Monday, February 28, 2022

Health workers’ vaccine mandate undone by religious exemptions

While the federal government doesn’t track the number of religious exemptions, anecdotal evidence indicates they are widespread in health care settings. Several hospital executives told POLITICO their prevalence has helped keep the hospital from laying off dozens of employees, which would threaten their ability to provide patient care. But public health experts and patient advocates fear that widespread use of the exemptions risks infecting patients with the virus, even as Covid-19 cases decline rapidly from their January peak. Last month, as Omicron surged, more patients than at any time of the pandemic caught Covid in U.S. hospitals, likely due to insufficient control measures, POLITICO found in an analysis of federal data.
Studies show that unvaccinated individuals are more likely to contract and transmit the virus.

How Russia Has Destroyed Its Economy, in Six Charts

Russia is currently facing the most punitive financial measures and sanctions ever imposed on a country in the modern financial system.

The invasion of Ukraine has prompted a severe political backlash and international condemnation, combined with an exclusion from markets that will, if it persists, have a hugely harmful effect on the Russian economy.

Whether President Putin sees the economic hardship as a price worth paying for the annexation of Ukraine remains to be seen.

Ukraine's Heroic Zelensky Unites Divided Americans Against Putin

What's even more remarkable about Volodymyr Zelensky is that he has not only garnered bipartisan support in Washington, but has also has cable news channels as ideologically opposed as MSNBC and Fox News praising his heroism.

Liberal anchors like MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and CNN's Don Lemon, appear to be signing from the same Zelensky hymn sheet as conservatives such as Fox News' Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson.

Mike Lindell Melts Down at CPAC, Calls Reporter 'Disgusting' and 'Traitor'

During the CPAC conference in Orlando this weekend, Lindell was questioned by CBS News journalist Robert Costa about a January 15, 2021 photo from outside the White House. In the photo, Lindell was seen holding documents that suggested then President Donald Trump could declare "martial law if necessary." The MyPillow CEO told The New York Times at the time that the papers were provided by an unidentified lawyer and aimed to help Trump prove that he was the true winner of the election.
When the journalist pressed him further, Lindell grew frustrated, refusing to say who gave him the documents.

"Robert Costa is a traitor to the United States of America," Lindell asserted, as a crowd gathered around them. He went on to call Costa "disgusting" and led those surrounding them in chants of, "Traitor! Traitor! Traitor!"

"Why do you protect a company called the media and attack a company called MyPillow? You're disgusting," Lindell said.

How Zelensky changed the West's response to Russia

Five days into Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his courageous nation have already done more to transform the West's policy toward Russia than 30 years of post-Cold War summits, policy resets and showdowns with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Ukrainian leader's defiance has inspired and shamed the United States and the European Union into going far further -- and far faster -- in turning Russia into a pariah state than it appeared they were ready to go. By promising weapons and ammunition to Zelensky, 44, the West appears increasingly to be drawn into a possible proxy war with Moscow over Ukraine, even though it is not a NATO member that benefits from the bloc's direct mutual defense agreements.

Moshe achieved prophecy through philosophical thought

 Meshech Chochma (Devarim 34:8)…Moshe was constantly involved with philosophical thought concerning G d as can be seen from the book of Job which he wrote (Bava Basra 14b) which is totally philosophical. Shemos Rabbah (1:35) also notes that he tried to determine the reason for the exile in Egypt. Through his analysis he came to the true source and full knowledge to such a degree that he became a prophet.

Shtisel: The show that changed my mind about the Charedim

Why do the denizens of Mea Shearim, Stamford Hill, Williamsburg and Broughton Park treat 2019 as though it were 1719? Why do they have kosher mobile phones, shun secular newspapers and seal themselves off from the surrounding world? Why do they dress as though they are still living in Lublin?

Most of us only truly experience Charedi life through art, films, documentaries, books. Yet depictions of the Strictly Orthodox in popular culture usually serve only to feed our preconceptions.

Much of it comes in the form of excommunication art, such as One Of Us, a documentary that depicted the horrors of trying to leave a Chasidic community. Or All Who Go Do Not Return by Shulem Deen, an extraordinary memoir about one Chasidic man’s agonising search for freedom. Then you have the coming-out dramas, movies such as Eyes Wide Open and Disobedience, which highlight the strains of forbidden passion.

World's largest plane destroyed in Ukraine

The world's largest aircraft, the Antonov AN-225, has been destroyed during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to Ukrainian officials, generating alarm and sadness among the aviation world in which it occupies almost cult status.
The enormous aircraft, named "Mriya," or "dream" in Ukrainian, was parked at an airfield near Kyiv when it was attacked by "Russian occupants," Ukrainian authorities said, adding that they would rebuild the plane.

Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls takes 'brave' steps to improve, says Ofsted

Leaders of a state-aided Charedi secondary school in Stamford Hill have taken some “brave” decisions to improve it since it was ranked inadequate four years ago, Ofsted says.

As a result, inspectors have upgraded Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls High School to a school that “requires improvement” after their latest visit.

In citizenship, “they enjoy discussing live ethical and moral issues in society. However, leaders place some restrictions on what pupils can learn. For example, pupils do not learn about same-sex relationships and gender reassignment.”
Four years ago, Ofsted criticised the school for censoring textbooks.

Melanie Phillips


Phillips's criticisms of liberal Jews who disagree with her positions on Israel have been mocked or condemned by writers such as Alan Dershowitz,[27] Rabbi David Goldberg,[28] and Jonathan Freedland, who criticised Phillips's labelling of Independent Jewish Voices, a group of liberal Jews, as "Jews For Genocide". Freedland wrote in The Jewish Chronicle: "Now, as it happens, I have multiple criticisms of IJV ... but even their most trenchant opponents must surely blanch at the notion that these critics of Israel and of Anglo-Jewish officialdom are somehow in favour of genocide—literally, eager to see the murder and eradication of the Jewish people ... it is an absurdity, one that drains the word 'genocide' of any meaning".[29]

MMR vaccine

Melanie Phillips supported Andrew Wakefield, whose fraudulent work triggered controversy about the MMR vaccine and led to his being struck off the medical register. Through numerous articles in the Daily Mail and The Spectator, Phillips championed Wakefield's claims while casting doubt on their rebuttal by scientists, doctors, and politicians.[40][41] Her attacks on MMR attracted criticism from scientists and science writers.[40][42][43] Phillips continued to support Wakefield after his research methods and motives began to attract serious scrutiny and criticism: "While Mr Wakefield is being subjected to a witch-hunt, and while the parents of the affected children are scandalously denied legal aid to pursue the court case which may well have finally brought to light the truth about MMR, those powerful people in the medical establishment are continuing to misrepresent the evidence."[44][45] In May 2010, Andrew Wakefield was struck off the Medical Register for "serious professional misconduct", and is currently barred from practising medicine in the UK.[46] Phillips's support of Wakefield's "findings" and her campaign against the MMR vaccine has been both widely noted,[47][48] and credited for significantly undermining public trust in vaccines.[47]

Donald Trump Is Fulfilling All of Those Obama Conspiracy Theories

Compare that with the rabid conspiracy theories that greeted Obama from the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, who devoted show after show to wide-eyed attacks on the former president. Even mainstream Republican figures, like Kevin Hassett, now chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, wrote in a 2009 column that Obama was a “Manchurian candidate” giving the United States a “war on business” that could destroy the economy. Norman Podhoretz wrote in the Wall Street Journal that “[a]s a left-wing radical, Mr.

