Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Trump's Proud Boys comment at debate sparks pushback, outrage; Tim Scott asks him to clarify

 President Trump's reaction to a question about far-right white supremacist groups during Tuesday's first 2020 presidential debate quickly drew reactions ranging from pushback to anger from politicians and pundits, as South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, a fellow Republican, said the president needed to correct his statement.



Proud Boys: who are the far-right group that backs Donald Trump?

 During the debate, Trump was asked repeatedly by the moderator, Chris Wallace, to condemn violence by white supremacists and rightwing groups, such as armed militias.

When Trump asked specifically who he should be addressing, Biden prompted him by saying the Proud Boys.

Trump then addressed the Proud Boys, saying: “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by! But I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about antifa and the left.”

Members of the group immediately celebrated the president’s comment in posts on social media and rightwing discussion-board platforms such as Telegram and Parler. One Proud Boys group added the phrase “Stand Back, Stand By” to their logo. Another post was a message to Trump: “Standing down and standing by sir.”



I'm Smart

The First 2020 Presidential Debate Was Nasty, Brutish and Long

It did not take long for the first presidential debate of the 2020 general election to spiral totally out of control. President Donald Trump simply would not stop talking—badgering, heckling, taunting and sniping at both his opponent and the moderator. Finally, Joe Biden could only blurt, “Man, would you shut up?”

Trump, of course, did nothing of the sort.

It was, in a way, a perfect metaphor for the Trump presidency: two professionals sighed and remonstrated and strained to enforce the rules, while Trump gleefully ignored them and refused to back down, putting on a show of dominance and creating a fact-free haze that made substance hard to discern. It wasn’t pretty, but had you landed fresh from Mars knowing nothing about American politics—lucky you!—you would have gotten an accurate sense of both candidates’ dispositions, if not their policy positions.

“That is simply not true,” Biden kept insisting, as Trump called him an idiot, smeared his family and concocted wild conspiracy theories about everything from the Obama administration to the upcoming election. “It’s been totally discredited.” Yet neither the Democratic nominee nor Wallace managed to wrest back control of the proceedings, and Biden struggled to land sharp attacks on Trump’s weaknesses.

Trump Declared War On Decency, Democracy Last Night | Morning Joe | MSNBC

Judge Sullivan Hears Flynn Case. Flynn's Lawyer Says She Met with Trump and Discussed Pardon!

Israel’s virus czar Ronni Gamzu tells cabinet ministers that Haredi Israelis are 2.5 times more likely to test positive for the coronavirus, indicating an incredibly high rate of infection in their communities.

Some 28.6 percent of virus tests administered in Haredi communities returned a positive answer in recent days, he tells the coronavirus cabinet, compared to 13.4% in Arab communities and 11.9% in the rest of the country.



Daniel Dale: 'Almost every single thing Trump said during last segment of debate was inaccurate'

ABC News’ Powerhouse Politics roundtable breaks down 1st presidential debate

Nicolle Wallace: Trump's Debate Performance Felt Like 'An Assault' On American Politics | MSNBC

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Project Veritas alleges election fraud, evidence scant

 James O’Keefe, of the conservative propaganda operation Project Veritas, was back in the public spotlight and once again making an incendiary allegation: There was major election fraud in Minneapolis.

One problem: The hard evidence of cash in exchange for votes was lacking, and some of the other conduct of collecting ballots might be perfectly legal.  





NYT Details Damning Trump Business Woes Just Before First Debate | The 11th Hour | MSNBC

Our Moment

'It's Frightening All Around.' Former Intelligence Officials Warn Trump's Debt Is a National Security Threat

 One of the fastest ways to be denied a security clearance, current and former intelligence officials will tell you, is to carry a load of debt. And then there’s President Donald Trump.

New revelations in a New York Times report show Trump allegedly has $421 million of debt coming due over the next four years. An audit fight with the IRS could cost him another $100 million. At the same time, he reportedly paid taxes to foreign nations far larger than the $750 he paid in the United States the year he won the presidency and his first year in office.

For a sitting president, with the power to impose fear or favor across the country and around the world, not to mention access to the nation’s most closely held secrets, such financial exposure is more than embarrassing, former intelligence officials and ethics lawyers say: it makes Trump a national security threat.



Many ultra-Orthodox flouting virus rules entirely, reports indicate

 The Haaretz daily reported that tens of thousands of yeshiva students were sent home for vacation Tuesday after weeks of study together, without receiving test results showing them to be negative for coronavirus — as had been required by the government as part of the so-called “capsule program” for yeshivas.


Donald Trump attacked Barack Obama over paying taxes in 2012

Anderson Cooper: Trump oddly silent on tax returns

New York Times obtains President Trump's tax returns

Gutfeld on the phony outrage over Trump's tax returns

 Another day… another media bombshell… that lands with a thud.

Imagine a loaf of bread hitting the pavement from the roof of your house. -- That’s the New York Times’ report on Trump's old tax returns.

Oh, Pillsbury Cronkite, aka CNN's Brian Stelter, is this one of the most important stories of the past 5 years?

He thinks it is, because here's what he said about it, "This is one of the most important stories of the past 5 years. Not one of the most important stories of the past year, but one of the most important stories of the past five years.” (I'd say his hair is on fire, but too late.)

Ivanka Trump got paid millions as a 'consultant' on family hotel deals in move which saved her father tax, Trump returns reveal

 Ivanka Trump appears to have been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in 'consulting fees' that helped reduce her father's tax bills while she was working as an employee of the Trump Organization.


Don't miss the Ivanka Trump bombshell buried in the Times tax story

 The big bombshell in The New York Times tax returns story is, obviously, the fact that President Donald Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes in each 2016 and 2017 -- and for 10 of the 15 previous years, paid no federal income taxes at all.

