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Reposted from Daily Kos by Denise Oliver Velez

Proportion of Google queries containing the “N-word” by designated market area, 2004–2007.

Colors changed so the map can be seen by all. Original is below the fold.
Click to enlarge

There are neighborhoods in Baltimore in which the life expectancy is 19 years less than other neighborhoods in the same city. Residents of the Downtown/Seaton Hill neighborhood have a life expectancy lower than 229 other nations, exceeded only by Yemen. According to the Washington Post, 15 neighborhoods in Baltimore have a lower life expectancy than North Korea.

North Korea.

And while those figures represent some of the most dramatic disparities in the life expectancy of black Americans as opposed to whites, a recent study of the health impacts of racism in America reveals that racist attitudes may cause up to 30,000 early deaths every year.

The study, Association between an Internet-Based Measure of Area Racism and Black Mortality, has just been published in PLOS ONE and has mapped out the most racist areas in the United States. As illustrated above, they are mostly located in the rural Northeast and down along the Appalachian Mountains into the South. How they did it and what it may mean are below the fold.

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Reposted from JoanMar by 2thanks
MLK makes a point.
If there is one name that has been uttered more often than Freddie Gray's over the past week, it has been that of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. We know that the criminal, heartless Right Wing Media have been doing their darnedest to claim the civil rights icon as their own. They have been on a mission to remake Dr. King into their own image. That last sentence isn't even exactly true; they have been busy whittling down the man into a one-dimensional, wishy-washy, mealy-mouthed battering ram to be used against the very people for whom he fought.

Let's take a look at what the man actually preached ... and let's place his words in context and in the spirit in which they were intended.

Become mal-adjusted:

I never intend to adjust myself to the tragic effects of the methods of physical violence and to tragic militarism. I call upon you to be maladjusted to such things. (Martin Luther King, Jr., “The Power Of Nonviolence” (1957).)
What did Martin Luther King really say about riots as they have to do with political activism and civil rights (and not the results of ball games)?
I contend that the cry of "black power" is, at bottom, a reaction to the reluctance of white power to make the kind of changes necessary to make justice a reality for the Negro. I think that we've got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard. (Martin Luther King, Jr., "The Other America".)
In other words, no justice, no peace. It is an act of malice - intended to inflict serious psychological damage - to demand peace from the hurting and disenfranchised even as you dispense justice to only those who share your skin color and or socio-economic background.

After using the word "thug" to describe young rioters in Baltimore, Erin Burnett was asked, (paraphrasing as best as I can remember) "Then what do you call members of the police who broke Freddie Gray's spine?" To which Ms. Burnett replied, "I don't know what happened. I will wait on the courts to decide. You remember how that whole 'hands up don't shoot' was found to be a total lie."

Michael Brown and Freddie Gray are dead. Justice, some wise person said long ago, should not only be done, but also be seen to be done. There's no justice to be seen anywhere in these cases; primarily because journalists are very well adjusted to, and accepting of, these incidents of injustice happening again, and again, and again.

What if we were to apply this quote from Dr. King to American Law Enforcement Officers?

Violence is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding: It seeks to annihilate rather than convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends up defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.
The police are the patriarchal formal leaders who have been foisted on our communities and invested with the power to slap us upside the heads if mothers won't do it; or eliminate us if and when they feel like it. Violence is the tactic used to whip us into shape.  When the oppressed revolt, however briefly, against aggressive over-policing, they are castigated and condemned as "thugs." No winning for black folks.

What to do about this fucked-up state of affairs?

One awesome member of Support the Dream Defenders said this:

"In times of uncertainty and turmoil in the past, Americans have fought back in four principal ways: at the ballot box, by long-term populist appeals, with protests, and through legal action."
Protest is of the utmost importance right now. We applaud and support those who have taken to the streets to let their voices be heard, those gathered in New York, in Philadelphia, in Washington DC, in Chicago, in Ferguson, and in Baltimore.

As our young people and others of good conscience take to the street, we invite our friends to help us with the fight on the legal action front.

We need revolutionary changes to policing in this country. We do not claim that we have all the answers, but the Michael Brown Over-Policed Rights Act provides at least some of the answers.

