The Front Page Cover
~ Featuring ~
Trump is turning up in Passover seders
by Julie Zauzmer
 Rule of Law Wins a Huge Victory 
Once Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moved to change the chamber's rules so as to eliminate the filibuster for nominees to the Supreme Court, it was only a matter of time before Neil Gorsuch was confirmed. That vote happened Friday, and Gorsuch prevailed 54-45; he was sworn in as the nation's 113th justice today. Three red-state Democrats — Joe Manchin, Joe Donnelly and Heidi Heitkamp — crossed the aisle to vote for him. It's a great day for Gorsuch, of course, but also for President Donald Trump, who kept his campaign promise to nominate solid justices. Seeing the late Justice Antonin Scalia's seat filled by an originalist is also a huge win for our Constitution.
          As Mark Alexander wrote before the election in endorsing Trump, his reason was simple: He would vote "for the candidate who is most likely to nominate constitutionally constructionist judges to the Supreme Court, those who will promote Liberty over tyranny." Indeed, that's why millions of Americans sucked it up and voted for Trump. Those voters share in this victory too.
          McConnell also deserves credit for standing firm against Barack liar-nObama's nominee Merrick Garland. There was no real precedent for him to follow in refusing to even grant hearings to liar-nObama's nominee, and we have no doubt Democrats will gladly expand this practice when the shoe is on the other foot. But the stakes were high — preserving the current 5-4 (relatively) conservative majority on the Court, or letting liar-nObama remake it in his own image. McConnell chose the goal over the process, and he was refreshingly honest in saying so.
          How did we get here? As Charles Krauthammer explains in an especially insightful column today, "A major reason these fights over Supreme Court nominations have become so bitter and unseemly is the stakes — the political stakes. The Supreme Court has become more than ever a superlegislature. From abortion to gay marriage, it has appropriated to itself the final word. It rules — and the normal democratic impulses, expressed through the elected branches, are henceforth stifled."
          Our Founders warned against that very thing. Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1819, "The Constitution ... is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary which they may twist and shape into any form they please."
          Judges like Neil Gorsuch are a critical counterbalance to this activist trend. And now, disarmed of the filibuster because of their own hypocritical obstruction, Democrats may watch helplessly as the next Court nominee takes the seat of Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Stephen Breyer.  ~The Patriot Post
Putin On Serious Situation In Syria –
Iraq All Over Again...
by Rick Wells
{} ~ Some people, good patriotic Americans are amazingly willing to allow themselves to be carried into a pointless war as long as it is their political party that is leading the charge... What might have started out as a “feel good” response, a way to “teach Assad a lesson,” for what our government was willing to be judge, jury and executioner for without ever having the evidence publicly presented, a chemical attack, may have been self-gratifying for many at the time. It’s dangerous and serious now. Trump supporters, of which I am one and have been a very strong advocate for most of his policies, do not allow yourselves to be led blindly into this conflict. Demand proof and then decide if it is worth the cost, which will be substantial and without any benefit to the American people. Syria poses no threat to America but it does have resources and geography that make it very attractive for conquest to the same people who wanted Libya and Iraq. If John McCain had been elected in 2008, we would probably have already been through this war, if Lindsey Graham in 2016, undoubtedly...
Social Security Disability Fraudster
Just Tip of the Iceberg
by Bob Adelmann
{} ~ A former Kentucky attorney pleaded guilty on Monday to filing more than 1,700 fake disability applications under Social Security’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program... The complex scheme netted Eric Conn millions in kickbacks while costing SSI an estimated $550 million in phony benefits paid out to unsuspecting beneficiaries. Conn’s plea bargain accused his co-conspirators, psychologist Alfred Adkins and Social Security Administrative Law Judge David Daugherty along with other unnamed individuals, of working with him in the scam. Conn claimed that the scheme was hatched originally by Daugherty. The setup was simple: Conn would advertise himself and his law firm as specialists in handling disability claims. When an applicant showed up, Conn would help him complete the SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) application for benefits. This would include drafting fictitious medical reports and a phony IQ test supporting the claim...
FISA court approved FBI's request
to spy on Carter Page
by Anna Giaritelli
{} ~ The FBI convinced a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge last summer to allow the agency to monitor the communications of Carter Page, then-national security adviser to Donald Trump... A report published Tuesday evening found the intelligence organization had obtained a secret court order to watch Page as part of its investigation to see if Russia was working with Trump's campaign through this potential foreign agent — though at the time the probe was not publicly known. "This confirms all of my suspicions about unjustified, politically motivated government surveillance," Page told the Washington Post on Tuesday. "I have nothing to hide."...
Oh, the irony: Media now worried
Putin snubbing Trump
by Garth Kant
{} ~ The White House press secretary was visibly amused by the suggestion from a network reporter that Russian President Vladimir Putin was snubbing the Trump administration... after months of the mainstream media advancing the Democrats’ narrative that the Russian had been colluding with the Trump team. During Tuesday’s daily press briefing, CBS News reporter Major Garrett asked: If Putin refused to meet with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during his current Russia visit, would President Trump consider his envoy “snubbed by the Russian president?” White House spokesman Sean Spicer attempted to explain that Tillerson was in Moscow to meet with his counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, to discuss the crisis in Syria. But Garrett pressed on with his insinuation it was a snub, because Putin had met with previous secretaries of state, such as John hanoi-Kerry...
Trump’s Top Enemy In America
ARRESTED, Booked Into Jail
{} ~ It’s time to celebrate, Patriots! There is nothing more satisfying than witnessing justice and its cousin, irony, in action. Do you remember back in October when Alabama’s RINO Governor, Robert Bentley said... he could no longer vote for Donald Trump because of that video hit job orchestrated by shameless liberals? On Monday afternoon the immoral RINO pled guilty to two misdemeanors and agreed to never again hold public office after getting caught having a sexual affair with his aide, Rebekah Mason. Justice is a beautiful thing, Patriots, but we would be remiss if we did not fill you in on the details because this man is one of the most despicable swamp-creatures to disgrace this country. We are all victims of the consequences from this swamp-dwelling RINO’s poor decision-making process, but let’s focus on the most immediate victim first–his wife, Dianne Bentley...
Trump is turning up in Passover seders
by Julie Zauzmer
{} ~
Throughout the year, the average "progressive" Jew generally has limited -- if any -- connection to Jewish ritual. On one of Judaism's most holy nights, too many will be squandering their spiritual opportunity making a mockery; not connecting to the Divine

