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 61 
 on: Sep 01, 2014, 05:34 AM 
Started by TempuraNostril - Last post by Rad
TempuraNostril,
 
It holds no specific meaning of itself.

God Bless, Rad

 62 
 on: Sep 01, 2014, 12:20 AM 
Started by TempuraNostril - Last post by TempuraNostril
Hi I have a question about the natal position of a planet and whether it's position above or below the ecliptic in respect to the planet's nodes holds any meaning?

For example Neptune's south node falls in Aquarius and if its natal position in a person's birth chart falls above/below the ecliptic in respect to the descending node, how might this influence the manifestation of the Neptunian energies in one's chart? Especially in relation to how the energies may have manifested in previous lifetimes.

And vice versa in respect to the north/ascending node.

Thank you.

 63 
 on: Aug 31, 2014, 09:43 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad

With war under way in Ukraine, Russians don’t like what little they learn

Evidence of the extent of Russian military involvement in Ukraine has been dribbling out for months. But recently it also has been leaking into Russia itself, despite an official government policy that what’s happening in Ukraine is all about Ukraine.

By Matthew Schofield
McClatchy Foreign Staff

The fighting between the military and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine has claimed 2,600 lives, according to U.N. figures. NATO estimates at least 1,000 Russian soldiers are in Ukraine. Russia denies that.

The Associated Press

BERLIN — The secret funerals are back. So are motherly measures. As the Ukraine-Russia conflict enters its sixth month, there are signs from inside Russia that the nation’s nerves are beginning to fray.

Evidence of the extent of Russian military involvement in Ukraine has been dribbling out for months. Last week, it reached a level at which Ukrainian and many Western officials finally referred to it as invasion. But recently, from media accounts and more, it also has been leaking into Russia itself, despite an official government policy that what’s happening in Ukraine is all about Ukraine.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a Russian dissident who was jailed for a decade and released suddenly last winter by Russian President Vladimir Putin, posted a statement on his website Thursday saying it was time to acknowledge reality. “We are fighting Ukraine — for real,” he wrote. “We are sending soldiers and equipment.”

But, he then asked, why is Russia not publicly acknowledging this? His answer: This effort is nothing more than the latest example of a long-standing tradition.

“All this time our authorities have been lying through their teeth, just like they did about Afghanistan back in the ’80s; and about Chechnya in the ’90s,” he wrote. “Today, they are lying about Ukraine. And while it goes on, we have been burying those on both sides who, until recently, we held as co-workers, friends and family.”

The reasons Khodorkovsky, and according to reports from a growing number of those inside the Russian information bubble, believe their nation is lying to them are growing.

In recent days: After more than 100 Russian soldiers were killed in a single battle inside Ukraine in mid-August, media reports noted that their bodies were being returned with death certificates structured to make it appear they died elsewhere. In that same battle, an additional 300 were reported to have been injured.

A group of Russian mothers realized that instead of the official military story — that their sons had been sent on a training mission in Russia — their sons were now prisoners of war in Ukraine.

The estimate of at least 1,000 active Russian troops now fighting in Ukraine was essentially confirmed by the head of Ukraine’s pro-Russian separatists, who explained their presence in the middle of what he depicts as a civil war between Ukrainians by saying they were using their vacation days to join the fight.

On Friday, Russia officially labeled a St. Petersburg soldiers’ mothers group as “foreign agents,” an insulting label requiring them to note this status in fundraising and information efforts. In recent weeks, stories have begun to appear in Russian media about mothers around Russia confused by the seemingly secret deaths and burials of their military sons.

One group of mothers, reported on in the German newspaper Berliner Zeitung, noticed large numbers of Ukrainian comments on the social-media pages of their sons, and thus learned that their sons had been taken captive in Ukraine.

The mothers insist they were told their sons were heading from their base four hours north of Moscow to a southern base not far from the Ukraine border. After learning their sons had been captured inside Ukraine, they were told it was a mistake. Their sons, the government said, had gotten lost and strayed more than 10 miles beyond the shared border by accident.

One mother, recalling how in Chechnya it often came down to mothers themselves heading into conflict zones to negotiate the return of their captured soldier sons, told the newspaper: “If the government won’t act, it looks like once again it’s time for motherly measures.”

 64 
 on: Aug 31, 2014, 07:46 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
In the USA...United Surveillance and Swat Teams of America

Obama's Cool Head in a Crisis -- Asset or Growing Liability?

by Naharnet Newsdesk
31 August 2014, 08:42

He doesn't bluster and he doesn't strut and President Barack Obama certainly isn't panicking, though he admits it feels like the world is falling apart.

But Obama's cool-in-a-crisis style and disdain for the impulsive use of military force is fueling criticism of his leadership, as crises stagger the Middle East and Ukraine.

"If you watch the nightly news, it feels like the world is falling apart," the sanguine U.S. leader told supporters Friday.

"I can see why a lot of folks are troubled," he said, while counseling that the U.S. military, standing tall amid jihadist violence and geopolitical threats, had never been mightier.

"The world has always been messy -- we're just noticing it now in part because of social media."

With world crises bursting around him and political opponents apoplectic, Obama has yet to lash out in response, and refuses to act on anyone's timetable but his own.

His methodical crisis management, long Situation Room seminars and skepticism that U.S. force can remake a tumultuous world, has sustained him through nearly six tough White House years.

With Islamic State radicals dug into a caliphate in Iraq and Syria, and Russian President Vladimir Putin's shadow ever lengthening over Ukraine, Obama is shrugging off a whirl of hostile news cycles and political attacks on his leadership.

But even Obama allies may be forgiven for wondering, after another trying week, whether the president’s approach is becoming a political liability, as his once high foreign policy ratings ebb.

A burst of honesty on Syria put the president in a new fix —- and raised the stakes for his trip to the NATO summit and Estonia beginning Tuesday.

"We don't have a strategy yet," Obama told reporters, trying to quell a warlike mood in Washington, which expected to hear U.S. attacks on IS in Syria were imminent.

But the damaging soundbite sparked a Washington firestorm, as it appeared to validate Republican attacks that the president, disengaged and oblivious to rising threats, is not up to facing down the world's hard men like Vladimir Putin.

Republican senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham warned in a New York Times article Saturday headlined "stop dithering" that Obama's failure to act quickly against IS in Syria was "startling" and "dangerous."

Potential 2016 Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry said Obama's remarks revealed a president always one step behind the next crisis, and accused him of "dithering and debating" over what to do about IS.

Aides protested Obama was talking only about an operational plan for military action in Syria — not the wider battle against a group U.S. jets are already bombing in Iraq.

But in political spats like this, context is lost.

