Thursday, October 31, 2013

Anti-Defamation League's Top 10 Anti-Israeli Groups


Anti-Defamation League's Top 10 Anti-Israeli Groups

by Stephen Lendman

ADL fronts for Jewish supremacy. It supports Israeli rights over Arabs. It backs occupation harshness. It believes colonizing Palestine for dominance and exploitation is OK.

It's one of 52 Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organization (CPMAJO) Zionist organizations.

They disseminate pro-Israeli propaganda. They conduct smear campaigns against its critics. They spew hate and malicious lies.

They do so under the ruse of fighting anti-semitism. They claim support for human rights equitably for all. Their policies are polar opposite.

ADL's history is long and disturbing. It's shamelessly loathsome. It believes Arabs are inferior to Jews.

It wants Palestinians denied self-determination. It believes Jews alone have rights. 

It favors conflict over peace, equity and justice. It's a monument to unfairness. It substitutes myths for facts. It spews hate. It's a rogue organization writ large.

It publishes an annual top 10 anti-Israeli organization list. On October 21, a press release headlined "ADL Lists Top 10 Anti-Israeli Groups in America in 2013," saying:

They're "fixated with delegitimizing Israel." They "demonstrated the ability to reach new segments of the American public with a hostile and misleading narrative about Israel."

According to national director Abe Foxman:

"The Top 10 anti-Israel groups are the most significant players in the domestic anti-Israel movement today." 

They prioritize "delegitimizing Israel and convincing the American public that (it's) an international villain that deserves to be ostracized and isolated."

It's all that and then some. Don't expect Foxman to explain.

"In compiling its list, ADL considered various criteria," it said.

They include:

  • organizing ability;

  • sponsoring and endorsing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns;

  • sponsoring and participating in anti-Israeli rallies, panel discussions or conferences; and

  • pursuing anti-Israeli lobbying and other policy initiatives.

Israel and influential Jews exert enormous sway over government and media policy, they say.

Israel is compared to Nazi Germany. One state for Jews and Arabs is advocated.

Support is given to legitimate resistance groups Israel wrongfully calls terrorist organizations.

According to Foxman:

ADL's top ten represents "the worst of the worst anti-Israel groups."

"They lob any and every accusation against Israel, including charges of Nazi-like crimes, 'apartheid' policies, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and genocide." 

"Their accusations are rarely, if ever, balanced with an acknowledgement of Israel's repeated efforts to make peace with the Palestinians, or the legitimate terrorism concerns faced by Israeli citizens."

Foxman masquerades as a human rights champion. He consistently turns truth on its head. His lies long ago wore thin. He repeats them ad nauseam.

He's a longstanding Islamophobe. He ignores rule of law principles. He supports the worst of Israeli crimes.

He deplores the notion of Arabs and Jews having equal rights. He endorses greater apartheid harshness than Black South Africans endured.

He menaces peaceful conflict resolution. He's done so throughout his career.

His top 10 list in alphabetical order includes:

(1) ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism)

It's an activist group against war, imperialism, bigotry, civil and human rights, as well as Palestinian equity and justice.

Its right over wrong agenda trumps Zionist hatemongering.

(2) American Muslims for Palestine (AMP)

It's a national education and advocacy organization. Making ADL's list proves it's "hitting the mark," it said.

According to national media and communications director Kristin Szremski:

"In trying to defame us, (ADL) recogniz(es) the impact of our work in educating the American public about Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian people."

"Of course we provide training about recognizing and exposing Zionist organizations."

It's 'because Zionism is racist. (It) has at its core the call for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Palestine. The American public deserves to know the truth."

(3) CODEPINK

It calls itself "a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement." It opposes "US funded wars and occupations."

It challenges global militarism. It "redirects (its) resources into health care, education, green jobs, and other life-affirming activities."

It's not exclusively for women. Co-founders Medea Benjamin, Diane Wilson, and Starhawk urge male participation. 

At the same time, it especially wants "mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and daughters, female workers, students, teachers, healers, artists, writers, singers, poets and all outraged woman (to) rise up (against) global militarism."

(4) Friends of Sabeel-North America (FOSNA)

It "promotes awareness and understanding" of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

It does so "through educational programs for North American Christians."

It "seeks reconciliation between people of the Holy Land in a vision of peace based on principles of a just peace." 

It prioritizes "the urgency of ending US support for Israel's illegal military occupation."

(5) If Americans Knew (IAK)/Council for the National Interest (CNI)

IAK calls its mission "inform(ing) and educat(ing) the American public on issues of major significance that are unreported, underreported, or misreported in the American media."

It believes conflict resolution and justice depend on revealing vital truths major media scoundrels suppress.

Founder Alison Weir acknowledged making ADL's top 10 list. "We are pleased ADL noticed," she said.

"We are pleased to announce that (IAK) is in this elite group of principled organizations."

Weir is a longtime member of ADL's top five Americans against Israeli injustice.