As you may know, Support the Dream Defenders crowd-sourced the Michael Brown Over-Policed Rights Act at Daily Kos in the fall of 2014. Over 700 Kossacks supported our effort. Our finalized bill quickly gained the support of the NAACP and the ACLU. The NAACP forwarded our bill to members of Congress, and we distributed it to members of the Congressional Black Caucus and other progressive members of Congress. President Obama signed into law a small piece of our bill in December 2014. The Department of Justice included part of our bill in their recent report on Ferguson, Missouri. Our state version of the MBOPRA is currently in committee in the Kansas legislature. The final version of our law: Michael Brown Over-Policed Rights Act of 2015 (Federal)

Action Steps:

Please contact your U.S. senators and representatives and ask them to support our Michael Brown Over-Policed Rights Act.

Two helpful websites:

How to Contact Your U.S. Senator

How to Contact Your U.S. Representative

Please note the information to include in an email to your representative or senator, such as your address, etc.
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Reposted from Media Watch by Denise Oliver Velez

In October of 2010, Fox News launched the Fox News Latino website in order to mitigate the massive disadvantage Republicans faced with Latino voters. Latinos are the fastest growing demographic in the nation and their voting power is increasing with each election. So even though the Republican Party has been alienating this constituency with blatantly detrimental policies, Fox News was determined to try to save the GOP from its own prejudices.

Fox Nation vs. RealityCheck out the ALL NEW 2nd volume of my ebook...
Fox Nation vs. RealityThe Fox News Cult Of Ignorance.

See the original version of this article published on News Corpse.

Click here to LIKE/SHARE this On Facebook

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Reposted from Tortmaster by 2thanks

... And he knows it.

     We sent Freedom of Information Act requests to every Red State governor or legislature who refused to Expand Medicaid. Thus far, eleven red state governors and one red state legislature have responded to our requests. Of the twelve total responses received, only one respondent admitted to having any documents, whatsoever, showing how many people he or she may be killing and bankrupting because that state refuses to Expand Medicaid.  

     That would be Texas.

     Every other state is positively incurious about the number of people they may be killing or bankrupting in their home state. So, in a perverted way, Texas Governor Greg Abbott is at least ahead of them. He has an idea how many people he may be killing. In response to our FOIA requests, which asked for any documents showing what he has done to find out how many people may be dying because he refuses Medicaid Expansion, he provided a 75-page document.

1.  More Dead Than We Expected.

     The document was shocking to us. We knew that there was no good reason to refuse to Expand Medicaid, and we knew that it was a decision that would either save or cost a lot of lives. We didn't realize how many. You see, we have used a Harvard Study which indicates that between 1,840 and 3,035 will needlessly die in Texas every year without Expanded Medicaid. That Harvard Study, in pertinent part, provides as follows:

"In Texas, the largest state opting out of Medicaid expansion, 2,013,025 people who would otherwise have been insured will remain uninsured due to the opt-out decision. We estimate that Medicaid expansion in that state would have resulted in 184,192 fewer depression diagnoses, 62,610 fewer individuals suffering catastrophic medical expenditures, and between 1,840 and 3,035 fewer deaths."
    This Harvard Study dealt with the entire nation; Greg Abbott had another study in his possession that dealt only with Texas, written by Texans, for Texans. The report, entitled Expanding Medicaid in Texas: Smart, Affordable and Fair, can be found in the files of the Governor of Texas and in its full PDF glory here. It provides as follows:
"Experience in other states indicates that failing to expand Medicaid would result in an estimated 8,400 premature deaths each year."
    That's a lot of dead Texans each year. A lot of people who have diabetes but cannot afford medication; who have diabetes and don't know it; who have undiagnosed but treatable heart conditions, high blood pressure or cancers. That's a lot of potential pap smears and mammograms that Texans will not receive. "The state leads the nation in the rate of people without health insurance — roughly one in four Texans." With approximately one million Texans in the "Medicaid Gap," it probably shouldn't have been a surprise to us that as many as 8,400 will die annually, and before their time, because of Governor Abbott's failure to Expand Medicaid. It's as if you wiped Liberty City, Texas right off the map. Then did it again every year:


     Kind of an ironic name--Liberty City--as it represents the deadly repercussions from Texas state government thumbing its nose at the Federal Government for no good reason, while the casualties pile up each year.

