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Old 03-08-2021, 09:19 AM   #701
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Homoe I am not sure how some of these people are getting elected?! I was just perusing a couple of web articles on Colorado's Rep. Lauren Boebert. I thought she was only a gun nut but after reading up on her, I see she is really a nut with a gun. Do people not do any research on who they are voting for? Yes homo, we as a country, may just be doomed.
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We're in a hell of a lot of trouble..
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Old 03-10-2021, 04:24 PM   #702
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Today is a great day for the Biden Administration, Democrats, and the entire country. The American Rescue Plan passed, Merrick Garland was confirmed as Attorney General and Marcia Fudge as HUD Secretary.

This is truly landmark legislation. It's great to see government hard at work again. Repugs are just the party of no. It's pathetic.

I'm telling all the yapping Trump supporters to either give their $1400 back or stop bashing Biden and the Democrats since the Democrats are 100% responsible for them getting the money and that no Republican supported the bill. I know it does no good but they need to shut up and I'm gonna tell em, lol.
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Old 03-10-2021, 09:27 PM   #703
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Today is a great day for the Biden Administration, Democrats, and the entire country. The American Rescue Plan passed, Merrick Garland was confirmed as Attorney General and Marcia Fudge as HUD Secretary.

This is truly landmark legislation. It's great to see government hard at work again. Repugs are just the party of no. It's pathetic.

I'm telling all the yapping Trump supporters to either give their $1400 back or stop bashing Biden and the Democrats since the Democrats are 100% responsible for them getting the money and that no Republican supported the bill. I know it does no good but they need to shut up and I'm gonna tell em, lol.
Agree all the Biden bashers arent sending back the checks bigger than the GOP folks wanted!
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Old 03-10-2021, 10:39 PM   #704
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Rep. Lauren Boebertrt (R-Colo.) faced backlash this week for releasing an ad attacking Democrats and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that ended with a gunshot sound.

In the spot, the QAnon-endorsing first-term lawmaker called on Pelosi to “tear down” the security fence that was put up around the U.S. Capitol following the Jan. 6 insurrection, when a violent mob of then-President Donald Trump’s supporters overran the Capitol building.

“It’s time to cut the crap and remember, this is the people’s house,” Boebert bombastically declared.

The video concluded with audio of a gunshot, followed by the sound of the weapon being reloaded and fired again.

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Old 03-11-2021, 06:08 AM   #705
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According to the NY Times, influential Evangelical Beth Moore is going to quit Southern Baptists over Trump. As tweeted by Beth MooreLPM on 12/13/2020, "I do not believe these are days for mincing words. I'm 63 1/2 years old & I have never seen anything in these United States of America I found more astonishingly seductive & dangerous to the saints of God than Trumpism. This Christian nationalism is not of God. Move back from it." Now if only the rest can come to their senses.
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Old 03-11-2021, 06:57 AM   #706
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Here.....let's start with this idiot. Pastor Robin Bullock, who describes himself as operating "heavily" in the prophetic realm, claimed during a Tuesday church service that prophets will call back former President Donald Trump "for three terms.". Bullock, who is the founder of Alabama's Youth Force Ministries Church International and hosts the weekly "prophetic" YouTube program The Eleventh Hour, said it was apparent Trump was still president when "all you have to do is listen to him. He's the president."
I need to create a list of the people who should be sent a copy of Rick Wilson's book "Everything Trump Touches Dies".
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Old 03-11-2021, 06:13 PM   #707
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Default Ending the End of Welfare as We Knew It

Ending the End of Welfare as We Knew It
The Democrats’ new child benefit is a very big deal.

Paul Krugman
Opinion Columnist, Economist

The era of “the era of big government is over” is over.


