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TomCADem's Journal
TomCADem's Journal
January 28, 2013

(Arizona) Bill would require hospitals to check immigration status

Source: Arizona Daily Sun

PHOENIX -- A state legislator is moving to put Arizona's hospitals on the front line in the fight against illegal immigration.

The proposal by Rep. Steve Smith, R-Maricopa, would require hospitals to "reasonably confirm" that those who show up at their doors are in the country legally if they do not produce proof of valid health insurance. HB2293 lists methods that hospital officials and employees can use to make that determination.

But the measure also says if legal status cannot be verified, someone from the hospital "must immediately contact the local federal immigration office or a local law enforcement agency to report the incident."

The legislation is drawing alarm from the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association.

"When does this begin or end?" asked Pete Wertheim, the organization's vice president of strategic communication. "What other industry should be screening their customers for citizenship verification?"

Read more: http://azdailysun.com/news/local/state-and-regional/bill-would-require-hospitals-to-check-immigration-status/article_a9ad6973-3227-552d-9816-82870b8fcf4e.html

Republican State Representative Steve Smith said his goal is to find out the amount of money hospitals spend to treat undocumented immigrants. Of course, if passed it would likely dissuade undocumented immigrants from seeking health care since their presence in the emergency room would trigger a call to the cops or feds.

It will be interesting to see if Marco Rubio disqualifies himself from the Republican nomination by embracing President Obama's immigration policies. What is more likely is that they will nominate someone who caters to the anti-immigrant extremists then add Rubio to the ticket in order to show the general population that he was just kidding.
January 23, 2013

LA Times - "Obama's inaugural speech provokes rattled Republicans"

The political cartoon associated with the story is funny as well.


The complaints of congressional Republicans that President Obama’s inaugural address sent them no bouquets and love letters show a lot of gall, given the history of the last four years. Obama’s inauguration speech in 2009 was crammed with language about bipartisan cooperation and ending the political rancor in Washington and what did he get for it?

First, he got Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell’s declaration that the paramount priority of his caucus was to make Obama a one-term president. After that, he got an avalanche of roadblocks thrown in his way as GOP senators and representatives attempted to carry out McConnell’s mission.

They went to war on "Obamacare," even though a very similar scheme had been put in place in Massachusetts by the Republican governor who would become their presidential nominee in 2012 – an approach that had also been supported on a national level in the 1990s by Bob Dole, their 1996 presidential nominee. Republicans, raving about death panels and a government takeover of healthcare, attacked as if the plan had been concocted by Karl Marx and used the issue as a bludgeon to win back the House of Representatives in the 2010 election.

Today, though, having lost House seats and having failed to take back the Senate or the White House in the 2012 campaign, the GOP’s permanent rejection of anything the president proposed does not seem like such a clever tactic. Obama’s political clout is at a high point and, after giving him higher taxes on the wealthy in the end-of-the-year "fiscal cliff" showdown, Republicans are now backing away from a confrontation over raising the debt ceiling.
January 23, 2013

Maddowblog - "The Politics of Crowd Size" - Pundits Try To Minimize Inaugeration Crowd

It is interesting that no political pundit cared to mention that President Obama's "smaller crowd" was larger than Dubya's first and second inaugerations combined.


Many of President Obama's detractors seemed pleased yesterday morning when reports pointed to diminished turnout for his second inaugural. After historic crowds four years ago, most estimates said the 2013 audience would be less than half as big, and Obama's critics took saw that as meaningful evidence of ... something.

* * *

In a case like this, context is everything. Looking back through recent history, Bill Clinton's first inaugural drew about 800,000 people in 1993, which was considered an enormous crowd. In contrast, about 300,000 came to see George W. Bush's first inaugural, and 400,000 saw his second.

It's true that Obama's crowd yesterday wasn't nearly as big as the audience from 2009, but the 1 million people who showed up was significantly more than Bush's two inaugural crowds combined -- a detail some on the right chose to overlook when making a fuss yesterday morning.

It's also true that the 2013 inaugural crowd came up short of the 1.2 million people who attended Lyndon Johnson's inauguration in 1965, but this only helps underscore the larger point: Barack Obama's 2013 inauguration was among the biggest events ever held on the National Mall.
January 23, 2013

Maddowblog - "The discomfort with an unapologetic president" - Corporate Media Pushing RW Meme

The corporate media and political pundits have been out in force attacking the President for (gasp) pushing the themes that lead to his re-election. How dare the President praise Social Security and Medicare! How overtly partisan!

