Since he assumed office nearly six years ago, US President Barack Hussein Obama has been dogged by allegations of managerial incompetence. Obama, his critics allege, had no managerial experience before he was elected. His lack of such experience, they claim, is reflected in what they see as his incompetent handling of the challenges of the presidency.

In everything from dealing with the Congress, to reining in radical ideologues at the IRS, to handling the chaos at the Mexican border, to putting together coordinated strategies for dealing with everything from Ebola to Islamic State (IS), Obama’s critics claim that he is out of his league. That he is incompetent.

But if Israel’s experience with him is any guide, then his critics are the ones who are out to sea. Because at least in his handling of US relations with the Jewish state, Obama has exhibited a mastery of the tools of the executive branch unmatched by most of his predecessors.

Obama is a master of mendacity, a virtuoso of malciousness. Consider two recent news stories.

First, in an article published in Comment: How the US first agreed and then refused to help locate a missing IDF soldier (10/17), terrorism analyst and investigative reporter Steven Emerson revealed how the highest echelons of the administration blocked the FBI and the US Attorney’s Office from assisting Israel in finding the remains of IDF soldier Oron Shaul.

Shaul was one of seven soldiers from the Golani Infantry Brigade killed July 20 when Hamas terrorists fired a rocket at their armored personnel carrier in Gaza’s Shejeia neighborhood.

As Emerson related, after stealing his remains, Hamas terrorists hacked into Shaul’s Facebook page and posted announcements that he was being held by Hamas.

Among other things it did to locate Shaul and ascertain whether or not he was still alive, the IDF formally requested that the FBI intervene with Facebook to get the IP address of the persons who posted on Oron’s page. If such information was acquired quickly, the IDF might be able to locate Oron, or at least find people with knowledge of his whereabouts.


Doctors and patients get burned by the world’s worst middleman.

In the first circle of Dante’s Hell, things aren’t so bad: The unbaptized and the virtuous pagans get to kick back, forever, with Homer and Ovid, watch Julius Caesar and Saladin do the limbo, etc. But things take a pretty sharp turn for the worse thereafter: Paris, Tristan, and Cleopatra get buffeted about by the winds of lust in the second circle, Cavalcante de’ Cavalcanti suffers a ghastly punishment for his heresy in the sixth, and soon enough you’ve got Satan himself gnawing on Brutus, Cassius, and Judas. But even with Virgil to guide him, Dante never looked into the little-known tenth circle of Hell, the joint headquarters of the federal health-care bureaucracies, i.e., Satan’s outhouse.

And if you think spending eternity submerged in a river of excrement sounds bad, try getting an appointment with a dermatologist. Dante had “Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here,” but we have “Please hold and your call will be answered in the order it was received.”

Researchers at JAMA Dermatology decided to do a little investigative journalism and cracked open the physicians’ directories for Medicare Advantage in twelve metropolitan areas. They invented a father with a suspicious itch, and started trying to make appointments. (Reuters provides an excellent summary of their findings here.) With 4,754 dermatologists to choose from, you’d think that would be pretty easy — and it’s lucky for you that there’s not a level of Hell for the naïve.

That population of 4,754 dermatologists turns out to have been decimated — about a tenth of them had moved on to one of the three sections of The Divine Comedy, or, short of that, had retired or were no longer practicing medicine. But the headcount has to be reduced further, and drastically: About half of the physicians were double-listed; unsurprisingly, the federal government is a much more attentive bookkeeper when it comes to your tax liabilities than it is when it comes to your health care. Another 18 percent were simply unreachable, and 9 percent were not taking new patients. Of those 4,754 theoretical dermatologists, there turned out to be 1,266 actual dermatologists still among the living, practicing medicine, and willing to make an appointment. But not for everybody: In some cases, there was not one dermatologist willing to see patients with certain Medicare Advantage plans. That’s what happens when you put politicians in charge of health care: You get a great deal on an insurance policy that no one accepts.




In 2010 the British writer Howard Jacobson won the prestigious Man Booker prize for his book The Finkler Question which satirizes writers, artists and academics who belong to a Jewish group named “ASH-amed.” The title refers to their shame and sorrow that the Jews of Israel stoop to the venal sin of defending their nation against its enemies.

While ASHamed was a parody, the BDS movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel has become a powerful threat to the economy and existence of Israel.

Far more insidious than the hazy, hypocritical, ignorant and selective preaching and preening of leftists who moan and groan about settlements and occupation in Israel, are celebrities, performers and academics who level destructive libels of ethnic cleansing and apartheid, using Nazi metaphors to delegitimize the only real democracy in the entire region.