But there's another massive revelation contained in the Times' reporting that isn't getting nearly enough attention: Trump wrote off $26 million in unexplained "consulting fees" between 2010 and 2018, with almost $750,000 apparently going to his daughter, Ivanka, in one disclosure.

Six key findings from the New York Times' Trump taxes bombshell

 The president pays little, faces hefty audit costs as well as loans coming due soon, and Ivanka is not in the clear

NY Times Exposes Trump's Tax Returns: Crimes, Conflicts & National Security Implications

CDC director concerned Atlas is sharing misleading information with Trump 

 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield is concerned that White House Coronavirus Task Force member Dr. Scott Atlas is providing President Trump with misleading information about Covid-19, a federal official told CNN.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Here's Why Trump Will Lose ALL Court Battles Contesting the Election.

HE'S DONE!!! Trump Scammed America - He Only Paid $750 in Income Taxes in '16 & '17!!!

Trump Avoided Taxes For Years, Paid $750 In 2016: Report | Morning Joe | MSNBC

Whispers II

Trump on defense after NYT publishes tax info, says he is 'entitled' to credits 'like everyone else'

President Trump on Monday defended his tax history, saying that he paid “millions of dollars” to the Internal Revenue Service and argued he is "entitled" to tax credits "like everyone else" in the wake of a New York Times report that said he paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years.

Tax bombshell reveals Trump's image is a sham

 It was the moment when Donald Trump's "Art of the Deal" fabulism, billionaire tycoon bluster and populist standard-bearing for forgotten Americans was revealed to be what it always looked like: a sham.

A stunning New York Times exposé of the President's tax returns Sunday revealed a pitifully inept businessman and a serial tax avoider crushed by massive debts that could expose him to conflicts of interest given his position as President and power to help undisclosed lenders.


Sunday, September 27, 2020

Making Abusing Black Jews Great Again



9 Tishrei, 5781 °°  Sept. 27, '20 (Erev Yom Kippur, Parshas VeZos HaBracha)

By Binyomin Feinberg

Rivka bas Soroh, an orphaned Ethiopian Jewish woman, approximately 24, is reportedly being medically abused by the Israeli Army, military prison, and Military Justice System, in the wake of her refusal to enlist in the Israeli Army.  We just received confirmation of key details regarding the medical abuse of this young Ethiopian Jewish woman, recently arrested over her refusal to enlist in the Israeli military. Although we await more details, we have confirmed the following.

Rivka bas Soroh was initially drafted into the Israeli Army several years ago, and ultimately fled, apparently serving time in Military Prison at the time. After her release, in line with the position of Jewish Law, she refused to enlist, as she had been ordered.

About a month ago, in an apparent attempt to resolve her issues with the Draft Offices, she was arrested and incarcerated in Israeli military prison four. Our most recent information is that prison authorities have been intent on holding her throughout some of the holiest days the year, until after Sukkos.

She suffers from a medical condition, and has a very low body weight, reportedly about 70 pounds (although precise details unconfirmed).  Nevertheless, about two weeks ago, the Army staged a "health hearing" determining that she's fit to be drafted. Reportedly the Army arrived at that conclusion without the luxury of a physical exam, but based on questioning her. This medical abuse will G-d willing be challenged by a private attorney recently hired.

General Background:

The Israeli Army forces its female citizens to serve in the military. It's been doing so in flagrant violation of Torah law, for about 70 years. All leading Rabbis from across the spectrum prohibit girls and women from enlistment in the military. Leading Rabbis have even deemed refusal to enlist as Yaihoraig v'Al Ya'avor, a prohibition we're obligated to sacrifice our lives to avoid.  Additionally, the Israeli Army is also known for exploitive and abusive treatment of women and girls, for decades.

G-d willing, we hope to post updated information as it becomes available. Please check the update link for the latest posts. (Ellul 5780 link) 

By Binyomin Feinberg

"... And if someone, like Pinchos, is one among a multitude, and every man is against him when he dares to speak out for truth and to fight for the Law --  the more lonely his stand, the greater the number of his adversaries, the more powerful is his word, the mightier his deed."

--  Rav Shamshon Raphael Hirsch OB"M (1808-1888), (writing on Pinchos, and those who follow his lead, in "Judaism Eternal," vol. 2, p. 293)

Friday, September 25, 2020

As a new outbreak grows in Brooklyn, mask-wearing appears to remain scarce

David Greenfield, a former city councilman who represented Borough Park and is now CEO of the Met Council, a large social service agency that serves many Orthodox Jews, said many were skeptical of the seriousness of the pandemic and the efficacy of masks because that was the message they heard on the news.

“Their main source of news tends to be right-wing news sources,” Greenfield said, noting the popularity of talk radio and conservative news sites in the community. “The right-wing media downplays the effectiveness of masks.”

The Atlantic: How Trump Could Throw The Election Into Chaos & Subvert The Result | Katy Tur | MSNBC

FBI issues announcement CONTRADICTING Trump's claim that a winner MUST be declared on election night

Thursday, September 24, 2020

The Fox News Decision Desk Controls the Fate of American Democracy

 The question, then is: How much damage could an all but openly partisan Supreme Court, particularly in tandem with partisan supreme courts at the state level and partisan appeals judges, do? It’s impossible to give a single definitive answer, because that would require knowing exactly what is in Trump’s brain when he makes these comments. And no one, including Trump himself, ever knows exactly what he means by anything. But we can look at his remarks in the context of what his campaign has done, then put that in the context of what we know about what might be happening on the ground in November.



