Surgeon Gunned Down in Tennessee Clinic

On Thursday, July 11, 2023, a shocking and tragic shooting occurred at the popular Campbell Clinic in Collierville, Tennessee. Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Benjamin Mauck was shot to death in one of the clinic’s exam rooms. Dr. Mauck has been a beloved staff member at the facility since 2012, offering medical advice for patients needing elbow, hand, and wrist surgeries.

The tragedy transpired when 29-year-old suspect Larry Pickens, a patient at the facility, opened fire at Dr. Mauck around 2:30 pm using a handgun. It took only five minutes for response teams to arrive and take Pickens into custody.

Pickens was charged with first-degree murder and aggravated assault and has since been held on a $1,200,000 bail. While there are no records of Pickens’ criminal history available, Collierville Police are undertaking a comprehensive investigation to unveil any prior incidents involving the suspect.

In response to the shooting, the Campbell Clinic has elected to shut down all locations for the next day, Wednesday, July 12. No news has been released regarding when the facility will reopen. A spokeswoman for the clinic requested community members to keep Dr. Mauck and his family in their prayers, and Collierville Police Chief Dale Lane echoed this sentiment. Lane also emphasized that the tragedy was not an active shooting situation.

The Campbell Clinic’s shooting is an emotionally—charged tragedy of immense magnitude. Untold numbers of Collierville residents are devastated by the news and offer their condolences to Dr. Mauck’s family. Meanwhile, the Collierville Police Department continues investigating the matter, striving to obtain more clarity and information regarding the incident in the coming days.

Hezbollah terror chief Nasrallah: ‘We won’t sit by if Israel attacks’

The Israelis “think they are waging a psychological war on us, but in reality, it is being imposed on them.”

By World Israel News Staff

In a speech commemorating the 17th anniversary of the Second Lebanon War, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah warned his group would not “sit in silence” if Israel were to initiate military action.

The remark comes amid rising tensions between the two sides.

Over recent months, concerns about a potential escalation between Hezbollah and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have amplified due to sporadic altercations along Israel’s northern frontier. Nasrallah, meanwhile, has threatened a “large-scale war” with Israel.

“There is a sense of terror on the other side. Israel is good at terrorizing its own people, Israel is the one that terrorizes its own settlements in the north and that is mainly because of the Israeli media.”

Earlier this month, Hezbollah dismantled a tent it had built in an illegal outpost on the Israeli side of the Lebanon-Israel border fence, just days after claiming that Jerusalem would need to declare war in order for the encampment to be removed.

“We put our tent on Lebanese land, and it is Lebanese land with the recognition of the Lebanese state. The Israelis have not dared to take action against it. Our operatives have their directions in the event of an Israeli attack on the tents.”

“[The village of Ghajar in Israel] is Lebanese territory which is occupied by Israel. Hezbollah’s position is clear: There will not be a quiet solution to this issue. Israel must return Ghajar, and it is the responsibility of Hezbollah to get it back. We will not abandon Ghajar.”

In his concluding remarks, Nasrallah said, “They think they are waging a psychological war on us, but in reality, it is being imposed on them.”

Also on Wednesday, IDF forces repelled several Hezbollah operatives who approached the border fence from Lebanese territory in an attempt to blow part of it up.

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Defense Minister Gallant: Reservists’ refusal to serve is ‘rewarding the enemy’

“We have no other army to rely on and we have to take care to keep it united and leave it out of any dispute,” he said.

By World Israel News Staff

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Tuesday warned that a call for army reservists to boycott their duties due to proposed changes in the judiciary represented a “danger” and a boon to Israel’s enemies.

Speaking at an event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, Gallant singled out “unity” as being the key to the IDF’s success. The minister expressed concern over the recent proliferation of appeals that “encourage refusal and halt the volunteering of reservists,” saying they threatened to destroy the unity.

“Calls that are encouraging refusal and halting the volunteering of reservists threaten the unity of the ranks, are dangerous, and are a reward for our enemy.

“I call on public figures from the right and the left, leave politics out of the army,” Gallant said according to a translation of his remarks by The Times of Israel. Refusal “harms the IDF, the defense establishment, and Israel’s security,” he said.

“We have no other army to rely on and we have to take care to keep it united and leave it out of any dispute,” he added.

Recent months have seen reservists – essential contributors to the IDF’s everyday operations – express their reluctance to serve in what they claim could become an “undemocratic Israel” if the government’s plans to overhaul the judiciary come to fruition.

Gallant in March denounced a similar decision by reserve fighter pilots to boycott mandatory training exercises.

“We face heavy and complex external challenges, and any call to refuse orders harms the functioning of the Israel Defense Forces and its ability to carry out its tasks,” he said at the time.

Despite the military’s stated intention to penalize or even dismiss soldiers refusing to show up for duty, there have been no measures implemented thus far.

