THE ABSURD TIMES — STILL

TOON OF THE DAY ~~ 3 EASY WAYS TO ESCALATE TENSION IN JERUSALEM

Posted in Uncategorized by @honestcharlie on July 26, 2017

Does Nitwityahoo look more and more like Tramp?

Desertpeace

Image by Carlos Latuff

Want to know what Netanyahu is thinking?

‘The metal detectors are just the first step’: Palestinians say Israeli takeover of Al Aqsa is red line that can’t be crossed

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East Jerusalem, occupied West Bank — “You have four minutes to leave,” the Israeli police officer yelled aggressively through the megaphone.

The peaceful atmosphere drastically shifted into one of panic within seconds. Girls who were standing on the ledge scrambled to get down to leave, some tripping and falling down over others.

Last Sunday hundreds of Palestinians had lined up in rows inside the Old City’s walls by Lion’s Gate waiting for the late evening prayer. In the hour prior to the beginning of prayer, they occasionally chanted in support of Al Aqsa and the Sheikh delivered his sermon. It was a calm atmosphere where even the officers themselves were standing with relaxed postures…

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Czar Donic sent you a video: “FDR WARNING ABOUT TODAY’S REPUBLICANS”

Posted in Uncategorized by @honestcharlie on July 21, 2017

Sound like anyone?

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FDR WARNING ABOUT TODAY’S REPUBLICANS
by DumDumDeDip
President Franklin D. Roosevelt tells the truth about the leaders of the modern Republican party. Somehow, in 1936, he foresaw what would be happening NOW.

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No copyright infringement is intended. No ownership rights are implied. This video is posted under the "fair use" privileges authorized by the …

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Al-Monitor Daily Briefing: Jordan, Israel trade barbs as tension over Al-Aqsa continues

Posted in Uncategorized by @honestcharlie on July 21, 2017

On the MidEast:

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Al-Monitor Daily Briefing
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Jordan, Israel trade barbs as
tension over Al-Aqsa continues
RTX3C773-270.jpg Osama Al Sharif for Al-Monitor

While Jordan and Israel are keen to preserve the peace treaty and maintain top intelligence and security coordination, the issue of Al-Aqsa Mosque remains a potential deal breaker.

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Military setbacks don’t ensure Islamic State’s demise
Metin Gurcan for Al-Monitor
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Egypt takes stock of neglected antiquities
Khalid Hassan for Al-Monitor
Sinai initiative targets tribal weddings with push for official documents
Reham Mokbel for Al-Monitor
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Iranians pushing boundaries in ‘private sphere’ debate
Mahmoud Pargoo for Al-Monitor
New Tehran mayor likely to be Rouhani ally
Al-Monitor Staff for Al-Monitor
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For a two-state solution, Israel must say bye-bye to Bibi
Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor
Fatah officials defy Abbas on Temple Mount crisis
Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor
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Hezbollah not concerned about cease-fire deal in Syria
Ali Rizk for Al-Monitor
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Palestinian town in Israel shaken by Jerusalem killings
Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor
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The story of a Turkish intellectual’s escape from prison
Sibel Hurtas for Al-Monitor
Turkey’s parliament could be finalizing its own demise
Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor
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Three Things Trump Could Do To Hurt Obamacare

Posted in Uncategorized by @honestcharlie on July 21, 2017

This is a good source for keeping up with facts about the ACA.

A FiveThirtyEight email

TrumpBeat

Friday, Jul. 21, 2017

Welcome to TrumpBeat, FiveThirtyEight’s weekly feature on the latest policy developments in Washington and beyond. Want to get TrumpBeat in your inbox each week? Sign up for our newsletter. Comments, criticism or suggestions for future columns? Email us, or drop a note in the comments.

Republican senators are still sorting out how to accomplish their goal of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. Proposed strategies this week have been all over the place — passing GOP senators’ Better Care Reconciliation Act, doing nothing and letting Obamacare fail, and repealing the ACA and replacing it later. These are very different policy moves that would have very different effects on the health insurance landscape. But all of them have one thing in common: They assume the private insurance marketplaces set up under the Affordable Care Act continue to provide coverage through 2018.