Credit...Carolyn Drake/Magnum Photos

The relief bill President Biden just signed is breathtaking in its scope. Yet conservative opposition was remarkably limp. While not a single Republican voted for the legislation, the rhetorical onslaught from right-wing politicians and media was notably low energy, perhaps because the Biden plan is incredibly popular. Even as Democrats moved to disburse $1.9 trillion in government aid, their opponents mainly seemed to be talking about Dr. Seuss and Mr. Potato Head.

What makes this lack of energy especially striking is that the American Rescue Plan doesn’t just spend a lot of money. It also embodies some big changes in the philosophy of public policy, a turn away from the conservative ideology that has dominated U.S. politics for four decades.

In particular, there is a sense — a strictly limited sense, as I’ll explain, but real nonetheless — in which the legislation, in addition to reviving the notion of government as the solution, not the problem, also ends the “end of welfare as we know it.”

Once upon a time there was a program called Aid to Families With Dependent Children — the program people usually had in mind when they talked about “welfare.” It was originally intended to support white widows while they raised their children, and it was effectively denied to both Black and unwed mothers. Over time, however, these restrictions were eroded, and the program rapidly expanded from the early 1960s to the early 1970s.

The program also became hugely unpopular. In part, of course, this reflected the race of many beneficiaries. But many commentators also blamed A.F.D.C. for creating a culture of dependency that was in turn responsible for the growing social ills of inner cities, although later scholarship, notably the work of William Julius Wilson, suggested that the real cause of these ills was the disappearance of urban jobs. (The social problems that have followed economic decline in much of the American heartland seem to confirm Wilson’s thesis.)

In any case, in 1996 Bill Clinton enacted reforms that both drastically reduced aid to the poor and imposed draconian work requirements, even on single mothers. Welfare as we knew it really did end.

But the American Rescue Plan Act, closely following proposals from Senator Michael Bennet, reinstates significant aid for children. Moreover, unlike most of the act’s provisions, this change (like enhanced Obamacare subsidies) is intended to outlast the current crisis; Democrats hope and expect that substantial payments to families with children will become a permanent part of the American scene.

So is “welfare” back? Not really.

A.F.D.C. was intended to provide mothers with enough to get by — barely — while raising their children. In 1970 three-person families on A.F.D.C. received, on average, $194 a month. Adjusting for inflation, that’s the equivalent of around $15,000 a year today, compared with the $6,000 a family with two children over age 6 ($7,200 if they’re under 6) will receive under the new plan.

Alternatively, it may be more informative to compare “welfare” payments with the incomes of typical families. In 1970, an A.F.D.C. family of three received about 25 percent of median income for three-person families — hardly a generous allowance, but maybe, just, enough to live on. The new legislation will give a single parent of two children less than 7 percent of median income.

On the other hand, the new program will be far less intrusive than A.F.D.C., which constantly required that parents prove their need; there were even cases where aid was cut off because a caseworker discovered an able-bodied man in the house, claiming that he could and should be supporting the children. The new aid will be unconditional for families earning less than $75,000 a year.

So no, this isn’t a return to welfare as we knew it; nobody will be able to live on child support. But it will sharply reduce child poverty. And it also, as I said, represents a philosophical break with the past few decades, and in particular with the obsessive fear that poor people might take advantage of government aid by choosing not to work.

True, some on the right are still flogging that horse. The ever-shrinking Marco Rubio denounced plans for a child tax credit as “welfare assistance.” Wonks at the American Enterprise Institute warned that some unmarried mothers might somewhat reduce working hours, although their estimate looks pretty small — and since when is working a bit less to spend time with your kids an unadulterated evil?

In any case, these traditional attacks, which used to terrify Democrats, no longer seem to be resonating. Clearly, something has changed in American politics.

To be honest, I’m not sure what provoked this change. Many expected major change under President Barack Obama, elected in the wake of a financial crisis that should have discredited free-market orthodoxy. But although he achieved a lot — especially Obamacare! — there wasn’t a big paradigm shift.

