Truth 2 Power Journal
From the July 4th Tea Party Rally in Lexington Kentucky where T-Shirts declaring "Yup,' I'm a Racist!" were sold.
The Shirt Says on the Front: Yup, I'm a Racist
This apparently passes for Irony in Tea Party World. Somehow, just like Alanis Morisette, I do not think they know what that word means.
This list is not why anyone in the Tea Party was ever associated with or accused of bigotry or racism - this is...
When the reality is that what Obama did with the Stock Market after George W. Bush Crashed it was THIS...
What I don't see and have NEVER SEEN is anyone in the Tea Party who has a problem with any of these signs being associated with THEM, only the clear and obvious fact that they don't address policy - they address the President Race!
What I haven't seen is anyone in the Tea Party denounce this kind of imagery as inappropriate and bigoted. They clearly think it's JUST FINE! Rather than call this stuff out, they rather pretend "Oh, it just a few guys OVER THERE" it wasn't ME - I didn't hold that sign up, I just stood right next to the guy who did, then whine and play the Victim Card for their not so tacit endorsement of this stuff, which is actually what this new set of Silly T-Shirts are really all about.
The Racism also comes from people like Mark Williams, who happens to be the leader of the Tea Party Express, who openly says that "Muslim's are Animals".
Not Bigoted Much is he?
And from their GOP Rank and File, even before he was Elected you got Stupid Stupid Crap like this...
Obama is a TERRORIST! - Yeah, right, ok. Whatever.
The fact is that people who support Barack Obama also support the Constitution, including Article 1 which includes the power of the Congress to pass the Laws, and Article 2 which outlines the Powers and Responsibilities of the Presidency to enforce those laws even when he doesn't like them or agree with them. After the Heller decision which established the Right to Bear Arms as a Constitutional Right, there isn't much that the President or Congress Could Possibly do to take people's "Guns Away", not that he's ever suggested any such thing.
It's interesting to note what that shirt doesn't support - the 13th Amendment which Abolished Slavery (almost), the 14th Amendment which guaranteed the equal protection of the laws to all persons within the jurisdiction of the state - regardless of whether they are citizens or how they arrived in that jurisidiction The first and second amendments are great, but what about the 4th Amendment protection against illegal search and seizures? What about the 5th Amendment Right against Self-Incrimination? What about the 8th Amendment protection from Cruel and Unusual Punishment?
I didn't see any Tea Partiers with big "George W. Bush is a NAZI signs" when he was sanctioning illegal wiretaps and torture now did I?
I didn't see any Tea Partiers when Bush cut taxes for people who didn't need their taxes cut and turned the budget surplus into the greatest deficit we've ever had?
I didn't see any Tea Partiers with "George W. Bush is a Communist/Socials/Muslim" when he sent thousands of our soldiers to die in a war based on a pack of lies generate by bribery (Curveball), torture (al Libi) and forgeries (Niger).
There are some legitimate policy issues and leadership issues to criticize Obama for, specifically his far too hands off attitude with BP and the spill cleanup, his aggressive prosecution of Whistleblowers for merely revealing Bush Administration malfeasance and failure to followup on Bush War Crimes - but when President Barack Obama implements the Bailout that Bush Crafted, then manages to actually make a profit doing it by keeping a close eye (certainly closer than Sec. Paulsen wanted) on Wall Street...
When 40% of the Obama Stimulus Bill included Tax Cuts for the Working Middle Class and Small Businesses, when the Budget Deficit actually came down by $400 Billion during his first year, when he manages to do what he can to actually support the Right to Living with a Health Care proposal that requires people to show Personal Responsibility by carrying their own Health Insurance instead of mooching and making everyone else pay for their care in the Emergency Room, when he EXPANDS our Military Involvement in Afghanistan trying to block a safe haven from Al Qeada (after Bush failed to do that for 9 years)... he gets called a Socialist Witchdoctor Nazi Communist Kenyan with a Bone Through His Nose?!
The truth is the Tea Partiers Don't Deserve to be called "Racist" - IMO that's too good for 'em - they deserved to be called a Pack of Fracking Deluded Idiots! Any confusion with Actual Racists, is merely a function of their Shared Rank Stupidity.
But don't mind me using my still fully functioning Free Speech to say so.
I just got off the phone with the Offices of all three of my Congressmen (Women) Senator Boxer, Senator Fienstein and Rep Waters in order to ask them a very specific question...
Does the Congressperson Unequivocally Renounce and Denounce All Forms of Political Violence?
The Following are the Answers I Received
The reason i made this call was because of what day it is today, the 17th Anniversary of the Tragic End of the Waco Incident and the 15th Anniversary of the Bombing of the Oklahoma City Murrah Federal Building.
In recent weeks and months there has been a clear uptick in incidents of violence against the Government, threats and vile epithets against elected leaders.
We need to know where each and every one of our elected representatives stand this issue - oddly enough their lives might depend on it in the end. The question isn't one about War, which some could argue is a form of Political Violence - but that's not the question I'm asking because that general occurs between nations, and could be more accurately described as Diplomatic Violence. War is what happens when the negotiations and Diplomacy have completely failed. No, what I'm really talking about here is Terrorism and Intimidation. Domestic Terrorism and Intimidation, regardless of partisanship.
I did not address whether this violence is coming more from the left or the right giving examples such as the recent Death Threats against Speaker Pelosi as well as GOP Whip Cantor.
McVeigh's Truck Bomb didn't ask which political party you belonged too.
I didn't ask whether the Senators and Reps felt that Extreme Rhetoric from the Tea Parties was necessarily contributing to the increase in threats and actual violence, as that is a Free Speech Debate.
The question is simple:
Does the Congressperson Unequivocally Renounce and Denounce All Forms of Political Violence?
The question isn't a trick, it's either "Yes" answer or "No, with qualifications/excuses..."
I first spoke with Sen Boxer's Office and in pretty short order received an answer of "YES" from the staffer on the phone. It was quick, it was painless, it was unequivocal.
I then called Senator Feinstein's Office and asked the staffer on the phone referred to the Press Office where I repeated the question, with some background as to why I'm asking it - On this day - including who I was and what I planned to do with the information (Post it here and on my Facebook). They took my contact information and said they'd get back to me today with an Official Position.
In the midst of this back and forth I speculated with them on her answer as likely to be "Yes" considering the fact that Sen Feinstein was President of the San Francisco Supervisors Office when both Mayor Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk were brutally gunned down in the San Francisco City Hall by former Supervisor Dan White. She's the one who discovered Harvey's body.
Although that was years ago, I could understand why her office might want to be double certain about getting her answer right. We'll see what she says.
Lastly I called Congressman Maxine Waters Office in DC, and received a busy signal. I then called her local office and after attempting to grapple with the question in her own opinion the staffer said "there might be some circumstances where..?" I asked "So that not an unequivocal "Yes' is it?" Ultimately like Fienstein's Office they suggested I talk to the Press Office in DC. A staffer picked up when I called back to DC the second time and I presented the question. Ultimate the answer was..
"There are no circumstances where violence is called for" (which is admittedly a paraphrase, but I took as a "Yes")
That answer didn't come from the Press Office, but I'll take it for now. I had short conversation after this point about various incidents which have occurred at the Capital, and after admitting that things had recently "calmed down" it was clear that their is an edge of fear on Capital Hill.
"We hope that Law Enforcement is able to protect us all, but all it takes is that one lone person that no one can predict..." he said.
Amen to that.
So while I'm waiting for the Call Back from Senator Fienstein I'm asking you all to do the same thing. Call your Representatives and Post Back their response to this question - I'll tally the answers and post them on the new Democratic Non-Violence Facebook Page and shows what the results are.