Much has been written on the subject, but The London Center for Policy Research, a think tank founded and headed by Herbert London has produced a first and essential book The BDS War Against Israel-The Orwellian Campaign to Destroy Israel Through the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement. It exposes the radical agenda and willing participation of companies, organizations, charities, academics, and a motley group of useful Jewish idiots who demonize Israel under the pretense of “humanitarian” concerns.

How did it start and how did it gain such traction?

The authors, Jed Babbin and Herbert London, meticulously expose the founding, the funding, the participating groups, the tactics and the underlying anti-Semitism of the BDS movement, which sells itself under the disguise of the pursuit of “social justice.” It uses propaganda, disinformation, and outright libel to shift world opinion by depicting Israel as a rogue nation that routinely oppresses and disenfranchises a beleaguered minority of hapless Arabs. Thus, is Israel placed among nations ruled by despots and barbarians such as North Korea and Cuba, and, ironically, its surrounding Arab enemies.
The success of the movement is staggering. In nine years the BDS movement has persuaded a gullible left, both internationally and in the United States to 1. create global boycotts of Israeli universities and industries (purportedly only those that do business in the “occupied” West Bank) 2. to persuade nations, banks, companies and industries to divest themselves of investments in banks, companies and industries in Israel 3.to obtain international sanctions against Israel, its economy, and its people.

How Sweden Saved the Middle East by Recognizing Palestine : By Daniel Greenfield Now who Will Save Sweden?

On Thursday, Sweden finally solved all the problems in the Middle East by recognizing the State of Palestine. For decades all the instability in the region had been blamed on the lack of a PLO state. Foreign policy experts stood in line to tell us all that the only thing that could end terrorism in the Middle East was a terrorist state.

It was a plan so crazy that it was bound to either work or kill a lot of people. Mostly it’s done the latter.

But our leaders kept the faith. The White House’s Middle East coordinator insisted that Israel’s obstinate refusal to create a Palestinian State, against the wishes of the unelected president of the Palestinian Authority who refuses to negotiate one or to stop the terrorism, was causing instability in the region.

Secretary of State John Kerry had denied that ISIS was Islamic, but blamed Israel for ISIS recruitment.

But it wasn’t John Kerry who saved the Middle East from instability. Instead Sweden did it by recognizing a terror state whose leaders stopped bothering with the onerous duty of holding elections once they realized that the Eurocrats and Obama would keep shoveling money at them even if they chose their unelected terrorist leaders by playing Russian Roulette.

Sweden’s new Palestine not only dispensed with elections, routing the business of governance through its core PLO organizations, but also has no economy, instead employing an army of people who are paid not to run a country that doesn’t exist with money sent over by America, Europe and Japan.


This is what the Islamization of a Western country looks like. Good luck with your integration and your moderate Islam. All the empty words in the world can’t change the fact that what’s happening in Iraq and Syria will be coming to the UK… sooner than you think.

One in seven young British adults has “warm feelings” towards Islamic State, according to a poll.

A tenth of Londoners and one in 12 Scots view Islamic State (Isis) favourably, but sympathy for the militant group reaches its highest levels among the under-25s, the Populus survey found.

Although an overwhelming majority of the public — 88 per cent — gave Isis a low score, 5.2 per cent of 18 to 34-year-olds gave it a nine or a ten. Overall, 14 per cent of under-25s and 12 per cent of 25 to 34-year-olds gave Islamic State a score of between six and ten, implying a degree of sympathy.

There are about 1 million Muslim settlers in London where they make up 12 percent of the population. These figures suggest that the vast majority of them, perhaps as high as 80 percent , support ISIS.

There’s a lot of nonsense about skepticism among young people, but this isn’t about young people. It’s about Muslims.

The report, published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on May 16, shows that although Christianity is still the main religion in Britain—over 50% of the population describe themselves as such—nearly half of all Christians in Britain are over the age of 50, and, for the first time ever, fewer than half under the age of 25 describe themselves as Christian.


Military Dogs Sniff Out IEDs, Save Lives U.S. soldiers’ best friends use their superior senses to detect roadside bombs in ways no sensor ever could

—Ms. Frankel is a senior editor at Foreign Policy and the author of “War Dogs: Tales of Canine Heroism, History and Love,” recently published by Palgrave Macmillan.

As the desert air cooled and night fell, Staff Sgt. John Mariana looked down into the reassuring eyes of one of the most valuable comrades of his eight-month deployment to Afghanistan: Bronco, his military working dog.

