Saturday, October 31, 2015

Hacker Group Anonymous to Release Names of 1000 KKK Members Next Month

by Nomad

The hacker group Anonymous recently issued an announcement that it would reveal the identities of some 1000 members of the white supremacist organization, the KKK next month. The announcement read:
“After closely observing so many of you for so very long, we feel confident that applying transparency to your organizational cells is the right, just, appropriate and only course of action.”

Why Can't We All Just Get Along?: Speaker Ryan's Hopeless Dream of GOP Solidarity

by Nomad

Newly-crowned Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan has his work cut out for him. The real question is how long the  ultra-conservative minority will give him before the daggers come out of their togas. 

A few days ago, Paul Ryan became the 62nd Speaker of the House of Representatives, following behind weepy John Boehner. The 45-year-old Wisconsin Republican Ryan seemed less than enthusiastic about taking the position and even laid down certain conditions before considering it.

If Ryan wasn't dancing a jig, then that's not much of a surprise. His predecessor was repeatedly left dangling in the wind by the fringe Tea Party who took every opportunity to undermine his authority and scuttle whatever hard-won legislative deal he arranged with the president.
Compromise was an anathema to the ultra-conservatives and that made any kind of deal, regardless of who gave up what and what was gained, utterly hopeless.

Nothing has changed on that front and Ryan is fooling himself if he thinks his charm will calm the roaring beast in the den. In the vote for the Speaker post, Ryan received 200 out of 247 votes, dissent coming mainly from the radical right wing subminority, the House Freedom Caucus.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Busted Hustler: Ben Carson Lies about His Quack Cancer Cure Endorsement

by Nomad

Mannatech Cure CarsonQuestions have emerged about Ben Carson's endorsements of a fraudulent cancer cure product. For his part, Carson denies any relationship with the company, despite plenty of evidence.

During the debates the other night, Dr. Ben Carson was asked about his relationship with a Texas-based medical supplement maker, Mannatech, Inc.

"It's absurb," he replied, "that I had any kind of relationship with them. Do I take the product? Yes, I think it's good product." 
Carson called the claims "total propaganda."

And when the moderator pointed out that he was on the product's website, Carson maintained that: 
"If somebody put me on the homepage, it was without my permission."
The crowd clearly came out in support of Carson who used that to ignore any further questions on the matter.    
Intimidated by the audience, the moderator backed off, much to Carson's relief.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Absenteeism, Marco "No-Show" Rubio and a Question of Accountability

by Nomad

Some think it's hypocritical for Marco Rubio to ask for greater responsibility as president when he can't seem to handle being a Senator.

The question about his absences from Senate votes has been a headache for candidate Senator Marco Rubio since Donald Trump brought it up at the first debate
On average, senators miss about 3 percent of their votes or have an attendance rate of 97 percent. Rubio was a no-show for a full 30 percent of the time, missing 69 votes. 
I don't know about you, but I have never worked at a job where I could show for a third of my schedule.

Rubio searched in vain for an excuse to explain his poor record with the kind of excuse no employer would accept. In an interview, one reason was that he was "frustrated" with how things were done in the Senate. 
He came into Congress "young, ambitious, charismatic, fluent in English and Spanish, and beloved by the establishment and the tea party" only to see many of his ideas go ptfff.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Are You Ready to Say Goodbye to the Elephants?

by Nomad

According to some experts, the African elephant could be extinct in the wild within a few decades. The International Union for the Conservation ofNature reported that the African elephant population had dropped from 550,000 in 2006 to 470,000 in 2013.
The worst decline of the elephant numbers was in East Africa where the count went from 150,000 to about 100,000.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Facing Single Digit Ratings, GOP Candidate JEB Responds to his Critics by saying "Blah, Blah"

by Nomad

Despite talk of a campaign in free-fall and cuts in campaign staff and salaries, JEB says his campaign is fine. To skeptics, the articulate Bush defiantly says,"Blah, blah."

Because political campaigns are really all about appearances, so much of what really goes on is shrouded in secrecy. If there is inner turmoil, it is carefully camouflaged and when things are going well. the press is ready to exaggerate any little thing as a sign of a candidate in despair and his/her ambition shattered.

So when the news outlets heard from JEB's campaign spokespeople that the numbers of staff were being reduced and salaries were being cut, the  rumors began to buzz. It was a pointless exercise to try to get a straight answer from the horse's mouth, as the cliche goes, but some bright thing asked Bush what it meant.