While it infuriates his enemies, Obama's approach is a reflection of his own personality, his post-Iraq war era and the historical lens through which he increasingly peers as his presidency enters its twilight.

His drawn out decision-making and habit of testing of every scenario that could follow military action is familiar —- Obama agonized for months before doubling down with an Afghan troop surge in his first term.

But in probing complexity and nuance, is Obama's zeal for decisive action dimmed?

His defenders reply with three words — Osama bin Laden — recalling the long-planned and daring raid into Pakistan which killed the Al-Qaida chief and helped Obama win reelection.

Obama recently took to telling confidants the core of his foreign policy is not to do "stupid" things — and holds up the "disastrous" Iraq war as Exhibit A in his case.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest explained that Obama, wary of being sucked into Syria's civil war, refuses to simply launch an impulsive attack to appease Washington, seeking vengeance after the IS murder of U.S. journalist James Foley.

"There are some who probably would make the case that it's OK to not have a formulated, comprehensive strategy," Earnest said.

"That is not what the president believes is a smart approach."

Brian Katulis, of the Center for American Progress, which is close to the administration, said Obama may be more in tune with his war-weary nation, than his critics.

"I think a lot of the criticism comes from the chattering classes — amongst the foreign policy elite and in the media."

"I think your ordinary American is very much where the president is, in his cautious look before you leap stance."

Obama has made clear he believes history assigned him the role of getting troops home from foreign wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan, and of transitioning his nation from the permanent war footing it adopted following the September 11 attacks in 2001.

Critics argue though, that the president sees the world not as it is — but as he wishes to see it. Some Americans appear to agree: only 36 percent in a recent Pew Research/USA Today poll thought Obama acted sufficiently tough on the world stage.

But some close observers sympathize with his plight.

"It's pretty tough being president of the United States. You are damned if you do, and damned if you don't," said a Western diplomat on condition of anonymity.

"Either you are accused of having got too involved in some other country's affairs and making things worse -— or you stand back because you are conscious that in the past, sometimes military interventions have not been an unmitigated success."

***************

Keeping Their Voters Stupid Keeps Republicans Elected

By: Rmuse
PoliticusUSA
Saturday, August, 30th, 2014, 10:08 am   

Over the past six years after every election, a relatively common question is why do so many Americans dependably vote against their own self-interests. Despite poor white people in southern red states barely surviving on slave wages, welfare, food stamps, and no adequate healthcare, they routinely vote for Republicans openly campaigning on driving their constituents deeper into poverty. It is true that opposition to Democrats as surrogates for an African American President is driven by racial animus, but even that fails to explain poor white voters electing abusive Republicans promising to eliminate programs that keep them alive and block Democratic attempts to lift them out of poverty.

Founding Father Thomas Jefferson understood how abusive Republicans could succeed, if only they kept the population unenlightened, or in street vernacular blind, dumb, and stupid. Jefferson said, “I know no safe depositary of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of power.”

That was in 1820, but even before that Jefferson wrote that “Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories. And to render even them safe, their minds must be improved to a certain degree. Therefore, it is imperative that the nation see to it that a suitable education be provided for all its citizens.”
Jefferson was not the first man to identify the death knell of democracy, or “self-government,” was an uneducated populace. Republicans understand they could hardly garner any electoral support if the population was educated and informed, so they have went to extraordinary and, often, unconstitutional lengths to keep the populace ignorant by cutting education funding. Whether it is transferring public school funding to private, religious, or underperforming charter schools, or just slashing education funding, Republicans will employ any measure to keep Americans stupid so they will vote against their own self-interests.

On Thursday, another judge ruled that Republicans in Texas used an unconstitutional scam to starve public schools and produce another generation of ignorant Texans to vote for Republicans. The Texas ruling was a repudiation of gubernatorial candidate Gregg Abbot’s defense of slashing well over $5 billion from public schools using an unconstitutional property tax scam. However, the means of slashing public education funding is unimportant, but it is a growing trend among Republican-led states whose goal is simply to maintain a base of support among uneducated voters.

Last week a judge in North Carolina ruled that a Republican privatization scheme was unconstitutional because it defunded public schools by shifting public education funds to private and charter religious schools. The judge correctly stated that the Republican scheme was to “siphon money from the public schools in favor of private schools, fund non-public schools that discriminate on account of religion, and to shift “public taxpayer money to private religious schools that have no legal obligation to teach them anything.” Besides a dirty privatization scam, N.C. Republicans want to keep the next generation of voters blind, dumb, and stupid so they will support policies that keep them in distress.

Last year in Kansas a judge ruled that Governor Sam Brownback’s Draconian cuts to public education were unconstitutional; particularly because the lack of funding was due to using taxpayer dollars to fund unsustainable tax cuts for the rich. Brownback, like all Republicans, desperately needs an ignorant and uneducated citizenry who regularly fall for the insane notion that taking money from the people to enrich corporations and the wealthy is key to an economic Utopia. It is noteworthy that the storied “trickle down” theory has existed for about a generation, and the people that were denied a decent education then ignorantly support Brownback’s economic lunacy that has the state suffering three recent credit downgrades and flirting with bankruptcy in the very near future. It is even likely that people suffering the drastic social program cuts enacted by Republicans will vote for Brownback because they are too stupid to understand they are voting against their own survival.

Another Republican state, Louisiana, is fighting federal and state court lawsuits due to Governor Bobby Jindal’s unconstitutional scheme of stealing from public schools to fund private religious institutions. Jindal, like all Republicans, depends on uneducated voters to support policies against their own self-interests such as rejecting free Medicaid expansion funding, giving free rein to dirty energy industry to foul Louisiana’s air and water, and cut social programs ignorant and uneducated citizens require to survive.

The common theme in keeping their citizens ignorant and uninformed is pandering to voters’ irrational fears. It is why Republicans’ claim Democrats are subverting their religious freedom, taking god out of schools, coming for their guns, and imposing Marxism, Socialism, or communism on the people. If any American does not believe how ignorance borne of an uneducated populace drives opposition to policies that help Americans, take heed of the number of times Republican and teabagger voters bemoan President Obama’s Marxist or socialist policies revealing they have no idea what Marxist or socialist policies entail. If one wants to end a debate, or conversation with a conservative parroting Republican talking points, ask them when the government came for their guns, what Marxism or socialism is, how their religious liberty, was subverted, or how President Obama is shredding the Constitution; a document they have never read, much less understand at even a rudimentary level.