It didn't take long for congressional Republicans to start complaining about President Obama's second inaugural. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said, "I didn't hear any conciliatory remarks," as if it's incumbent on a re-elected president to pacify those who tried to defeat him. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) all made similar comments.

And wouldn't you know it, a variety of pundits from the D.C. establishment soon followed in the same vein. National Journal's Ron Fournier said Obama had been "fiercely partisan" and paid no mind to the "delicate art of compromise." Michael Gerson, perhaps listening to a different speech altogether, heard a president argue "even the most commonplace policy disagreements indicate the bad faith of his opponents."

* * *
Indeed, this seems to be a strain of thought that's dominated much of the political discourse in recent weeks. How dare Obama nominate a Republican Defense Secretary he knows Republicans don't like! How dare the president present an ambitious agenda to prevent gun violence over the objections of his critics! How dare Obama use his inaugural address to present an unapologetic vision of progressive governance in the 21st century!

* * *
As for the notion that Obama should have been most "post-partisan" and made his address more Republican-friendly, I sincerely hope we're not going to let the last four years slip down the memory hole too quickly. As we discussed yesterday, Republicans spent Obama's first term on a scorched-earth campaign, hoping to destroy his presidency and nearly everything he proposed. GOP leaders met privately exactly four years ago yesterday to plot their comeback by obstructing the president wherever possible, and refusing to compromise with Obama on literally anything, even when he embraced Republican ideas -- and then they executed that plot without hesitation or shame.

That the president has learned lessons from those experiences isn't a shame; it's a relief.

January 23, 2013

Maddowblog - "The spending surge that didn't happen" - RW Talking Point Refuted

It is a travesty that the media repeatedly allows Republicans to push this false talking point. Worse, the corporate media portrays a false equivalency that treats facts as partisan opinions that are equally worthy of acceptance. The only reason why the Republican party manages to hold on is because the corporate media repeatedly allows them to spread their lies without any accountability.

Republican policymakers have an extremely narrow policy agenda: cut spending. Every speech, every press release, every op-ed, and every interview features identical talking points about the "explosion of out-of-control government spending" in the Obama era, which GOP officials are desperate to address.

There's the rhetoric and then there's the reality.

* * *
But policy prescriptions and Keynesian economics notwithstanding, the facts are the facts: every time Republicans whine incessantly about President Obama spending like there's no tomorrow, they're simply wrong.

What's more, Bloomberg News published a fascinating item today providing some useful historical context: "Federal outlays over the past three years grew at their slowest pace since 1953-56, when Dwight D. Eisenhower was president."
January 22, 2013

Paul Krugman - "The Big Deal" - Amazing How The Media Missed All This

The corporate media, which pushed a false equivalency that elevated climate change deniars, birthers, death panel propagandists into the mainstream news, surprisingly missed or minimized the accomplishments of President Obama. This same corporate media shielded Republicans from scrutiny for their threats to default on the Nation's debt by blaming both sides. Thus, it is refreshing when stories that put the President's accomplishments into context are published.


On the day President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, an exuberant Vice President Biden famously pronounced the reform a “big something deal” — except that he didn’t use the word “something.” And he was right.

In fact, I’d suggest using this phrase to describe the Obama administration as a whole. F.D.R. had his New Deal; well, Mr. Obama has his Big Deal. He hasn’t delivered everything his supporters wanted, and at times the survival of his achievements seemed very much in doubt. But if progressives look at where we are as the second term begins, they’ll find grounds for a lot of (qualified) satisfaction.

* * *

Mr. Obama overcame the biggest threat to his legacy simply by winning re-election. But George W. Bush also won re-election, a victory widely heralded as signaling the coming of a permanent conservative majority. So will Mr. Obama’s moment of glory prove equally fleeting? I don’t think so.

