Dear Members of Congress,

Here’s an assignment for you: Watch the 1939 classic “The Wizard of Oz” and pay particular attention to the part in which Dorothy realizes that in her ruby red slippers, she had the magic power she needed all along.

You do, too. Not in fancy footwear, of course. It’s called the power of the purse.

You don’t like what’s going on where the border used to be before Barack Obama eliminated it? I realize you are probably not equipped to deliver the Constitutional remedy of impeachment, but how about this: When Barack Obama’s multi-billion-dollar “supplemental” budget request for the “unaccompanied children” crisis comes knocking on the door of the Appropriations Committee, put your hands in your pockets and whistle. You do not have to fund it. And why would you? As Texas Gov. Perry points out in USA Today, “out of $3.7 billion in President Obama’s request, only $68.4 million — or 1.8 percent — is directly dedicated to border security efforts.” That “supplemental” request, by the way, which initial reports pegged at $2 billion, has now grown to $4.3 billion.

Just say no. You can tell the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave: “Not good enough, Mr. President. Up here on Capitol Hill, we are persuaded by our Senate colleague Tom Coburn, R-Okla., that there is a cheaper, better option. As Sen. Coburn says, $20 million will fly all of these aliens home — first class! Even if we agree to spend the $68.4 million more of taxpayers’ money that you have designated to secure (read: attempt to reinstate) the border, we will still rack up savings of well over $3 billion!”

That’s real power — and it’s all yours. Get used to it. Remember, absolute powerlessness corrupts absolutely, too. Think of this way: You are useless to your bosses (constituents) if you are nothing more than a bunch of rubber-stamping, executive branch yes-men. And speaking of the power of the purse, that’s just not what we pay you for.

To be sure, there’s much more financial flexing to do. Not to alarm anyone unduly, but it is a fact that in this immediate and truly existential crisis, the federal government is seizing more dictatorial powers than ever. Look at the way the feds are blocking journalists and you, democratically elected representatives, from even seeing what is going on at the holding centers for the “unaccompaned alien minors,” aka (according to federal fiat) “unaccompanied children,” soon to be known as “unchaperoned debutantes.”


The death cult known as Hamas is celebrating its first great success of the current ‎campaign to murder Jews indiscriminately across the length and width of Israel. ‎Today it struck gold as Israel suffered its first death from rocket or mortar fire ‎from Gaza. This required The New York Times, America’s paper of record for those ‎who would vote for President Barack Obama for a third term if they only could, to point out that this ‎one Israeli casualty has to be placed in context with the approximately 200 dead ‎Palestinians in Gaza from Israeli bombing attacks. This disproportionality ‎of Israeli versus Arab deaths has been a constant concern for Israel’s enemies on ‎the Left in every engagement the nation has had with terror groups starting with ‎the war withHezbollah in 2006.

For pretty much every other nation in the history of the world, the goal in any war ‎has been to win quickly and decisively, with the lowest casualty cost to your own ‎side, and if morality is a part of your culture (which of course eliminates many war ‎participants, including all of those who have fought Israel in its modern history), ‎with no needless suffering caused to the other side’s civilian population. William ‎Saletan, hardly a down-the-line supporter of Israel (he is a fierce critic of home ‎demolitions of the families of terrorists) has applauded Israel for its enormous ‎efforts to accomplish its military goals in the current air campaign, while avoiding ‎civilian casualties.

As in the previous mini-wars with Hezbollah and in Gaza, the ratio of male to ‎female deaths among adult casualties has been 3 to 1 or 4 to 1. If Israel were ‎indiscriminately targeting civilians, or committing grave human rights violations, ‎the ratio would be much closer to 1 to 1. But for the major newspapers and ‎television stations in America, it is as if Israel had done something wrong for ‎having experienced so few deaths of its own (so far). The war would be “fairer” if ‎there were only more dead Jews. Since many on the Left and in the media have ‎trouble choosing between Hamas and Israel on the merits (or even prefer Hamas), ‎the pox on both your parties belief system leads to a longing for comparable death ‎tolls.‎

Israel’s critics won’t be moved by Saletan’s argument or any statistical analysis that ‎suggests Israel is behaving honorably. They want Israel to disappear, and they are ‎not at all uncomfortable with dead Jews. For years, the major nations of Europe ‎have argued that they are critics of Israel, but won’t tolerate anti-Semitism. It would ‎be hard to tell the difference these days, with police chiefs in Frankfurt turning ‎their bullhorns over to a violent mob attempting to attack Jewish institutions in the ‎city, and France descending into a full fledged state of nature if you happen to be ‎Jewish — with congregants locked into synagogues in Paris for their safety as masses ‎of Arabs call for a new Holocaust and attempt to storm the doors, while others ‎firebomb synagogues in communities outside Paris.


