US-UN plan for 72-hour ceasefire and talks falls apart, as Hamas breaches truce with Rafah attack and kidnapping; after five soldiers killed Thursday, IDF death toll rises to 61
The Times of Israel is liveblogging events as they unfold through Friday, the 25th day of Operation Protective Edge. The US and UN announced a 72-hour truce from Friday morning to be followed by negotiations, but the truce quickly collapsed as Hamas carried out an attack in Rafah in which a soldier was kidnapped. Thursday saw 90 rockets fired at Israel, several Israelis hurt by mortar fire, ongoing IDF strikes at Hamas targets in Gaza and tunnel demolitions, and US criticism of an Israeli strike that killed a reported 15 people at a UN school in Gaza on Wednesday
Five IDF soldiers were killed late Thursday in a mortar attack inside the Israeli border; 61 soldiers and three civilians have been killed on the Israeli side in the 25 days of fighting, while Gazan health officials put the death toll there at over 1,400. Israel says hundreds of those are Hamas fighters.
Adrianna McIntyre, Vox: Why a Federal Court Just Ruled Obamacare Subsidies Are Illegal in 36 States - Vox
The success of the Affordable Care Act hinges crucially on the subsidies. The primary purpose of the law was to extend affordable health coverage to millions of Americans; the two main ways the law achieves this is through the Medicaid expansion and through subsidized coverage on the insurance exchanges.
Without subsidies, private insurance become unaffordable for many people who have already enrolled. The judicial process is still playing out, but according to recent analysis from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, this decision could affect over 7.3 million people expected to receive federal subsidies in 2016.
If the plaintiffs prevail and subsidies are withdrawn, healthy people would drop their coverage, and only the people who are very sick — and therefore very expensive to insure — would keep their plans.
This sets up the classic insurance “death spiral”. By putting coverage out of financial reach for so many people, it would undermine the entire purpose of the Affordable Care Act.
. . .
“No sentient being following the health care debate could argue, in good faith, that Obamacare’s architects intended for the federal government to set up exchanges without subsidies,” wrote Jonathan Cohn in 2012. “It would completely subvert the law’s intent.”
The government will ask for en banc review of the 2-1 decision, and likely get it reversed since a heavy majority of the D.C. Circuit judges are Democrats. But then it will go to SCOTUS. If they accept it for review, it will be because Scalia, Alito, Thomas and Kennedy loathe Obamacare and want to kill it. It would then be up to Roberts to interpret the law correctly and save it again, or this time join his fellow conservatives to let it die. Ironically, killing Obamacare, devoutly wished for by conservatives, could unleash a massive anti-GOP backlash, as millions of Americans watch the decision cause their premiums to soar to the point they lose their newly acquired coverage. It might even force a bunch of red states to launch their own exchanges to keep the subsidies so many of their citizens will have come to depend on.
KIEV, Ukraine — The United States has confirmed that Russia supplied sophisticated missile launchers to separatists in eastern Ukraine and that attempts were made to move them back across the Russian border after the Thursday shoot-down of a Malaysian jet liner, a U.S. official said Saturday.
“We do believe they were trying to move back into Russia at least three Buk [missile launch] systems,” the official said. U.S. intelligence was “starting to get indications…a little more than a week ago” that the Russian launchers had been moved into Ukraine, said the official.
The official’s comments, made on condition of anonymity to speak about intelligence matters, came as a top Ukrainian counterintelligence official said that his service has conclusive proof that Russia supplied the missile that shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over territory controlled by the separatists.
A man and a woman who shot two police officers and then a civilian in Las Vegas on Sunday may have been white supremacists, according to Las Vegas newspapers.
The Las Vegas Sun quoted neighbors at the couple’s apartment complex saying that the two “had a reputation for spouting racist, anti-government views, bragging about their gun collection and boasting that they’d spent time at Cliven Bundy’s ranch during a recent standoff there between armed militia members and federal government agents.”
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that police found Swastika symbols in the apartment.
If the two are involved with neo-Nazi or white supremacists groups, the Vegas slayings would be one of several linked to hate movements.
Among recent killings: A former Ku Klux Klan “grand dragon” killed three at two Jewish facilities in a Kansas City suburb in April; a man killed six before killing himself at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin in 2012; and a man killed three officers in Pittsburgh in 2009.