Donald Trump's election threat is actually worse than it appears

Here's his full quote (bolding is mine):
"Well, we're going to have to see what happens. You know that. I've been complaining very strongly about the ballots. And the ballots are a disaster. ... We want to have -- get rid of the ballots and you'll have a very trans- -- we'll have a very peaceful -- there won't be a transfer, frankly; there'll be a continuation. The ballots are out of control. You know it."




Here's What GOP Senators Said About the 2016 Supreme Court Vacancy—And What They're Saying Now- (Why no one trusts their promises)

For the GOP, it’s a sharp departure from the precedent they set in 2016. Conservative Justice Antonin Scalia died in February of that year, nearly nine months before that year’s election. With President Barack Obama set to nominate a replacement who would pull the court to the left, Senate Republicans said that the seat should not be filled in an election year, and refused to hold hearings to consider Obama’s eventual nominee, Judge Merrick Garland. McConnell argued that not since 1888 had the Senate confirmed a Supreme Court nominee by an opposing party’s President to fill a vacancy that arose in an election year.



GOP downplays Trump's refusal to commit to peaceful transition of power: 'The President says crazy stuff'

 President Donald Trump's stunning refusal to commit to a peaceful transition of power was mostly dismissed by Republicans on Capitol Hill, with many downplaying the remarks as merely rhetoric and others deflecting questions about a comment that Democrats fear could threaten a fundamental principle of American democracy.

"The President says crazy stuff. We've always had a peaceful transition of power. It's not going to change," said Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, who has been an occasional critic of the President.
While Republicans insisted there would be a peaceful transition, many did not go so far as to explicitly criticize his remarks after Trump on Wednesday would not commit to providing a peaceful transition of power after Election Day, lending further fuel to concerns he may not relinquish his office should he lose in November.




Trump Declines To Commit To A Peaceful Transfer Of Power | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

Trump Refuses To Commit To Peaceful Transfer Of Power | Morning Joe | MSNBC

Yeshivas are asking teachers not to test for COVID-19, even as cases rise

 Some Haredi yeshiva day schools in Brooklyn are asking teachers not to get tested for COVID-19, and also not sharing information about students who test positive, to try to avoid school closures, said three sources with direct knowledge of specific schools said in interviews.

The news comes amid an uptick in COVID-19 cases in six Queens and Brooklyn neighborhoods which include the “Ocean Parkway Cluster” of Borough Park, Midwood and Bensonhurst — named after the avenue that links them, according to a Department of Health statement issued Tuesday.

Did Trump Say Protesters Threw Cans of Soup at Police?

 Given that Trump did make the statements about protesters using cans of soup as weapons against law enforcement and there is footage confirming he made the statement, we rate this claim as a “Correct Attribution.”

Yom Kippur synagogue closure will be ineffective among haredim - Analysis

 Moshe Weisberg, editor of the B’hadrei Haredim ultra-Orthodox news website, says likewise that a closure order of synagogues on Yom Kippur will be widely violated.

He estimated that at least 80% of the ultra-Orthodox community, including the hassidim and various extremist factions, have not been obeying social distancing in synagogues in recent months, and that that figure would climb even higher on Yom Kippur.

In B’hadrei Haredim’s editorial on Wednesday, the site described a closure of synagogues on Yom Kippur as “a declaration of war on God and his Torah,” and that “thousands of worshipers and synagogue administrators will not comply with such a decision.”

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Israel is winning on the world stage, but losing the plot at home

At home it's a different story, however. The second wave of coronavirus infections in Israel long ago eclipsed the first, forcing the country into a second general lockdown that has shuttered schools, restaurants, entertainment venues and more. And while the coronavirus may be the most pressing challenge facing Netanyahu right now, it's far from the only one. The 70-year-old leader is being attacked from both left and the right, not only for his handling of the public health crisis, but also for mismanagement of the economy, his response to his criminal trials, and more.




The Pentagon Reportedly Blew Its $1 Billion Coronavirus Budget on Body Armor and Planes

Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars Congress intended for pandemic relief were instead diverted for military spending, with bailout cash used to produce products like jet engine parts, body armor, and dress uniforms. For a period of time, the Washington Post reported, the $1 billion fund that Congress gave the Pentagon via the Cares Act to “prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus” was on track to be used for its original purpose, with $750 million for medical resources and $250 million for defense contractors. That was what Ellen Lord, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, told reporters in April. But at a congressional hearing two months later, she backtracked, telling lawmakers that defense contractors had “critical needs as well.” The ultimate spending plan that the Pentagon put forth to Congress in June, the Post notes, prioritized $688 million for the defense industry.


Are elderly people now disposable? Look in mirror, Trump

COVID-19 Has Killed Nearly 200,000 Americans. How Many More Lives Will Be Lost Before the U.S. Gets It Right?

 If, early in the spring, the U.S. had mobilized its ample resources and expertise in a coherent national effort to prepare for the virus, things might have turned out differently. If, in midsummer, the country had doubled down on the measures (masks, social-distancing rules, restricted indoor activities and public gatherings) that seemed to be working, instead of prematurely declaring victory, things might have turned out differently. The tragedy is that if science and common sense solutions were united in a national, coordinated response, the U.S. could have avoided many thousands of more deaths this summer.


Erin Burnett: Here is what keeps President Trump up at night

Trump views 200,000 Covid-19 deaths as a PR problem. We should view them as someone's loved one

 On Monday, with the US on the verge of reaching the solemn number of 200,000 dead from Covid-19, Donald Trump appeared on Fox News where the topic of the virus was raised. Did Trump express sympathy for the heartbreaking losses caused to families across the nation from this deadly pandemic? Nope, instead he patted himself on the back for doing what he called "a phenomenal job" in handling Covid-19, giving himself an "A+." The only criticism Trump would offer was regarding the public relations for the virus, saying in that area, "I give myself a D." He blamed the low grade on "fake news."


