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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 11, 2014 / 13 Sivan, 5774

Obama's self-inflicted wounds

By Dana Milbank




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Of the many strange moments in the Bowe Bergdahl saga, the most worrisome was Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s statement about the prisoner exchange.

“The president feels very strongly about this. I feel very strongly about it,” Hagel told the BBC’s Katty Kay last week while traveling in Romania. “This was the right decision for the right reasons.”

They felt they were right even about rushing the swap with the Taliban before informing Congress. “It was our judgment, and it was unanimous, by the way,” Hagel said. “It was the secretary of defense, secretary of state, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, director of national intelligence, attorney general. We all came to the same conclusion. . . .”

And this is precisely the problem. President Obama felt “very strongly” that he had made the right decision — and nobody who worked for him was about to tell him otherwise. “There was not a dissent on moving forward with this plan,” Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser, told Time magazine.

I don’t doubt these accounts about Obama’s agreeable advisers. Such affirmations of Obama’s instincts are what has worried me about the way Obama has structured his administration in his second term: By surrounding himself with longtime loyalists in the White House and on his national-security team, he has left himself with advisers lacking either the stature or the confidence to tell him when he’s wrong.

Exactly a year before Hagel made his remarks, I wrote about the “incestuous arrangement” Obama was creating in his inner circle, replacing his first-term “team of rivals” by promoting friends and loyalists to top posts: Denis McDonough, John Brennan, Susan Rice, Samantha Power, Jack Lew and many more. Hagel, Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Biden were all Obama’s pals from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The danger with such an arrangement is you create a bubble around yourself, and your advisers become susceptible to groupthink.

In the Bergdahl case, the problem wasn’t the exchange itself. There are compelling moral and historical justifications for swapping prisoners at the end of a war, and the Republican efforts to turn the negotiations with the Taliban into another “scandal” are far-fetched. As The Post’s David Fahrenthold and Jaime Fuller have documented, many of Obama’s critics have opportunistically switched positions on Bergdahl.



The real damage was self-inflicted: choosing to highlight the exchange with a Rose Garden ceremony featuring Bergdahl’s eccentric father, and then allowing Rice, the national security adviser, to go on television and say Bergdahl served with “honor and distinction” even though administration officials had to know this was in dispute.

Even if Obama doubted the constitutionality of the law requiring him to give Congress 30 days’ notice before removing prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, would it really have been a huge security risk to place phone calls to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), the intelligence committee chairmen, before he finalized the deal? At the very least, they might have cautioned Obama against a victory lap around the Rose Garden.

I’m told that Obama’s advisers didn’t check with Congress in part because they knew lawmakers would object. But now Obama is hearing objections from the public instead. A USA Today/Pew Research poll out Tuesday shows that a majority of Americans believe the United States had a responsibility to bring Bergdahl home. But by two to one, Americans think the president should inform Congress before making prisoner swaps, which helps explain why a plurality, 43 percent to 34 percent, say Obama was wrong to make the Bergdahl deal.

Senior administration officials I spoke to Tuesday said they weren’t expecting the swap to be as controversial as it is. But even in retrospect, they told me, they wouldn’t have done things differently (not even the Rose Garden event or the lack of a heads up to Congress), arguing that the exchange went smoothly and that Obama had shown leadership. A White House official apologized to Feinstein, calling it an oversight that she wasn’t consulted. That itself shows how little value the administration puts in the advice and consent of Congress — as if it’s a legal box to be checked, not a valuable source of a second opinion that could rescue the president from his bubble of loyalists.

More than a decade ago, a different administration’s groupthink got us into a war in Iraq, which distracted the military from the more important war in Afghanistan and unnecessarily prolonged that conflict. Now, as Obama finally withdraws the last troops from Afghanistan, he’ll be a more effective president if he can also remove himself from the groupthink produced by his adoring acolytes.


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