Do our Reps Denounce All Political Violence, or do they make excuses when it's politically adventagious the way the Rep. Steve King did when he was asked about the plane flying into the IRS office in Austin Texas? Or try to excuse the attack the way the Senator Scott Brown did.
Let's put them on record people.
Senate Contact Info
Confronted by a Thinkprogress Blogger today over his rationization and justification of the Suicide Plane Attack by Joseph Stack against IRS - Rep. Steve King blows his top.
Here's the transcript of what Rep King say when confronted with this...
TP: Do you think this attack, this terrorist attack, was motivated at all by a lot of the anti-tax rhetoric that’s popular in America right now?
When asked directly if he thought the anti-tax rhetoric of groups like the Tea Party were responsible for the attack - he essentially said they were, and that the IRS needs to be abolished, clearly justifying the attack against them.
That's what he said, there's no denying it. His first thought at the time wasn't to be concerned with IRS workers and the lives which were at risk - it's was his own political anti-Tax Agenda!
Now he was confronted with his own words and his response was this...
He didn't accuse you of murder Congressman King, he simply quoted you, and he did so accurately. You had a chance to denounce a murderer, you had a chance to make a statement against violence - you chose instead to come up with reasons for why that violence might be JUSTIFIED. Period. End of Story.
Y'know what's "despicable" Congressman King?
Join the Democratic Non-Violence Project - where starting on Waco/Oklahoma City Day (April 19th) we put the question to members of Congress, do you unequivocally oppose All Forms of Domestic Political Violence or do you feel like Steve King that the IRS had it coming?
State Senators in Oklahoma are authorizing the formation of a New State Militia with the specific intent of protecting "States Rights" against the Power of Gross Federal Encroachment and Overreach - like Health Care.
The Associated Press reports that Oklahoma tea party leaders, “frustrated by recent political setbacks,” are working with right-wing Republicans in the Oklahoma legislature to create a new “volunteer militia to help defend against what they believe are improper federal infringements on state sovereignty.” State Sen. Randy Brogdon (R-OK) and State Rep. Charles Key (R-OK) have met with tea party leaders, like J.W. Berry of the Tulsa-based OKforTea group, to plan legislation for a state-authorized militia.
And to form that Militia they've turned to a Turner Diaries Fanboy Tea Bagger? IMO there's nothing in this picture that doesn't stink.
The founding fathers “were not referring to a turkey shoot or a quail hunt. They really weren’t even talking about us having the ability to protect ourselves against each other,” Brogdon said. “The Second Amendment deals directly with the right of an individual to keep and bear arms to protect themselves from an overreaching federal government.”
Frankly speaking Bogdon is absolutely correct here. In Federalist #46 Madison described exactly what the 2nd Amendment was truly about:
The only refuge left for those who prophesy the downfall of the State governments is the visionary supposition that the federal government may previously accumulate a military force for the projects of ambition. The reasonings contained in these papers must have been employed to little purpose indeed, if it could be necessary now to disprove the reality of this danger. That the people and the States should, for a sufficient period of time, elect an uninterupted succession of men ready to betray both; that the traitors should, throughout this period, uniformly and systematically pursue some fixed plan for the extension of the military establishment; that the governments and the people of the States should silently and patiently behold the gathering storm, and continue to supply the materials, until it should be prepared to burst on their own heads, must appear to every one more like the incoherent dreams of a delirious jealousy, or the misjudged exaggerations of a counterfeit zeal, than like the sober apprehensions of genuine patriotism. Extravagant as the supposition is, let it however be made.
The 2nd Amendment is about Revolution, not Duck Hunting.
I happen to believe strongly in the 2nd Amendment and it's need to stand as the Ultimate Deterrent against an out of control government, but the problem is determining when exactly we have reached the neccessary threshold where States must take up violent arms against the agents of the Federal Government due to it's broad "overreach"?
When have we reached the Succession/Revolution point?
Where exactly is that line in the sand?
Did we consider this when it was revealed that the Bush Administration was very clearly warned, including the likely method and potential targets, about the impending 9-11 attacks but did NOTHING to prevent them?
Did we consider this when the Bush Administration illegally bypassed the FISA Court and instigated warrantless wiretaps of every U.S. Soldier and Journalist abroad, as well as any communication to and from the U.S.?
Did we consider this when the Bush Administration Willfully Lied to the American People and the World about Saddam's WMD and connection with Al Qeada in order to fraudulently initiate an unneccessary war in Iraq?
Did we consider this when the Bush Administration admitted to a campaign of worldwide kidnapping and torture targeting persons, many of whom eventually turned out to be completely innocent of any connection to terrorism or wrongdoing?
No, it seems to me we didn't. And the reason we didn't is because our Democratic process hadn't yet completely collapsed - and it still hasn't - so extreme measures such as these simply weren't needed.
But now that the Obama Administration has passed Health Care Reform in order to bring affordable coverage to 35 Million Americans - some people are literally up in arms about it. But then again maybe it's not about what this Administration has done or hasn't done, maybe it's simply about WHO is at the head of this Administration... via Thinkprogress.
Berry, the tea party leader who first solicited support for the militia, has posted rants against President Obama: the “Muslim President” — a “reincarnation of Pol Pot” who is trying to imprison Americans for resisting health reform. One ominous posting from Berry says that his militia should "launch a thousand guerrilla attacks on the plans that these people have to ruin us and our country.”
So here we have a Turner Diaries reading Tim McVeigh Wannabe Beckified Conspiracy Theorist Nutball who has compared Obama to a Mass Murderer and openly suggested guerrilla attacks against the government - wanting to get the State of Oklahoma to support his own private little Army of Nutballs in opposition to the Duly Elected President, and the duly passed laws of Congress.
And he's Getting that Support.
Like I said, nothing about this doesn't stink.
Join the Democratic Non-Violence Project to Lobby our Lawmakers to Reject and Renounce All Forms of Political Violence.
Crossposted from My Blog and Dailykos.
I should've known it would happen. What was I Thinking anyway?
I decided to post the following on Sarah Palin's Facebook Wall:
You guys do realize that there actually are "Death Panels" - only their really called the Medical Insurance Industry that denies care and claims via Pre-Existing Conditions and Rescission? Obama has promised to Ban these practices - so I think Grandma is going to be just fine.
Lasted about 3 mins. Apparently they couldn't take a little Truthiness in their face?
Now I can no longer post on her wall, all I can do is issue a "Report" to complain about their posts. Maybe I should report them ALL as Libel and Gross Stupidity?
Last week the California Nurses Association released a study that shows that an average of 21% of claims made to Health Insurance Companies are DENIED.
More than one of every five requests for medical claims for insured patients, even when recommended by a patient's physician, are rejected by California's largest private insurers, amounting to very real death panels in practice daily in the nation's biggest state, according to data released Wednesday by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee.
So it turns out that Sarah Palin's Death Panel Fever Dream is Real. And it's been going on in the Private Insurance Market for years. Not too surprising that the Palin's response to this wonderful revelation in support of her hysterical claims - is to shoot the messenger.
The Story of Nataline Sarkisyan (1991-2008)
The Story of Eric De La Curz (1982-2009)
Here's Dr. Laura Peeno describing her Congressional Testimony (which was shown in SickO) about how she was paid bonuses to deny legitimate care claims. (The Key moment in her Testimony is shown above)
To be fair not all these denied claims result in death, as they did with both Nataline Sarkisyan and Eric De La Cruz (only an estimated 18,000 per year actually die - which is greater than the number of criminal homicides every year) - they usually result in Bankruptcy - but even so, it's not acceptable that we let chronic illnesses drive people straight to the poor house, while Insurance Industries CEO take home salaries of $15 Million and more.
