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Member since: Sat Dec 6, 2008, 11:53 AM
Number of posts: 11,893

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Biden wants a woman as his running mate. Val Demings could be the one.

If what happened on Super Tuesday is any indication of what will happen in Florida’s primary, I think that we’re gonna be in really good shape,” Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.) told me during an interview last week. She was right. Despite disruptions due to the coronavirus, Florida saw record turnout that powered the 40-point victory of former vice president Joe Biden, whom Demings endorsed.

Demings wouldn’t engage in direct political talk when I asked her about Biden’s remaining rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), especially given his comments about the late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. Demings’s reticence was unsurprising since we were sitting in her Capitol Hill office, where such talk runs afoul of the rules. But she found a way to get her point across.

“I certainly will not guess about what Sen. Sanders said or what he meant to say. But what I do know is that several people who live in a very diverse state were upset by those comments,” Demings, a former police chief in Orlando, told me when I asked whether Sanders’s praise for Castro’s literacy programs was damaging in the Sunshine State. “We’re in the middle of a race. We’re going to let Floridians decide.”


With antisemitic hate crimes in Germany there seems to be classification issues.

Doubts about the ministry’s methodology have become more pronounced as its data have increasingly diverged with information from across Western Europe — and from the perceptions of German Jews themselves.

Last month, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said that supporters of far-right groups were responsible for about 90 percent of the 1,800 recorded anti-Semitic incidents recorded in Germany in 2018, a 20 percent increase over the previous year.

In France, by contrast, more than half of anti-Semitism incidents, and virtually all the violent ones, are perpetrated by immigrants from Muslim countries or their descendants, according to the National Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism.

In Britain, the Community Security Trust suggests that far-right perpetrators are responsible for 50-60 percent of the incidents where victims offered a physical description of their attackers. This happened in about 30 percent of 1,652 cases in 2018, a 19 percent hike from the previous year.

In the Netherlands, the previous director of CIDI, the country’s foremost watchdog on anti-Semitism, said that Muslims and Arabs are responsible for about 70 percent of all cases recorded in any given year.

In a 2016 survey of hundreds of German Jews who had experienced anti-Semitic incidents, 41 percent said the perpetrator was “someone with a Muslim extremist view” and another 16 percent said it was someone from the far left. Only 20 percent identified their aggressors as belonging to the far-right.

“There is clearly a mismatch here, and it speaks to the inaccuracy of the German official statistics,” the RIAS researcher Poensgen said.


Poensgen doubted that official German statistics are being deliberately mislabeled for political purposes.

“Most likely it’s the result of an out-of-date classification system, that for historical reasons is designed to monitor far-right anti-Semitism,” he said.

He cited one case in 2014 in which about 20 men shouted the Nazi slogan “Sieg heil” at an al-Quds Day march, an annual pro-Palestinian event where the mostly Muslim participants typically chant anti-Israel and anti-American slogans. The episode appears as a far-right incident in the Interior Ministry’s records.

Such mislabeling does, however, help the German far-right’s attempt to discredit the government, Poensgen said.


For special-needs kids, New Jersey rabbi offers chance of a 'LifeTown'

LIVINGSTON, N.J. (Reuters) - Looking out of his office window, Rabbi Zalman Grossbaum finds it hard to get work done as he watches kids enjoying the miniature town he built for them.

The village of storefronts inside his enclosed “LifeTown” complex in Livingston, New Jersey, lets children with special needs - “special abilities,” Grossbaum insists - hone their social skills, and he always wants to join them.

“I feel this magnetic pull to come out here and to be with the kids and experience life with the kids, because there’s something absolutely magical for what happens here,” Grossbaum said standing in the miniature town, known as LifeTown Shoppes.

If there is any lingering frustration over the seven years it took to convert the 53,000 square-foot (4,924 square-meter) building into his dream, including a year of construction that stretched into three, Grossbaum does not show it.


'Mensch' Joe Biden sees surge in Jewish support

Many American Jewish leaders may be able to talk about the first time they met Joe Biden – the guy has, after all, been a fixture in Washington for 44 years – but Rabbi Michael Beals’ story is a doozy: He met Biden at a shiva call.

In 2006, Biden was still a Democratic Senator from Delaware, and Beals was the newly-installed spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Shalom in that state’s largest city, Wilmington. A synagogue member named Sylvia Greenhouse had died at the age of 83, and her apartment was too small to fit the gathered mourners, so Beals was leading a service in the building’s laundry room, and in walked the state’s senior Senator.

Biden explained to the rabbi that in every election campaign since his first Senate run in 1972, Greenhouse, a retired DMV employee, had sent him donations of $18 – a number that in Judaism symbolizes life. So Biden was there to pay his respects.

“And nobody was covering it, nobody from the press, there wasn’t an assistant,” Beals recounted. “It’s just who he is.”


The BDS Faith: Judaism without Zion


Jews don’t know what antisemitism is because they don’t have the right definition of Judaism. Such is the claim of many self-identified progressives who deny Israel’s right to exist. Israel has no connection to Judaism, they say, so therefore anti-Zionism has no connection to antisemitism. William Kolbrener explains why they are wrong.

Those advocates of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement who claim no connection between antisemitism and anti-Zionism have their own definitions of both antisemitism and Judaism. For them, religion, revolves around faith, as it does for Christians, but not the distinctly Jewish conception of nationhood – so that the State of Israel is seen not as a genuine expression of Judaism, but a cynical colonialist grab for power. This is one thing Trump gets right – Judaism is a nation before a religion in the Christian sense.

