Thursday, December 29, 2016

Obama's shameful farewell message to Israel

Secretary of State John Kerry’s rebuke of the Israeli government on Wednesday set off a wave of criticism from lawmakers in both parties. Republicans denounced what they said was the Obama administration’s harsh treatment of a steadfast ally and Democrats signaled that they were uneasy with Mr. Kerry’s pressure on Israel, even as they praised the effort to promote Middle East peace.

In Europe, however, Mr. Kerry’s speech was greeted warmly, with officials calling it a courageous and thoughtful effort to salvage the idea of a two-state solution for the Israelis and Palestinians. Still, across the Arab world, his harsh words for Israel were met with a collective shrug, coming at the end of eight years of Obama administration policies that left many in the Middle East frustrated.

On Capitol Hill, hours after Mr. Kerry used what may be his last major address to bluntly inform the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, that “friends need to tell each other the hard truths,” he received a reminder of the deep support Israel enjoys in an otherwise sharply divided Congress.

“While he may not have intended it, I fear Secretary Kerry, in his speech and action at the U.N., has emboldened extremists on both sides,” said Senator Chuck Schumer, the incoming Senate Democratic leader.

A bipartisan chorus of lawmakers, upset with President Obama’s decision last week to allow the passage of a United Nations resolution condemning Israel’s construction of settlements in disputed territory, made clear that they were looking past the departing administration.

Senator Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, said he shared Mr. Kerry’s concerns “with the lack of forward progress on a two-state solution.” But Mr. Cardin also said he was unhappy that Mr. Obama had not vetoed the United Nations resolution, instead abstaining from the vote. He pledged to “explore congressional action that can mitigate the negative implications” of it.

The most ardent supporters of Israel in Congress seemed just as liberated as Mr. Kerry was to let loose.

“Secretary Kerry’s speech today was at best a pointless tirade in the waning days of an outgoing administration,” said Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona. “At worst, it was another dangerous outburst that will further Israel’s diplomatic isolation and embolden its enemies.”

Representative Eliot L. Engel of New York, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called Mr. Kerry’s speech “gratuitous” and “wrong.” “There doesn’t seem any purpose to this other than to embarrass Israel,” Mr. Engel said. “It just pained me to watch it.”

Democratic members of Congress who are closer to Mr. Kerry, a former senator, and the Obama administration were more measured. Many had been angered by Mr. Netanyahu’s decision last year to accept an invitation from the Republican-led House to deliver a speech in the Capitol, where he confronted the president over the Iran nuclear accord.

Yet even these Democrats — eyeing the arrival of a Republican administration-in-waiting that has vowed strong support for Israel — left little doubt that they were parting ways with Mr. Obama on the substance of the United Nations resolution. [...]

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

For Fact-Checking Website Snopes, a Bigger Role in dealing with Fake News

The last line of defense against the torrent of half-truths, untruths and outright fakery that make up so much of the modern internet is in a downscale strip mall near the beach.

Snopes, the fact-checking website, does not have an office designed to impress, or even be noticed. A big sign outside still bears the name of the previous tenant, a maker of underwater headphones. Inside there’s nothing much — a bunch of improvised desks, a table tennis table, cartons of Popchips and cases of Dr Pepper. It looks like a dot-com on the way to nowhere.

Appearances deceive. This is where the muddled masses come by the virtual millions to establish just what the heck is really going on in a world turned upside down.

Did Donald J. Trump say on Twitter that he planned to arrest the “Saturday Night Live” star Alec Baldwin for sedition? Has Hillary Clinton quietly filed for divorce? Was Mr. Trump giving Kanye West a cabinet position? And was Alan Thicke, the star of “Growing Pains,” really dead?

“Rationality seems to have fallen out of vogue,” said Brooke Binkowski, Snopes’s managing editor. “People don’t know what to believe anymore. Everything is really strange right now.”

That is certainly true at Snopes itself. For 20 years, the site was dedicated to urban legends, like the purported existence of alligators in New York City sewers, and other benign misinformation. But its range and readership increased significantly during a prolonged presidential election campaign in which the facts became a partisan issue and reality itself seemed up for grabs.

One way to chart Snopes’s increasing prominence is by measuring the rise in fake news about the site itself. If you believe the internet, the founder of Snopes, David Mikkelson, has a longer rap sheet than Al Capone. He was supposedly arrested for committing fraud and corruption and running a pit bull ring. In the wake of a deal that Snopes and others made this month to start fact-checking for Facebook, new slurs and allegations poured forth.

The underlying message of these spurious attacks is that the movement to fact-check the internet is a left-wing conspiracy whose real goal is to censor the right, and therefore must be resisted at all costs.

“Smearing people just because you don’t like what they’re saying often works to shut them up,” Ms. Binkowski, 39, said. “But at Snopes you learn to grow a thick skin. I will always push back. At least until someone shows up at my workplace and kills me.”[...]

Just about everyone at Snopes thought things would calm down after the votes were in. “The fake news wasn’t from Trump so much. It was from people who hated Hillary Clinton,” Ms. Binkowski said. “Once the election was over we figured it would go away.”[...]

But the role of fake news and misinformation in Mr. Trump’s surprise win quickly reached a fever pitch, prompting questions about the extent to which Facebook, where many of these bogus stories were shared, had influenced the election. Reluctantly, the social media giant was forced to act.

The plan is for Facebook to send questionable links to a coalition of fact-checking sites, including Snopes. If the links are found to be dubious, Facebook will alert users by marking stories with a “disputed” designation.[...]

“It used to be that if you got too far from the mainstream, you were shunned for being a little nutty,” she said. “Now there is so much nutty going around that it’s socially acceptable to embrace wild accusations. No one is embarrassed by anything anymore.”

The remedy, she and Ms. Binkowski feel, is more traditional journalism.

“People aren’t necessarily getting the media literacy they need, so they’re just kind of panicking,” Ms. LaCapria said.[...]

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Fainy Sukenik - A formerly abused ultra-Orthodox woman has started a support network to women seeking divorce

“Every culture has its own fairy tales,” she says. “Haredim have their own, too.”[...]

“Our fairy tales promised me a life that would be simple, beautiful,” she continues, flicking the bangs of her well-coiffed wig away from her face. “One marries young, the wife works while the husband learns Torah, children are born right away, and together they build a ‘Torah home’ with not a single want or flaw.” She pauses.

“So I trusted them. I married at 22, had three children right away, but things were not working out for us ... I heard there were other women whose husbands beat them, but who stayed anyway. But I decided I’m not going to be that woman ... I picked up the phone and called the police. That was the beginning of the end.”

Sukenik was then working at a religious seminary for women in Haifa, a fresh-eyed teacher and mentor for young women, many of whom were engaged to marry. With the news of her separation from her husband spreading, voices began to murmur: How could a woman who calls the police on her husband teach the young girls, serve as an example for the next generation of wives and mothers? How can we let her stay here?