2.  The Only Evidence of Death and Bankruptcy Abbott Has....

     The only document Governor Abbott, a former Attorney General, has to help him decide how many people will die in his state each year without Medicaid Expansion indicates the number to be 8,400. He doesn't even have another document from some Koch-funded think tank claiming that only three people will die. The only information he has to make an informed decision about how many people he is bankrupting each year is that there will be approximately 62,610 of those woebegone folks.

     The Governor has not afforded his people due diligence much less due process. A person accused of murder in Texas gets better treatment than the working poor.  

The Rights Afforded to a Murder Defendant in Texas Versus the Rights Afforded to the Working Poor

    On a side note, please consider this: You would think that a person fighting ObamaCare tooth and nail would be the first to step up to the plate and protest against it. Not Greg Abbott. Here's his just-released Income Tax Return for 2014. As you can see from the screengrab below, Abbott put his money where his wallet is:


3.  The Other Document.

     We also requested documents in the possession of Governor Greg Abbott that would show how many Texans without health insurance have received treatment in Texas hospitals during the last reporting period. The Governor provided an eight-page report from the Texas Department of Health and Human Services indicating that hospitals in the state lose billions of dollars annually because of the failure to Expand Medicaid.

     In 2012, Texas hospitals spent $22.538 billion on health care provided to the uninsured in that state.

     To give you some perspective on that, if Greg Abbott was going to pay for all those hospital charges with his own tax payments, and he paid $104 in taxes every year, it would take him two hundred and sixteen million, seven hundred and eleven thousand, five hundred and thirty-eight and one-half years to do it.

     According to the report, uncompensated hospital charges in Texas rose from $17.51 billion in 2010 to $18.312 billion in 2011. It then jumped more than five billion to $22.538 billion in 2012. The picture will soon turn even bleaker, as the Federal Government may not be helping Texas out with those deficits in the future.


4.  The Obama Administration Tightens the Pressure on Florida and Texas and Other Non-Medicaid Expanding Red States.

     Every year, the Federal Government provides what amounts to massive block grants to states, which the states can then use to pay to hospitals that provide services to the uninsured. This has been provided as part of the Medicaid program. In this way, hospitals would receive direct payments from Medicaid for covered individuals, and they would receive the Medicaid "subsidy" or block grant money for uncovered individuals.

     Those huge block grants--in the billions of dollars each year--will stop in 2015 and 2016 because of Medicaid Expansion.

     The theory was this: Once Medicaid was expanded, there would be no need for the additional block grant subsidies for hospitals, as people would either have private insurance or be covered under the Expanded Medicaid. The second document we received from Governor Abbott described the situation succinctly:

Health Care Reform Impact. One of the supplemental Medicaid payments that greatly contributes to the Medicaid surplus is the Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payment. The DSH program was created to compensate hospitals that give care to a disproportionate amount of low income and uninsured individuals with a lump sum payment. Health care reform will impact DSH payments starting in 2016. The assumption is that when the individual mandate takes effect, the need for supplemental payments to cover the uninsured is less. The ACA requires HHS to reduce DSH payments.

     Of course, nobody counted on Republican governors and state legislatures allowing their citizens to die or to go bankrupt for no earthly reason.

     Texas and Florida and other wanna-be new-confederate states like South Carolina want the Federal Government to continue paying their hospital buddies with these block grants; they don't want the Federal Government to help the people with Expanded Medicaid. The Obama Administration has said, "Not so fast!" It has let these states know that the money to reimburse hospitals for care to the poor and working poor is there to be had--as soon as the states Expand Medicaid. One source reported:

"The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services indicated to Texas officials Thursday that whether the state expands Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act would factor into the renewal of a multibillion-dollar Medicaid funding stream next year, according to state officials.

Federal officials requested a call with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, during which they outlined their position, Linda Edwards Gockel, a spokeswoman for the Texas health agency, said in an email to National Journal.

The call came the same day that Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he would sue the Obama administration, accusing CMS of pushing the state to expand Medicaid by leveraging $1 billion in federal Medicaid funding, which is up for renewal this summer and helps cover some uncompensated care.

CMS said in a letter to Florida this week that one of the three principles it would use to evaluate the program, known as the Low-Income Pool, was that 'uncompensated care pool funding should not pay for costs that would be covered in a Medicaid expansion.'


Texas's uncompensated-care funding pool, part of a broader Medicaid waiver, is coming up for renewal in September 2016. According to the Texas Hospital Association, the program provides more than $3 billion to Texas hospitals for uncompensated care."

