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May 2017


Handshakes all around when Obamacare is replaced, but for seniors on Medicare nothing has changed for the better. During the Reagan administration a major change occurred for those on Medicare. Previously, seniors could purchase additional “major medical” insurance which would pay those expenses not covered by Medicare which set the reimbursement fees for doctors of all specialties.

However, under Ronald Reagan, the schedules for reimbursement to the physicians was set as the bar for all “medigap” an “major medical” plans.

To simplify: Let us say a doctor charges $850.00 for a procedure including the services of an anesthesiologist. An actuary in Washington working for the government decides that $475.00 is the “acceptable” fee and the doctor is paid 80% of the acceptable fee which comes to $380.00. The “medigap” insurance is tied to that number and only will add the 20 percent deducted by Medicare which is $95.00. The doctor is then forced to accept the fee that Medicare has set and cannot negotiate with the patients or he will lose participation in Medicare.

For this reason, throughout the country, doctors are not accepting Medicare insurance.

This is a form of price controls that the government uses, and even if a senior accepts the facts and fee for service, Medicare insurance is still deducted from the monthly social security checks.

With the new healthcare bill will this still remain? Stay tuned. rsk

Potemkin Universities Behind the facades, universities have broken faith with a once-noble legacy of free inquiry. By Victor Davis Hanson

College campuses still appear superficially to be quiet, well-landscaped refuges from the bustle of real life.

But increasingly, their spires, quads, and ivy-covered walls are facades. They are now no more about free inquiry and unfettered learning than were the proverbial Potemkin fake buildings put up to convince the traveling Russian czarina Catherine II that her impoverished provinces were prosperous.

The university faces crises almost everywhere of student debt, university finances, free expression, and the very quality and value of a university education.

Take free speech. Without freedom of expression, there can be no university.

But if the recent examples at Berkeley, Claremont, Middlebury, and Yale are any indication, there is nothing much left to the idea of a free and civilized exchange of different ideas.

At most universities, if a scheduled campus lecturer expressed scholarly doubt about the severity of man-caused global warming and the efficacy of its government remedies, or questioned the strategies of the Black Lives Matter movement, or suggested that sex is biologically determined rather than socially constructed, she likely would either be disinvited or have her speech physically disrupted. Campuses often now mimic the political street violence of the late Roman Republic.

Campus radicals have achieved what nuclear strategists call deterrence: Faculty and students now know precisely which speech will endanger their careers and which will earn them rewards.

The terrified campus community makes the necessary adjustments. As with the German universities of the 1930s, faculty keep quiet or offer politically correct speech through euphemisms. Toadies thrive; mavericks are hounded.

Shortchanged students collectively owe more than $1 trillion in student-loan debt — a sum that cannot be paid back by ill-prepared and often unemployed graduates.

Test scores have plummeted. Too many college students were never taught the basic referents of liberal education. Most supposedly aware, hip, and politically engaged students can’t identify the Battle of Gettysburg or the Parthenon, or explain the idea of compounded interest.

Many students simply cannot do the work that was routinely assigned in the past. In response, as proverbially delicate “snowflakes,” they insist that they are traumatized and can only find remedy in laxer standards, gut courses, and faculty deference.

“Studies” activist courses too often are therapeutic. They are neither inductive nor Socratic, and they rarely teach facts, methods and means of learning without insisting on predesignated conclusions. Instead, the student should leave the class with proper group-think and ideological race/class/gender fervor of the professor — a supposed new recruit for the larger progressive project.

Universities talk loudly of exploitation in America — in the abstract. But to address societal inequality, university communities need only look at how their own campuses operate. Part-time faculty with Ph.D.s are paid far less than tenured full professors for often teaching the same classes — and thus subsidize top-heavy administrations.

Graduate teaching assistantships, internships, and mentorships are designed to use inexpensive or free labor under the protocols of the medieval guild.

One reason that tuition is sky-high is because behind the facade of “trigger warnings,” “safe spaces,” and “culture appropriation” are costly legions of deputy associate provosts, special assistants to the dean, and race/class/gender “senior strategists” and facilitators (usually former faculty who no longer teach).