The Council for the National Interest (CNI) "works for US Middle East policies that represent the highest values of our founders and our citizens and that work to sustain a nation of honor, decency, security, and prosperity."

It congratulated its other truth-telling comrades for making ADL's top 10 list. "(Y)ou are the pride of the United States and the whole world," it said.

"It's one of the highest accolades truth-telling fighters against racism and bigotry could hope for." 

(6) Jewish Voices for Peace (JVP)

It seeks equity, peace, security, and self-determination for Israelis and Palestinians.

It does so through "grassroots organizing, education, advocacy, and media." 

It calls itself the only US Jewish organization providing a voice for Jews and their allies seeking peace "through justice and full equality for Jews and Muslims alike."

(7) Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC)

It "informs and shapes public opinion and policy by serving as a trusted resource (for) decision makers in government, media and policy institutions."

It's committed to "enhancing the political and civic participation of American Muslims."

It "promot(es) Islamic values of mercy, justice, peace, human dignity, freedom and equality for all."

ADL advocates polar opposite policies.

(8) Neturei Karta

It promotes Torah Judaism. "Its only loyalty is to G-d and His revelation."

It believes Jews were exiled "due to Divine decree."

It's anti-Zionist. It calls its ideology "heresy." It rejects its "aggression against all peoples."

"Today this cruelty manifests itself primarily in the brutal treatment of the Palestinian people," it said.

It claims doing so violates core Torah principles. It seeks peace and reconciliation with all peoples and nations.

Furthering it is especially vital in Middle East Islamic countries, it says. It's where Zionists have "done so much to ruin Jewish - Muslim understanding."

It welcomes everyone of good will to join them.

(9) Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)

It opposes apartheid and occupation. It does so through protests, memorials, and other initiatives. 

It highlights the plight of Palestinians against longstanding Israeli aggression and occupation.

(10) US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

It's a "diverse coalition working for freedom from occupation and equal rights…" 

It does so "by challenging US policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." It seeks peace, justice, and conciliation by "chang(ing) the US role." It calls its initiative the essential way to do it.

Policies ADL and 51 other Zionist organizations endorse are polar opposite those the above organizations support.

They believe peace, equity and justice are verboten. They support wrong over right. They promote Israeli supremacy, exceptionalism and specialness.

They're comfortable about its belligerence, persecution, racism, occupation harshness and land theft.

They believe Israel's rights alone matter. They claim it has a divine right to all parts of Judea and Samaria it wishes. They consider Arabs subhuman. It shows in their longstanding hatemongering policies.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Remembering Michael Mandel


Remembering Michael Mandel

by Stephen Lendman

On October 27, Mandel died peacefully at home. He passed from cardiac amyloidosis. It's a rare heart disease. It causes arrhythmias, heart blockage disturbances and death.

He died in his 67th year. He went much too soon. He was too good a man to lose. He's badly missed.

He was seriously ill for months. He was a good friend. He was a valued guest on this writer's Progressive Radio News Hour. Since earlier this year, he was too ill to return.

He's survived by his wife Karen, children Max, Giulia, Lucy, Tevi and Orly, and sister Sharon Fuller.

For 39 years, he was Professor of Law at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Toronto, Ontario. 

He was its longest serving full-time professor. Though ill, he taught until last spring. He was determined to finish the term. He owed it to his students, he believed.

He taught criminal law, international criminal law, the law of war, constitutional law, and legal politics. His main scholarly interests included the law of war and international criminal law.

He taught at the University of Saskatchewan, McMaster University, and the University of Toronto. 

He taught and lectured at several major Italian universities. They included Torino, Trento, Padova, Napoli, Calabria, and the European University Institute in Florence.

He ran the University of Bologna's law student exchange program.

In 1998, he was Hebrew University of Jerusalem Faculty of Law Visiting Professor.

He was a Lawyers Against the War founding member. It's a volunteer organization against war. It calls for ending ongoing illegal ones. It's "an international group of lawyers and others who:

  • support the use of national and international law to settle disputes, prosecute offenders, and protect human rights; 

  • oppose the illegal use of force between states, in particular the illegal US-led use of force against Afghanistan and Iraq; and 

  • support the rule of law and adherence to international law."

It's affiliated with:

  • Lawyers Against the War in the United Kingdom;

  • Lawyers for Peace in the Netherlands; and

  • Swedish-based Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research (TFF).

It urges other anti-war supporters to join them.

Mandel's published works include: 




Edward Herman called it "a perfect antidote to 'humanitarian intervention.' " US wars reflect "law of the jungle" justice. 

The business of America is lawless, aggressive, preemptive war. Direct and proxy ones persist against nonbelligerent states. America gets away with murder and then some. It does so with impunity.

Who'll challenge the world's only remaining superpower? Who'll go up against hegemonic extremism? War on humanity continues. 

Rogues, thugs and criminals run America. They make policy. They govern ruthlessly. They make mafia bosses look saintly by comparison.