For one thing, the Big Deal’s main policy initiatives are already law. This is a contrast with Mr. Bush, who didn’t try to privatize Social Security until his second term — and it turned out that a “khaki” election won by posing as the nation’s defender against terrorists didn’t give him a mandate to dismantle a highly popular program.
January 21, 2013

HuffPo - "Sandy Hook Hero, Harassed By Conspiracy Theorists Who Claim He's An Actor"

I guess we should not be surprised that Republican Senator Ted Cruz aggressively attacked President Obama for advocating gun control on the grounds that President Obama was "explouting dead children." Afterall, the extreme right that the GOP panders to has already been pushing the theory that the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax:


Afterall, if millions of Republicans believe that the President was actually born in Kenya, I guess it is not a stretch to believe that the Sandy Hook was a purposeful hoax designed to justify gun control. This latest bit of conspiracy mongering has lead to the victims of Sandy Hook being harassed by these right wing crazies:


A good Samaritan who harbored six terrified survivors of the Sandy Hook massacre has been singled out by conspiracy theorists accusing him of being a liar and an actor.

On the morning of the shooting, Gene Rosen of Newtown, Conn., was feeding his cats when he discovered four terrified children hiding out in his driveway. They told him their teacher was dead, and he listened to their chilling account of the tragedy still going on at the nearby Sandy Hook Elementary School.

In the aftermath, Rosen, 69, was interviewed by many of the media outlets that descended on the small community, and his anguished face flashed across television screens around the world.

The sincerity of that anguish was questioned by a group of conspiracy theorists who call themselves "truthers," Salon reported earlier this month. These truthers have so far posted Rosen's personal information online, created fake social media accounts using his name and harassed him via email and phone.

“I don’t know what to do,” Rosen, a retired psychologist, told Salon in a follow-up interview on Tuesday. “There must be some way to morally shame these people, because there were 20 dead children lying an eighth of a mile from my window all night long. And I sat there with my wife, because they couldn’t take the bodies out that night so the medical examiner could come. And I thought of an expression, that this ‘adds insult to injury,’ but that’s a stupid expression, because this is not an injury, this is an abomination.”
January 21, 2013

"The disturbing rise of Sandy Hook conspiracy theories" Blaming Obama and Gun Control

I guess we should not be surprised that with the NRA fanning the flames about the federal government is about take your guns that the extreme right has been spreading conspiracy theories suggesting that the Sandy Hook massacre was either a hoax or that it was planned by gun control advocates.


In the aftermath of the massacre at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Conn., President Obama has moved to strengthen America's gun laws, and public opinion has swung significantly in support of stricter gun control. Gun-rights advocates have responded passionately, but opposition has also begun to take on uglier forms — most notably in conspiracy theories that contend the shooting was a hoax perpetrated by the government, the media, or some wildly improbable combination of the two.

What kind of conspiracy theories are out there? One contends that something is amiss because the adults in Newtown — particularly Robbie Parker, who lost his 6-year-old daughter Emilie in the shooting — haven't grieved hard enough. According to this theory, many of the shattered adults you've seen on camera are actors. Another claims that Emilie is still alive, appearing in a photograph with President Obama (the person in the photo is Emilie's sister). Yet another claims that there were other gunmen besides Adam Lanza. For a comprehensive list, as well as a thorough debunking (not that you'd need one), check out this article from Salon.

The thread that connects the various theories is gun control. "The underlying theme in all the theories is that the media, the government, and the Obama administration specifically either manipulated or orchestrated the shooting to move political opinion on gun control," says Laura Edwins at The Christian Science Monitor. Analysts say the theories may be a way to deflect blame from guns to imaginary culprits.

Of course, conspiracy theories abound on the internet. But the Sandy Hook variety are gaining traction, approaching Obama-was-born-in-Kenya ubiquity. One YouTube video, "The Sandy Hook Shooting—Fully Exposed," has been viewed more than 10 million times. Gene Rosen, a Newtown resident who sheltered six children during the shooting, has reportedly received creepy phone calls and emails from those who believe he is an actor.
January 18, 2013

The Nation - "Banned From TV on Conventional Wisdom's Holy Day, Ornstein and Mann Briefly Return"

Here is a nice article on the Nation noting how Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann have been declared non-entities for pointing out that the corporate media has been protecting Republicans by portraying a false equivalence between Democrats and the modern extreme right Republicans:


It was a small victory in the battle against false equivalency in the media: pundits Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann were on a Sunday morning talk show.