A bubble of self-delusion in Washington

 "Just remember, what you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening," Donald Trump told supporters in 2018. On Monday, as the terrible milestone of 200,000 Covid-19 deaths loomed, the US President put his motto into action.

"We've done a phenomenal job. Not just a good job, a phenomenal job," Trump said on Fox News, referring to his leadership in the pandemic. "On the job itself, we take an A+," the President said.
The entire Trump mythology rests on a bubble of self-delusion. The US has around 4% of the world's population -- but more than 20% of its coronavirus deaths. And while few governments have fought this pernicious disease perfectly, any fair assessment would put Trump's performance closer to a D than an A.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

US death toll passes 200,000

 The US coronavirus death toll has passed 200,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University (JHU).

More than 6.8 million people are known to have been infected in the US, more than in any other country.

The milestone comes amid an increase in cases in a number of states, including North Dakota and Utah.

In March, President Donald Trump said if deaths were between 100,000 and 200,000, the country would have done a "very good job".

Chris Hayes: The GOP Made A Devil’s Bargain With Trump—And It Was Worth It | All In | MSNBC

Deny kavod to someone in order to give kavod to another person?

      Sanhedrin (5b)      What was the reason that Rab was not authorised to permit the slaughter of firstborn animals? Was it that he was not learned2 enough? But have we not just said that he was very learned? Was it because he was not an expert in judging defects? But did not Rab himself say: I spent eighteen months with a shepherd in order to learn which was a permanent and which a passing blemish ? — Rabbi withheld that authorisation from Rab, as a special mark of respect to Rabbah b. Hana.3

(3) So as to establish him firmly in the respect of Babylonians, whilst Rab's standing was in any case high.

William Barr takes aim at prosecutors inside his own Justice Department

 The comments at a speech at Hillsdale College in Michigan amounted to a striking, and unusual, rebuke of the thousands of prosecutors who do the daily work of assembling criminal cases across the country. Barr has faced scrutiny for overruling the decisions of Justice Department prosecutors who work for him, including in criminal cases involving associates of President Trump.

Bill Barr Must Resign

 The attorney general is working to destroy the integrity and independence of the Justice Department, in order to make Donald Trump a president who can operate above the law.

2,000 Former FBI And DOJ Officials Call On Barr To Resign


Almost 2,000 former FBI agents and Department of Justice officials wrote an open letter Monday calling for Attorney General William Barr to resign over his handling of the Michael Flynn case, after the Justice Department abruptly dropped criminal charges against President Trump’s former national security advisor last week, despite Flynn’s earlier guilty pleas.


Keeping Our Word (Matot 5776)

 Social institutions in a free society depend on trust, and trust means that we keep our word. We do what we say we are going to do. If we make a vow, an oath, a promise, a verbal undertaking, then we hold ourselves bound by it. This means that we will actually fulfil our commitment unless we can establish that, due to circumstances unforeseeable at the time, we are simply unable to do so.

 If trust breaks down, social relationships break down, and then society depends on law enforcement agencies or some other use of force. When force is widely used, society is no longer free. The only way free human beings can form collaborative and cooperative relationships without recourse to force is by the use of verbal undertakings honoured by those who make them.

Malka Leifer saga far from over - analysis

 At most, Monday’s decision by the Jerusalem District Court to extradite alleged sex offender Malka Leifer to Australia can be viewed as the beginning of the end of the saga, but not the end itself.

Leifer will not be extradited for at least several months, and if the case is not expedited, her extradition could take more than a year.



Keilar to Trump official: Where is Trump's health care plan?

Monday, September 21, 2020

Integrity in Public Life

 It is precisely the fact that Moses did not need to do what he did, that gives the passage its force. There must be transparency and accountability when it comes to public funds even if the people involved have impeccable reputations. People in positions of trust must be, and be seen to be, individuals of moral integrity. Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law had already said this when he told Moses to appoint subordinates to help him in the task of leading the people. They should be, he said, “Men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain” (Ex. 18: 21).



Justin Haskins: Fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat now. I don't care what GOP senators promised in the past -(Power is more important than integrity)

 I sympathize with those senators who have made promises in the past and wish to honor them. Honesty is, of course, important, and honoring promises under difficult political circumstances is a rare trait in Washington, to say the least.

 However, the Republican senators who made promises not to fulfill Supreme Court seats close to an election have a more important duty than upholding political promises made in days, months or years past: ensuring that the rights of all Americans are protected. They can do that by filling Justice Ginsburg’s vacant seat with a constitutionalist who will promise to faithfully interpret the Constitution in line with the intentions of those who passed it into law.

 The senators who pledged not to fill a vacant Supreme Court seat under the present circumstances should never have made those promises and if they are forced to pay the price in November for making foolish, irresponsible commitments, then so be it.