Herman called Mandel's book must reading "for those who want to understand how the United States is ignoring, using and reshaping international law to serve its imperial interests."

He discussed Justice Robert's Jackson's "supreme crime" Nuremberg declaration. It's more than ever relevant today. US belligerence is out-of-control. War on humanity continues. 

Jackson said:

"To initiate a war of aggression...is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from the other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."

The Nuremberg Tribunal defined crimes against peace as:

"(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances; (and)

(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i)."

After WW I, Kellogg-Briand (in 1928) renounced aggressive war. It prohibited its use as "an instrument of national policy." It did so except in self-defense.

Sixty-three nations were signatories. They included America, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Soviet Russia, and Japan. 

The US Senate approved the treaty 85 - 1. Like Nuremberg, it's binding international law. It's automatically US law under the Constitution's Supremacy Clause (Article VI, Clause 2).

Washington's war machine hardly slowed. WW II followed. So did numerous direct and proxy wars when it ended. They persist globally. They're responsible for millions of lost lives. Many more die daily.

US wars show no signs of ending. They represent today's greatest threat. Peace is verboten. 

Lawless, aggressive, preemptive wars against nonbelligerent states reflect the American way. It's a national addiction. It defines what this country stands for.

Mandel challenged US/NATO aggression responsibly. He devoted his time and energy to supporting right over wrong. He wrote his own obituary. 

He wants to be remembered as an educator of lawyers, a proud father, a lifelong musician, and "radical left-wing activist" in the best sense of its meaning.

He taught at least 4,000 lawyers. "At first, a mere 26 years old, (he) found his students intimidating, but, gradually, (he) grew to love them and found real joy in teaching, a feeling most students seemed to reciprocate," he said.

His wife Karen said "(h)e had a sense of the things that were important to him."

Osgoode Hall Law School dean Lorne Sossin was one of his students. "He's been an extraordinary mentor, dedicated to so many students over the years," Sossin said.

"As a student, I remember that energy in the classroom as he would provoke students to express views, to figure out what they were about, and he (was) very honest about his (views)." 

"But when it came to assessing your work, he measured it by how effective each student was, not by whether they agreed with him."

He helped shape Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms debates. He feared they would overly politicize courts.

His later anti-war activism mattered most. He led an international legal effort against NATO leaders. 

He wanted them indicted for 1999 Yugoslavia war crimes. He was vocally outspoken against post-9/11 wars. He condemned imperial lawlessness.

At a 2002 anti-Iraq war rally, he called Bush administration officials  "a bunch of thugs in the White House."

At a 2004 Ottawa anti-Bush rally, he called him "a homicidal maniac."

On October 7, US forces lawlessly attacked Afghanistan. War continues without end. It's America's longest war. It's longer than WW I and II combined.

On October 9, Mandel headlined "This War is Illegal," saying:

"A well-kept secret about the US-UK attack on Afghanistan is that it is clearly illegal." 

"It violates international law and the express words of the United Nations Charter."

No country may attack another except in self-defense. It may only do so until the Security Council acts. It has final say.

The Council passed two resolutions condemning the 9/11 attack, said Mandel. "Neither resolution can remotely be said to authorize the use of military force."

"(T)he right of unilateral self-defense does not include the right to retaliate once an attack has stopped."

It prohibits doing so against a nonbelligerent country. Afghanistan had nothing to do with 9/11.

"Since the United States and Britain have undertaken this attack without the explicit authorization of the Security Council, those who die from it will be victims of a crime against humanity, just like the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks," said Mandel.

"Even the Security Council is only permitted to authorize the use of force where necessary to maintain and restore international peace and security."

Attacking Afghanistan (Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, and Yemen, etc.) have nothing to with preventing terrorism. Aggressive wars provoke it.

"For all that changed since Sept. 11, one thing that has not changed is (America's) disregard for international law," Mandel explained.

US contempt for rule of law principles is longstanding. It's more than ever so today. All US wars are illegal.

"We are all at risk," said Mandel. He understood to his last breath. He called attacking Afghanistan "the beginning of a headlong plunge into a violent, lawless world." 

He dedicated himself to challenging it responsibly. He did so until illness left him bed ridden.

Lawyers' Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) is a committee of Canadian lawyers. It's dedicated to promoting human rights and rule of law principles. 

It supports endangered human rights defenders worldwide. It works cooperatively with other human rights organizations.

According to LRWC founder Gail Davidson:

"Those of us who practice law in safe environments such as Canada owe a duty to those who risk not only their freedom but also their lives in order to protect their clients' rights."

Davidson called Mandel "irreplaceable. (T)here's nobody in Canada that I can think of who is of (his) stature that is always willing to speak up on behalf of peace and against war and the illegal use of force.' "

"(H)e mentored and inspired a lot of people in the peace movement in Canada."

His other passion was music. He trained as an opera tenor in Italy. His father, Max, had a Toronto Yiddish radio show. He learned his father's Yiddish songs.