The way to ensure student confidence and self-reliance is not through identity-politics courses that emphasize racial, sexual, and religious fault lines.

The Nightmare Reality of the Communist Dream Another communist fantasizes that ‘this time’ they’ll get it right. Mark Tapson See note please

This is the new meme in academia and the media….Communism is a noble ideology hijacked by some meanies like Stalin, Mao…..just as radical Islam is peaceable and hijacked by some meanies like Bin Laden, Isis, Al Shabaab, Abu Sayef, Hamas, Hezbollah….etc……rsk

With a Republican in the White House threatening to – horrors! – make America great again, nostalgia for the Communist-utopia-that-could-have-been is running high among dejected leftists. Last Monday on May Day, otherwise known among Reds as International Workers’ Day, the New York Times actually published an encomium to those thrilling days of yesteryear “when Communism inspired Americans.” But it’s not just American communists keeping the dream alive; in the run up to May Day the week before, writing for the digital news publication Quartz, Australia’s Helen Razer explained “Why I’m a Communist—and Why You Should Be, Too.”

According to the website description, the chief focus of Razer’s work “has been what she sees as the crisis of liberalism.” The real crisis is that true liberalism has been shoved aside by a radical left that embraces violent totalitarianism, but that’s not Razer’s take. In her mind, the crisis is that pure communism hasn’t been given enough of a chance to succeed. “Communism is a system of social organization that has never been truly tried and, these days, never truly explained. Yet it inspires fear in some, derision in others, and an almost universal unconcern for what it is actually intended to convey.”

This is the excuse communists repeatedly trot out in the face of a tsunami of evidence that their ideology has indeed been tried all over the world and has proven to be arguably the most devastating, inhumane belief system ever imposed on mankind. Every country where communism has been “tried” has gone to hell because of it. That’s not a coincidence nor is it just a failed effort to get it right; that is the inevitable consequence of communism.

No no no, Razer and other communist hopefuls argue. Marx’s ideas aren’t evil, just misunderstood. All this “fearful European talk about the ‘specter’ of communism,” for example, is nothing but “jittery gossip,” she states. So, “given that a) Marx is tough, and b) you’re pretty busy making profit for capitalists all day,” she has taken it upon herself to enlighten you about this “historical stage vital to the flourishing of all.”

The New, “Moderate” Hamas: Severe Cruelty to Jewish and Arab Prisoners and Their Families Even an anti-Israeli NGO is appalled. P. David Hornik

Hamas is trying to project a new image. At a news conference in Doha, Qatar, on Monday, May 1, it announced a purportedly moderate new document—without indicating in any way that it was abrogating its notoriously anti-Semitic 1988 charter.

The New York Times—at least on the face of it—quickly took the bait. That day its lead headline read: “Hamas Tempers Extreme Stances in Bid for Power”—later revised to “In Palestinian Power Struggle, Hamas Moderates Talk on Israel.”

The article quotes Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum: “The document gives us a chance to connect with the outside world…. We are a pragmatic and civilized movement….”

Yet, elsewhere in the report, even the Times is unable to get too enthused about the new “Document of General Principles and Policies.”

The Times notes that it “reiterates the Hamas leadership’s view that it is open to a Palestinian state along the borders established after the 1967 war, though it does not renounce future claims to Palestinian rule over what is now Israel.” Or in the document’s more emphatic words:

Palestine…extends from the River Jordan in the east to the Mediterranean in the west…the establishment of the Zionist entity therein do[es] not annul the right of the Palestinian people to their entire land and do[es] not entrench any rights therein for the usurping Zionist entity.

The Times also notes gingerly that the document “does not renounce violence.” Or as the document puts it:

The liberation of Palestine is the duty of the Palestinian people in particular and the duty of the Arab and Islamic Ummah in general…. Resisting the occupation with all means and methods is a legitimate right guaranteed by divine laws and by international norms and laws.

