Political Correction - Blog http://mediamattersaction.org This link is for use by RSS-enabled software to retrieve the latest blog posts from Political Correction en-US Copyright 2014, Media Matters Action Network NC Sen. Goolsby Identifies "Illegals" By Their Inability To Speak English http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201208230002 <p>Two weeks ago, the anti-immigrant organization IIImpact held a two day <a href="http://iiimpact.com/?p=5">conference</a> in Wilmington, North Carolina to discuss the presence of undocumented immigrants in the United States and what immigration policies North Carolina politicians should pursue. The conference hosted many anti-immigrant voices, including Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC) President William Gheen and Sheriff Sam Page of Rockingham County, North Carolina as well as both North Carolina State and Federal legislators. One of those politicians in attendance was Republican State Senator Thom Goolsby. During his session with ALIPAC's Gheen and Sheriff Page, Goolsby &mdash; who is up for <a href="http://watchdogs.blogs.starnewsonline.com/16658/sen-thom-goolsby-plans-to-run-for-re-election-to-state-senate/">re-election</a> this year &mdash; attacked the practice of hiring court interpreters for undocumented immigrants who are involved in court proceedings and claimed we know who the non-citizens are "because they can't speak English."</p> <p>Watch:</p> <p><object width="320" height="260" data="http://cloudfront.politicalcorrection.org/static/flash/pl52.swf" type="application/x-shockwave-flash"><param name="flashvars" value="config=http://politicalcorrection.org/embed/cfg2?f=/static/clips/2012/08/23/26118/iiimpact-22082012-sengoolsbyspeakenglish.flv" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="allownetworking" value="all" /><param name="src" value="http://cloudfront.politicalcorrection.org/static/flash/pl52.swf" /><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /></object></p> <blockquote> <p><strong>GOOLSBY</strong>: Well Curtis, I go into court every day and we have all our court documents now printed in Spanish. I mean, explain that to me. I mean, as we talked about earlier when I did my session, I mean, to get a &mdash; to be a U.S. citizen, as Jude was telling us earlier, her husband from Brazil, he had to take a test in English and give answers in English. You have to speak English in order to become a citizen of this country. We have court documents every day, we have court interpreters that you spend hundred &mdash; millions of dollars a year to hire, for illegals to come into court, to plead guilty, to be found guilty to maybe be put in jail or not.&nbsp; And that's it, I<strong> mean they're done, they touched the court system, we know they're illegal because they can't speak English.</strong> And they go to jail, or they don't, or they get put on probation, and they're done. As the Sheriff says, he arrests them; he contacts ICE, Sheriff, what happens most of the time? ICE does nothing. They're released on bond or whatever else and they never get touched again until they break the law again, then it happens over again, and then that's it, and they stay here, and they stay here and they stay here. Period. Until they do something really bad and then they commit a Federal crime and then maybe they'll &mdash; maybe they'll take them out of the country.</p> </blockquote> <p>Goolsby's comments reveal his lack of understanding for the necessity of offering alternative language services. Over <a href="http://www.census.gov/hhes/socdemo/language/data/acs/ACS-12.pdf">55 million</a> people in the United States currently speak a language other than English at home. These also aren't <a href="http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201201310003">just Spanish speakers</a>, as the percentages of those speaking French, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean has also grown since the 1980's as new immigrants enter the United States. Despite Goolsby's contentions, many of these non-native English speakers are legal residents and citizens of the United States.</p> <p>The inability of some to understand English prompted former President Bill Clinton to issue an <a href="http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201107130002">executive order</a> which improved the ability for non-English speakers to obtain access to federal programs. This ensured that those who could not speak English were able to receive equal access to Federal benefits no matter their national origin.</p> Salvatore Colleluori http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201208230002 Thu, 23 Aug 2012 11:39:26 EDT ALEC-Inspired Education Bill Helps Fund Loch Ness Monster Truthers In Louisiana http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201206260002 <p><img src=&#x22;http://politicalcorrection.org/static/images/bobbyjindal.jpg" border="0" height="166" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-right: 0pt; margin-bottom: 12px; margin-left: 12px; float: right; border: 1px solid black;" /></p> <p>It's not a myth &mdash; the Loch Ness Monster has turned up in, of all places, Louisiana. According to the&nbsp;<em>New York Daily News</em>, Louisiana's Eternity Christian Academy is using a textbook that asserts the monster is not only real, but that its existence disproves evolution. What's more, the school is eligible for taxpayer funded vouchers, thanks to a bill signed by Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal that strongly resembles model legislation drafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).</p> <p>From the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/loch-ness-monster-real-dinosaur-biology-books-taught-louisiana-school-article-1.1102340?print" target="_blank">NYDN</a>&nbsp;(emphasis added):</p> <blockquote> <p>The Scottish legend of the Loch Ness Monster is suggested as truth in a biology book that a private Christian school in Louisiana is using in its curriculum.</p> <p>But that's only part of the outrage from critics: Students who are eligible for taxpayer-funded vouchers will be allowed to attend Eternity Christian Academy in Westlake for the 2012-13 school year, according to reports.</p> <p><strong>The startling claim about Nessie's authenticity is made to bolster creationism within the textbook, the Scotsman newspaper reported Monday. The Loch Ness Monster is described as a type of dinosaur, and if dinosaurs and man co-exist, then presumably there would be holes in the scientific argument for evolution</strong>.</p> <p>[...]</p> <p>Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican, advocated for the voucher plan, telling Reuters, "We are letting parents decide what's best for their children, not government."</p> </blockquote> <p>According to&nbsp;Gannett Louisiana, the <a href="http://www.theadvertiser.com/article/20120603/NEWS01/206030342/ALEC-school-reform-La-plan-mirrors-think-tank-s-blueprint">voucher plan</a> was part of a Louisiana bill that allegedly mirrored model legislation written by ALEC, an influential conservative group that&nbsp;promotes model legislation favorable to its corporate funders through statehouses across the country. From Gannett (emphasis added):</p> <blockquote> <p>The sweeping changes aimed at improving Louisiana's failing public schools are new to the state, but they are not new.</p> <p>The changes signed into law in April &mdash; on teacher effectiveness, tenure and accountability; on charter schools, vouchers and other school-choice tactics; and on systemic changes to early childhood learning &mdash; all reflect the strategic thinking of one of the nation's most active conservative public-policy organizations.</p> <p><strong>Reading Gov. Bobby Jindal's education legislation &mdash; passed by the state Legislature in House Bills 974 and 976 and Senate Bill 581 &mdash; is akin to reading model bills drafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council</strong>.