20% of the operating budget of most Insurance companies include the administrative costs include dong what Dr. Peeno did, going through the records of a patient and lookimg for reasons to deny them care, this process has generated an average 10.5% profit margin for this industry, making it ninth among the top 10 most profitable in the nation (according to the Fortune 500) #3 is Pharmecuticals at 15.8%, and #4 is Medical Equipment at 15.2% profit.
On this 8th Anniversary of the September 11th attacks on America, let us indeed Remember - but let us not cherry-pick what we recall.
Let us remember the fallen. Let us remember the brave. Let us remember the nobility and the sacrifice of those who fought to take control back of Flight 93, who rushed up the stairs in Tower 2 as it began to collapse and those who rushed back into the Pentagon as it burned.
But let us also Remember the Urgent Memo from Richard Clarke at the NSC to Condie Rice arguing that Osama Bin Laden and Al Qeada were an Imminent Danger. But he was ignored, then demoted.
How George Tenet, Clarke and others rode together in a desperate midnight meeting with Condie to warn her that "We Were Going to be Hit" and how this event was initially hidden from the 9-11 Commission until being revealed by Bob Woodward.
Let us remember the FBI Pheonix Memo which documented that there were some guys learning to fly planes who didn't seem all that interested in Landing them.
Let us remember the 52 Separate Warnings that were received by the FAA of an Al Qaeda Hijacking.
Let us Remember the August 6th PDB, which named the method and targets of an impending al Qeada attack. It did everything but include the date and time.
Let us recall how Osama Bin Laden escaped at Tora Bora, and still hasn't been killed or captured.
Let us recall the Downing Street Memos which revealed that the "Facts were being shaped to fit the Policy" in order to justify an invasion of Iraq, even though there was no evidence connecting that country to 9-11.
Let us recall both Abu Zubaydah and Khallid Sheik Mohammad were providing us with excellent intel before harsh tactics were used - but even after being waterboarded dozens of times (and in KSM case nearly dying at least once) they Still didn't provide any conclusive links between Saddam and Osama.
Let us recall that before the Iraq War began the head of Iraqi Intelligence, Tahir Jalil Habbush, had revealed to us that Saddam told the TRUTH to the United Nations when he said he didn't have any WMD, because he had destroyed it all way back in 1991- and instead of listening, the Bush paid him $500,000 in hush money and had him write a forged letter that attempted to link Saddam to 9-11!
Let us remember that no one suggested there were credible links between Saddam and 9-11 except for Ibn Sheihk al-Libi, and didn't do so until he was Buried Alive.
Let us remember: He Lied.
Let us recall how ABC and Foxnews tried to Blame Bill Clinton for being "asleep at the switch" and causing 9-11.
Let us recall how former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld called all those who criticized his handling of the Iraq War "Morally and Intellectual Confused" - just before he was Fired.
Let us recall how the REAL Joseph Wilson was treated when he dared to point out that the Niger Receipt was probably a forgery and Saddam didn't have - and didn't try to buy any Yellowcake Uranium.
Let us remember the 4000 U.S. Troops - more than those we lost on 9-11 - who died in Iraq for no good reason.
Let us remember that the people that are screaming "Fascist", "Socialism", "Kenyan" and "YOU LIE" at our duly elected President - are the same ones who seem completely incapable of remembering all the above.
Ok, bear with me a moment.
Tonight the President will deliver a critical Speech on Health Care to a joint sessions of Congress, and in it he will outline exactly what it is he expects Congress to deliver to his desk. It's expected to be a speech that will either make or break his Health Care Plan.
But I have an answer of my own.
Of course, before you can answer any question (like say "42"), you have to fully understand what the question is.
And in this case the real question is: What can Congress ultimately deliver to his desk when the progressive caucus demands access to a Public Health Care Option and the various Blue Dogs refuse to even consider it?
How about the Best of Both Worlds, the Public Option of Buying into Medicare if and when the Private Insurance Companies Fail to Perform. This I consider a Win/Win Scenario because if they do perform, we Win, and if they don't - We Sill Win.
As things currently stand we have 5 different Health Care Bills in Congress. 4 out of 5 (3 in the House and 1 in the Senate) include a Public Not-For-Profit Health Insurance Option which would be paid for by the premiums of it's members. One Bill from the Senate Finance Committee does not and instead offers some form of Non-Profit Co-ops as an option.
No Bill Currently includes Triggers, or even defines what a Trigger might look like - which leaves open a window of opportunity for us, the progressives, to define what an acceptable trigger might be and how short the time frame for it could have.
Most of the Bills are similar in that they all include a new Nation-Wide Health Care Exchange modeled on the Federal Employees Benefits Program which allows the leveraging of 10 Million Health Consumers to pool and leverage their buying power and keep costs down by purchasing in bulk.
If any of these plans pass, about 250 Million Americans would gain that type of buying power.
All of these plans ban the use of preexisting conditions to block access to care, and the preemptive canceling of care and claims simply because people get sick. Most Insurance Agencies currently spend about 20% of their overhead attempting to find ways to cancel coverage or claims, and has recently been shown by the California Nurses Association an average of about 30% of claim are denied using this tactic. All of the plans in addition to these reforms include some methodology to subsidize those with low-incomes, or those who are either unemployed or their employer refuses to provide Health Care Options for them.
There remains just one major bone of contention, should an additional Not-For-Profit Option be included as part of the Health Exchange and what would that plan look like?
Many different ideas have been debated from Medicare-For-All, a brand new Insurance Plan similar to Medicare Part A with it's own independent Trust Fund or some type of Public/Private Member Owned Co-operative?
The last issue has been whether such an Option should be available on Day One of Year One of the plan, or that it should kick-in automatically in subsequent years if Private Insurance Companies fail to meet certain criteria.
No More Death by Spreadsheet.
With Pre-Existing Conditions and unjustified claim-denials off the table, with a Health Exchange that will allow the type of Interstate Access to Care even Republicans like Mike Pence in the mix - there really isn't much more we can expect out of the Private Companies except better prices.
Some have said that using the Public Option as a loaded gun pointed at the Heads of the Insurance State, ready to fire at will - simply isn't enough.
Or is it?
As I posted a few days ago, there was a period in time when rate of Medical Inflation actually came back down to Earth - and it didn't take a Public Option to do it. All it took was the Threat of one.
In 1996 in the aftermath of the Clinton Era Health Care effort - and within 3 Years of it's initiation - the rate of increase for the cost of Health Care actually dropped below both the Consumer Price Index and the rate of Wage Inflation.
That Should be the Trigger Point.
If within one year of Day One, the Health Insurance Agencies can not repeat what they've previously done and bring costs down significantly - and keep them down - to levels matching or surpassing the CPI and WI the people of that state automatically are allowed to Buy-in to Medicare as an additional Option in their Health Exchange.
If prices begin to rise again in the future, as they did in the late 90's - the Trigger remains Operational and call be pulled at ANY TIME conditions are met.
Five Years, as Bob Dole has suggested, is too long and frankly unnecessary - the Industry has already shown it can move far more rapidly than that when it has incentive to do so.
Some say we shouldn't have to wait a year or two, that we need this NOW - but let's be realistic - a completely new Public Insurance Plan would take at least 2-3 Years to get up on it's feet and running. It would have to be Staffed. it would have to setup facilities and operational instructions. People would have to be trained. It would have to be FUNDED! No matter which way we go - no Option is going to be implemented immediately. So if we have to wait no matter what, we might as well have Medicare at the end of the rainbow waiting for us. It's already staffed, it's already funded - it's ready to go. Medicare would also have the necessary heft to positively impact the Market that the smaller weaker Co-Ops would lack, but would retain the trust of the American people as a system they can rely on.