Chris Wallace calls out Republican for allowing Trump’s Supreme Court pick but not Obama’s

Cooper rolls tape on what GOP senators said about replacing a justice in 2016

'A Very Strange Speech': What AG Barr's Words Mean | Morning Joe | MSNBC

Sen. Graham Flip-Flops On Filling SCOTUS Vacancy | Morning Joe | MSNBC

Leifer accusers express relief at long-awaited extradition ruling


‘We can’t believe we finally got here,’ says one of three Australian sisters who accuse ex-principal of sexual assault; others also praise decision, after 71 hearings



Court rules accused sex abuser Leifer to be extradited to Australia


In possibly final ruling after 6 years of hearings, judge says ex-principal must face child sex abuse charges in Melbourne, pending expected appeal



Slowing the Republican's Sprint to Name a New Supreme Court Justice Nominee to Fill RGB's Seat


The Democrats' response to RBG's death should terrify Trump

 The Democratic response so far should terrify Trump and GOP Senate candidates up for election this year. Democrats have already begun channeling their pain at losing RBG into action, pouring a record-breaking number of donations to Democratic candidates and causes via the online fundraising platform ActBlue. The New York Times reported that from about 9 p.m. ET Friday -- about 90 minutes after RBG's death was announced -- ActBlue reported receiving $6.2 million in donations, the most ever in just one hour in the platform's 16-year history. That record was broken the following hour when $6.3 million was donated, more than $100,000 per minute.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Trump called 'demented' after blaming 'blue states' for coronavirus death toll

 New York, California, and New Jersey – all led by Democrats– were among the states with highest number of deaths from coronavirus. However, both Texas and Florida, which are Republican led, are also in the top five states in terms of coronavirus deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. These five states also have the largest populations in the country and were the first to tackle major outbreaks of the virus, suggesting that there is no scientific correlation between political party of state leaders and the spread of the virus.

"Yes Mr. President, if you don't count the total number of Americans who have died you might think it's not so bad," Schumer said. "If you close your eyes and pretend that half of the country doesn't exist some might think you didn't do such a spectacularly awful job."

Clyburn Torches Barr For Comparing Covid-19 Quarantine To Slavery | The 11th Hour | MSNBC

Barr Attacks Science, Black Lives Matter and Career DOJ Prosecutors as his Authority Slips Away

Who by prayer, who by protest: A guide for the lockdown perplexed

 Rules for a locked down nation: What will be open/closed starting Friday at 2 p.m., what activities will be allowed/banned, and when you can travel over 1 kilometer from your home



Bill Barr seems to be ready for a post-election constitutional crisis

 Now it is extremely hard not to shake the impression that his vision of justice consistently appears in complete line with what benefits President Donald Trump staying in office.

A really bad analogy. For starters, Barr this week compared coronavirus stay-at-home orders, which Trump has opposed, to slavery. "You know, putting a national lockdown, stay at home orders, is like house arrest. Other than slavery, which was a different kind of restraint, this is the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history," Barr said at a Constitution Day celebration put on by Hillsdale College.

 South Carolina Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn said that Barr's comment was "the most ridiculous, tone-deaf, God-awful thing I've ever heard." CNN's Brandon Tensley went deep on the painful absurdity of drawing any kind of analogy between forced bondage and government recommendations designed to keep Americans safe from a deadly virus, especially during this time of a general re-examination of the country's racist history.

Fact-checking Biden's CNN town hall

 CNN hosted a drive-in town hall with 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in Pennsylvania on Thursday night. It was Biden's first prime time town hall since accepting the nomination.

Over the course of the night, Biden took questions ranging from farming regulations, the military presence in Afghanistan, to how he would approach the coronavirus pandemic.
Biden made a few errors and misleading statements on the drive-in stage. Here's a look at the facts:

Coronating the G-d Inside of Yourself

three drashot for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur 5781

Echoing Decades of Fighting Over U.S. History Classrooms, President Trump Announces a Push for 'Patriotic Education'

 Speaking on Constitution Day from the National Archives—where original copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights are on display—during a White House conference on American History, President Donald Trump announced that he was signing an executive order to establish the “1776 Commission,” a group that would “promote patriotic education,” and that the National Endowment for the Humanities would be awarding a grant to support the development of a “pro-American curriculum that celebrates the truth about our nation’s great history.”

 In the course of his announcement, Trump claimed that people on the left want to “bully Americans into abandoning their values, their heritage and their very way of life,” and denounced the forces that he blamed for propagating that view in history classes. He called the New York Times’ 1619 Project, which reframes the story of nation’s founding around the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in Virginia, “toxic propaganda,” and he also singled out the late Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States. Zinn’s book, widely used in schools since it was published in 1980, is credited for helping popularize a bottom-up approach to history, as an alternative to telling the story of the U.S. via the top-down achievements of elite white men.


Thursday, September 17, 2020

Trump praised China's coronavirus response during pandemic

15 times Trump praised China as coronavirus was spreading across the globe

 President Donald Trump yanked U.S. funding for the World Health Organization on Tuesday, complaining that the United Nations public health agency was overly deferential to China and had put too much faith in Beijing’s assertions that it had the coronavirus outbreak there was under control.

“Had the WHO done its job to get medical experts into China to objectively assess the situation on the ground and to call out China’s lack of transparency, the outbreak could have been contained at its source with very little death,” the president said Tuesday. “Instead, the W.H.O. willingly took China’s assurances to face value.”

 Trump, however, echoed many of those same assurances regarding China and its response to the virus throughout January and February, as the unique coronavirus began to infiltrate countries around the world. Just days before the U.S. recorded its first death from Covid-19, Trump touted China’s government for its transparency and hard work to defeat the coronavirus that causes the illness.

There's Only Weak Evidence For Vitamin-D As a COVID-19 Preventative—But Scientists Are Trying to Learn More

 To protect himself from COVID-19, Dr. Anthony Fauci has long said he’s skipping hugs and handshakes, wearing a mask, and staying off of planes. Last week, he acknowledged adding another step to protect his health: taking supplements of vitamin-D.

 However, while spurious claims that vitamin-D can prevent or treat COVID-19 have proliferated online, including some recommending potentially dangerous doses, it’s important to point out that Fauci wasn’t talking about vitamin-D helping with COVID-19 in particular. Instead, he was speaking more broadly about vitamin-D’s importance in caring for our immune system. Vitamin-D is important for our musculoskeletal health and immune function, but it’s far from clear whether boosting our intake can ward off or treat COVID-19 in particular. At this point, the National Institutes of Health says there isn’t enough evidence to recommend using vitamin-D to prevent or treat COVID-19, but it also says there isn’t enough evidence to recommend against it, either.


