SOL SANDERS:PICKING UP AFTER OBAMACARE

One of the greatest costs to Medicare and one which presented the most difficult moral issue facing the American health system on the eve of Obamacare was the growing number of persons with dementia As lives lengthened, one 2010 study estimated that almost 15% of those over 70 suffered from some form of dementia. The annual cost to families and society as a whole was estimated annually at between $31 and $56 thousand dollars for each individual with a total cost of between $157 and $215 billion.

In the post-Obamacare era, these two elements of the total medical picture may assume the greatest importance. The obvious necessity to make “co-pay” a part of the Medicaid commitment, even for the poorest recipient, would appear part of any solution. An increase in the 20% of Medicare which now must be paid by the insured may well be necessary to refinance that system. But neither will be easy for an electorate, promised so many freebies by Obamacare.

Growing obesity and other manifestations of the American lifestyle presented an even greater challenge – and will continue to do so – in any effort at prevention rather than treatment. That is going to demand a mobilization of public opinion long after the squabbles over Obamacare are historical footnotes.

Hopefully in a more realistic environment occasioned by Obamacare’s demise, reason and common sense will prevail. And, as always, scientific breakthroughs may be around the corner, particularly for Alzheimer’s. [British scientists announced such a breakthrough in October 2013 in experiments with rats although they cautioned application to humans would be some time off.]

But there again tightened budgets, in no part the result of the Obama Administration’s campaign against competition and the traditional concept of equal opportunity [rather than Pres. Obama’s redistribution of wealth for guaranteed equality] would be the touchstone.

OBAMA’S SUEZ?MICHAEL DORAN

http://mosaicmagazine.com/picks/2013/11/obamas-suez/?utm_source=Mosaic+Daily+Email&utm_campaign=24ea0d2283-Mosaic_2013_11_18&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0b0517b2ab-24ea0d2283-41165129

In siding with his enemies against his allies in the Suez crisis, Dwight D. Eisenhower committed (in his own words) his “major foreign-policy mistake.” Obama seems bent on repeating it.

Israel’s primary adversary is acquiring powerful new weapons that will overturn the military balance in the Middle East. But it needs at least a year before its weapons will be fully functional. In the meantime, the Israelis are signaling that they are contemplating a preemptive war. In Washington, however, the president does not share Israel’s sense of alarm. The fears of the Jewish state, he believes, are exaggerated. Its preparations are a tool for goading the United States into a policy that is more attentive to Israeli interests.
ASSOCIATED PRESS

EGYPTIAN TANKS ENTER PORT SAID AFTER BRITISH AND FRENCH TROOPS EVACUATE, DECEMBER 23, 1956.

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While arguing strenuously against the use of force, the president launches a series of diplomatic initiatives designed to reduce regional tensions. The negotiations, however, produce no tangible results, and the Israelis grow increasingly disaffected with Washington. They are, however, by no means alone. The French also regard American policy as starry eyed. Paris and Jerusalem grow closer. Before long, they begin clandestine security cooperation, which quickly turns into joint planning for war—behind the back of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The scenario in question is, of course, the prelude to the Suez war of 1956. Israel’s adversary at the time was not Iran, but Gamal Abdel Nasser’s Egypt. In September 1955, Nasser signed an arms deal with the Soviet Union, which provided him with sophisticated arms in unprecedented quantities. The new weapons, however, were unfamiliar to the Egyptian military, which needed time to absorb them into the ranks. Meanwhile, Nasser organized terror attacks against the Israelis while sponsoring revolutionary movements aimed at driving Britain and France from the Middle East. Eventually, the British also despaired of American policies. They fell into direct alignment with the French.

The situation that President Obama now confronts is uncannily similar. There are enduring patterns to American relations with the Middle East, and President Obama would be well advised to study the war that erupted on Eisenhower’s watch. He should treat it as a cautionary tale—not least because the two European powers and Israel launched parallel invasions of Egypt in October 1956.

Eisenhower was taken totally by surprise, and he felt betrayed. He took the extraordinary step of voting with the Soviet Union in the United Nations against his own allies. Imposing severe sanctions on the Europeans, he brought the British to the brink of economic collapse. He demanded, with near-total success, that all invading forces evacuate Egypt unconditionally.