</p> <p>[...]</p> <p>Whether ALEC, or any other such tax-exempt entity, does "too much lobbying" is a matter of annual scrutiny by the IRS.</p> <p>Either way, ALEC has plenty of influence. Some say Jindal likely based his education legislation on models drafted by ALEC, which in August 2011 awarded Jindal the Thomas Jefferson Freedom Award for public service.</p> <p>Kyle Plotkin, a spokesman for the governor, says that was not the case.</p> </blockquote> <p>Earlier this month, Reuters&nbsp;<a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/01/us-education-vouchers-idUSL1E8H10AG20120601" target="_blank">described</a>&nbsp;the education plan as "the nation's boldest experiment in privatizing public education," and noted that the voucher program would cover "the full cost of tuition at more than 120 private schools across Louisiana, including small, Bible-based church schools."</p> <p>While one of those "Bible-based" schools is set to instruct students on the veracity of Loch Ness Monster sightings, another school &mdash; the Islamic School of Greater New Orleans &mdash; was forced to withdraw an application for government-paid vouchers after Louisiana lawmakers expressed concern about taxpayers funding "Islamic teaching." From the&nbsp;<em><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/13/louisiana_n_1593995.html" target="_blank">Huffington Post</a></em>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Stakes escalated last week when, to the frustration of some lawmakers, the Islamic School of Greater New Orleans applied for federal funds under the voucher program. Republican state Rep. Kenneth Havard objected to the Islamic School's request for 38 government-paid student vouchers, saying he opposed any bill that "will fund Islamic teaching," the Associated Press reports.</p> <p>"I won't go back home and explain to my people that I supported this," he said.</p> <p>"It'll be the Church of Scientology next year," Democratic state Rep. Sam Jones told AP.</p> <p>The Islamic School of Greater New Orleans withdrew its request for vouchers before the bill went to vote.</p> </blockquote> Brian Powell http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201206260002 Tue, 26 Jun 2012 14:39:04 EDT Big Oil's Big Money Pays Off As Republicans Tour Nation On Their Behalf http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201205250002 <p><img src=&#x22;http://politicalcorrection.org/static/images/republicanheat.jpg" border="0" height="166" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-right: 0pt; margin-bottom: 12px; margin-left: 12px; float: right; border: 1px solid black;" /></p> <p>Earlier this month, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)&nbsp;<a href="http://kevinmccarthy.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&amp;task=view&amp;id=493&amp;Itemid=94" target="_blank">founded</a>&nbsp;the House Energy Action Team (HEAT), a "committed group of House members" dedicated to "promot[ing] Republican energy policies." Thirty-four members of Congress were recruited to the cause, dedicating their district work period to "promoting energy independence for America." As McCarthy's press office put it, the dedicated members of the HEAT squad would "clearly demonstrate that House Republicans are on the side of the small businesses and families."</p> <p>Judging from their campaign coffers, however, reasonable citizens might question who these members are&nbsp;<em>really</em>&nbsp;fighting for. Members of HEAT have already received nearly $1.3 million in campaign contributions from the <a href="http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/recips.php?ind=E01&amp;cycle=2012&amp;recipdetail=H&amp;mem=Y&amp;sortorder=U">oil and gas industry</a> in the 2012 election cycle&nbsp;<em>alone </em>(according to a <em>Political Correction</em> <a href="http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/contrib.php?cycle=2012&amp;cid=N00031545">records search</a>&nbsp;on OpenSecrets.org of each individual HEAT member, excluding contributions from individuals). The average amount received per member comes in at about $38,232;&nbsp;HEAT leader Rep.&nbsp;McCarthy alone has received over $114,000.</p> <p>Thursday, Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX), a member of HEAT and former oil executive, toured a hydraulic fracturing site and released a&nbsp;<a href="http://blog.chron.com/txpotomac/2012/05/texmessage-flores-calls-for-an-easing-of-burdensome-hydraulic-fracturing-regulations/" target="_blank">statement</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Flores toured the Enervest site as a part of the nationwide House Energy Action Team 2012 American Energy and Jobs Tour. The point of the tours is to "highlight America's domestic energy resources and the need to increase domestic production."</p> <p>"Burdensome Washington bureaucrat regulations and high energy costs are causing a roadblock to economic recovery and job creation," Flores said in a release. "We can clear this roadblock by increase our domestic energy production and decreasing our reliance on unstable Middle East oil. Yet, many folks in Washington view our domestic energy resources as a liability; and they continue to dream up ways to lock-up, restrict, tax, or otherwise regulate these assets away from the American people." [...]</p> <p><strong>"The oil and gas industry is vital to our economy and hydraulic fracturing is an integral tool to increase domestic energy production," Flores said</strong>. "I am working with my colleagues in Congress to ensure that Americans are able to take advantage of one of our great natural resources we have in Texas that provides well-paying jobs, improved tax bases for Texas school districts, and lower energy prices. In [a] nutshell, if we want to have American energy security, we need to develop a smart, stable and transparent regulatory scheme for hydraulic fracturing."</p> </blockquote> <p>According to OpenSecrets.org, the "oil and gas industry" is the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/industries.php?cycle=2012&amp;cid=N00031545&amp;type=I" target="_blank">number one</a>&nbsp;donor to Flores's 2012 campaign. In addition to money from energy industry PACs, he's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.opensecrets.org/indivs/search.php?name=&amp;state=TX&amp;zip=&amp;employ=Plains+Exploration+%26+Production&amp;cand=&amp;c2012=Y&amp;sort=N&amp;capcode=d99wz&amp;submit=Submit+your+Donor+Query" target="_blank">received</a>&nbsp;thousands of dollars this election cycle from James C. Flores, an executive at Plains Exploration and Production (PXP). PXP was in the news in recent weeks after it began&nbsp;<a href="http://wavenewspapers.com/news/local/west_edition/article_388252fc-6e40-11e1-90b8-0019bb30f31a.html" target="_blank">fracking</a>&nbsp;in southern California's Baldwin Hills Oil Field, a move that allegedly broke promises to nearby communities concerned about the safety of the process.</p> <p>HEAT members are <a href="http://www.gop.gov/blog/12/05/24/house-energy-action-team-promotes">currently touring</a> the nation's oil fields and energy companies. They're tweeting up a storm about the need for an "all-of-the-above energy solution," but they ignore green energy, the public health risks of drilling practices like fracking, and the economic realities of expanded domestic drilling (<a href="http://mediamatters.org/research/201204120005#drill" target="_blank">hint</a>: it won't drive down gas prices). And none of them disclose the tens of thousands of dollars they're receiving from oil and gas companies. In other words, it's just a lot of hot air.