August 18th, 2009


These Are The Real Nazis: Horror of Nazi camp brothels revealed in book

Horror of Nazi camp brothels revealed in book

Promises of freedom to women weren't honored, author says

BERLIN - In 1942, the Nazis decided that forced laborers in concentration camps would work harder if they were promised sex — so they made female prisoners work in brothels for them.

The brothels form the subject of "Das KZ Bordell" (The Concentration Camp Brothel) by Robert Sommer, a book that has been hailed as the first comprehensive account of a little-known chapter of Nazi oppression in World War Two.

Sommer's 460-page work, due to be presented at the Berlin state parliament on Wednesday, explores the origins, structure and impact of the "Sonderbauten" (special buildings) run by Heinrich Himmler's SS in Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe.

"In the collective memory and written history of World War Two, the camp brothels were for a long time taboo," the 35-year-old Berliner told Reuters. "The former prisoners didn't want to talk about it: it was a difficult subject to handle.

"It didn't fit so easily into the postwar image of the concentration camps as monuments to suffering."

Biggest brothel in Auschwitz

Beginning with the Austrian camp at Mauthausen in 1942, the SS opened 10 brothels, the biggest of which was in Auschwitz, in modern Poland, where as many as 21 women prisoners once worked. The last opened in early 1945, the year the war ended.

The chapter is separate from the annals of the Holocaust of European Jews. Jewish women were not recruited as prostitutes, and Jewish men were not admitted to the brothels.

Sommer estimates around 200 women inmates in total were forced to work in the brothels — initially offered the prospect of escaping the brutality of the concentration camps.

"They were promised release after half a year if they served in the brothel. But the promises were never honored," he said. "Later, the SS just selected women they felt were suitable."

"Jews were not allowed in. Neither were Soviet prisoners of war," he added. "Jewish women did not serve as sex workers."

Tens of thousands of captured soldiers, political prisoners and people branded socially undesirable by the Nazis, including Roma and homosexuals, were held in camps alongside the millions of Jews who died in the Holocaust.

"The idea behind the brothels was to raise productivity by providing forced laborers with added incentive," said Sommer. "Yet from what I found, it didn't work at all. Only a few people were actually in a physical condition to go to them."

According to Sommer, the use of prisoners to provide sex to other prisoners was purely a Nazi phenomenon in the war.
Collapse )

Town Hall Madness Makes Good Teevee But is it Good Politics?...

Frustration Mounts: Dem Rep Says Town Hall Protesters Using "Fascist Tactics"

The Netroots Nation convention this past weekend offered the progressive political community a chance to catch its breath, reassess and regroup during what has become a highly escalated health care debate. But over a four-day period in Pittsburgh, the predominant refrain was one of regret. As in: how the heck did we find ourselves in this position?

Opponents of the president's agenda for health care legislation have largely outmaneuvered the proponents. In Congress, the Democratic caucus is fractured enough to delay a bill's consideration. In the public opinion arena, the White House has watched confidence in its ability to handle the issue drop. But the most telling development has been in the grassroots. While it was once widely assumed that the President would draft his 13-million-strong campaign apparatus to health care reform's cause, so far it has been conservative groups that have dominated the dialogue.

All of which has left members of Congress feeling hamstrung and deeply frustrated.
Collapse )

RNC Calls Co-ops Evil Socialized Medicine part II

Oh Look! Kill The Public Option, And Republicans Still Complain About Socialism!

We have no idea what’s going on behind closed doors on Capitol Hill or in the White House (just kidding, we know it all and will never tell you!), but it seems obvious that the Republican leadership has invested so much (all) of its energy into shouting “GOVERNMENT TAKEOVER OF HEALTHCARE” at the prospect of any legislation that simply removing the small, imaginary basis for this shouting — a public health insurance plan to compete with private insurers on a new health insurance exchange — would not change anything. And guess what! The RNC released a statement this afternoon saying that, indeed, co-ops are also evil socialistic government-run health care systems from the U.S.S.R. programmed to kill your white grandparents and children.