“They wanted to fire me,” Sukenik tells me. “They forgot that Sarah Schenirer, the founder of Bais Yaakov [a network of schools for young religious women, founded a century ago], was divorced, too. Later, when I had more courage, I said to one of the teachers that Sarah Schenirer would be rolling in her grave if she heard them. You’re telling me that a divorced woman cannot teach in Bais Yaakov? How does that make sense?”

Letters were sent to the principal by parents concerned about her questionable influence on their daughters, but Sukenik was able to keep her job. “I told them, ‘I am exactly the kind of woman you need as an example for the girls.’ And I stayed. I would cry all night, but wake up in the morning, force myself to smile, to dress well.”

The change began in the quiet of solitary evenings at home, during the two years of separation and another year of the divorce process. With three small children asleep, Sukenik would spend hours reading divorce advice and online forums, looking for people going through similar experiences. She soon became active on the Facebook page “Haredim Naim L’hakir” (Ultra-Orthodox, Pleased to Meet You) and started blogging for the women’s online magazine Saloona under the name “Separated Haredia.”

“One should never have to deal with this alone, and in our community, no one speaks of divorce,” Sukenik explains. “No one knows how to deal with it. Tragedy, yes, death, yes, but not this. No one speaks with you about important things, no one asks if you need help, people don’t want to even get close to you, as if it’s a contagious disease. You become a pariah, people stop acknowledging you, they stop saying hello in the street. No one asked me, ‘Where are you on Shabbat?’ Now, I understand them, I forgive them. People are afraid.”[...]

Several times she repeats the same familiar mantra: “I was naive, naive, I was so naive.” Sukenik smiles sadly. “I was a young girl, and I truly believed in a perfect Torah world: Torah, justice, straightforwardness, judges! I didn’t realize what I was dealing with ... until all this evil came upon me. I began to understand the real corrupt workings of the beit din [religious court], and all I could think was: Where is the religion? It was a crisis for me: I believe in God, I believe in Torah, but when one sees people acting in an opposite manner, one loses faith.”

The waitress brings out coffee and tiramisu, and places it timidly on our table; Sukenik continues, impassioned: “And I couldn’t speak to anyone, to friends, to my parents – what would I tell them about? About the judges, the courthouse, the rabbis, the humiliations I’m enduring? Why make them suffer more? ” Her voice grows suddenly soft: “What would I tell them: ‘Abba, Ima, this world is corrupt’?”[...]

Based on polls and meetings with other divorcees, Sukenik began to build a network that would offer everything a religious woman needs when going through a divorce: assistance from lawyers, psychologists, family counselors, rabbinic advisors and lobbyists, social workers, as well as a growing, supportive community of other Orthodox divorcees and recently separated women. [...]

With the assistance of the Orthodox-oriented B'Asher Telchi organization, supported by some leading figures in that community and run by religious women, Sukenik hopes a woman will worry less about the stigma that comes with seeking help. She has been working tirelessly to secure rabbinic support for her project. [...]

הכנס שיעצים את הגרושות החרדיות, והגרושות שבדרך

פייני סוקניק ובאשר תלכי יקיימו כנס לגרושות חרדיות ובו יעניקו להם כלים מעצימים ויקיימו סדרת סדנאות והרצאות - כל הפרטים וגם הסבר קצר של סוקניק בעצמה

"הכנס יתחיל בברכות - דיין שיבוא לברך את הנשים - מבחינתי מדובר על אקט חשוב מאד.. סוג של 'אמירה' של בית הדין. יש דבר כזה. והוא מעוגן לחלוטין מכל הבחינות. הרצאה של דבורי וקשטוק - איך הופכים חושך לאור? ואחר כך הנשים תשתתפנה בסדנאות - כל אישה יכולה לבחור שתי סדנאות: אימון אישי לקראת פרק ב', אימון אישי לגלות כוחות נפש, גישור- כללי, תקשורת עם ילדים ומתבגרים, סדנת הגנה עצמית, סדנה של ניהול כלכלי נכון בזמן הגירושין ואחריו, ניהול עסקי - בניית עסק קטן וסדנה לבישול בריא ואורח חיים נכון.

:לאחר מכן - ארוחת צהריים מפנקת, ואז מופע סטאנד אפ של עידית לכטנפלד. לבסוף, הן יוצאות עם מתנה כשהן יודעות להביע את תחושותיהן, להבין את עצמן ולהוציא החוצה, להבין שהיא מתמודדת עם אתגר, ותעביר את המסר לסביבתה - ילדיה ומשפחתה".

פייני - "בכנס ישתתפו עורכות דין וטוענות רבניות, פסיכולוגיות יועצות, עוסיות ומטפלות, שגם הן צריכות לדעת אי להתייחס נכון , וגם הן שותפות מבחינתי לשינוי של מבט קהילתי וחברתי אחר".

"זהו יום עיון מקצועי. לא רחמנות, אומללות והסתתרות. אלא התמודדות וחוזק עם תקווה גדולה. לפרק ב'", אומרת סוקניק, "המגמה היא להוציא שכל אישה תצא מהכנס הזה מחוזקת ומועצמת, תרחש כבוד לעצמה, וכך באופן טבעי גם תקרין לסביבתה. כל אישה שהייתה בכנס תהיה נציגה ושגרירה של המהפך – מצקצוק בלשון, רחמים ופחד, להתמודדות ואתגר, עם לימוד איך מאחדים את המשפחה ה"שבורה", ואיך יש, יש תקנה ובעיקר תקווה".

האירוע יתקיים בנר חמישי של חנוכה, יום חמישי כ"ט בכסליו (29.12.) ב"יד לאישה" – רחוב לייב יפה 51, שכונת ארנונה תלפיות ירושלים.

טלפונים לרישום:

המחיר הוא מאה שקלים. נשים שמתקשות לשלם מתבקשות לציין את זה בטלפון(הבטחה של פייני - אף אחת לא תישאר בחוץ בגלל חוסר יכולת כספית!)

Rav Avraham Pam on the importance of the UN

Monday, December 26, 2016

Ruchie Freier - First Hasidic woman judge sworn in

On Thursday, Rachel “Ruchie” Freier took the oath of office as she became a Civil Court judge in Kings County’s 5th judicial district. Freier was elected last September and her purview encompasses Borough Park and other sections of Brooklyn including Bensonhurst and Coney Island. Her official term begins in January and extends through 2027.

While some may be have been surprised to see a Hasidic woman ascend the bench, those familiar with the 51-year-old Freier’s record of trailblazing achievements were not. The mother of six (and grandmother) earned a law degree from Brooklyn Law School while raising her family. She practiced law in Brooklyn and Monroe, New York and also served on the community board in Borough Park, Brooklyn.

Freier also founded two organizations that have made an impact on her local Hasidic community. The first is B’Derech, a secular academic program that helps ultra-Orthodox men educated previously only in yeshivas gain a high school equivalency diplomacy so they can go on to higher learning or seek gainful employment.