</p> Brian Powell http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201205250002 Fri, 25 May 2012 14:15:23 EDT Gov. Scott Misses Out On $200 Million For Children's Health Care Funding http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201205040002 <p><img src=&#x22;http://politicalcorrection.org/static/images/rickscottmonth.JPG" border="0" alt="Gov. Rick Scott" width="140" height="166" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-right: 0pt; margin-bottom: 12px; margin-left: 12px; float: right; border: 1px solid black;" /></p> <p>Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) likes to reject <a href="http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201102250013">most things</a> that <a href="http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201111280004">come from</a> the federal government. In the latest rejection of federal funds, his administration has rejected almost $200 million in bonuses that would have gone to health care for children. As Health News Florida <a href="http://www.healthnewsflorida.org/top_story/read/fl_passed_up_200m_for_kids">points out</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Over the past two years, Florida did such a good job of enrolling uninsured children in KidCare that the state could have qualified for as much as $200 million in federal bonuses - money that could have helped get more children into care.</p> <p>But the state did not take the steps required to get the money. A spokesman for the Florida House said it appears the reason was the cost involved in making changes to certain agency rules, but was unable to offer specifics Friday morning.</p> </blockquote> <p>While Scott has made it clear that he won't accept <a href="http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201111280004">the millions of dollars in funding</a> under the Affordable Care Act legislation, this money does not come from ACA but rather from the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA). CHIPRA has already benefited 1.1 million children above expected levels. As the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families <a href="http://theccfblog.org/2012/05/where-would-11-million-kids-be-without-the-chipra-performance-bonus.html">explains</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Data on the bonuses show that in the 23 states that received bonuses in FY 2011, an additional 1.1 million kids were enrolled above expected levels. The most (123,000) can be found in the state of Ohio. While we can't say that the bonuses fully explain this jump in enrollment, it would certainly be fair to say that they get some of the credit for supporting states in reaching these kids.</p> </blockquote> <p>One could only imagine the impact it would have on Florida because as Think Progress <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/05/04/477835/rick-scott-children/">notes</a>, "Currently, 687,300 or 16 percent of children are uninsured in Florida &mdash; six percentage points higher than the national average."</p> Salvatore Colleluori http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201205040002 Fri, 04 May 2012 13:07:31 EDT A Look Back At Two Years Of Arizona's SB 1070 http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201204240003 <p>Tomorrow the United States Supreme Court will hold hearings in <em>Arizona v. United States</em> on their way to deciding the fate of Arizona's controversial immigration enforcement law, SB 1070 (and by extension the fate of the many copycat versions that have passed around the country &mdash; most notably in Alabama and Georgia). Since this legislation's <a href="http://politicalcorrection.org/factcheck/201004200001">introduction and subsequent passage</a>, it has been a point of controversy not just in Arizona, but throughout the country.</p> <p>Defenders of the law claim that SB 1070 is necessary to stop crime in Arizona, but <a href="http://politicalcorrection.org/rd?to=http%3A%2F%2Farticles.latimes.com%2F2010%2Fmay%2F03%2Fnation%2Fla-na-arizona-crime-20100503">crime had been falling across</a> the United States overall, including in Arizona, prior to the law's passage. Even Jan Brewer, Arizona's governor <a href="http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201006140006">admitted</a> that the law "doesn't have anything to do with border security." In fact, despite rampant crime on the Mexican side of the border, in <a href="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37493275/ns/world_news-americas/t/us-mexico-border-isnt-so-dangerous/#.T5aZWqtAZ-U">both 2010</a> when SB 1070 was passed and <a href="http://www.texastribune.org/texas-mexico-border-news/texas-mexico-border/fact-checking-gov-perry-obamas-lie/">again in 2011</a>, border towns were some of the safest cities in America.</p> <p>Proponents of the law also claim that it merely <a href="http://politicalcorrection.org/factcheck/201007140003">mirrors existing</a> federal law and therefore they are helping the federal government do their job. However, as FactCheck.org <a href="http://politicalcorrection.org/rd?to=http%3A%2F%2Fpoliticalcorrection.org%2Frd%3Fto%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Ffactcheck.org%252F2010%252F06%252Farizonas-papers-please-law%252F">pointed out</a>, the law "does more than merely mirror federal law" and actually potentially allows for racial profiling. The laws lead sponsor, the recently recalled Senate Majority Leader Russell Pearce, has compared immigrants to a "<a href="http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201012100003">cow with mad cow disease</a>" and held an immigration policy summit where he <a href="http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201008050009">questioned</a> whether or not President Obama is "illegal." After the law's passage, Pearce claimed <a href="http://politicalcorrection.org/factcheck/201005260003">the immigration system wasn't broken</a> and said that he wanted to send the message that "illegal immigrants" are "<a href="http://politicalcorrection.org/rd?to=http%3A%2F%2Fseattletimes.nwsource.com%2Fhtml%2Fnationworld%2F2011609060_immigration15.html">not welcome in Arizona</a>."</p> <p>Unlike Pearce, whose approval decreased after the law's passage, the law's author, current Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, benefitted from an elevated national profile. Kobach has helped author <a href="http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201007150011">several anti-immigrant</a> laws across the country, most notably the precursors to SB 1070 in Hazelton, PA and Fremont, NE, while racking up $6.6 million in fees. For his work with <a href="http://politicalcorrection.org/factcheck/201007150006">SB 1070 alone</a>, he received $13,000 in fees. Kobach has had a <a href="http://politicalcorrection.org/factcheck/201007150010">history of anti-immigrant rhetoric,</a> and previously worked for the Immigration Reform Law Institute &mdash; the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) a Southern Poverty Law Center-labeled <a href="http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2007/winter/the-teflon-nativists">hate group</a>. GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney even made him an advisor on his campaign until controversy over Kobach's polarizing views on immigration recently forced Romney to attempt to <a href="http://www.politico.com/politico44/2012/04/kobach-is-not-mitt-romneys-immigration-adviser-120792.html">disassociate himself</a> with Kobach.</p> <p>SB 1070 brought national attention to immigration enforcement in Arizona, a conversation that has empowered and showcased two notorious proponents of the bill -- Arizona sheriffs Joe Arpaio and Paul Babeu. Sheriff Arpaio, who is also known for the <a href="http://politicalcorrection.org/factcheck/201101100002">extreme treatment</a> of his prisoners in Maricopa County, is facing a <a href="http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201105040011">corruption scandal</a> and a <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2011/dec/15/nation/la-na-justice-sheriff-20111216">civil rights investigation</a> by the Justice Department. Recently, it was exposed that <a href="http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201112060008">he botched</a> more than 400 sex crime investigations, "including dozens of alleged child molestations."