The RNC’s release, titled “Reports Of Public Option’s Demise Greatly Exaggerated: ‘PUBLIC OPTION BY ANY OTHER NAME IS STILL GOVERNMENT-RUN HEALTH CARE,’” explains what co-ops are: basically Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and Hitler and Hell, combined:

Co-Ops Would Be Funded By Federal Government. “Senator Kent Conrad, a Democrat, proposed creating nonprofit, member-operated health cooperatives to compete with insurers … The government would offer start-up money — Conrad said $6 billion would be needed — in loans and grants to help doctors, hospitals, businesses and other groups form nonprofit cooperative networks to obtain and provide healthcare.” (“Q&A – Co-Ops In Focus In U.S. Health Care Debate,” Reuters, 7/30/09)

Co-Ops Would Be Regulated By Federal Government. “Advisory board makes recommendations to HHS Secretary who makes final decisions about approvals of business plans … Business plans must meet governance standards, and eligible applicants must meet the standard for non-profit, participating mutual insurance.” (“Senate Finance Committee Draft Proposal,” 6/19/09)

Co-Ops Would Force Individuals Who Want To Join To Go Through State Governments. “Co-op membership would be offered through state insurance exchanges where small businesses and individuals without employer-sponsored plans would shop for health coverage.” (“Q&A – Co-Ops In Focus In U.S. Health Care Debate,” Reuters, 7/30/09)

Federal Government Would Use Co-Ops To Monopolize Health Insurance. “[T]hese co-ops sound a lot like a health-care Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which Congress created because there was supposedly no secondary mortgage market. The duo proceeded to use their government subsidy to dominate the market and drive out private competitors.” (Editorial, “Fannie Med,”The Wall Street Journal, 7/30/09)
Probably 37 of 40 Senate Republicans at the very least will never vote for any bill. Zero Republicans in the House will ever vote for anything.

Even if the health care bill somehow turned into a wingnut-appeasing measure to simply bomb all Democratic caucuses at their next meetings, Republican rapid-responders would label this a “government takeover of the military.”

So if you’re looking for some slobs to be mad at, better to focus on Kent Conrad, Ben Nelson, Joe Lieberman, Evan Bayh, and other “centrist Democrats,” because the Co-Op Compromise is just for them.

By Any Other Name [RNC]

Akuma River

Iran Update August 17-18

I was going to wait a while to do this post but somethings have come up and I felt I should do one now.

First of all, things are moving very quickly in the government of Iran. Rafsanjani is in a tight spot politically. Ahmadi is wanting to go against corruption for the people and one of his targets is Rafsanjani. An Assembly of clerics is coming up and people are watching it to see what will happen next.

Second, if you can recall a couple of weeks ago I posted an e-mail in which a young Iranian woman spoke about her decision to protest and that she expected to be martyred. Her friend idiomagic had not heard of her since. Today she found out why.

The original letter:
"I love life. I love to laugh and be with my friends. There are so many books I want to read, movies I want to see, people I want to meet. I want to marry, to be a good wife and mother. I want to grow old with the people I love, to feel the sun on my face, to see the ocean, to travel.

My country is in a terrible state. People have no jobs. There is no money. People have no freedom. Women must hide themselves from the world, and we have no choices.

Our people--we are not terrorists. We hate terrorists. And that is what our government has become. They kill our people for no reason. They torture us in their prisons because we want freedom. They make our country look evil, they make our religion look evil.

We are fighting for our freedom, for our religion, for our country. If we do nothing while injustice abounds, we become unjust. We turn into the ones we hate.

I have to fight. I have to go back on the streets. I will make them kill me. I will join Neda, with my friends, and then maybe the world will hear us.

I never thought I would become a martyr, but it is needed. The more of us they kill, the smaller they become, the more strength the people will have. Maybe my death will mean nothing, but maybe it will buy my country freedom.

I am very sad that I will never be a mother, that I will never do the things I love, but I would rather die than do nothing and know that I am to blame for the tortures, the murder, the hatred.

The news:
Fayah Azadi June 23, 1986-August 2, 2009

I heartily wish I didn't have to report this. I just found out that Fayah was one of the women who led the protests on July 30th at Neda Agha Soltan's gravesite.

She was beaten severely by several Basij militiamen with batons, and struck repeatedly on the head.

Her friends carried her away from the cemetary to a friend's house. She died on August 2nd, having never regained consciousness.