But now that shift seems to have arrived. And millions of American children will benefit.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/11/o...gtype=Homepage
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Old 03-11-2021, 11:03 PM   #708
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Ending the End of Welfare as We Knew It
The Democrats’ new child benefit is a very big deal.

Paul Krugman
Opinion Columnist, Economist
. . .
According to the BBC Hardtalk program, most wealthy nations have some kind of child tax credit to prevent child poverty. In these countries, it's generally considered the right thing to do, and there's little or none of the American pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps type sentiment.
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Old 03-15-2021, 10:09 AM   #709
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"Ted Cruz demands meeting with Marine Corps leadership after 'inexplicably inappropriate' attacks on Tucker Carlson" per the Washington Examiner. Really Ted? Inexplicable?? I hope you are taking time to plan for your future in between all you hissie fits and bluster.
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Old 03-15-2021, 01:30 PM   #710
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Ted, stop worrying about Carlson and start worrying about how you'll ever get re-elected after the bone headed things you've done recently!
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Old 03-27-2021, 08:33 AM   #711
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Default January 6: What Kind Of Revolution Was It?

January 6: What Kind Of Revolution Was It?

BY DANIELLE ALLEN
MARCH 16, 2021

Behind the U.S. insurrection was a widespread feeling of disempowerment. Here’s what we can do to address it.

What we witnessed at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was not something breaking — it had been broken for a while. It was dry tinder set ablaze.

For me, the first alarm for the fracturing of our democratic institutions came in 2012, when a poll revealed that public approval of Congress had dropped to just 9%. I’m a student of the early modern design of constitutional democracies, and one of the first principles established by theorists from that period was that the legislature is the first and rightly predominant branch of government. Neither the executive nor judicial branch gets that pride of place. This is because the legislature has the job of articulating the voice of the people.

If the people approved of their own voice at a rate of just 9%, that’s a sign that our democracy is broken. The question, then, is what we can do about it.

When Democracy Can’t Govern

Our democratic crisis is not merely about popular attachment to traditions or institutions. It’s also about performance, as the handling of the coronavirus pandemic — much worse than in other countries — makes abundantly clear. Approval and legitimacy fall away when performance falls away.

Just how bad has the coronavirus response been? A network of scholars recently produced a study sorting the performance of governments around the globe during the pandemic into three categories: “control” countries like China or South Korea, where strong centralization and health authorities managed the situation aggressively and quickly; “consensus” countries like Germany and Australia, constitutional democracies with sturdy roots of solidarity and effective governance that enabled them to avoid political polarization; and “chaos” countries like the U.S. or Brazil, huge and multicultural democracies in the throes of populist politics.

“Barely 30% of Americans under 40 consider it essential to live in a democracy.”

In the “chaos” countries, political polarization inhibited effective decision-making and communication. In the U.S. in particular, we were unable to execute a known playbook for how to deal with such a pandemic. If the U.S. had the same mortality level as Australia, we would have had only about 15,000 COVID deaths at this point. Our chaotic response revealed an absence of effective governance, a signal of the breakage of our democracy.

There are other signs. One is that barely 30% of Americans under 40 consider it essential to live in a democracy. For the cohort born before World War II, about 70% consider it essential to live in a democracy. I remember on the day after the 2016 election, at my class on ancient and medieval political philosophy, a student stood up and shouted, “You have abandoned us! With this election result, your generation has just abandoned us!”

At some fundamental level, we are failing at a project of generational succession and transition, failing to hand down an appreciation for and understanding of democracy, a sense of it having value in our lives. From climate change to racial injustice to widening inequality, young people, in particular, see our institutions of governance failing to respond to these threats, and they see a broken system being handed to them just as those problems have become most dire. Their disaffection is not irrational. Their experience is connected to a sense of disempowerment and abandonment, if not downright betrayal, by elites and institutions.