</p> <p>Babeu, who has used his <a href="http://www.sheriffpaul.com/">fame to run</a> for the House of Representatives in Arizona, also has a history of anti-immigrant behavior. In 2010 Babeu appeared on the "<a href="http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201007210002">pro-white</a>" radio show <em>Political Cesspool</em> and <em>The Alex Jones Show, </em>which is hosted by <a href="http://mediamatters.org/blog/201007200066">9-11 truther</a> and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. In 2011, he was the <a href="http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201111180007">keynote speaker</a> at FAIR's "Hold Their Feet To The Fire" conference which seeks to advance reforms "that relieve many of the burdens that mass immigration &mdash; legal and illegal &mdash; imposes on the American people."</p> <p>Given the continued push nationwide to enact similar legislation, Americans should be aware that the implications of this case go far beyond the Arizona state lines.</p> Salvatore Colleluori http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201204240003 Tue, 24 Apr 2012 14:28:55 EDT Rep. West Attacks Rep. Rush For "Immature Gimmickry" On The House Floor http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201203290005 <p>Earlier today on Laura Ingraham's radio show, Rep. Allen West (R-FL) commented on his colleague Rep. Bobby Rush's (D-IL) decision to don a hooded sweatshirt and sunglasses while making a floor speech about the Trayvon Martin shooting. From <a href="http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/219105-rep-allen-west-calls-rep-rushs-hoodie-a-security-risk"><em>The Hill</em></a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>West said the incident might be funny now, but he speculated that at the time, Capitol Police were likely concerned.</p> <p>"Initially, they did not know who it was and they were concerned that someone had just walked off of the street or kind of had broken away from a tour group," West said on conservative Laura Ingraham's radio show.</p> <p>"Look, this is the type of immature gimmickry we see coming from the other side that you know, does not have any place, especially on the House floor and really in the United States," he continued.</p> </blockquote> <p>Clearly, West wasn't concerned with what Rush actually did or the message Rush was trying to convey. As <em>The Hill</em> <a href="http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/219105-rep-allen-west-calls-rep-rushs-hoodie-a-security-risk">pointed out</a>, Rush took off a suit jacket that he wore onto the house floor prior to pulling the hoodie, which was under his jacket, onto his head. (Rush was giving a floor speech condemning the remarks of <em>Fox News' </em>Geraldo Rivera, who claimed&nbsp; that wearing <a href="http://mediamatters.org/blog/201203230002">"the hoodie"</a> played a part in Trayvon's death.) Despite West's criticisms of "the other side," it's Republican Rep. Don Young (AK) who definitely takes the "gimmickry" cake.</p> <p>Last year during a committee hearing, Rep. Young wore a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/28/bobby-rush-don-young-both-wore-head-gear_n_1386410.html">propeller beanie</a> with the Obama campaign logo on it and the words "Obama's energy plan," in an obvious attempt to mock the President's energy strategy.</p> <p>While the two incidents are clearly different (for many reasons), it shows that when it comes to Democrats, Rep. West will attack them for almost anything &mdash; even for protesting a situation that he himself called <a href="http://www.facebook.com/notes/congressman-allen-west/i-have-sat-back-and-allowed-myself-time-to-assess-the-current-episode-revealing-/320362644683436">"an outrage"</a> last week.</p> Salvatore Colleluori http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201203290005 Thu, 29 Mar 2012 17:42:34 EDT Sen. McConnell Appoints Islamophobia Validator To Federal Commission http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201203270007 <p>Five years ago, Zuhdi Jasser was just a physician and self-proclaimed Muslim leader who used&nbsp;<a href="http://politicalcorrection.org/factcheck/201102280011" target="_blank">regular appearances on Glenn Beck's television and radio shows</a>&nbsp;to criticize the&nbsp;<a href="http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201101190008" target="_blank">supposed</a>&nbsp;"Islamist" leanings of leading American Muslim groups. Now, thanks to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, he's the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.uscirf.gov/news-room/press-releases/3710-two-uscirf-commissioners-appointed.html" target="_blank">newest Commissioner</a>&nbsp;on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom:</p> <blockquote> <p>The U.S. Congress has appointed two individuals, Dr. Robert P. George and Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, to serve as Commissioners on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).</p> <p>Comprised of nine commissioners, USCIRF monitors and advocates for religious freedom abroad wherever that right is being abused.&nbsp; USCIRF also offers policy solutions to improve conditions at the critical juncture of foreign policy, national security, and international religious freedom standards. On March 20, the Commission issued its 2012 annual report which recommended to the Secretary of State that the Obama administration designate 16 nations as countries of particular concern under the International Religious Freedom Act.</p> <p>Dr. George was appointed by The Speaker of the House John Boehner. Dr. Jasser was appointed by the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.&nbsp;</p> </blockquote> <p>Jasser gained prominence thanks to Rep. Peter King (R-NY), the House Homeland Security Committee chairman who, in spite of Jasser's lack of&nbsp;<a href="http://politicalcorrection.org/factcheck/201103030007" target="_blank">both experience in the law enforcement field and followers in the Muslim community</a>, selected him as a witness for the first of the committee's hearings on&nbsp;"the extent of radicalization in the American Muslim community and that community's response."</p> <p>A year ago&nbsp;<a href="http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201103030012" target="_blank">we wrote</a>&nbsp;of Jasser:</p> <blockquote> <p>With no relevant&nbsp;<a href="http://aifdemocracy.org/about/members.php" target="_blank"><strong>credentials</strong></a>&nbsp;to speak of, Jasser's authority in conservative circles as an "expert on radical Islam" seems to be derived from his willingness to frequently attack the Obama administration (whose terrorism advisor Jasser says "deserves honorary membership in the Muslim Brotherhood") and Muslim-American civil rights groups ("front organizations" for the Muslim Brotherhood, according to Jasser).</p> <p>[...]</p> <p>Given these facts, it should be no surprise that Fox News' Glenn Beck has&nbsp;<a href="http://politicalcorrection.org/embed/clips/2011/02/28/14313/prn-beck-02142011-jasserislamicfronts" target="_blank"><strong>dubbed him</strong></a>&nbsp;the "one Muslim that we were all searching for after 9-11" and said he is "a voice that I trust." Jasser has appeared on Beck's show to provide "expert" validation of Beck's zany apocalyptic&nbsp;<a href="http://mediamatters.org/research/201102060009" target="_blank"><strong>conspiracies</strong></a>&nbsp;in the wake of recent unrest in the Middle East.