Fayah Azadi was 23 years old, a student at Tehran University, studying art. She was a talented painter, and a staunch supporter of democracy and women's rights

Unlike Neda, it seems there will not be an image to go with the young woman's story because as her friend says, "It was her sister who finally let me know what happened. She says the family doesn't want any further contact with anyone from the west. They believe that somehow her international contacts led to her death. Maybe that if we hadn't "encouraged" her, she would still be alive."

August 08-16, 2009 post | August 03-07, 2009 post | July 31-August 02, 2009 post | July 29-30, 2009 post | July 27-28 post | July 25-26, 2009 post | July 24, 2009 post | July 20-23, 2009 Week post | July 18-19, 2009 post | July 17, 2009 post | July 16, 2009 post | July 15, 2009 post | July 14, 2009 post | July 13, 2009 post | July 12, 2009 post | July 11, 2009 post | July 10, 2009 post | July 9, 2009 posts | July 8, 2009 post | July 7, 2009 post | July 6, 2009 post | July 5, 2009 post | July 4, 2009 post
Collapse )

I'm really getting tired of writing out these long posts and something happens and either all or half of it get deleted. T_T
i want joe biden i need joe biden

Obama changes his mind about DOMA?

Obama Says Marriage Law Should Be Repealed
Justice Dept. Filing Distances Administration From Arguments That Angered Gays

The Obama administration distanced itself Monday from legal arguments it had made earlier this summer, taking pains to remove and renounce language that had outraged advocates in the gay community in a case that centers on the constitutionality of a same-sex marriage law.

In a filing by the Justice Department, administration lawyers made it clear for the first time in court that the president thinks the 13-year-old Defense of Marriage Act, which denies benefits to domestic partners of federal employees and allows states to reject same-sex marriages performed in other states, discriminates against gays and should be repealed.

A lawsuit challenging the law, which is proceeding in a district court in California, became a touchstone this summer after leaders of the Human Rights Campaign and other prominent advocacy groups for gay men and lesbians complained to the White House about its slow pace in dealing with marriage, adoption, insurance and other hot-button issues important to the gay community.

Collapse )


China vs. an Australian film festival & a New Zealand television channel

There's been a controversy brewing here in New Zealand regarding a film about the Uighur people in China, following a recent diplomatic fight in Australia about the same documentary. I thought some of you might find this article interesting.

FYI, the Maori are the indigenous people of New Zealand; the Maori Television channel, although focused on broadcasting material about Maori life and/or in the Maori language, also shows documentaries and films about other indigenous peoples.

Maori TV strikes a blow for democracy

What are you doing at 8:30pm on September 1? Write this down, because that night you need to turn on Maori Television.

You should tune in to a film you probably never would have noticed, The 10 Conditions of Love. Why? Because the Chinese Government doesn't want you to - and they have no business sticking their hand into New Zealand living rooms.

Nobody else took much notice of this documentary on exiled Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer either - that is, until the Chinese government disastrously overstepped its borders by putting its elephantine foot into Melbourne's film festival. Suddenly, the world press was at their door.

Collapse )


Additional source: a story on the Maori TV website, confirming that they intend to go ahead & broadcast the film.

Maori TV is funded by the NZ government, but as far as I know they have editorial independence. Things could get very ugly if political and economic interests get brought into this, given the importance of China as a trading partner.

In any case, China's campaign is having the opposite effect to what was intended: my parents watched Maori TV's interview with Rebiya Kadeer last night, and we all plan to watch the film when it airs!

Mods, can we please get a New Zealand tag? Thanks :)

(no subject)

The young man's call echoed throughout the remote village in northern Nigeria -- the marriage ceremony was about to begin.

Under the dusty sun, the fathers of the bride and groom agreed to the marriage and this ancient Muslim tradition proceeded as it has for hundreds of years.

But unknown to the gathered villagers, the couple is hiding a modern secret.

Both bride and groom are HIV-positive and marrying with the support of a local government program that encourages such "HIV-marriages" in the hope of preventing the virus from spreading.

Collapse )

The source.
' jules
  • schmiss


Despite fumbles, Biden's a player
Cementing his value to Obama, the vice president has been tapped to take on key issues. Next up: healthcare.