     Hypocritical Governors like Scott and Abbott and Haley want Federal money to pay to their buddies at the hospitals, but not a penny to provide Medicaid for their poor and working poor constituents.

5.  Abbott's Growing a New Class of Citizen in Texas: The Health Care Bankrupt.

     The Harvard Study quoted and linked above indicates that, because Governor Abbott refuses to Expand Medicaid in Texas, there will be 62,610 new bankrupts in Texas every year. Sure, many of those folks will be dead prematurely--an estimated 8,400 of them--but that leaves 54,210 every year to either file for bankruptcy or be harassed by hospital attorneys for the next forty years of their lives. That's like a Texas city the size of Victoria dying or going bankrupt every year.


     All because Greg Abbott wants to be pure. Or, because Greg Abbott and his fellow travelers don't want the American people to see the Federal Government working and helping people, while at the same time reducing the deficit, creating jobs and straightening the heretofore explosive health care cost curve. Or, perhaps Abbott is just an asshole. I don't know the answer. I do know that the evidence at his disposal--there being no contradictory proof--is that he will kill approximately 8,400 Texans every year and bankrupt 62,610.    

NOTE:  This is a community diary, which could only be written because of the efforts and activism of a number of people who belong to the Support the Dream Defenders group at Daily Kos. Their contributions are always appreciated. I am proud that they let me work with them!
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Reposted from Maggie's Farm by Denise Oliver Velez

Tuesday in Phoenix, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's civil contempt hearing began, and the first day was a doozie. US District Judge Murray Snow ordered Sheriff Arpaio to appear at the hearing because the bigoted blowhard had arrogantly defied the judge's orders following Melendres v. Arpaio. In that 2007 incident, argued by the ACLU, the court found that the sheriff's office did indeed use race as a determining factor in traffic stops and other detainments, the very definition of racial profiling.

Following the Melendres verdict in 2011, which was upheld by the 9th Circuit Court a year later, in 2013 Judge Snow ordered three major reforms: Arpaio must end his infamous immigration roundups (neighborhood "sweeps"), turn over video evidence from traffic stops, and install a court-appointed monitor to oversee compliance. Arpaio did none of this; in fact, he destroyed video evidence and continued his sweeps. Having run out of patience, last month Judge Snow, a George W. Bush appointee, ordered Arpaio and several key deputies to appear at this week's four-day contempt hearing.

Immediately after the judge announced the hearing, Sheriff Arpaio tried to buy his way out of the mess—admitting his guilt and promising to donate $100,000 to a civil rights organization if the judge would cancel the contempt hearing. Judge Snow said no and the proceedings began yesterday; he will decide if Arpaio and four key deputies are guilty of civil contempt or perhaps whether the case should move to a criminal phase.    

The hearing's first day was explosive, and not in a good way for the sheriff. First, his lead attorney resigned, stating a conflict of interest since he also works for Maricopa County.

Tom Liddy, one of Arpaio's attorneys, abruptly quit, citing a conflict of interest and saying he was "filing an application to withdraw from the case."
Another long-time Arpaio attorney, Tim Casey, had jumped ship back in November, leaving only one of the original three-person legal team. The worst turn for Sheriff Arpaio, however, was the testimony of two former deputies, who essentially said the sheriff willfully ignored Judge Snow's orders. "Willful" is key here, since it would lead to a criminal trial.
Sgt. Brett Palmer testified Arpaio's immigration tactics were driven by public relations and media attention, and never complied with court orders to stop Arpaio's highly publicized immigration roundups.
ACLU attorney Cecilia Wang said the sheriff ordered Palmer to detain immigrants, even though there was no cause, so he could "come and do a press conference." What a surprise, Sheriff Arpaio seeks the cameras! Another former deputy corroborated Palmer's testimony.
Another of the sheriff's top brass, retired Executive Chief Brian Sands, testified he made several suggestions as to how the sheriff's office should comply with the court orders, all of which he said the sheriff ignored.
According to the Arizona Republic, the two "statements were the strongest support yet for claims that Arpaio's failure to abide by Snow's orders were deliberate." And that was Day One—better than any soap on TV. It looks like Sheriff Arpaio will take the stand today or tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Well, the hearing took a strange turn today. On the stand Wednesday and Thursday, Sheriff Arpaio did pretty much what everyone expected: admitted his guilt, apologized for defying Judge Murray Snow's orders, and blamed underlings for his conduct. But then, toward the end of his testimony, the sheriff said this:

Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio dropped a bombshell in court Thursday when he said his former lawyer had hired a private investigator to look into the wife of the federal judge presiding over a contempt of court case against the sheriff.
We've always known Joe Arpaio is a vindictive official—often investigating, indicting or otherwise harassing politicians, activists and others who object to his police state tactics. Now this! The judge's wife no less. Pass the popcorn.
Reposted from Daily Kos Elections by Denise Oliver Velez
Assemblywoman Lucy Flores speaking at campaign rally, September 2012.
Democratic House candidate Lucy Flores
On Wednesday, former Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, who was the Democrats' 2014 nominee for lieutenant governor, kicked off a bid against freshman Republican Rep. Cresent Hardy. So far, Flores only faces state Sen. Ruben Kihuen in the primary, though several other metro Las Vegas Democrats are eyeing the seat. Hardy lucked into a blue seat Obama won by 10 points, and he's not going to have an easy time holding on next year with presidential turnout likely to boost Democratic fortunes.

Flores badly lost last year's lieutenant governor race by a 59-34 margin, though it might be unfair to blame her for the wide defeat. Democratic turnout was terrible thanks not just to the GOP wave but because Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval was left virtually unopposed at the top of the ticket, leading to a landslide win for him and surprising victories for his party further down the ballot. (These same circumstances contributed to Hardy's unexpected win over Rep. Steven Horsford.)

Flores also has an interesting life story: She grew up poor, joined a gang as a teenager, and even served time in a juvenile detention center, but she later turned her life around in dramatic fashion. Even though both Kihuen and Flores are well-liked by retiring Sen. Harry Reid, the Silver State's number-one political power-broker, the primary might very well get crowded, and Flores's background could help her stand out from the pack.

Reposted from Laura Clawson by Denise Oliver Velez
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker listens to his introduction from the side of the stage at the Freedom Summit in Des Moines, Iowa, January 24, 2015.  REUTERS/Jim Young  (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR4MRCP
Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI)
First, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker abandoned his previous support of a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and got with the Republican deportation program, conveniently timed to the rise of his presidential ambitions. Now, he's moved on to a broader anti-immigration stance, telling Glenn Beck:
"In terms of legal immigration, how we need to approach that going forward is saying, we will make adjustments. The next president and the next congress need to make decisions about a legal immigration system that's based on, first and foremost, on protecting American workers and American wages, because the more I've talked to folks -- I've talked to Senator Sessions and others out there, but it is a fundamentally lost issue by many in elected positions today—is what is this doing for American workers looking for jobs, what is this doing to wages, and we need to have that be at the forefront of our discussion going forward."
The guy who made his name busting unions and says the minimum wage "doesn't serve a purpose" wants to cut back legal immigration because of his deep concern for American workers? Can I get a long, drawn-out chorus of "bullshit"? This is not Scott Walker announcing he's going to stand up to companies that want to bring in cheap labor on work visas they control. This is Scott Walker racing to the right to ensure that his former stance in favor of immigration reform isn't held against him. Liz Mair, formerly (and briefly) a Walker staffer, writes to Mother Jones that:
Yesterday, it was reported that Scott Walker has now adopted the immigration position of Sen. Jeff Sessions and has been taking instruction from Sessions on the issue of immigration. Notably, Sessions wants to further restrict legal immigration including high-skilled immigration, a position that is at odds with the traditional GOP anti-amnesty stance taken by virtually all presidential candidates, and which also puts him at odds with conservative policy experts and economists…this new positioning seems to represent a full 180 degree turn from where Walker has been on immigration historically, which is to say in the very pro-immigration and even pro-comprehensive reform camp…
No kidding. It's almost like you can't trust what this guy says. All you can do is pay attention to how he's trying to position himself for the next election.
Reposted from JoanMar by 2thanks

This week, we thought we'd use this forum to turn the spotlight on Daily Kos's campaign for the Medicaid Expansion Program: Medicaid expansion is a matter of life and death.

We are all aware of the fabulous job being done by Joan McCarter, but how many knew of this campaign for the Medicaid Expansion Program?

Our Message to Republican politicians in 22 states

Blocking Medicaid expansion may score you political points with the Tea Party, but it’s hurting real people in your state. It’s time to stop blocking Medicaid and help provide quality and affordable healthcare to your constituents.