</p> </blockquote> <p>The Center for American Progress has also&nbsp;<a href="http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2011/08/pdf/islamophobia.pdf" target="_blank">highlighted</a>&nbsp;Jasser's background and work, describing him as a "leading light of the Islamophobia network" and "the validator for Islamophobic propaganda."</p> <p>In spite of those deficiencies, McConnell apparently thinks Jasser is the best qualified individual to serve on a commission whose mandate is the spread of religious liberty.</p> Matt Gertz http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201203270007 Tue, 27 Mar 2012 17:04:21 EDT Recent Florida Case Undermines Stand Your Ground Apologists http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201203270005 <p>Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law has become the subject of increasing scrutiny after the Sanford&nbsp;police cited&nbsp;<a href="http://www.sanfordfl.gov/investigation/docs/Zimmerman_Martin_shooting.pdf" target="_blank">the statute</a>&nbsp;in their explanation of why they&nbsp;did&nbsp;not arrest George Zimmerman following his&nbsp;fatal&nbsp;shooting of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman's lawyer has also&nbsp;<a href="http://abcnews.go.com/US/trayvon-martin-shooter-teenager-gun/story?id=16000239#.T3HJ7DFAYbQ" target="_blank">indicated</a>&nbsp;that "Stand Your Ground" would likely be part of his defense against potential charges.</p> <p>State legislators that backed the bill and a major gun lobby ally have begun claiming that Zimmerman's actions aren't covered by "Stand Your Ground." A central part of that claim is that "Stand Your Ground" doesn't cover Zimmerman because he pursued Martin. Writing at Foxnews.com,&nbsp;state&nbsp;Rep. Dennis Baxley, the&nbsp;author of Florida's "Stand Your Ground" legislation,&nbsp;<strong><a href="http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/03/21/trayvon-martins-alleged-attacker-not-covered-under-law-wrote/" target="_blank">argued</a></strong>:</p> <div class="im"> <blockquote> <p>There is nothing in the castle doctrine as found in Florida statutes that authenticates or provides for the opportunity to pursue and confront individuals, it simply protects those who would be potential victims by allowing for force to be used in self-defense.</p> </blockquote> </div> <p>Former Florida Sen. Durell Peaden&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/Stand-Your-Ground-Authors-Say-Law-Doesnt-Apply-To-Trayvon-Martin-Shooter-143684626.html" target="_blank">echoed</a>&nbsp;the sentiment saying,&nbsp;"There's nothing in the Florida law that allows him to follow someone with a d*** gun."&nbsp;On&nbsp;<em>Hardball With Chris Matthews</em>,&nbsp;the Second Amendment Foundation's Alan Gottlieb&nbsp;<strong><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snd0pnEgm5c&amp;feature=player_embedded" target="_blank">suggested</a></strong>&nbsp;"Stand Your Ground" didn't apply,&nbsp;saying Zimmerman "was the pursuer" and that "when you're pursuing you're not standing your ground."</p> <p>Despite their protestations,&nbsp;a&nbsp;recent Florida case shows that Zimmerman's&nbsp;self-defense claim&nbsp;isn't the first time someone has pursued a person they later killed and then cited "Stand Your Ground"&nbsp;to avoid prosecution.</p> <p>According to a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/03/21/2706789/miami-judge-stabbing-in-the-back.html" target="_blank">report</a>&nbsp;in the&nbsp;<em>Miami Herald</em>,&nbsp;Greyston Garcia pursued a car burglar attempting to steal his car's radio more than a block before stabbing him to death, an event captured by a video recording. Last Wednesday the judge threw out murder charges against Garcia citing Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law. Prosecutors unsuccessfully argued that Garcia "no longer needed to use deadly force to protect his home or unoccupied vehicle. "</p><p><a href="http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201203270005">More...</a></p> Chris Brown http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201203270005 Tue, 27 Mar 2012 15:58:58 EDT After Two Years, Florida Republicans Are Still Ignoring The Realities Of Health Care Reform http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201203270001 <p><img src=&#x22;http://politicalcorrection.org/static/images/rickscottglare.JPG" border="0" alt="Gov. Rick Scott" width="130" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-right: 0pt; margin-bottom: 12px; margin-left: 12px; float: right; border: 1px solid black;" /></p> <p>This week, the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing arguments challenging President Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Almost immediately upon passage, Florida (via Attorney General Bill McCollum) <a href="http://myfloridalegal.com/webfiles.nsf/WF/MRAY-83TKWB/$file/HealthCareReformLawsuit.pdf" target="_blank">spearheaded</a>&nbsp;a lawsuit against the act (subsequently joined by several other states), which has now reached the nation's highest court. At the same time Florida was filing its paperwork against the ACA, the Republican leadership in Florida began its case in the court of public opinion by fear-mongering about the law with misrepresentations, omissions and hyperbolic vitriol<strong>.</strong></p> <p>Some of the most ludicrous attacks have come from Florida Gov. Rick Scott<strong>,</strong> who has been in full denial mode. Initially, he publicly&nbsp;<a href="http://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2011/dec/01/rick-scott/gov-rick-scott-says-obamacare-not-law-land/" target="_blank">denied</a>&nbsp;that the ACA was the "law of the land," despite having been passed by Congress and signed by the president. Lately, he's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wtsp.com/news/article/247143/19/Florida-shuns-funds-tied-to-health-care-reform" target="_blank">chosen to deny</a>&nbsp;federal aid to the people of Florida. Scott has managed to shun hundreds of millions of dollars in PPACA grants that would, among other things, bump up Medicaid payments to primary care physicians and directly benefit Floridians right now.</p> <p>Other Florida Republicans have followed Scott's lead. Some examples include Sen. Marco Rubio, who&nbsp;<a href="http://blog.heritage.org/2012/03/22/exclusive-interview-sen-marco-rubio-talks-cuba-budget-and-obamacare/" target="_blank">claimed</a>&nbsp;"Obamacare" has been "detrimental to our economy;" Longtime Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, who&nbsp;<a href="http://blog.heritage.org/2012/03/22/exclusive-interview-sen-marco-rubio-talks-cuba-budget-and-obamacare/" target="_blank">alleged</a>&nbsp;the ACA "raids half a trillion dollars from Medicare, jeopardizing seniors' access to the care they need and deserve;" Rep. Gus Bilirakis, who&nbsp;<a href="http://bilirakis.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&amp;task=view&amp;id=583&amp;Itemid=115" target="_blank">characterized</a>&nbsp;the law as a "job-killing takeover of our healthcare system," and Tea Party darling Rep. Allen West<strong>,</strong> who has&nbsp;<a href="http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/mar/23/why-obamacare-is-bad-for-americas-health/" target="_blank">declared</a>&nbsp;the law an "unconstitutional, anti-constitutional and, most certainly, an awful piece of American policy" that is "destined to fail."