The second in Ezras Nashim, an emergency medical technician program exclusively for women that meets the needs of religious women in the community. Freier herself reportedly still remains on call for Ezras Nashim.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Trump is doing that which he condemned HIllary Clinton for doing

Donald Trump spent the past two years attacking rival Hillary Clinton as crooked, corrupt, and weak.
But some of those attacks seem to have already slipped into the history books.
From installing Wall Street executives in his Cabinet to avoiding news conferences, the president-elect is adopting some of the same behavior for which he criticized Clinton during their fiery presidential campaign.
Here’s a look at what Trump said then — and what he’s doing now:
Then: “I know the guys at Goldman Sachs,” Trump said at a South Carolina rally in February, when he was locked in a fierce primary battle with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. “They have total, total control over him. Just like they have total control over Hillary Clinton.”
Now: A number of former employees of the Wall Street bank will pay a key role in crafting Trump’s economic policy. He’s tapped Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn to lead the White House National Economic Council. Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary nominee, spent 17 years working at Goldman Sachs and Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist and senior counselor, started his career as an investment banker at the firm.
Trump is following in a long political tradition, though one he derided on the campaign trail: If Cohn accepts the nomination, he’ll be the third Goldman executive to run the NEC.
Then: “Crooked Hillary. Look, can you imagine another four years of the Clintons? Seriously. It’s time to move on. And she’s totally controlled by Wall Street and all these people that gave her millions,” Trump said at a May rally in Lynden, Washington.
Now: Trump has stocked his Cabinet with six top donors — far more than any recent White House. “I want people that made a fortune. Because now they’re negotiating with you, OK?” Trump said, in a December 9 speech in Des Moines.
The biggest giver? Incoming small business administrator Linda McMahon gave $7.5 million to a super PAC backing Trump, more than a third of the money collected by the political action committee.
Then: “She doesn’t do news conferences, because she can’t,” Trump said at an August rally in Ashburn, Virginia. “She’s so dishonest she doesn’t want people peppering her with questions.”
Now: Trump opened his last news conference on July 27, saying: “You know, I put myself through your news conferences often, not that it’s fun.”
He hasn’t held once since.[...]
Then: “It is impossible to figure out where the Clinton Foundation ends and the State Department begins. It is now abundantly clear that the Clintons set up a business to profit from public office. They sold access and specific actions by and really for I guess the making of large amounts of money,” Trump said at an August rally in Austin.
Now: While Trump has promised to separate himself from his businesses, there is plenty of overlap between his enterprises and his immediate family. His companies will be run by his sons, Donald Jr and Eric. And his daughter, Ivanka, and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, have joined Trump at a number of meetings with world leaders of countries where the family has financial interests.
In a financial disclosure he was required to file during the campaign, Trump listed stakes in about 500 companies in at least 25 countries.
Ivanka, in particular, has been caught making early efforts to leverage her father’s new position into profits. After an interview with the family appeared on “60 Minutes,” her jewelry company, Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry, blasted out an email promoting the $10,800 gold bangle bracelet that she had worn during the appearance. The company later said they were “proactively discussing new policies and procedures.”
Ivanka is also auctioning off a private coffee meeting with her to benefit her brother’s foundation. The meeting is valued at $50,000, with the current top bid coming in at $25,000.[...]
Then: “If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation, because there has never been so many lies, so much deception. There has never been anything like it, and we’re going to have a special prosecutor,” Trump said in the October presidential debate.
Now: Since winning office, Trump has said he has no intention of pushing for an investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of State or the workings of her family foundation. “It’s just not something that I feel very strongly about,” he told the New York Times.
“She went through a lot. And suffered greatly in many different ways,” he said. “I’m not looking to hurt them.”

Netanyahu Accuses Obama of Orchestrating U.N. Resolution

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel further escalated his criticism of the departing Obama administration on Sunday, publicly accusing it of having orchestrated the United Nations Security Council resolution that condemned Israel’s settlement construction.

It was the second consecutive day of rising invective from Mr. Netanyahu over the Friday vote on the resolution, which passed, 14-0, in a strong diplomatic slap at Israel against the background of the long-stalled negotiations for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The resolution asserted that Israel’s settlement construction on territory that the Palestinians claim for their future state was a major obstacle to the peace process and a “flagrant violation under international law.”

The United States refrained from using its veto power, as it has done many times before to shield Israel from such condemnation at the United Nations.

Israeli officials had been saying that the United States helped in the planning of the vote, an accusation that Obama administration officials have denied. But on Sunday, Mr. Netanyahu, whose relations with President Obama have never been warm, made that accusation publicly, and in detail.

“From the information that we have, we have no doubt that the Obama administration initiated it, stood behind it, coordinated on the wording and demanded that it be passed,” Mr. Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting.

Referring to the American secretary of state, Mr. Netanyahu added, “As I told John Kerry on Thursday, friends don’t take friends to the Security Council,” and he said he was looking forward to working with the new administration of Donald J. Trump when it takes office next month.

Mr. Trump, who has said he would be far more supportive of Israel, had urged the Obama administration to veto the Security Council resolution and he joined in the Israeli anger over the American abstention.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry summoned ambassadors of countries that voted in favor of the resolution for personal meetings with ministry officials in Jerusalem, despite the Christmas Day holiday that those countries celebrate.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Two Muslim Americans Were Removed From Delta Flight for Speaking Arabic

Two Muslim American YouTube stars who were returning home to New York after a world tour said they were removed from a Delta Air Lines flight in London on Wednesday after other passengers expressed discomfort with their presence on the plane.

Adam Saleh, 23, a filmmaker from Manhattan, and his friend Slim Albaher, 22, from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, said they had been asked by the captain to leave their flight at Heathrow Airport after Mr. Saleh spoke in Arabic to his mother by phone, and he and Mr. Albaher followed up by speaking to each other in Arabic, causing alarm among British passengers on the flight.

The news was met on social media with anger at the airline industry, but also skepticism, though passengers who were on the plane when it landed in New York corroborated the men’s story. Mr. Saleh, who has more than two million subscribers on YouTube, has a history of perpetuating video hoaxes and pranks, some of them aimed at exposing stereotypes about Muslims. In his latest YouTube video, posted this month, he pretended to smuggle himself onto a plane in a suitcase. [...]

Delta said in a statement on Wednesday evening that, based on information collected so far, the two customers removed from the flight “sought to disrupt the cabin with provocative behavior, including shouting.”

“What is paramount to Delta is the safety and comfort of our passengers and employees,” the airline said. “It is clear these individuals sought to violate that priority.”

Earlier in the day, Delta said that it was taking allegations of discrimination “very seriously.”

Camilla Goodman, a spokeswoman for London’s Metropolitan Police, confirmed that two passengers had been removed from the flight and that they “didn’t do anything lawfully wrong.” They were not arrested, she said. Mr. Saleh and Mr. Albaher later boarded a Virgin flight to New York.[...]