No ethnic group in the U.S. matches Cuban-Americans in their rejection of the Democratic Party. This might explain why most of you, amigos, have probably never heard of this atrocity against “Hispanics” attempting to enter the U.S. This week marks the 20th anniversary of the Communist massacre.

You know it’s bad (or good, depending on your viewpoint) when a mainstream media luminary himself admits to mainstream media “negligence.” To wit:

“In the summer of 1994, something terrible happened out there,” ABC’s Ted Koppel was reporting from Havana in 1998 as he pointed towards the Florida straits. “It was an incident that went all but unnoticed in the US media. The Cuban-American community protested but they protest a lot and as I say, we in the mainstream media all but ignored it. Now we welcome Cuban-American author Humberto Fontova for more details.”

“Thanks Ted! I’ll take it from here.” (Actually I’m making up the part about appearing on ABC. Actually Fox News is among the few who will tolerate me. But thanks to Ted anyway for notifying the world of this Castroite atrocity, even if four years later.)

In the predawn darkness of July 13, 1994, 72 desperate Cubans — old and young, male and female — sneaked aboard a decrepit but seaworthy tugboat in Havana harbor and set off for the U.S. and the prospect of freedom.

Let Jimmy Carter gush that “Cuba has superb systems of health care and universal education.” Let Jack Nicholson label their captive homeland “a paradise.” Let Bonnie Raitt rasp out her ditty calling it a “Happy Little Island.” Let Ted Turner hail their slavemaster as a “Helluva guy.” Let Michael Moore hail the glories of Cuba’s Healthcare in Sicko. Let Barbara Walters add gravitas while soft-soaping Castro during an “interview”: “You have brought great health to your country.”

The people boarding that tug knew better. And for a simple reason: the cruel hand of fate had slated them to live under Fidel Castro and Che Guevara’s handiwork.

The lumbering craft cleared the harbor and five foot waves started buffeting the tug. The men sprung to action as the impromptu crew while mothers, sisters and aunts hushed the terrified children, some as young as one. Turning back was out of the question.

A few miles into the turbulent sea, 30-year-old Maria Garcia felt someone tugging her sleeve. She looked down and it was her 10-year-old son, Juan. “Mami, look!” and he pointed behind them toward shore. “What’s those lights?”


If there’s one place on Earth that should understand the danger of Jew hatred, it is Frankfurt, Germany. In 1933, boycotts targeted Jews; by 1938, Germans were burning synagogues down. Between 1933 and 1945, the Jewish population of the city was decimated, dropping from 30,000 to 602. Few Jews, most of them Soviet expatriates, live in the city now.

So Frankfurt seems an odd place for a new blood libel against the Jews. Nonetheless, this week, 2,500 protesters, including Muslims and neo-Nazis — allied once again — showed up downtown to scream about Israel’s defensive action against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Police reportedly helped out the protesters, allowing them to utilize a loudspeaker and a vehicle to shout anti-Israel diatribes. “You Jews Are Beasts,” read one sign.

Meanwhile, in Paris, Muslims attacked two Jewish synagogues, including one in which 150 Jews had gathered to mourn the deaths of three Jewish boys, who were murdered by Hamas operatives. Those Muslims, brandishing bats and chairs, attempted to break into the synagogue and ended up injuring several Jews. In recent years, thousands of Jews from France have emigrated to Israel, amid shocking reports of beatings, stabbings and an ax attack.

The Europeans, it seems, are becoming increasingly comfortable with old-fashioned Jew hatred in their midst, whether homegrown or imported.

There’s a reason for that. In much of Europe, bloodguilt over the Holocaust still hangs over the heads of the population. According to a 2012 Anti-Defamation League survey of European countries, 45 percent of Austrians, 35 percent of French, 43 percent of Germans, 63 percent of Hungarians and 53 percent of Polish citizens felt that it was “probably true” that “Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust.” Many of those who wish to move beyond the Holocaust, therefore, look for a rationale to relieve national guilt — and what better way to relieve national guilt than to label the Jewish State an aggressor? After all, if the Jews have become the villains, then why spend too much time thinking about their victimization?