Insurers in most states have submitted proposals for the insurance plans they want to sell in 2018. Those plans are being negotiated and reviewed. According to data compiled by Charles Gaba at ACASignups.net, an independent tracker who supports the ACA, there may be an average 33 percent increase in premiums next year (before subsidies), and around 20 percent of that is due to uncertainty created by the current administration. Although negotiations are ongoing and some states have yet to reveal proposals, those estimates square with statements from insurers and health policy experts. A national average, however, masks huge variations by state: For example, insurers in Vermont and Oregon are seeking relatively small premium increases, while people in New Mexico and Georgia could see steep increases.

There are a variety of reasons for these increases. One is that it’s not clear whether the Trump administration will enforce the mandate that most people have health insurance or pay a fine, though it has already weakened it, which could mean fewer healthy people participating in the marketplaces and higher premiums for those who do. Another is that we don’t know whether President Trump will use marketing and advertising to promote enrollment as the Obama administration did, which has been shown to increase enrollment among healthier people. There are already signs he will not: The Daily Beast reported that the Department of Health and Human Services has been using money earmarked to promote enrollment to create videos attacking Obamacare. And Politico reported that the department canceled contracts with two companies that were supposed to help enroll people during the open enrollment period for next year. Again, fewer healthier people in the marketplaces results in higher premiums.

The other big outstanding question is how Trump and Congress will deal with payments owed to health insurance companies. Insurers are required to give the poorest enrollees discounts on things like deductibles and co-pays; the law intended for the federal government to reimburse those discounts — with Congress appropriating the funds. When Congress refused to do so, Obama made the payments anyway, and Congress sued his administration. (The court case is ongoing.) Trump has been making the payments on a month-by-month basis while threatening to pull them, using the payments as leverage in the ongoing repeal debate in Congress. More than half of people using the marketplaces receive these payments; if insurers aren’t reimbursed, it will push up premiums and could lead some to leave the marketplace.

What the administration does with these three things will help determine premiums for next year, which will also determine who can afford coverage and how much the federal government spends in subsidies. We’ve written about uncertainty and the markets before at TrumpBeat, but it’s worth bearing in mind that the ongoing debate in Congress affects not only future legislation, but also existing law.

Voting integrity: ID check

The 1993 National Voter Registration Act was aimed at making it easier for more Americans to vote by coupling registration opportunities with driver’s license and public assistance applications and making it harder to kick registered voters off the rolls. Now there’s evidence that Kris Kobach, the vice chairman of Trump’s new Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, wants to change that law.

In emails that were released last week as part of a lawsuit brought against him by the American Civil Liberties Union, Kobach wrote of planned legislation that would amend the National Voter Registration Act so that it explicitly allows states to require proof of citizenship — a passport or a birth certificate — for a voter to register. That news has only added fodder for the chorus of criticism aimed at Kobach and his commission.

We’ve written previously about the many problems with Kobach’s claims of widespread voter fraud. The short version: Nobody knows exactly how much illegal voting occurs, but all the available data points to it being extremely rare. Interestingly, though, it’s just as hard to prove the negative effects of the voter ID laws Kobach has championed.

As with illegal voting, it’s difficult to study voter ID laws, and nobody knows for sure whether they reduce turnout — effectively suppressing legal votes. No two states have exactly the same laws, and most of the laws have been in effect for less than five years. Maybe most importantly, there are confounding factors that make it difficult to tease apart cause and effect — for instance, the states that had adopted a strict voter ID law by 2015 already had lower voter turnout than those that did not. That comes from an analysis of peer-reviewed research on this topic published in May by Benjamin Highton, a political scientist at the University of California, Davis. He found just four studies that were designed to account for these kinds of real-world problems; all came up with results that suggest ID laws have very limited impacts (less than 4 percentage points) on voter turnout.

This is unlikely to be the final word on the subject, of course. Scientifically, this question is at the starting gate, not the finish line. But it’s possible that American politics is currently fighting a heated partisan battle over two risks — voter fraud and ID-law-related voter suppression — that are both extremely small.

Immigration: Opening the door

A central plank of Trump’s “America First” campaign platform was a pledge to limit immigration: He vowed to crack down on both illegal immigration and abuse of guest-worker programs that, Trump argued, push down wages for American workers. Since taking office, Trump has stuck with his “hire American” rhetoric, signing an executive order that tightened rules on visas for foreign workers and pledging to overhaul the legal immigration system

This week, however, Trump’s Department of Homeland Security said it would increase the number of visas for workers in low-wage industries that rely on temporary employees. The department announced that it was adding 15,000 H-2B visas for workers in seasonal, nonagricultural jobs, a 45 percent increase from what is normally issued for the second half of the fiscal year.