He spent his last few years researching information about Yiddish radio culture. His wife Karen called it "a labor of love." He passed it on to his children. His son Max is an accomplished violinist.

Ed Corrigan emailed this message:

"The Canadian Jewish community, Independent Jewish Voices, and Canadian Legal Community lost a great critical thinker and friend."

In the 1980s, Corrigan worked with Mandel. He maintained contact with him. "He was a friend of mine," he said.

"He was a great friend of the Palestinians. His idealism and critical legal thinking hopefully has been passed on to his many students."

A Personal Note

On October 19, Michael and I last exchanged emails. Earlier he explained he was on borrowed time. He could go any time. He hung on weeks longer than expected. 

It wasn't easy. He needed lots of help from loved ones and medical providers. His family expressed gratitude for the extraordinary care they gave.

Those involved included Drs. John Janevski, James Downar, Herbert Ho Ping Kong, Rodney Falk, and Harry Rakowski, Nurse Practitioner Helen Pappas, C-Care Nurse Regine Maranion, and many others too numerous to mention.

Michael's funeral was on October 28. He's interred at Dawes Road Cemetery, Toronto. Judaic tradition includes shiva. It's a week-long mourning period. It begins immediately after burial. 

The ritual is called a "sitting shiva." Family and friends pay tribute. It continues for Michael through Sunday morning, November 3.

His last email mentioned good news and bad. "I'm in decline," he said. "I'm relying more and more on painkillers than before."

"The good news is that I was stable enough (for) a pared-down Bar Mitzvah for my son at our house. It was today (Saturday). It was originally scheduled two years earlier."

Michael wasn't religious. At the same time, he "loved participating in the old Jewish traditions."

"We worked like dogs to get it done," he said, "and the day was a complete miracle, with my son conquering all the tasks assigned him, lots of music from my musical family, and food and drink and friends and relations."

"My 99-year-old uncle blessed the challah. I got out of my pajamas, wires and pumps, dressed up, and had a day off from my illness." 

"Now I'm back in them, but I feel that we accomplished something. We had cancelled the whole thing, then rescheduled this version." 

"My son, indeed everybody, was very happy. They could do it with me around." 
  
"I don't know where that leaves things, but, like somebody said about the French Revolution - it's too early to assess its effects!"

"Be well!

Michael" 

He was one of the best. He's gone to his just reward. His spirit remains. He leaves a huge void to fill. Hopefully thousands of lawyers he trained and many others he inspired are up to the task.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

http://www.dailycensored.com/remembering-michael-mandel/

Iranian Reality v. US/Israeli Lies


Iranian Reality v. US/Israeli Lies

by Stephen Lendman

Beating up on Iran is longstanding. For Israel, Washington and most Western states, the Islamic Republic can do no right.

Lies substitute for truth. Fiction pretends it's fact. Iran's nuclear program is entirely peaceful. No evidence suggests otherwise.

Iran threatens no one. Not according to New York Times editors. "No country feels more threatened than Israel," they say. 

This type bluster rings hollow. Iran hasn't attacked another country in centuries. It threatens none now. Don't expect Times editors to explain.

Washington Post editors claim Iran's legitimate uranium enrichment "pose(s) a sizable obstacle." Any deal reached in Geneva "require(s) far greater concessions than (it) appears to be contemplating," they say.

"No sanctions relief should be granted unless Iran takes steps that decisively push back its potential time frame for producing the core of a nuclear warhead."

Wall Street Journal editors want "pain Iran can believe in." Without tougher sanctions they believe diplomacy has no chance to succeed.

Israel demands Iran cease all uranium enrichment. It's silent about its longstanding nuclear weapons program. 

It's formidable. It's verboten to discuss it. WaPo, Times, WSJ, and other US major media editors say nothing. Beating up on Iran takes precedence.

EU nations want corporate efforts to circumvent their sanctions blocked. Companies won favorable European court rulings.

EU officials warned over a dozen CEO's involved. Back off or be hit with sanctions. At issue is maintaining leverage with Iran. 

It's going along with US/Israeli policy. It's doing so against their own self-interest. Reconsideration is long overdue. It's not forthcoming.

In June 2012, Haaretz editors said "(i)t would be too much to expect (more) talks between Iran and the world powers (to) produce a ground-breaking plan that will free the world from the Iranian nuclear threat."

None exists. Haaretz editors lied claiming otherwise. On October 4, Haaretz contributor Nehemia Shtrasler said "Netanyahu was right about the Iranian threat all along."

"Now is not the time to ease up; it is precisely the time to turn up the pressure on Iran, to get it to pivot from words to deeds."

Were it not for Netanyahu, he added, EU leaders and Obama might awaken one morning to a nuclear Iran.

He repeated the canard about Iran threatening to destroy Israel. He ignored Netanyahu's repeated preemptive threats to bomb Iran.

On October 27, Haaretz headlined "As Iran nears nuclear capability, the West needs to prepare."