All we have to do is Pull The Trigger.
I have stated before that I have some concerns with opening up Medicare because of the projected insolvency of it's trust fund, versus establishing an entirely new Public Plan with it's own fund. I still have that concern but it can be tempered. Part of the funds problem relates to the demographics of more an more Baby-Boomers entering the program and using it's services while fewer and fewer young people are paying into the system. Having younger people who would need fewer services buy-in to the fund would help shore it up considerably.
The one immediate benefit, besides saving on the start-up cost and time required for a brand new system is the fact that Medicare is something that people understand and trust. If we tell the screamers we're going to let their kids buy Medicare if they want, I don't think they'll have much left to scream about. (Even though we all know they still find something out in the fever swamp of WND to complain about) Another is the fact that the Savings would be immediate as I've posted before the costs of America current Public Health System (Medicare/Medicaid/VA/Tricare) is significantly less than it's Private System, particularly when compared to costs internationally.
Via the UN.
Top 10 Expenditure on health (% of GDP)
Public Private Combined
6.9 8.5 15.4 - United States
7.8 5.2 13 - Occcupied Palestinian Territories
9.6 3.2 12.9 - Malawi
3.2 8.4 11.6 - Lebanon
6.7 4.8 11.5 - Switzerland
9.9 1.6 11.5 - Sao Tome and Principe
8.8 2.4 11.2 - Timor Leste
8.2 2.4 10.6 - Germany
8.2 2.3 10.5 - France
7.8 2.5 10.3 - Austria
On a per capita basis the U.S. currently spends (nearly) twice as much as
(Top UN Ranked Countries by Human Development Index with Per Capital Health Care Expenses 2004)
1 Iceland 3,294
2 Norway $4,080
3 Australia $3,123
4 Canada $3,173
5 Ireland $2,618
6 Sweden $2,828
7 Switzerland $4,011
8 Japan $2,293
9 Netherlands $3,092
10 France $3,040
11 Finland $2,203
12 United States $6,096
The other part of the issue is yet again, the completely out-of-whack rate of Medical Inflation in the U.S. If we do manage to bring that Inflation Rate down, we improve the solvency of the Trust Fund - so this plan has a two-fer effect of helping to bring overall costs down for everyone and effectively Saving Medicare for the forseeable future.
Medicare isn't perfect, some doctors refuse to accept it because it pays less, and it still has problem with prescription drugs in Part D with the Big Fat Donut Hole and inability to bargain for better prices.
Still, this plan has the benefit that it might be something that both Anthony Weiner and Olympia Snowe could sign on to. Both Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman oppose the Public Option but have gone on record that they could support it with a Trigger. Rather than further compromise and deal away the P.O. we should make hem ante-up - you get a trigger if we get Medicare for anyone willing to buy-in to it. We could have Everything We Want. How could those who've argued for a Co-Op say no to a Medicare Buy-in as an alternative? We could even toss in some token Tort Reform and Medical Savings Accounts as a sweetener and anything is possible - even significant serious Health Care Reform in our Lifetime.
I'm sure Barack Obama will deliver a barn-burner of a Speech Tonight, but when it's all over - I strongly suspect what comes out of Congress will look a lot like what I've just described here.
On This Week Republican Mike Pence made a Startling Statement.
Pence: There's not a Public Option in the Federal Employee Benefits plan. The reality is that Federal Employees, all 10 Million of us, get to choose between five different private insurance plans. And they're affordable because Federal Employees are permitted to buy insurance on a Nation-wide basis
Yeah, if we could only give people what Federal Employees have...
Rep Pence - for once - is exactly correct. What he doesn't seem to realize is the ability to match what Federal Employees currently have with a Nation-Wide Health Insurance Exchange - is already in HR 3200!
From HR 3200
SEC. 201. ESTABLISHMENT OF HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGE; OUTLINE OF DUTIES; DEFINITIONS.
In the Kennedy HELP Bill this is called a "Gateway".
What Rep Penee fails to understand or is willfully misrepresenting - among many things - is that the Public Option would simply be one plan in addition to the others in the Exchange, so when he talks about the possibility of Employers dropping coverage and forcing their employees into the Public Option he simply doesn't know what he's TALKING about. If Employers drop coverage (ala Walmart), their employees can join the exchange themselves as individuals, meanwhile the employer would have to pay an 8% payroll tax which would go to subsidizing those employees who can't afford to buy in own their own with the same buying power that their employer had.
Pence like Rudy (Their gonna Pull-the-Plug On Grandma!) Guiliani and Sarah (Death Panels for my Baby!) Palin seem to continue to hang onto the canard that limits on Malpractice Payouts (Tort Reform) will bring down costs, but there are many logical fallacies with this. Doctors pay for Malpractice Insurance, not patients. Many states which have introduced such reforms haven't seen any savings from them. Studies by the GAO and CBO have also found that such efforts do not reduce costs, in contrast to claims from private studies.
Another thing that has driven the Deathers/Screamers crazy is the fact that Federal Employees, people on Medicare and the VA are excluded from the Exchanges. (Which they confuse with the Public Option and then they scream - Why doesn't Congress have to join the Public Death Option?) But the fact is they don't have to join the Exchange because the Federal Employee Benefits System already IS an Exchange and that a Public Option available to the exchange would also be available to Federal Employees in their existing system.
It's an Option - not a Requirement.
Contrary to what Senator Dole says, the argument that private insurance will need Five Years to remove Pre-existing conditions and other impediments to good care is simply a non-starter. Such practices are Banned on Day One under HR 3200.
SEC. 111. PROHIBITING PRE-EXISTING CONDITION EXCLUSIONS.
They are also banned from terminating your policy simply because you get sick.
SEC. 112. GUARANTEED ISSUE AND RENEWAL FOR INSURED PLANS.
As we move closer to Wednesday's big speech it seems that the big argument isn't about any of these provisions, it's about whether have a public option immediately or we have one automatically triggered somewhere down the road.
To me that's a Win/win.
As was shown during the Clinton attempt at Health Care reform - Simply the Threat of a Public Based system to compete with the current private insurance companies was enough to significantly drive down Health Care costs. It doesn't even have to be implemented to bring the costs down because Hillary care didn't even pass - but it worked.
Here's the proof.
In 1996, after several years of Capital Hill Battles, the rate of Inflation for Health Care actually dropped below the rate of inflation for Wages and the Consumer Price Index. That is what our trigger should be. In fact let's make this simple and take Olympia Snowe's idea and match it with Anthony Weiner's - let's require Private Insurance to get their inflation rate down to and below the CPI and general Wage inflation rate (around 2-3%) within one or two years And KEEP IT THERE or the following year that state has the option to allow all it's citizens - regardless of age - to BUY-IN to Medicare if they want to.
If you listen to Bob Dole - who I suspect is On Medicare right now - that seems like an idea that even some Republicans actually might go for. Even Conserva-Dem Ben Nelson has expressed support for it.
The question is - will Progressives be willing to wait a year or two if we get just about everything we want in the meantime? The Good is not always the Enemy of the Perfect.
Version with Subtitles.
The first issue is that the 9-11 caller does not ever say "Two Black Men", in fact only in response to the dispatchers question does she say "One looked kinda Hispanic". She also admits that she sees a set of suitcases outside and that she doesn't know whether they actually live there or not.
More from the Cambridge Chronicle
As you listen to the police dispatcher talking to Sgt Crowley, you can't hear Prof Gates "Yelling" in the Background.
You do hear Sgt Crowley say "There's an older gentleman who says he lives here - he's being uncooperative, send more units".
The first mention of "Two Black Men" actually comes from Crowley's Police Report.