Mr. Saleh said he had just spoken to his mother on the phone, in Arabic, to tell her when his flight would land. After the call, he and Mr. Albaher continued to speak briefly in Arabic until they were interrupted by a woman in front of them, who asked them to speak English because they were making her uncomfortable.

They did not respond aggressively, Mr. Saleh said, but told her that they were speaking Arabic and asked whether she had ever heard another language. Then, Mr. Saleh said, a man with a British accent who appeared to be traveling with the woman swore at them and said they should be “chucked” off the plane.

“At this point, me and Slim looked at each other,” Mr. Saleh said in the interview. “We didn’t know what to do. We felt like we were terrorists.”

The situation escalated, Mr. Saleh said, and other passengers joined in asking that Mr. Saleh and Mr. Albaher be kicked off the plane. Some of them mentioned Monday’s terrorist attack in Berlin, he said.

After the disturbance continued for what Mr. Saleh said was about seven minutes, the captain was summoned, and he asked that the two men leave the plane with their baggage.

At that point, Mr. Saleh started filming with his phone. He later shared the video, and others from the airport, on Twitter, where he has more than 250,000 followers.

Chris Ashford, 47, who was aboard the plane after a layover in London, said he believed that the woman had “overreacted.”

“She heard somebody speaking in Arabic and assumed the worst,” he said.

He added that while he thought Delta had acted in the interest of some of its passengers, “I do think it was heavy-handed, kicking the guy off the plane and then removing his bags.”[...]

In April, a college student was removed from a Southwest Airlines flight in California when he was heard speaking Arabic, a week after a Muslim woman was asked to leave another Southwest flight when she sought to switch seats. In May, an Italian professor was removed from an American Airlines flight because another passenger was alarmed by his handwritten notes, which were in fact math equations.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Jerusalem - Top Israeli Rabbinical Court Allows Man To Marry Second Wife

A decision by the Supreme Rabbinical Court to allow a man to marry a second wife because his first wife refused to accept a divorce has evoked consternation from women’s rights groups due to what they describe as the unequal status of men and women facing divorce refusal.

A case published this week by the Rabbinical Courts Administration involved a married couple whose relationship broke down for a number of reasons, including possible infidelity on behalf of the wife.

In 2005, the husband moved out of their marital home, and in 2008 the regional rabbinical court in Haifa issued a ruling of “obligatory divorce,” essentially instructing a partner, in this case the woman, to agree to the divorce.

The court also permitted the husband to give the money owed to the woman under the terms of their marriage contract to a third party, which would then release him of financial obligations to the woman such as child sustenance and living payments.

The woman appealed to the Supreme Rabbinical Court against the ruling regarding the husband’s monetary obligations, but the court rejected the appeal. She then filed a suit for reconciliation with her husband to the regional court, which she also lost, as well as a subsequent appeal of that decision to the Supreme Rabbinical Court.

Due to the lengthy and ongoing legal proceedings over the termination of the marriage, the husband filed a suit with the Haifa Rabbinical Court for what is known as the Dispensation of 100 Rabbis.

Under Jewish law, men may have more than one wife, although the practice was banned for Ashkenazi Jews by a decree of Rabbi Gershom Ben Judah in the 11th century. However, a man may be given dispensation from this decree in certain circumstances if he cannot obtain consent from his wife for a divorce, a measure which is known as the Dispensation of 100 Rabbis.

In 2014, the Haifa Rabbinical Court granted the husband’s request, after which his wife appealed to the Supreme Rabbinical Court.

In June of this year, the court rejected her appeal and permitted the husband to marry another woman if he so wished. The ruling was published earlier this week.[...]

Sunday, December 18, 2016

David Harrison - Jerusalem rabbi indicted on dozens of rape counts

David Harrison - a Jerusalem rabbi was indicted by the Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office Sunday on dozens of counts of rape, sodomy, molestation, assault and intimidation, all allegedly committed while he served as a rabbi in an all girls seminary.

The rabbi was arrested after the victim, now 20, said that he had raped her while she was a 9th grade student at the school where the rabbi worked.

According to the indictment, two-to-four times a week, the defendant would call the girl into a faculty lounge or the seminary bomb shelter. Sometimes, the rabbi told the girl a certain time to meet him in the lounge or shelter, and she would comply out of fear of retribution. Once alone and with the room locked, the rabbi is accused of “indecent acts, sodomy and rape.”

The rabbi reportedly told the girl that what was happening was a “secret between them,” and that it was okay because he was a rabbi, the indictment said.

After the first alleged rape, the rabbi told the girl if she told anyone what happened, he would hurt her and tell everyone she was a prostitute.

In reality - how to deal with the consensus view of women as subordinate?

I have presented a number of posts regarding the Torah attitude towards women - in particular in marriage -  where they are clearly described as being subordinate to their husbands. As a consequence I have attacked by some for being a nut or intellectual dishonesty - though no one has presented the "true" Torah view that contradicts what I have presented and no one has explained why an objective scholarly approach is a sign of being a nut. Clearly some people want their Judaism sanitized and subordinate to their own views i.e, they want to create G-d in their own image.

I have been criticized by those who claim that it is inappropriate or even a chilul haShem for daring to mention what the consensus of our traditional mainstream sources about women. Meaning that while they agree that my posts are accurately presenting the Torah view - it is best  if people are ignorant of how our rabbis tell us how the Torah views women and marriage. That is a rather bizarre claim. On the one hand we are to dedicate our lives to learning about and living  according to what rabbis tell us is G-d's will - but at the same time we are not supposed to learn what the Torah says about certain topics because that is a chilul HaShem?! How can G-d's will be a chilul HaShem?

On the other hand it is also accurately claimed that women and society are different today and that therefore they need to be treated differently the classic sources say. This is explained either that the Torah is outdate - chas v'shalom or that there are kabbalistic ideas which indicate as we come into Messianic times i.e., after 1740 - that women's role will come to be equal and perhaps superior to that of men. The only problem is that these kabbalistic views are minority opinions which are not very clear and have no basis in traditional sources and seemed to be used as a fig leave to cover the embarrassing consensus views.

I would like to start a serious discussion about how to reconcile the traditional views - which clearly are not acceptable to many if not most frum women and men - but which at the same time clearly represent the traditional consensus views of our greatest rabbis throughout history. Does this mean that the only solution is for people to submit themselves to the traditional view? Or as Rav Solveitchik put it, "we sacrificed out intellects on Mt. Sinai?" I think that there are alternatives.