It cited US Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) misinformation. It's a pro-Western front group. It serves Washington's anti-Iranian agenda.

Its president, David Albright, impersonates a nuclear expert. He's a political opportunist. He's funded to lie. His reports lack credibility. They're consistently wrong.

Not according to Haaretz. It accepts them as gospel. "The bottom line (for) all assessments is that Iran is very close to acquiring nuclear capability," it says.

It bears repeating. No evidence whatever suggests it. Haaretz didn't explain. It wants pressure on Iran increased. What about Israel being nuclear armed and dangerous?

What about its longstanding policy to attack other nations preemptively based on perceived (unsubstantiated) threats? What about having done so numerous times?

What about it's potentially using nuclear weapons against claimed threats it believes can't be confronted effectively other ways? 

What about its using chemical, biological, and other banned weapons in all its wars? What about evidence showing it used radiological ones?

What about explaining what's most important? What about substituting truth for misinformation about nonexistent threats?

Separately, Haaretz cited Israeli Military Intelligence head Major General Aviv Kochavi claiming Iran's "nuclear vision" is unchanged.

Tehran "still seeks to reach the status of a nuclear threshold state," he said. It wants to be able to produce a nuclear bomb fairly quickly, he added.

Netanyahu relied on Kochavi's report in New York. His UN address used it. So did his meeting with Obama. It lacks credibility. It's common Israeli propaganda. It repeats with disturbing regularity.

Netanyahu lied calling Rohani a "wolf in sheep's clothing. Presidents of Iran have come and gone. Some were considered moderates, others hardline."

"(T)hey've all served that same unforgiving creed, that same unforgiving regime, that creed that is espoused and enforced by the real power in Iran."

Rohani "is a loyal servant" of Ayatollah Khamenei. Netanyahu lied calling him a "dictator." He ignored Iran's free, fair and open elections. 

They mock Israel's sham ones. They replicate America's illegitimate process. Voters get little choice. 

Ideological extremists run Israel. Rhetoric alone separates candidates. Policies are hardline. Hypocrisy substitutes for democracy.

Israel's Knesset is its most hardline ever. Rule of law principles are ignored. Anti-democratic ones substitute. Freedom is fast disappearing. America is on a fast track toward tyranny. So is Israel.

Separately, Netanyahu addressed the Knesset's opening winter session, saying:

"(E)asing pressure" won't moderate Iran. It'll "strengthen the uncompromising worldview of Iran's true ruler, Ayatollah Khamenei, and will be viewed as a significant victory for him."

On October 28 and 29, Iran met with IAEA officials. They did so in Vienna. Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Araqchi said a new proposal was submitted.

Neither side explained what it contains. Araqchi called the time right for "a new approach to resolving (questions) between Iran and the IAEA and look to the future for further cooperation in order to ensure the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program."

"It is peaceful and it will remain peaceful forever."

Ahead of follow-up November 7 and 8 P5+1 talks in Geneva, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said:

"Based on the agreements in the (October) Geneva meeting, it was decided that experts in the sanctions, scientific and nuclear fields study the issues in a more detailed manner, and Director-General of the Foreign Ministry for Specialized and International Affairs Hamid Ba'eedinejad will preside over Iran's group of experts."

"Some experts from the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), the Oil Ministry, the Central Bank, and the industry and mine sector will be present in the meeting, and the high-ranking officials of the (involved) countries are due to be informed of the results of these experts' discussions."

Afkham expressed hope that November P5+1 talks would enhance what was accomplished in mid-October. 

Things are a long way from satisfying both sides. Doing so may be mission impossible. 

Iran won't relinquish its legitimate rights. Washington, EU nations and Israel demands it does so and then some. Conflict resolution remains a distant hope. Achieving it remains elusive. Perhaps some day. Expect no time soon.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Obamacare Sticker Shock


Obamacare Sticker Shock

by Stephen Lendman

Obama sold smoke and mirrors. He makes used car salesmen look respectable by comparison. His Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides unaffordable coverage.

Millions of households have to pay 40% or more out-of-pocket. It's for co-pays and deductibles. It's on top of costly premiums. 

Coverage for 50-year-olds making $46,100 is $10,585. Co-pays and deductibles add up to another $6,250.

Healthcare in America is double its cost in other developed countries. It's increasingly less affordable. Little is done to constrain annual price hikes. It wasn't always this way. A previous article explained.

In 1960, healthcare as a percent of GDP was 5.1%. In 2002, it was 15%. In 2011, it was 17.9%. By 2020, it'll exceed 20%.

Between 1960 and 2009, average annual healthcare spending rose from $147 per person to $8,086. It reflected a 55-fold increase. 

In inflation-adjusted 2010 dollars, it increased annually from $1,082 to $8,218 - a 7.6-fold rise.

In 1942, Christ Hospital, NJ charged $7 per day for a maternity room. Today it's $1,360.

In 1980, a typical US hospital room cost $127. Today it's multi-times higher. 

