Laborare est orare: Work is worship. Once upon a time that Latin cry arose from scores of medieval monasteries. Their monks believed that—as Carlyle later put it–“all true Work is Religion: and whatsoever Religion is not work may go and dwell among the Brahmins, Spinning Dervishes, or where it will…One monster there is in the world: the idle man.” Nor were those old monks the first to believe in the religious nature of work, the blasphemous nature of idleness. In Hebrew the word for labor (avodah) is also the word for prayer.

But when Douglas Elmendorf, chairman of the (nonpartisan) Congressional Budget Office, recently announced that one of the effects of the new health law will be to reduce, by 2017, the total number of hours Americans work by the equivalent of over two million full time jobs, President Obama’s spokesmen were quick to praise this massive “disincentive” to work as a blessing in disguise. Jason Furman, chairman of the White House’s Council of Economic Advisors, declared that “this is people having new choices they didn’t used to have.” From the White House itself came the declaration that “individuals will [now] be empowered to make choices about their own lives and…have the opportunity to pursue their dreams.” Another Democratic Dr. Pangloss celebrated this new opportunity “to spend more time with your children.” So much for the brave and religious nature of work in the Era of Obama.

Such repudiations of ancient wisdom have by now become a hallmark of the Obama administration. Not long after Elmendorf’s announcement came the news of Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to grant the brides and grooms of same-sex marriages the same legal rights in federal matters that couples married in the old-fashioned, “mixed” marriage mode have in, among other things, bankruptcy proceedings, legal testimony, and prison visits. Holder’s diligent researchers are now ransacking the archives to seek out every possibility for legally changing federal rules and regulations to accommodate those married according to the new dispensation without going to the trouble of getting Congress to pass new legislation.



Barack Obama campaigned promising to be a different kind of man and a different kind of president. He promised to work with the Republicans and include them. He specifically promised not to use executive orders to go around Congress.

As president, he rammed Obamacare through despite majority opposition against that law. Democrats passed that law during midnight and holiday votes. Obama promised to hold debates about the bill in public, on CSPAN, but instead had it engineered in backroom deals in which payoffs and favors were traded for critical votes.

He has rewritten that law on the fly 29 times, always with an intent to help himself and his party, not the American people. While giving unions and corporations breaks from Obamacare, ordinary Americans remain subject to the individual mandate. Obama and his party ridicule the idea that corporations are people, but he treats corporations better than he treats people.

Obama is promising/threatening to sideline Congress for the duration of his presidency. If Congress does not bend to his will, he threatens to go around it and act on his own.

The Obama administration claimed that 7 million Obamacare enrollees would be the measure of success. When that number proved to be unattainable, they moved the measure down to about 4 million. The administration’s apologists in the media went along with that. The administration has announced that about 3.3 million have enrolled, but even that number is fake: About 20% have not even paid their first premium, and therefore cannot be counted as enrolled.

Obamacare was sold as a plan to increase access and bring healthcare costs down. Obama promised that families would see premiums decrease by thousands of dollars per year. But so far, Obamacare has resulted in fewer Americans having healthcare now than before — about 6.5 million have lost coverage they had before. It has decreased access by shrinking provider networks. It has destroyed competition by eliminating some plans and replacing them with lesser plans only offered by one company in some areas. By every objective measure, Obamacare is a failure if it was truly intended to bring costs down, increase access and improve overall healthcare in America.



President Obama spent the latter half of Valentine’s Day in California’s parched San Joaquin Valley, linking the drought fueled in part by stringent environmental regulations on water delivery to climate change.

“The changing climate means drought, fire, storms, and floods will be costlier and harsher,” Obama said while surveying a farm in Los Banos, accompanied by Gov. Jerry Brown, Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, and Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.).

The administration announced a series of actions anchored in the departments of Agriculture and Interior intended to combat the longstanding economic effects of the drought in the nation’s breadbasket, including $5 million in additional assistance to California through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program that “helps farmers and ranchers implement conservation practices that conserve scarce water resources, reduce wind erosion on drought-impacted fields and improve livestock access to water” and $5 million in targeted Emergency Watershed Protection Program assistance to the most drought-impacted areas of California “to protect vulnerable soils.”

The White House also announced that $60 million has been made available through the USDA’s Emergency Food Assistance Program to food banks in California and 600 summer meal sites would be established in drought stricken areas. The USDA is “making $3 million in grants available to help rural communities that are experiencing a significant decline in the quality or quantity of drinking water due to the drought obtain or maintain water sources of sufficient quantity and quality.”



There is a Roman adage that determines how we are to relate to good men who have passed away: De mortuis nil nisi bonum (Of the dead, say nothing but good). This is the principle that governs every in memoriam, elegy or epitaph, following the convention that Plato in The Republic called a “noble lie,” that is, “a falsehood that arises in case of need.” The eulogy functions in the mode of exaggeration and omission, in effect, a rule of etiquette intended to censor or mitigate the complete truth or any intimation thereof in order not to dishonor the dead. Death is not only the great leveller, but the great exonerator as well, the verdict that acquits the deceased of his inevitably blemished humanity.