Of course, the labeling of Jews as bloodthirsty villains led to the Holocaust in the first place.


If the Palestinians are merely engaged in a nationalist struggle for self-determination, then why are they inciting genocide of Jewry? In the midst of Operation Protective Edge, Hamas released a music video in Hebrew calling for the Palestinians to bomb Israel and kill all Israelis.

“Raze it [Israel] to the ground, exterminate the cockroaches’ nest, and banish all the Zionists,” the lyrics read.

Some human rights activists and lawyers may get a sense of déjà vu upon reading these words. Back in 1994, there were several radio broadcasts calling for the extermination of human cockroaches.

They were in Rwanda.

When the Hutus began their genocide of the Tutsis on April 6, 1994, the most popular radio station in the country was RTLM, owned by relatives and friends of Rwandan president Juvenal Habyrarimana.

That day, RTLM exhorted its listeners, “You have to kill the Tutsis, they’re cockroaches. All those who are listening, rise so we can fight for our Rwanda. Fight with the weapons you have at your disposal: those who have arrows, with arrows, those who have spears, with spears.

We must all fight. We must all fight the Tutsis. We must finish with them, exterminate them, sweep them from the whole country. There must be no refuge for them.”

RTLM continued to incite for genocide throughout the war. And as the invading Tutsi army came in from Uganda, RTLM staff fled to Zaire with a mobile radio transmitter to continue broadcasting.

After the war, several senior RTLM managers and journalists were convicted of inciting genocide, and conspiracy to carry out genocide and crimes against humanity. And all right-thinking people cheered.


Out of the Proscenium, Into the Void “The Passenger” was powerful in Houston. It’s even stronger in New York

Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s haunting opera, “The Passenger,” a meditation on guilt and memory in the context of Auschwitz, was written in 1968 but was not staged until 2010. It is now making up for lost time. After touring Europe, David Pountney’s production was mounted by the Houston Grand Opera in January. Last weekend, the Lincoln Center Festival brought the staging, with the same HGO forces, to the Park Avenue Armory.

Zofia Posmysz, a Polish Catholic who spent three years in Auschwitz as a political prisoner, wrote the radio play and novel on which the opera is based. Traveling on an ocean liner 15 years after the end of the war, Liese, a former SS overseer in Auschwitz, thinks she sees Marta, a prisoner in whom she had taken a particular interest, and whom she thought dead. The encounter forces Liese to dredge up her repressed memories and to confront her own complicity in evil.

Powerful in Houston, the production was even stronger here. Removed from the enveloping, protective proscenium into the cavernous Armory space, it felt as though these heinous events were taking place in the void, where insignificant human beings must battle to preserve a semblance of humanity and a moral compass or, conversely, can wield power without fear of reprisal.

Thus, in Johan Engels’s set, the all-white ship floated serenely above the dark hell of Auschwitz, with its barracks and railroad tracks, and spotlights streaming straight down from the ceiling intensified the nightmarish qualities of the production and the opera itself. The orchestra, incisively led by Patrick Summers, was placed beside the set rather than in a pit. Removing that usual division between the audience and the singers gave their performances a stunning immediacy; the necessary amplification was barely noticeable. Among the excellent performers, the soprano Melody Moore came into her own as a passionate, full-voiced Marta, for whom memory becomes an ecstatic, affirming vehicle for survival.

In the Lincoln Center Festival’s other opera offering this year, the Bolshoi brought no sets and costumes from Moscow, but its concert performance of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s “The Tsar’s Bride” (1899) at Avery Fisher Hall on Sunday afternoon was still a grand affair. Based on a play by Lev Mey, the opera, a Russian classic little heard in the U.S., imagines the scenario behind the premature death of Ivan the Terrible’s third wife. It is a colorful story in which Gryaznoy, one the Tsar’s marauding oprichniks, or secret police, falls in love with Marfa, a merchant’s daughter. No matter that she is engaged to her childhood sweetheart, Lykov, or that she is on the Tsar’s list of marital possibilities, or that Gryaznoy’s mistress, Lyubasha, will not tolerate being cast aside. Poison substituted for a love potion has a cascading effect, resulting in the deaths of all four principals.