A 2011 survey of 11 Ohio hospitals found daily hospital room prices ranged from $688 - $2,425. Cost averaged $1,393. The median price was $1,322.

ACA escalates costs higher. Doing so prices millions out of expensive care when it's most needed. Others will get much less than they expected. 

They can get whatever they want by paying for it out-of-pocket. Most households can't do so. 

Over 23% of Americans are unemployed. Rigged Department of Labor numbers claim otherwise.

Most others are underemployed. Main Street is suffering from protracted Depression level conditions.

Most working Americans live from paycheck to paycheck. They barely earn enough to get by. Many can't do so without help. Safety net protections are being cut. Millions of working households are impoverished.

They can't afforded anything more than bare bones healthcare. It leaves them woefully uninsured or underinsured against catastrophic illnesses.

Insurers and other predatory providers game the system for profit. Healthcare is a fundamental human right. 

Obamacare commodifies it more than ever. It's a huge provider giveaway. It shifts costs unfairly to consumers. Healthcare giants wrote the law that way. 

Obama asked them to draft legislation Congress would pass. It's one of the all-time greatest scams. It makes consumers pay for what insurers should provide. For them it's the holy grail. For ordinary people it's a matter of life, debt or death.

ACA rips off Americans. It's a healthcare rationing scheme. It offers inadequate or unaffordable coverage. It scams instead of protects. It leaves millions uninsured entirely. It leaves America's most disadvantaged in no-man's land. 

It's part of Obama's plan to destroy social America. He's in lockstep with Republicans and most Democrats. They want it entirely eliminated. 

They want it dismantled piece by piece. They're turning America into a dystopian backwater. It's no longer fit to live in. 

Depriving people of healthcare when most needed is a crime against humanity. Add another to Obama''s rap sheet. A special place in hell awaits him.

Prepare for sticker shock. America's media noticed. On October 13, the Chicago Tribune headlined "Obamacare deductibles a dose of sticker shock."

If "33-year old single father (Adam Weldzius) wants the same level of coverage next year he has now with the same insurer and the same network of doctors and hospitals, his monthly ($233) premium will more than double."

"If he wants to keep his monthly payments in check, (he's) looking at an annual deductible for himself and his 7-year-old daughter of $12,700."

It's triple the $3,500 he's currently paying. Many Illinoisans face the same dilemma. They'll pay thousands more dollars next year for coverage. Most will get less bang for the buck.

A Tribune analysis showed 21 of the 22 lowest cost Cook County Illinois exchange plans have annual individual deductibles exceeding $4,000 for individuals and $8,000 for families.

Consumers must pay these costs before insurance benefits begin. They're much higher than what millions can afford. They're not what they expect or deserve.

Suburban Chicago insurance broker Rich Fahn calls Obamacare a "major sticker shock for most of my clients and prospects."

"I'm telling (them) that everything they know historically about health plans has changed." 

"They either have to pay more out-of-pocket or more premiums or both. It's an overwhelming concern."

It's impossible for millions to cope. They're priced out of vital care.

Cook County plans with cheapest monthly premiums have deductibles up to $6,250 for individuals and $12,700 for families. It's the maximum Obamacare allows.

On October 26, the Los Angeles Times headlined "Some health insurance gets pricier as Obamacare rolls out." 

Californians "are discovering what Obamacare will cost them - and many don't like what they see."

Sticker shock confronts them. "(E)xperts say sharp price increases have the greatest potential to erode public support."

Some households may forego coverage. Penalties are cheaper than having it. Defections in large enough numbers could cause rates to skyrocket more than already.

Anthem Blue Cross president Pam Kehaly got a letter from an irate policy holder. She "was all for Obamacare until (she) found out" she faces a 50% rate hike. It's before huge deductibles and co-pays.

Obama's "(i)f you like your plan, you can keep it" was one of his many lies. His verbatim 2009 promise was:

"So let me begin by saying this: I know that there are millions of Americans who are content with their health care coverage. They like their plan and they value their relationship with their doctor." 

"And that means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period." 

"If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what."

He lied! Insurers are canceling millions of policies. They don't comply with Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions. They involve much higher costs.

According to healthcare expert Bob Laszewski, about 16 million Americans will lose their current coverage because of Obamacare.

Rules are very complex. Older grandfathered plans must comply with stringent rules. 

"(I)f you had an individual plan in March of 2010 when the law was passed and you only increased the deductible from $1,000 to $1,500 in the years since, your plan has lost its grandfather status and it will no longer be available (when it's) renewed in 2014."

"Millions of people are now receiving letters from their carriers saying they are losing their current coverage and must re-enroll in order to avoid a break in coverage and comply with the new health law's benefit mandates - the vast majority by January 1. Most of these will be seeing some pretty big rate increases."

Obama promised lower ones. At a February 2008 Columbus, Ohio campaign stop, he said:

"We are going to work with you to lower your premiums by $2,500." 