</p> <p>Unfortunately for the GOP cause, the harsh rhetoric of the Florida Republicans doesn't match the reality on the ground in their state. Even though the ACA's full rollout is still some years down the road, many of its provisions have already had a big impact on Florida citizens. The U.S. Department of Health &amp; Human Services (HHS) has&nbsp;<a href="http://www.healthcare.gov/law/resources/fl.html" target="_blank">published</a>&nbsp;some noteworthy statistics that the GOP in the sunshine state failed to mention. Here are a few:</p> <div class="im"> <ul> <li><strong>The ACA Is Saving Florida Seniors Hundreds Of Dollars In Prescription Drug Costs</strong>. From HHS:</li> </ul> <blockquote> <p>Thanks to the new health care law, 256,600 people with Medicare in Florida received a $250 rebate to help cover the cost of their prescription drugs when they hit the donut hole in 2010.&nbsp;<strong>In 2011, 238,362 people with Medicare received a 50 percent discount on their covered brand</strong>-<strong>name prescription drugs when they hit the donut hole</strong>. This discount resulted in an average savings of $596 per person, and a total savings of $141,948,339 in Florida. By 2020, the law will close the donut hole. [Healthcare.gov, accessed&nbsp;<a href="http://www.healthcare.gov/law/resources/fl.html" target="_blank">3/22/12</a>, emphasis added]</p> </blockquote> <ul> <li><strong>Over 157,000 Young Floridians Have Gained Coverage As A Result Of The ACA.&nbsp;</strong>From HHS:</li> </ul> </div> <blockquote> <p>Health plans are now required to allow parents to keep their children under age 26 without job-based coverage on their family's coverage, and, thanks to this provision, 2.5 million young people have gained coverage nationwide. <strong>As of June 2011, 157,185 young adults in Florida gained insurance coverage as a result of the new health care law</strong>. [Healthcare.gov, accessed <a href="http://www.healthcare.gov/law/resources/fl.html">3/22/12</a>, emphasis added]</p> </blockquote> <ul> <li><strong>Cancer Patients And Others With Chronic Diseases Are No Longer Burdened By Lifetime Caps On Coverage</strong>. From HHS:</li> </ul> <blockquote> <p>The law bans insurance companies from imposing lifetime dollar limits on health benefits - freeing cancer patients and individuals suffering from other chronic diseases from having to worry about going without treatment because of their lifetime limits. Already, 5,587,000 residents, including 2,170,000 women and 1,411,000 children, are free from worrying about lifetime limits on coverage. The law also restricts the use of annual limits and bans them completely in 2014. [Healthcare.gov, accessed&nbsp;<a href="http://www.healthcare.gov/law/resources/fl.html" target="_blank">3/22/12</a>]</p> </blockquote> <ul> <li><strong>Thousands Of Floridians With Pre-Existing Conditions Now Have Options For Health Insurance Coverage</strong>. From HHS:</li> </ul> <blockquote> <p>As of the end of 2011, 3,736 previously uninsured residents of Florida who were locked out of the coverage system because of a pre-existing condition are now insured through a new Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan that was created under the new health reform law. [Healthcare.gov, accessed&nbsp;<a href="http://www.healthcare.gov/law/resources/fl.html" target="_blank">3/22/12</a>]</p> </blockquote> Brian Powell http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201203270001 Tue, 27 Mar 2012 09:46:40 EDT Tucson Mass Shooting Survivors Call For Action On Fixing Gun Check Loopholes http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201203130002 <p>This morning a group of 15 survivors of last year's attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ)&nbsp; published an <a href="http://azstarnet.com/news/opinion/obama-must-get-moving-americans-want-overdue-reforms-to-gun/article_de9b9d8f-7e25-5e66-b2d3-4244a335a490.html#ixzz1p0C8eioz" target="_blank">op-ed</a> in the <em>Arizona Daily Star</em> calling on President Obama to "get moving" on the effort to close loopholes in the background check system for gun purchases. The letter marks the one year anniversary President Obama's own op-ed in the<em> Daily Star</em> encouraging people to "<a href="http://azstarnet.com/news/opinion/mailbag/president-obama-we-must-seek-agreement-on-gun-reforms/article_011e7118-8951-5206-a878-39bfbc9dc89d.html" target="_blank">seek agreement on gun reforms.</a>"<br /> <br /> <a href="http://www.bradycenter.org/xshare/pdf/reports/no-check-no-gun-report.pdf#page=5">Currently millions of guns are purchased each year without background checks</a> because the private seller loophole allows people to sell firearms without them if they are not federally licensed gun dealers. It's been shown that sellers at <a href="http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201101310006" target="_blank">gun shows</a> and <a href="http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201202090003" target="_blank">online</a> will sell guns even to people that say they probably couldn't pass a background check. Additionally the background check system <a href="http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2041448,00.html" target="_blank">is missing millions of records</a> of severely mental ill people that are legally prohibited from purchasing guns. <br /> <br /> President Obama discussed reforming the background check system in his <a href="http://azstarnet.com/news/opinion/mailbag/president-obama-we-must-seek-agreement-on-gun-reforms/article_011e7118-8951-5206-a878-39bfbc9dc89d.html" target="_blank">editorial</a>, but as today's <a href="http://azstarnet.com/news/opinion/obama-must-get-moving-americans-want-overdue-reforms-to-gun/article_de9b9d8f-7e25-5e66-b2d3-4244a335a490.html#ixzz1p0C8eioz" target="_blank">letter</a> notes little progress has been made towards reforms: </p> <blockquote> <p>We are resolved to work together to fix our background check system - to protect others from the terrible violence that our community has endured.</p> <p>Last November, we traveled to Washington, D.C., to advocate for the Fix Gun Checks Act, legislation that would make sure that the records of prohibited gun purchasers are in the gun background-check system, and require a background check for every gun sale. (See <a href="http://www.fixgunchecks.org/" target="_blank">www.fixgunchecks.org</a> online.)</p> <p>We personally met with some of our elected representatives about specific steps to fix the system and help prevent senseless shootings.</p> <p>We believed we had the president as an ally in that effort. We were encouraged last March when he said, "We should provide an instant, accurate, comprehensive and consistent system for background checks to sellers who want to do the right thing, and make sure that criminals can't escape it."</p> <p>Some might argue that, because it's an election year, now is not the time to act. And to those people we say: This is a common-sense proposal that the American people overwhelmingly support.</p> </blockquote> <p>As noted in the letter, <a href="http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/Bloompoll.pdf" target="_blank">reforming the background check system for purchasing guns is a broadly popular idea. </a></p> Chris Brown http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201203130002 Tue, 13 Mar 2012 16:30:09 EDT Senator Grassley's "Lawsuit Abuse" Bill:&nbsp; Bad Diagnosis, Worse Medicine http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201203060002 <p>In a recent <em>Des Moines Register</em> <a href="http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20120302/OPINION01/303020043/Iowa-View-Put-brakes-on-frivolous-lawsuits">op-ed</a>, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) misdiagnoses a principal cause of the nation's economic struggles ("frivolous lawsuits") and offers a supposed cure, the <a href="http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d112:s.533:">Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act</a> (LARA), which could have side effects worse than any theoretical good it might do. The threat of lawsuits is not holding back the economy, as polls show that small businesses rank potential lawsuits near the bottom of their list of concerns regarding the economic outlook. Furthermore, judges have made clear that rules currently in place streamline litigation and give them the tools they need to deter meritless lawsuits more effectively than LARA would.