The gaffes keep piling up: the untimely comments stoking fears of swine flu, dismissals of Russia that seem straight out of the Cold War.

But in defiance of the normal rules of American politics, Vice President Joe Biden appears to be solidifying his relationship with his boss and accumulating more assignments central to the administration's agenda.

Having lined up support in the Senate to assure passage of the $787-billion economic stimulus plan, Biden was recently tapped by President Obama to play a bigger role in the healthcare debate that is now dominating the congressional agenda. He is at the table on major foreign policy issues and has been asked to oversee the stimulus spending effort.

"For the president to give him the single largest initiative to date [the stimulus] with all the potential risks and pitfalls attached, speaks to a level of trust that's quite real," said Anita Dunn, White House communications director.

Collapse )

I love Biden but dnw him (or Hillary or anyone who ran in '08) to run in 2016 o_0

Just give me a shotgun and Simon Pegg, and I'll be fine

Science Ponders Zombie Attack

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

f zombies actually existed, an attack by them would lead to the collapse of civilisation unless dealt with quickly and aggressively.

That is the conclusion of a mathematical exercise carried out by researchers in Canada.

They say only frequent counter-attacks with increasing force would eradicate the fictional creatures.
Collapse )

*betty draper reading

What is this I don't even

Woman yells ‘Heil Hitler’ to Jewish man praising Israel’s national health care system.

Conservatives have strenuously denied that there is any anti-Semitism on display by anti-health reform protesters at town hall meetings nationwide — despite all the evidence to the contrary. Last week, Las Vegas radio station KDWN AM720 sponsored a “contentious” town hall, emceed by conservative morning show host Heidi Harris. At the event, local news stations were interviewing an Israeli man who was praising the “fantastic” “national health care” in Israel. During his remarks, a woman yelled out, “Heil Hitler!” The man stopped, became visibly upset, and exclaimed, “Did you hear this? She say to a Jew, ‘Heil Hitler’! Hear? I’m a Jew! You’re telling me, ‘Heil Hitler’? Shame of you!” After he angrily confronts her, the woman mocks him by making a crying sound to imply he is a whining baby.

Video at source...

Duchess invited to fack orf back to her royal palace

Duchess of York tries to help the Great Unwashed sort out their community problems. Great Unwashed tell her to go piss up a rope. Hilarity ensues.


Residents are protesting after their south Manchester community was held up as an example of "broken Britain" by the makers of an ITV1 documentary.

Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, is said to have found drugs, crime and a "lack of community spirit" during her trip to Northern Moor, Wythenshawe.

Some residents have been angered by the publicity for the programme and say they live in a safe, family area.

Carol Carter, a resident for 25 years, said people were "up in arms".

In publicity material for the programme, ITV said the duchess had spent 10 days on an estate in Northern Moor "to learn more about the problems of 'broken Britain'".

Residents angered by the trailers were holding a protest in part of the 270-acre Wythenshawe Park, which borders Northern Moor, on Tuesday.

Mrs Carter said she was particularly angered by a television advert for the programme, The Duchess On The Estate.

Collapse )

Gee, imagine my surprise.

Kyl: Co-Ops A "Trojan Horse" For Public Option, GOP Won't Support

A key member of Republican leadership in the Senate declared on Tuesday that a cooperative approach to health insurance was merely a "Trojan horse" for a government-run system.

In a conference call with reporters, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said that while some progressives view the co-op proposal as an unacceptably watered-down alternative to a public insurance option, Republicans think it's still too similar. He indicated that both he and the party would oppose them.

"On the co-op... as Democrats have said, it doesn't matter what you call it, they want it to accomplish something that Republicans are opposed to," Kyl told reporters. "That is the step towards government-run health care in the country. The president himself said you can imagine a cooperative meeting that definition of a public option."

"It is [a public plan] by another name. It is a Trojan horse. And therefore no, I don't believe Republicans will be inclined to support a bill," he said.

During an interview with Fox News on Monday, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) also described the co-op proposal as a "Trojan horse" destined to open the way for a government-run system.