Triumph The Insult Comic Dog Hosts A Focus Group With Real Trump Supporte…

Scientific American Endorses Joe Biden

 Scientific American has never endorsed a presidential candidate in its 175-year history. This year we are compelled to do so. We do not do this lightly.

The evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has badly damaged the U.S. and its people—because he rejects evidence and science. The most devastating example is his dishonest and inept response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which cost more than 190,000 Americans their lives by the middle of September. He has also attacked environmental protections, medical care, and the researchers and public science agencies that help this country prepare for its greatest challenges. That is why we urge you to vote for Joe Biden, who is offering fact-based plans to protect our health, our economy and the environment. These and other proposals he has put forth can set the country back on course for a safer, more prosperous and more equitable future.

Scientific American makes presidential endorsement for the very first time

The biggest mystery: what it will take to trace the coronavirus source

 SARS-CoV-2 came from an animal but finding which one will be tricky, as will laying to rest speculation of a lab escape. 

 Since the pandemic began, the question of where the coronavirus came from has been one of the biggest puzzles. It almost certainly originated in bats, and a new study out this week — the most comprehensive analysis of coronaviruses in China — adds further weight to that theory.

But the lack of clarity around how the virus passed to people has meant that unsubstantiated theories — promoted by US President Donald Trump — that it escaped from a laboratory in China persist.

 By contrast, most researchers say the more likely explanation, given what is known so far about this virus and others like it, is that bats passed it to an intermediate animal, which then spread it to people.


The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2

 It is improbable that SARS-CoV-2 emerged through laboratory manipulation of a related SARS-CoV-like coronavirus. As noted above, the RBD of SARS-CoV-2 is optimized for binding to human ACE2 with an efficient solution different from those previously predicted7,11. Furthermore, if genetic manipulation had been performed, one of the several reverse-genetic systems available for betacoronaviruses would probably have been used19. However, the genetic data irrefutably show that SARS-CoV-2 is not derived from any previously used virus backbone20. Instead, we propose two scenarios that can plausibly explain the origin of SARS-CoV-2: (i) natural selection in an animal host before zoonotic transfer; and (ii) natural selection in humans following zoonotic transfer. We also discuss whether selection during passage could have given rise to SARS-CoV-2.



Tucker Carlson criticizes Facebook for censoring interview with Chinese virologist

"Instagram, which Facebook also owns did the same thing. Twitter suspended Dr. Yan's account entirely. It did not explain why. Nor did the tech companies explain how they would know more about disease transmission than an MD, PhD virologist like Dr. Li-Meng Yan. Instead, Facebook and Instagram linked to three so-called fact checks which supposedly proved Yan was lying.

 Carlson also defended Yan and her research. "COVID-19 is not from nature, she said. It was created in a lab in Wuhan, China. The Chinese government intentionally unleashed it on the world. Those are her claims. Are they true? We have no way of verifying them. We do know that Dr. Li-Meng Yan is not a quack," Carlson said.

 "She’s authored peer-reviewed papers on coronavirus transmission in both Nature Magazine and The Lancet. Those are two of the most respected publications in all of science. Her paper on the origin of COVID-19, which she has published online, is not frivolous. In it, she points to specific evidence for the claims that she makes. She identifies so-called cut sites which are frequently used in genomic engineering that would allow scientists to swap in sequences from other viruses to create what she described last night as a Frankenstein bioweapon."


Facebook and Instagram Flag Tucker Carlson Virus Posts

 The social media platforms warn viewers that the Fox News host’s interview with a Chinese virologist contained “false information” about Covid-19.

Tucker Carlson guest airs debunked conspiracy theory that COVID-19 was created in a lab

 "It’s hard to be shocked in a moment like this, but you have succeeded in shocking me," Carlson said at the end of the interview. "Unfortunately, this is not the forum for the details of your research; I don’t have the grounding necessary to ask you the right questions."

Scientists do. The consensus of the scientific community and international public health organizations is that the coronavirus emerged from bats and later jumped to humans.

But the doctor’s interview on "Tucker Carlson Tonight" quickly took off, inspiring a rash of social media posts parroting her claims.

 Scientists worldwide have publicly shared the genetic makeup of the coronavirus thousands of times. If the virus had been altered, there would be evidence in its genome data.

But there isn’t. In March, several microbiology, infectious disease and evolutionary biology experts wrote in Nature — a respected scientific journal — that the genetic makeup of the coronavirus does not indicate it was altered. 

Our ruling

During an interview on Fox News, Yan said the coronavirus "is a man-made virus created in the lab."

The genetic structure of the novel coronavirus, which has been shared by thousands of scientists worldwide, rules out the possibility that it was manipulated in a lab. Public health authorities have repeatedly said the virus was not created in a lab. Scientists believe the coronavirus originated in bats before jumping to humans. Experts have publicly rebuked Yan’s paper, and it’s unclear whether it was peer reviewed.

The claim is inaccurate and ridiculous. We rate it Pants on Fire!


Why Donald Trump is Trying to Reach Latino Voters

 Nobody expects Trump to win the Latino vote. In 2016 he won 28%. In some states with large Latino populations, he did slightly better; in Florida, Nevada, and Arizona he notched 35%, 29%, and 31% respectively, according to CNN’s exit poll. This year, polling suggests he’s in the same range, despite policies that have hurt Latinos. There’s a chance he could maintain or even gain ground in these states, especially Florida. Recent polling by Equis Research, a progressive Hispanic research firm, for example, has Trump at 37% in Florida, 26% in Nevada, and 29% in Arizona.