And the Times says the new document “specifically weakens language from [the] 1988 charter proclaiming Jews as enemies and comparing their views to Nazism.” The new document, however, says: “Hamas does not wage a struggle against the Jews because they are Jewish but wages a struggle against the Zionists who occupy Palestine.”

In other words, no problem with the Jews, as long as their state is destroyed.

And finally, the Times—which, despite all these bows to reality, gave the Doha press conference top billing as if it heralded a major change—acknowledges what all experts confirm: that the new document “does not replace the original charter,” which remains fully in force.

Muslim Terrorists Come for a Cartoonist Who Once Drew Mohammed Appeasement and apologies will not save you. Daniel Greenfield

“Other prophets have followers with a sense of humour”.

That was how it began seven years ago. Everyone Draw Mohammed Day had spread over the internet. And with it came the death threats. Molly Norris, who got it all started, soon had to go into hiding.

The South African cartoonist Zapiro decided to draw Mohammed on a psychiatrist’s couch. “Other prophets have followers with a sense of humour,” Mohammed complains. A newspaper on a coffee table in the clouds carries headlines about Everyone Draw Mohammed Day and Jihadist fatwas.

Jonathan Shapiro, the leftist cartoonist behind Zapiro, quickly found out that Mohammed’s followers really don’t have a sense of humor. Threats such as “You’ve got to watch your back” and “This will cost him his life” came pouring in.

Shapiro met with Muslim leaders and tried to establish his bona fides. He hated Israel and the “Islamophobia of the US War on Terror”. Not to mention European Burka bans and the “juvenile Islamophobic Facebook campaign”. He wasn’t one of those wicked Islamophobes. He was a good lefty.

“In South Africa, here Muslims are empowered,” Shapiro complained to the same imaginary psychiatrist in another comic strip “Muslim clerics told me this week they’re all for Freedom of Expression… except for drawing the prophet. Making exceptions for Religious Censorship is hard for a cartoonist.”

Shapiro had missed the point. In Islam, religion is politics and politics is religion. Supporting Islamic empowerment means endorsing theocratic censorship. To mock Mohammed is to undermine the supremacist foundations of Islamist theocracy. And that challenges Islamic power.

The apologies didn’t help. The appeasement didn’t matter. They still wanted him dead.

The Muslim terrorists who plotted to kill Shapiro didn’t care that he would go on to make amends by drawing a deranged Netanyahu brandishing a nuclear missile and compare Israel’s bombing of Hamas Jihadists to Guernica. In Shapiro’s Israel Apartheid Week cartoon, a cartoon Jewish figure who could have sprung from an issue of Der Sturmer, concedes that Israel is an Apartheid state.

The Muslim terrorists in Gitmo were pictured huddled behind the bars of a giant Statue of Liberty wearing Obama’s face. After Orlando, Trump was depicted in a Nazi uniform holding a sign, “Ban Muslims”. Surely those Muslim terrorists wouldn’t come for him. Or would they?

The years passed. Zapiro defended terrorists and smeared those who fought them. But the terrorists came for him anyway.

They did not care that he hated America and Israel. They did not care that he had stood up for the Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists in Gitmo. They cared only that he had offended Mohammed.

And there could be only one punishment for that crime.

The Left’s Continuing Homage to Communism Why progressives pay no price for clinging to their murderous ideology. Bruce Thornton

The success of Marine Le Pen in the first round of the French presidential election has the global left resorting to its usual exaggerations and dire predictions of a fascist resurgence. As happened with the progressive smears of Donald Trump, Le Pen’s similar appeals to patriotism, national identity, and the need to defend the nation’s culture and interests are immediately turned into sinister dog-whistles for the crypto-fascists, racist hordes just waiting for the Great Leader to start the pogroms and fill the gulags.

One hundred days into Trump’s administration, of course, nothing has happened that comes even close to beginning a fascist transformation of America. But the persistent phenomenon of the eternal fascist threat raises old questions about and other failed collectivists political ideologies.