Coalition members have declared the refusal threats comparable to draft refusal, which is illegal in Israel and often results in a prison sentence.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi stated on Sunday that reservists “don’t have the right” to refuse to show up for duty.

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In first, Israeli national anthem Hatikvah played in Saudi Arabia at sports tournament

The team entered the country on their Israeli passports.

By Andrew Bernard, The Algemeiner

Israel’s national anthem was played in Saudi Arabia’s capital of Riyadh on Tuesday at an esports tournament with Israeli competitors, likely the first time in the country’s history.

An Israeli team competing in the world finals for the soccer videogame FIFA flew the Israeli flag and were greeted with Israel’s anthem Hatikvah at the tournament’s opening ceremony Tuesday after they arrived in Saudi Arabia on Friday. Israeli media reported that the gaming team, ranked second in the world, flew to Riyadh via the United Arab Emirates and entered the country on their Israeli passports.

This year’s FIFAe World Cup tournament is part of the larger Gamers8 esports competition organized by the Saudi Esports Federation and has a prize pool of $3 million. The tournament will run from 16-19 July.

Saudi Arabia has no official diplomatic relations with Israel and Israeli passport holders cannot generally travel to Saudi Arabia, though Israeli business figures, media personalities, and journalists have increasingly been able to do so in recent years. FIFA, the global governing body for soccer that also organizes the FIFAe tournament, reportedly negotiated with the Israeli and Saudi authorities to ensure that all participants, including the Israeli team, could compete.

The playing of Hatikvah, the lyrics of which are about the Jewish connection to the land of Zion and Jerusalem, and the participation of Israelis has been a controversial issue at sporting events hosted by Arab and Islamic countries that do not recognize Israel.

In 2017 before they established relations with Israel, the UAE played the anthem and raised the flag of the International Judo Federation after Israeli judoka Tal Flicker won gold at a tournament in Abu Dhabi. Flicker nonetheless sang Hatikvah by himself.

The UAE allowed the Israeli anthem to be played at the tournament the following year after another Israeli athlete won gold, which was widely interpreted as an early signal pointing towards the UAE’s eventual recognition of Israel in 2020 as part of the Abraham Accords.

The ability of Israelis to travel to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar was also a difficult sticking point in that nation’s hosting of the global soccer tournament. Some 30,000 Israelis are thought to have ultimately attended the event, which included the first direct flights between Israel and Qatar.

For now, the Israeli FIFAe team appears to be an exception in Israeli participation in Saudi-hosted events. According to a report in Axios, Saudi Arabia has refused to confirm whether they will allow Israeli officials to participate in a meeting of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee slated to be held in Riyadh in September.

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Israeli, American officials deny New York Times oped that Biden admin seeking ‘reassessment’ of ties with Israel

Thomas Friedman accused Netanyahu of a “steady destruction” of a the “shared fiction” between the two allies that “one day there could be a two-state solution.”

By World Israel News Staff

High-ranking Israeli and U.S. officials on Wednesday rebuffed a claim made a day earlier by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman that Washington was “reassessing” its ties with Israel.

In the column, Friedman accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of a “steady destruction” of a “shared fiction” between the two allies that “Israel’s occupation of the West Bank was only temporary and one day there could be a two-state solution.”

The result, posited Friedman, would put Biden in the inevitable position of downgrading ties. A trip to Washington next week by Israeli President Herzog would be an opportunity for Biden to convey, “with sorrow” that “when the interests and values of a U.S. government and an Israeli government diverge this much, a reassessment of the relationship is inevitable.”

Friedman added that such a reconsideration, while crucial for preventing Israel from “going off the rails,” would mainly impact the U.S.’s stance towards Israel in global platforms like the United Nations and would not disrupt the existing intelligence or military collaboration.

Biden, according to Friedman, has garnered significant support for this possible shift, not only from the majority of Americans but also from most American Jews and even a large proportion of Israeli Jews.

However, a senior Israeli diplomatic official, speaking on condition of anonymity, refuted any knowledge of an impending reassessment of the U.S.’s policy towards Israel.

“We are not aware of any decision about ‘reassessment’ by the US government,” the official said.

The official asserted that even if such a reassessment were to take place, it would not be an unprecedented move. They cited instances from past U.S. administrations, including those of Ford, Reagan, and both Bush Sr. and Bush Jr., that had made similar reassessments during their tenure.

“It’s no secret that we have disagreements with the American administration regarding the creation of a Palestinian state, returning to the dangerous Iran nuclear deal, and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s stance against the American ‘no surprises’ policy regarding Israeli action against Iran,” the official added.

A U.S. National Security Council spokesperson likewise denied Friedman’s claims, saying “There is no talk of some kind of formal reassessment.”

