JACblog! is moving. We will be housed on the new JAC website at www.jacpac.org and we hope you will follow us there.

We will continue to have this blogspot location up, but new postings will be seen on the new site. Please join us there.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Quartet tries new Israeli-Palestinian peace bid

Envoys from the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia are hoping to hold separate meetings with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators to try to revive peace talks, the U.N.'s Mideast coordinator said Thursday.
Robert Serry said the so-called Quartet of Mideast mediators has proposed meetings with the two sides on all core issues blocking a peace settlement. They include borders of a Palestinian state, security arrangements, the fate of Palestinian refugees and the status of Jerusalem.
Read more at Yahoo News

Netanyahu: Israel will not suffer the bombardment of its citizens

Israel will not tolerate the bombardment of its citizens, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday, following the Israel Defense Forces' Gaza strike, a  retaliation for a missile attack on the southern city of Be'er Sheva.
Earlier Thursday, the IDF confirmed Palestinian reports that the Israel Air Force bombed targets in eastern Gaza City, wounding three Islamic Jihad militants.
The strike came after two Grad rockets were fired at Be'er Sheva on Wednesday evening, with so far only one missile known to have landed in the city. The missile hit a building in a residential area, causing damage, in an attack which marked the first time Be'er Sheva was hit since the Gaza war in 2009. 
Read more at The Jerusalem Post

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Dinosaurs Still Looking for Israeli Sharks and Vultures

During the last few months, we have witnessed some bizarre conspiracy stories in the Arab world. Towards the end of last year some in Egypt called the shark attacks on tourists in the Sinai Peninsula a Mossad plan. This was closely followed last month by the "arrest" of a vulture in Saudi Arabia as an alleged Israeli agent. Unfortunately, these are just two recent examples of those in our region that identify Israel's hand in almost everything that happens in the Middle East.

While these conspiracy theories have long been part of an authoritarian diversionary tactic from the true ills of their societies, some in the West are led by this Israel-blinkered trend, if not the actual details. 

While few European or American analysts believed or paid any credence to these Zionist Dr. Doolittle stories, some still see every event in the Middle East, minor or major, as connected to Israel. Many of these analysts are so preoccupied with Israel or the so-called "Middle East conflict", a term that ignores or dismisses all other conflicts in the region as irrelevant and non-newsworthy, that they have no understanding of the region beyond Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
 Read more at Huffington Post

Monday, February 21, 2011

How Did Your Representative Vote on Title X Funding?

Several people have asked what the roll call was for the vote on Title X funding last week in the House of Representatives.  This is the bill that would strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood and family planning clinics that offer reproductive health services, cancer screenings, birth control access, STI screening and counseling, and abortion services.  This amendment, offered by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), passed in the House last week and is part of the Continuing Resolution to fund the government that has been sent to the Senate.  Several Senators have stated they will not support the Title X amendment and have the votes to defeat it.

Read the amendment and the roll call at GovTrack.

Friday, February 18, 2011

U.S. vetoes U.N. resolution

The United States vetoed a U.N. resolution that would have condemned Israeli settlements as illegal.

The Security Council resolution, which was brought to a vote Friday afternoon, earned the support of the council's other 14 members.
Read more at JTA

House Passes Bill To Defund Planned Parenthood

While this amendment is not likely to pass the Senate following the final vote on HR 1 by the entire House, this is a blow to family planning clinics and women around the country. 
By a vote of 240-185, the House passed Rep. Mike Pence's (R-IN) amendment to strip Planned Parenthood of its federal funding.

According to MSNBC, ten Democrats voted to pass the measure, while seven Republicans voted against it.

The bill is not likely to make it through the Senate, where the Democrats have the majority, or to survive a veto by President Obama if it comes down to it.
Read more at TPM

Thank you, Rep. Speier

Thank you, Representative Speier, for speaking out against the Pence Amendment to defund Planned Parenthood and family planning clinics, and for sharing such a personal story on the floor of the House.

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Using force to get their way, in America

Rachel Maddow has been tracking two difficulties facing one Kansas doctor who has decided to offer abortion services in Wichita, following the murder of Dr. George Tiller.  So far, Dr. Milla Means has been sued by her landlord, is unable to rent another facility, has faced protests at her clinic, and has had her personal information splashed across anti-abortion websites.  And now protesters have shown up at her home.  Maddow asks an important question: is this really the way we do things in America - through violence and intimidation?
Anti-abortion activists showed up Tuesday night at the home of Dr. Mila Means, a family practitioner who'd like to offer abortion services in Wichita, Kansas. Dr. Means would be the first open provider in Wichita since the last one, Dr. George Tiller, was murdered in 2009. She had talked to us on the show the night before.