It is beyond refute that if the citizens of this country were informed and educated, Republicans would be hard-pressed to get elected as dog-catchers, much less legislators. The assault on public education goes beyond Republican-controlled states as evidenced by congressional Republicans regularly cutting education funding. They, Republicans, know that if the public were educated, they could not demean science as the work of the devil, or claim contraception is abortion, or push the Christian bible as true science. There is a reason so many morons in the conservative movement are certain that god created America, wrote the Constitution, established America’s borders, and installed Christianity as the state religion, and it is simply due to their inability to pick up a history book or the founding document to check Republican claims for veracity.

Americans are not unintelligent, but a fair proportion of them are dirt stupid; it is the only reason a Republican ever gets elected. What Republicans are doing in the states to education is to maintain an ignorant, superstitious, and uninformed voting bloc as well as prepare the next generation to regularly vote against their own best interests. They will continue using any means to destroy public education because they know, as Founding Father Thomas Jefferson said, the only “true corrective of abuses of power is to see to it that a suitable education be provided for all its citizens.” It is a corrective that Republicans are waging a fierce battle against because their electoral survival depends on keeping their supporters uneducated, uninformed, and frankly, stupid from religion.

*************

Yet, despite this actual reality and evidence how many of you in America feel about how many 'stupid' Americans will vote for the Republican party anyway ? Of course it will be in the millions. What does that suggest United Stupid America ? USA ...USA ..USA ....

The Meaning Of The Koch Brothers Tapes: "I Don't Know Where We'd Be Without You"

By Mike Lux
CrooksandLiars
August 30, 2014 3:00 pm

Candid moments caught on tape reveal the true motives of politicians and their financiers.
The Meaning Of The Koch Brothers Tapes: "I Don't Know Where We'd Be Without You"

One of the classic strategies for politicians caught saying embarrassing things is to use the old "there's nothing to see here, keep moving" ploy. Republicans tried that at first when Romney was caught on the 47% tape, but it didn't work for them because it wasn't only what Romney said that was so offensive, it was the context: speaking to a bunch of wealthy donors about all those greedy seniors and poor people.

Sounds familiar.

The spectacle of Mitch McConnell, Joni Ernst, Cory Gardner, Tom Cotton, the head of the Republican Governors Association (and other politicians who were on the agenda or in attendance) kowtowing to Charles and David Koch and other billionaires gathered at the luxury resort. All the money spent on security ($870,000 to rent the hotel exclusively not to mention their own private security detail) to keep the meeting as secretive as possible. And Mitch McConnell, the most powerful man in the Republican party as the Senate Minority Leader, giving a speech outlining how his entire career, and the party's future policy strategy, were all in service to the Koch agenda. The combination will be as definitional to this campaign as the 47% video was to 2012.

And this won't just make an impact in the four Senate races which have gotten all the publicity so far. This is going to help define the national narrative for the 2014 campaign: these tapes make 100% clear that the modern Republican party is controlled by the Kochs and their billionaire friends. The Kochs invite the most powerful party leaders, the most important candidates, to their "seminars," and they all come running. These politicians thank the Kochs and their billionaire friends profusely, talk about how they wouldn't be where they are today without them, and then tell them how they will battle on their behalf if they win.

Mitch McConnell, speaking of the Republican party, said, "I want to start by thanking you, Charles and David, for the important work you're doing. I don't know where we'd be without you." Joni Ernst made absolutely clear, multiple times, that she would never had a chance to win her primary without the donors in the room. Tom Cotton thanked the billionaire financiers for reviving the Republican party in his state, and Cory Gardner begged them to invest heavily not only in Colorado but in the entire Rocky Mountain region, which was "ripe" for them to come in and exploit.

Notice that these candidates come from all over the country - the South, the West, the Midwest. The Koch donor network has a broad and deep reach. They control the Republican party from sea to shining sea.

The Koch brothers have made clear their agenda. They don't believe in climate change, and want no regulations on their oil companies. They want their taxes reduced to almost nothing since they, after all, are the "job creators." They oppose reform and regulation of Wall Street. They don't believe in a minimum wage, or unemployment compensation, or student loans, or Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. They think public education should be privatized and turned over to the corporate sector.

And what the 47% recording, and the Koch conference recordings, confirm with 100% certainty, is that this is the same agenda, with the same values, shared by Republican politicians.

The Kochs and their millionaire/billionaire friends in that luxury hotel in Orange County, California are now in control of the Republican party- lock, stock, and barrel. And that is the narrative, confirmed on tape, of the 2014 election. Mitch McConnell is right: the GOP would be nowhere without the Koch brothers. The Republicans know where their bread is buttered, and will dance with the ones who brung 'em.

****************

Economic justice: How NC progressives are fighting back against the Tea Party

By Moyers & Company
Saturday, August 30, 2014 10:51 EDT

Editor’s note: The Moral Mondays movement began as a grassroots response to North Carolina’s rightward lurch after Republicans won complete control of the state’s government for the first time since 1870. Modeled on the civil rights movement, it has united a diverse group of citizens in opposition to the draconian legislative agenda that’s turned what was once the most moderate state in the South into a laboratory for conservative ideology. Moyers & Company documented the story in a special, “North Carolina: State of Conflict,” that aired earlier this year.

The movement has since spread to Georgia, and spawned a series of “Truthful Tuesdays” protests in South Carolina. Rev. Dr. William Barber II, head of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, is one of the movement’s key organizers and most prominent spokesperson. This Q&A was excerpted from a longer interview with Barber that first appeared at Political Research Associates earlier this week.

As William Barber prepared to spread a message of hope and democracy through a week of actions Aug. 22-28 in Raleigh and other Southern state capitals, he talked with me about North Carolina’s free-market ideology and how it has already affected the people who live there. Barber, referring to the billionaire-backed tea party, the national group that pushes free-market policies at the local and state level, says these past two legislative sessions have been a “coordinated, premeditated attempt to undermine progress and engage in regressive tea party policies.”

“This is really Robin Hood in reverse,” Barber told me. “It is government of business, bought by business, for business. And not just business — because lots of business leaders disagree with them — but this is tea party greed. This is Koch brother-type greed.”

Barber bristles, though, at the notion that conservatism or partisan politics are at the root of the problem. “I fuss against these terms ‘liberal’ versus ‘conservative’,” he says, “because I want to conserve the essence of our Constitution and then liberally make sure everybody has access to them. What we’re dealing with is extremism, and you can’t just define it as ‘conservative.’”

At the local level, says Barber, the state legislature’s extreme adherence to free-market neoliberal policy is gutting the state’s public school system. “Five thousand teachers being fired, being removed, and local school boards decrying [this] because of the impact that it was having on classroom sizes and students,” he says.

Barber adds that, because of the salary cuts, he sees teachers actively leaving North Carolina. “In fact,” he said, “one state, Texas, sent memos out and said if you’re in North Carolina, come to Texas. And you know that’s kind of sad, considering Texas’s regressiveness, when they actually can offer teachers more than North Carolina.”