When I arrived at 17 Ware street I radioed ECC and asked that they have the caller meet me at the front door to this residence. SNIP . As I reached the door, a female voice called out to me. I turned and looked in the direction of the voice and observed a white female, later identified as Lucia Whalen. Whalen, who was standing on the sidewalk in front of the residence, held a wireless telephone in her hand and told me that it was she who called. She went on to tell me that the observed what appeared to be two black males with backpacks on the porch of 17 Ware street.
This is disputed by Whalen's Attorney.
Attorney Wendy Murphy, who represents Whalen, also categorically rejected part of the police report that said Whalen talked with Sgt. James Crowley, the arresting officer, at the scene.
So that's one "Lie/Mistake" made by Sgt Crowley. Whalen never spoke to him, never said anything about "Backpacks" (actually it was Suitcases which she mentioned to the dispatcher) and never said anything about "Black Men". She was also technically wrong about the "Hispanic", because Gates driver actually *is* black.
Another is the "Yelling" issue. According to Gates, he was just returning from China where he contracted Bronchitis, and as a result - He Couldn't Yell".
The police report says I was engaged in loud and tumultuous behavior. That’s a joke. Because I have a severe bronchial infection which I contracted in China and for which I was treated and have a doctor’s report from the Peninsula hotel in Beijing. So I couldn’t have yelled. I can’t yell even today, I’m not fully cured.
From Gates view "Uncooperative" means he first refused to come out of the house - which he had every right to do.
I’m saying ‘You need to send someone to fix my lock.’ All of a sudden, there was a policeman on my porch. And I thought, ‘This is strange.’ So I went over to the front porch still holding the phone, and I said ‘Officer, can I help you?’ And he said, ‘Would you step outside onto the porch.’ And the way he said it, I knew he wasn’t canvassing for the police benevolent association. All the hairs stood up on the back of my neck, and I realized that I was in danger. And I said to him no, out of instinct. I said, ‘No, I will not.’
in his Police Report Crowley states:
As I stood in plain view of this man, later identified as Gates, I asked if he would come out onto the porch and speak with me? He replied "No, I Wil Not." He demanded to know who I was, I responded "Sgt Crowley of the Cambridge Police" and that I was investigating a report of a "Break-in in progress". He responded with "Why, because I'm a Black Man in America?"
On this they agree, then comes the "Yelling"...
I asked Mr. Gates if there was anyone else in the residence. While Yelling, he told me it was none of my business and accused me of being a racist police officer. While i was led to believe that Gates was lawfully in the residence I was quite surprised and confused by the behavior he exhibited toward me.
I think Gates was quite surprised to have Cop questioning him in his own house.
Eventually Gates provides his ID, after requesting Crowley's ID and not receiving it. Identify established Crowley begins to leave.
As I began to walk through the Foyer of the front door, I could hear Gates demanding my name. I again told Gates that I would speak with him outside. My reason for wanting to leave the residence was that Gates was Yelling very Loud and the acoustics of the kitchens and foyer were making it difficult for me to transmit pertinent information to ECC or other responding units.
Ok, as we can hear when Crowley is speaking on the radio - this would appear to be Lie Number two - and his including this "detail" in the report seems more like an after-the-fact justification for luring Gates outide where a ton of officers (requested by Crowley) were waiting outside.
The thing that really betrays Crowley's Attitude is his statement as his commences the arrest.
I warned Gates that he was becoming disorderly. Gates ignored my warning and continued to yell, which drew the attention of the officers and the citizens, who appeared surprised and alarmed at Gates outburst. For the second time I warned Gates to calm down while I withdrew my department issued handcuffs from their case. Gates again ignored my warning and continued to yell at me, it was at this time that I informed Gates that he was under arrest. Gates initially resisted my attempts to handcuff him, yelling that he was "disabled" and would fall without his cane. After the cuffs were properly applied Gates complained that they were too tight
"Disabled"? What at sensitive guy.
Gates version of this sequence is this:
It looked like an ocean of police had gathered on my front porch. There were probably half a dozen police officers at this point. The mistake I made was I stepped onto the front porch and asked one of his colleagues for his name and badge number. And when I did, the same officer said, ‘Thank you for accommodating our request. You are under arrest.’ And he handcuffed me right there. It was outrageous. My hands were behind my back I said, ‘I’m handicapped. I walk with a cane. I can’t walk to the squad car like this.’ There was a huddle among the officers; there was a black man among them. They removed the cuffs from the back and put them around the front.
According to Gate there were No Warnings, Crowley did not depart the residence walk down the steps and then only walk back up the steps after Gates refused multiple requests to "Calm Down" because he was now "disturbing the peace" (and coincidentally embarrassing Crowley in front of his fellow officers and the public).
That's Lie Number Three.
Also Gates does use a Cane to walk, this is visible in the film footage and was confirmed by Mellisa Harris-Lacewell in her article about Gates in The Nation. Yes, he really is "Disabled" - you officious prick. This portion of the report is clearly intended to paint Gates as a chronic "complainer" and "exaggerator".
The last point is that in the Police Report both Sgt Crowley and Officer Figueroa - who attempts to "corroborate" Crowley's claims - the one truly offensives statement made by Gates was "THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS TO BLACK MEN IN AMERICA" which Figueroa repeats twice in his portion of the report within a single paragraph.
‘What is your name, and what is your badge number?’ and he refused to respond. I asked him three times, and he refused to respond. And then I said, ‘You’re not responding because I’m a black man, and you’re a white officer.’ That’s what I said. He didn’t say anything.
From Gates perspective it wasn't an accusation prior to his arrest, it was a question after the fact. The way that both Crowley and Figueroa attempt to distort this statement into a justification for the arrest itself is more than a little distasteful.
It may be that actual racism wasn't involved in this incident, but it's also clear that the catalyst for this was Crowley's Attitude and Tone of Voice which is initially what set Gates on edge by his own admission. Gates may have over-reacted, but he apparently wasn't as "Tumultuous" as Crowley claims he was, merely annoying. Yes, Crowley he did initially give Gates his name (or maybe e didn't since we only have his word on that), but he repeatedly refused to provide his ID and actually Prove he was a Genuine COP to Gates while invading his home. He then places multiple lies on his police report, so it seems to me Gates probably read his tone of voice and the subtext of his intent correctly.
If the Officers Union really wanted a "Trial of Fact" considering both Gates and Crowley agree that the crucial portion of the exchange occurred before both the police and the public, including Lucia Whalen, I think they would seriously regret if any of this had actually came before a judge.
Reposted from My Blog
This weekend Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich (who was forced to leave his post due to an scandal with infidelity) spoke for three hours in Virginia and "Rediscovery God in America" and in the midst of his talk actually claimed that American are now "Surrounded by Paganism - as if that is somehow a bad thing.
GINGRICH: I am not a citizen of the world. I am a citizen of the United States because only in the United States does citizenship start with our creator. <...> I think this is one of the most critical moments in American history. We are living in a period where we are surrounded by paganism.
He along with other speakers such as Mike Huckabee also railed against...
the continuing availability of abortion, the spread of gay rights, and attempts to remove religion from American public life and school history books.
Yes, he attacked abortion just days after a tragic abortion murder. Way to root for the good guys Newt. He claimed, like a great many American Theocrats that America is a "Christian Nation" and ties that argument back to the Declaration of Independence.
Gingrich, now a consultant and author, said the ties to religion in American government date to the Declaration of Independence, when Thomas Jefferson wrote that men are endowed by God with certain inalienable rights.
It is true he wrote that, but what he didn't write - what was specifically left out was exactly "Which God" he was talking about.