Obama believed that the United States had almost always been a retrograde and destructive force in world affairs.” There’s also Dinesh D’Souza, recently pardoned by President Trump, who pegged Obama as an “anticolonialist” raging against “Western dominance,” and who sought to undermine the United States from within. Newt Gingrich endorsed this theory; as did David Koch, the conservative billionaire.

Even before Helsinki, there was Trump’s clear effort to dismantle the Atlantic alliance, his vocal contempt for America’s traditional allies, his solicitousness and praise for dictators and authoritarians, from North Korea to the Philippines, and his undermining of American cybersecurity and indifference to hostile state actions like those from Russia. But for all the investigations into Obama’s supposed scandals, Trump has endured little questioning from much of the Republican Party. Even critics like Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska and retiring Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Bob Corker of Tennessee have chosen not to punish or reprimand the president for his breaches and transgressions. Flake issued a strong statement against Trump’s performance in Helsinki, and it will remain just that, a statement.

Russian mercenaries trying to assassinate Ukrainian president

Over 400 – and as many as 2,000 - mercenaries from the Wagner Group, a private militia run by an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, are reportedly operating in Kyiv, after flying in to Russia from Africa five weeks ago, infiltrating the border into eastern Ukrainian provinces claimed by pro-Russian militia groups.

According to the report, the mercenaries are working on behalf of the Russian government, and have been offered substantial bonuses for the assassination of Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky

Russia reportedly hopes to seize control of the Ukrainian government if Zelensky is assassinated.

Ukraine is said to have received information regarding the assassination plot on Saturday, leading to the imposition of a 36-hour curfew on Kyiv, as security forces combed the city for Russian agents.

Kuzari principle and commonsense

 Chinuch (Comments of author): There is no doubt that the greater number of ancestors who testify about something which they directed experienced that it is more convincing to their children. Therefore, when G d wanted to give the Torah to His people, He gave it in the presence of 600,000 adult males  -  besides the many women and children. This was in order that they could all be faithful witnesses concerning the matter. Furthermore, in order to make the testimony even stronger  -  they all reached the level of prophecy. This is because there is never any doubt concerning that which is known by prophecy…. In fact, if they hadn’t reached the level of prophecy then they might have argued that the wonders that Moshe did before Pharaoh were merely magic tricks… However, after they achieved the level of prophecy, they knew everything that happened was from G d  -  without the slightest doubt. These people who witnessed the events of Sinai with their own eyes and their knowledge resulting from prophecy was the highest possible type available to man  -  testified to their children who were born later that the entire Torah that they had received from Moshe was absolutely true without the slightest doubt. These children then testified to that effect to their children and these children testified to their children throughout the ages…

Rambam (Letter on Astrology): One should not believe something to be true unless it belongs to one of three categories. 1) Something that can be validated by clear proof based upon human reasoning or empirically e.g., arithmetic, geometry or astronomy. 2) Something that can be perceived directly by one of the five senses. For example if he sees something is red or black, or he tastes something is bitter or sweet or he can feel that something is hot or cold… 3) Something which he has received as a tradition from the prophets and righteous people. A sensible person needs to classify everything he believes into that which is based on rational proof, that which he directly perceives with his senses and that which he believes because of valid tradition. Anyone who believes something outside of these three categories is described by the verse (Mishlei 14:15), “A fool believes in everything.”

Jews were a primitive and uncultured people

 Chasam Sofer[i](Derashos - BeShalach): G‑d took the Jews out of Egypt which was the lowest type of society that did all types of disgusting abominations which G‑d hated. The Jews at that point were a despised lowly people - not even a distinct nation. In Egypt, they were primitive slaves working with bricks and mortar and were without doubt devoid of even minimal knowledge of culture or science. They even lacked elementary knowledge of civilized conduct. Our sages (Yoma 75b) say that the Jews in Egypt were comparable to chickens pecking in a garbage dump until Moshe came and taught them the concept of meal times - breakfast and dinner. [Seforno[ii] - they were like animals]. We see that they were totally primitive like the slaves of the barbarians. So how could this debased people be immediately brought to Sinai where they were shown the most profound secrets of the universe and became prophets with unbounded understanding of spiritual issues? This question is reinforced by the fact that they remained primitive and uncultured people as we can see from their lowly behavior and outrageous complaints during this time? Wouldn’t it have been better to gradually educate them in civilized conduct to the level of the best of the nations of the world. They should have at least been raised to the level where they could be considered a nation. Once they were civilized, they should then have been refined level by level until they were prepared for receiving the Torah at Sinai? In truth, it is impossible to keep the Jews as a distinctive people unless they are completely separated from the other nations. That is accomplished by not learning knowledge which is common to other nations even Bible on the level of translation. The natural tendency to assimilation can only be prevented by going to the opposite extreme. If G‑d had first educated the Jews in worldly knowledge, they would never have acquired the truth of the Torah and faith. Before they would have reached, this final goal they would have already rejected them because these studies would have given them the universal identity common amongst all the nations. Moreover, even if the Jews had understood that the gods of the nations were worthless illusions and reject them, nevertheless they would also have completely rejected G‑d also.