As we reported Wednesday, the protesters turned up at Dr. Means' house without much attempt to deliver their message to anyone but her. "She is killing babies right now in Ks. City, and plans to kill in Wichita," protest leader Rob Rotola e-mailed us later. "We will notify her neighbors and all who do business with her."
Read more at Maddow Blog

South Dakota Shelves Controversial 'Justifiable Homicide' Bill

After much outcry and criticism, the South Dakota bill that would potentially allow for "justifiable homicide" of abortion providers has been tabled for now.
The South Dakota Legislature is shelving a bill that would allow for killing in defense of an unborn child to be considered "justifiable homicide," until it decides whether to hold a vote, amend the controversial language, or throw the bill out entirely.

Earlier this week, State Rep. Phil Jensen (R) introduced the bill, which would have added language to current South Dakota law specifying that, in some circumstances, killing someone in defense of an unborn child is "justifiable homicide." Currently, the law allows for murder as self-defense, or in defense of someone whose life appears to be in danger.
Read more at TPM

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

REPORT: The Five Ways That The GOP Is Trying To Eradicate A Woman’s Right To Choose

This article highlights the 5 main attacks on reproductive rights and women that are currently being carried out by state and federal lawmakers - everything from fetal "heartbeat bills" that would prevent abortion once a heartbeat can be heard (usually by 6 weeks) to mandating a woman have and view an ultrasound to potentially making the slaying of an abortion provider "justifiable homicide."
South Dakota is one of the most anti-abortion states in the country. In 1994, the state banned abortion providers inside its borders. “Planned Parenthood flies a doctor in from out-of-state once a week to see patients at a Sioux Falls clinic. Women from the more remote parts of the large, rural state drive up to six hours to reach this lone clinic” and must “receive counseling and wait 24 hours before undergoing the procedure.”
Now, it seems South Dakota is willing to legalize acts of terror in order to be the number one anti-abortion state in the U.S. The South Dakota House is taking up a bill to redefine “justifiable homicide” that may “make it legal to kill doctors who perform abortions,” Mother Jones reports. Passed out of committee on a 9-3 party line vote, the GOP-backed bill “could in theory allow a woman’s father, mother, son, daughter, or husband to kill anyone who tried to provide that woman an abortion — even if she wanted one.”
Read more at Think Progress

Mike Pence’s war on Planned Parenthood

Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) has been on a campaign to eliminate funding for Title X - especially Planned Parenthood.  He first went after the organization in 2007, failing to pass legislation that would take away government funding for family planning, breast and cervical cancer screening, basic infertility counseling and counseling about safe sex.  Voting on this bill could occur as early as Thursday.
Pence says that, by taking away Planned Parenthood’s federal money, the government could eliminate the group’s ability to operate abortion clinics entirely. “We should end the day when the largest abortion provider is the largest recipient of [Title X] federal funding,” he said.

“What’s clear to me, if you follow the money, you can actually take the funding supports out of abortion. We then have a much better opportunity to move forward to be a society that says yes to life.”
Read more at Politico

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

South Dakota Moves To Legalize Killing Abortion Providers

A new bill proposed in the South Dakota House would make killing an abortion provider, or anyone who harmed a fetus, justifiable homicide.
A law under consideration in South Dakota would expand the definition of "justifiable homicide" to include killings that are intended to prevent harm to a fetus—a move that could make it legal to kill doctors who perform abortions. The Republican-backed legislation, House Bill 1171, has passed out of committee on a nine-to-three party-line vote, and is expected to face a floor vote in the state's GOP-dominated House of Representatives soon.

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Phil Jensen, a committed foe of abortion rights, alters the state's legal definition of justifiable homicide by adding language stating that a homicide is permissible if committed by a person "while resisting an attempt to harm" that person's unborn child or the unborn child of that person's spouse, partner, parent, or child. If the bill passes, it could in theory allow a woman's father, mother, son, daughter, or husband to kill anyone who tried to provide that woman an abortion—even if she wanted one.
Read more at Mother Jones

Monday, February 14, 2011

Strict Abortion Measures Enacted in Oklahoma

Two of the anti-abortion laws passed in Oklahoma and challenged in court in 2008, have been rewritten and passed into law by a legislature and senate that overturned the Governor's veto. Challenges have already been filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights.
The Oklahoma Legislature voted Tuesday to override the governor’s vetoes of two abortion measures, one of which requires women to undergo an ultrasound and listen to a detailed description of the fetus before getting an abortion.
Though other states have passed similar measures requiring women to have ultrasounds, Oklahoma’s law goes further, mandating that a doctor or technician set up the monitor so the woman can see it and describe the heart, limbs and organs of the fetus. No exceptions are made for rape and incest victims.