Deadly Fight Over Voting Rights

In the presidential primaries in 2016, institutionalists (Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush) faced off against insurrectionists (Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump). The case the insurrectionists made was that the whole system is broken, more or less, and that it needed to be rebuilt from the ground up. What both Sanders and Trump represented was the widespread experience of disempowerment and the demand for dramatic change. They demanded we recognize that the technocratic management of the economy and society over the last few decades has left a lot of people feeling that the government is ineffective in responding to their needs. In the face of that demand, the institutionalist response was, to put it mildly, uncertain and problematic. As a result, we got Trump as president.

Unfortunately, this dynamic between the institutionalists and insurrectionists hasn’t yet generated a productive vision for how to reform our politics, nor shown us how to ensure that our institutions can both deliver effective governance and empower people. Instead, what we’ve gotten is a knock-down-drag-out fight between two parties for control over our broken institutions.

Fast forward to last year, at the beginning of the pandemic. The technical knowledge of how to succeed at COVID suppression was available in the U.S. It was delivered to the White House and Congress by all kinds of public health professionals and policymakers. In fact, the Democrats in the House put a well-considered pandemic policy of testing, contact tracing and support for quarantine and isolation in the HEROES Act, which they passed in May. Yet the HEROES Act didn’t move in the Senate: It just sat and sat, with Senate Republicans unwilling to move it forward.

Why did the Senate GOP delay the bill, allowing the COVID crisis to unfold into a national disaster? It wasn’t because they were against the public health measures included in it. What they opposed was the package of election security and integrity measures that the Democrats had included in the legislation. Those measures would ensure that mail-in voting, which was long overdue but suddenly urgent because of the pandemic, could be done in the most robust and secure fashion possible.

“The U.S. had one of the biggest fights over voting rights that we’ve ever had. And it cost us half a million lives.”

Those voting innovations were incredibly important for ensuring the continuity of our electoral system in a moment of crisis. For people on the right, however, they were equivalent to changing the rules in the middle of the game. This was a bare-knuckle calculation about votes. The policy was good and right, but it was presumed that it would bring electoral advantage to Democrats and not Republicans.

Let’s be clear what this means: During our pandemic year, when we urgently needed a quick response to a rapidly spreading virus, the United States had one of the biggest fights over voting rights that we’ve ever had. And it was a fight that cost us half a million lives.

This fight over voting rights — whether or not we make voting as easy as possible — is the fundamental battle in our politics right now. It is happening against a backdrop of a world in which both the left and right have experienced disempowerment. On the left, the narrative is that disempowerment flows from corporate greed. On the right, the narrative points to the domination of liberal media, liberal universities, liberal technology companies and liberal global capital.

The fire that was lit on Jan. 6 was possible because of the problems of disempowerment flowing from our failures of governance and from our institutionalists and their technocratic approach to politics. So yes, on Jan. 6, we saw white supremacists in action, but they were taking advantage of a more widely spread disaffection that doesn’t necessarily merit description in terms of white supremacy. We can only understand that moment by thinking more broadly about the experiences of disempowerment and alienation that characterize our population across political boundaries.

Recommitting To Universal Suffrage

In June last year, a bipartisan commission at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences released a report that was the culmination of two years of research, including listening sessions held all over the country. Everywhere we turned, we heard Americans convey an experience of non-responsive political institutions, of feeling as if they didn’t have an equal say or an equal vote. What we heard was that there is a vicious cycle in our national life. Because our institutions are non-responsive or don’t provide equal representation, people are left feeling disempowered, which they respond to by withdrawing from participation.

As they withdraw, they stop participating in the other organizations of civil society that pull people into the political process. When that happens, people get less exposure to others who are different, who have different views. This, in turn, makes Americans feel increasingly distant and alienated from each other — a fact borne out by polling that shows Americans’ distrust has increased not just in our institutions, but also in one another. This decline in trust has then further fed a general erosion of a culture of mutual commitment to each other and to our shared constitutional democracy.

“Americans’ distrust has increased not just in our institutions, but also in one another.”