Have you signed this petition?

If you haven't, will you please take a minute to do so now?


As the Governors Squirm: Rick Scott in the spotlight

Scott appearing human:

While the federal government is committed to paying 100 percent of the cost of new people in Medicaid, I cannot, in good conscience, deny the uninsured access to care.
My bold. That sounded like someone with a heart, didn't it? Someone who really cared about Floridians. That attack of conscience didn't last very long.
TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) —In a flip flop from Rick Scott, the governor now says he is opposed to the state expanding Medicaid.

In a statement Monday, Scott expressed concern that the federal government might not make good on their promise to fund Medicaid for an additional 800,000 Floridians.

800,000 Floridians that could have access to quality healthcare are being denied because of their dishonorable governor. 1158-2221 will die this year because of a heartless man who has no business being anywhere near the seat of power. This is unconscionable.

This from AP:

The federal government has offered to pay the entire Medicaid expansion bill for the first few years and then phase down its funding to 95 percent, but Scott and House Republicans are concerned officials won't make good on that promise.

Office of Governor Rick Scott
State of Florida
The Capitol
400 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001

(850) 717-9337

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Reposted from Meteor Blades by Denise Oliver Velez
President George H.W. Bush shakes hands in 1990 with a product of U.S. Latin American policy, Augusto Pinochet, the one-time fascist dictator of Chile who continued to wield influence even as the nation moved toward democracy.
President George H.W. Bush shakes hands in 1990 with a product of U.S. Latin American policy,
Augusto Pinochet, the one-time fascist dictator of Chile who continued to wield massive influence
even as the nation moved toward democracy.
President Obama's decision to take Cuba off the "state sponsors of terrorism" list is a welcome if belated move, something that should have happened long before he became president. It's another step on the way to normalizing relations, a change that will soon mean an exchange of embassies between the two nations. Despite his attempt to make himself the voice of youth in his quest for the presidency, in his opposition to Obama's move, Cuban-American Marco Rubio speaks not for his own generation but rather the hoary policies of the past.

Cuba was placed on the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism in 1982. Quite ironic given U.S. policy in Latin America at the time. Washington, in fact, should have included the U.S at the top of its own list of state sponsors of terror.

Said Geoff Thale, the Director of Programs at the Washington Office on Latin America:

“Taking Cuba off the list of terrorist states is a sensible, and long overdue step. Whatever U.S. and Cuban differences, the Cuban government has not been a supporter of terrorism. Taking Cuba off the list will remove an unnecessary irritant in the relationship, and perhaps allow us to discuss the real differences we do have in a more serious way. [...]

“This decision aligns U.S. policies with the realities of today, and it communicates a new approach to the whole region. This announcement paves the way for additional changes in the process of normalizing relations with Cuba.”

The section on Cuba in the State Department's 2013 report on terrorism is quite short. Among its few paragraphs are the key words: "There was no indication that the Cuban government provided weapons or paramilitary training to terrorist groups."

Follow me below the fold for more analysis.

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Reposted from joedemocrat by Denise Oliver Velez

I'm tired of the war on the poor. I'm tired of running into people, including Democrats, who support the war on the poor. This is not a rebuttal to any Daily Kos diary. This is a rebuttal to what I've run into in real life.

In Missouri, Republicans have proposed a new law to prohibit SNAP program recipients from buying "junk food" and expensive food such as steak and seafood.  

This bill is not aimed at helping food stamp recipients eat healthier, low cost meals. This is a Republican ruse to cut the program. The Republican Party doesn't have any interest in the food stamp program except to cut it. The linked article from Politicus USA points this out:

Furthermore, the rationale for banning specific types of food is based more in right-wing mythology about the poor people eating lavishly off of SNAP (more commonly referred to by critics as “food stamps”) benefits than it is based on any objective reality.
In real life, someone I thought was a liberal Democrat is all in favor of this law. She has seen "first hand" the kind of junk food SNAP recipients buy. I didn't comment because I wouldn't have been nice. The people who did made neutral comments such as "there are two sides of the food stamp debate" and "cooking is a skill."
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Reposted from History for Kossacks by Denise Oliver Velez

Forty-two years before the English established their colony at Jamestown, Virginia, forty-three years before the Spanish settlement at Sante Fe, New Mexico, and fifty-five years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts, a group of Spanish settlers established a colony at St Augustine, on the east coast of the Florida peninsula. Today, at 450 years old, "St Augie" is the oldest existing city in the United States

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Reposted from JoanMar by 2thanks

    The Support the Dream Defenders group saw the cruelty of Red State governors and legislatures refusing to expand Medicaid. Thousands of people are needlessly in pain, filing for bankruptcy, and dying. Republicans have no sound moral or financial reason for blocking Medicaid expansion.