EVELYN GORDON: STOP DUMBING DOWN JUDAISM

A major topic of this year’s General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America is how to combat assimilation. At the conference, which is being held in Jerusalem this week, JFNA leaders have unveiled various ambitious ideas, including free universal Jewish preschool. I’d like to offer a much simpler proposal: Just stop dumbing down Judaism. American Jews overwhelmingly receive excellent secular educations; they are exposed to the most challenging, rigorous, thought-provoking material available in science, philosophy, history, and literature. Yet they rarely encounter Judaism at a level more intellectually challenging than a kindergarten class. And as long as that’s true, Judaism will never be able to compete with the secular world for their attention.

Ironically, the Orthodox were way ahead of the non-Orthodox in grasping this, and it’s one reason why Orthodox retention rates are currently much higher than non-Orthodox ones. As far back as 1917, one of Poland’s leading Orthodox rabbis, the Chofetz Chaim, approved the opening of Bais Yaakov, the first school to teach Torah to girls. His reasoning was simple: It had become normal for girls to attend secular schools, and if they didn’t obtain a comparable Jewish education, they wouldn’t stay Jewish. The same understanding fueled the opening of numerous high-level women’s yeshivas in recent decades: Today, girls routinely attend not just secondary school, but college and graduate school; hence their Jewish learning must also be on a higher level.

But in the non-Orthodox community, Jewish education never comes close to the intellectual rigor of secular studies. Almost every American Jew who has attended a non-Orthodox Hebrew school can attest to this; just last week, the Forward ran a piece by an associate professor, Michah Gottlieb, deploring the lack of opportunities for serious Torah study at his childhood synagogue. My own experience is equally typical: During 12 years of Hebrew school, the numbing boredom was punctured by only two classes that offered comparable intellectual stimulation to my secular public schools–and both were taught by Orthodox rabbis. The difference was that they took classic Jewish texts seriously, insisting that we read, analyze, and debate them with the same rigor I encountered in secular history or literature classes.

Why I am Filing for Asylum in Sweden- My Own Country By Annika Hernroth-Rothstein

Here in Stockholm this fall, we in the Jewish community have enjoyed our 21st annual Jewish film festival, a klezmer concert, and a number of other cultural diversions. I choose the word “diversions” advisedly. It’s thanks to such entertainments that so many of my fellow Jews can allow themselves to say that we’re doing okay here—that there’s no need to rock the boat or cause trouble.

But you know what? We are not okay, and this is not okay.

Kosher slaughter has been outlawed in my country since 1937, and a bill is now pending in parliament that would ban even the import and serving of kosher meat. Circumcision, another pillar of the Jewish faith, is likewise under threat. In my job as a political adviser to a Swedish party, I have dealt with two bills on this issue in the past year alone; a national ban is rapidly gaining political support in the parliament and among the Swedish public. When it comes to our religious traditions, those on both the Right and Left in Swedish politics find common ground; they take pride in defending both animals and children from the likes of us, and from what one politician has called our “barbaric practices.”

The avenues of aggression may be new, but the rhetoric is old and familiar—and so are the effects. In today’s Sweden, home to all of 20,000 Jews amidst a national population of some nine million, the public display of Jewish identity, like donning a kippah or wearing a Star of David pendant, puts an individual at severe risk of verbal harassment and, even worse, physical harm. Synagogues are so heavily guarded that Jewish tourists are turned away if they try to attend services unannounced. Inside the sanctuary, we celebrate our festivals and holy days under police protection. On the afternoon of Rosh Hashanah, during the five-minute walk to the water for the ceremony of tashlikh, my young son asked a guard why so many policemen were accompanying us. Replied the officer: “so that no bad people can hurt you.”

ANDREW McCARTHY: OBAMA’S 5% CON JOB****It’s a 100 Percent Lie, According to the White House’s Own Figures.

Last Thursday, President Obama purported to undo the “Affordable” Care Act (ACA) mandates that he and congressional Democrats quite intentionally designed to force Americans off their health-insurance policies . . . notwithstanding the president’s promise, repeated over and over again since 2009, that Americans would be able to keep their health-insurance policies. In my weekend column, I argued that Obama’s latest unilateraldiktat is lawless and transparently political. With each passing day, however, what becomes more breathtaking is the depth of systematic, calculated lying that went into the extensive — the criminal — Obamacare fraud.