"We will not wait 20 years from now to do it, or 10 years from now to do it. We will do it by the end of my first term as president." 

At yearend 2012, premiums were about $3,000 higher. It's a $5,500 differential. 

Annual increases are certain. Healthcare already is unaffordable for millions. Many more will be priced out ahead. 

At best, they'll get inadequate bare bones coverage. At worst, it'll be too little to matter when it's most needed.

On March 23, 2010, Obama signed ACA into law. Insurers began hiking premiums accordingly.

In 2011, they rose 9.5%. Experts attributed much of the hike to Obamacare. It assures escalating higher prices. Federal mandates increase them dramatically. Consumers bear the cost.

So far, about 1.5 million Americans lost coverage. Millions more will without plans complying with Obamacare mandates.

Most Americans will be way underinsured because plans offering proper coverage are unaffordable.

Employers are substituting part-time/temp workers for full-time ones. Doing so lets them cut or eliminate healthcare coverage. 

It forces employees to buy their own. Sticker shock awaits them. Serious illness may kill them. Fast food healthcare doesn't work. 

What good is insurance forcing policy holders to pay for treatments they can't afford? Obamacare works for providers, not people.

It's lose-lose for them. It forces them into coverage. It doesn't work when most needed. It leaves them high and dry on their own.

It makes healthcare increasingly less affordable. Incomes have been stagnant for decades. They don't keep pace with inflation. 

It's rising far more annually than artificially rigged low numbers. Millions more will be priced out of vitally needed care. Inability to get it assures pain, suffering and death.

A Final Comment

On August 22, 2012, Illinois State Senate candidate Barbara Bellar summed up Obamacare in one notable sentence, saying:

"We're going to be gifted with a healthcare plan we are forced to purchase, and fined if we don't, which purportedly covers at least 10 million more people, without adding a single new doctor, but provides for 16,000 new IRS agents, written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn't understand it, passed by a congress that didn't read it, but exempted themselves from it, and signed by a president who smokes, with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn't pay his taxes, for which we will be taxed for four years before any benefits take effect, by a government which has already bankrupted Social Security and Medicare, all to be overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and financed by a country that's broke."

Note: Bellar's comments weren't entirely right. Social Security and Medicare aren't bankrupt. They work as intended. They've done so for decades. They're sound and secure if properly administered. They're targeted for elimination. 

Bellar was close enough on most of what she said. She made her point.

She's a Republican. She's a former nun. She's a small business owner. She supports transparency, accountability and ethics reform in government. 

She's no one's puppet, she says. She's an attorney and family practice physician. 

She has a way with words. She treats patients "from cradle to grave, from diapers to diapers, from womb to tomb."

Her Obamacare summation went viral on YouTube. It didn't help.

She defeated her 2012 primary challenger. She lost decisively in November's general election.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

http://www.dailycensored.com/obamacare-sticker-shock/

Palestinian Prisoner Releases


Palestinian Prisoner Releases

by Stephen Lendman

Thousands of Palestinian political prisoners languish in Israel's gulag. It's one of the world's worst. 

Many innocent victims are held uncharged or tried. Thousands are wrongfully imprisoned based on nonexistent secret evidence. Women are treated like men. Children are treated like adults.

Horrific conditions include cruel and degrading treatment, food unfit to eat, medical neglect, poor ventilation, sanitation and personal hygiene, inadequate clothing, and frequent solitary confinement for any reason or none at all.

Last summer, Netanyahu got cabinet approval to release 104 prisoners. Freeing them is coincidental with so-called peace talks.

They're an empty gesture. Implementation is in four stages. In mid-August, 26 were freed. On October 29, an equal number followed. 

After six and eight months of talks, 52 more will be released (26 at a time). Doing so is at Israel's discretion. It depends on how negotiations go. 

It depends on if PA collaborators unconditionally surrender. It depends of whether Israel keeps its promise. It never did before. Why expect something different this time.

Maan News quoted an Israeli official speaking on condition of anonymity, saying:

"Understandings" were agreed on ahead of talks. "Israel will continue in the coming months to announce building in the settlement blocs and in Jerusalem."

"Both the Americans and the Palestinians were aware in advance of these understandings."

A previous article discussed a sharp increase in settlement construction. Palestinians are being dispossessed from their land and homes to facilitate it. 

Conditions go from bad to worse. Abbas and other PA officials do nothing to stop it. They betray their own people in the process.

Israel's so-called "goodwill gesture" prisoner releases became commonplace since Oslo.

They're bargaining chips. They're a political tool. Israel uses them to extract demands. Those chosen for release this time were slated for it earlier. 

Many have been in prison longterm. Some near the end of their sentences. They're expected out in months or next year. 

Freeing them depends on "conditions, criteria, dates and phases" at Israel's discretion. It controls the entire process. It's manipulated for political advantage. 

Prisoners are mere pawns. Freedom is more illusion than reality. Rights are entirely denied. Releasing a handful of prisoners ignores thousands more unjustly held. 