For uncompromising Democrats, Kyl's and DeMint's remarks will undoubtedly be treated as yet more proof that the Obama White House and leadership in Congress are negotiating against themselves when it comes to health care reform.

While Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) has put forth co-ops as a compromise proposal that could get 60 votes in the Senate, Republican support is elusive. Indeed, earlier in the call, Kyl said that the GOP stood no closer to offering up their votes.

"I think it is safe to say that there are a huge number of big issues that people have and these are a couple of the most prominent," he said. "But start with the cost of it. There is no way Republicans are going to support a trillion-dollar-plus bill. And when the chairman of the Finance Committee in the Senate said, 'ah, great success, we think we got it under a trillion dollars,' you did not hear a big round of applause from Republicans."


"It is [a public plan] by another name. It is a Trojan horse.

No, co-ops are a piece of shit that have been proven not to do much of anything to cut costs or premiums, but po-tay-to, po-tah-to

And therefore no, I don't believe Republicans will be inclined to support a bill," he said.

Well, surpriiiiise, surpriiiiise, surpriiiiise.

Gee, when we don't just focus on the crazy shouting people, I guess it makes a difference!

While television cameras have focused on vocal opponents to health care reform, in many cases they have been outnumbered by supporters of the legislation in general and a public option in particular.

In Phoenix, Arizona, "Pro-Obama demonstrators appeared to outnumber the anti-Obama ones, with Phoenix police estimating the crowd at 1,200 to 2,000 at locations around the convention center."

In Boulder, Colorado, "a few hundred residents of one of the nation's more liberal congressional districts turned out Monday night to tell their congressman, Democratic Rep. Jared Polis, to keep that public option, however controversial politically, in the final bill."

"It's the most essential part of the bill," said Leigh Kirkland, in direct response to Sunday's statement from U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that the public option "wasn't the most essential" part of the reform package.
In Fork Union, Virginia, Rep. Tom Perriello faced a more divided crowd, "with roughly half the crowd apparently in favor of reform and the other half opposed.

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) "held a spirited but civil town-hall meeting Monday night inside a union hall where his supporters outnumbered critics."

And when Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.) held a forum on health care reform he drew an overflow crowd, with a majority on the Democratic lawmaker's side. "A large majority of those present at the first discussion applauded Lujan when he stressed several times that he was in favor of a public option and when Lujan and other panelists criticized insurance companies."


Christian Bale

The President Exhibits Crazy Speech Patterns

By Cindy Sheehan

As I listened to clips of Obama's speech to the VFW on August 17th, 2009, I was wondering if his speechwriters were on vacation and they just recycled an old Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rice speech.

While the so-called left is focused on the health care debacle and is allowing the so-called right to define the debate when it should be: Medicare for all, and all for Medicare; Obama and his neocon foreign policy team are preparing for a decades long, bloody foray in Af-Pak.

As Yael T. Abouhalkah, an editorial writer for the Kansas City Star, put it:

President Barack Obama did his best imitation of former President George Bush Monday at the VFW national convention in Phoenix.

Obama sounded downright hawkish -- and, yes, presidential -- when he addressed the issue of terrorism in front of the veteran-laden crowd…Dick Cheney could not have said it better.

This is one of the reasons I am leading protests next week on Martha's Vineyard where President Obama will be vacationing. The anti-war movement cannot allow itself to be co-opted by the Democratic Party any longer.

We cannot allow the War Party and other elites to define the terms of the War Debate.


Collapse )
Christian Bale

Illumination Of The Idiots - Part 2

A list of ultra-stupid moves and counter moves destroying the economies and consumers world-wide collected and remarked upon by Traderrog

Health Care: Ignoring and insulting elderly voter’s at the most recent town hall meetings on health care discussions created anger and confusion. Sharp observers who have taken the time to read proposals see nothing but disaster. The worst features are: (1) Robbing 500mm from Medicare in a triage move to lessen care for the oldest based upon cost and, (2) Moving to a single payer system destroying 85% of the coverage for recipients now being covered by private insurance (3) Adding 50mm new participants from the lowest income sector (non-payers) overwhelming the system with demand as there are not enough medical staff to cope. Our forecast says the graybeards will vote out many of those up for re-election in fall 2010 in a massive backlash. Further, this fall, when the bill comes up for a vote, the markets will have crashed and this bill could be buried for good. This is the reason those in charge are pushing so hard to pass it quickly. After September 15th it’s too late. Rationing health care using bureaurats to decide who lives and who dies will not fly with voters-consumers.

Consumers Are Broke: Since consumers earn the money and pay the taxes to support all governments, when they are broken, their ability to support the bureaurats is broken, too. They can be overly taxed and abused to most any extent but when they are jobless and their employers are shut-down so are revenue streams to all governments. Central governments can last longer as they manufacture currencies and bonds out of thin air not having to balance budgets. On the more local level of states, counties, cities, towns and villages, by their law’s they have to balance budgets and they simply cannot. Obviously some are in much worst shape than others like California, Nevada, and certain cities, but a tidal wave of failures is sweeping America drowning employment with remarkable and horrible speed. Those with cash and credit are saving for rainy days ahead. Credit is going nowhere as banks are afraid to lend and consumers-businesses (qualified) are afraid to borrow. Hunkering down and saving is the plan for most in an effort to survive. This is killing any growth and promoting further deterioration.

Cap ‘N’ Trade: Is another flagrantly stupid idea that increases the cost of energy, particularly electricity. It off-loads alleged carbon footprints via trading from one user to another creating a nightmare of abuses in the middle. The ignorant congress instead of dreaming-up new economy wrecking ideas to milk the system and steal more from the Sheeple should bend to the wishes of voting constituents and use some common sense. They will not and voters will respond at the polls. We expect Cap ‘N’ Trade to fail.

Global Warming: Our experienced Northern weather Advisor told me there are signs we enter the next ice age in 2040. The Midwestern US this summer has been extraordinarily cool. Other normally cooler places are warmer. Studies allegedly proving the onset of global warming are fraught with mistakes. Recently, we saw a report showing the Warming Idiots who wrote about this stuff have “missed” seeing an iceberg the size of Greenland (Brilliant!) in their computations. This is another scam to make money and buy votes while getting full control of the Sheeple. Expect much more ridiculous non-sense. Millionaire politicians like Al Gore shall remain busy seeking more scams to promote their phony agendas.


Collapse )
Valley of the Dolls

Wait, What?

Sebelius pushes back

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius took the opportunity to clarify her comments from CNN's State of the Union in a speech to Medicare fraud prevention advocates this morning. Sebelius' comments Sunday that a public option of the health-care reform proposal was "not essential" was interpreted by some as a shift by the White House.

"All I can tell you is that Sunday must have been a very slow news day, because here's the bottom line: absolutely nothing has changed," she said. "We continue to support the public option that will help lower costs, give American consumers more choice and keep private insurers honest."

Sebelius said a public option would work "side-by-side" with private insurers, to "[provide] choice in markets that are often dominated by one insurance company."

The administration's bottom line goal, she told the audience, is "more choices."

She also responded to critics who have been "causing fear" by telling Americans the administration's proposal will lead to a rationing of care: "Nothing could be farther from the truth."

Posted: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 12:29 PM by Domenico Montanaro
Filed Under: White House From NBC’s Betsy Cline

How about walking it back clarifying  instead of pushing back.  Is she arguing with herself here?

Cellphones problematic for 911

Darlene Dukes struggled to speak as she called 911 from her cellphone. She could barely tell the operator her address: 602 Wales Drive.

The operator, trying to understand Dukes, sent an ambulance to Wells Street in Atlanta— 28 miles from Dukes' apartment in Johns Creek, a suburb north of the city.

Paramedics finally reached the stricken woman almost an hour after her call on Aug. 2, 2008. They were too late. Forty minutes after arriving at the hospital, Dukes, 39, the mother of two boys, died of a blood clot in her lungs.

That cellphone call was critical. If Dukes had called from a land-line telephone, her address would have immediately popped up on the 911 operator's screen, leaving no room for confusion.

Collapse )


I actually thought the wireless only houses would be more than 20%.  TV makes it looks so simple to find cell phones but then again it's TV I guess. :\


Israel Nonchalantly Stops Settlement Permits.