Provided the subject is not a beast among men, this is doubtlessly as it should be: the forgiving nature of memory in the face of the incommensurable. But there is also something to be said for honesty as the most genuine tribute to those who are no longer with us, a sign that love transcends the recognition of our natal flaws and imperfections, and sometimes even endears them to us. After all, who is it we truly wish to remember, the real man or a semi-fictional construct? It is also worth saying that a personal reminiscence is not an obituary or a eulogy; it is an attempt to furnish a balanced view of a complex, admirable and forceful individual whose presence among us made a difference for the better.

The passing of Barry Rubin, one of the most astute and indefatigable observers of the American, Israeli, and Middle Eastern political theaters, has generated a veritable trove of memorial articles, all of which attest to his analytical acumen and profound insights, his prolificity, his erudition, his warmth and kindness, his humor, his hospitality, and his personal magnanimity. For these encomiasts Barry Rubin was an Arthur Henry Hallam, a “Strong son of God,” or an Adonais, whose “fate and fame shall be/an echo and a light unto eternity.” And such recollections are essentially true, for the world is poorer without his wisdom, vitality and penetrating mind.

But Barry was much else, too, a man so passionately committed to his cause that he could be impatient, or even choleric, with those who dissented from his point of view.




Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (HR 3717), which contains language codifying protected classes as we discussed.

I pasted the Wall St Journal editorial board piece supporting the bill below. There’s also endorsements from the Sac Bee, Observer-Reporter (PA), and other op-eds like the woman who wrote “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother.”

In short, the bill focuses programs and resources on psychiatric care for patients and families most in need of services. These individuals are severely mentally ill, and as such, are the greatest consumers of social services. They often de-stabilize (go off medication because they deny their ill) then end up back in a hospital, on the streets, or in jail. In Maryland, just 500 people cost the system $36.9M annually.

We’ve heard an enormous outpouring of support from caregivers with loved ones who have a serious mental illness. And, the bill has received significant coverage and bipartisan praise from parents and groups across the country including American Psychiatric Association, National Sheriffs Association, and NAMI.

Attached is a four-page summary and a section-by-section of the bill. More on the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act: http://murphy.house.gov/HelpingFamiliesInMentalHealthCrisisAct.

Obama’s New Thoughtcrime: Edward Cline

http://ruleofreason.blogspot.com/2014/02/obamas-new-thoughtcrime.html The quotations below say it all:   Fox News February 11th: THOUGHT POLICE: FIRMS MUST SWEAR OBAMACARE NOT A FACTOR IN FIRINGS Is the latest delay of ObamaCare regulations politically motivated? Consider what administration officials announcing the new exemption for medium-sized employers had to say about firms that might fire workers to get under […]



Since the recent Mavi Marmara flotilla affair—facilitated, and perhaps even orchestrated by the Turkish government—we have been inundated with excruciatingly belated, if not downright delinquent hand-wringing assessments by so-called “expert analysts” of Turkey. These “experts” lament what they view as Turkey’s “precipitous” return to Islamic fundamentalism under the current Erdogan-led AKP regime—as if this dangerous phenomenon emerged suddenly and fully formed from the head of Zeus al-Zawahiri.

A sobering, highly informed corrective to this cacophony of ill-informed Johnny and Janey-Come –Lately “learned analyst” voices was provided by the Israeli scholar of Ottoman and Republican Turkey, Professor Uriel Heyd (1913-1968)—just over forty-two years ago!

First, a brief biography of Heyd, derived from Professor Gabriel Baer’s opening tribute and Preface (pp. 5-6) to Heyd’s “Revival of Islam in Modern Turkey,” The Magnes Press, Jerusalem, 1968, pp. 5-27, and Professor Aharon Layish’s, “Uriel Heyd’s Contribution to the Study of the Legal, Religious, Cultural, and Political History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey,” Bulletin of the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 9, No. 1, 1982, pp. 35-54.

Born Uriel Heydt on July 26, 1913, in Cologne, Germany, Heyd learned Hebrew in secondary school, and subsequently Arabic, Turkish, and Persian. He also studied law and economics, before ultimately focusing on oriental studies. Immigrating to Palestine in 1934, Heyd studied Islamic culture, Arabic language and literature, as well as the history of Palestine at Hebrew University under the tutelage of Professors G. Weil, L.A. Meyer, and the great scholar of Muslim-Jewish relations, S.D. Goitein. Upon graduation, Heyd continued his studies by learning Turkish in Istanbul (1939/40), subsequently joining the Middle East Department of the Jewish Agency for Palestine in 1943. Transferred to the Agency’s London office, Heyd completed a seminal analysis of the influential Turkish nationalist Ziya Gokalp (which was accepted as a PhD thesis by Hebrew University), while also studying Old and Middle Persian, Old Turkish, and Urdu at The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in the University of London. At SOAS, in addition, Heyd researched Ottoman diplomatic institutions and history under the renowned Ottomanist Professor Paul Wittek. Before joining the Hebrew University faculty in 1951, Heyd, between 1948 and 1950 served as a diplomat at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC, and the Israeli Legation in Akara, Turkey. At Hebrew University, Heyd ascended rapidly within the Department of the History of the Muslim Countries, which he would direct for some years, becoming the Eliyahu Elath Chair of the History of the Muslim Peoples in 1968, shortly before his sudden death May 13, 1968.