[i] חתם סופר (דרוש לפ' בשלח משנת תקע"א בעת שהתחיל המינות להתנוצץ בקהלתו עמוד קיב:) ואמנם כולם יש להם ממי ללמוד מנותן התורה ית"ש. הנה אל הוציאים ממצרים ערות הארץ עושי כל תועבות ה' אשר שנא והוא עם בזוי עם לא היה כידוע מדרכי המצרים, וישראל היו ביניהם עבדים נבאשים עושין בחומר ובלבנים ובלי ספק שלא היו יודעים עשות נכוחה, ולא שום חכמה ומדע גם לא טכסיס אומה ולשון ולא שום דרך ארץ - וביומא (עה:) אמר ר' אחי בר"י בתחילה הוי ישראל דומין כתרנגולין שמנקרין באשפה עד שבא משה וקבע להם זמן סעודה, הרי שאפילו זמן הסעודה לא היה להם כדרך עבדי הברביראי' הללו ואיך א"כ קרבם מיד לפני הר סיני במעמד הנבחר והראה להם מה למעלה ומה למטה וכלם זכו לנבואה ונפתח לבם כפתחו של אולם ועדיין נשאר להם רוע סידרן כמובן מכל מנהגם ותלונותם במדבר, והלא טוב היה לנהלם לאט לאט ללמדם דרך ארץ כמתוקנים שבאומות שיהיו ראוי' לחושבם עם עכ"פ ולהעלותם אח"כ ממדרגה למדרגה עד שיבואו לקבלת התורה על הר סיני? אבל האמת יורה דרכו כי גלוי לפניו ית"ש כי אי אפשר להבדיל עם בני ישראל מיתר העמים כי אם בהפרידם מהם ומדרכם לגמרי ולא ללמוד חכמתם במה שהם משתוים עמנו ואפי' לא המקרא ע"ד הפשוט כי בזה הם שוים עמנו כי איש קל מהרה יהפך לב האדם לשוב להמונם אם לא ירחוק בתכלית הריחוק, ואילו הנהיג הקב"ה עם ישראל במנהג דרך ארץ תחלה לא היו זוכים לעולם להגיע לאמיתת התורה והאמונה כי טרם הגיעו לקצה האחרון כבר היו נזורים אחור כי כל הלמודים האלו וסדר הלימוד הנ"ל הוא עודנו קרוב לדעת הגוים ההמה. ואם אולי יבינו ישראל כי אלהי העמים הבל המה מעשי תעתועים ולא יאמינו כמוהם מ"מ יפרקו עול לגמרי ולא יאמינו לא זה ולא זה. ...

[ii] ספורנו (שמות טז:ו) ערב וידעתם. יהי רצון שמה שאמר לי שיתן לכם מזון יהיה באופן זה שיתן לכם בערב צרכי הערב, בענין שתדעו שהאל יתברך הוציא אתכם לגמרי מארץ מצרים, כי יוציאכם גם ממנהגיה, שהייתם יושבים שם על סיר הבשר, בלתי זמן סעודה קבועה כבהמות, כאמרם ז"ל בתחילה היו ישראל כתרנגולים המנקרים באשפה, עד שבא משה רבינו וקבע להם זמן סעודה.

Faith and philosophy

 Meiri (Mishlei 30:6): One’s faith should be established entirely on the basis of the tradition received from the prophets. Only after it is firmly established should one work to comprehend the details through intellectual study. However, intellectual study should never be the determiner of the validity of one’s faith. This caution has been mentioned more than once because there are some of our people who feel that they have to justify and rationalize every aspect of the Torah. It is well known, however, that there are many aspects of the Torah that are simply not amenable to philosophical proofs. Those that insist on philosophical proof have their faith progressively weakened as the result of the inevitable repeated failure to find them. That is why I have repeatedly emphasized the fact that rational proof simply doesn’t exist for many things. In fact, the Torah requires that we start with faith - rather make its acceptance dependent upon some artificial criterion of philosophical justification. Furthermore, even those aspects of Torah which are convincingly provable - not everyone is capable of understanding these proofs. Therefore, those who are not competent in these areas should not get involved in these types of proofs - lest he be thoroughly messed up by the endeavor… In sum, in these deep matters there are very few who can meaningfully and successfully deal with faith on a purely philosophical basis. Therefore, it is appropriate for everyone to rely on the words of the Torah and the prophetic tradition - because that is the proven solid foundation and the length of our days.

New law to sanction divorce refusers

The Knesset's Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday approved a bill to amend the law regarding rabbinical courts' enforcement of divorce rulings.

The bill was brought forward by Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana (Yamina), who intends to bring it for its first reading in the Knesset plenum on March 16.

The new sanctions against divorce refusers would expand preventing including preventing them from using business and bank services, preventing them from using credit cards and other forms of payment, an option to issue a direct fine (not through a complex court process), the option to enforce isolation in unusual cases and immediately (without a waiting period of 30 days), the option to require "payment for forcing obedience" from the refuser for the benefit of the refused partner, and an option to create a "divorce refusers registry" which will be open to the general public.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

𝗜𝗞𝗚 𝘂𝗻𝗰𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗿𝗲𝗱: 𝗛𝗼𝘄 𝗶𝘁 𝗵𝗲𝗹𝗽𝗲𝗱 𝗿𝗼𝗯 𝗕𝗲𝘁𝗵 𝗔𝗹𝗲𝘅𝗮𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝗼𝗳 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝘁𝘄𝗶𝗻𝘀

Ex-AG William Barr attacks Trump as unfit to lead as he urges GOP to move on in ‘24

William Barr is urging Republicans to put former President Donald Trump in the rearview mirror in 2024 in favor of the political party’s younger leaders, the former attorney general writes in a new book.

In his upcoming 600-page book, “One Damn Thing After Another,” Barr says he thinks Trump could’ve beaten Joe Biden in 2020 if he had “just exercised a modicum of self-restraint, moderating even a little of his pettiness,” according to the Wall Street Journal. 

The conservative lawyer encouraged members of his party to consider “an impressive array of younger candidates” that he did not identify by name — who he believes shares Trump’s agenda but not his “erratic personal behavior,” the book says.

​The​ former attorney general, who served from February 2019 to ​December 2020, wrote that the former president has “shown he has neither the temperament nor persuasive powers to provide the kind of positive leadership that is needed​.”

Some on the far-right in the US oppose Ukraine, why? - analysis

But if Russia is portrayed as somehow positive because it is nationalist and cares for traditional values, why is Ukraine portrayed as bad. Ukraine is also nationalist and ostensibly also cares for traditional values. The problem is that in the West people must choose sides, so Ukraine is bad because it is backed by the “left” in the West and thus the far-right must dislike it. An added aspect in US domestic politics is the sense that former US President Donald Trump was impeached for his involvement in Ukraine and he was also accused of being pro-Putin. Therefore the far-right who are sympathetic to Trump tend to like Putin and also think Ukraine is some kind of center of corruption, used by “globalists” like “George Soros” to push some kind of “European” agenda. In this narrative Ukraine is not really a cause for freedom fighters because it isn’t really a good democracy, and it is “flawed” and has “oligarchs.” What about Russia’s oligarchs and lack of democracy? That doesn’t matter in this telling, because the assertion is that defending Ukraine “isn’t in our interests” and we are being lied to about it being a democracy.  

The Kuzari Principle: Not a Proof but Evidence of Plausibility

With our account of the nature of faith, the Kuzari principle doesn’t have to be strong enough to provide evidence sufficient for belief, but can still play a role in making your faith reasonable. The more pressing question is less to do with evidence, and more to do with values. Is it desirable that there should have been such a revelation, and that God should have chosen a certain people, and communicated that which He was said to have communicated to them? That seems to depend a great deal upon how you view the notion of the Jewish election (was it exclusive, and what end did it serve), and what you take the content of the revelation to be – how do you interpret the laws and their ethical significance?