Israeli Settlements Quietly Halted: No New Housing Permits Granted

Israel has quietly moved to halt new housing projects in the West Bank, while outwardly rebuffing U.S. pressure to stop construction in its settlements, Israeli government officials, peace activists and settlers said Tuesday.

It isn't the full settlement freeze the Obama administration has been demanding, but it indicates that Israel is seeking a compromise in what has become a rare public disagreement with the U.S., its most important ally.

The government has issued no new construction permits for months, the officials, activists and settlers said, a rare agreement among elements that are usually bitter enemies – evidence that this is a new policy aimed at defusing the settlement squabble.

Asked about the Israeli step, President Barack Obama said he was "encouraged by what I am seeing on the ground."

Housing Minister Ariel Atias confirmed that there have been no new government building offers since November. Interviewed on Channel 10 TV Tuesday evening, Atias said it was part of an effort to reach an agreement with the U.S.

"There is a given situation which is a waiting period," he said. "That's a fact, and it can't be denied." He refused to call it a building freeze.

Earlier, Netanyahu's office issued a statement saying, "There is not and has never been an agreement among the prime minister, defense minister and housing minister on freezing new construction" in the West Bank.

That denial could be read different ways, since "new construction" continues full force in the settlements, with thousands of housing units in various stages of completion. The government's seems to be aiming at getting at least tacit U.S. approval to finish projects that have been started, while holding up initial permits for new ones.Collapse )

Commie Americans Using Free Clinics Rathern that the Free Market Provided Hospitals

Los Angeles Free Clinic Offers Portrait Of Today's Dysfunctional Health Care

The first sound you hear is the high-pitched wheeze of 60 dentists’ drills buzzing inside of open mouths. Splayed out on a show floor generally reserved for millionaire athletes and rock bands are: a hundred dental chairs; five RVs filled with X-ray equipment; mammogram machines; a 60-person triage station; rubber gloved paramedics; long picnic tables of surgical equipment; and about 1,000 recipients of free healthcare. Since last Tuesday and until tomorrow, the Forum in Inglewood is the biggest free healthcare clinic in Los Angeles. The bill will be picked up by the Remote Area Medical Expedition, a 1,300-person volunteer effort of medical professionals. RAM got their start treating villagers in the Amazon in 1985. Now they have ventured to the first world—their first time treating patients in Los Angeles.
Collapse )

Union Bosses to Blue Dogs: You Wont Like It When We Are Angry...

Labor Warns Dems: We'll Sit Out Election If You Oppose Public Plan

One of the country's most prominent union officials is warning that big labor may pull its support from Democrats who don't fight for a government-run insurance plan.

In an interview with the Huffington Post on Saturday, Richard Trumka, the secretary-treasurer and likely next president of the AFL-CIO, said his federation is drawing a line in the sand when it comes to a public option in the health care bill. Lawmakers who don't support the provision, he said, shouldn't take anything for granted.

"We'll look at every one of their votes," Trumka said after his speech at the Netroots Nation convention. "If they're against the Employee Free Choice Act, if they're against health care for that reason, I think it'll be tough for them to get support from working people."

Trumka's remarks were echoed privately by several other labor officials at the convention in Pittsburgh. In particular, the emerging Senate Finance Committee plan - which seems unlikely to contain a public option and could end up taxing pricey health care packages - seems almost guaranteed to incite the unions.

"We'll oppose it," Trumka said, when asked about any bill that ends the tax exemption for employer coverage. "It's actually a stupid concept because if you tax those that have it to pay for those that don't, eventually those that have [benefits] won't. Then who do you ultimately tax?"

Trumka's warning shots come at a time that the AFL-CIO is charting out a more aggressive campaign to target lawmakers who, as one official put it, "take labor's help but don't vote for labor's interests." Part of that process is to hold out the prospect of electoral consequences.
Collapse )

Congressional Investigation Reveals Possible Total of 58 Forge Letters

Five More Forged Letters Uncovered From Bonner & Associates' Work for DC Coal Lobby - Read Them Here

Five new forged letters fraudulently sent to Congressmembers have turned up in an ongoing Congressional investigation into the Astroturf campaign launched by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) and it subcontractor Bonner & Associates.