Barber also described the legislature’s attempt to shift $10 million earmarked for public schools to voucher programs that could only be used to pay for private schools. In shifting these public funds into private hands, said Barber, the legislature refused to require that private schools benefiting from the vouchers maintain the same non-discrimination standards that public schools must uphold, meaning that private schools receiving voucher funds would have been allowed to restrict enrollment however they chose. A Superior Court judge declared on Aug. 21 that the state’s school voucher program is unconstitutional, citing the lack of accountability inherent in the program, and issued a permanent injunction stopping the voucher program from going forward.

[Conservative mega-donor] Art Pope and the tea party aren’t just alienating teachers and progressives, says Barber. They are also alienating Republicans across the state. Barber says that the legislature and McCrory never made clear, even to their own constituents, what they were planning to do once they achieved a supermajority in the statehouse and won the governorship. “They did not run saying,  ‘Elect me, I’m going to take your health care, cut your public education, and strip you of your unemployment even if you lost your job at no fault of your own,’” says Barber. “So, we’ve had a Republican unemployed person stand on the stage [at a Moral March] and say, ‘I’m a Republican, but I’m unemployed — I didn’t vote for this.’”

Even Republicans holding public office are objecting to the legislature’s actions. Adam O’Neal, a self-described conservative Republican mayor from Belhaven, NC, began a one-man march of 273 miles to Washington DC on July 14 to dramatize the impact of Gov. McCrory’s and  [House Speaker Thom] Tillis’ refusal to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. O’Neal explained that the lack of Medicaid funds had forced the only hospital in his coastal community to close, creating a “medical desert” that would certainly cost lives. O’Neal also lamented the potential economic impact of the hospital closing; he told NPR, “How many people go retire somewhere where it doesn’t even have a hospital?”

I asked Barber what he believes is the neoliberals’ vision for North Carolina. “They believe that the way to a great North Carolina is to deny necessary funds and access to public education. Attack teachers. Deny unemployment. Deny earned income tax credit and other safeguards for the working poor. Deny affordable healthcare and access to healthcare, even if it allows people to die. Deny labor rights, LGBT rights, women’s rights, immigrant rights… And then, if you really want a great America after you’ve done all these things, then suppress the right to vote and attempt to use your power to stay in office. And then, after you’ve done all of that to create all this tension, ensure that everyone has access to guns easier than they have access to the polls. Now, that sounds crude and sinister, but those are their policies.”

Having set this grim scene, Barber continued with a surprisingly upbeat message:  “Whatever we’re facing now, it’s not greater than slavery, it’s not greater than Jim Crow, it’s not greater than women being denied the right to vote. We won those battles. But we did not win those battles by merely engaging in political arguments. We had to tap into the moral and social consciousness of the nation.”

“I am hopeful,” he went on, “because I believe in the deep moral consciousness at the heart of America. Those of us who believe in justice and who believe in freedom, we are the heartbeat of this nation. Our role now is to be like a social defibrillator, to shock the heart of the nation, to cause it to revive and to remember what the real enemy is: regressive extremism. And it’s not just about winning all the elections, but changing the context in which our politicians have to operate.”

Barber said he hopes that the momentum of the Forward Together Moral Movement (as one of the core groups organizing Moral Marches is currently called) will spread. He sees it moving across the South from North Carolina to help change the political context and create the possibility for the state NAACP’s 14-Point People’s Agenda to be written into legislation both in North Carolina and beyond. The Agenda includes anti-poverty, pro-labor policies; equality and equitable distribution of resources in public education; access to healthcare for all; fairness in the criminal justice system; and protection and expansion of the right to vote and the rights of immigrants.

Barber acknowledges that the neoliberal forces in his state — and across the country — remain powerful. “We’ve got to fight in the courts, we’ve got to fight in the legislative halls, we’ve got to fight in the streets, we’ve got to push at the pulpit, and we have to work at the ballot box,” he says. “If we do all of this with what I call a moral critique, so we’re not trapped with the language of Republican versus Democrat, I believe we can continue to work towards the reconstruction of this nation.”

*************

Another 'Red' State Admits They Were WRONG About Obamacare, Quietly Accepts Medicaid Expansion

CrooksAndLiars
August 29, 2014
Richard Rowe

After first rejecting the Medicaid expansion, the Republican governor of Tennessee, Bill Haslam, is in the process of submitting a plan to the HHS to utilize Obamacare dollars. Shocking.

Remember earlier this year, around the time news of the ACA roll-out's success were starting to trickle in, when Republicans finally started revealing their true fears about it?

Rand Paul summed it up nicely:

    "People get assumed and accustomed to receiving things, particularly things that they get for free."

Or, to paraphrase: "We're terrified people will like it, and then we'll all look like idiots."

After the roll-out, fully half the states in the U.S., all of them controlled by Tea-baiting GOP lawmakers refused federal funds to expand Medicaid in their states. A good move from a political demagogue's point of view…maybe not so much for the people of those disproportionately impoverished states, who were left asking, "Why are we still dying because you won't give us the medical care we're legally due?"

Of course, those with any degree of reason knew that that wouldn't last forever, especially considering the fact that most of the poorest states in the Union are controlled by the GOP. Arkansas and Iowa were among the first opt-out states to opt back in under pressure from the public, adopting modified "private option" plans that can utilize the Medicaid money offered by the Fed to pay for or subsidize private insurance.

Now, Tennessee is looking to join that group, among three other red states including Pennsylvania planning on doing the same.

As reported by The Tennessean, Republican governor, Bill Haslam, is in the process of submitting a plan to the HHS (formerly controlled by FEMA Death Marshall Kathleen Sebelius) to utilize Obamacare dollars in a manner similar to Arkansas and Iowa's Private Option plans.

Evidently, the pressure from 150,000-plus poverty-stricken Tennesseans who need healthcare has proven slightly more powerful than the nonsensical screams of those Tea Partiers who put this guy into office.

Undoubtedly, this swing among Tennessee and GOP states like it is indicative of a larger trend, and you can bet it'll be a feather in Obama's cap. After all, there's no better political tool than a willing defector. Fair enough. But for our part, we welcome Tennessee, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Iowa and states like them to the civilized world.*

*"Civilized world" obviously not including Florida, currently controlled by Medicaid scam artist and TeaLord Rick Scott.

*****************

Michael Brown Killing: Video Mashup Of Witness Statements, Audio Of Shots

By karoli August 30, 2014 5:28 pm
CrooksAndLiars

This new montage combines witness interviews with the audio of the shots to demonstrate how the accounts align.

Now that the audio recording of the shots fired has been verified as to time and date, a montage of witness statements and the recording has been put together to demonstrate how closely all the witness accounts align with the actual shots fired.