Why is “fascism” or “right-wing” an epithet, but “communist” or “left-wing” isn’t? Why do the media, even those considered conservative, use a phrase like “extreme right” or “hard right,” but seldom use “extreme left” or “hard left”? Why is Le Pen’s National Front regularly described with such epithets, but Communist Parties or radical Green Parties rarely are? And why is there the vaguely honorific cliché “a man of the left,” but not the equivalent “a man of the right”?

In short, how has an ideology whose butcher’s bill is twice as large as fascism’s managed to stay acceptable? How do progressives in America like Bernie Sanders boast of honeymooning in the Soviet Union, but do not pay a political price for admiring a regime that killed more innocents than Hitler? How can a police-state like Cuba, which imprisons and murders and impoverishes its own people, continue to attract starry-eyed European and American progressives who at home loudly proclaim their concern for human rights and freedom and equality? Why are tee-shirts that sport images of mass murderers like Mao or thugs like Che considered chic, while Hitler’s or Mussolini’s likeness is verboten? Why in Europe can you wave the hammer-and-sickle flag of the defunct Soviet Union, but the swastika is forbidden by law? Why can the New York Times write a headline reading, “When Communism Inspired Americans,” when we will never, ever see anywhere a story about fascism “inspiring” Americans?

Or how is it that, as Martin Amis writes,

Everyone knows of Auschwitz and Belsen. Nobody knows of Vorkutlag and Solovestky. Everybody knows of Himmler and Eichmann. Nobody knows of Yezhov and Dzerzhinsky. Everybody knows of the six million of the Holocaust. Nobody knows of the six million of the terror-famine.

And why do there still exist legal Communist Parties in the West, and a superpower like China that still identifies itself as communist, but Nazism is a despised fringe cult that gets attention only because it’s a useful political demon for the left? If murderous tyranny is our standard for condemning and ostracizing Nazism, why isn’t it equally used to judge and proscribe the most murderous tyranny in human history?

Dartmouth Appoints Anti-Semitic Terrorist Enabler As Its New Dean A letter to the faculty at Dartmouth College. Alan Gustman

Editor’s note: The following letter was written by the author to all of the faculty at Dartmouth College asking them to fight the promotion of a new pro-BDS dean.

Dear Colleagues:

As you know, Dartmouth has appointed N. Bruce Duthu as its new Dean of the Faculty. What you may not know is that Professor Duthu is an active advocate of the BDS movement, a movement that proposes boycotting, divesting and sanctioning Israeli academic institutions. As the Treasurer of the Council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA), Professor Duthu coauthored a statement in support of the boycott of Israeli academic institutions as follows: “The NAISA Council encourages NAISA members to boycott Israeli academic institutions because they are imbricated with the Israeli state and we wish to place pressure on that state to change its policies.” The document our presumptive Dean coauthored can be found at http://www.naisa.org/ (scroll down to “NAISA Council Declaration of Support for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions”).

In advocating the boycott of Israeli academic institutions, BDS is anti-Semitic. The chant of the BDS movement, from the river to the sea, is anti-Israel, anti-Zionist, and profoundly anti- Jewish. It refers to sweeping the Jews out of Israel. Where else do we find movements advocating action against the academic institutions in any country but Israel, including many truly bad actors in the world? BDS is singling out Israel – the one country in the world that has a majority Jewish population. Indeed, this movement has become a cover for many anti-Semites who like nothing better than to once again be free to exercise their prejudices. It also is important to understand, especially when evaluating the significance of appointing a BDS advocate as the Dean of the Faculty, that BDS is not just a statement of beliefs or a philosophical movement: it is a statement of action.

Given my concerns about this matter I wrote letters to President Hanlon, to Professor Duthu, and individually to members of Dartmouth’s Board of Trustees. President Hanlon responded that he would never accept anti-Semitism at Dartmouth and reminded me of a letter he circulated to the Dartmouth campus against any boycott advocated by the BDS movement. Professor Duthu also states that he is not anti-Semitic and would not permit anti-Semitic acts at Dartmouth. Some of his friends, including those from the Jewish Studies Program, also argue that he is not anti-Semitic. In personal correspondence he cites a portion of the resolution as a defense of his position: “The NAISA statement, which you can find on the organization’s website, explicitly champions and defends intellectual and academic freedom with a recognition that “collaboration with individuals and organizations in Israel/Palestine can make an important contribution to the cause of justice.” Note that this statement does not support academic freedom in general. It supports Professor Duthu’s notion of justice. No member of the Board of Trustees responded to my email.