Mass arrests continue. Innocence is no defense. Dozens are held administratively uncharged. Justice is verboten. Longterm grievances persist.

Most Palestinians are lawlessly held. They were imprisoned on false charges. They're freedom fighters, not terrorists.

They included Hamas, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Islamic Jihad members. Released prisoners are relentlessly hounded. They're harassed. 

They're closely monitored. They're denied fundamental freedoms. Their movements are severely restricted. Many are rearrested.

A extremist cabinet decision states:

"The State of Israel reserves the right to take any means necessary against any of the released prisoners if they commit any terrorist and hostile activities as well as returning them to serve the remainder of their sentence, as will be decided by the relevant authorities."

Prisoners released aren't granted amnesty. They're on parole. Minor perceived violations means back behind bars. Completing their original sentence follows.

Military Order 1651, Article 186 lets a special Israeli military committee sentence released prisoners to complete unserved time. It can do so based on secret evidence or none at all.

In 2009, the order became effective. Dozens of rearrests followed. Doing so spurns fundamental rule of law standards. Israel acts lawlessly. It does so with impunity.

Resisting Israeli repression is called terrorism. So is supporting right over wrong. Military Order 101 criminalizes fundamental freedoms. Prohibitions include:

  • organizing protests; 

  • participating in them; 

  • public assembles and vigils;

  • holding them to seek relief from legitimate grievances;

  • displaying Palestinian flags and other symbols;

  • printing and distributing Palestinian political material; and

  • influencing public opinion by "political incitement."

Supporting so-called "hostile organizations" are prohibited. Demonstrations sympathetic to Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Palestine, and similar groups are strictly forbidden.

Netanyahu's cabinet decides who's released. Names were published Sunday night. Prisoner releases accompanied peace talks since Oslo.

Over 23,000 were freed. At the same time, at least 86,000 others were arrested. They included women, children, the elderly, disabled, infirm and ill. 

Independent journalists, human rights workers, other activists,  students, and peaceful protesters are especially vulnerable.

Marwan Barghouti is a prisoner of conscience. On April 14, 2002, he was arrested. Spurious charges followed. 

They included murder, aiding and abetting murder, promoting murder, criminal conspiracy, and being an active member of a terrorist organization.

At the time he said:

"I am a political leader, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, elected by my people." 

"Israel has no right to try me, to accuse me, to judge me. This is a violation of international law. I have a (legal) right to resist occupation."

On May 20, 2004, he was convicted of involvement in three so-called terrorist attacks causing five deaths. He was acquitted on 33 other charges. He received five consecutive life sentences plus 40 years.

Throughout his ordeal, supporters campaigned for his release. They include many Palestinians, activist Israelis, European parliamentarians, and Gush Shalom (The Peace Bloc). 

It's against occupation. It supports Palestinian self-determination. It wants their rights respected like Jews. 

Some Barghouti supporters call him Palestine's Mandela. They oppose his lawless arrest and imprisonment. They want him freed. They hoped he'd be one of the 104 Israel chose.

They call freeing him a show of good faith. Moderate MKs support doing so. In January 2007, then Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres said he'd pardon him if he became president.

He never did. He won't likely now. In October 2011, Haaretz said he'd be freed. He was expected to be part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange. He remains unjustly imprisoned.

He's Palestine's most popular leader. The Israeli peace camp wants him freed. He's incorruptible. If allowed to run for president, he'd win overwhelmingly.

Initially he supported Oslo. Later he rejected it. Settlement expansions betrayed it. So did stealing Palestinian resources and denying them all rights.

He supports ending longstanding conflict diplomatically. He rejects violence. He's against submission. He's for "any (legal) action against the occupation." He wants it ended.

He rejects America's peace process role. It's no honest broker. It never was. For sure it's not now.

Israel calls Barghouti a terrorist. Supporters know he champions nonviolent resistance. Israel treated him horrifically. He spent years in punishing isolation. 

He endured physical and psychological torment. He symbolizes hope. Will or won't Israel free him? Israeli supporters say he's the only Palestinian able to achieve peace.

Israel prefers conflict and violence. Barghouti's chances look slim.

Ahmad Sa'adat is another prominent Palestinian political prisoner. He founded the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). 

Its aim is ending lawless occupation. It wants Palestinians freed from Israeli ruthlessness. It struggles nonviolently to achieve it.

Sa'adat is a longtime Palestinian leader. Israel targeted him for that reason. He committed no crimes. He was imprisoned many times. 

In December 2008, Israel sentenced him to 30 years. A PFLP statement followed, saying:

He was "sentenced to 30 years in Israeli jails for political reasons and not for any other crime."

Sa'adat refused to recognized the court's legitimacy. He calls himself "a prisoner for freedom." Supporters demand he be released. 

Israel has no intention of doing so. Palestinian negotiators aren't helping. They prioritize keeping generous benefits they receive. Betrayal pays well.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour