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Purveyor's Journal
Purveyor's Journal
December 4, 2013

Youth Break With President on Obamacare Support in Poll

By John McCormick - Dec 4, 2013

The nation’s youth, a group that twice rallied behind President Barack Obama at the ballot box, is failing to support his signature domestic achievement and increasingly disillusioned with his presidency.

More than half of those 18 to 29 years old say they disapprove of Obamacare and half expect it will increase their health-care costs, a survey by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics shows. Four in 10 say they anticipate the quality of their coverage will get worse because of the law.

In a finding perhaps even more troubling for the White House, almost half in that age group, the so-called millennials, say they’re unlikely to enroll in insurance through a government exchange, even if eligible. That could put at risk the economics of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which needs young, healthy people to enroll in large numbers to offset the costs of caring for older, sicker Americans.

“There are very few aspects of the health-care initiative that they approve of,” John Della Volpe, the institute’s polling director, said today on a conference call. “They think quality will decrease, that prices will increase, so it’s not surprising that has taken a significant hit to the president’s approval rating.”

Youth Summit

The survey underscores the challenge as Obama, 52, and his surrogates mount a three-week offensive to try to highlight the 2010 law’s benefits. The president will speak today at a White House “Youth Summit” that aims to “help get the word out to young Americans about how to enroll” in the program, according to an administration statement.



December 4, 2013

Student Debt Owed by Class of 2012 Borrowers Rises to $29,400

By Janet Lorin - Dec 4, 2013

U.S. college students are leaving school with higher amounts of debt as they increase borrowing to keep up with rising tuition.

Graduates of the class of 2012 who took loans for bachelors’ degrees owed an average of $29,400. The level of debt represents an average annual increase of 6 percent from the $23,450 incurred by borrowers who graduated in 2008, the last year the federal government reported the data, according to a report released today by The Institute for College Access & Success, an Oakland, California-based nonprofit group.

The share of college seniors with debt rose to 71 percent from 68 percent in the four-year period. States with the highest debt were in the Northeast and Midwest, led by Delaware. Low-debt states were mostly in the West and South, with New Mexico having the least.

Student debt surpassed what people owe on their credit cards more than three years ago as more borrow for college and tuition costs rise. Outstanding education debt is about $1.2 trillion, including government and private loans taken out by students and their parents, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.


December 4, 2013

Debbie Wasserman Schultz Schools Newt Gingrich Over ‘War On Women’ Crack About Joe Biden

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s (R) awkward attempt to link Vice President Joe Biden to the GOP’s policies against womens’ reproductive health was smacked down hard by Democratic National Committee chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) on Tuesday.

“Democrats like to complain about a Republican ‘war on women,’” Gingrich said on Crossfire, before mentioning Biden’s visit to a Japanese e-commerce company, DeNA, in which Biden asked a group of women working there if their husbands “like them working full-time,” if they were married, and if they were allowed to work from home.

“How do you explain Biden’s inability to stay in touch with reality?” Gingrich asked Wasserman Schultz, who expressed amazement that Gingrich would link the “war on women” term with Biden, the author of the Violence Against Women Act, which was been staunchly opposed by Republicans even after passing in the House in February 2013.

“Your party spent two years holding back on bringing the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act to the floor,” Wasserman Schultz responded. “Your party has nominated, consistently, the likes of [Pennsylvania Gov. Tom] Corbett in Pennsylvania, who famously said, ‘Well, if women don’t want to have an ultrasound when they have an abortion, they can just close their eyes.’”

Schultz also pointed out that another Republican, Virginia Attorney General nominee Mark Obenshain, introduced legislation four years ago that would have required pregnant women to report a miscarriage to authorities.



December 4, 2013

Obama’s WH Already Dislikes Israel’s New Ambassador Dermer

In a profile of Israel’s new Ambassador to DC, Ron Dermer JTA’s Ron Kampeas points to the mistrust the Obama administration has developed against Prime Minister Netanyahu that has already entrenched towards the supposed-to-be the government’s mediator in Washington.

“Among the White House’s inner circle —Denis McDonough, Ben Rhodes— Dermer is a red flag,” says Barak Ravid, Haaretz’s political correspondent, referring respectively to the White House chief of staff and deputy national security adviser. “They see him as the guy who incited Congress and Jewish organizations against Obama.”