The tragedy in Las Vegas unfolded Sunday afternoon as two police officers ate lunch at CiCi’s Pizza — a world away from the glitz and glamour of the Las Vegas strip.
Without warning, they were fatally shot at point-blank range by a man and a woman who then swiped the officers’ weapons, ammunition and badges, according to the Review-Journal. “This is a revolution,” one of the suspects shouted, according to witnesses.
The couple then reportedly covered the officers’ bodies with a cloth showing a Revolutionary War-era flag.
The newspaper reported it was the Gadsden flag, a yellow background with a coiled snake above the words, “Don’t tread on me.” Named for Christopher Gadsden, the Revolutionary War general who designed it, the flag has been more recently associated with the American Tea Party movement and, by some, with the Confederacy.
My bold. This is just infuriating.
By Laura Zuckerman
HAILEY Idaho (Reuters) - The hometown of U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, feeling a backlash over allegations that he was a deserter, has canceled a rally planned for later this month celebrating his release from five years of Taliban captivity, officials said on Wednesday…
…The decision came as the community came under mounting pressure to cancel the rally in the face of rising anger, expressed in emails and phone calls directed at city officials and businesses, over claims by Bergdahl’s onetime Army comrades that he had deliberately abandoned his post in Afghanistan.
An extended version of the Donald Sterling tape with six additional minutes were posted on Deadspin, in which he also naturalizes his own racism by blaming “society” and opining about the prevalence of racism in Israel and the inferiority of black Jews.
DS: It’s the world! You go to Israel, the blacks are just treated like dogs.
V: So do you have to treat them like that too?
DS: The white Jews, there’s white Jews and black Jews, do you understand?
V: And are the black Jews less than the white Jews?
DS: A hundred percent, fifty, a hundred percent.
V: And is that right?
DS: It isn’t a question—we don’t evaluate what’s right and wrong, we live in a society. We live in a culture. We have to live within that culture.
V: But shouldn’t we take a stand for what’s wrong? And be the change and the difference?
DS: I don’t want to change the culture, because I can’t. It’s too big and too [unknown].
V: But you can change yourself.
DS: I don’t want to change. If my girl can’t do what I want, I don’t want the girl. I’ll find a girl that will do what I want! Believe me. I thought you were that girl—because I tried to do what you want. But you’re not that girl.
Lots more at Deadspin
After spending a week whisking away nearly 400 cattle they said were illegally grazing on federal land in the Nevada desert, officials facing a battalion of protesters with horses and guns decided to free those cattle in a stunning reversal Saturday afternoon.
A line of cattle calmly filtered out of a federal holding area at about 3 p.m. as protesters and law enforcement watched from alongside Interstate 15 near the Nevada-Arizona state line.
“Due to escalating tensions, the cattle have been released from the enclosures in order to avoid violence and help restore order,” the U.S. Bureau of Land Management said in a short statement.
(CNN) — There is an active shooter at the sprawling central Texas base of Fort Hood, a source at Fort Hood told CNN on Wednesday.
The situation is serious and sirens are going off, said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
A spokesman for the base said an “incident” was under way but declined to provide additional information.
Fort Hood’s official Twitter feed asked that all personnel on post shelter in place.
A local sheriff’s office said that it had heard there was a shooting.
“They got some kind of shooting incident going on. They haven’t told us anything. It was on post and being handled by the military. Fort Hood has not asked for any assistance,” said Lt. Donnie Adams with the Bell County Sheriff’s Office.
Police in Waco, Texas, advised those on post to stay away from windows and to keep doors closed and locked.
“Injuries are being reported. Be AWARE!! If you are in the Ft. Hood Post area there is an on-going active shooter,” the department tweeted.
All evening and night classes for the Central and Fort Hood campuses of Central Texas College (CTC) were canceled, according to the school’s website. Personnel and students were told to evacuate CTC Central Campus.
Newly released emails involving a political payback plot orchestrated by Gov. Chris Christie’s aides show the governor’s campaign manager was kept informed of complaints over the closures even while lanes remained blocked.
More emails involving political adviser Bill Stepien were made public in a legal filing Monday.
Stepien has asked a judge to quash a subpoena from a legislative panel investigating the deliberate closing of traffic lanes near the George Washington Bridge to create gridlock.