I would appreciate if some people can contain their hysteric comments. I am concerned with reality - the reality of Torah and the reality of modern men and women. Any reconciliation has to be within the framework of traditional halachic reasoning and principles. This is a discussion for mature adults who are committed to the Torah and halacha. I am not interested in a solution which in essence says to abandon Yiddishkeit. And it really doesn't help in arriving at an answer by shooting at me - I am simply the messenger[to be continued]

Trump picks controversial hardline supporter of Israel for ambassador - however still not clear what Trump's view on Israel is

President-elect Donald Trump said Thursday he will nominate campaign adviser David Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer with hardline views on Israel, to serve as US ambassador to the country.

In a statement issued by Trump's transition team, Friedman said he looked forward to moving the US embassy to "Israel's eternal capital, Jerusalem."

That would fulfill a promise made by Trump on the campaign trail to relocate the diplomatic mission from Tel Aviv, upending decades of US policy.

Friedman has long held conservative positions on Israel. Earlier this year, called supporters of the progressive Jewish advocacy group J Street "worse than kapos" for supporting a two-state solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Kapos were Jews in Nazi concentration camps who were put in charge of other inmates.

Friedman has also said in the past that he does not believe Israeli settlement activity is illegal and opposes a ban on construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem -- another stance that turns US policy on its head.

Republicans have long sought to establish a US embassy in Jerusalem and recognize the city as Israel's capital. Past US administrations on both sides have not made that move, as Palestinians also claim Jerusalem as their capital. For 60 years, the US recognized no sovereign claim to Jerusalem. The Supreme Court ruled last year that a man could not have "Israel" on his passport as his place of birth, siding with the Obama administration that it should read "Jerusalem."

The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 requires the US government to move the embassy to Jerusalem, but the move has been waived every six months since the law was passed. Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all declined to relocate the embassy after being elected, citing national security.

Friedman also advised Trump throughout the campaign and made waves for suggesting in an interview with an Israeli newspaper that a Trump administration could support annexation of parts of the West Bank, also countering current US policy. He told CNN later that he was responding to a hypothetical question and not necessarily advocating for such a policy.

Under his and others' advisement, the GOP platform moved to the right by removing a reference to a two-state solution to the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, distinguishing itself from the Democratic platform that recognized both states.

The two-state policy has been a pillar of US posture toward Israel throughout past Democratic and Republican administrations. Friedman has written about the need to move away from the two-state solution.

J-Street, the advocacy group, said it "vehemently" opposed Friedman, citing his position on a two-state solution.[...]

Trump's own position on Israel had not been clear throughout the campaign. He has long said negotiating a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians would be the pinnacle of deal-making, in which Trump takes pride.

But a year ago he was booed at the Republican Jewish Coalition when he declined to promise to keep Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel during an onstage Q&A. He also said peace would depend on whether Israel is willing to make sacrifices and said he would remain "neutral" in the negotiations, dodging a question on how he would refer to the West Bank.

Trump shifted gears after criticism for those comments, including from staunchly pro-Israel competitors Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. At a spring appearance at the large pro-Israel lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Trump made one of his first teleprompter-based speeches designed to show himself as a strong supporter of Israel.

Current US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro has urged Trump's administration to stick with current of US policy on the country.

"Every government, every US administration has looked at that question, has determined that the embassy is where it should be," Shapiro said. "And I can't speculate beyond that."

Friedman served as counsel for Trump in connection with his investment in Atlantic City casinos. Trump filed for business bankruptcy related to the casinos four times between 1991 and 2009.

How a Putin Fan Overseas Pushed Pro-Trump Propaganda to Americans

The Patriot News Agency website popped up in July, soon after it became clear that Donald J. Trump would win the Republican presidential nomination, bearing a logo of a red, white and blue eagle and the motto “Built by patriots, for patriots.”

Tucked away on a corner of the site, next to links for Twitter and YouTube, is a link to another social media platform that most Americans have never heard of: VKontakte, the Russian equivalent of Facebook. It is a clue that Patriot News, like many sites that appeared out of nowhere and pumped out pro-Trump hoaxes tying his opponent Hillary Clinton to Satanism, pedophilia and other conspiracies, is actually run by foreigners based overseas.

But while most of those others seem be the work of young, apolitical opportunists cashing in on a conservative appetite for viral nonsense, operators of Patriot News had an explicitly partisan motivation: getting Mr. Trump elected.

Patriot News — whose postings were viewed and shared tens of thousands of times in the United States — is among a constellation of websites run out of the United Kingdom that are linked to James Dowson, a far-right political activist who advocated Britain’s exit from the European Union and is a fan of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. A vocal proponent of Christian nationalist, anti-immigrant movements in Europe, Mr. Dowson, 52, has spoken at a conference of far-right leaders in Russia and makes no secret of his hope that Mr. Trump will usher in an era of rapprochement with Mr. Putin.

His dabbling in the American presidential election adds an ideological element that has been largely missing from the still-emerging landscape of websites and Facebook pages that bombarded American voters with misinformation and propaganda. Far from the much-reported Macedonian teenagers running fake news factories solely for profit, Mr. Dowson made it his mission, according to messages posted on one of his sites, to “spread devastating anti-Clinton, pro-Trump memes and sound bites into sections of the population too disillusioned with politics to have taken any notice of conventional campaigning.”

“Together, people like us helped change the course of history,” one message said, adding in another: “Every single one of you who forwarded even just one of our posts on social media contributed to the stunning victory for Trump, America and God.”

In a recent email interview from Belgrade, where he has met with Serbian nationalists, Mr. Dowson explained how his decision to establish an American social media presence was similar to the move into European markets by Breitbart News, the conservative provocateur media operation run by Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist.

“Simple truth is that after 40 years of the right having no voice because the media was owned by the enemy, we were FORCED to become incredibly good at alternative media in a way the left simply can’t grasp or handle,” Mr. Dowson said. “Bottom line is: BREXIT, TRUMP and much more to follow.”

While it is easy to overstate the influence of fringe elements whose overall numbers remain very small, the explosion of fake news and propaganda sites and their possible impact on the presidential election have ignited alarm across the American political spectrum. A recent study found that most people who read fabricated stories on Facebook — such as a widely circulated hoax about Pope Francis endorsing Mr. Trump — were inclined to believe them.

Then there is the added element of Russian meddling. The Central Intelligence Agency has concluded that Moscow put its thumb on the scale for Mr. Trump through the release of hacked Democratic emails, which provided fodder for many of the most pernicious false attacks on Mrs. Clinton on social media.

Some of those attacks found a home on Russian websites such as the one for Katehon, a right-wing Christian think tank aligned with Mr. Putin. Katehon recirculated anti-Clinton conspiracies under headlines like “Bloody Hillary: 5 Mysterious Murders Linked to Clinton.”

Another Russian site that urged support for Mr. Trump, called “Just Trump It,” is linked to the International Russian Conservative Forum, an annual gathering of far-right leaders in St. Petersburg that has featured Mr. Dowson, among others, as a speaker. The site, which seems mostly aimed at selling Trump T-shirts, was registered to an individual at a Russian company that trademarked a logo used to certify that merchandise was not made with migrant labor.