I have no reason to believe that Professor Duthu is anti-Semitic. His friends and colleagues do not consider him to be anti-Semitic, and are sincere in their opinions. What is relevant here is that he is supporting a movement that is substantially anti-Semitic, and that he has taken a position with regard to the BDS movement that is in opposition to the position and responsibilities he will have as Dean of the Faculty. Most importantly, he has not publicly renounced his public NAISI statement on the BDS movement.

Partial Obamacare Repeal Passes House Congressional Republicans finally get their act together. Matthew Vadum

Republicans claimed victory as their Obamacare-replacement bill that pundits pronounced dead a few weeks ago passed the House of Representatives.

Many conservatives say the bill is a step in the right direction, but they dispute the idea that is a true repeal of Obamacare, the GOP’s signature campaign promise for the last seven years. Although Obamacare is collapsing as premiums rise and insurers flee certain areas, it leaves much of the structure of Obamacare intact.

The legislation is a modified version of the measure that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) dramatically pulled from the House floor on March 24. The House narrowly approved the legislation yesterday afternoon on a vote of 217 to 213. All of the 193 Democrats who showed up to vote, voted “no.” There were 20 Republicans voting “no.”

Americans “suffered with Obamacare,” a triumphant President Trump said in the Rose Garden. “I went through two years of campaigning, and I’m telling you, no matter where I went, people were suffering so badly with the ravages of Obamacare.”

With the passage of the revamped proposed “American Health Care Act,” “your premiums, they’re going to start to come down,” he said. “Your deductibles … were so ridiculous that nobody got to use their current plan – this nonexistent plan that I heard so many wonderful things about over the last three or four days.”

He continued:

After that, I mean, it’s – I don’t think you’re going to hear so much. Right now, the insurance companies are fleeing. It’s been a catastrophe. And this is a great plan. I actually think it will get even better. And this is, make no mistake, this is a repeal and replace of Obamacare. Make no mistake about it. Make no mistake.

Trump added, “very importantly, it’s a great plan. And ultimately, that’s what it’s all about.”

Now the legislation goes to the Senate where it faces an uncertain future.

Senate leaders don’t like that the measure has not been scored by the Congressional Budget Office, which means it isn’t clear how much it will cost. Nor are they happy that the bill was rushed – in their view – through the House.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) praised the conservative House Freedom Caucus for improving the bill but said it’s still a bad piece of legislation.

But what I’m still concerned with is, this’ll be the first time that Republicans have affirmatively put their stamp of approval on a program where federal money, taxpayer money, is paid to insurance companies. … And it boggles my mind how that became a Republican idea.

The French Illusions That Die Hard Free markets and ‘globalists’ didn’t wreck the French economy. The political class did.By Sohrab Ahmari

A representative of the globalist elite faces a tribune of globalization’s victims. That’s the superficial read on Sunday’s presidential runoff between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen in France. The deeper question is whether French voters accommodate themselves to reality or cling tighter to their economic illusions. Plenty of clues about which path France might take were on display during the May Day holiday.

Start with the France of illusions. An estimated 40,000 red-clad activists snaked their way from the Place de la République to the Place de la Nation in the early afternoon. Hammer-and-sickle flags abounded. So did portraits of beloved mass murderers like Che Guevara. Gangs of masked youth set off firecrackers that boomed like gunshots.
One placard showed Ms. Le Pen and Mr. Macron side by side, asking: “Plague or Cholera?” A typical slogan was “Neither nation nor boss!”—a double rejection of Ms. Le Pen’s nationalism and Mr. Macron’s free-market liberalism. These sum up the views of supporters of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the leftist firebrand who was eliminated, barely, in the first round last month.