Newt is allegedly a student of History, but in a recent Dkos post another Historian, one far from being so high profile as Newt, broke down the true origins of American Religiousity in a response to a Theocrat Relative - and it's nothing like what Gingrich and Huckabee describe.
First in response to a blast email which lists all the state Preambles which mention "Almight God" our heroine Laine presented the Treaty of Tripoli.
Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
The response from her theocrat aunt was pretty much what you'd expect, a personal attack laced with accusations against a long dead parent for their failings in raising such an "Anti-God" Child. To this Laine responded with something I think every person who is confronted with this type of rabid Christo-Facism should have memorized.
~The settlers who came here from England in the 17th century came for various reasons; some as entrepreneurs, some looking for land of their own, some for religious reasons. The latter are the ones we usually think of- hardy Pilgrims coming to the new land for religious freedom. Except not quite- those coming from England came because they held to faith other than the Church of England (Anglican, here in the States we call them Episcopalians). They did not come for freedom, per se. They came to establish a community where their sect would be the official Church. The various early Colonies were a mish-mash of different sects. What was a legal religion in one might be outlawed in another. (Don't believe me? Read up about Ann Hutchinson or Roger Williams- they were both expelled from Massachusetts for failing to toe the Puritan party line.)
If you were to adopt the Christianity of the original settlers - ignoring the existing religion of the Native American's who had already been here for countless centuries - the State Religion of the United States would most likely be Puritan. Or maybe Quaker.
These sects who fled English shores for America to avoid being persecuted by the Church Of England (C.O.E.) aka Anglican. That Church itself only came into existence as an offshoot of the Catholic Church when King Henry VIII (now made slightly more famous by Showtime's The Tudors) wanted to be able to divorce his first wife Catherine, but was barred from doing so by the Roman Pope.
In forming the C.O.E. Henry made himself it's Pope, and then proceeded to divorce and/or behead
So yet again we see the problem and the danger of "Which God" the Declaration and various Preambles describe, is it the Catholic/Protestant/ Anglican/Episcopalian/Puritan/Quaker/Jewish/Muslim that Thomas Jefferson was referring to? Since he himself was a Deist, the not so simple answer is All of Them and none of them.
The point was the allow the Freedom to persue the Religion of our individual choice, but not to attempt to force that choice upon others. America is designed to specifically NOT to have a single Church authorized for the state or else we may face the type of orthodox religious wrath that befell Dr. Tyndale.
Or for that matter, Dr. George Tiller.
Dr. Warren Hern : There is no middle-ground with people who want to kill you. The Only Difference between the American Anti-Abortion Movement and the Taliban - is about 8000 Miles.
In following up on the Tiller Assassination story I realized that elements seemed familiar. Less than a week or so ago, before the shooting I had seen one of those late night crime stories about a middle-aged woman who had been put on trial for shooting a doctor.
The story focused not so much on her crime, which didn't kill the doctor in question but merely injured him or her claims in court that her lousy aim should be considered a mitigating faster, instead the piece focused on her connections to an underground network of rabid anti-abortionists. Including Paul Hill who had shot and killed a clinic physician and his escort with a shotgun in Pensacola Florida.
She had written to Paul, and to other incarcerated anti-abortion killers such as Michael Griffin. Through them she had gained encouragement, and even direction - but the prosecutors were frustrated in proving conspiracy charges.
Here's a sample tribute video I found to Paul Hill.
I had forgotten about the report, then after the the Tiller shooting I started to wonder and decided to look up the name of the person mentioned by Rachel Maddow as having previously shot Dr. Tiller in both arms - that person was Shelly Shannon - the same person from the report I'd seen last week - and what I immediately found was this...
What followed was quite literally a how to/confession of a Terrorist Act, the fire-bombing of on a Women's Clinic. It's almost comically inept and pathetic - but still in many ways that only makes it's deadliness even more serious. Murder and Arson for Dummy Grandma's! Estelle Getty with suicide bomb strapped on. Silly, but still Deadly.
"Photocopy this then burn the pages" -- it's almost like something from "Get Smart" with the Cone of Silence. Shelley Shannon Super-Sleuth. Not exactly. James Bond and AQ Khan she ain't. Hence the Prison! Heaven help us if someone whose actually seen an entire season of any version of CSI or Criminal Minds gets hooked up with these dullards.
I found another shock/irony when I read the tagline, because as far as I know Shelley Shannon is serving prison time until 2018 for her attack on Dr. Tiller and a set of subsequence fires and her Muy Talibanish acid attacks.
To contact: e-mail: Glory2Jesus@ArmyofGod.com
Do people in prison get email? Also - uh- "Rev. Donald Spitz"?
Again, something strangely familiar. Several weeks ago I wrote a post about the the Knoxville Tennesee Gunman who killed two people and injured fived in a gun attack on a Unitarian Church who was "Trying to Kill Liberals".
I got a response on my personal blog - It was from a Rev. Donald Spitz. He said...
Don't tell me about Eric Rudolph. At least he stopped the babykilling abortionist from murdering any more children. What have you done to stopped these babies from being murdered?
When I clicked on his name it showed this... (NSFW)
Sweet guy. At the time I blew it off, there are plenty of nuts and fruits on the net. No biggie.
I'm not blowing it off anymore. This is like having Ramzi Yousef leave a Firepie on your front porch.
His blog - http://stopbabykillingabortionist.blogspot... / has only three posts, and they're about as smart and coherent as the one he left on my blog praising Eric Rudolph and calling me Gay (which I'm not, particularly after 17 years of nice simple Opposite Marriage).
By the way, go back to that Paul Hill Tribute Video, notice anything... like "by RevSpitz"?
DING! DING! DING!
Yet another Super-sleuth.
As it turns our Rev Spitz runs the entire Army of God website which features include the Official "Authorized" Websites for Paul Hill, Eric Rudolph and several other Anti-Abortion
The sites current headline that says..
George Tiller will never murder another child again.
Ok, so I get what The Donald has to say... but what do others say about him? Others like say, the Southern Poverty Law Center?
The Rev. Donald Spitz has never been a pleasant man. Considered a wild-eyed extremist even among his colleagues on the radical anti-abortion scene, the head of Pro-Life Virginia and long-time principal of the Army of God Web site (www.armyofgod.com ) applauds the murderers of physicians, clinic workers and secretaries.Yeah, on top of everything else, the Christo-Fascism, the homophobia and being a signatory on a "defensive action statement" declaring the murder of abortionist as "justifiable" - Good Ole' RevSpitz is a White Supremacist. Lovely.
We do have a American Taliban, and they aren't hiding very far from the surface. Not at all. And if I was member of the Joint Counter Terrorist Task Force, I think I know where to direct a little NSA Surveillance or at least y'know - a WARRANT - since he and 30 others signed a open DEATH THREAT ON HIS FELLOW AMERICAN CITIZENS.
"We, the undersigned, declare the justice of taking all godly action necessary to defend innocent human life including the use of force. We proclaim that whatever force is legitimate to defend the life of a born child is legitimate to defend the life of an unborn child. We assert that if Michael Griffin did in fact kill David Gunn, his use of lethal force was justifiable provided it was carried out for the purpose of defending the lives of unborn children. Therefore, he ought to be acquitted of the charges against him."
I'm just saying... when people openly declare they support the commission of a capital offense, maybe we should be listening to them, maybe we should let them Know we're listening them, and that they will be held accountable for their actions.
P.S. His site sucks. ugly colors, bad design, shitty fonts, cheesy graphics, stupid ideas. (I had to completely re-work it just so that it would even post here because of all the trash in the code.) Like something a 12-year-old in a 50-year-old body would make. Perfectly Fitting.
I know this plea will go unheeded, yet I make it still... STOP THE MADNESS!