Note: This is a community diary with contributions from many members of the Support the Dream Defenders group.

     We decided to turn the klieg lights on the governors and legislators - the culprits -  by sending Freedom of Information Act requests to each state. Our purpose is to create a national story that is pre-packaged and ready to air by Rachel Maddow, Melissa Harris-Perry, or Al Jazeera America.

     Most of the FOIA requests that we sent out went to the Republican governor of that specific state. In states with a Democratic governor, we sent the document requests to the state legislator who joyously boasted about blocking Medicaid Expansion to the media.

     Our FOIA requests were simple. We requested the following documents:

1.  All documents (i.e. evidence) that show what you, the Governor, have done to find out how many people you are killing because you Refuse to Expand Medicaid.

2.  All documents that show what you, the Governor, have done to find out how many people you are bankrupting because you Refuse to Expand Medicaid.

3.  A summary document showing how many people without health insurance have been to a hospital or clinic in your state over the last 12 months.

     As you can see from the responses screengrabbed below, not a single one of these Governors cares enough to even try to find out how many people they are killing and/or bankrupting in their state. (To read these letters, it may help you to open each image in a new Tab and then zoom in on the text.)

Maine: Response from the Maine governor in the form of a letter stating that his office is doing nothing to find out how many people he is killing and bankrupting because of his refusal to Expand Medicaid:


Tennessee: Response from the Tennessee governor in the form of a letter stating that his office is doing nothing to find out how many people he is killing and bankrupting because of his refusal to Expand Medicaid:


Georgia: Response from the Georgia Governor in the form of a letter stating that his office is doing nothing to find out how many people he is killing and bankrupting because of his refusal to Expand Medicaid:


South Carolina: Response from the South Carolina Governor in the form of a letter stating that her office is doing nothing to find out how many people she is killing and bankrupting because of her refusal to Expand Medicaid:


Wisconsin: Response from Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in the form of a letter stating that his office is doing nothing to find out how many people he is killing and bankrupting because of his refusal to Expand Medicaid:


Missouri: Response from the Missouri senate in the form of a letter stating that they are doing nothing to find out how many people they are killing and bankrupting because of their refusal to Expand Medicaid


Wyoming: And here's the outlier so far, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead's legal counsel apparently advised him to deny that the Office of the Governor of Wyoming is where you are to find records involving the Office of the Governor of Wyoming. In other words, the Office of the Governor of Wyoming does not have any records of the Office of the Governor of Wyoming. [Eye-roll.] We may have to sue the Governor of Wyoming!


     Here are copies of all the return receipts for the FOIA requests that we have sent thus far:


     As these responses continue to roll in, we will keep the daily kos community posted to what progress is being made. In the interim, it is time for some good news about Health Care!


     On March 25, President Barack Obama explained to the nation, in remarks intended to celebrate the fifth anniversary of ObamaCare, how this law is saving lives. That's not something we didn't already know. Only a Republican would suggest that health care has little or nothing to do with health.

     What stood out from his remarks was his claim that 50,000 "preventable deaths" have not happened since enactment of the law. ObamaCare is working, and it is saving lives.  

     Of course, since the number sounded so reasonable given the millions who now have health care for the first time and the prevalence of high blood pressures, heart diseases, diabetes and cancers in the population, it could not possibly be true!

     "That doesn't sound at all like the Death Panels we were told to look for," said every Republican who heard about the President's speech. Well, Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post did a fact check of that number and ended up giving the claim a ...


     The "Geppetto Checkmark," of course, is exactly the opposite of a rating of "Pinocchio." About as truthful as you get.

     Now, think about the number of people needlessly dying every year because Republican Governors and state legislatures refuse to Expand Medicaid. If we can fight back and force Republican governors to Expand Medicaid, we would see another eight million people getting health care, and save another 17,000 lives annually. And that, my friends, is a fight worth having.

h/t to nightcat for the excellent diary linked above and here.

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