Let’s quickly recap the lawlessness and cynical politics behind Thursday’s pathetic press conference. Obama, who poses as a constitutional-law expert, knows full well that a president has no legal authority to waive statutory mandates. Even if he had such power, moreover, he knows that there is no practical possibility of undoing — within the next few weeks, as the ACA would require — the new arrangements that insurance companies and state regulators spent the last three years structuring to comply with Obamacare mandates. In sum, Obama is well aware that his proposed “fix” is frivolous. His hope is that the country overwhelmingly consists of dolts who are too uninformed to realize that this is the case, and who, with a little help from his media courtiers, can be convinced to blame the insurance companies, rather than the president, for the fact that millions of Americans are losing their coverage under his “reform.”

The Shi’ite Day of Atonement by Mordechai Kedar

Translated from Hebrew by SallyZahav with permission from the author.
Source: The article is published in the framework of the Center for the Study of the Middle East and Islam (under formation), Bar Ilan University, Israel. Also published in Makor Rishon, a Hebrew weekly newspaper.

This week, on the tenth of the month of Muharram, the first month of the Hijri calendar, is Ashura, which at first was akin to the Jewish Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, occurring on a similar date. However, over the years, this day has become a memorial day for Hussein bin Ali, leader of the Shi’ite sect, who was executed by the army of the Sunni regime in southern Iraq in the year 680 CE, 1333 years ago. He was decapitated and his head was ceremoniously brought to Damascus as proof that the deed had been carried out. Caliph Yazid bin Muawiyah placed Hussein’s head on his table and left it there for a month, so that all could see the fate that befalls a rebel and would be deterred from behaving as he did. The fact that Hussein was the grandson of Mohammad the prophet of Islam did not prevent the caliph from treating Hussein’s head in this manner.

What is the cause of the Shi’ite-Sunni conflict? Why the terrible cruelty that has been characteristic of this conflict even until today?

The story begins in the year 632, the moment that Muhammad died. Immediately upon his death the struggle began over who would succeed to the most powerful position in Islam – the office of Caliph, Muhammad’s replacement and the leader of Islam. Ali bin Abi Talib was Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law, since he was married to Fatima, daughter of Allah’s messenger and his first wife, Hadija. Fatima bore to Ali two sons, Hasan and Hussein, and two daughters – Zainab and Umm Kulthum.

Human Rights vs. Public Safety by Douglas Murray

http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4056/human-rights-public-safety Britain is unable to extradite people to their country of origin if they might face harm there. This means that the British police had to find some mechanism to keep a constant vigil on a small number of young men believed to be a potential threat to the British public. In recent years, the […]

Lessons from the Virginia Gubernatorial Election by FRANK SALVATO

http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/detail/lessons-from-the-virginia-gubernatorial-election?f=puball#ixzz2kwS5hGvM With the 2013 Virginia Gubernatorial Election in the books, three things become apparent. First, the citizenry’s aversion to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is alive and well. Second, when Conservatives run inferior campaigns or get duped into the Progressive trap of debating “social issues,” it doesn’t matter how rooted the message is in common […]

The Regulator’s Cucumber Syndrome by EDWARD CLINE

http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/detail/the-regulators-cucumber-syndrome?f=puball Gatestone Institute’s Soren Kern on November 14th had an article, “EU Regulations: ‘Dictatorship of the Bureaucrats’?” about the bewildering plethora of European Union regulatory laws. In preliminary note-taking for this column, I tried to learn how many federal product regulations exist in the U.S.  The truth is that no one knows, not Congress, not […]

HHS Dithers as Avian Flu Looms Larger by CHET NAGLE

http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/detail/hhs-dithers-as-avian-flu-looms-larger In 2009, Andrew F. Krepinevich, president of the prestigious Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, wrote a sobering book, “Seven Deadly Scenarios.” A chapter titled, “Pandemic,” describes the horrific impact of an influenza pandemic on an unprepared United States, and reminds us that the misnamed “Spanish Flu” of 1918 actually began in China before […]