Sgt. Mariana and Bronco were leading a U.S. patrol in June 2011, searching for roadside bombs. Bronco kept his head low, sniffing for buried explosives. Suddenly, ahead in the dark, Sgt. Mariana saw a man just 10 feet away, pointing an AK-47 at them. Sgt. Mariana shouted, and Bronco bolted toward the attacker, biting down hard. Then a shot rang out, and Sgt. Mariana saw the impact as a bullet hit his dog.

Bronco survived, as Sgt. Mariana told me a year later—and joined a long line of canine heroes. For centuries, dogs have been saving soldiers’ lives on battlefields. The ancient Egyptians used dogs to carry messages, the Corinthians surrounded their seashore citadel with guard dogs, and the Romans used dogs to raise alarms for their garrisons.

Dogs began appearing on U.S. battlefields during the Revolutionary War, though often as pets and mascots. During the Civil War, according to an 1862 article in Harper’s Weekly, a dog named Union Jack ran toward a spray of shells, barking as if he were chasing down the Confederate artillery.

The U.S. military didn’t officially add dogs to its ranks until World War II. This foreshadowed an unfortunate pattern—recognizing the combat value of dogs once a conflict erupts, only to forget their utility as it winds down. Messenger and scout dogs are thought to have saved the lives of tens of thousands of U.S. troops during World War II and Vietnam, according to author Michael Lemish. Yet the U.S. has never truly maintained its canine combat readiness—a mistake we may be repeating today.

Between 2006 and 2012, the Marines were using about 1,000 dogs, but since then, they have drawn down their numbers by some 650, says Bill Childress, manager of the Marine Corps’ dog program. He adds that it could take “three to four years” to rebuild the canine corps.

No Offense: The New Threats to Free Speech: John O’Sullivan ****

The U.S. and Britain have long considered themselves the standard-bearers for freedom of expression. Can this proud tradition survive the idea that ‘hurtful’ speech deserves no protection?
On Feb. 14, 1989, I happened to be on a panel on press freedom for the Columbia Journalism Review when someone in the audience told us of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s religious edict for blasphemy against the British novelist Salman Rushdie. What did we think? We didn’t, as I best recall, disgrace ourselves. We said most of the right things about defending freedom of thought and the imagination.

But the death sentence from Iran’s supreme leader seemed unreal—the sending of a thunderbolt from medieval Qom against modern Bloomsbury—and we didn’t treat it with the seriousness that it deserved. I recall, alas, making a very poor joke about literary deconstructionism. My colleagues, though more sensible, were baffled and hesitant. Was it even true—or perhaps just a mistranslation?

We knew soon enough that it was true. The literary, media and political worlds rallied in defense of Mr. Rushdie. He became a hero of free speech and a symbol—even if a slightly ambivalent postcolonial one—of Western liberal traditions. But he also went, very sensibly, behind a curtain of security that was to last many years.

And by degrees—when it seemed that not only Mr. Rushdie’s life but the lives of his publishers, editors and translators might be threatened—his base of support in the literary world thinned out. Sensitive intellectuals discovered that, in a multicultural world, respect for the Other meant understanding his traditions too, and these often were, well, sterner than ours. Freedom of speech was only one value to be set against…ahem, several other values. Fear, cowardice and rationalization spread outward.

Twenty-five years later, we can look back on a long series of similar events, including: the 2002 anti-Christian riots in Nigeria, in which more than 200 people were killed because a local tabloid had facetiously suggested that Miss World contestants would make suitable brides for Muhammad; the 2004 murder of the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh for his movie “Submission,” in which passages from the Quran were printed on women’s bodies; the riots in Denmark and throughout the Middle East in 2005 in response to the publication of cartoons of Muhammad by a Danish magazine; the murder threats against Dutch politician Geert Wilders for his 2008 film “Fitna,” which interleaved passages from the Quran with clips of jihadist violence.

Is Jerusalem in Israel? Ask the Supreme Court : Akiva Shapiro

Mr. Shapiro is a constitutional litigator at Gibson, Dunn, & Crutcher in New York, and counsel to amici curiae members of Congress in Zivotofsky v. Kerry.
The State Department says no, Congress says yes. Now the justices will decide a case involving a boy’s passport.

Menachem Binyamim Zivotofsky is soon to become a bar mitzvah, but his place of birth is still in dispute.

This much is clear: He was born on Oct. 17, 2002, in Shaare Zedek Hospital, in western Jerusalem. His parents, Ari and Naomi, are U.S. citizens, which makes him a U.S. citizen as well. But when his mother visited the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv to apply for a passport and birth documentation for her newborn son, and listed his “place of birth” on both applications as Israel, consular officials balked.