Am almost embarrassed to publish this! Only doing so to publicly make the distinction for those who don't know

When Veronica Ades's guests gather around the Seder table, they'll read the list of the 10 plagues, just as Jews around the world will do on Passover.

But at Ades' table, the plagues won't be blood and frogs and lice. Her guests will read the first plague: "neo-Nazis." Then "Fake news. Freedom Caucus. The electoral college. The American Healthcare Act."

When Ades hosts a Seder, she says, "I don't really understand not being political."

The springtime holiday of Passover, when Jews retell the biblical story of the Exodus from Egypt at a ritual meal laden with food and symbolism, has long been a vehicle for political commentary. A story about liberation from slavery lends itself to that.

This Passover, which begins Monday night, the nation's preoccupation with politics and the flurry of activism since President Donald Trump's election are inspiring a new crop of amateur writers to try their hand at updating the age-old Passover story.

And for some, the big question has become: Is it right to cast the president of the United States as the villainous pharaoh?

Blair Levin said yes. He posted a parable online last month that began, "And then arose a pharaoh who knew not Jefferson, whose tiny hands had never touched the soil."

His retelling of the Passover story came along with cartoon illustrations of Trump and Vice President Pence in pharaoh's garb. The first plague? "In the Rio de Janeiro hotel branded with the Pharaoh's name, baths in all the guest rooms began running blood-red colored water."

I can tell, the Seder is always political. ... One of the things about the Passover story is: How do you deal with a powerful autocrat?," said Levin, a former Federal Communications Commission official who initially published his Passover piece anonymously but was identified as the writer on Twitter. "There are many different messages that one can take from it. But one of them is: Do not oppress the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. I don't know how you read the news without thinking about that message . ... This is a moment that it struck me that the parallels are pretty obvious."

The Haggadah -- the step-by-step guide through the Seder ritual -- has been rewritten more than any other Jewish text. In 2017 alone, writers added to the proliferation a "Zombie Haggadah" and a "Hogwarts Haggadah;" humor writer Dave Barry published a new Haggadah, and comedian Sarah Silverman wrote for another one.

And many modern families choose to compile their very own Haggadah, often using online tools to drag and drop in their favorite prayers and readings. This year, they're pasting references to Trump interspersed with the prayers.