FULL The 11th Hour with Brian Williams MSNBC 9/16/20 | MSNBC News Sept 16, 2020

Does Donald Trump ‘endanger’ Jews? - opinion

  The warning was sounded early this week by an unlikely squad of messengers: An Evangelical Christian; a former Soviet Jewish refugee; a former PR man for Russian President Vladimir Putin; the president’s former lawyer, a notorious dirty trickster; and a highly respected Jewish leader who said US President Donald Trump “threatens American democracy.”


Stumping for a sweet new term, Trump tells US Jews ‘We love your country also’

 US President Donald Trump appeared to suggest again that American Jews are loyal to Israel, as he urged community leaders to get out the vote for him in a brief pre-Rosh Hashanah phone call Wednesday. Trump signed off the 20-minute call by telling the Jewish leaders, “We really appreciate you… We love your country also.”

'A fire hose of lying:' Trump town hall fact check

Dr. Gupta Responds To Trump’s Comment On Herd Immunity: For It To Work, ‘People Will Die’ | MSNBC

Trump's Town Hall Fail, Woodward's Book and Mattis' Devastating Assessment, "Trump Dangerous/Unfit"

Bill Barr Sinks to New Low, Uses Justice Department to Try to Kill Trump’s Rape Defamation Suit

Barr says calls for coronavirus lockdown are the 'greatest intrusion on civil liberties' other than slavery in US history

 Attorney General William Barr suggested on Wednesday that the calls for a nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus were the "greatest intrusion on civil liberties" in history "other than slavery."

The comments came minutes after he slammed the hundreds of Justice Department prosecutors working beneath him, equating them to preschoolers, in a defense of his own politically tuned decision making in the Trump administration.

Donald Trump has done 1 thing *really* well as President

 Donald Trump once pledged that, if elected president, he would put America first and spend no time at all worried about what the rest of the world thought about us. Mission accomplished!

A new Pew poll of 13 foreign countries reveals that perceptions of America have dropped drastically in recent years.
A few examples:
* In the United Kingdom, 83% had a favorable view of the US in 2000. Now just 41% feel the same way, the lowest number ever in Pew data.
Trump and his backers will cite the Pew data as evidence that other countries just don't like it when the US stops letting itself be taken advantage of and stands up for itself.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

White House staffers test COVID-19 positive after peace deal

 Multiple members of White House staff test positive for coronavirus one day after signing of Abraham Accords.



A Key to Salvation


Our Key to Salvation: Standing With Righteous Individuals Who Stand With HaShem - Against His Enemies

27 Ellul, 5780 °° Sept. 16, 20 °° Parshas Ha'azinu

By Binyomin Feinberg

As we approach the Days of Awe, it's appropriate to reflect on the plight of those righteous women languishing in Israeli military prison to avoid conscription into the immoral, exploitative Army. Furthermore, we must also consider the ongoing travails of all the many, many other girls and women who regularly endure intimidation and threats from Israeli military draft office, from the court system, and also suffer from the systemic corruption enabling the wholesale abandonment of innocent girls - in their stand against the military draft - for their Faith, morality, and personal purity.  But first, a general background review is in order. 

A.  A Refresher:

1.  Ever since the early days of the State of Israel, the Israeli Army has been - almost unbelievably - 
2.  Leading Rabbis from across the spectrum held and hold that it's prohibited for any girl to enlist in the Army.  How much more so it it prohibited to FORCE girls (of any faith) to enlist, even if they're totally non-religious.

3.  Moreover, the Brisker Rov ZT"L was quoted by Rav Aharon Soloveichik ZT"L (in sefer "Yeled Sha'ashuim") to be  opposed to the drafting of non-religious girls even more strongly than he was opposed to drafting religious ones, due of the escalated spiritual threats to the former over the latter. Such spiritual dangers are endemic to the military milieu, and have manifested in the Israeli Army in the form of ongoing immorality, exploitation, and downright abuse.

4.  This is the same Brisker Rov who held that if, G-d forbid, we would need to choose, it would be preferable to close down all the Yeshivos rather than allow even one girl to be drafted at all.*

[* This insight from the Brisker Rov may inspire introspection among some more reflective individuals, especially now, in the midst of the second Coronavirus shutdown in Israel. (Perhaps community activists and fiefdoms prioritizing government funding for their institutions - to the exclusion of leveraging increased Orthodox political power to abolish the female draft - isn't countenanced well in Heaven -- especially while dozens of girls are languishing in "Jewish" military prisons - often in acutely oppressive conditions.)]

5.  In the wake of international outcries by religious Jews across the spectrum - in decades past - religious girls, the dominant antireligious elements allowed concession provisions. This compromise mandated providing automatic military service exemptions to religious girls. Thus, until recent years, religious girls had been routinely exempt.

6.  Tragically, the drafting of other girls had continued, in the state describing itself as somehow associated with Judaism - to which drafting girls or women is absolute anathema.  It must be emphasized that the drafting of girls - even only non-religious girls - was always seen as an ongoing travesty. By no stretch of the imagination was it EVER anything with which any Jew could possibly make peace.

7.  Many religious and traditional Israeli girls have, in recent years, been subjected to increasing attempts to draft them into the Army.

8.  In some cases, the Army even drafts such girls into mixed units and combat units. 

9. Tragically, many traditional and even religious girls have fallen into the Army, recently.

10.  Generally, that's the result of the lack of effective outreach to such girls, particularly sefardic girls, especially those coming from a religiously weak background.

11.  Many girls have fallen into the Army because of illegal maneuvers and manipulation by the Draft Offices, operating under "Meitav."

