Quakers Targeting Israel; Obamacare Impacting Emergency Rooms

Sunday, 03 Jul 2011 02:30 PM

By Special From Newsmax's Most Informed Sources

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Quakers Now Targeting Israel Via Investments
2. Obamacare to Boost, Not Reduce ER Visits
3. Author: 163 Million Female Babies Aborted
4. In North Korea, Even Army Is Starving
5. Prosecutor: Inmates Prefer Gitmo to Freedom
6. We Heard: Jeb Bush, Ron Paul, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann
 

1. Quakers Now Targeting Israel Via Investments

A prominent national Quaker organization has joined a campaign urging a large retirement fund to divest its holding in companies it says profit from Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories.

The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Nobel Peace Prize-winning Quaker group, announced its support of the "We Divest from Israel's Occupation" campaign, which has significant Jewish support.

The campaign asks TIAA-CREF, one of the world's largest retirement funds and manager of AFSC's employee accounts, to divest from companies including Caterpillar, Motorola, Elbit, Veolia, and Northrop Grumman.

Jewish Voice for Peace, which supports the campaign, said in a statement:

"This is the first time a client of the fund has joined the divestment campaign, standing with campaign leaders Jewish Voice for Peace and the more than 40 organizations who have already signed on, including Jewish, Christian, and secular organizations from across the country and Israel/Palestine."

The AFSC board said they were joining the campaign "as a matter of conscience and an expression of our unwillingness to remain complicit with violence and oppression occurring daily in Palestine and Israel, which is contrary to all that we know to be true and right."

In a letter to TIAA-CREF, Arlene Kelly, chair of the AFSC's board of directors, said the board "urges you to refrain from investing in any company that contributes to perpetuating the Israeli military occupation of the Gaza Strip, West Bank, and East Jerusalem, provides products or services to Israeli settlements, or provides products or services that enable violent acts that target civilians."

John K.S. Wilson, TIAA-CREF's director of corporate governance, wrote back that the fund is "unable to alter our investment policy" in response to the AFSC's concerns.

"We are unable to create custom-made funds, which in essence would require all CREF participants to subsidize the cost of a fund that only a small percentage of clients might access."

Editor's Note:



2. Obamacare to Boost, Not Reduce ER Visits

Supporters of the healthcare reform legislation passed by Congress claim it will reduce emergency room visits by providing nearly all Americans with the insurance they can use to see a primary care physician.

A new poll says otherwise.

The survey by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) found that 97 percent of doctors every day treat Medicaid patients in their emergency departments because the patients could not find a doctor willing to treat them for the fee Medicaid would pay.

If Obamacare provides insurance that reimburses physicians at Medicaid rates, visits to the ER will likely increase, according to ACEP.

In fact, 89 percent of doctors polled said they believe ER visits will increase under Obamacare.

"This poll confirms what we are witnessing in Massachusetts — that visits to emergency rooms are going to increase across the country, despite healthcare reform, and that health insurance coverage does not guarantee access to medical care," said ACEP President Sandra Schneider.

Hundreds of emergency rooms across the country have been forced to shut down due to financial concerns, increasing the workload at those remaining open, and the healthcare reform law fails to address this issue, Dr. Schneider said.

Nearly half of the physicians surveyed in ACEP's poll said fear of lawsuits is the biggest challenge to cutting costs in emergency rooms, and 53 percent said their fear of lawsuits was the main reason for ordering many of the tests they perform.

Editor's Note:



3. Author: 163 Million Female Babies Aborted

Parental preference for producing sons rather than daughters in a number of societies has led to the aborting of more than 160 million female babies since the late 1970s, an author contends.

Writing about the book "Unnatural Selection" by Mara Hvistendahl, Jonathan V. Last, a senior editor at the Weekly Standard, notes that the natural ratio of 105 boys for every 100 girls is "biologically ironclad."

But in India today there are 112 boys born for every girl. In China, there are 121 boys for every girl, and in many towns the male figure is over 150. In Armenia, the figure is 120.

What is causing the skewed ratio is abortion.

"If the male number in the sex ratio is above 106, it means that couples are having abortions when they find out the mother is carrying a girl," Last writes in an article that appeared in The Wall Street Journal.

"By Ms. Hvistendahl's counting, there have been so many sex-selective abortions in the past three decades that 163 million girls, who by biological averages should have been born, are missing from the world."

What made the skewed ratio possible is the availability of amniocentesis in the mid-1970s, and later ultrasound, to determine the gender of a child before birth.

Last cites an ad put out by an Indian clinic that states, "Better 500 rupees now than 5,000 later," referring to the price of a sex-determination test versus the cost of a dowry for a daughter.

Skewed sex ratios have had some unpleasant and often violent repercussions through history, Hvistendahl points out, citing the dearth of women along the frontier in the "wild" American West. In 1870, the sex ratio west of the Mississippi was 120 to 100, and in California it was 166 to 100.

"Today in India," Last observes, "the best predictor of violence and crime for any given area is not income but sex ratio."

Last also cites the danger that with prenatal sex determination reducing the number of females, "a small but still significant group of the world's women will end up being stolen or sold from their homes and forced into prostitution or marriage."

And he goes on to say that "if 'choice' is the moral imperative guiding abortion, then there is no way to take a stand against 'gendercide.' Choice is choice."

Editor's Note:



4. In North Korea, Even Army Is Starving

Food shortages in North Korea have become so acute that even the traditionally well-fed military is starving, according to hidden camera footage from inside the impoverished communist state.