The Mélenchonists have a great deal in common with Ms. Le Pen’s National Front, which held its own angry rally earlier in the day. Both camps would lower the retirement age to 60 from 62. Ms. Le Pen would keep the 35-hour workweek while Mr. Mélenchon would shorten it to 32 hours. Both would boost welfare spending and sever or strain the country’s trade ties in various ways.

The Le Pen-Mélenchon Venn diagram has a large overlapping set, because both camps blame everyone but the French for the country’s malaise.

“The French try to erase historical experience,” Pascal Bruckner tells me. The literary journalist is one of a very few classical liberals among French public intellectuals. He says his compatriots “have forgotten the experience of 1989 and only see the bad aspects of capitalism and liberal democracy.”

The tragedy of France, Mr. Bruckner says, is that the country never had a Margaret Thatcher or Gerhard Schröder to implement a dramatic pro-growth program. Incremental, haphazard changes have only prolonged the crisis. “So if you’re unemployed it must be because of the market economy.”

Yet it wasn’t shadowy globalists who in 1999 imposed a 35-hour workweek to make overtime labor prohibitively expensive. The law was meant to encourage firms to hire more workers, but like most efforts to subjugate markets to politics, it ended up doing more harm than good. Now it’s the main barrier to hiring in a country where the unemployment rate is stuck north of 10%.

Nor was it global markets that levied a corporate tax rate of 33% (plus surcharges for larger firms), a top personal rate of 45%, and a wealth tax and other “social fees” that repelled investors and forced the country’s best and brightest to seek refuge in places like London, New York and Silicon Valley.

Nor did globalization build a behemoth French bureaucracy that crowds out the private economy. As of January, this has created a 98% public-debt-to-GDP ratio. CONTINUE AT SITE

San Diego: Ground Zero for Islamic Indoctrination in American Public Schools By Janet Levy

With a decade-long history of yielding to Islamic demands and recent, more alarming submissions, San Diego city schools appear to be ground zero for Islamic indoctrination within American public schools. The current capitulation includes an Islam-centric curriculum with input and resources from a Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated organization, which raises First Amendment issues as well as serious concerns of favoritism toward Muslims students over students of other faiths.

The San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) history of accommodation to the demands of Muslim students began in 2007. That year, Carver Elementary School in East San Diego ignited controversy when 100 Somali Muslim students transferred from a closed charter school. To accommodate these new students, the school rescheduled its recess periods to allow a 15-minute break each afternoon for Muslim prayer. The school also added Arabic to its curriculum and removed pork and other non-halal food from the cafeteria. The outcry forced the school to rescind the break, but it simply shifted the lunch hour to accommodate Muslim prayer. SDUSD wasn’t as accommodating to a Christian student in 1993 and was successfully sued when it denied a high school student’s request for a lunchtime Bible study.

This past week, SDUSD, in collaboration with the Council on American Islam Relations (CAIR), instituted an anti-bullying campaign aimed specifically at protecting Muslims students. In launching the initiative, SDUSD cited an unsubstantiated study by CAIR claiming that 55% of American Muslim students surveyed in California said they were bullied because of their religion. The new program will include adding lessons on Islam to the social studies curriculum that emphasize prominent Muslims in history, creating Muslim-only “safe spaces,” adding Muslim holidays to the school calendar, and providing support and resources for Muslim students during Ramadan.

According to Stan Anjan, SDUSD’s executive director of family and community engagement, the new program will focus on promoting a positive image of Islam. Special disciplinary measures will also be created for the so-called bullying of Muslims cited by CAIR. Instead of detention, the school plans a “restorative justice” program in which students dialogue with each other about perceived bullying words or actions. Educational materials on Islam and resource listings will be provided to parents and school personnel as well.

CAIR, “a radical fundamentalist front group for Hamas,” according to terrorism expert Steve Emerson, was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas terror-funding case brought by the Justice Department in 2007. CAIR operatives have repeatedly refused to denounce terrorist groups Hamas and Hezb’allah, and several CAIR executives have been successfully prosecuted and incarcerated for terrorist activities. CAIR was designated as a terrorist group by the UAE in 2014.