  One of the foundations of Judaism is the revelation at Sinai. In this chapter we will see that belief in Sinai is reasonable. There is enough evidence in favor of the revelation to make it reasonable to accept. The evidence is of a very special sort, and that requires a long introduction

The Kuzari Principle

What we call the Kuzari Principle is what I italicized in the quotation: Personal experience is equal to uninterrupted tradition as a ground for belief. Surely the principle is in need of some refinement, but the basic idea is true. The scientific community doesn’t feel the need to repeat every experiment ever conducted before accepting the relevant findings for themselves. If there wasn’t a modicum of trust given to the testimony of past scientists about their findings, then we could never move on, because we’d first of all have to repeat the entire history of science in our own laboratories. If we take the best elements of these medieval arguments and try to fashion them into something formal, and prima facie worth considering, we end up with something like the following:

 If a reliable witness, called person-y, witnesses an event, event-x, and an uninterrupted chain of reliable sources passes on person-y’s testimony, even over many years, then, given certain provisos about the make-up of the chain, about person-y and about the reported circumstances of the original observation, we have good reason to believe that event-x transpired.

(KP2)     The epistemic warrant provided by such a chain increases with the number of reliable observers in the chain who claim to have witnessed the event themselves.

There were 12 Golden Calves not one

 Rav Yakov Kaminetsky (Emes L’Yakov Shemos 35:1): The sin of the Golden Calf was the opposite of the Giving of the Torah. Because our Sages said that at the Giving of the Torah the Jews were totally united. In contrast the Yerushalmi (Sanhedrin 10:2) says there in fact were 12 Calves made because they desired many gods such as the god of Moab and the god of Edom in other words they desired the unique power of every nation. Why did they desire multiple gods? It seems that amongst the Shevatim themselves there were different views as to which god to chose and therefore each Shevat made their own god i.e, their own Calf. Consequently when Moshe came to give the commands regarding the Mishkan he first needed to unite them in one place for a common goal.

Sanhedrin (63a):Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai The verse teaches that the Jewish people desired many gods; they were not satisfied with the golden calf alone.

Dr Matthew Offord MP - Reuniting Beth Alexander with her boys - Schlesinger Twins in Vienna

Tucker Carlson leads rightwing charge to blame everyone but Putin

“Rather than blame the actual aggressor for attacking his weaker neighbor, right-wing media pinned the blame on Biden for supposedly projecting weakness and vulnerability to Putin,” Media Matters, a non-profit which monitors conservative media, wrote.

“In the right-wing media echo chamber [...] the fault for this invasion lies with a mind-boggling variety of scapegoats, including Joe Biden, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, American environmentalists, the LGBTQ community, and even the team here at Media Matters for America - anybody, that is, other than Putin.”

‘The perfect target’: Russia cultivated Trump as asset for 40 years – ex-KGB spy

Donald Trump was cultivated as a Russian asset over 40 years and proved so willing to parrot anti-western propaganda that there were celebrations in Moscow, a former KGB spy has told the Guardian.

Yuri Shvets, posted to Washington by the Soviet Union in the 1980s, compares the former US president to “the Cambridge five”, the British spy ring that passed secrets to Moscow during the second world war and early cold war.

Now 67, Shvets is a key source for American Kompromat, a new book by journalist Craig Unger, whose previous works include House of Trump, House of Putin. The book also explores the former president’s relationship with the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Cheney Rips Trump, Pompeo for 'Praising' Russian President: 'Putin Is Evil'

In a Friday evening Twitter post, Cheney shared screenshots from Russian media promoting remarks from Trump, Pompeo and Fox News host Tucker Carlson that appeared to be favorable to Putin. The GOP congresswoman knocked the right-wing politicians and commentator for their positive assessments of the Russian adversary.

White Nationalists Raid CPAC But Find Themselves Right at Home

The Conservative Political Action Conference, the nation’s premier gathering of right-wing, pro-Donald Trump die-hards is here this year. The American First Political Action Conference, the nation’s premier gathering that includes right-wing, pro-Donald Trump die-hards who are also overt and public white nationalists, is here this year too. In theory, the two events are separate, hosted at different hotels, selling different tickets, and separated by 10 miles of Florida highway. In practice, and in ideology, the lines are a bit blurry, and it’s unclear whether anyone in CPAC leadership cares enough about the white nationalist presence to do anything significant about it.

It is clear, however, that some prominent CPAC speakers are, as the kids say, here for it.

That’s most obvious with Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene, the House Republican from Georgia who proudly took the stage at AFPAC on Friday night, hours before her Saturday speaking appearance at CPAC. On Friday she was introduced by Nick Fuentes, a white nationalist whose own AFPAC address featured giggling praise of Adolph Hitler. Greene spoke at CPAC on Saturday morning, and pressed afterward about AFPAC and Fuentes, she said she was there to address his audience and claimed to have no knowledge of him nor any affiliation with — effectively pleading total ignorance and detachment from a conference she’d been a featured speaker at and a leader who’d introduced her.

Cheney Rips GOP Silence Over Greene, Gosar Joining 'White Supremacist' Event

Representative Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican, condemned GOP Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar for participating in a far-right "white supremacist" event, while also criticizing Republican leaders for failing to quickly "renounce" their actions.

Greene attended and spoke at the America First Political Action Conference (AFPAC) in Florida on Friday while Gosar appeared and spoke via video link. Nick Fuentes, who the anti-defamation league describes as a "white supremacist," founded AFPAC in 2020 and has even trolled other right-wing events, such as those organized by Turning Points USA and CPAC.

During Friday's event, Fuentes remarked: "Now they're going on about Russia and Vladimir Putin is Hitler—they say that's not a good thing." He and the audience then laughed loudly before he added, "I shouldn't have said that!"

Fuentes went on to lead the audience in chants in favor of Russian President Vladimir Putin. "Can we give a round of applause for Russia?" he asked the attendees who cheered for Russia's leader.

Trump, in U-turn on Putin, Condemns Atrocities, Salutes Zelenskyy's Courage

Former President Donald Trump headlined the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Saturday night in his home state of Florida, and his conference focused on bashing Democrats as a war rages between Russian and Ukraine.

Trump trumpeted his own one-term presidency, saying Russia had attacked no other countries during his administration. Trump said he brought peace, and that powers like Russia stood down while he was at the helm during this century.

"Under Bush, Russia invaded Georgia; under Obama, Russia took Crimea; under Biden, Russia invaded Ukraine," Trump said. "I stand as the only president of the 21st century on whose watch Russia did not invade another country."

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Claiming “De-Nazification,” Putin’s actions recall other Nazi crimes

As Russia invaded Ukraine, beginning at five in the morning, Vladimir Putin’s statement that his purpose was to “de-Nazify” Ukraine clearly disgusted Ukraine’s first-ever Jewish President.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy — whose three great-uncles were murdered in the Holocaust — responded on Twitter that Russia attacked Ukraine just “as Nazi Germany did.”