Just as we saw during the 2008 campaign with "Marxist/Social/Muslim-ism", wild and unfounded accusations of "judicial activism and racist" are now flying about like spittle from a just punched boxer.
It's got to stop. We have to end the parade of horrid tableaux such as this one (see video of Bob Shrum taking Pat Buchanan to the Woodshed for a nice Hot Cup of (Epic Fail!)
Buchanan pushes two primary arguments which have become religious dogma to many on the Right 1) Sotomayor thinks Latina's are "Superior" to Whites and 2) Sotomayor implemented some form of "Reverse Discrimination" against the mostly White (and one Latino) Fire-fighter in New Haven.
Point one comes from this lecture given by Judge Sotomayor at UC Berkeley on the subject of what means to be a Latina Judge.
The offending line, as we've all heard/read it.
I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life.
Looking purely at this many have latched only three key words "Latina - Better (than) White" and in doing so the ignore literally everything else in the sentence. Let's just for the sake of discussion try this sentence written race neutrally.
I would hope that a wise (person) with the richness of (their) experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than (another person) who hasn't lived that life.
What this simple modification shows that even if you were to change the sentence around an make the "better" person white - it still rings true. A person with rich life experiences honestly Should make better decisions drawing from those experience than someone without them, regardless of who they are -- however the reality is that sometimes they don't.
Let's again focus on the beginning of the sentence... "I would hope..."
The clear indication of this phrase is that she has her doubts that this will be the case, that a wise person with rich experiences - even if Latina - would make better decisions than a person without those experiences - even if White.
She Doubts this premise.
The simple truth is that Judge Sotomayor's point is almost exactly opposite to what those who scream RACIST in the night have claimed. This is further illustrated if you dare look at, gasp, the entire paragraph.
Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences, a possibility I abhor less or discount less than my colleague Judge Cedarbaum, our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging. Justice O'Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases. I am not so sure Justice O'Connor is the author of that line since Professor Resnik attributes that line to Supreme Court Justice Coyle. I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, as Professor Martha Minnow has noted, there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life.
Clearly she's saying that our backgrounds can make a difference, but not that they necessarily will or that that difference will also be a positive one. This is further shown as we go to - gulp - the very next paragraph.
Let us not forget that wise men like Oliver Wendell Holmes and Justice Cardozo voted on cases which upheld both sex and race discrimination in our society. Until 1972, no Supreme Court case ever upheld the claim of a woman in a gender discrimination case. I, like Professor Carter, believe that we should not be so myopic as to believe that others of different experiences or backgrounds are incapable of understanding the values and needs of people from a different group. Many are so capable. As Judge Cedarbaum pointed out to me, nine white men on the Supreme Court in the past have done so on many occasions and on many issues including Brown.
This cements the point home, she is clearly not saying that Latina's are better than Whites, she's simply saying that she would HOPE that they would make as wise a decision as previous White MEN on the the court such as Holmes and Cordoza (who was technically of Portugese descent) have clearly shown in the past.
In other words, You CAN'T judge a book by it's cover. People can surprise you.
The second of Pat's points is in regards to the Ricci Case, where just 7 Figherfighters our of 70 applications were to be granted promotions to Lieutenant and Captain based largely on their exam results. For some reason, all except for 2 Latinos were White - none were Black.
The city had attempted to craft a race neutral test, but when the results were so clearly racially-biased the city decided to throw that test out and craft a new one. 17 White Firefighters and 1 Latino sued. The initial judge threw out the case arguing...
"The decision to disregard the test results affected all applicants equally," "New Haven did not race-norm the scores
A Three-Judge Panel on the 2nd Circuit (which included Sotomayer) made the follow statement in their upholding the lower court.
"We are not unsympathetic to the plaintiffs' expression of frustration," the panel wrote. "Mr. Ricci, for example, who is dyslexic, made intensive efforts that appear to have resulted in his scoring highly on one of the exams, only to have it invalidated. But it simply does not follow that he has a viable Title VII claim."
Apparently Judge Sotomayer asked quite a few questions during the hearing including...
“We’re not suggesting that unqualified people be hired, the city’s not suggesting that,” she told Ms. Torre. But “if your test is going to always put a certain group at the bottom of the pass rate so they’re never, ever going to be promoted, and there is a fair test that could be devised that measures knowledge in a more substantive way, then why shouldn’t the city have an opportunity to try to look and see if it can develop that?”
Rather than being an "activist" judge who would have overturned precedent to meet her own whims, Judge Sotomayor voted with the majority to continue the established rule of trying to make race neutral attempts to avoid a disparate impact on minority applicants.
The fact is that sometimes discrimination doesn't come in the form of Bull Connor with a pack of dogs, sometimes it comes in small little conceits of clubiness, additional access and resources to the insiders or simply a tendency to "norm" everything to the tastes, style and preference of the majority to the detriment of any outsider/minority. Sometimes this is completely unwitting and sometimes it's deliberately Covert since the Civil Rights Act long ago made obvious acts of discrimination criminally and civilly liable.
These days bias is rarely, if ever, overtly and obviously shown by anyone in authority.
What we also want to avoid is over-reacting to the potential civil liability by assuming bias when none is necesarily present. It's in many ways a "Catch-22" of trying to end continue bias, without creating a NEW bias (so-called "Reverse Racism") .
But then again, what if those who do want to implement deliberate anti-minority (or majority) discrimination have simply figured out new and better ways to game the system? Should we just ignore the evidence when a situation as stark and hard to believe as the New Haven test results appear? Can it really be true that not ONE Black person was able to score high enough on the test? (Contract this argument with one I recently posted where Buchanan argued the exact opposite, that it wasn't possible that NOT ONE WHITE MAN could have been considered for the nomination that Sotomayor received -- "It HAS TO BE AFFIRMATIVE ACTION" he argued. It's couldn't have been the Suma Cum Laude, the Phi Beta Kappa or the 17 years of Federal Bench experience? Yeah, ok - whatever)
Admittedly this is a difficult case, and there are sympathetic persons on all sides of the issue. Was the Test Fair? Were the Black Firefighters just simply outscored? If in fact, the test wasn't flawed and they had performed a "Do Over" with a new better (and still race neutral) test, wouldn't the better performing applicants have still prevailed?
Rather than go against the facts and the lower courts on this matter, Sotomayor followed precedent and the rule of stare decisis (settled law).
The third issue, which isn't addressed in the video, but is still relevant is Sotomayor's "Courts make policy" statement from a Duke University Conferrence. Much too has been made of this statement as it makes her appear to be a wild-eyed activits.
All of the legal defense funds out there, they're looking for people out there with court of appeals experience, because court of appeals is where policy is made. And I know, I know this is on tape and I should never say that because we don't make law, I know. I know.
To this I've read reasonable sounding responses such as...
Excuse me, I thought it was the job of Congress to decide "policy". At least according to the Constitution... isn't that what she's supposed to be protecting... the rule of Constitutional law? Isn't that in fact the "job" of a Supreme Court Justice?
The simple answer to that is "No". The final arbiter of what is "Law" and Constitutional is the Courts, particularly the Supreme Court as was established 206 years ago by Marbury v Madison.
Marbury v. Madison was the first time the Supreme Court declared something "unconstitutional," and established the concept of judicial review in the U.S. (the idea that courts may oversee and nullify the actions of another branch of government). The landmark decision helped define the "checks and balances" of the American form of government.
All she was saying, was the truth. Congress may make the law, the President may sign it - but the Court then review it and ultimately decide if it should remain standing under the Constitution - OR NOT.
The hysterical bleets of the wing-nuts on these issues need to be either ignored, or completely taken apart to the point that no one with half-a-brain and any self-respect would even consider repeating these baseless, demeaning and racially-projectionist arguments against the most experienced and educated Supreme Court Nominee in over a Century.