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IDF thwarts Hezbollah attempt to blow up border fence

A security source in southern Lebanon said that Israeli fire wounded three Hezbollah terrorists.


The Israel Defense Forces foiled on Wednesday an attempt to damage the fence along the northern border with Lebanon.

Several suspects approached the barrier, prompting troops to use unspecified dispersal methods, according to the military.

“The IDF will continue to act to prevent any violation of the sovereignty of the State of Israel,” it added.

A security source in southern Lebanon told AFP that Israeli fire wounded three Hezbollah members.

The incident comes on the 17th anniversary of the start of the 2006 war between the IDF and Hezbollah.

Tensions in the north have been high since Hezbollah pitched two tents in early April a few meters on the Israeli side of the U.N.-marked Blue Line in the Mount Dov region.

The position, located across from an Israeli military base, was reportedly manned by three to eight armed terrorists. While the area isn’t home to any Israeli civilian communities, it’s one in which the IDF operates continuously to thwart incursions into Israeli territory.

It was reported on July 2 that Hezbollah had removed one of the tents.

On Monday, Israeli media reported that the United States has proposed that Jerusalem halt construction on a security barrier in a village on the Israel-Lebanon border in exchange for the removal of the tent.

צה״ל שיבש ניסיון פגיעה במכשול הגבול עם לבנון

מספר חשודים התקרבו מוקדם יותר היום לגדר הגבול עם לבנון וניסו לחבל במרחב המכשול.
כוחות צה״ל זיהו אותם באופן מיידי והשתמשו באמצעים על מנת להרחיקם.
זהות החשודים לא ידועה >>

— צבא ההגנה לישראל (@idfonline) July 12, 2023

Ghajar, an Alawite village, is divided by the Blue Line. Its residents hold Israeli citizenship and many in the northern portion also have Lebanese passports.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry revealed in May that Hezbollah has in the past year constructed no fewer than 27 military posts along the Blue Line. The posts were built under the guise of Green without Borders, a Hezbollah-affiliated organization that poses as an environmental NGO.

Hezbollah launched the project in parallel to Israel’s construction of a fortified perimeter fence along the 140 kilometer (90 mile) border.

According to United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War, the terrorist group is forbidden from operating near the frontier.

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This Little-Known Corporation Is Making a Fortune Kicking People Off Medicaid

As more than 17 million people stand to lose health insurance in the unfolding Medicaid eligibility review disaster, a little-known company called Maximus is set to make massive profits off of helping the government deny people health insurance.

Dr Candice Jones attends to her patients Nihmaya Farrell, six, center, and Nichaya Simmons, thirteen, left, and mother Natasha James at the Edgewater Pediatrics in Orlando, Florida, on January 14, 2021. (Willie J. Allen Jr / Orlando Sentinel / Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

As more than seventeen million people stand to lose health insurance in the unfolding Medicaid eligibility review disaster, there’s one company licking its lips: Maximus, a little-known federal contractor that is one of the biggest players in privatizing essential government services previously done by civil servants — in particular, taking over states’ capacity to determine who is eligible for Medicaid and who isn’t.

In a February earnings call for shareholders and Wall Street analysts, Maximus’s CEO Bruce Caswell announced that the current nationwide eligibility review of ninety million people on Medicaid and other government health insurance programs “is unprecedented in its scope,” and will allow Maximus “to gain traction in the market.” As a result of the deluge in Medicaid “redeterminations,” Caswell said, “we expect improvement to operating margin.”

The company has accordingly boosted its earnings estimate by $100 million. Maximus’s share price is closing on its all-time high, up nearly 50 percent since October. Caswell earned $6.3 million in 2022.

Outsourcing Medicaid eligibility reviews to Maximus has major implications beyond the company’s expanding bottom line. It also removes essential government services from the realm of public accountability, while draining resources from governments.

“One of the big concerns here is it’s a company that’s really making money coming and going from the county, state, and federal governments,” said Daniel Hatcher, a law professor at the University of Baltimore who has studied Maximus. “People who are benefiting the most are the company, occasionally governments, but not the people who are supposed to be benefiting from Medicaid services.”

Along with draining public finances, Maximus and other Medicaid redetermination contractors are incentivized to advocate for making Medicaid even more of a bureaucratic nightmare for recipients.

“If you look at the payment structure of these contracts, the more red tape, the more money Maximus makes,” Hatcher said. “The harder it is to get enrolled, the easier to get kicked off — the more money Maximus and contractors are making.”

Maximizing Profits

During the COVID-19 pandemic, lawmakers required states to stop removing people from Medicaid, the national health insurance program for low-income Americans. The move led to record enrollment in a strictly means-tested program designed to benefit only the very poor — one from which people are often arbitrarily removed.