Some analysts see danger signs in the nexus of Russian interests and far-right agitators in Europe and the United States. Social media can amplify even the most obscure voices, giving them a stage from which to broadcast a distorted message to credulous audiences.

“These messages seep into the mainstream,” said Alina Polyakova, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, a nonpartisan international affairs institute in Washington. “They may have been extreme or fringe at one point in time, but they have been incredibly influential in shaping people’s views about key geopolitical events in a very specific direction.”

Russia is particularly adept at playing this game, Ms. Polyakova said. “Moscow specifically encourages and facilitates” the spreading of propaganda through proxies, she said, as well as through events like the Russian conservative forum, which showcases views and narratives favored by the Putin government.

At the inaugural forum in March 2015, Mr. Dowson praised Mr. Putin as a strong defender of traditional values, while belittling President Obama and the United States itself as “feminized men.” In the email interview, Mr. Dowson said he was not supported by Russia in any way, and he accused critics of trying to tar conservatives as dupes of Moscow.[....]

Friday, December 16, 2016

Even though both husband and wife must honor (kavod) each other - it is done differently

The requirement of kavod (honor) for husband and wife is different. It seems that a husband's obligations are in the realm of spending money on her while the wife's obligation is showing deference and respect and doing what he wants. The husband is also supposed to be concerned with her feelings when he tells her what to do - while this is not necessary for the wife since she is traditionally expected to obey rather than tell her husband what to do.

If anyone has sources that say otherwise - I will glad to post them.

Rambam (Hilchos Ishus 15:18): Our Sages commanded that a woman should be modest within her home and should not have too much conversation and levity with her husband. Nor should she directly ask him for sexual relations and should not speak about this activity. Furthermore she should not avoid sexual relations with him in order to distress him so that he will have additional desire for her. Rather she should comply with his request whenever he wants it. She should also be careful with his relatives and the members of his household so that he doesn’t having feelings of jealousy. She should stay away from disgusting activities and things which have the appearance of disgusting activities. 
Ben Ish Chai (Torah Lishma 319): Question: Is a wife obligated to listen to her husband when he orders her to do ridiculous things? For example, does she have to listen when her husband demands with threats that she should ride on a broomstick in the courtyard like little children do or to bray like a donkey or bark like dog? She refused because of embarrassment. Does she in fact have an obligation to listen to her husband even for foolish things because a woman is obligated to honor her husband and to do what he wants because that is his happiness? Or do we say that she has no obligation to listen to foolish demands? Answer: She is not required to listen to him when he says foolish things. It says in Kesubos (71b) that if a man takes an oath that his wife must fill up a bucket 10 times with water and empty it in the garbage dump – he is required to divorce her and give her the kesuba because doing so makes her look like she is crazy. So also in our case. Doing these foolish things makes her look like she is crazy and she is not obligated to listen to him in these things. 
Torah Temima (Bereishis 3:16): And he will rule over you - we learn from this that a woman asks for intercourse through her actions while the man asks for it directly and this is a good trait for women (Eiruvin 100b). Even though the trait of modesty is a good trait, nevertheless it is a curse that she can’t openly express her desires to her husband. It should be noted that this doesn’t explain the language “And he will rule over you” in terms of its literal meaning of having a master… Pirkei DeRabbi Eliezar (Chapter 14) notes that this is one of the curses of a woman and she should have her ear bored as a permanent slave and as a maidservant. The Radal says that this teaches that it has been decreed that a woman always has to pay attention to the words of her husband. It is logical that the reason for the practice of piercing a woman’s ears for jewelry is an allusion to the fact that she is enslaved to her husband as is noted in Pirkei DeRabbi Eliezar. If so then why isn’t the expression in this verse “He shall rule over you” explained according to this understanding [and instead the gemora says it means that she can’t asked openly for intercourse]? … Nevertheless it definitely would appear that the verse doesn’t lose its literal meaning and that is also meant. Therefore in terms of the relationship of a husband and wife, the wife is obligated to accepted the authority of her husband as we find in the Rambam (Hilchos Ishus 15:20): “Our Sages have commanded that the wife view her husband as a king and lord.” Aside from the language of this verse this idea of ruler ship can also be seen in the Sifre…that a woman does not have permission to speak before her husband. This is also possibly the source that Pesachim (108a) that a woman does not have to recline at the Pesach Seder in the presence of her husband. The reason being that he rules over her. She is exempt in the same way that a student is in the presence of his teacher. He cannot recline in the manner of freedom because of his fear and respect of his teacher. It is logical that this is the reason that a woman who does not fulfill the wishes of her husband is called a moredes (rebel). Since it is an obligation to accept him as king and lord [as stated in Rambam] therefore when she does the opposite - it as if she had rebelled against the kingdom. …  
Torah Temima (Devarim 22:16 note 136): From the fact that the verse begins by saying “The father of the girl took” and then it concludes with “The father of the girl” alone. Furthermore it says afterwards “He spread out the garment.” All of this shows that the woman is not allowed to speak in the presence of her husband. The reason is that she has to accept the lordship and authority of her husband as it says in the Rambam (Hilchos Ishus 15:20): Our Sages have commanded that the woman view her husband and a king and lord… Perhaps he is basing himself on the exposition on this verse. From this we can also see a source for Pesachim (108a) that a wife is not required to recline at the Seder in the presence of her husband. Since she has to accept his authority over her therefore she is exempt in the same way that a student is exempt in the presence of his teacher. It would seem that this is the reason that a woman who doesn’t do the will of her husband is called a rebel (moredes) as is known in Kesubos. Since she has the obligation to accept him as king and lord so when she does the opposite she is a rebel as one rebels against the king.
 Rambam (Hilchos Ishus 15:19): And thus our Sages commanded that a man should honor his wife more than himself and love him as himself. If he has money he should increase her welfare according to the money. Furthermore he should not place too much fear on her and he should speak with her pleasantly and he should not be sad or angry.
Rambam (Hilchos Ishus 15:20): And thus our Sages have commanded that the woman honor her husband to an extreme degree and the fear of him should be on her and she should do all her deeds according to what he says and he should be in her eyes as a ruler or king. She should orient her activities according to that which he desires and stay away from that which he hates. This is the manner of the daughters of Israel and the children of Israel who are holy and pure in their marriages. In this way the community will be pleasant and praiseworthy.
Yad Rama (Sanhedrin 76b): The braissa says that if a man loves his wife as himself – that means that he should have mercy on her as he is merciful to himself but more than himself is not relevant. That is because love is something which is in the heart and a person is not able to love another more than he loves himself. However regarding honor that is something for which it is possible that he can honor her more than himself with clothing which is nicer than what he gets for himself.
Chullin (84b): A person should always eat and drink less than what he can afford and he should have clothing appropriate to his wealth but he should honor his wife children on a higher standard than his wealth because they are dependent on him while he is dependent on G d.
Yevamos (62b): Our Rabbis taught: If a man loves his wife as himself and honors her more than himself and guides his sons and daughters on the straight path and has them married close to the age of puberty - the verse (Job 5:24) is applied to him, And you shall know that your tent is in peace.