A second measure passed into law on Tuesday prevents women who have had a disabled baby from suing a doctor for withholding information about birth defects while the child was in the womb.
Read more at The New York Times

Palestinian cabinet quits in reform move by Abbas

Following the resignation of the chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, last week, today the Palestinian cabinet resigned in what appears to be a demonstration of political reform.  On Saturday, the Palestinian Authority announced it call for presidential and legislative elections in September.  Hamas has stated it will not participate in the election or recognize the results.
The Palestinian cabinet resigned on Monday, in an apparent attempt by President Mahmoud Abbas to demonstrate political reform in the wake of the popular uprising in Egypt.

The shake-up could bolster the standing of President Mahmoud Abbas among Palestinians dissatisfied with the workings of a cabinet regarded by many as dysfunctional.

The reshuffle had been demanded by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who has spearheaded efforts to create institutions for a Palestinian state. Fayyad will retain his post and select new ministers, officials said.
Read more at TPM

Pro-Lifer Wants Hawaii To Reconsider Aborting "Choose Life" Plates

Hawaii may soon become the first state to cancel its "Choose Life" license plate because of insufficient sales---but it won't be for lack of trying. Steve Holck, the founder of Aloha Pregnancy Care & Counseling Centers and sponsor of the specialty plate has offered to personally pay for the 50 plates needed to avoid cancellation---that is, if he can find anyone who wants one.

In an urgent email, sent earlier this month and obtained by TPM, Holck wrote: "I will pay for the first 50 plates in February 2011! Just send me an email...and I will send you a check for $30.50 to the DMV for the Hawaii Choose Life License Plate." The plates were introduced almost three years ago and as of early February, only 100 had been sold, according to Holck's email. If 150 plates total are not purchased by March 1, the Department of Motor Vehicles will discontinue the plate.
 Read more at TPM

Word and Lyric, Giffords Labors to Speak Again

The steady progress made by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords following the shooting in Tuscon last month is very exciting.  While she has a long road to recovery, her amazing progress so far is inspiring.
Representative Gabrielle Giffords, an eloquent speaker before she was shot in the head last month, is relearning the skill — progressing from mouthing words and lip-syncing songs to talking briefly by telephone to her brother-in-law in space. 

With a group of friends and family members acting as a backup chorus, Ms. Giffords has been mouthing the lyrics to “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love, Baby.” And as a surprise for her husband, who is celebrating his birthday this month, a longtime friend who has been helping her through her rehabilitation videotaped her mouthing the words to “Happy Birthday to You.” 
Read more at The New York Times

Friday, February 11, 2011

Nancy Pelosi: Women's Rights Face Greatest Threat 'In Our Lifetime'

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi states that the current attack on reproductive rights is the worst "in our lifetime" and calls on Americans to get involved to defeat these attacks.  One bill could come up for a vote as early as next week.
Women's reproductive rights are being seriously threatened by the Republican Party, according to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who said she is worried that many women are complacent about the possibility that they will lose access to abortions.

"They're advancing extreme legislation," Pelosi said Thursday during a conference call with reporters. "It's dangerous to women's health, disrespects the judgment of American women -- I don't know if they even gave that a thought -- and it's the most comprehensive and radical assault on women's health in our lifetime. It's that bad."
 Read more at Huffington Post

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Democrats Preparing To Fight Anti-Abortion GOPers With Economic Message

With hearings set to start today on 2 anti-reproductive rights bills, Pro-choice Democrats are gearing up for a fight.  HR 3, sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and initially included a provision to redefine rape, is scheduled for a Judiciary subcommittee hearing.  HR 358, sponsored by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) would allow hospitals to allow a woman to die rather that perform an abortion will be brought before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Pro-choice Democrats are raring for an abortion fight this week -- and they intend to start one. After a trio of ultra-conservative abortion bills were filed in the weeks since the Republicans took over earlier this year, returning House Democrats and several of their Senate colleagues will roll out a multi-tiered attack on the GOP's abortion plans, simultaneously painting the bills as extreme, hypocritical and off the all-important economic message.
Read more at Talking Points Memo

Monday, February 07, 2011

After 'forcible rape,' another abortion restriction

Jonathan Capehart's take on HR 358, which would allow hospitals to refuse to perform an abortion if the mother's life is at risk as part of the "conscience clause."
Oh, good grief. No sooner have I celebrated the Republican retreat on the gambit to make "forcible rape" -- whatever that meant -- one of the few exceptions for federal funding of abortions than a new, more dastardly threat to women's right to choose arises.