They won't tell us whether or not Mike Brown had his hands up, and they won't tell us whether or not Darren Wilson struggled with Brown in the car. But they do tell us that separate witnesses who did not know each other told essentially the same story, and that story aligns with the sound associated with shots fired from the officer's gun.

Click to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8IHIJrY2aE

 65 
 on: Aug 31, 2014, 07:37 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Prototype for Ebola deterrent drug clears early test hurdle

By Agence France-Presse
Friday, August 29, 2014 20:44 EDT

Paris (AFP) – A prototype drug that has been urgently given to a handful of patients with Ebola has cleared an important test hurdle, showing that it cured lab monkeys with the disease, scientists said Friday.

Normally, experimental drugs are tested first on animals and then on progressively larger groups of humans to ensure they are safe and effective.

But, in an exceptional move, a new drug called ZMapp that has not gone through these tests has been rushed to the outbreak in west Africa, as the lethal disease has no cure.

Reporting online in the British journal Nature, researchers at the Public Health Agency of Canada said 18 rhesus macaque monkeys given high doses of Ebola virus fully recovered after being given ZMapp, even when it was administered five days after infection.

It reversed dangerous symptoms such as bleeding, rashes and high levels of enzymes in the liver.

Three “control” monkeys that had been infected, but not treated, all died within eight days.

The 21 animals had been given the so-called Kikwit strain of Ebola, named after a location in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the country where the haemorrhagic fever was discovered in 1976.

But lab-dish tests indicate it can also inhibit the strain in Guinea which has sparked the current epidemic, the scientists said.

- Good first step -

Independent experts hailed the results as an encouraging first step in the long vetting process.

They added, though, it was still unclear whether ZMapp worked on humans, as two patients who have been given it have died and two others have recovered.

“Widespread availability and use of ZMapp will require human safety testing and licensing, coupled with scaleup of the manufacturing process,” cautioned David Evans, a professor of virology at Britain’s University of Warwick.

A cocktail of three antibodies designed to cling to the Ebola virus and inhibit its reproduction, ZMapp is being developed by Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc. of San Diego, California, partly in conjunction with the US Army.

ZMapp has so far been given to seven infected frontline workers.

Of these, two American doctors have recovered; a Liberian doctor and a Spanish priest have died; and a doctor and a nurse, both Liberian, and a British nurse, who has been flown to London from Sierra Leone, are still in treatment.

The World Health Organization gave the green light on August 12, saying it was ethical to use experimental drugs in the context of this dangerous epidemic.

Stocks of ZMapp, which is derived from tobacco leaves and is hard to produce on a large scale, are exhausted, the company said on August 12.

The other main experimental drug for the disease is TKM-Ebola, being developed by Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp. of Vancouver, Canada, under a $140-million (105-million-euro) contract with the Pentagon.

It is currently in a Phase I human trial, the first step in the three-phase test process. In this phase, a drug is evaluated on healthy non-infected humans to see whether it is safe. Further phases test it for safety and also effectiveness.

More than 1,500 people have died in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone since the disease emerged in West Africa last December.

 66 
 on: Aug 31, 2014, 07:34 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Ultra-Orthodox Jews expelled from Guatemalan village after conflict with locals

By International Business Times
Saturday, August 30, 2014 12:35 EDT

A group of ultra-orthodox Jews who moved from Canada to a remote part of Guatemala a few months ago to find religious freedom have now been forced to leave their homes after conflict arose with local villagers there.

The Lev Tahor settlement in the San Juan la Laguna, which is about 93 miles west of Guatemala City, saw the Jews abandon their homes and board buses for the capital after weeks of tension with the local community, Al Jazeera reported.

A leader of the Lev Tahor sect in San Juan, Rabbi Uriel Goldman, said that most Guatemalans were friendly towards the Jews but an aggressive minority of local motivated by politics chose to push the group out.

"I don't understand why they don't want us, we're doing nothing bad here," Goldman said to Reuters adding that the city’s Elder Council issued an ultimatum to the Lev Tahor threatening them with cutting of their water and electricity if they did not leave.

"They also warned us they would remove us from the village by force," he said.

Last week, the town’s Elders Council voted to force the religious group to leave the area because some members of the sect have been accused of ill-treatment of indigenous residents and tourists to the area according to the Associated Press.

The villagers turned hostile and decided to expel the group because the Jews refused to greet or have physical contact with the local community, Miguel Vasquez Cholotio, a member of the Elders Council said.

"We felt intimidated by them in the streets. We thought they wanted to change our religion and customs," he reportedly said.

The Jews who began coming to the country in March from Canada due to clashes with authorities there said that verbal abuse, threats to cut off power and eject them by force was the last straw for the group to pack their bags and leave.

Founded in the 1980s by Israeli Shlomo Helbrans, Lev Tahor which means "Pure Heart" in Hebrew practices an austere form of Judaism and believes that technological trappings such as television and computers are bad and must be avoided with members of the group’s daily life being steeped in religion.

The group with rejects the state of Israel because it views the Jews as a people who must remain in exile has won the admiration from some Jews for its devoutness but others condemn it to cult-like sect. After being evicted by the locals of San Juan, Lev Tahor now hopes to find land elsewhere in Guatemala to resettle more than 200 Jews in the community and build about 30 houses, Goldman said.

 67 
 on: Aug 31, 2014, 07:31 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Ecuador’s women turn to boxing to fight sexual violence

By Agence France-Presse
Saturday, August 30, 2014 12:24 EDT

After surviving a harrowing rape attempt, Any Hurtado took up boxing — and found herself surrounded by other Ecuadoran women using their fists for protection in a country torn by sexual violence.

Statistics paint a disturbing picture of the threats women face in the South American country: six out of every 10 have been the victims of gender-based aggression, and one girl in 10 suffers sexual abuse before the age of 18.

Hurtado, a 17-year-old nursing student, lived through her own horror story last year.

She was walking home when a group of men surrounded her and tried to rape her.

“They started grabbing me and trying to assault me,” she told AFP.

“As I was struggling against them I thought I wasn’t going to be able to get away. But I found the strength somewhere. I hit the one closest to me and managed to run away.”

After the incident, Hurtado, who lives alone since her father emigrated to Spain four years ago, went to a gym in La Tola, a neighborhood in central Quito, and began learning to box.

There, she found a cohort of other women with stories similar to her own donning gloves and learning to use their fists to defend themselves.

One of them is Tania Lara, a 27-year-old domestic worker whose ex-husband used to beat her.

“Sometimes I wish I could go back in time. I think about what it would have been like then if I were the way I am now, a boxer. I’d have hit him hard,” she said.