“It’s a reputation that Dermer’s defenders say is unfair—it does not take into account missteps by Obama and his team, and understates Netanyahu’s determinative role in shaping relations with Washington. But it is a reputation that continues to dog Dermer nonetheless. When I asked about him, a Democratic source on the Hill who is close to Jewish groups blamed Dermer for distributing talking points on Iran, critical of the White House, to Republican members of Congress. Asked for evidence, the source said, “Who else?” In July, when Dermer’s appointment was announced, a former Obama administration official told my news agency, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, that within the administration, Dermer was “seen as extremely political and as someone who has repeatedly gone to the press with negative stories.”



December 3, 2013

Kerry Return Marked By Hot Debate Over Israel-US Ties

AFP - US Secretary of State John Kerry's return to Israel on Wednesday comes at a time of heated debate in the Jewish state over its alliance with Washington.

The visit will be his first since world powers including the US on November 24 signed an interim nuclear accord with Iran that has angered Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lambasted the accord, under which Iran agreed to roll back parts of its nuclear programme in return for limited sanctions relief, as a "historic mistake".

His condemnation has not been toned down by repeated US assurances, including from President Barack Obama, that Iran would never be allowed to develop a nuclear bomb.

Netanyahu himself has now come under criticism at home for challenging Israel's closest ally.



December 3, 2013

Only 1 Per Cent Of Snowden Files Published, Says Guardian Editor

London (dpa) - Only 1 per cent of the classified files leaked by US whistleblower Edward Snowden to Britain‘s Guardian newspaper have been published, its editor told a parliamentary committee on Tuesday.

The Home Affairs Select Committee is investigating claims that the newspaper has endangered national security by publishing information about the activities of Britain‘s spy agency GCHQ and its US counterpart the National Security Agency.

"We continue to publish stuff, it‘s about 1 per cent of what we were given," said Alan Rusbridger, as he gave evidence at a televised hearing.

Snowden, who has been granted temporary asylum in Russia, handed over 58,000 files divided between the Guardian, the Washington Post, a place in Germany and a place in Rio de Janeiro, Rusbridger said.

"This is an ongoing story we are writing," he replied, when asked where the remaining 99 per cent of the files were.



December 3, 2013

Beaten, Arrested, Threatened: A Personal Account From The Anti-Prawer Protest

She was clubbed and dragged while her friends were beaten and arrested during a demonstration against the planned expulsion of thousands of Bedouin in the Negev.

By Alma Biblash (translated by Dimi Reider)

Three arrested Beduin youth laying on the ground hand cuffed during a police raid on the main road on the town of Hura, after a Day of Rage protest, November 30, 2013.

On Saturday night at the anti-Prawer demonstration in the village of Houra, a policeman swung a club against my leg when I tried to persuade him to let go of a girl he was holding by the throat.

Another policeman grabbed me by the arms and dragged me off. A moment later he grabbed a little boy standing next to me, shoved his face into the dirt and screamed at him that he is going to kill him. A young woman shouted at a policeman to calm down and stop beating people up, and he slapped her so hard she fell onto the ground.

I’m running, escaping the jet of putrid water, a man is running next to me. Police on horseback appear out of the dark and trample him down, sending him flying into the air.

Click here for a photo essay from the anti-Prawer protests

I’m hiding behind a parked vehicle with stun grenades exploding all around me. On the ground next to me is a kuffiyeh soaked in blood. I decide to go back to the buses where it’s quiet. Along the way I see a little boy sitting on the ground and crying. I tell him it’s too dangerous to sit here but he doesn’t seem to hear, or maybe he doesn’t understand Hebrew. Eventually he gets up and starts running with me until he hears a familiar voice calling him, lets go of my hand and disappears.

All around me terrified people are running, but I’m out of breath, and I go straight for the bus. One friend with a swollen face catches up with me, another has a deep cut to her brow and blood on her face and shirt.


December 3, 2013

PHOTOS: This Tear Gas Brought To You By The U.S.A.