The H-2B announcement scrambled the usual politics of immigration. Business groups, which have often expressed concern about Trump’s hostility to immigration, praised the decision, saying that they need temporary foreign workers to fill labor shortages in the hospitality, construction and seafood industries. Meanwhile, the Center for Immigration Studies, an independent research organization that advocates for limited immigration, criticized the move, which it argued takes jobs away from a pool of U.S. workers. (The group noted that the White House declared this “Made in America” week and highlighted the administration’s hire-American policies.)

In its announcement, the Department of Homeland Security noted that businesses only qualify for the visas if they can prove that they are likely to “suffer irreparable harm” if unable to hire foreign workers. But critics are skeptical that labor shortages are as severe as companies claim. The Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank that Trump has aligned himself with on certain issues, argued in a recent report that almost all of the top 10 occupations for H-2B workers have relatively high unemployment rates and have experienced stagnant or declining wages since 2004. That, the group argues, suggests there is no shortage of available workers, at least on a national level. (The report does note that it is possible that states and local areas are experiencing a limited labor pool for these jobs but claims the H-2B program maintains a framework that exploits foreign workers.)

It isn’t clear why Trump agreed to increase the H-2B program even as his administration is cracking down on visas available to skilled workers in areas such as tech and limiting other routes of legal immigration. But it’s worth noting that Trump himself has used H2-B visas in the past to hire temporary workers for his resorts and hotels and even remarked on the difficulties of hiring part-time workers during a debate last year.

The Absurd Times Gaza — Our Future

Posted in Uncategorized by @honestcharlie on July 19, 2017

The Absurd Times

On the way to school in Gaza.

I have to tell all of you that this is no longer worthwhile to me or anyone else.

We have one last interview for you that show what is in store for the entire world eventually, not just Gaza. However, it is what is happening in Gaza, and how it is happening, that is the reason it will spread worldwide. The same attitude of those in power, those with the capital at present, are determined to do this to everyone for their own accumulation of capital until they are the only ones left. They do not realize that everyone else will be gone by that time, nor would they care.

Perhaps in the future things will change enough, as there are possibilities. Right now, however, the Absurd is clear to see for anyone with a mind. Those without one will never see it, no matter how many voices they hear or manage to stifle or shut out.

So, this is it for at least a while:

Israeli-imposed restrictions have limited electricity in Gaza to barely four hours a day, creating a humanitarian catastrophe for its 2 million residents. In 2012, the World Health Organization warned that Gaza would be uninhabitable by 2020. The U.N. now says the area has already become unlivable, with living conditions in Gaza deteriorating faster than expected. We go directly to Gaza to speak with Raji Sourani, an award-winning human rights lawyer and director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza. We also speak with Tareq Baconi, author of the forthcoming book, "Hamas Contained: The Rise & Pacification of Palestinian Resistance." He is a policy fellow at Al-Shabaka, The Palestinian Policy Network.

Gaza — Our Future

Posted in Uncategorized by @honestcharlie on July 19, 2017

The Absurd Times

On the way to school in Gaza.

I have to tell all of you that this is no longer worthwhile to me or anyone else.

We have one last interview for you that show what is in store for the entire world eventually, not just Gaza. However, it is what is happening in Gaza, and how it is happening, that is the reason it will spread worldwide. The same attitude of those in power, those with the capital at present, are determined to do this to everyone for their own accumulation of capital until they are the only ones left. They do not realize that everyone else will be gone by that time, nor would they care.

Perhaps in the future things will change enough, as there are possibilities. Right now, however, the Absurd is clear to see for anyone with a mind. Those without one will never see it, no matter how many voices they hear or manage to stifle or shut out.

So, this is it for at least a while:

Israeli-imposed restrictions have limited electricity in Gaza to barely four hours a day, creating a humanitarian catastrophe for its 2 million residents. In 2012, the World Health Organization warned that Gaza would be uninhabitable by 2020. The U.N. now says the area has already become unlivable, with living conditions in Gaza deteriorating faster than expected. We go directly to Gaza to speak with Raji Sourani, an award-winning human rights lawyer and director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza. We also speak with Tareq Baconi, author of the forthcoming book, “Hamas Contained: The Rise & Pacification of Palestinian Resistance.” He is a policy fellow at Al-Shabaka, The Palestinian Policy Network.

