The Huffington Post

The US-Israel Relationship Has Changed Permanently

Barack Obama, Benjamin Netanyahu

Don’t believe it when you read that in a few days, weeks or months, everything will be back to normal in the U.S.-Israel relationship. They won’t be.

This is an old lobby mantra and it tends to emanate from friends of the lobby who simply cannot contemplate that anything will ever break the hold it has on policymakers. In one sense it’s true. It is as unlikely that AIPAC will go down as it was 10 years ago that most U.S. states would legalize gay marriage!

But it is going to happen because Prime Minister Netanyahu along with AIPAC (and its Congressional cutouts) have deeply embarrassed the American Jewish community in several ways.

Note: when it comes to the power of the lobby, the Jewish community is the ball game. Those millions of Christian Zionists out there do not fund Congressional candidacies, nor are their votes in play. Moreover, for them Israel takes a way back seat to such issues as gay rights, illegal immigration, abortion and hating liberals and secularism. AIPAC is focused on only one issue, and directs money to campaigns on only one issue. The conservative Christians are irrelevant.

That last point gets to one of the ways the Netanyahu/Letter of 47 brouhaha has permanently damaged Israel’s standing in America. It has made it partisan. Even before anyone contemplated Netanyahu coming to Congress to challenge President Obama, support for Israel was becoming a Republican issue, with Republicans in near solid support while Democrats were divided down the middle.

That trend is only accelerating now, as the Israeli government has made clear that it has no use for Democrats, and certainly not the Democratic president who it has treated with an open contempt rarely seen in international relations. Given that the overwhelming majority of American Jews are Democrats and Obama supporters, Netanyahu (with AIPAC’s connivance) has successfully launched a wrecking ball at the foundation of Israel’s support base in America.

This Billionaire Governor Taxed the Rich and Increased the Minimum Wage — Now, His State’s Economy Is One of the Best in the Country

State Governors Speak To The Media After Meeting With Obama At White House

The next time your right-wing family member or former high school classmate posts a status update or tweet about how taxing the rich or increasing workers’ wages kills jobs and makes businesses leave the state, I want you to send them this article.

When he took office in January of 2011, Minnesota governor Mark Dayton inherited a $6.2 billion budget deficit and a 7 percent unemployment rate from his predecessor, Tim Pawlenty, the soon-forgotten Republican candidate for the presidency who called himself Minnesota’s first true fiscally-conservative governor in modern history. Pawlenty prided himself on never raising state taxes — the most he ever did to generate new revenue was increase the tax on cigarettes by 75 cents a pack. Between 2003 and late 2010, when Pawlenty was at the head of Minnesota’s state government, he managed to add only 6,200 more jobs.

During his first four years in office, Gov. Dayton raised the state income tax from 7.85 to 9.85 percent on individuals earning over $150,000, and on couples earning over $250,000 when filing jointly — a tax increase of $2.1 billion. He’s also agreed to raise Minnesota’s minimum wage to $9.50 an hour by 2018, and passed a state law guaranteeing equal pay for women. Republicans like state representative Mark Uglem warned against Gov. Dayton’s tax increases, saying, “The job creators, the big corporations, the small corporations, they will leave. It’s all dollars and sense to them.” The conservative friend or family member you shared this article with would probably say the same if their governor tried something like this. But like Uglem, they would be proven wrong.

Between 2011 and 2015, Gov. Dayton added 172,000 new jobs to Minnesota’s economy — that’s 165,800 more jobs in Dayton’s first term than Pawlenty added in both of his terms combined. Even though Minnesota’s top income tax rate is the 4th-highest in the country, it has the 5th-lowest unemployment rate in the country at 3.6 percent. According to 2012-2013 U.S. census figures, Minnesotans had a median income that was $10,000 larger than the U.S. average, and their median income is still $8,000 more than the U.S. average today.

Return to Sobibór

"Sobibór 'Himmelstrasse'," by Jacques Lahitte

“Sobibór ‘Himmelstrasse’,” by Jacques Lahitte

It was many years ago when I first heard about a Nazi death camp named Sobibór, nestled deep in the forests of the Lublin district of South-Eastern Poland.

Sobibór was one of three Nazi extermination camps — the other two were Belzek and Treblinka — that had received little notoriety compared to camps such as Auschwitz-Birkenau, even though an estimated 1.4 million Jews were annihilated at the three camps, more than at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

The Sobibór death camp was one of the Nazis’ best-kept secrets. Even in the Netherlands, the existence and the history of Sobibór were not widely known.

That is surprising, because of the estimated 170,000 to 250,000 Jews and Roma who were systematically murdered at Sobibór over a short 18-month period, more than 34,000 were Dutch Jews. The Dutch newspaper, the NRC Handelsblad, called Sobibór the “Dutch Auschwitz.”

Experts Follow Sole Survivor To Deserted Massacre Site In Peru’s Andes

In this Sept. 3, 2014 photo, villagers leading donkeys loaded with the working tools for anthropologists, traverse a mountain pass on a journey to help forensic investigators locate the common graves of those killed in a 1984 massacre in the Paccha village of Peru. AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

PACCHA, Peru (AP) — This remote hamlet on fertile Andean slopes beside the Apurimac river has been a ghost town for three decades, inhabited only by the buried bodies of villagers slain by security forces who considered them rebel sympathizers.

Earlier this month, forensic investigators began unearthing the remains of the nearly two dozen victims of the July 14, 1984, massacre in this region where government forces regularly hunted alleged collaborators of the Shining Path guerrillas.

Dolores Guzman, the sole survivor, set aside the street stand where she sells hard-boiled eggs in the capital of Lima and journeyed last week to Paccha to help forensic experts find the common graves.

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