Another boxer, Maria Vega, a 30-year-old who sells potatoes at a market in the capital, said she trains with even more passion ever since she first put her boxing to use on the street.

“A guy grabbed my cell phone and I took off running after him. I beat him to the ground until he gave it back,” she said with a grin.

The women put their gloves on, then got into the ring — Vega with no protective headgear.

“There it is Tania! Harder, no fear, don’t let her get you,” yelled Segundo Chango, a local boxing coach who gives free lessons to the women.

Lara and Vega traded hooks and jabs for 15 minutes, moving around the ring gracefully as other boxers looked on.

“You think a woman can’t last a week (boxing), but when you see them in there you realize they’re tough,” said Eric Bone, another of Chango’s trainees.

- Next generation -

The La Tola gym began offering training for women boxers 10 years ago. Since then, a growing number have taken advantage of the classes — about five a day currently, said Chango.

That reflects a natural response to the dangers women face in Ecuador, said Santiago Castellanos, a psychologist at the Latin American Social Sciences Faculty who specializes in gender studies.

“We live in a society where the public space is often safer for men than women. So women turn to self-defense… when society sees them as weak objects,” he said.

These boxers reject the notion held by some that boxing may make them less feminine.

Amarilis Carbos, a 26-year-old office worker, took off her heels when she entered the gym, stored her purse in a locker and removed her make-up.

“My parents never let me box because obviously it was a sport for men,” she said after changing into her workout clothes.

But now Carbos not only practices the sport, she even teaches it to her eight-year-old daughter.

“She has to learn to defend herself too,” she said.

 68 
 on: Aug 31, 2014, 07:30 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Lesotho Military Moves on Police

By ADAM NOSSITER
AUG. 30, 2014
IHT

DAKAR, Senegal — A military coup in the tiny southern African kingdom of Lesotho has chased out the prime minister and apparently put the army in control of the landlocked nation, witnesses and journalists in the capital said on Saturday.

Residents woke to the sound of gunfire before dawn on Saturday, with soldiers storming the seat of government in the capital, Maseru, apparently looking for Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, said the publisher of The Lesotho Times, Basildon Peta, in an interview from Maseru.

Speaking with Al Jazeera from South Africa, where he had sought refuge, Mr. Thabane said: “They were all over the State House looking for me. What they were hoping to do, I don’t know.”

The army is “doing what it wants to do without any recourse to lawful authority,” he said. “All these things can only manifest one thing, a government that cannot be regarded as normal. When you put it all together, that leads to a coup d’état.”

Lesotho, a mountainous country of 1.9 million, is surrounded by South Africa. Its political life, turbulent since independence from Britain in 1966, has featured at least three coups, Mr. Peta said. Just this year there was an attack on the residence of Mr. Thabane’s girlfriend, he said.

Saturday morning, army units stormed police stations — the police are thought to be loyal to the prime minister — and confiscated weapons, killing at least one police officer, according to Mr. Peta and news reports.

By late Saturday it was not clear who was in charge. The police stations were deserted, and Mr. Thabane was still in South Africa, although he told Al Jazeera that he intended to return to Lesotho. “There is a major security vacuum,” Mr. Peta said. “Basically there is anarchy.”

The soldiers had apparently returned to their barracks by Saturday evening. “In the morning there were so many soldiers patrolling around here,” said a guard at the United States Embassy in Maseru, John Nkhetse. “Now we are free to move. There are no more now here.”

An official at the embassy who said she was the duty officer declined to comment on the day’s events.

The latest political crisis was precipitated by Mr. Thabane’s dissolution of Parliament in June, according to Mr. Peta and local news reports. Deputies had warned that they would hold a vote of no confidence; the prime minister, under Lesotho’s Constitution, can shut down Parliament for nine months, Mr. Peta said.

Mr. Thabane had threatened to fire the army chief, Lt. Gen. Kennedy Tlali Kamoli. But late Saturday, the general was still in charge, Mr. Peta said.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, the deputy prime minister, Mothetjo Metsing, generally thought to be pro-army, denied that there had been a coup. “This is not a coup, let us get that straight,” Mr. Metsing said. “The prime minister would not still be the prime minister if there was a coup that had taken place.”

But it was unclear what authority, if any, Mr. Thabane retained; nor was it clear when he might return. “He’s claiming he is in charge, but you can’t be in charge when you are not on the ground,” Mr. Peta said.

An army spokesman also denied that there had been a coup, according to news reports.

 69 
 on: Aug 31, 2014, 07:28 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Israeli Fire on Gaza Town Raises War Crimes Claim

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
AUG. 31, 2014, 8:01 A.M. E.D.T.

RAFAH, Gaza Strip — The first of August dawned as a day of promise for the Mahmoum clan and thousands of other Palestinians stuck in United Nations shelters in Rafah — thanks to a temporary cease-fire with Israel they could go home for three days.

But the expected respite quickly turned into one of the deadliest and most controversial episodes in the recent war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. After just two hours, amid fear that Hamas had captured an Israeli soldier, the Israeli military sealed off the Rafah area and began shelling. By the end of the next day, 190 Palestinians were dead, according to a list of names compiled by two Gaza human rights groups, including 14 members of the Mahmoum family.

The Rafah operation is almost certain to be a focus of U.N. investigators and rights groups looking into possible war crimes because it highlights a key concern: The treatment of civilians.

A Palestinian rights group argues that the Israeli army violated the rules of war, which include giving adequate warning to civilians, using proportionate force and distinguishing between civilians and combatants. Unlike in many other Gaza battles, civilians were caught by surprise by the sudden fire and sealed exits.

"None of the rules of international humanitarian law was observed," said Mahmoud Abu Rahma of the Al Mezan rights group.

The Israeli military confirmed that Rafah residents were barred from leaving the area on Aug. 1, but declined comment on the war crime allegations. It denied firing into a densely populated area without regard for civilians, saying precise airstrikes hit targets linked to militants and artillery — though inherently inaccurate — was only aimed at open fields.

Late on Aug. 2, the suspected capture of the soldier turned out to be a false alarm, and the Rafah episode is one of several under internal military review.

"If we accidentally or mistakenly targeted a civilian situation, it was a mistake, and we are very sorry about that," an officer from the army's Southern Command said on condition of anonymity as he wasn't authorized to speak on the record.

The following account is from interviews with Palestinian survivors and the Israeli military, along with events witnessed by The Associated Press.
___

The cease-fire took effect at 8 a.m. Friday. Mustafa Mahmoum, a municipal bulldozer operator, was at work clearing rubble from previous Israeli strikes. But after weeks in a shelter, his wife Iqzayer, 34, and their seven children returned to the family home in Tannour in east Rafah, about 2 miles (3 kilometers) from the Israeli border.