MUST SEE VIDEO ~~ ‘THIS IS PALESTINE’

Posted in Uncategorized by @honestcharlie on July 19, 2017

Desertpeace

 

Nothing new here for anyone aware of ground zero in Palestine or has been awake the past 50 years, but footage of some heart-wrenching scenes reminds us all that there are real people behind the daily headlines and statistics.

Shared by Sam Bahour, with thanks

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ISRAEL’S FAKE HSTORY

Posted in Uncategorized by @honestcharlie on July 13, 2017

Desertpeace

There is no contradiction between a site being Palestinian and Jewish at the same time. But for Netanyahu there is.

The many outraged Israeli politicians are creating fake news, manipulating history in fake ways, and blaming it on UNESCO

Image by Carlos Latuff

Israel charges UNESCO with ‘Fake history’

Israel charges UNESCO with ‘Fake history’

“This irrelevant organization promotes FAKE HISTORY”, wrote Israel’s Foreign ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon two days ago concerning UNESCO, after the latter voted on a resolution to include Al-Khalil (Hebron) and the Al-Ibrahimi mosque (Tomb of Patriarchs) as Palestinian World Heritage sites.

The blast from Israeli officials didn’t stop there. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman called the organization “anti-Semitic”, the supposed liberal President Reuven Rivlin said that “UNESCO seems intent on sprouting anti-Jewish lies”, and even Labor’s Merav Michaeli called the resolution “insane”.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, faithful to his ways of persuasion, took to twitter…

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WHAT WILL ISRAEL DO WITH 7 MILLION PALESTINIANS?

Posted in Uncategorized by @honestcharlie on July 11, 2017

Desertpeace

We are thoroughly inured to poverty, pain,  agony, and harsh life,  so no matter what Israel does to us short of physical extermination,  we will remain a thorn in its side until Israel’s comes to terms with our humanity and human rights, including the right to absolute  equality.  After all, Ismael was not a child of a lesser God.

What will Israel do with 7 Million Palestinians?
By Khalid Amayreh
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The Palestinian Bureau of Statistics (PBS) has published the latest data on Palestinian demography in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.  According to the published data, the Palestinian population of the occupied Palestinian territories (the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip) has reached 4.95 million. And if we add up the estimated 2 million Palestinians living in Israel proper, the overall number of Palestinians living within mandatory Palestine will be around 7 million.   If not already, the…

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The Absurd Times The Way Forward

Posted in Uncategorized by @honestcharlie on July 6, 2017


THE ABSURD TIMES

I have been wanting a precise definition of a MEME for some time now and this was sent to me as a MEME. So, we have the illustration, and all we need is the definition. It is a noun.

Some time ago, we said that the Democratic Party had to reorganize itself and, more importantly, reorient itself. It needs to represent the people, not the upper 1% or even less. It used to be the refuge of labor unions, individuals, and people, as opposed to the big business Republicans. It had that reputation. Now, it is beholden to a neo-liberal program of expansion, globalism, intervention, and capitalism in the worst sense of the word – the sort that gave us the Great Depression that FDR dragged us out of, using many of the ideas of Eugene Debs, in order "to save my friends from themselves’. (Direct quote).

There is a world out there, beyond Amerika and, believe it or not, Germany leads the way. France is joining now. We are obsessed with ourselves. At any rate, Bernie Sanders described a rather mild corrective, a painless way for the party to regain its credibility and popularity. The entire program is here:

Last month more than 4,000 people gathered in Chicago for the People’s Summit. Independent senator, former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders delivered the keynote speech. During his speech, he repeatedly criticized the Democratic Party, calling it an "absolute failure," and blaming it for the election of President Trump. "I’m often asked by the media and others: How did it come about that Donald Trump, the most unpopular presidential candidate in the modern history of our country, won the election?" Sanders said. "And my answer is that Trump didn’t win the election; the Democratic Party lost the election. Let us be very, very clear: The current model and the current strategy of the Democratic Party is an absolute failure."

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