“As of today, our countries are on different sides of world history,” Zelenskyy said. “Russia has embarked on a path of evil.”

The framing of Zelenskyy as a Nazi has been going on for a while. In October, the former president of Russia and current deputy chairman of its Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, published “an expletive-laden article aimed at Ukraine and at President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, describing his country as a vassal state of the U.S. with whom it is impossible to negotiate,” according to Stephen Blank, an expert on Russia and Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute.

Medvedev compared Zelenskyy to the Sonderkommando.


If you happened to tune into Fox News on Thursday night, you might have seen something extremely strange: Tucker Carlson condemning Vladimir Putin’s actions in Ukraine, and suggesting that what Russia is doing there—activities that have included shelling of a kindergarten—is actually big deal. “It’s a tragedy, because war always is a tragedy, and the closer you get to it, the more horrifying it seems,” he told viewers, adding, of the Russian president: “Vladimir Putin started this war, so whatever the context of the decision that he made, he did it. He fired the first shots. He is to blame for what we’re seeing tonight in Ukraine.” At this time, you might be asking yourself why it’s strange to denounce a country for waging an unprovoked war on its neighbor, or to place the blame squarely on the guy who made the decision to do so. And the answer is that it’s not strange, it’s what normal people who are not doing free P.R. for the Kremlin have been saying, but it is a tad odd given that, prior to Thursday, Carlson was this-close to inviting Putin on his show and asking him, “Any chance we can get you to run in 2024? I know it’s a long shot but…I’d love to see it.”

Conservatives Can’t Blame Biden for Putin’s Ukraine Attack

When it comes to their understanding of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, there are generally two types of Republicans. The first type is basically siding with Russia. They may couch this by saying that Vladimir Putin has never done anything to me, that Putin is “smart” and “savvy,” or that Putin just feels cornered by an encroaching NATO.

The second type of Republican thinks it’s bad for Russia to invade Ukraine—and it’s all Joe Biden’s fault!

Putin’s miscalculation

So, Putin expected Afghanistan in 2021. But he got Afghanistan in 1979. Ukrainians aren’t rolling over or welcoming back an old friend. They, and their president, are digging in for war. Their army is fighting hard. Harsh Western sanctions are targeting Putin and all his oligarch buddies, who were content to keep him in power while it filled their coffers, but who now stand to lose billions.

The Kremlin isn’t orchestrating a relatively bloodless coup in Ukraine any more. It is instead attempting to become an occupying force. And that is a much more difficult proposition for a country, even a large and wealthy one — you don’t need to look much further than Afghanistan to see the problem with external forces (who will, eventually, have to go home), trying to impose ideologies or governments on a people who don’t want them. Add to that those crippling sanctions, and you’re staring down the barrel of a protracted battle that isn’t easily won.

Or, to put it another way: How do you control a country of 44 million Ukrainians who suddenly have something to believe in? And how do you keep your own people on board?

Russia frustrated by 'viable' Ukraine resistance, U.S. says

Russian forces are becoming increasingly frustrated by what the United States believes is a viable and very determined Ukrainian resistance, as Moscow commits more and more troops to its invasion, a senior U.S. defense official said on Saturday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also said it appeared Russian commanders did not plan for enough fuel and basic logistics support, and were now trying to adjust.

The Russian military continued to pound Kyiv and other cities with artillery and cruise missiles on day three of a campaign that has sent hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians fleeing west toward the European Union, clogging major highways and railway lines.

In pictures: Protests across the world show support for Ukraine

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to shock the world, people all over the planet are watching in horror and disbelief.

Rallies, vigils and prayer meetings are being held across the globe in support of Ukraine. Many of those attending have personal or family ties to the country. And they're asking world leaders to stop Russia's attack.

Ukrainian army ‘successfully repelling’ Russian attacks: Zelenskyy

Hundreds arrested as shocked Russians protest Ukraine attack

Shocked Russians turned out by the thousands Thursday to decry their country’s invasion of Ukraine as emotional calls for protests grew on social media. Some 1,745 people in 54 Russian cities were detained, at least 957 of them in Moscow.

Hundreds of posts came pouring in condemning Moscow’s most aggressive actions since the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Vladimir Putin called the attack a “special military operation” to protect civilians in eastern Ukraine from “genocide” — a false claim the U.S. had predicted would be a pretext for invasion, and which many Russians roundly rejected.

Tatyana Usmanova, an opposition activist in Moscow, wrote on Facebook that she thought she was dreaming when she awoke at 5:30 a.m. to the news, which she called “a disgrace that will be forever with us now.”

“I want to ask Ukrainians for forgiveness. We didn’t vote for those who unleashed the war,” she said.

As sirens blasted in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, and large explosions were heard there and in other cities, Russians were signing open letters and online petitions demanding the Kremlin halt the assault, which the Ukrainian health minister said had killed at least 57 Ukrainians and wounded dozens more.

Prominent Russians join protests against Ukraine war amid 1,800 arrests

Prominent Russians shocked by the invasion of Ukraine have gone public with their opposition to the war, despite the professional and personal risks that come with dissent on such a sensitive issue in Russia.

More than 1,800 people were arrested at rallies across the country on Thursday night as prominent Russians from the worlds of entertainment, business and journalism have risked their livelihoods in order to speak out.

When Elena Chernenko, the veteran diplomatic correspondent for Kommersant newspaper, found out that Russia was invading Ukraine, she said she was stunned.

“Of course, I was shocked … Until yesterday morning, I refused to believe that Russia could launch a massive military operation against Ukraine,” said Chernenko, who believed Russia may at most recognise the territories in south-east Ukraine.

“I thought that all the talk about invasions was awful hysteria. I argued with people on Twitter and in person that nothing would happen, it’s all thought up,” she said. “Maybe I don’t understand anything about Russian foreign policy anymore.”

‘Putin is the new Hitler’: Israelis protest invasion outside Russian embassy

Hundreds of Israelis massed in pouring rain outside the Russian embassy in Tel Aviv on Thursday to protest the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Many demonstrators carried placards, including “Putin is the new Hitler” and “Stop Putin, stop war.”

Sheltered under giant Ukrainian flags and exposed to the elements alike, the protesters shouted slogans in Russian, Ukrainian and Hebrew that were directed at Putin and recalled past Ukrainian struggles for independence.

“Putin is a son of a bitch” and “no war” alternated between the crowd and passing cars, as drivers stopped to honk and shout their support.

“Honor to the heroes, honor to Ukraine,” they chanted as lightning ripped through the air.

What’s With Trump’s Praise Of Putin? | Zerlina.