Since 1948, successive U.S. presidents have taken the position that Jerusalem is a city without a country, pending the conclusion of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Under State Department policy, personal-status documents of Jerusalem-born U.S. citizens such as Mr. Zivotofsky list only the city “Jerusalem” as the passport holder’s place of birth, and not Israel. That Jerusalem has, as a matter of fact, been the seat of Israel’s government for almost seven decades is of no relevance to the State Department.

In 2002 Congress stepped in and passed a law that directs the Secretary of State to permit U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem to choose to list “Israel” as their place of birth. The purpose of the law was to provide citizens like Mr. Zivotofsky the opportunity to self-identify as being born in Israel. But Presidents Bush and Obama have refused to implement the statute, citing what they called the president’s “exclusive” powers to direct the nation’s foreign affairs and to recognize the boundaries of foreign powers. His parents filed a lawsuit on behalf of their child, then a year old.

Fast-forward a decad

ObamaCare Buyers Club

Liberals are fighting liberals over referenda that would make the health law worse.

Democrats keep saying that opposition to the Affordable Care Act is a spent political force, but not so fast. Senate Republican candidates have run more ads against ObamaCare than on any other issue, according to Kantar Media/CMAG. But perhaps more fascinating this election year are the state referenda that confront rising costs and declining patient choice.

The pity is that these states are trying to solve the problems caused by ObamaCare with more ObamaCare-like rules and government control. Leading this challenge from the left as always is California, where on Tuesday voters will consider Proposition 45, which would impose stronger price controls on health insurers.

The state’s individual and small-business insurance markets were reasonably functional, but now all coverage must conform to the White House’s income-redistribution goals, and premiums are headed up fast. Anthem Blue Cross—whose 2010 rate hikes President Obama infamously served up as a reason to vote for the bill—is raising small group rates 9.8% next year. The California insurance commissioner prefers 2.1%.

So Prop. 45 would give the commissioner the power to reject rates he deems “unreasonable,” with no reference to actuarial or solvency standards. Government would dictate what products consumers are allowed to buy and use its clairvoyance to decide what businesses can charge.

One irony is that the ObamaCare exchange known as Covered California already fixes prices via crony capitalism, albeit in the back room. Instead of promoting competition among many insurers to lower costs, the bureaucracy follows a practice called selective contracting: Insurers receive a list of demands and Covered California then picks a few compliant winners. The losers are excluded from the exchange’s subsidized consumers.

Bedfellows make for strange politics, and the double irony is that the campaign against Prop. 45 is led by Covered California and such ObamaCare supporters as Nancy Pelosi . They don’t want an interloper to disturb their discretion. With characteristic California unwisdom, Prop. 45 gives outside pressure groups and especially trial lawyers the right to challenge rates in court.

ISIS Snuffs Out Ancient Christianity – Muslim Persecution of Christians, by Raymond Ibrahim

In Egypt, a young Coptic Christian man, accused of blaspheming Islam for simply “liking” an Arabic-language Facebook page, was sentenced to six years in prison.

One of the intruders in Uganda was shouting, “Today we shall kill you [for converting to Christianity] — you… are not respecting our prophet’s religion.” He then heard his 12-year-old-girl’s cries as the Muslim intruders were strangling her. Then they seized him.

Muslims in Germany were granted their own section of the cemetery. Now these same Islamic communities are demanding that, during Islamic funerals, Christian symbols and crosses in the cemetery be removed or covered up.

During the Islamic State’s June invasion and consolidation of Mosul, Iraq — where Christians have been present since the first century — countless atrocities against them were committed. Accordingly, the region is now reportedly empty of Christian presence.

The Islamic State, among other acts, reinstituted the collection of jizya, the “tribute” conquered Christians (and Jews) were historically required to pay in order not to be killed in accordance with the Koran (9:29).

In one instance, three Islamic State members burst into the home of a Christian family, demanding the jizya-money. When the father of the house pleaded that he did not have the money, the intruders raped his wife and daughter in front of him. The man was reportedly so traumatized that he committed suicide. Four other Christian women were killed for not wearing the Islamic veil.

Soon after taking over Mosul, the Islamic State also announced that it would destroy all Christian places of worship. Several churches were burned, including the Armenian church near the Al Salam hospital, and the Church of the Holy Spirit, after first being looted and desecrated. A large statue of the Virgin Mary disappeared.

Among the many Christians missing are two nuns from the Daughters of Mary Order, who managed an orphanage for girls in Mosul. It is believed they have been kidnapped.