12.  Chomosaich is an organization providing assistance to any girl who seeks to save herself from the draft, regardless of her religiosity or background.

13.  They provide information and help coordinate legal assistance with Israeli attorneys competent in saving these girls from the draft.

14.  Chomosaich also provides girls in the exemption process with vital chizuk.

15.  Often, another vital need is public awareness. Why? Because intelligent PR is often necessary, to exert pressure often instrumental in rescuing these girls from  government intimidation and threats, and even incarceration in military prison.

16.  We in the Diaspora have an distinctly pivotal capacity to impede such Israeli policies, by simply speaking out, in an intelligent manner.  The Israeli government frequently tends to ignore domestic public opinion on such matters, but remains sensitive to its much-cultivated image in the outside world.  Thus, properly raising public awareness in the Diaspora is one of the most effective, and probably by far the most efficient, practical means of saving these innocent girls and women from indescribable travails.

B.  Ofek Y. - an example of just one of the many girls currently being assisted:

1.  Ofek Y., a Ba'alas Teshuva, not yet 18, has been recently returning to her religious roots, even studying in religious "Midrashiyah." She had applied for her religious exemption.

2.  The Army ordered her to appear at a Religiosity Interview (or interrogation), a Rayon Dat ("R.D.") on July 26, '20.

3.  In compliance with with the directive of Torah authorities, and those familiar with draft hazards, to refuse any such appearances, she declined.   The monumental practical dangers, and the consequent Halachic objections involved with the R.D. have been covered online (search First Amendment Activist and Daat Torah blogs, for example).

4.  Now, one needs to question: by what right did the Draft Office have to summon Miss Y. to a R.D.? Her religiosity has been established via the standard legal procedures.  Once she submitted her religiosity certification, legally speaking, she's entitled to an automatic religious exemption, unless the Army has bona fide basis to suspect her religiosity. Apparently, they have none.

5.  As newly rediscovering her religious roots, her having studied in a nonreligious school should not even register as a blip on the Army radar. Thus, the only legal pretext for a R.D. is some indication of fakery. If so, what is it? Letters from her original attorney have not yet yielded either insight or cooperation from the Army Draft Office.

6.  This type of Army treatment pattern - apparently flaunting their own laws or rules - fits a pattern to which we've been increasingly privy, especially in recent months. In fact, this treatment profile actually comports neatly with the Army human-trafficking profile.

7.  Alarmingly, ALL girls who have studied in non-religious schools, among those we've been in contact with recently - have been summoned to a Rayon Dat. 

8.  This policy shift requires girls to hire attorneys many of them can't afford. 

9.  This creates pressure on the girls to fight the government, risking arrest and often emotionally brutal treatment in Israeli military jail, or else succumb to the draft. 

10.  According to the Torah, there is no choice.  Torah Sages, from the Chazon Ish and Rav Pesach Frank, to the Steipler Gaon, and MANY others, all concur that the female draft is Yai'horaig ve'Al Ya'avor, period.

11.  Miss Y. turns 18 in December, and her draft date R"L is scheduled for Jan. 4, '21.  After that point, without a formal legal exemption, she would be deemed to be a draft-dodger, and R"L subject to arrest, incarceration in Military Prison, and mistreatment by prison staff frequently filled with animosity towards girls avoiding the draft.

12. Imagine the merit each person reading this could gain by assuming an obligation to assist such heroic individuals, as we approach the Yomim Noraim.  And imagine the Midah Keneged Midah recompense in store for those who answer the call. 

13.  On the other hand, consider the alternative, as articulated in The Jewish Press (in an Op Ed against the Army drafting of girls), Jan. 11, '19, p. 9, end),

"We must ensure that we are not recorded in Heaven amongst those who fail to stand up for people who cannot defend themselves and cry out to us for help.  Hashem hears their cries and will, chas v’shalom, exact an extremely heavy price if we abandon them."

14. What a merit such mitzvah would provide us, to live to witness the arrival of the Redemption, for helping save "noshim tzidkoniyos" (righteous women), in whose merit the Final Redemption will come (Kav HaYashar, 82, see also Gemara Sotah 11, Rus Rabbah 4:11).

There's still time. 

A Kesiva ve'v'Chasima Tova,


"... And if someone, like Pinchos, is one among a multitude, and every man is against him when he dares to speak out for truth and to fight for the Law -- the more lonely his stand, the greater the number of his adversaries, the more powerful is his word, the mightier his deed."

--  Rav Shamshon Raphael Hirsch OB"M (1808-1888), (in "Judaism Eternal," vol. 2, p. 293)

regularly drafting girls - Jewish girls, and even some non-Jewish ones.

Trump has always refused to see the difference between truth and lies

 In the world according to Donald Trump, the years bring little change.

Back in 1990, when he was an aspiring monarch in the Atlantic City gambling hierarchy, his Taj Mahal casino was a mess -- plagued by slot machines that didn't work. The casino control commission shut one-third of them down -- on opening night, no less. A complete disaster.
But Trump, ever the con man, had a tale in mind. When asked about it by Larry King, he just lied. "The slots were so hot," he said "They blew apart...they were virtually on fire."

 At a certain point, as Woodward implies, Trump believes his own lies. And he lives his own lies. He wanted to talk with Woodward to impress him because he believes in his own ability to schmooze and succeed. So he spoke with him 18 times. And he did not succeed.

HHS says spokesman will take a two-month 'leave of absence' following apology for conspiracy-laden rant

 Michael Caputo, the top spokesman at the Department of Health and Human Services, is taking a two-month leave of absence from his post, the department announced Wednesday, a day after he apologized for a conspiracy theory-laden rant he made against career government scientists in which he accused them of "sedition" and working to undermine President Donald Trump.