</p> <p>In the op-ed, "Put Brakes on Frivolous Lawsuits," Senator Grassley <a href="http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20120302/OPINION01/303020043/Iowa-View-Put-brakes-on-frivolous-lawsuits">writes</a> that "billions of dollars are wasted on frivolous lawsuits that siphon money away from job creation. Frivolous claims also clog an already burdened legal system and delay the resolution of lawsuits that have merit."</p> <p>But when pollsters ask business people what their problems are, they give a different answer. Polls conducted on behalf of business organizations demonstrate that potential lawsuits are a minor-at-best concern. Only five percent of small businesses said "litigation" was the issue posing the greatest threat to their business in a <a href="http://www.uschamber.com/sites/default/files/reports/1107usc_summit%20_harrisnteractive.pdf#page=5">2011 Small Business Outlook Survey</a> produced for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce by Harris Interactive. The option "none of these," chosen by 18 percent of respondents, was far ahead of litigation. A <a href="http://www.uschambersmallbusinessnation.com/community/quarterly-survey-2">similar poll</a> of U.S. Chamber small business members released in January 2012 produced almost the same result, with only six percent of respondents identifying litigation as the biggest issue facing them. In addition, small business owners ranked "costs and frequency of lawsuits/threatened suits" near the bottom (65th out of 75 possible choices) in a <a href="http://www.nfib.com/Portals/0/ProblemsAndPriorities08.pdf#page=20">2008 National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) survey</a> that ranked the biggest threats facing small business owners. In the face of this polling by the Chamber of Commerce and NFIB, LARA seems to be a solution in search of a problem.</p> <p>But is LARA really a solution at all? Judges - the people with the greatest incentive to see truly frivolous lawsuits eliminated, while suits with merit go forward - think that it would do <a href="http://mediamatters.org/static/pdf/judicial-smith-11.pdf">more harm than good</a>. The Judicial Conference's Committee on the Rules of Practice and Procedure, the body charged by the federal judiciary with monitoring and advising on the procedural rules that govern the courts, opposes LARA. It does so because the bill would return the procedural rules for the federal courts (specifically Rule 11, which deals with sanctions for frivolous conduct) to an earlier version of the rule that existed before reforms were put in place in 1993. Federal judges, having lived under both versions of Rule 11, want to keep the reforms in place, and not turn back the clock to the pre-reform era as LARA would do.</p> <p>A summary of The Committee on the Rules of Practice and Procedure's analysis of LARA is below the fold.</p> <p><a href="http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201203060002">More...</a></p> David Lyle http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201203060002 Tue, 06 Mar 2012 14:22:34 EDT Romney Seeks, Receives Endorsement From NRA's Nugent http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201203020005 <p>On his Twitter feed this afternoon, <em>Washington Times</em> columnist and National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent <a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/TedNugent/status/175680421462425601" target="_blank">announced</a> that after "a long heart&amp;soul conversation" with Mitt Romney today, he has decided to endorse the former Massachusetts governor.</p> <p><img src=&#x22;http://politicalcorrection.org/static/images/twitter-20120302-nugentendorse.jpg" border="0" alt="Nugent tweet" width="400" height="205" /></p> <p>In apparently seeking out the endorsement of Nugent, Romney has linked himself to a man with a <a href="http://mediamatters.org/blog/201202150010" target="_blank">long record of inflammatory and offensive comments</a>. </p> <p>Notably, during an <a href="http://mediamatters.org/rd?to=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.liveleak.com%2Fview%3Fi%3D757_1187963465" target="_blank">August 21, 2007, concert</a>, while brandishing what appeared to be two assault rifles, Nugent said, "hey Obama, you might want to suck on one of these, you punk," adding, "hey Obama, he's a piece of shit, I told him to suck on my machine gun." He went on to say that while he was in New York, "I said, 'hey Hillary [Clinton], you might want to ride one of these into the sunset, you worthless bitch."</p> <p>Nugent has also called Clinton a "two-bit whore," referred to the Muslim community as "rude and stupid," said "[i]f it was up to me, if you uttered the word 'gun control,' we'd put you in jail," and called the Democratic Party the "modern-day slave master" to low-income Americans.</p> <p> The NRA will <a href="http://mediamatters.org/blog/201202150010" target="_blank">be featuring</a> Nugent in their voter registration campaign. The group has yet to endorse in the Republican primary, but executive vice president Wayne LaPierre <a href="http://mediamatters.org/blog/201202100014" target="_blank">has said that</a> they are "all in" with regard to defeating President Obama in what LaPierre called "the most dangerous election of our lifetimes."</p> Matt Gertz http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201203020005 Fri, 02 Mar 2012 17:37:15 EDT Honoring Our Troops By Denying Them Basic Legal Protections http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201202210002 <p>America's military tradition provides that our service members <a href="http://www.army.mil/values/soldiers.html">will not leave a fallen comrade behind</a>. Politicians are quick to invoke and associate themselves with this legacy of honorable sacrifice, and pledge that <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/2007-04-11-soldiers_N.htm">nothing is too good for our troops</a>. In reality, though, in too many ways America's military men and women are celebrated when on the battlefield, and neglected on the homefront. The media is <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/News/25-year-iowan-recieve-living-medal-honor-valor/story?id=12160138#.TzrSqlxSQbQ">quick to chronicle their heroism</a>, but slow to uncover the mistreatment they too often encounter at home, as exemplified by the <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/17/AR2007021701172.html">notorious Walter Reed Army Medical Center scandal</a>, which <a href="http://www.salon.com/2007/02/23/walter_reed_6/">festered for years</a> before the media and Army were finally galvanized to address the unacceptable conditions. Homeless veterans, the returned troops most in need of help, often receive <a href="http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/200911180008">little more than lip service</a> from politicians.