That may not sound like a big deal—after all, Ornstein used to be a Beltway media fixture, and he and Mann have for years been among the “most quotable” sources for media on the Hill. But last weekend CNN’s Reliable Sources became the first mainstream Sunday news program the two have appeared on since their op-ed “Let’s Admit It: The Republicans Are to Blame” was published nine months ago in The Wash Post. Their crime? They “came out” from years of straight-down-the-middle political opining to point out that not only are Republicans threatening the economy and democracy itself, but the mainstream media enable them by refusing to notice.

Despite hoots and hollers from the sidelines, the MSM continue to pretend that the GOP emperor wears the finest of clothes, even as his parade of reality-denying, gun-toting, hostage-taking supporters do a striptease for the nation every filibusterin’ day. In the name of “balance” (and keeping advertisers), the media blame the country’s problems on a generic “Congress” or “Washington.” Or they cry, as Ornstein and Mann write, “’Both sides do it’ or ‘There is plenty of blame to go around,’?” mantras that “are the traditional refuges for an American news media intent on proving its lack of bias.”

After their op-ed and the book it’s adapted from, It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism, came out in April, Ornstein (of the conservative American Enterprise Institute) and Mann (of the centrist Brookings Institution) went missing from Big Media.
January 16, 2013

TIME - "The Trillion Dollar Coin Fantasy: GOP Extremism Canít Be Wished Away"

I think the last sentence hits the nail on the head: "If you don’t like it when Obama negotiates with terrorists, vote out the terrorists in 2014." This is why it drives me crazy when the media, including many liberals, give Republicans a free pass because they are insane, and focus their attacks on Democrats, because they are the only ones who are responsive to such pressure. Even worse, the media often pushes a false equivalency between Democrats and Republicans that effectively immunizes the Republicans from any accountability for their most bizarre stances.


After I spent the last two weeks explaining that the Treasury would mint a second Joe Biden before it minted a trillion-dollar platinum coin, that President Obama would make Kim Kardashian his chief of staff before making the coin fantasy a reality, it would be easy for me to gloat. So I will! The coin was a self-evidently wackadoodle idea, and the pundits who fell in love with it should have remembered Obama isn’t in vaudeville. But there’s more to say about the coin farce than my four favorite words. (Count ‘em: I…told…you…so.) The debt ceiling disaster that the coin was supposed to avoid through metallic magic still looms. And the understandable impulses that led otherwise smart coiners to crusade for a WTF policy are producing equally muddled thinking about the next round of fiscal negotiations.

The idea of a trillion-dollar platinum coin was not quite as insane as it sounded. It was a response to the insanity of congressional Republicans, who have refused to raise the debt ceiling and let the U.S. pay its bills unless Democrats agree to massive cuts in Democratic priorities. The GOP is holding the economy hostage, using the threat of a confidence-destroying default to try to extract a policy ransom. The coin would have been an accounting trick designed to allow Obama to ignore the debt ceiling and keep fulfilling obligations Congress had already incurred. I could explain how, but it’s complex, which is why it was such a lousy idea; no politician wanted to explain why his response to a tough fiscal situation was to create a magic trillion-dollar coin out of thin air. Fortunately, now that the Obama Administration has officially rejected the coin, I don’t need to explain it.

It was always unrealistic to imagine that Obama could sidestep Republican extremism and obstructionism through a kooky loophole in monetary regulations. Big ideological battles don’t get settled through technicalities. But especially on the left, there is still a powerful urge to believe that Republican extremism and obstructionism can be sidestepped. If only Obama sticks to his guns and refuses to negotiate with the hostage-takers over the debt ceiling, the argument goes, there will be a righteous public backlash against GOP political terrorism, and eventually Republicans will be forced to cave.

In my taxonomy of lefty Obama-bashing, these pipe dreams constitute a mixture of Heighten The Contradictions Liberalism and Choose Your Own Adventure Liberalism. In fact, current polls suggest that refusing to raise the debt limit is pretty popular, especially in the heavily Republican districts that Republicans tend to represent. Maybe a catastrophic default would change that, but Obama recognizes that a catastrophe for which Republicans were blamed would still be a catastrophe. Those of us who believe the modern GOP is an extraordinarily irresponsible party, remarkably brazen in its rejection of reality and consistency, still have to acknowledge that Republicans control the House of Representatives and can filibuster legislation in the Senate. They cannot be sidestepped or ignored or wished away. Congressional elections have consequences, too.

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