A few houses down Ouroba Street, the main thoroughfare, Azizeh, 47, the wife of one of Mustafa's cousins, and her nine children also moved back home into their two-room shack with a roof of corrugated metal.

At 9 a.m., the commander of Israel's Givati Brigade, Col. Ofer Winter, had just dozed off after a sleepless night when he received an alert from the field.

Givati soldiers searching for Hamas' network of military tunnels had been ambushed by Hamas gunmen, he was told. Over the next half hour, it became apparent that Maj. Benaya Sarel, a recon officer, and Liel Gidoni, his radio operator, had been killed, and 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin was missing.

At 9:36 a.m., Winter announced over the field radio the word nobody wanted to hear: "Hannibal."

Hannibal is the name for the military protocol to be followed if a soldier falls into enemy hands. The aim is to stop the capture, even if it means loosening open-fire regulations.

Winter ordered all forces to take territory so that the kidnappers couldn't move, he told Israel's Yediot Ahronot newspaper.

The officer in the Southern Command, which oversaw the Gaza fighting, told the AP the brigade tried to seal off an area with a radius of 2-3 kilometers (1.5 miles) around the suspected capture point, a mile from the border. Over the next eight hours, soldiers fired about 500 artillery shells, he said. The military said it also launched about 100 airstrikes against targets in Rafah on Aug. 1 and 2, but did not provide a breakdown for each day.

The priority was to rescue Goldin.

"That's why we used all this force," Winter told the newspaper. "Those who kidnap need to know they will pay a price. This was not revenge. They simply messed with the wrong brigade."

The assault began sometime before 10 a.m., sending Azizeh Mahmoum and her children fleeing from their shack to Mustafa's sturdier brick home. Within minutes relatives gathered. As the fire became more intense, they no longer felt safe. So they ran across Ouroba Street in groups, trying to reach a small, narrow alley for cover. The alley lay next to a supermarket owned by the Bilbesis, a relatively wealthy family, and led toward a hospital.

As they ran, Azizeh's son Hani, 23, was struck by a projectile.

"I saw his body flying into the air in front of me," said his brother, Sami, 20.

That was just the start. His mother and three siblings — Wafa, 25, Asma, 16, and Yehiyeh, 13 — all died.

A cousin, Anam Mahmoum Hamad, had just entered the alley when the wall of a house collapsed from a drone strike. It killed Mustafa's wife, she said, and another four children — Bissan, 10, Hiba, 7, Duaa, 3 and Obada, 2.

Others kept running, including Mustafa's 24-year-old sister, Halima, barefoot over the scorching asphalt. The shells rained all over, in front of her and behind, she said.

By noon, an AP videojournalist saw at least 20 bodies along Ouroba Street.

The Bilbesis administered first aid to the wounded who made it to the basement of their building on Ouroba Street. An ambulance eventually evacuated some of them.

In the meantime, Abu Yousef al-Najar Hospital was filling up with hundreds of people running from the fire or searching for the missing. By the day's end, 63 bodies were squeezed into the morgue, said Dr. Abdullah Shehadeh, the hospital director. At one point he heard shells falling every 10 seconds, he said.

Hamad, the Mahmoum cousin, had been at the hospital for about two hours when medics brought in the lower body of her 4-year-old son, Anas. She said she recognized his clothes.

That evening, with concerns that the Israeli soldier could be smuggled out, the military warned in automated calls to residents that any vehicle trying to leave Rafah would be shot.
___

The next day, Mustafa returned to Ouroba Street to search for the bodies of his wife and four dead children. He found them near the Bilbesi supermarket amid the debris.

"It was hard," he said, struggling to keep his composure.

The heavy Israeli fire continued Saturday, including airstrikes on homes that killed several dozen people, according to the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights.

By late that day, it had become clear that Goldin, the 23-year-old soldier, had been not captured but killed in a firefight. After forensic analysis of remains found in the tunnel, he was declared dead.

It was not until Sunday that some bodies on Ouroba Street could be retrieved.

"It was a horrible scene," said Ghassan Bilbesi, son of the supermarket owner. "People had lost their hands, their arms."

Mustafa's wife and children were buried on Monday, Aug. 4, in the sandy soil of a new cemetery on the edge of Rafah, in a row of 14 still unmarked, cinder block-lined graves. Hamad has no idea where her son's remains lie.
___

In all, 121 Palestinians were killed in Rafah on Aug. 1 and 69 on Aug. 2, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights and Al Mezan rights group, which compiled the names. The dead included 55 children, 36 women and five men over the age of 60.

In the Tannour and adjacent Jneineh neighborhoods alone, 37 people were killed on Aug. 1, the rights groups say. The Mahmoum clan lost seven children, six women and a young man.

The losses played into a bigger debate over the uneven death toll in the war. More than 2,140 Palestinians were killed, three-fourths civilians, according to the U.N. On the Israeli side, 72 people were killed, all but six soldiers.

Israel said it warned civilians to leave targeted areas through automated calls and leaflets, and accused Hamas of putting civilians at risk by using them as human shields in crowded neighborhoods. The military said the events in Rafah, along with others, are under review by officers who were not part of the chain of command. The conclusion will be handed to the army's advocate general.

Even if the findings of U.N. investigators are months away, Mustafa Mahmoum is determined to demand justice for his family and trial for Israeli officials who ordered the Rafah attack. Trying to rescue a soldier does not justify killing civilians, he said.

"Even in war," he said, "children are protected."
___

Associated Press writer Yousur Alhlou in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

 70 
 on: Aug 31, 2014, 07:27 AM 
Started by Sunyata - Last post by Rad
Israeli Fire on Gaza Town Raises War Crimes Claim

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
AUG. 31, 2014, 8:01 A.M. E.D.T.

RAFAH, Gaza Strip — The first of August dawned as a day of promise for the Mahmoum clan and thousands of other Palestinians stuck in United Nations shelters in Rafah — thanks to a temporary cease-fire with Israel they could go home for three days.

But the expected respite quickly turned into one of the deadliest and most controversial episodes in the recent war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. After just two hours, amid fear that Hamas had captured an Israeli soldier, the Israeli military sealed off the Rafah area and began shelling. By the end of the next day, 190 Palestinians were dead, according to a list of names compiled by two Gaza human rights groups, including 14 members of the Mahmoum family.

The Rafah operation is almost certain to be a focus of U.N. investigators and rights groups looking into possible war crimes because it highlights a key concern: The treatment of civilians.

A Palestinian rights group argues that the Israeli army violated the rules of war, which include giving adequate warning to civilians, using proportionate force and distinguishing between civilians and combatants. Unlike in many other Gaza battles, civilians were caught by surprise by the sudden fire and sealed exits.