Late last year, Congress passed and President Joe Biden signed a year-end spending bill directing states to resume annual redeterminations of Medicaid recipients’ eligibility for the program. Now, an estimated seventeen million people, and potentially up to twenty-four million, could lose their coverage.

Studies suggest that expanding Medicaid coverage substantially reduces deaths, and positively impacts people in poverty throughout their entire lives.

While there are significant reporting gaps as to where Maximus is doing redeterminations and how states are reporting eligibility reviews, Maximus dominates 60 percent of the Medicaid eligibility market, according to a recent report in Modern Healthcare.

While the final determinations for Medicaid eligibility must be completed by public employees, every other step of the process — from processing applications, to running call centers, to reaching out to people on the verge of losing benefits — can be done by private contractors.

In a recent investor presentation, Maximus wrote that it was boosting its “revenue and earnings guidance to account for Medicaid redeterminations,” and noted that “actual volume flow and beneficiary interaction will influence overall profitability.”

So far, more than 70 percent of those who have recently lost Medicaid coverage have been terminated for administrative reasons, such as not responding to a piece of mail or getting dropped from a call with a redetermination specialist, rather than because they were deemed ineligible due to their income and assets. Many of these people are likely still technically eligible for the program.

Maximus runs the call center for Medicaid eligibility in Indiana, where 85 percent of the 107,000 people kicked off Medicaid this year lost coverage because of procedural reasons. According to Maximus’s $400-million Indiana contract, up to seven percent of its eligibility calls in the state in a given week can be dropped before the company is penalized.

“We do not make Medicaid eligibility determinations,” Maximus said in a statement to the Lever:

Our job is to support the states’ responsibilities to ensure that everyone who is eligible for Medicaid remains covered. If they are no longer eligible for Medicaid, we work with the states to refer them to other health care options such as the insurance marketplace. We are not paid in any state on the basis of whether an individual is found eligible or ineligible.

Maximus did not answer follow-up questions about the scope of its work in various states and how much revenue the company expects to generate from its Medicaid redetermination business.

As Maximus seeks to expand its Medicaid redetermination work, the company has leaned into lobbying and political donations.

Maximus has donated $2.5 million to national political groups affiliated with state and local politicians since 2017. That includes $955,000 to the Republican Governors Association; $665,000 to the Democratic Governors Association; $450,000 to the Republican State Leadership Committee, which funnels money to GOP state legislative campaigns; $210,000 to the Republican Attorneys General Association; and $165,000 to the Democratic Attorneys General Association.

The company additionally donates to the National Governors Association, a nonpartisan group that represents governors from both parties.

Maximus spent $960,000 on federal lobbying alone in 2022, and its roster of lobbyists included former longtime representative Al Wynn (D-MD), who is now a senior director at the lobbying powerhouse Greenberg Traurig.

Wynn was one of just a handful of members of the Congressional Black Caucus to vote “yes” on the final vote on the 1996 welfare reform bill. The legislation, which led to a doubling of extreme poverty, provided an enormous boon to Maximus by incentivizing the outsourcing of welfare eligibility work.

Shar Habibi, the research director of In the Public Interest, which advocates against privatization, said that Maximus’s role in Medicaid redeterminations will hollow out the government’s ability to effectively provide public services.

“When governments contract with firms like Maximus to do essential public functions like determining who is or isn’t eligible for Medicaid, the question gets raised: Does outsourcing eligibility determination-related functions compromise the integrity of the program, especially when people’s lives are at stake?” she asked. “Using contractor staff does not promote an effective, efficient, and equitable delivery of Medicaid.”

Maximus also has major contracts with the federal government to provide assistance to those seeking to enroll in Medicare, the government health insurance program for seniors and those with disabilities, as well as those looking to sign up for individual health insurance plans offered on state marketplace exchanges created under Democrats’ 2010 health care law, the Affordable Care Act.

Some people formerly on Medicaid will move to exchange-based plans, which will almost certainly result in substantially higher out-of-pocket costs.

In May, Maximus laid off seven hundred workers from its Medicare and marketplace call centers where workers were seeking to unionize with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) union. The move led CWA to file an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board and launch a petition to pressure secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra to investigate Maximus’s labor practices.

Meanwhile, Maximus’s government contracts to do such work have continued to expand under the Biden administration, despite the fact that Joe Biden pledged in his 2020 campaign that “I intend to be the most pro-union president leading the most pro-union administration in American history.” In September 2022, Maximus was awarded a $6.6-billion contract from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Samira Burns, a spokesperson for the Health and Human Services Department, which includes CMS, told the Lever that the department has initiated a request for information process with contractors like Maximus as part of a broader consideration of whether or not to improve labor standards in contracts with such companies.

Editor’s note: The author is a member of the NewsGuild-CWA and was a researcher for CWA from 2016 through 2018.

You can subscribe to David Sirota’s investigative journalism project, the Lever, here.