One of our report’s recommendations is to increase the size of the House of Representatives. Before the 1920s, the size of Congress had always grown in parallel with the size of the national population. However, when the 1920 census showed for the first time that the majority of the population lived in cities (which were filled with immigrants), Congress (which then, as now, gave disproportionate weight to native-born rural voters) refused to reapportion representation on that basis. Eventually, a “compromise” was struck in 1929 that permitted reapportionment after the 1930 election but capped the House at 435 seats.

That resulted in a fundamental erosion of the legitimacy of our electoral system, because the Electoral College is constituted of a combination of the number of seats in Congress and the Senate. Allowing Congress to grow (which, unlike abolishing the Electoral College, does not require a Constitutional amendment) would allow us to get back to a place where the relative weight of highly populous and less populous places gives us a reasonable mechanism for decision-making. That would minimize the risk of a president being elected with a minority of the popular vote.

In addition to addressing the legitimacy crisis of the Electoral College, increasing the size of the House would also reduce the size of each representative’s constituencies, enabling members of Congress to be more responsive to their voters. While some people might fear a larger Congress would be more unwieldly, it’s worth noting that both the British Parliament and the German Bundestag are bigger than our Congress, even though their populations are both less than a third the size of America’s. It is indeed possible to be bigger and remain functional.

A second recommendation from our report is to shift to universal voting — to treat voting in the same way that we treat jury service: as not just a right, but a duty. In Australia, voting has been mandatory for almost a century, with a minor fine applied to anyone who fails to vote without an excuse. “Mandatory” in Australia does not mean that Australians are obliged to vote for one of the candidates on the ballot. They’re free to submit an empty ballot. The goal is to create an ethos, a sense of a duty to participate in civic life that is reinforced structurally.

“The British Parliament and the German Bundestag are bigger than our Congress, even though their populations are both less than a third the size of America’s.”

Increasing the size of the House doesn’t clearly advantage either party, so this reform could potentially get through as a good government reform that could appeal to both sides. It received support from both sides of the political spectrum in our commission work. Universal voting via a federal decision might be challenging at the moment, but states could introduce this and start setting a new standard for how we approach voting in the country.

Universal voting would be valuable for a number of reasons. When voting is mandatory, candidates don’t have an incentive to campaign with the goal of demoralizing their opponents’ voters so that those voters won’t turn out. Right now, our elections are full of negative campaigning, partly because one of the purposes of negative ads is to try to discourage your opponent’s voters from even going to the polls. But with mandatory voting, that incentive falls away.

But here’s the more important point about universal voting. Part of the reason for the botched COVID response is that it got caught up in a fundamental fight about voting rights. Universal voting would bypass controversies over voter suppression and assert our commitment to universal suffrage. As with jury duty, we would no longer fight over who is or is not going to participate, only over how to make sure that everybody can fulfill their duty.

Universal voting would put an end to the most bitter, deep and profoundly important political fight in our country right now. It’s how we move on from the insurrection on Jan. 6. It addresses the fundamental sense of disempowerment that propelled the riot by improving the effectiveness and empowerment of our governance. Then we can get back to the job of governing on behalf of everybody.

https://www.noemamag.com/january-6-w...c2d380d4a9c79e
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Old 03-30-2021, 01:28 PM   #712
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Default This is what happens when a political party turns against democracy.

The G.O.P. Has Some Voters It Likes and Some It Doesn’t

By Jamelle Bouie
Opinion Columnist
March 30, 2021


Credit: Damon Winter/The New York Times

This is what happens when a political party turns against democracy.

The most outrageous provision of the Election Integrity Act of 2021, the omnibus election bill signed by Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia last week, is one that makes it illegal for anyone except poll workers to offer food or water directly to voters standing in line. Defenders of the law say that this is meant to stop electioneering at the polls; critics say it is a direct response to volunteers who assisted those Georgians, many of them Black, who waited for hours to cast their ballots in the 2020 presidential election.