The newly confirmed forgeries were sent to at least three Congressmembers and all fraudulently claimed to represent the views of elderly services organizations and senior centers, including the non-profit Erie Center on Health & Aging.

A total of 13 letters from nine different community groups have now been verified as forgeries, with dozens more letters still being vetted to determine if they were forged by Bonner & Associates, or actually represented the views of the named signers.

ACCCE hired Bonner & Associates in an attempt to scuttle Democratic support for the Waxman-Markey climate and energy legislation approved earlier this summer by the House of Representatives. ACCCE and Bonner have claimed that the first few forgeries uncovered were the work of a rogue temporary employee whom Bonner has since fired, although that person has not been identified to verify this claim. The newly revealed forgeries indicate that the ACCCE/Bonner Astroturf campaign was surely a more highly coordinated effort than even the best and brightest temp could muster.

In addition to Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) who received previously confirmed forgeries claiming to represent the NAACP as well as Hispanic and women’s advocacy groups, the new letters were also sent to Pennsylvania Reps. Kathy Dahlkemper (D-PA) and Christopher Carney (D-PA). Roll Call reports that "all three Members represent conservative, Republican-leaning districts and could be vulnerable in the 2010 elections."

These three members have received a total of 58 letters - possibly all forgeries - a matter being investigated by the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, chaired by Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA). Chairman Markey has called on ACCCE and Bonner & Associates to verify whether the remaining several dozen letters were also sent fraudulently.

"We have seen fear-mongering with our nations senior citizens with health care, and now were seeing fraud-mongering with senior citizens on clean energy," said Chairman Markey. "Lately, democratic debate has been deceptively debased by fake facts and harsh rhetoric. We must return to an honest discussion of the issues, and ensure that this sort of campaign does not further poison the well of trustworthy debate."

Read all of the fraudulent letters now received by the Select Committee below, courtesy of EnviroKnow.
[All letter links are PDF documents]


Public Option Rally and March Comming to Washington. Tea Party to be Held Previous Day...

Robert Reich calls for 'march on Washington' in support of public option

Robert Reich, the former Labor secretary, scholar and commentator, called Tuesday for a “march on Washington” on Sept. 13 —“Grandparents Day” — in support of a health care bill that offers a public option.

While he said organizing was not his strength, he would be prepared to assist. “If enough people feel that’s the best way for their voices to be heard, and can’t be heard in any other way, then we march,” Reich said in a reader question-and-answer session in POLITICO’s Arena.

A group of conservatives have already announced a “tea party” movement march on Washington for Sept. 12.
An opposing march the next day, if one were to materialize, could make for an interesting weekend.

Reich’s suggested march is the latest manifestation of liberal anger about signs that the Obama administration may be willing to live without a public option if it means a health care bill can become law. “Very few things happen in Washington that are in the public's interest when corporations have huge financial stakes in the game, as they obviously do with health care — unless the public is actively involved, engaged and organized,” Reich wrote. “We won't get a public option, or anything close to it, unless people who feel strongly about it make a racket.”

The “first step is to be very loud and very vocal: Write, phone, e-mail, your congressional delegation and the White House. Second step: Get others to do the same. Third step: Get voters in Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, and other states where Blue Dog Dems and wavering Senate Dems live, and have them make a hell of a fuss. Fourth step: March on Washington.”

He suggested the morning of Sept. 13 because “that's a Sunday, and it's also Grandparents Day. I've just become a grandparent, and I'm worried as hell about the kind of world my little granddaughter is inheriting. “

They must have known this was a likely outcome from the start

Democrats Seem Set to Go Alone on a Health Bill


WASHINGTON — Given hardening Republican opposition to Congressional health care proposals, Democrats now say they see little chance of the minority’s cooperation in approving any overhaul, and are increasingly focused on drawing support for a final plan from within their own ranks.

Top Democrats said Tuesday that their go-it-alone view was being shaped by what they saw as Republicans’ purposely strident tone against health care legislation during this month’s Congressional recess, as well as remarks by leading Republicans that current proposals were flawed beyond repair.

The White House spokesman, Robert Gibbs, said of Republican lawmakers, “Only a handful seem interested in the type of comprehensive reform that so many people believe is necessary to ensure the principles and the goals that the president has laid out.”

Collapse )