Based on the footage, shot by an undercover North Korean journalist, ABC News reports: "It is clear that the all-powerful army, once quarantined from food shortages and famine, is starting to go hungry."

One soldier told the journalist: "Everybody is weak. Within my troop of 100 comrades, half of them are malnourished."

The regime "used to put the military first, but now it can't even supply food to its soldiers," said Jiro Ishimaru, who trained the undercover reporter. "Rice is being sold in markets but they are starving. This is the most significant thing in this video."

The footage also shows young children caked with filth begging in the streets for handouts. Many are orphans, their parents victims of starvation or a concentration camp.

Dictator Kim Jong-il depends on the military for his grip on power, and the food shortages afflicting the soldiers could threaten his hopes for a transition to his successor, son Kim Jong-un, ABC News observes, noting: "Opposition to a third generation of the Kim family taking over is growing."

Kim's recent move to shut down the nation's universities is seen as an attempt to keep that opposition in check.

According to reports in South Korea, the government on June 27 ordered all universities to cancel classes until April of next year, ostensibly to aid the economy by putting the students to work on construction projects in cities or in agricultural areas.

But Toshimitsu Shigemura, a professor in Tokyo and author of several books on North Korea, told The Telegraph the shutdown could have come in response to "a possibility of demonstrations at university campuses.

"The leadership has seen the 'Jasmine Revolution' in Africa and it is very frightened that the same thing could happen in North Korea. They fear it could start in the universities."

He added that North Korea recently purchased anti-riot equipment from China and has increased police presence in the capital, Pyongyang.

Editor's Note:



5. Prosecutor: Inmates Prefer Gitmo to Freedom

Some prisoners being held at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba would rather remain in American custody there than be released to return to their home countries, a former Gitmo prosecutor said.

"Interestingly, some detainees were offered release, and asked to stay in Gitmo," Kyndra Rotunda, who served in the Army Judge Advocate General's office, told CNS News.

"They prefer captivity in Gitmo to freedom in their own countries."

Just last week, black-hooded activists with the group Witness Against Torture protested outside the White House, claiming in a news release that the Obama administration was responsible for the "ongoing torture, mistreatment and indefinite detention of troops at Guantanamo Bay."

But far from being tortured, Rotunda said prisoners at Gitmo are given a wide range of freedoms.

"They are outside of their housing bays for up to 12 hours a day. During that time, they can take classes, visit the library — which has over 5,000 titles, including the Harry Potter series translated into Arabic — exercise, check out movies or games, play sports — detainees can chose from a selection of athletic shoes — or even visit the computer lab."

Rotunda is now a civilian teaching military and international law at Chapman University Law School in Southern California, and she lectures at the University of California at Berkeley. She is the author of "Honor Bound: Inside the Guantanamo Trials," about her experiences at Gitmo.

All detainees are allowed to freely practice their religion at Gitmo, she told CNS News.

"The Muslim call to prayer is broadcast over loudspeakers five times a day. During this time, the prison guards are instructed to give each detainee 20 minutes of uninterrupted time, even if the detainee is not praying.

"When I was in Gitmo, the camp commander hosted a celebration for detainees to mark the end of Ramadan and flew in seasonal nuts and dates for the celebration," she added.

"The detainees asked the commander to fly in a goat that they could sacrifice. The commander declined that request because he did not want to upset PETA."

Editor's Note:



6. We Heard…

THAT former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush hasn't yet decided who he will back for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, but it's hard to discount the fact that he has already toured the Sunshine State with newly announced candidate Jon Huntsman.

Huntsman, former Utah governor and U.S. ambassador to China, is focusing his campaign heavily on Florida and has set up a campaign headquarters there, the Washington Post reported.

Bush said: "I'm learning more about the governor-slash-ambassador — not sure exactly what we should call him — but I'm impressed because he is very substantive, he talks about the issues, he knows them well. And that's what we need in a general election."

THAT Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul has hired GOP pollster Fritz Wenzel and his polling firm Wenzel Strategies to run polling operations for his campaign.

Wenzel Strategies has served Rand Paul's successful 2010 campaign for the Senate, Jim DeMint's Senate Conservatives Fund and various congressional races.

Ron Paul "has long stood strong for the core principles that have made our country great," Wenzel said.

"At a time when our country is in great peril, voters are looking for a candidate who will turn to and rely on the wisdom of the Constitution, and there is no better student of that document than Ron Paul."

THAT Paul's fellow GOP presidential candidate, Herman Cain, has a deal with Threshold Editions to publish his memoir in October.

"With the 2012 election season fully underway, we are thrilled to provide the untold story of one of the campaign's most compelling candidates," said Louise Burke, executive vice president and publisher of Threshold Editions, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

"'Who Is Herman Cain?' will highlight Cain's lifetime accomplishments that include working as a mathematician for the Department of Navy, hosting an eponymous radio show, and most notably, becoming the turnaround CEO of the Godfather's Pizza chain."

Cain said: "Win-win relationships are what you look for in business and that is what I look forward to having with Threshold Editions."

THAT rocker Tom Petty has sent a cease-and-desist order to Michele Bachmann demanding that she no longer play the song "American Girl" after she closed out the launch of her presidential campaign on Monday to the tune of Petty's hit single.

During the 2000 presidential campaign, Petty demanded that George W. Bush not use his song "I Won't Back Down" to promote his White House run.

Note: Newsmax magazine is now available on the iPad. Find us in the App Store.

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