonstrate that they work or serve the seriously ill.

Has the Justice Department Seized Hillary’s Server? If Not, Why Not? By Andrew C. McCarthy

We now know for certain what I argued was a virtual certainty back in March: Hillary Clinton and her top aides illegally maintained and communicated classified information on Mrs. Clinton’s private e-mail system. One pressing question now is: Has the government — preferably the Justice Department and the FBI — taken possession of the Clinton private server? If not, why not?

Recall that rather than providing the government with her server(s) or, at the very least, with a readily searchable electronic download of all government-related information on her private system, Mrs. Clinton and her lawyers provided the government with “hard” (paper) copies of e-mails she unilaterally selected and decided to provide to the government. What was inevitable has now been confirmed: Those e-mails contained classified information, almost certainly lots of it.

Israeli Preemptive Action, Western Reaction Will Israel do the unthinkable to stop the unimaginable? By Victor Davis Hanson

The Obama administration seems peeved that almost everyone in Israel, left and right, has no use for the present Iranian–American deal to thwart Iran’s efforts to get the bomb.

Indeed, at times John Kerry has hinted darkly that Israel’s opposition to the pact might incur American wrath should the deal be tabled — even though Kerry knows that the polls show a clear majority of Americans being against the proposed agreement while remaining quite supportive of the Jewish state. President Obama, from time to time, suggests that his agreement is being sabotaged by nefarious lobbying groups, big-time check writers, and neoconservative supporters of the Iraq war — all shorthand, apparently, for pushy Jewish groups.

Obama and his negotiators seem surprised that Israelis take quite seriously Iranian leaders’ taunts over the past 35 years that they would like to liquidate the Jewish state and everyone in it. The Israelis, for some reason, remember that well before Hitler came to power, he had bragged about the idea of killing Jews en masse in his sloppily composed autobiographical Mein Kampf. Few in Germany or abroad had taken the raving young Hitler too seriously. Even in the late 1930s, when German Jews were being rounded up and haphazardly killed on German streets by state-sanctioned thugs, most observers considered such activities merely periodic excesses or outbursts from non-governmental Black- and Brownshirts.


On Thursday, as Jerusalem prepared for the Gay Pride Parade by cordoning off main thoroughfares and hanging rainbow flags across the city, 39-year-old Yishai Schlissel was making his way to the capital with mass murder on his mind and a knife in the pocket of his black coat.

In spite of a heavy police presence at the event, Schlissel managed to walk through the throngs, initially undetected. This would not have been so strange, given the large number of people by whom he was surrounded. But Schlissel’s haredi garb, long beard and sidelocks ought to have caused him to stand out like a sore thumb among the colorful, scantily clad crowd.

By the time he caught the attention of law enforcers, however, it was too late: Schlissel had already succeeded in stabbing six people, among them 16-year-old Shira Banki, who died of her wounds on Monday.

The Kindergarten Teacher – A Review By Marilyn Penn

From the truncated shots of the actors in the opening scenes, we know we are in the hands of a director who believes that pretentious cinematography is a signifier of deep thought. We have been alerted that Israel, the mise en scene of this movie, is a fractured society comprised of many polarities: military culture vs poetry; Ashkenazi vs Sephardi (the Israeli version of racism); marriage vs divorce; innocence vs perversion – all of which will be played out during the course of the film.

The plot concerns a teacher who becomes enthralled and obsessed with a five year old prodigy in her class. As an aspiring poet, Nira is astounded at the precocity of the child and his intuitive grasp of emotional epiphanies he is far too young to have experienced. He becomes the contrast to her own son who aspires to a military career and to the militaristic attitudes of Israel itself. These are represented by the song of the Macabees, sung at deafening decibels by the children in Nira’s class and by the foul-mouthed lyrics to the equivalent of a color war song sung by the five year old Yoav and his classmate. The boy’s poetry unleashed in Nira the passion that has been missing from her own marriage, freeing her from its constraints into an adulterous liaison with her own poetry teacher and a loose-haired wild dance that’s a stand-in for a ménage a trois. So many symbols for us to contemplate!

Iran Publishes Book on How to Outwit US and Destroy Israel By Amir Taheri

While Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama do their best to paper over the brutality of the Iranian regime and force through a nuclear agreement, Iran’s religious leader has another issue on his mind: The destruction of Israel.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has published a new book called “Palestine,” a 416-page screed against the Jewish state. A blurb on the back cover credits Khamenei as “The flagbearer of Jihad to liberate Jerusalem.”
A friend sent me a copy from Iran, the only place the book is currently available, though an Arabic translation is promised soon.
Obama administration officials likely hope that no American even hears about it.
‘Reclaiming Muslim lands’

All Rhodes Lead to Cecil by Mark Steyn

I had intended to take the same attitude to Cecil the Lion as every US newspaper takes to Cecile the lyin’ Planned Parenthood honcho and her factory outlets of slightly used baby parts. The mawkish sob-sister drivel of the one story versus the utter indifference to the second is too dismal to contemplate. Never mind the inability of the legions of traumatized Americans, in the midst of their tears, even to get the deceased lion’s name right (for reasons we’ll discuss below), that’s no reason not to turn on the most evil dentist since Laurence Olivier in Marathon Man.

After all the complete twaddle in the Anglo-American press about the psycho dentist offing the most beloved lion in Africa, it is somewhat heartening to turn to the comparatively sane coverage in the Zimbabwean media. Kennedy Mavhumashava in The Bulawayo Chronicle:

I find the western outrage over the demise of Cecil, which is only a lion to may of us, suspicious. This was a simple hunt and Zimbabwe wants more of them to generate revenue for our tourism sector.

It is not an overstatement that almost 99.99 percent of Zimbabweans didn’t know about this animal until Monday. Now we have just learnt, thanks to the British media, that we had Africa’s most famous lion all along, an icon!

…But the Western media’s obsession with Cecil gets us thinking. Why only him? What’s going on?

Obama’s Clean Power Plan Resurrects Cap-and-Trade by EPA Rule By Bridget Johnson

Two years after directing the Environmental Protection Agency to come up with federal carbon limits on power plants, President Obama today announced his new climate change plan with a goal that “by 2030, carbon pollution from our power plants will be 32 percent lower than it was a decade ago.”

In his East Room remarks, Obama rattled off a litany of climate change issues, including “shrinking icecaps forced National Geographic to make the biggest change in its atlas since the Soviet Union broke apart.”

“By definition, I don’t deal with issues if they’re easy to solve, because somebody else has already solved them,” he said. “…But this is one of those rare issues, because of its magnitude, because of its scope, that if we don’t get it right, we may not be able to reverse and we may not be able to adapt sufficiently. There is such a thing as being too late when it comes to climate change.”