The Jewish community voted against Trump in the presidential election in greater portion than any other major religious group - 71 percent for liar-Hillary Clinton and 24 percent for Trump. While Trump has found supporters among the Orthodox community -- including his daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, who are both Orthodox Jews -- many more Jews have been unsettled by his presidency.

Jewish organizations have decried the influence of Stephen Bannon, who ran the website Breitbart before he came to the White House. The website has been accused of supporting white nationalist causes with its articles.

Jews have criticized Trump for purposely leaving Jews out of his Holocaust memorial statement and being slow to condemn the vandalism of two Jewish cemeteries and the bomb threats against dozens of Jewish community centers in the first weeks of his presidency.

Thus, his unflattering portrayal in many a homemade Haggadah.

Anti-Trump activist group Indivisible Nation BK's online Haggadah -- which said that parsley, which normally symbolizes spring, should symbolize the importance of attending a town hall during Congress's spring recess - replaced the traditional hunt for the afikomen, a piece of hidden matzoh, with a hunt for Trump's tax returns.

Jacob Alperin-Sheriff updated his "Republican Haggadah," a complete service parodying conservative politics, for the Trump age. For the popular Seder song "Dayenu," which says each of God's miracles would have been sufficient on its own, Alperin-Sheriff listed Trump's actions that he said should have been disqualifying. "If he had only brought the 'birther' campaign into the mainstream, that should have already been too much. If he had only called Mexican immigrants rapists . . . that should have already been too much. . . . If he had only urged voters to 'check out the sex tape' of a Miss Universe contestant he'd called 'Miss Piggy' and 'Miss Housekeeping,' that should have already been too much."

"I do think it's important to make it relevant to the current situation," Alperin-Sheriff, a federal employee who lives in Rockville, Maryland, said about the Seder. "You're supposed to view yourself as if you were in the situation of the Jews coming out of Egypt. And that's I guess hard to do if you don't find it relevant to yourself."

Rabbi Deborah Waxman, the president of the Reconstructionist denomination of Judaism, recommends an open-ended discussion rather than a Haggadah that just castigates the president or any other politician. "My childhood Seder, the Haggadah was so clearly a Cold War text," she said. "You could have just substituted Egypt for the Soviet Union. It felt heavy-handed. It didn't invite conversation."

The Reconstructionist movement does ask for conversation in its own Haggadah supplement this year - a dark, unsettling conversation. The supplement, focused on refugees, tells Seder-goers: "The world can change in a moment, and any of us could find ourselves in unfamiliar or unstable circumstances. Together with your family, consider the following questions. ... How would you flee? If you had to leave your home suddenly, how would you do it? Via car? On foot? If you have pets, would they come, too? What would you take? . . . Where would you go? Do you have family that would take you in? Close friends, maybe?"

As commentators have debated whether to compare the beginning of Trump's administration to the rise of Hitler in 1933 in Germany, a very dark game of "what-if" has played out in some Jewish households. It's all theoretical - almost no one is leaving for Canada - but people have debated how they would know to leave, as some Jews did in Germany before the Nazis rose to power, rather than stay in the country if fascism took root.

The Reconstructionist Haggadah exercise seems to encourage that pessimistic line of discussion. Waxman said it's meant more as a way to sympathize with real refugees, including Syrian families, but it does also evoke the Jewish anxieties of the Trump era. "You're raising up resonances that weren't there a year ago, or that were much, much quieter," she said. "It's less about 'Jews are strangers in America' - though the ground on which we stand feels different than it did a year ago - and more about cultivating empathy and ideally action on behalf of those who are named as strangers."

Of course, when the discussions that the Haggadah prompts get underway, not everyone agrees. Passover is in many ways like a Jewish Thanksgiving - distant relatives gather from near and far for a long, boozy meal - and tensions can run high over questions of politics.

"The intergenerational and family dynamics of seders can be really intense. I definitely think of my childhood, where my uncle and I got into a fight pretty much every year at Passover," Waxman said. But she said most families don't steer away from bringing politics into their Seder discussions. "Passover as a festival of liberation is really understood as a religious holiday that has expressly political overtones."

Political disagreements won't be a problem for Ades, a Brooklyn obstetrician-gynecologist, no matter how liberal her Haggadah gets. In her circle of family and friends, she said: "Our argument is like, 'Should I call Chuck clown-Schumer twice today or once today?'"

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