At ABC News and CBS’s ’60 Minutes,’ producers would regularly kill stories critical of the powerful and connected.

With the founding of the Center for Public Integrity in the 1980s, Charles Lewis probably did more than anyone else to launch institutional nonprofit journalism in America. So it is worth paying attention to what he has to say, especially when his subject includes the fate of journalism itself. Mr. Lewis’s “935 Lies” repays such attention, though not right away.

The first half of the book is an unremarkable recounting of America’s supposed loss of innocence—its missteps and transgressions as well as its attempts to restore the nation’s ideals—from the Tonkin Gulf and Freedom Summer to the Pentagon Papers and Watergate, from the Chilean coup to Iraq. An entire chapter, breaking no new ground, is devoted to the stubborn problem of race in America. The book’s historical narrative is meant to show, as the subtitle has it, “the decline of America’s moral integrity.” The title itself, which the author essentially disowns in a concluding note, refers to 935 statements by the George W. Bush administration about Iraq. Mr. Lewis asserts that the statements were all erroneous but concedes that they may not have been “lies” in the sense of knowing falsehood. In any case, the Iraq war plays only a limited role in Mr. Lewis’s tale of woe.

But hang in—or skip to the second part, which is mostly a memoir and almost all about journalism. It includes one of the toughest critiques of television news ever written by an insider. From 1977 to 1989, Mr. Lewis worked for ABC News and then for CBS’s news program “60 Minutes.”

Mr. Lewis begins with an admiring portrait of Edward R. Murrow, whose wartime reporting and work at CBS in the early 1950s, he believes, embodied a time when the news business managed to avoid the plague of risk aversion that would later come from corporate masters seeking ever larger profits. Then he takes us into the halls of Don Hewitt’s “60 Minutes” and makes the most of his own disillusioning experience.

The Hobby Lobby Decision and Its Distortions: Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire) and Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska)

Nothing in the Supreme Court’s recent ruling denies women access to birth control.
In the days since the Supreme Court’s June 30 Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision, we have been troubled by those who seem eager to misrepresent both the facts of the case and the impact of its ruling on women—all to divide Americans and score political points in a tough election year.

The biggest distortion: the #NotMyBossBusiness campaign on Twitter, which falsely suggests that under the ruling employers can deny their employees access to birth control.

That’s flat-out false. Nothing in the Hobby Lobby ruling stops a woman from getting or filling a prescription for any form of contraception. Those who distort the court’s decision insist that one cannot support religious liberty and also support access to safe, affordable birth control. But these are principles that we, and millions of others, support. Americans believe strongly that we should be able to practice our religion without undue interference from the government. It’s a fundamental conviction that goes to the very core of our character—and dates back to the founding of our nation. The Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case, which protects rights of conscience, reaffirmed our centuries-old tradition of religious liberty.

Contrary to the misleading rhetoric, the Hobby Lobby ruling does not take away women’s access to birth control. No employee is prohibited from purchasing any Food and Drug Administration approved drug or device, and contraception remains readily available and accessible for all women nationwide. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll, prior to ObamaCare over 85% of large businesses already offered contraceptive coverage to their employees. And the ObamaCare mandate under review in the case doesn’t even apply to businesses with fewer than 50 employees. For lower-income women, there are five programs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that help ensure access to contraception for women, including Medicaid.

The court’s decision applies to businesses whose owners have genuine religious convictions. In the Hobby Lobby case, the company’s owners—the Green family—offered health-care plans that provide coverage for 16 of the 20 FDA-approved contraceptive drugs and devices, including birth-control pills, required under the Affordable Care Act.


The greatest thing about movies is their ability to conflate reality with illusion, not just regarding special effects but in convincing us that actors are the characters they portray on screen. Movies made us believe that John Wayne was a war hero though he never served a minute in combat; we believed that Vivien Leigh, a neurasthenic, fragile British beauty was a southern belle with enough pluck to get her hands dirty in Tara’s soil; we believed that Rock Hudson was the ultimate lady’s man who enjoyed the many love scenes that he played with the screen’s sexiest women.