Trump Praises His KGBFF Putin While World Leaders Condemn Russia’s Attack on Ukraine

Trump Doubles Down on Calling Putin "Smart," Gets Confused on Fox News: A Closer Look

Vindman: Trump Praising Putin’s ‘Genius’ Is 'Deeply Disturbing'

Friday, February 25, 2022

Self-obsessed Trump’s Putin praise is morally bankrupt

Asked in a radio interview what had gone wrong that Putin recognized the independence of two Ukrainian breakaway regions on President Biden’s watch, Trump couldn’t muster one remotely appropriate sentiment.

He immediately cited “the rigged election” of 2020, an obsession of his that is so all-consuming, it makes Ahab look uninterested in the White Whale by comparison.

He characterized the recognition of the regions that Russian separatists claim as “wonderful” and “smart,” never mind that it was a transparently cynical step to create a pretext for war.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Biden faces another global crisis. This one resonates differently at home.

Biden advisers and allies also recognize that, in contrast to the near-uniform chorus of criticism they encountered over ending the Afghan war, Republicans are badly fractured on how to approach the unfolding conflict in Ukraine — and how hard to come down on Putin.

There’s little confidence that a new era of competition with Russia will suddenly restore the country’s political center, or take the steam out of modern partisanship. But they argue that the Republicans who have been lauding Putin — everyone from Donald Trump to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson — are playing to a winnowing crowd and will find themselves increasingly out of step with the majority of Americans.

Donald Trump Praises 'Very Smart' Putin During Mar-a-Lago Fundraiser

Video has emerged of Donald Trump again praising Vladimir Putin—just as the Russian president was launching his invasion of Ukraine.

At the Mar-a-Lago event, Trump mentioned the criticism he had received for those remarks, saying: "'Oh, Trump said Putin's smart.' I mean, he's taken over a country for $2 worth of sanctions. I'd say that's pretty smart.

"He's taking over a country, really a vast, vast location, a great piece of land with a lot of people and just walking right in."

The former president also boasted that he knows Putin "very well…almost as well as anybody in this room."

Trump, allies defend or deflect Putin’s invasion; was Romney right?

Many GOP leaders, such as Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham, are backing President Biden in lining up NATO allies for imposing sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. Some are saying Biden hasn’t gone far enough – criticism that’s been fueled by the president’s decision to roll out only limited sanctions, apparently because the Russian military has entered only a couple of rebellious provinces so far.

Politico says "a vocal GOP minority on and off Capitol Hill — represented by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Fox News host Tucker Carlson and Ohio Senate candidate J.D. Vance, among others — has taken a third path, actively arguing against any U.S. involvement in the region while still dinging Biden. They argue that expanding the U.S. commitment to NATO is a mistake, and that the president should instead focus on countering China and securing America’s southern border."
I get the criticism of Biden. I get the argument that Ukraine shouldn’t be a top American priority. I don’t get the abandonment of the NATO alliance and indifference to a military takeover of what used to be a Soviet state. And I don’t get the praise for Putin, a man who jails and poisons his opponents and spewed all kinds of fabrications to justify his invasion, the second time in eight years he has attempted to seize a chunk of Ukraine – which he doesn’t even view as a legitimate country.

Republicans descend into foreign policy factionalism over Russia-Ukraine standoff

While Russia’s reinvasion of Ukraine this week stress-tests the Biden administration, it’s also forcing Republicans to confront their own divisions.

The GOP is all over the map politically, as Russian President Vladimir Putin tries to redraw his own boundaries. Former President Donald Trump privately has signaled a split with more isolationist voices from the MAGA wing of the party who have excused Russia’s aggression, who themselves are at odds with more establishment Republicans over how to confront Russian aggression, if at all.

Canada’s Trudeau Revokes Use of Emergency Powers

OTTAWA—In a surprise turnaround, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday said his government no longer required emergency powers to deal with protests against Covid-19 restrictions, amid mounting criticism from civil-liberties groups and some Canadian politicians that the use of those measures was an abuse of state power.

Russian invasion of Ukraine

The spokesman added that occupation was not the objective, echoing President Vladimir Putin's claims in a televised address earlier on Thursday.

“No one is talking about occupation, in this scenario that word is not applicable,” Peskov said. “This is a special operation. I do not think it's necessary for me to explain anything here, because the president himself gave exhaustive explanations.”

In his speech, Putin said he had decided "to conduct a special military operation ... to protect people who have been subjected to abuse and genocide by the Kyiv regime for eight years," repeating a baseless claim about Ukraine's Russian-separatist-backed Donbas region.

Romney swipes Obama, Trump and Biden after Russia invades Ukraine: 'The '80s called and we didn't answer'

Sen. Mitt Romney laid the blame for Russia’s Wednesday night invasion of Ukraine at the policies of the three most recent U.S. presidents, Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

"Putin’s Ukraine invasion is the first time in 80 years that a great power has moved to conquer a sovereign nation. It is without justification, without provocation and without honor," Romney said in a statement.

Tucker Carlson Launches Biggest Defense of Vladimir Putin Yet

Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger also criticized Carlson for his latest comments.

"In 35 seconds here, Tucker Carlson basically said: 'Putin isn't your enemy. Your fellow American is. This is beyond dangerous, to say the least, he tweeted.

The Reagan Administration and Lebanon, 1981–1984

On October 23, suicide bombers attacked the barracks of the U.S. and French contingents of the MNF, killing 241 American servicemen. The administration believed that the bombings, like the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Beirut that April, were perpetrated by Shi‘i militants linked to Syria’s ally Iran. Reagan responded by adopting a tough policy championed by Shultz and McFarlane, now National Security Advisor. On October 28, he signed NSDD 111, which called for broadening strategic cooperation with Israel and Arab opponents of Syria, reducing Syrian influence over Lebanon’s Druze and Shi‘a, and expanded rules of engagement regarding naval and air support for the Lebanese Army.

Hungarian Revolution of 1956—A Summary

Eisenhower was president at a time, said Congressman Walter Judd, when the world was “filled with confusion,” when a third of its people had gained their independence, and a third had lost it. “No such convulsions have ever previously occurred in all of human history.” Yet for the majority of Americans, the Eisenhower years went by so calmly—at least until the Soviets shot down an American U-2 spy plane in 1960—that they did not realize what serious dangers had been overcome. Still, there was some criticism of Eisenhower’s foreign policy, particularly the U.S. response to the failed Hungarian Revolution of 1956.

Trump's Syria pullout, aiding Russia and Turkey, is when America stopped leading the world

Trump’s actions empowered American adversaries ranging from the Islamic State militant group to Iran, Russia, Turkey and the regime of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and abandoned the local Syrian forces, especially Kurdish ones, who fought side by side with U.S. troops against ISIS. In defending his decision, Trump insisted America has nothing at stake in Syria and can let others handle an Islamic State insurgency.