Under the guise of protecting hospitals, medical clinics and health workers from discrimination because they refuse to perform abortions, H.R. 358 would let them do so without fear of penalty. The "nondiscrimination on abortion" provision is part of the nine-page Protect Life Act, an amendment to last year's health-care law introduced by seven-term Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) on Jan. 20. In a copy of the manager's amendment I obtained from a source, the odious term "forcible rape" no longer appears. But here's the problem: If enacted this bill would trump the 25-year-old law that guarantees public access to emergency care, including abortions.
Read more at The Washington Post

Friday, February 04, 2011

New GOP Bill Would Allow Hospitals To Let Women Die Instead Of Having An Abortion

The term "forcible" may have been removed from HR 3, but there are other bills that are aimed at reducing access to reproductive care for women being offered by the GOP.  HR 358 would allow hospitals to refuse to terminate a pregnancy even if the woman's life is in danger.
The controversy over "forcible rape" may be over, but now there's a new Republican-sponsored abortion bill in the House that pro-choice folks say may be worse: this time around, the new language would allow hospitals to let a pregnant woman die rather than perform the abortion that would save her life.

The bill, known currently as H.R. 358 or the "Protect Life Act," would amend the 2010 health care reform law that would modify the way Obamacare deals with abortion coverage. Much of its language is modeled on the so-called Stupak Amendment, an anti-abortion provision pro-life Democrats attempted to insert into the reform law during the health care debate last year. But critics say a new language inserted into the bill just this week would go far beyond Stupak, allowing hospitals that receive federal funds but are opposed to abortions to turn away women in need of emergency pregnancy termination to save their lives.
Read more at Talking Points Memo

Is Providing Abortions Creating a "Nuisance"?

A judge has barred a doctor who trained specifically to begin offering abortions following the murder of Dr. George Tiller in Wichita from performing abortions.  The temporary restraining order is based on a suit brought by the clinic's landlord that abortion services will create a nuisance.
The first doctor to try to offer abortion services in Wichita, Kansas, since Dr. George Tiller was gunned down in a church in May 2009 has been blocked from doing so—by her landlord, who has claimed this would create a "nuisance." And groups opposed to abortion rights are hailing this development as a major win on a prominent frontline in the national war over abortion.

Dr. Mila Means is a family practitioner in Wichita, and since last year she has been preparing to provide abortion services there. (She has been undergoing training with Kansas City abortion provider, Aid for Women.) But on Monday, a state judge issued a temporary restraining order barring Means from performing abortions at her medical office or making any changes to the facility that would allow her to do so. Judge Jeffrey Goering granted this order at the behest of Foliage Development, Inc., the owner of the building that houses Means' office.
Read more at Mother Jones

Rand Paul Says Republicans 'Aren't Maybe Brave Enough' to Tackle Deficit

Senator Rand Paul reiterates his call for an end to all foreign aid, including that to Israel.
In an exclusive interview with ABC News, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., took aim at the newly released House GOP budget, saying it falls far short of what needs to be done to deal with the federal deficit.

"It's really not going to touch the problem," Paul said. "There's a disconnect between Republicans who want a balanced budget but aren't maybe yet brave enough to talk about the cuts to come."

The plan by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., released on Thursday, would cut non-security discretionary spending by $58 billion by the end of fiscal year 2011, which ends on Sept. 30.
Read more at ABCNews

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Senate Dems press GOP on Paul’s call to cut aid

Following Senator Rand Paul's call to end foreign aid, including aid to Israel, Senate Democrats urged a rejection of this proposal.
Senate Democrats urged Republicans to reject a colleague's call for an end to foreign aid, including aid to Israel.
"Both Republicans and Democrats are committed to reining in the federal deficit, but assistance to Israel is not a matter of 'pork barrel spending,' " said the letter sent Tuesday to the GOP chairmen of the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations and Budget committees, respectively Rep. Hal Rogers of Kentucky and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. "Rather U.S. foreign aid to Israel demonstrates America's rock-solid commitment to ensuring Israel's right to exist."
Read more at JTA

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Mubarak's Role and Mideast Peace

A thoughtful analysis of two possible outcomes of the situation in Egypt by David Makovsky.
Although there are too many variables in the very fluid Egyptian upheaval to predict its consequences on the Israeli-Palestinian arena with any degree of certainty, there are two scenarios worth pondering.
One requires progress to avoid radicalization, and the other will lead to an Israeli-Islamist confrontation.
 Read more at The New York Times

Radio Silence On Rape-Redefining Abortion Bill From The Right

Elected officials and even anti-choice groups seem reluctant to discuss H.R. 3, the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," especially the section that would potentially redefine rape.
The Republican-controlled House is considering new limitations on federal funding for abortion that could be a crown jewel of the GOP leadership's attempt to show its constituents there's a new, socially conservative sheriff in town -- if anyone was willing to discuss it, that is.

It seems one of the only people willing to talk at all about the controversial abortion bill is one of its Democratic co-sponsors, Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL). And he's not willing to embrace the language in the bill that appears to redefine rape in a way that would prevent some impregnated victims from having their abortions covered by insurance.
Read more at TPM