Through the combination of screenplay, cinematography, music and all the other elements that fascinate us despite the proliferation of oversized tv screens and ubiquitous personal gadgets, we remain enthralled by the great art form of the 20th century. So it is with enormous surprise that I note the unanimous rating of 100% critical approval on Rotten Tomatoes for a film that is the antithesis of this pretense, a return to the most literal of presentations instead of the most illusory. I’m speaking of “Boyhood,’ Richard Linklater’s lengthy, often plodding film about an American family seen through the life of a boy from the age of six until his freshman year at college. The gimmick that has tickled all the critics was the use of the actual actors as they aged over the course of twelve years. The director, refusing to avail himself of the usual tricks of the actor’s and cinematographer’s trades, simply waited until the characters really grew up and kept returning to shoot them in their real time. Since this isn’t a documentary, this versimilitude doesn’t amount to anything more than minor admiration for the director’s extreme patience in getting this project done. As I watched the movie, I thought that even if these children growing into adolescence had been in my own home movies, I would have been sufficiently bored by their banality to use an editor’s discretion to liven things up.

As an admirer of Linklater’s previous movies with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy (Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight), I was struck by the missing quality that distinguished those movies from this one – charm. Delpy and Hawke played off against each other with conversation that had intelligence, wit and sparkle; even though the movies were scripted, they had the feel of spontaneous combustion between people whose twosome had emotional and physical chemistry. In “Boyhood,” there is the promise of some spark in the early footage of a sassy young Lorelei Linklater playing the petulant older sister to a six year old Mason – the title boy. By the time she ages into adolescence, her characterization is symbolized more by her hair morphing into shades of pink, red and henna than by her dialogue which becomes as spare and monotonous as the other teenagers in this film. The three other main children who comprise the blended family are taciturn and frankly, boring. We are looking at America’s mediocrity which may be a valid subject but not when it becomes celebrated and not when the movie ends with a song about diminished ambitions that takes on the aura of an anthem instead of a dirge.


Anti-Israel Protesters Attack Paris Synagogues Congregants trapped in building as Bastille Day demonstration turns violent

Traditionally French people dance in the streets and fire stations on the eve of the Quatorze Juillet, known in English as Bastille Day. This year, however, anti-Israel demonstrators took control of the monument in the center of the Bastille circle Sunday, brandishing Palestinian flags and cardboard replicas of scimitars [1] and Kassam rockets. Described in AFP releases as a well-mannered demonstration except for a few incidents, it was in fact a hate-fest against Israel and the Jews. “Death to the Jews,” “Murderous Israel,” “One Jew Some Jews All Jews are Terrorists” figured loudly among the slogans [2] hurled by kefiyyeh-clad marchers.

According to the police, the 7,000 demonstrators (organizers claimed 30,000) began in the northern quartier of Barbès, which has a large African and Maghrebi population, and marched to the Bastille, where they remained for several hours. A small contingent started to attack the police, and was quickly brought under control. At the same time, hundreds of protesters raced up rue de la Roquette—street of the rocket—and surrounded [3] the Don Isaac Abravanel [4] synagogue, which is protected by a tall metal gate. Security guards from the SPCJ (Service de Protection de la Communauté Juive), Beitar, and the Jewish Defense League faced assailants reportedly armed with knives, axes, and iron bars.

Five riot policemen stationed in front of the synagogue, where some 200 congregants happened to be attending a prayer service for Israel’s safety, were unable to handle the crowd. It took a half hour for reinforcements to arrive, and another two hours during which law enforcement combed the surrounding streets before members of the congregation were told it was safe to leave. The chief rabbi of Paris, Michel Guggenheim, was at the synagogue during the incident.

Another synagogue [5], on the rue des Tournelles near the Place des Vosges, was also targeted, though details of that incident have not yet emerged. Two weeks ago I attended a joyful ceremony there for the more than 1,500 French Jews making aliyah [6] this summer, in the presence of Natan and Avital Sharansky, as well as the Israeli ambassador to France and newly elected [7] chief rabbi of France Haim Korsia.

Jewish radio stations were abuzz Sunday evening and Monday with testimony from people who had been inside the synagogue and statements from Jewish community leaders. Mainstream media coverage, however, focused [8] largely on the 14 Juillet military parade, with the day’s “death to the Jews” chants neatly overlooked.

Roger Cukierman, the president of CRIF [9], the umbrella organization of French Jews, and Joël Mergui, president of the Consistoire [10], met with Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve yesterday, and asked for an outright ban on anti-Israel demonstrations due to their blatant disregard for law and order.