Less outrageous but more insidious is a provision that removes the secretary of state from his (or her) position as chairman of the State Election Board and replaces him with a new nonpartisan member selected by a majority of Georgia’s Republican-controlled Legislature. The law also gives the board, and by extension the Legislature, the power to suspend underperforming county election officials and replace them with a single individual.

Looming in the background of this “reform” is Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s conflict with Donald Trump, who pressured him to subvert the election and deliver Trump a victory. What won Raffensperger praise and admiration from Democrats and mainstream observers has apparently doomed his prospects within the Republican Party, where “stop the steal” is dogma and Trump is still the rightful president to many. It is not even clear that Raffensperger will hold office after his term ends in 2023; he must fight off a primary challenge next year from Representative Jody Hice of Georgia’s 10th Congressional District, an outspoken defender of Trump’s attempt to overturn the election.

This is what it looks like when a political party turns against democracy. It doesn’t just try to restrict the vote; it creates mechanisms to subvert the vote and attempts to purge officials who might stand in the way. Georgia is in the spotlight, for reasons past and present, but it is happening across the country wherever Republicans are in control.

Last Wednesday, for example, Republicans in Michigan introduced bills to limit use of ballot drop boxes, require photo ID for absentee ballots and allow partisan observers to monitor and record all precinct audits. “Senate Republicans are committed to making it easier to vote and harder to cheat,” the State Senate majority leader, Mike Shirkey, said in a statement. Shirkey, you may recall, was one of two Michigan Republican leaders who met with Trump at his behest after the election. He also described the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6 as a “hoax.”

Republican lawmakers in Arizona, another swing state, have also introduced bills to limit absentee voting in accordance with the former president’s belief that greater access harmed his campaign. One proposal would require ID for mail-in ballots and shorten the window for mail-in voters to receive and return their ballots. Another bill would purge from the state’s list of those who are automatically sent a mail-in ballot any voter who failed to cast such a ballot in “both the primary election and the general election for two consecutive primary and general elections.”

One Arizona Republican, John Kavanagh, a state representative, gave a sense of the party’s intent when he told CNN, “Not everybody wants to vote, and if somebody is uninterested in voting, that probably means that they’re totally uninformed on the issues.” He continued: “Quantity is important, but we have to look at the quality of votes, as well.”

In other words, Republicans are using the former president’s failed attempt to overturn the election as a guide to how you would change the system to make it possible. In Georgia, as we’ve seen, that means stripping power from an unreliable partisan and giving it, in effect, to the party itself. In Pennsylvania, where a state Supreme Court with a Democratic majority unanimously rejected a Republican lawsuit claiming that universal mail-in balloting was unconstitutional, it means working to end statewide election of justices, essentially gerrymandering the court. In Nebraska, which Republicans won, it means changing the way the state distributes its electoral votes, from a district-based system in which Democrats have a chance to win one potentially critical vote, as Joe Biden and Barack Obama did, to winner-take-all.

This fact pattern underscores a larger truth: The Republican Party is driving the nation’s democratic decline. A recent paper by Jacob M. Grumbach, a political scientist at the University of Washington, makes this plain. Using a new measure of state-level democratic performance in the United States from 2000 to 2018, Grumbach finds that Republican control of state government “consistently and profoundly reduces state democratic performance during this time period.” The nationalization of American politics and the coordination of parties across states means that “state governments controlled by the same party behave similarly when they take power.” Republican-controlled governments in states as different as Alabama and Wisconsin have “taken similar actions with respect to democratic institutions.”

The Republican Party’s turn against democratic participation and political equality is evident in more than just these bills and proposals. You can see it in how Florida Republicans promptly instituted difficult-to-pay fines and fees akin to a poll tax after a supermajority of the state’s voters approved a constitutional amendment to end the disenfranchisement of most ex-felons. You can see it in how Missouri Republicans simply ignored the results of a ballot initiative on Medicaid expansion.