On the same day that Bethlehem’s minister of tourism noted that the US government provided $400,000 to decorate the city for Christmas, local activists brought a few more US-sponsored ornaments to show to visitors in this West Bank town at the height of its tourist season. The activists delivered used tear gas grenades — that had been fired by Israeli forces at Palestinian youth less than two kilometers away in Aida Refugee Camp that same day — and hung them on a tree in Manger Square. One activist from Aida Camp was arrested for his participation in the action by Palestinian police, but released after a few hours.

Most of the crowd control weapons deployed by the Israeli military against Palestinians are part of the Combined Tactical Systems (CTS) product line made by a US company, Combined Systems Inc. (CSI). Pick up a used tear gas cartridge or concussion grenade at any demonstration, and you’re likely to find the initials “CTS” stamped on them somewhere (though the rest of the labeling is typically in Hebrew). But during recent clashes in Aida Camp, Israeli forces have been leaving behind cartridges labeled completely in English. These labels contain complete CTS contact information, including the Pennsylvania mailing address, telephone, and fax numbers. They also bear that proud slogan, “Made in U.S.A.”

The youth who clash with Israeli soldiers stationed at the separation wall which divides Bethlehem’s land don’t need to be told that the U.S. arms Israel. Most of them know that the silenced Ruger .22 caliber rifle that was used by an Israeli sniper atop the wall to shoot two Palestinian youth last Friday is also made in the US. But because many of those not on the receiving end of such weapons are less familiar with their origins, the activists, led by members of the local Popular Resistance Committees, sought to raise broader awareness among the throngs visiting Bethlehem at Christmastime. In addition to the used grenades, the activists hung signs reading, “This is the USAid to the Palestinians,” and “US military industrial complex, stop making our Christmas hell by sending us your aid and sending Israel your guns.”

But US-made crowd control weapons used by Israel can be just as dangerous as live ammunition. The labeling on the tear gas cartridges even includes the following warning: “Danger: Do not fire directly at person(s). Serious injury or death may result.” Yet there is extensive video evidence of Israeli soldiers firing directly at people, which led to the deaths of Bassem Abu Rahmah in Bil’in and Mustafa Tamimi in Nabi Saleh. As recently as last week, dramatic target’s-eye-view footage showed an Israeli soldier firing directly at a B’Tselem photographer.

MORE w/photos...


December 3, 2013

House Republicans Oppose Democratic Drive To Renew Unemployment Benefits

Source: Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans controlling the House oppose a drive by Democrats to renew jobless benefits averaging less than $300 a week nationwide for the long-term unemployed, a senior GOP lawmaker said Tuesday.

"I don't see much appetite on our side for continuing this extension of benefits," said Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla. "I just don't."

Benefits for 1.3 million long-term unemployed people expire just three days after Christmas. Lawmakers say another 1.9 million people would miss out on the benefits in the first six months of next year.

Democrats are pressing for legislation continuing a program in place since 2008 that gives federally paid benefits to jobless people after their 26 weeks of state benefits run out. Federal benefits have typically been offered during periods of high unemployment, though fewer weeks of extended jobless benefits are available than in previous years. The unemployment rate is averaging 7.3 percent nationwide.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/03/house-republicans-unemployment-benefits_n_4380190.html

December 3, 2013

Citing Risk Of Pakistani Protests, US Halts Shipments Out Of Afghanistan

Source: Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The United States said Tuesday it had stopped shipments of military equipment out of Afghanistan, citing the risk to truckers from protests along part of the route in neighboring Pakistan.

There have been anti-U.S. demonstrations in Pakistan in recent days calling for an end to the American drone program that targets militants. So U.S. officials said that they had ordered truckers under U.S. contract to park at holding areas inside Afghanistan temporarily to avoid going there.

Pentagon spokesman Mark Wright said the order affects outgoing shipments that the military calls "retrograde cargo" — equipment and other goods being sent home from military units as their numbers are reduced in Afghanistan.

"We are aware protests have affected one of the primary commercial transit routes between Pakistan and Afghanistan," he said. "We have voluntarily halted U.S. shipments of retrograde cargo ... from Torkham Gate through Karachi to ensure the safety of the drivers contracted to move our equipment."

Read more: http://www.startribune.com/politics/national/234305301.html

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