The refusal of Jewish exceptionalism has a long history. BDS-supporting progressives, wearing the multi-cultured garment of intersectionality, are not unlike most Christians before the founding of State of Israel: both seek to deny Jewish difference. The idea that ‘there is no Jew nor Greek,’ asserted by the apostle Paul, informs contemporary progressive versions of community. Such progressives may bristle at hearing themselves described as akin to Christian universalism, but in their urge to deny Jewish difference, they show many affinities to older forms of antisemitism. Just as they did in relationship to Christianity, today Jews give the lie to universalist claims. Then, as now, the Jew is made the excluded outsider, the one difference excluded from the universalism of difference.

Today, the most obvious expression of Jewish exceptionalism is the State of Israel, and thus the target of antisemitic attack. For those progressives who reject Judaism as defined through peoplehood and practices, mere Judaism as faith does not justify Jewish nationhood, in fact it’s an affront to their sensibility, a betrayal of what real faith should be. But Judaism encompasses every aspect of public and private life – mandating not only laws about diet, sex and work, but laws in relationship to farming, commerce, charity. The latter category of laws also includes ways in which produce of the Land of Israel must be designated for the poor. That is, Judaism imagines itself – in its ideal form – as a way of life and aspires to found that encompassing life in relationship to Jewish community in the Land of Israel. This is the way Jewish peoplehood has been expressed as an ideal in exile for at least two thousand years, and as a lived reality, however flawed, in the current State of Israel. Those who advocate BDS, however, having determined what Judaism is, can go ahead and deny any connection between anti-Zionism and antisemitism, calling out the Jewish State as colonialist because they insist that religion, and therefore Judaism, must be determined by faith alone.


In Bay Area, candid Israeli historian Benny Morris sounds off on genocide and politics

Israeli historian Benny Morris doesn’t write to please his audience. “I don’t care about hasbara,” he told J., using the Hebrew word for public-relations efforts to portray Israel in a positive light to the rest of the world. “People who want to defend this or that cause, they work in foreign ministries, they work in other places. I work on history.”

Morris, who has written or edited a dozen books, is considered one of Israel’s preeminent historians. His 2008 tome “1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War” earned him the National Jewish Book Award in history. Considered a revisionist, he is one of three so-called “New Historians” who emerged in the 1980s and became known for challenging accepted narratives about Israel’s founding.

In the 1980s, Morris used state archives and newly declassified materials to write “The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem,” a seminal work that took aim at the falsehoods underlying both traditional Israeli and mainstream Arab versions of the 1948 war.

The documents he reviewed showed the 700,000 or so Arabs who had fled their homes during what they refer to as the “nakba,” or the catastrophe, “had not done so, by and large, on orders from” Palestinian or Arab leaders, or autonomously, as many Israelis were led to believe. Nor were they systematically expelled as part of a “master plan,” as many Palestinians were taught, he summarized in a piece for the Guardian in 2012.


I get these ice spikes in my freezer, this is an unusual one.

They usually are tilted and thin like spears. This one is pretty solid and hefty.

ETA they emerge from my ice cube trays.

It was the Zionists.

As stupid as that sounds, this is what happens when a small group of media people build their careers on the I/P conflict and see the world events though their warped perspective.

Not posting the link itself, I know nothing about "the greyzone". Max really outdid himself with this one, he really is a master of innuendo.


Why are George Soros and Charles Koch collaborating on a U.S.-bashing think tank?

George Soros is rightly regarded as one of the most consequential advocates of freedom in Central and Eastern Europe. Years before the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Hungarian-born financier began investing his fortune in democratic dissidents. Once the Berlin Wall fell, his Open Society Foundations rapidly opened offices across the region, providing crucial support to independent journalists, civil-society activists and liberal-minded politicians.

It is this steadfast support for democracy that makes Soros’s latest gambit so confusing. The liberal philanthropist has joined forces with fellow billionaire Charles Koch in founding a foreign policy think tank, the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Disparaging “the foreign policy community in Washington” for having "succumbed to intellectual lethargy and dysfunction,” the institute will advocate “a new foreign policy centered on diplomatic engagement and military restraint.” On most issues, the liberal Soros and the libertarian Koch exist on opposite ends of the political spectrum. That they are collaborating on foreign policy may be a harbinger of a new left-right consensus favoring isolationism.


In a recent podcast, Koch explained the purpose of the institute, inaccurately quoting its namesake. “We go not abroad in search of monsters to destroy, we’re the friends of all nations, and allies of none.” John Quincy Adams did indeed utter the first part of that phrase, beloved by noninterventionists. But he said nothing of the sort about America not having allies.

That Koch would impute a distaste for alliances to Adams is revealing. Alliances have been the mainstay of U.S. foreign policy since the end of World War II, ensuring more than seven decades of unprecedented peace and prosperity. The alliance structures and partnerships the United States has forged, embodied by institutions such as NATO and bilateral agreements with nations including Australia, Colombia, Japan and India, ensure global order, freedom of commerce, and human rights. Koch also complained about our “over 800 bases around the world,” as if these were agents of aggression and not projections of stability.


You know who loves Western non-interventionism? Vladimir Putin, which is why it's the cornerstone of Russian propaganda efforts.

Hospitals need to be nationalized.

Fucking around with insurance, mfa, single payer will never address the underlying problems with cost.

ETA- this is a great example where the capitalistic model doesn't work. Ask yourself why there is such a huge range in pricing.

estimates that a laparoscopic appendectomy (the type that Bates had) ranges from $9,678 to more than $30,000 in Bates' ZIP code. The "fair price" it suggests for the surgery is a little over $12,000 — completely in the ballpark of the $12,944 that Bates and his insurer already paid the hospital. Fair Health, another site that collects claims data, estimates total costs for an out-of-network appendectomy at $19,292 — about $11,000 less than the hospital says Bates still owes.
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