Where does this all lead? Perhaps it just ends with a few new restrictions and new limits, enough, in conjunction with redistricting, to tilt the field in favor of the Republican Party in the next election cycle but not enough to substantially undermine American democracy. Looking at the 2020 election, however — and in particular at the 147 congressional Republicans who voted not to certify the Electoral College vote — it’s not hard to imagine how this escalates, especially if Trump and his allies are still in control of the party.

If Republicans are building the infrastructure to subvert an election — to make it possible to overturn results or keep Democrats from claiming electoral votes — then we have to expect that given a chance, they’ll use it.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/30/o...gtype=Homepage

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Old 04-02-2021, 12:55 PM   #713
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Default Arkansas anti-LGBTQ law is completely unethical

Doctor: Arkansas anti-LGBTQ law is completely unethical
Opinion by Jack Turban


Asa Hutchinson, governor of Arkansas, speaks during a Bloomberg Television interview in 2018. Hutchinson recently signed the Medical Ethics and Diversity Act into law.

As physicians, my colleagues and I have the honor and privilege to help people through some of the most difficult times of their lives. Along with this privilege come some challenging situations. Once at three in the morning, I was paged to see a patient going through alcohol withdrawal. The moment I walked into his room, he grabbed my pager from my scrubs and threw it against the wall. He screamed homophobic slurs in my face. I was tired. My shoulders tightened with anxiety, and I steeled myself against memories of middle school bullies summoned by this patient's screaming.

I pushed through and made sure he got the medical interventions he needed. Had he not received this timely medical care, his substance use would have threatened his life. My medical training taught me to prioritize his health over my pain at his words or beliefs that homophobia like his is morally wrong. It is my job to do that. Similarly, I would expect a doctor who thinks alcohol use disorder is a "moral failing" to still offer this patient evidence-based medical care.

Sadly, not all politicians think the same way. This week, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed the so-called Medical Ethics and Diversity Act into law. The law allows a wide range of health care workers -- doctors, pharmacists and even insurance companies -- to refuse to provide non-emergency healthcare based on personal "moral" objections. This new law is dangerous and directly contradicts the professional responsibilities we have as health care providersAs a gay man in medicine, I'll be the first to tell you that we should have diversity in the profession. It's important to have physicians from all races, ethnicities, religious backgrounds, gender identities and sexual orientations. I applaud that idea of a bill that promotes diversity in medicine. But Arkansas's new "Medical Ethics and Diversity" law does no such thing. It is unethical and targets diverse patients, trying to take away their health care.

The most obvious damage this law will cause for the people of Arkansas will be to limit access to certain treatments that have become politicized. This will likely include things like gender-affirming surgeries or medications for transgender people and abortion care. Of note, the state legislature also just passed a law that would explicitly outlaw gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth, despite opposition from major medical organizations and data linking gender-affirming care to lower odds of transgender people considering suicide. That bill is awaiting the governor's signature.

But Dr. Jennifer Gunter, obstetrician gynecologist, women's health expert and author of "The Menopause Manifesto," noted in an interview with me that the negative impacts of the Medical Ethics and Diversity Act may go beyond these highly politicized treatments. "What if your insurer decides your cancer is a result of immoral behavior because you were once a smoker? The potential for abuse is huge and frightening."

This new law means that health care can be blocked at various stages along the health care delivery chain. Let's say a doctor agrees to prescribe your medication -- a pharmacist could still refuse to dispense it based on whatever "moral" grounds they assert. Even if the physician and pharmacist agree to give you the medication, your insurance company could refuse to pay for it.

Proponents of the law have been quick to point out that it only applies to "non-emergency care." But we need to keep in mind that people die from "non-emergencies." Let's say a lesbian woman lives in a small town where there are only a few doctors. She develops diabetes, and the doctors in the area refuse to examine her and give her insulin because they think living as an out lesbian woman goes against their personal "morals." This woman's diabetes will progress. She will eventually lose feeling in her hands and feet. She may become blind. Her diabetes will progress and eventually she will end up in the emergency room, where the doctors will need to treat the emergency. But at that point, it will likely be too late, and she will die an early death.