Trump defends decision to abandon Kurdish allies in Syria

Even Trump’s staunchest Republican congressional allies expressed outrage at the prospect of abandoning Syrian Kurds who had fought the Islamic State group with American arms and advice. It was the latest example of Trump’s approach to foreign policy that critics condemn as impulsive, that he sometimes reverses and that frequently is untethered to the advice of his national security aides.

False Republican narrative - weak Democrat presidents encourage aggressive behavior


The desperation to divert from the weakness and ineptitude of Biden is stunning.
It was under a Democrat that Putin took the Crimea and set up Donbas. It was a Democrat's son (Hunter Biden) who got embroiled in a scandal in the Ukraine which we all know about despite the media's attempts to make the story disappear. Meanwhile it's now under another Democrat that Putin is invading Ukraine. But who's to blame? Trump!

Garnel Ironheart Again, the world's evil leaders all seem to feel more aggressive when Democrats are in the White House.
Lets look at the historic facts

Hoover - Stalin,Hitler Japan
Eisenhower - Korea, Hungary
Nixon - Surrender in Vietnam
Reagan - Lebanon 
Bush - Panama, 911, Iraq Afghanistan
Trump - Syria Turkey, Afghanistan

Which U.S. presidents led the nation into new wars?

Posts on social media say former U.S. President Donald Trump was “the first president in modern history” who “did not start a new war.” There have, however, been other U.S. presidents in modern history who did not enter the country into a new war. While defining military interventions can be difficult, Trump is not the only president not to start a new war during his administration.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Tucker Carlson Accused Of Promoting Russian Propaganda As Putin Masses Forces On Ukraine Border

"Tucker Carlson's support of Putin's claim that he has a historical right to protect Russian-Ukrainians is the same as if Mexico claimed a right to take Texas back. I'm sure he'd parse a tortured way out of that historical similarity, but it would be his usual absurd double-talk," said Dr. Matthew Schmidt, associate professor of National Security, International Affairs, and Political Science at the University of New Haven.

Donald Trump Is Pretending to Be Subservient to Putin, Fox News Guest Says

Fox News host Pete Hegseth has suggested that former President Donald Trump's praise of Vladimir Putin is part of a strategy to "troll" the media.

Hegseth appeared as a guest on the channel's Jesse Watters Primetime on Tuesday, to discuss Trump's description of the Russian president as "savvy" and "genius" for his tactics in the Donbass region of Ukraine.

Manafort not hunter Biden

Garnel commented
The desperation to divert from the weakness and ineptitude of Biden is stunning. It was under a Democrat that Putin took the Crimea and set up Donbas. It was a Democrat's son (Hunter Biden) who got embroiled in a scandal in the Ukraine which we all know about despite the media's attempts to make the story disappear. Meanwhile it's now under another Democrat that Putin is invading Ukraine. But who's to blame? Trump! I see why Trump likes Israel so much. Like Israel, he gets blamed for everything even though most of the time he's not responsible.

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort authorised a secret media operation on behalf of Ukraine’s former president featuring “black ops”, “placed” articles in the Wall Street Journal and US websites and anonymous briefings against Hillary Clinton.

The project was designed to boost the reputation of Ukraine’s then leader, Viktor Yanukovych. It was part of a multimillion-dollar lobbying effort carried out by Manafort on behalf of Yanukovych’s embattled government, emails and documents reveal.

Putin’s absurd, angry spectacle will be a turning point in his long reign

Sergei Naryshkin, the hawkish head of Russia’s spy service, known for making aggressively anti-western statements, stuttered uncomfortably as Putin grilled him on whether he supported the decision.

“Speak directly!” Putin snapped, twice.

Eventually, when he was able to get the words out, Naryshkin said he supported “the LNR and DNR becoming part of Russia.” Putin told him that wasn’t the subject of the discussion; it was only recognition being weighed up.

Gen. McCaffrey: Trump, Pompeo's Support Of 'Murderous Thug' Putin Endangers America

Trump's Policy Of Giving Putin Everything He Wants Was No Help To Ukraine

G-d color of hair?

 Chagiga (14a). One verse says: His raiment was as white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; and [elsewhere] it is written: His locks are curled and black as a raven! — There is no contradiction: one verse [refers to God] in session, and the other in war. For a Master said: In session none is more fitting than an old man, and in war none is more fitting than a young man.   One passage says: His throne was fiery flames; and another Passage says: Till thrones were places, and One that was ancient of days did sit! — There is no contradiction: one [throne] for Him, and one for David; this is the view of R. Akiba. Said R. Jose the Galilean  to him: Akiba, how long wilt thou treat the Divine Presence as profane! Rather, [it must mean], one for justice and one for grace. Did he accept [this explanation from him, or did he not accept it? — Come and hear: One for justice and one for grace; this is the view of R. Akiba. Said R. Eleazar b. ‘Azariah to him: Akiba, what hast thou to do with Aggadah? Cease thy talk, and turn to [the laws concerning defilement through] leprosy-signs and tent-covering! Rather, [it must mean] one for a throne and one for a stool; the throne to sit upon, the stool for a footrest, for it is said: The heaven is My throne, and the earth is My foot-rest.

Ben Yehoyada(Chagiga 14a) לָא קַשְׁיָא, כָּאן בִּישִׁיבָה, כָּאן בְּמִלְחָמָה

הנה נודע דמה שנגלה לעיניהם הוא בדרך שאמר הכתוב (הושע יב, יא) וּבְיַד הַנְּבִיאִים אֲדַמֶּה, שאין הנביאים רואין מראה ממש אלא כל אחד יצטייר לפניו כפי מה שיוכל להשיג ולסבול וכן כאן נצטייר לעיניהם אורות חסדים עליונים במראה שערות לבנות ועל הים נצטייר לעיניהם אורות גבורות עליונים במראה שערות שחורות ומלבד שהיה זה המראה כדי להשכילם ענין סודיי ונסתר על הארת העולמות למעלה.

עוד לימדם בזה בינה להבין ולהשכיל דכן ראוי להיות בישיבה זקן ובמלחמה בחור ויבינו בזה דבר מתוך דבר דבמלחמה צריך זרוז ומהירות במעשה המלחמה ולא יתנהגו בכבידות אלא כטבע הבחור שהוא תקיף וזריז ומהיר אך בישיבה שהוא ענין לימוד תורה לתלמידים לא טוב החפזון ומהירות אלא יתנהג בכבידות כטבע הזקן.

Gravitas Plus | Explained: The Russia-Ukraine crisis

Stars are intelligent beings

 Mishna Torah (Yesodei hatorah 3:3) All of the stars and spheres are beings, endowed with a soul, intelligence and understanding; they continue a purposeful life and are conscious of the existence of Him Who spoke and the universe sprang forth. Each and every one, according to his greatness and degree, extol and glorify the Creator as do the angels; and to the extent that they recognize the Holy One, blessed is He! they also know their own selves and the angels above them. But the intelligence of the stars and spheres is lesser than the intelligence of the angels, but greater than the intelligence of man.