&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>There is yet another way in which our government treats America's military personnel as second-class citizens and denies them vital protections that the rest of us enjoy. Thanks to a series of misguided Supreme Court decisions and Congress' failure to fix the problem, our nation routinely leaves behind our servicemembers in their time of greatest need. For unlike other Americans, our legal system often denies active duty U.S. servicemembers the right to meaningful compensation when they suffer injuries as a result of the wrongful acts of others. &nbsp;</p> <p>The <a href="http://jonathanturley.org/2007/08/18/the-feres-doctrine-what-soldiers-really-need-are-lawyers/">"<em>Feres</em> doctrine</a>," an obscure legal rule that the Supreme Court created more than 50 years ago prohibits servicemembers from bringing suits against the federal government arising from matters "incident" to their service. As Professor Jonathan Turley of the George Washington University School of Law has documented, no matter how egregious the wrongdoing &mdash; an Army surgeon <a href="http://jonathanturley.org/2007/08/18/the-feres-doctrine-what-soldiers-really-need-are-lawyers/">leaving a 30-by-18-inch towel marked "Medical Department U.S. Army" in a soldier's abdomen</a> &mdash; or attenuated from core military functions mdash; a <a href="http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1454&amp;dat=20011106&amp;id=_g1PAAAAIBAJ&amp;sjid=Qh8EAAAAIBAJ&amp;pg=2989,1407308">civilian whitewater rafting outfitter</a> sending off-duty sailors on a Navy-sponsored outing down an unsafe river &mdash; servicemembers lack the basic right to sue their employer for compensation from injury that other Americans enjoy. Instead they and their survivors are limited to modest veterans' death or disability benefits no matter how grievous the injury or monumental the wrongdoing that caused it.<br /> <br /> Rather we leave them and their family members behind to pick up the pieces as best they can, without adequate compensation for themselves or accountability for the wrongdoer. This already unacceptable situation threatens to get much worse, as in the coming weeks a federal judge is expected to rule in a case that could <a href="http://www.militarytimes.com/news/2012/01/military-us-seeks-new-limits-on-troops-legal-rights-feres-doctrine-013112w/">greatly expand the scope of the <em>Feres</em> doctrine to include injuries suffered by family members of active duty personnel</a>.</p> <p>Americans are largely ignorant of these policies. With <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/01/quietly-us-moves-to-block-lawsuits-by-military-families/252171/">few</a> <a href="http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1202/08/cnr.05.html">exceptions</a>, the media has left the story to specialty publications such as <a href="http://www.militarytimes.com/news/2012/01/military-us-seeks-new-limits-on-troops-legal-rights-feres-doctrine-013112w/"><em>The Military Times</em></a> and Professor Turley's <a href="http://jonathanturley.org/">blog</a>. As a result, Congressional Republicans have been able to block efforts to fix the problem and restore fairness for military personnel. Similarly the government has faced little scrutiny for taking a position that could expand the rule's coverage and compound its injustice.</p><p><a href="http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201202210002">More...</a></p> David Lyle http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201202210002 Tue, 21 Feb 2012 15:10:46 EDT Republican Senator Suggests House GOP Budget Would Have Dismantled Medicare http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201202100003 <p><img src=&#x22;http://politicalcorrection.org/static/images/snowe2.JPG" border="0" width="140" style="margin: 0pt 0pt 12px 12px; float: right; border: 1px solid black;" /></p> <p>Lending support to critics of the <a href="http://politicalcorrection.org/factcheck/201112200007">budget</a> that House Republicans voted for last year, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) <a href="http://thehill.com/homenews/house/209327-gop-to-use-obama-budget-to-unite" target="_blank">suggests</a> it would have dismantled Medicare:</p> <blockquote> <p>Obviously, the original Ryan plan had some serious issues," she said. "I certainly believe in reforming the Medicare program in a way that would keep it intact. I have a very-high-percentage population that are seniors in Maine."</p> </blockquote> <p>This isn't the first time Snowe has affirmed Democratic criticism of the GOP budget. When Snowe announced her <a href="http://www.pressherald.com/news/Snowe-Collins-to-vote-against-GOP-budget-plan.html">decision</a> to vote against the House GOP budget last year, she said the plan would privatize Medicare, adding that its handling of Medicaid would "encourage a race to the bottom":</p> <blockquote> <p>Snowe said she doesn't like Ryan's plan to gradually turn Medicare into a system where beneficiaries buy their coverage from private health insurance plans, using a set payment that could mean their out-of-pocket costs increase. Snowe also said that while she agrees on providing states more flexibility with how to administer Medicaid, she does not agree that it is a good idea to turn it into a totally state-run block grant program.</p> <p>"I am going to vote no on the budget because I have deep and abiding concerns about the approach on Medicare, which is essentially to privatize it," Snowe said, noting that Maine has a high percentage of elderly residents. [...]</p> <p>[S]he opposes the Ryan proposal to block grant Medicaid because she is afraid that would result in many states around the country simply cutting needed services to save money, a "race to the bottom," Snowe said.</p> <p>"The states are the great laboratories," Snowe said. "But we also have an overall obligation to serve specific populations under Medicaid. We don't want to encourage a race to the bottom."</p> </blockquote> Jamison Foser http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201202100003 Fri, 10 Feb 2012 15:13:08 EDT <em>New York Post</em>: Iranian Nuclear &ldquo;Engineers Basically Needed Killing&rdquo;<br /> http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201202100002 <p>In an editorial, the <em>New York Post</em> endorses the assassination of civilian Iranian nuclear scientists, adding that the terror group U.S. officials recently confirmed as conducting the attacks might be "far more deserving of a Nobel Peace Prize than a certain president of the United States we could mention." From the February 10, 2012 <a href="http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/editorials/loose_lips_7xvSwHsWqSoIjyXIWl8nmI">edition of the <em>Post</em></a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>How's this for astonishing: NBC News is reporting that Israeli spies have been involved in the assassinations of five Iranian nuclear scientists.</p> <p><strong>So far, not so bad. We'd say the engineers basically needed killing.</strong></p> <p>But here's the astonishing part: The source for the story apparently is the <em>Obama administration</em> - albeit through anonymous leaks.</p> <p>The network claims that Israel used members of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MeK), a dissident group the United States classified as a terrorist group in 1998, to ice the engineers. </p> <p>[...]</p> <p>So who <em>cares</em> whether the MeK is a designated terror group? (Britain and the European Union already removed it from their lists, and there is pressure on America to do the same.)</p> <p>And isn't Iran itself the leading exporter of terrorism in the world?</p> <p><strong>Let's be frank: Were the MeK to play the critical role in derailing an Iranian bomb, it would be far more deserving of a Nobel Peace Prize than a certain president of the United States we could mention.</strong></p> <p>So why is the administration making such details public?</p> <p>President Obama did Israel no favors when he pressured it to join his love-peace-and-harmony nuclear summit in 2010, undermining a basic pillar of Israel's security - its undisclosed nuclear program.</p> </blockquote> <p>RELATED: </p> <p><a href="http://rockcenter.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/08/10354553-israel-teams-with-terror-group-to-kill-irans-nuclear-scientists-us-officials-tell-nbc-news">Israel teams with terror group to kill Iran's nuclear scientists, U.S. officials tell NBC News</a></p> Media Matters Action Network http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201202100002 Fri, 10 Feb 2012 12:36:01 EDT