This bill has left many people in Arkansas horrified. I spoke with one of them recently: Chris Attig, an 11-year US Army Veteran who lives in Little Rock, and is the father of a transgender child. He pointed out that Arkansas is a small state, and that almost all of the major hospitals are "faith-based." He worries that if these hospitals refuse to treat trans people, then his son will simply go without medical care.

Like Chris, many have seen the new law as being primarily directed toward transgender people. Arkansas has had a flurry of anti-trans legislation this year: a new law that bans transgender girls from playing on girls sports teams, a bill that outlaws gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth and now this "medical conscience" bill.

When I asked why there has been so much legislation about transgender people in Arkansas this year, State Rep. Deborah Ferguson told me she believes conservative groups in the area are simply out of issues, "Honestly I think the Family Council has run out of things to fight about. They need to look for something to validate their existence." State Sen. Kim Hammer, lead sponsor of The Medical Ethics and Diversity Act in the Senate, did not -- as of the time of this writing -- respond to my question on what prompted his introduction of the bill.

It seems clear that the new law will lead to direct negative impacts on health, and potentially deaths. But there will also be more insidious indirect effects. Research has consistently shown that bills like this cause cultural shifts. If the local news and politicians tell LGBTQ people that they can be discriminated against in health care, people are likely going to think it's okay to harass them in other settings. Sadly, LGBTQ people often take those messages to heart. As a psychiatrist, I sit with many LGBTQ people who have been told all their lives that being LGBTQ is wrong or amoral. At a certain point, they start to internalize those messages, resulting in low self-esteem, anxiety and depression. This is a primary reason for high rates of suicide among LGBTQ people.

One of the best ways of illuminating the risks posed by this Arkansas law is a major study of how marriage equality impacted adolescent mental health. In states that passed marriage equality before it was legal nationwide, adolescent suicide attempts dropped. It obviously wasn't because teenagers were getting married; it was because these conversations about the rights of LGBTQ people impact mental health dramatically. Similarly, laws permitting refusal of services to LGBTQ people have been shown to have substantial negative impacts on mental health.

The new law will also likely negatively impact Arkansas's economy. Similar lawsuits have been challenged in the courts, resulting in substantial legal fees the state would need to pay. The Idaho attorney general's office, for instance, estimated that it would cost Idaho approximately $1 million if it needed to fund a protracted legal battle over an anti-trans birth certificate bill. Some states have also seen major companies pull resources out of their state in response to similar legislation. These are resources that would be better spent fighting Covid-19 and other health challenges impacting the state.

Doctors and medical professionals train long and hard to have the privilege to care for people during some of the most challenging times in their lives. This comes with responsibilities. As a profession, we have dedicated ourselves to putting health above all other beliefs we may hold. The new Arkansas law goes against these medical ethics. I can only hope that, despite this amoral legislation, the doctors of Arkansas will uphold their duty to treat all people.

https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/02/opini...ban/index.html
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Old 04-08-2021, 05:00 AM   #714
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Default

That religion and politics are clumped together. its freaking annoying!
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Old 04-09-2021, 06:41 PM   #715
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Default Shaking my head!

Embattled Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) has been invited to speak at a pro-Donald Trump summit this week at a Florida golf resort owned by the former president. Gaetz, who is under investigation for alleged sex trafficking and engaging in a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl, said he was grateful for the chance to “share my vision” for America at the event.

Gaetz said he would be speaking Friday at the “Save America Summit” at Trump’s Doral resort in Miami.

The event is being organized by Women for America First, which has been described as a “pro-Trump dark money” organization. The group hosted the Trump rally in front of the White House on Jan. 6 that preceded ― and helped ignite ― the deadly U.S. Capitol riot.
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