Moreh Nevuchim (2:5:1) SCRIPTURE supports the theory that the spheres are animate and intellectual, i.e., capable of comprehending things: that they are not, as ignorant persons believe, inanimate masses like fire and earth, but are, as the philosophers assert, endowed with life, and serve their Lord, whom they mightily praise and glorify; comp. "The heavens declare the glory of God," etc. (Ps. 19:2). It is a great error to think that this is a mere figure of speech: for the verbs "to declare" and "to relate," when joined together, are, in Hebrew, only used of intellectual beings. That the Psalmist really means to describe the heavens' own doing, in other words, what the spheres actually do, and not what man thinks of them, may be best inferred from the words, "There is no speech, nor language, their voice is not heard" (ver. 4). Here he clearly shows that he describes the heavens themselves as in reality praising God, and declaring His wonders without words of lip and tongue. When man praises God in words actually uttered, he only relates the ideas which he has conceived, but these ideas form the real praise. The reason why he gives expression to these ideas is to be found in his desire to communicate them to others, or to make himself sure that he has truly conceived them. Therefore it is said, "Commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still" (Ps. 4:5). Only ignorant or obstinate persons would refuse to admit this proof taken from Scripture. 

Moreh Nevuchim (2:5:2) As to the opinion of our Sages, I do not see any necessity for expounding or demonstrating it. Consider only the form they gave to the blessing recited on seeing the new moon, the ideas repeatedly occurring in the prayers and the remarks in the Midrash on the following and similar passages:--"And the host of heaven worshippeth thee" (Neh. 9:6); "When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy" (Job 38:7). In Bereshit Rabba, on the passage--"And the earth was empty and formless" (Gen. 1:2), our Sages remark as follows: "The words tohu and bohu mean mourning and crying; the earth mourned and cried on account of her evil lot, saying, 'I and the heavens were created together, and yet the beings above live for ever, and we are mortal.'" Our Sages, by this remark, indicate their belief that the spheres are animated beings, and not inanimate matter like the elements. 

Moreh Nevuchim (2:5:3) The opinion of Aristotle, that the spheres are capable of comprehension and conception, is in accordance with the words of our prophets and our theologians or Sages. The philosophers further agree that this world below is governed by influences emanating from the spheres, and that the latter comprehend and have knowledge of the things which they influence. This theory is also met with in Scripture: comp. [the stars and all the host of heaven] "which the Lord thy God hath divided unto all nations" (Deut. 4:19), that is to say, the stars, which God appointed to be the means of governing His creatures, and not the objects of man's worship. It has therefore been stated clearly: "And to rule over the day and over the night" (Gen. 1:18). The term "ruling" here refers to the power which the spheres possess of governing the earth, in addition to the property of giving light and darkness. The latter property is the direct cause of genesis and destruction; it is described in the words, "And to divide the light from the darkness (ibid.). It is impossible to assume that those who rule a thing are ignorant of that very thing which they rule, if we take "to rule" in its proper sense. We will add another chapter on this subject. 

Dancing with the Moon: innovations in the Kiddush Levana in light of the first moon landing

 The day after humankind’s first landing on the Lunar surface July 20, 1969, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported on a poetic and topical innovation to the Kiddush Levana, the Blessing over the Moon, by Israeli Armed Forces’ Chief Chaplain General Shlomo Goren in the IDF Siddur.

Rav Yakov and the Moon landing

אמת ליעקב פרשת בראשית
ודברי רמב"ן אלה הם שעמדו לי בשעה שראינו איך שבני אדם יורדים מעל המטוס ע"י סולם על גלגל הלבנה, וחשבתי בלבי מה יענה כעת הרמב"ם ז"ל שכתב שהלבנה היא בעלת צורה רוחנית11, והרהרתי בלבי שכעת נצחה הקבלה את הפיליסופיא, ונחמתי את עצמי בדברי רמב"ן אלו.
אבל כפי שאנחנו מתייחסים לדברי הראשונים שסוברים אנו בגדר של אלו ואלו דברי אלקים חיים א"כ אף על פי שבמקום זה אין הלכה כמותו אבל שיהיו דבריו דברי טעות לא יכולתי להשלים, ואם טעה הרמב"ם בהלכות יסודי התורה מדוע לא יטעה בהלכות שבת וכדומה?
והנראה בזה, דהנה לכאורה יש לתמוה על כל הענינים שכתב הרמב"ם בארבעת הפרקים הראשונים של הלכות יסודי התורה, הא כתב הרמב"ם בסוף הלכות אלו [פ"ד הלי"ג] וז"ל: ועניני ארבעה פרקים אלו הם שחכמים הראשונים קוראין אותו פרדס וכו', ובחגיגה [דף י"א ע"ב] איתא: אין דורשין במעשה בראשית כו' ולא במרכבה ביחיד אא"כ היה חכם ומבין בדעתו וכו', וא"כ בודאי לא נכתבו עניינים אלו אלא נמסרו בעל פה מפה לאוזן, וא"כ איך כתבן הרמב"ם בחיבורו ופירסמם לכל, ובפרט שהרמב"ם עצמו [בפ"ד הל"י] הביא הדין הזה שאין דורשין בדברים האלו ברבים וכו', וא"כ מדוע כתבן בספרו?
ובעל כרחנו אנו צריכין לומר שמה שמסר לנו הרמב"ם בפרקים אלו אין זה לא מעשה מרכבה ולא מעשה בראשית, אלא כתב כל הד' פרקים אלה מדעתו הרחבה מתוך ידיעות בחכמות חיצוניות, כלומר שלא מחכמת התורה, אלא הרי זה פיליסופיא בעלמא12 - ונאמר שכבר השיג עליו הגר"א ביו"ד סי' קע"ט סקי"ג שהפיליסופיא הטתו ברוב לקחה ועיי"ש, והרמב"ם כתב פרקים אלו רק בתור הקדמה לספר יד החזקה, ועיקר הספר מתחיל מפרק ה': כל בית ישראל מצווין על קידוש השם וכו', ואין לדמות טעויות בהלכות אלו לטעויות בהלכות שבת וכדומה, ודו"ק..
בראשית ברא אלקים את השמים ואת הארץ.
כתב בעל הטורים: בראשית אותיות א' בתשרי נברא העולם עכ"ל. אמנם עיין בתוס' פ"ק דר"ה [דף ח' ע"א ד"ה לתקופות] שכתבו דלמאן דאמר בתשרי נברא העולם היינו בכ"ה אלול נברא העולם כי בא' בתשרי נברא אדם הראשון עיין שם, וא"כ לדבריהם אי אפשר לומר מש"כ בעל הטורים. ואולי דגם הבעה"ט כוונתו לבריאת האדם, אלא דמכנה בריאת העולם בשם בריאת האדם13.