"None of the rules of international humanitarian law was observed," said Mahmoud Abu Rahma of the Al Mezan rights group.

The Israeli military confirmed that Rafah residents were barred from leaving the area on Aug. 1, but declined comment on the war crime allegations. It denied firing into a densely populated area without regard for civilians, saying precise airstrikes hit targets linked to militants and artillery — though inherently inaccurate — was only aimed at open fields.

Late on Aug. 2, the suspected capture of the soldier turned out to be a false alarm, and the Rafah episode is one of several under internal military review.

"If we accidentally or mistakenly targeted a civilian situation, it was a mistake, and we are very sorry about that," an officer from the army's Southern Command said on condition of anonymity as he wasn't authorized to speak on the record.

The following account is from interviews with Palestinian survivors and the Israeli military, along with events witnessed by The Associated Press.
___

The cease-fire took effect at 8 a.m. Friday. Mustafa Mahmoum, a municipal bulldozer operator, was at work clearing rubble from previous Israeli strikes. But after weeks in a shelter, his wife Iqzayer, 34, and their seven children returned to the family home in Tannour in east Rafah, about 2 miles (3 kilometers) from the Israeli border.

A few houses down Ouroba Street, the main thoroughfare, Azizeh, 47, the wife of one of Mustafa's cousins, and her nine children also moved back home into their two-room shack with a roof of corrugated metal.

At 9 a.m., the commander of Israel's Givati Brigade, Col. Ofer Winter, had just dozed off after a sleepless night when he received an alert from the field.

Givati soldiers searching for Hamas' network of military tunnels had been ambushed by Hamas gunmen, he was told. Over the next half hour, it became apparent that Maj. Benaya Sarel, a recon officer, and Liel Gidoni, his radio operator, had been killed, and 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin was missing.

At 9:36 a.m., Winter announced over the field radio the word nobody wanted to hear: "Hannibal."

Hannibal is the name for the military protocol to be followed if a soldier falls into enemy hands. The aim is to stop the capture, even if it means loosening open-fire regulations.

Winter ordered all forces to take territory so that the kidnappers couldn't move, he told Israel's Yediot Ahronot newspaper.

The officer in the Southern Command, which oversaw the Gaza fighting, told the AP the brigade tried to seal off an area with a radius of 2-3 kilometers (1.5 miles) around the suspected capture point, a mile from the border. Over the next eight hours, soldiers fired about 500 artillery shells, he said. The military said it also launched about 100 airstrikes against targets in Rafah on Aug. 1 and 2, but did not provide a breakdown for each day.

The priority was to rescue Goldin.

"That's why we used all this force," Winter told the newspaper. "Those who kidnap need to know they will pay a price. This was not revenge. They simply messed with the wrong brigade."

The assault began sometime before 10 a.m., sending Azizeh Mahmoum and her children fleeing from their shack to Mustafa's sturdier brick home. Within minutes relatives gathered. As the fire became more intense, they no longer felt safe. So they ran across Ouroba Street in groups, trying to reach a small, narrow alley for cover. The alley lay next to a supermarket owned by the Bilbesis, a relatively wealthy family, and led toward a hospital.

As they ran, Azizeh's son Hani, 23, was struck by a projectile.

"I saw his body flying into the air in front of me," said his brother, Sami, 20.

That was just the start. His mother and three siblings — Wafa, 25, Asma, 16, and Yehiyeh, 13 — all died.

A cousin, Anam Mahmoum Hamad, had just entered the alley when the wall of a house collapsed from a drone strike. It killed Mustafa's wife, she said, and another four children — Bissan, 10, Hiba, 7, Duaa, 3 and Obada, 2.

Others kept running, including Mustafa's 24-year-old sister, Halima, barefoot over the scorching asphalt. The shells rained all over, in front of her and behind, she said.

By noon, an AP videojournalist saw at least 20 bodies along Ouroba Street.

The Bilbesis administered first aid to the wounded who made it to the basement of their building on Ouroba Street. An ambulance eventually evacuated some of them.

In the meantime, Abu Yousef al-Najar Hospital was filling up with hundreds of people running from the fire or searching for the missing. By the day's end, 63 bodies were squeezed into the morgue, said Dr. Abdullah Shehadeh, the hospital director. At one point he heard shells falling every 10 seconds, he said.

Hamad, the Mahmoum cousin, had been at the hospital for about two hours when medics brought in the lower body of her 4-year-old son, Anas. She said she recognized his clothes.

That evening, with concerns that the Israeli soldier could be smuggled out, the military warned in automated calls to residents that any vehicle trying to leave Rafah would be shot.
___

The next day, Mustafa returned to Ouroba Street to search for the bodies of his wife and four dead children. He found them near the Bilbesi supermarket amid the debris.

"It was hard," he said, struggling to keep his composure.

The heavy Israeli fire continued Saturday, including airstrikes on homes that killed several dozen people, according to the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights.

By late that day, it had become clear that Goldin, the 23-year-old soldier, had been not captured but killed in a firefight. After forensic analysis of remains found in the tunnel, he was declared dead.

It was not until Sunday that some bodies on Ouroba Street could be retrieved.

"It was a horrible scene," said Ghassan Bilbesi, son of the supermarket owner. "People had lost their hands, their arms."

Mustafa's wife and children were buried on Monday, Aug. 4, in the sandy soil of a new cemetery on the edge of Rafah, in a row of 14 still unmarked, cinder block-lined graves. Hamad has no idea where her son's remains lie.
___

In all, 121 Palestinians were killed in Rafah on Aug. 1 and 69 on Aug. 2, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights and Al Mezan rights group, which compiled the names. The dead included 55 children, 36 women and five men over the age of 60.

In the Tannour and adjacent Jneineh neighborhoods alone, 37 people were killed on Aug. 1, the rights groups say. The Mahmoum clan lost seven children, six women and a young man.

The losses played into a bigger debate over the uneven death toll in the war. More than 2,140 Palestinians were killed, three-fourths civilians, according to the U.N. On the Israeli side, 72 people were killed, all but six soldiers.

Israel said it warned civilians to leave targeted areas through automated calls and leaflets, and accused Hamas of putting civilians at risk by using them as human shields in crowded neighborhoods. The military said the events in Rafah, along with others, are under review by officers who were not part of the chain of command. The conclusion will be handed to the army's advocate general.

Even if the findings of U.N. investigators are months away, Mustafa Mahmoum is determined to demand justice for his family and trial for Israeli officials who ordered the Rafah attack. Trying to rescue a soldier does not justify killing civilians, he said.

"Even in war," he said, "children are protected."
___

Associated Press writer Yousur Alhlou in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

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