386 gymnasts allege sexual abuse over 20 years, report says

Over the past 20 years 368 gymnasts have alleged some form of sexual assault,according to an investigation conducted by the Indianapolis Star/USAToday.

The report contains details about various forms of sexual abuse against gymnasts at the hands of coaches, gym owners and other adults working in gymnastics in the U.S, CBS Sports reports.

The nine-month investigation concluded that coaches found to have committed abuse were allowed to move from gym to gym, and that USA Gymnastics often turned a blind eye to the horrific infractions. Victims also were often met with skepticism when they reported abuse, the report concludes.

According to the report, the “vast majority of officials put children’s well-being ahead of business and competition, some officials at every level have not.”

The report claims that USA Gymnastics was negligent in its tracking of predatory coaches, who sometimes went without any form of punishment. Coaches suspsected of sexual abuse were allowed to keep their jobs as long as they accepted special monitioring, while others were allowed to finish the season. And, in 2009, USA Gymnastics named Doug Boger Coach of the Year, despite being under investigation for alleged sexual abuse. [...]

Calif. sex offender found guilty of murdering 4 women while being tracked by GPS

A California sex offender was found guilty Thursday of killing four women while he was being tracked by GPS. He now may face the death penalty.

Steven Dean Gordon was found guilty of four counts of murder for the attacks in 2013 and 2014. Orange County jurors only deliberated for about an hour before issuing the verdict. They also found true special circumstances of murder during a kidnapping and multiple murders, which will make Gordon eligible for a death sentence. [...]

Authorities said the 47-year-old Gordon and 30-year-old sex offender Franc Cano abducted and killed four women. Prosecutors charged both men with rape but later dropped the rape charges against Gordon.

Investigators said they pieced together the case after the body of missing 21-year-old Jarrae Nykkole Estepp was found at a recycling center in Anaheim. Authorities said the men’s tracking devices linked them to the disappearance of the women. [...]

Gordon and Cano were registered sex offenders after being convicted in separate cases of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14. Gordon was convicted in 1992 and also has a 2002 kidnapping conviction, while Cano’s conviction dates back to 2008.

At the time of the killings, Gordon was living in an RV in an industrial area of Anaheim where the men brought their victims and wore a GPS device during at least three of the murders, according to grand jury testimony.

Police believe Cano and Gordon knew each other since at least 2010, when Cano cut off his GPS device and fled to Alabama, where he was arrested with Gordon. Two years later, they again cut off their monitoring devices and boarded a Greyhound bus to Las Vegas using fake names before being arrested two weeks later by federal agents. [...]

Obama Says U.S. Will Retaliate for Russia’s Election Meddling - Trump twists the truth again

President Obama said on Thursday that the United States would retaliate for Russia’s efforts to influence the presidential election, asserting that “we need to take action,” and “we will.”

The comments, in an interview with NPR, indicate that Mr. Obama, in his remaining weeks in office, will pursue either economic sanctions against Russia or perhaps some kind of response in cyberspace.

Mr. Obama spoke as President-elect Donald J. Trump on Thursday again refused to accept Moscow’s culpability, asking on Twitter why the administration had waited “so long to act” if Russia “or some other entity” had carried out cyberattacks.

The president discussed the potential for American retaliation with Steve Inskeep of NPR for an interview to air on Friday morning. “I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our election,” Mr. Obama said, “we need to take action. And we will — at the time and place of our choosing.”

The White House strongly suggested before the election that Mr. Obama would make use of sanctions authority for cyberattacks that he had given to himself by executive order. But he did not, in part out of concern that action before the election could lead to an escalated conflict.[...]

On Thursday, pressure grew on Mr. Trump in Congress for him to acknowledge intelligence agencies’ conclusions that Russia was behind the hacking. But aides said that was all but impossible before the Electoral College convenes on Monday to formalize his victory.

Mr. Trump has said privately in recent days that he believes there are people in the C.I.A. who are out to get him and are working to delegitimize his presidency, according to people briefed on the conversations who described them on the condition of anonymity.

The president-elect’s suspicions have been stoked by the efforts of a group of Democratic electors, as well as one Republican, who called this week for an intelligence briefing on the Russian hacking, raising the prospect that votes in the Electoral College might be changed.

In his Twitter posting on Thursday, Mr. Trump suggested that the government’s conclusions on Russian hacking were a case of sour grapes by Mr. Obama. The president-elect falsely stated that Mr. Obama had waited until after the election to raise the issue.

“Why did they only complain after Hillary lost?” Mr. Trump asked, although the director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., formally blamed Russia on Oct. 7 for cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee and other organizations.

In September, meeting privately in China with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, Mr. Obama not only complained, the White House says, but also warned him of consequences if the Russian activity did not stop.

Among those in his own party, Mr. Trump’s refusal to accept the evidence that Russia was the perpetrator was raising growing concerns, with Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina saying he would not vote for Rex W. Tillerson, Mr. Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, unless Mr. Tillerson addressed Russia’s role during his confirmation hearings.

It remains to be seen whether Mr. Trump’s stated doubts about Russia’s involvement will subside after Monday’s Electoral College vote. He and his allies have been concerned that the reports of Russian hacking have been intended to peel away votes from him, although even Democrats have not gone so far as to say the election was illegitimate.

“Right now, certain elements of the media, certain elements of the intelligence community and certain politicians are really doing the work of the Russians — they’re creating this uncertainty over the election,” Representative Peter T. King, Republican of New York, told reporters on Thursday after meeting with Mr. Trump.

But many other Republicans, including Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, and Senator John McCain of Arizona, have publicly argued that the evidence leads straight to Russia. They have called for a full investigation, and Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, urged Mr. Obama on Thursday to complete an administration review quickly.

Mr. Trump’s Twitter post was his latest move to accuse the intelligence agencies he will soon control of acting with a political agenda and to dispute the well-documented conclusion that Moscow carried out a meticulously planned series of attacks and releases of information to interfere in the presidential race.

But as he repeated his doubts, Mr. Trump seized on emerging questions about the Obama administration’s response: Why did it take months after the breaches had been discovered for the administration to name Moscow publicly as the culprit? And why did Mr. Obama initially opt not to openly retaliate, through sanctions or other measures?

White House officials have said that the warning to Mr. Putin at the September summit meeting in China constituted the primary American response so far. When the administration decided to go public with its conclusion a month later, it did so in a statement from the director of national intelligence and the Homeland Security secretary, not in a prominent presidential appearance.

Officials said they were worried that any larger public response would have raised doubts about the election’s integrity, something Mr. Trump was already seeking to do during the campaign when he insisted the election was “rigged.”

Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, criticized Mr. Trump on Thursday for questioning whether Russia was behind the attacks, referring to Mr. Trump’s call during the campaign for Moscow to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails, a remark his team has since dismissed as a joke.

“I don’t think anybody at the White House thinks it’s funny that an adversary of the United States engaged in malicious cyberactivity to destabilize our democracy — that’s not a joke,” Mr. Earnest said. “It might be time to not attack the intelligence community, but actually be supportive of a thorough, transparent, rigorous, nonpolitical investigation into what exactly happened.”

While he declined to confirm news reports that Mr. Putin was personally involved in directing the cyberattacks, Mr. Earnest pointedly read part of the Oct. 7 statement that said intelligence officials believed “that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.”

He said that language “would lead me to conclude that based on my personal reading and not based on any knowledge that I have that may be classified or otherwise, it was pretty obvious that they were referring to the senior-most government official in Russia.”

In a conference call with reporters later on Thursday, aides declined to explain Mr. Trump’s position on whether Russia had been responsible for the breaches or to describe what he would do about the issue as president. Jason Miller, a spokesman, said he would let Mr. Trump’s “tweets speak for themselves” and added that those raising questions about the hacking were refusing to come to terms with his victory. “At a certain point you’ve got to realize that the election from last month is going to stand,” Mr. Miller said.

Charlie Sykes on Where the Right Went Wrong

After nearly 25 years, I’m stepping down from my daily conservative talk radio show at the end of this month. I’m not leaving because of the rise of Donald J. Trump (my reasons are personal), but I have to admit that the campaign has made my decision easier. The conservative media is broken and the conservative movement deeply compromised.

In April, after Mr. Trump decisively lost the Wisconsin Republican primary, I had hoped that we here in the Midwest would turn out to be a firewall of rationality. Our political culture was distinctly inhospitable to Mr. Trump’s divisive, pugilistic style; the conservatives who had been successful here had tended to be serious, reform-oriented and able to express their ideas in more than 140 characters. But in November, Wisconsin lined up with the rest of the Rust Belt to give the presidency to Mr. Trump.

How on earth did that happen?

Before this year, I thought I had a relatively solid grasp on what conservatism stood for and where it was going. Over the previous decade, I helped advance the careers of conservatives like House Speaker Paul D. Ryan; Gov. Scott Walker; Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee; and Senator Ron Johnson. In 2010, conservatives won big majorities in the Wisconsin State Legislature, and I openly supported many of their reforms, including changes to collective bargaining and expansions of school choice.

In short, I was under the impression that conservatives actually believed things about free trade, balanced budgets, character and respect for constitutional rights. Then along came this campaign.[...]

That is what I saw, and this is what it might mean for the future of conservatism. When I wrote in August 2015 that Mr. Trump was a cartoon version of every left-wing media stereotype of the reactionary, nativist, misogynist right, I thought that I was well within the mainstream of conservative thought — only to find conservative Trump critics denounced for apostasy by a right that decided that it was comfortable with embracing Trumpism. But in Wisconsin, conservative voters seemed to reject what Mr. Trump was selling, at least until after the convention.

To be sure, some of my callers embraced Mr. Trump’s suggestion for a ban on Muslims entering the country and voiced support for a proposal to deport all Muslims — even citizens. One caller compared American Muslims to rabid dogs. But right to the end, relatively few of my listeners bought into the crude nativism Mr. Trump was selling at his rallies.

What they did buy into was the argument that this was a “binary choice.” No matter how bad Mr. Trump was, my listeners argued, he could not possibly be as bad as Mrs. Clinton. You simply cannot overstate this as a factor in the final outcome. As our politics have become more polarized, the essential loyalties shift from ideas, to parties, to tribes, to individuals. Nothing else ultimately matters.

In this binary tribal world, where everything is at stake, everything is in play, there is no room for quibbles about character, or truth, or principles. If everything — the Supreme Court, the fate of Western civilization, the survival of the planet — depends on tribal victory, then neither individuals nor ideas can be determinative. I watched this play out in real time, as conservatives who fully understood the threat that Mr. Trump posed succumbed to the argument about the Supreme Court. As even Mr. Ryan discovered, neutrality was not acceptable; if you were not for Mr. Trump, then you were for Mrs. Clinton.

The state of our politics also explains why none of the revelations, outrages or gaffes seemed to dent Mr. Trump’s popularity.

In this political universe, voters accept that they must tolerate bizarre behavior, dishonesty, crudity and cruelty, because the other side is always worse; the stakes are such that no qualms can get in the way of the greater cause.

For many listeners, nothing was worse than Hillary Clinton. Two decades of vilification had taken their toll: Listeners whom I knew to be decent, thoughtful individuals began forwarding stories with conspiracy theories about President Obama and Mrs. Clinton — that he was a secret Muslim, that she ran a child sex ring out of a pizza parlor. When I tried to point out that such stories were demonstrably false, they generally refused to accept evidence that came from outside their bubble. The echo chamber had morphed into a full-blown alternate reality silo of conspiracy theories, fake news and propaganda.

And this is where it became painful. Even among Republicans who had no illusions about Mr. Trump’s character or judgment, the demands of that tribal loyalty took precedence. To resist was an act of betrayal.

When it became clear that I was going to remain #NeverTrump, conservatives I had known and worked with for more than two decades organized boycotts of my show. One prominent G.O.P. activist sent out an email blast calling me a “Judas goat,” and calling for postelection retribution. As the summer turned to fall, I knew that I was losing listeners and said so publicly.

And then, there was social media. Unless you have experienced it, it’s difficult to describe the virulence of the Twitter storms that were unleashed on Trump skeptics. In my timelines, I found myself called a “cuckservative,” a favorite gibe of white nationalists; and someone Photoshopped my face into a gas chamber. Under the withering fire of the trolls, one conservative commentator and Republican political leader after another fell in line.

How had we gotten here?

One staple of every radio talk show was, of course, the bias of the mainstream media. This was, indeed, a target-rich environment. But as we learned this year, we had succeeded in persuading our audiences to ignore and discount any information from the mainstream media. Over time, we’d succeeded in delegitimizing the media altogether — all the normal guideposts were down, the referees discredited.

That left a void that we conservatives failed to fill. For years, we ignored the birthers, the racists, the truthers and other conspiracy theorists who indulged fantasies of Mr. Obama’s secret Muslim plot to subvert Christendom, or who peddled baseless tales of Mrs. Clinton’s murder victims. Rather than confront the purveyors of such disinformation, we changed the channel because, after all, they were our allies, whose quirks could be allowed or at least ignored.

We destroyed our own immunity to fake news, while empowering the worst and most reckless voices on the right.

This was not mere naïveté. It was also a moral failure, one that now lies at the heart of the conservative movement even in its moment of apparent electoral triumph. Now that the election is over, don’t expect any profiles in courage from the Republican Party pushing back against those trends; the gravitational pull of our binary politics is too strong.

I’m only glad I’m not going to be a part of it anymore.