Stop. The. Fracking. Madness!!
In the last day quite a bit of hubbub and hullaballo has surfaced over a Telegraph UK report that alleges the reason that Obama did not release the latest set of Abu Ghraib pictures is because they depicted the Rape of Children.
I myself have helped share links to this story, but last night I read something which contradicted and to some extent corrected that story from, oddly enough, Jason Leopold.
Jumping more than a bit ahead of the gun a dog's age ago, Leopold has once claimed that Karl Rove was about to be arrested on Fitzmas. He wasn't, but Jason may have learned a lesson or two about verifying sources.
All that is now just another liter of blood under the bridge...
In this case he is addressing detailed descriptions of the pictures requested by the ACLU via FOIA which Obama recently denied. (BTW, Obama's isn't the last word on that subject - it could still go to SCOTUS)
U.S. Army soldiers in Afghanistan took dozens of pictures of their colleagues pointing assault rifles and pistols at the heads and backs of hooded and bound detainees and another photograph showed two male soldiers and one female soldier pointing a broom to one detainee “as if I was sticking the end of a broom stick into
The female soldier with the broom handle is further addressed in the report as merely posing with the handle in a suggestive position, not actually attacking a detainee with it.
After reading this I tweeted with Jason to ask him about it.
Vyan1 @JasonLeopold These Docs don't seem to describe the same pics referenced in the UK Taguba interview #DNJ
You don't even have to trust me or Jason, the documents - linked above - speak for themselves.
Obama didn't suppress pictures of children being raped (Not that I personally would actually blame him if he did since if you truly want to see a Unrelenting Firestorm of resentment in the Arab would - THAT would do it!)
This may be why - and here I'm admittedly speculating the way the Telegraph did - both Gibb's and the Pentagon felt so free to simply attack the Telegraph's reporting and completely avoid addressing the issue of the Rape pictures themselves. (Then again, without the pictures and documents in hand speculation is inevitable...)
White House Video : http://www.politico.com/singletitlevideo.h...
Simply put: IMO These are NOT the pictures we're looking for...
But this doesn't mean that the Telegraph UK is completely wrong, in all likelihood those horrid rape picture *do* exist as they've been backed up by other sources such as Sy Hersch, the Physicians for Human Rights Report and General Taguba.
CNN Video: http://www.youtube.com/v/lupvb7raAes
Gen. Taguba: there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current (Bush) administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.
Reports of children being raped to force their parent to give information have long been alleged by award winning journalist Sy Hersch (Video) but now a report via the Telegraph UK reveals that this allegation is true, and that their were even pictures.
Abu Ghraib abuse photos 'show rape'
Instead of coming from some radical Human Rights organization, this information is coming from a former U.S. Army General, the man who headed the investigation into the Abu Ghraib scandal - and was prohibited from looking at the involvement of higher-ups in these crimes.
Is it rather interesting that John Yoo publicly and specifically argued that *THIS WAS LEGAL*.
John Yoo publicly argued there is no law that could prevent the President from ordering the torture of a child of a suspect in custody – including by crushing that child’s testicles.
Geneva doesn't prevent that although it says there will be NO AFFRONTS TO PERSONAL DIGNITY or threats against the family of a detainee? The UN Convention Against Torture doesn't prevent that? 18 USC 2340 (The Torture Statute) and the 18 USC 2441 (The War Crimes Statues) don't outlaw this?
If so, then nothing is outlawed.
The Memo in question is Here (pdf), in it Yoo argues essentially that the Torture Statute only applies if you intent is to "cause severe physical harm" - but if you have some other reason/excuse, the law doesn't apply.
The infliction of pain must be the defendants precise objective.
Although the Torture Convention specifically argued that purposes of "pain inflicted for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person a confession of information... is prohibited" - Yoo tries to argue this away with the argument that words "specifically intended" are included within the ratification documentation of the treaty as approved by Congress.
He argued that since the intent was to gain information or cooperation from the subject, or even a third party as opposed to the simplistic sadistic goal of causing pain for it's own sake, it's legal.
Rob bank and keep the money = Illegal. Rob a bank and give the money to charity = Legal. Rape a child for shits and giggles = Illegal. Rape a child to get their parents to infiltrate the insurgency and report back to you = Legal.
And since Yoo put this view into a memo and it was stamped as valid by the Justice Department, it's pretty hard to argue complete ignorance when exactly what he wrote - is what happened in Iraq.
Maj Gen Taguba’s internal inquiry into the abuse at Abu Ghraib, included sworn statements by 13 detainees, which, he said in the report, he found “credible based on the clarity of their statements and supporting evidence provided by other witnesses.”
Let me point out again, that various prior memos by Yoo claiming that Geneva didn't apply to the Taliban or al Qaeda were never written or amended to include civilians detained in Iraq who very clearly would be covered by Geneva and any actions such as these would clearly be - a War Crime!
General Taguba agrees:
Maj. Gen Taguba saw the horrors first hand during his Abu Ghraib investigation and he believes the Bush administration is guilty of war crimes.
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Y8BT_NNs28
Most of this discussion with Charles Duelfer, the man who proved that Iraq DID NOT have WMD"s, shows that Dick Cheney despites all his claims that water-boarding "yielded valuable information" was attempting desperately to prove some type of operational link between Al Qaeada and Saddam.
All of thie needs to be looked at in context which shows that it wasn't a simple "mistake" it was a deliberate ruse perpetrated on the American people and the world., In late 2002 Colin Powell went before the UN armed with information gained from the torture of Ibn Sheik al-Libi claiming Al-Qaeda members had been trained in chemical weapons use by Iraq (which was a lie), and claims that they possessed mobile labs from Curveball (which was also a Lie).
His presentation led to the adoption of UN resolution 1441 which required Iraq to make a full and final declaration on their WMD status - which they DID.
That document said they Had No WMD, and in compliance with that resolution Saddam allowed the inspector back into Iraq where they found some al samoud missles, but no WMD. The Bushies ignored Saddam's declaration (which was the truth) partly because Saddam didn't explain where the "Yellow Cake from Niger" had gone, even though Joe Wilson had already debunked that claim and the State Dept. had shown it was based on a forgery.
In January, the same month Bush uttered the "16 words", the head of Iraqi Intelligence had already defected and TOLD US that Saddam had destroyed all his WMD's in 1992, which confirmed Saddam's declartion.
Suskind says he spoke on the record with U.S. intelligence officials who stated that Bush was informed unequivocally in January 2003 that Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction. Nonetheless, his book relates, Bush decided to invade Iraq three months later — with the forged letter from the head of Iraqi intelligence to Saddam bolstering the U.S. rationale to go into war.
Every source up to this date except Ibn Shaik al-Libi had denied the existence of any connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda. So Bush instead of listening to Habbush, or the CIA that said the "Yellow Cake" story was bogus, or the State Dept, or the Energy Deptment that said the "aluminum tubes" were harmless, tried to manufacture a link by having the former Iraqi Intel head forge a letter falsely confessing that Saddam was in league with Osama Bin Laden and the 9-11 attacks.
Iraq having WMD is a potential problem (even though they didn't), but not as big a problem as them giving WMD to al Qaeda.
On page 371 of “The Way of the World,” Suskind describes ]the White House’s concoction of a forged letter purportedly from the hand of Habbush to Saddam Hussein to justify the United States’ decision to go to war.
The truths is they were enemies, as the CIA Al Qeada desk already knew well.
Should we really be surprised that Dick Cheney just couldn't take "Hell No!" for an answer and quickly pushed to use torture to support this pack of lies?
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