Heyd’s scholarly pursuits were broad, encompassing Ottoman history (including diplomatic history) and legal institutions, the mid-19th century Tanzimat reforms of the Ottoman Empire, and more generally, how Islamic religious and cultural institutions reacted to the processes of Westernization and secularization, particularly within the late Ottoman Empire, and modern Republican Turkey.

Abba Eban provided this assessment of Heyd’s contributions as both a scholar and diplomat during a eulogy delivered 30 days after Heyd’s death:

D. J. Jaffe :Just Say No, Governor Cuomo New York State Should Not Close Its Psychiatric Hospitals…..see note please


Newtown, Connecticut, where the tragic massacre of children occurred had one of the finest psychiatric hospitals in the Northeast. It was closed during the deinstitutionalization movement.So was the nearby hospital in Wingdale, New York. In both hospitals the residents were treated kindly, given work, gardens to cultivate, and outdoor facilities. This column is an excellent reminder of the need to revisit our outdated and dangerous notions that the mentally ill can always take care of themselves….rsk

Two trade associations representing New York’s community-based mental-health industry—Mental Health America (MHA) and the New York State Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS)—are eyeing the money Albany spends on inpatient psychiatric care and lobbying the Cuomo administration to close its state-run psychiatric hospitals. In January, New York governor Andrew Cuomo issued a partial reprieve to three of the nine state psychiatric hospitals he previously slated for closure. But the governor is moving ahead with plans to close other state psychiatric hospitals, which will force hundreds of seriously mentally ill patients into jails, shelters, prisons, and morgues. This will come at a high cost to taxpayers and put the public, the police, and the patients themselves at considerable risk. Just as Governor Cuomo would never cede control of tax policy to banking interests, he should not cede control of mental health policy to the mental-health industry. The hospitals should remain open.

Unlike community-based programs, psychiatric hospitals cater to those who need inpatient services, cannot survive safely in the community, or who refuse treatment. New York currently has about 4,000 state psychiatric hospital beds—roughly 27 per 100,000 New Yorkers, down from 600 per 100,000 in 1955. To meet the generally accepted minimum standard of 50 beds for every 100,000 people in a state, New York needs at least 3,000 more psychiatric beds. As a result of the shortage, at least 9,000 mentally ill New Yorkers are currently incarcerated and thousands are homeless. Closing hospitals and losing even more beds will only make the problem worse.

The Time Traveler’s Lesson from Obama’s World to the Past: JRNyquist


Commentary of 10 February 2014

Imagine a time traveler from 2014, fallen from the sky in a space capsule, taken into custody by the FBI on February 10, 1964. The time traveler is brought to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover for interrogation. But Hoover finds the time-traveler’s story to be the most egregious nonsense he has ever heard. From Hoover’s perspective the time-traveler is obviously perpetrating a hoax, and nobody in Washington would judge any differently; for according to the time traveler America (in the future) will be led by a black man with an Arabic name mentored (as a youth) by a suspected Communist subversive named Frank Marshall Davis, whose file Hoover would dig out and read with the certain knowledge that no such person could mentor an American president.

When the time traveler explains that the leading social question of 2014 will be gay marriage, Hoover might readily ask, “Does NASA think this is funny, to play a practical joke on the FBI?” Neither would Hoover credit the time traveler’s claim that the national debt will be more than $17 trillion in 2014, or that Venezuela and Nicaragua will have been quietly taken over by Fidel Castro’s friends, that Zimbabwe, Angola, South Africa and the Congo will be in the hands of African Communists, that North Korea will possess nuclear weapons. None of this would be believable. None of it makes any sense to someone living in 1964.

When the time traveler finally reports that the United States will be reduced to a state of manufacturing inferiority to Red China, there would be an end to the interview. What self-respecting American official (in 1964) would allow himself to be abused so insolently?



Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan may be having domestic troubles, but two places where he is popular are Iran and the Gaza Strip.

Indeed, at the end of January, Erdogan went to the Islamic Republic to meet with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani. The purpose of his visit was twofold: to bolster trade and energy cooperation between the two countries, and to discuss differences over Syria.

By his own account, Erdogan has been hoping “for the removal of all sanctions on Iran. Turkey has so far done its best in that regard and will continue to do so.”

No surprise, then, that a few bilateral business deals were sealed between Ankara and Tehran during Erdogan’s short stay.

That was two weeks ago.

This week, Erdogan was hailed by Hamas for his “noble position” on making a diplomatic reconciliation with Israel conditional on a complete lift of its naval blockade of Gaza. He also said that relations with Israel could not be normalized until a final agreement on compensation to the families of the Mavi Marmara “victims” was signed.