He assured the reporters while campaigning in South Carolina that critics were all wrong. The changes do not signify that his campaign is losing ground to people like Ben Carson and Trump. This slide has reportedly made some of his donors uneasy. Who wants to throw money on a horse that can't win.

Meaningless Mea Culpa: All about Tony Blair's Dishonest Apology for the Iraq War

by Nomad

Blair UK Prime Minister IraqFormer British Prime Minister Tony Blair finally made an apology. To many, it was a startling admission. In fact, it was typical Blair, saying so much and yet saying nothing. He told CNN:
“I apologise for the fact that the intelligence we received was wrong. I also apologise for some of the mistakes in planning and, certainly, our mistake in our understanding of what would happen once you removed the regime.”
Sorry may be the hardest word but not for Tony Blair. That's what "whoops" sounds like in England I suppose. Still, we really need to look a little closer at Blair's barring of soul.  

Friday, October 23, 2015

Xunhui's Story: You Won't Believe What Can Be Achieved by the Blink of an Eye

by Nomad

Helen Keller, Steve Hawking and many others have demonstrated that the human spirit can often overcome what would seem to be impossible obstacles. From China comes one woman's story of determination, courage, and compassion.

Although she has been in a wheelchair since 2006, in almost complete paralysis, 62-year-old Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) patient, Gong Xunhui has actually managed to write a 150,000-word book on her life. She did this remarkable feat by blinking her eyes. 
Three years ago, Xunhui’s family bought her an eye-tracking assistive device that she could use to communicate and also control a computer.
After it was installed, the first line she typed was: “I am very happy today, and after I get better at typing with my eyes, I will probably write an autobiography.”
Her book recounts Xunhui’s 12-year journey with ALS. According to the article, Xunhui would like to publish an autobiography and use the earnings to help other ALS patients.  
when she learned that many patients couldn’t afford 20,000 yuan ($3,000) respirators, and would eventually die of suffocation, she decided to use all the proceeds from her book sales to donate respirators.
Across the US, there are more than 12,000 people who have a definite diagnosis of ALS. That's according to a report on data from the National ALS Registry
Called Lou Gehrig's disease, ALS is, in fact, one of the most common neuromuscular diseases worldwide. ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.

Although the disease affects all races, and ethnic backgrounds, ALS is more common among white males, non-Hispanics, and persons aged 60–69 years. Despite that, younger and older people also can develop the disease. Men tend to be affected more often than women.
Gong Xunhui beat the odds. Most people with the disease only survive three to five years. 
Pretty incredible story.
For the full story, follow the link below.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

How Russian President Putin Uses "Foreign Agent" Laws and State-Owned Media to Intimidate Dissent

by Nomad

Russia's English-language daily newspaper, The Moscow Times, has this insight in how the Russian government, with state-owned media at its side, is using controversial legislation to intimidate NGOs and hush dissent.

Human rights activist Nadezhda Kutepova had spent decades fighting for the rights residents of Ozyorsk in the Chelyabinsk region, some 600 miles south of Moscow. Today, however, Kutepova is living in Paris. She fears retaliation by Russian authorities if she ever dares to return.

The Not-so- Brilliant Ben

by Nomad

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

How Conservative Religious Extremists Around the World have Declared War on Secularism

by Nomad

Evangelists and some politicians talk about a war on religion and religious liberties. The examples of victimhood they cite are generally somewhat vague. Yet the truth is, around the world, the victims are not the people of faith, but those holding secularist views.  

Death of a Bangladeshi Blogger

Niloy Chatterjee lived humbly in Goran neighborhood of the Bangladesh capital, Dhaka. In early August of this year, on a Friday night, (the Sabbath day in Islam,)  a  machete welding gang broke into Chatterjee's apartment, pushed aside his family members and hacked Niloy to death in his bed. All of the attackers were apparently members of the local chapter of al-Qaeda.

As the writer of a blog, the 40-year-old Chatterjee went by the pen name, Niloy Neel. He used his blog as a free speech platform to criticize religious extremism in the nation.  

Monday, October 19, 2015

Let's Compare Clinton's Phony Email "Scandal" and Dick Cheney's Fetish for Secrecy

by Nomad

Clinton Cheney

After searching in vain since in March of last year, wasting time and spending millions, the Republican Party still expects to find something on about Hillary Clinton's emails. They've already admitted the investigation were politically-motivated.
Too bad these tireless and principled investigators were not around when Vice President Dick Cheney was fighting to keep his secrets classified.

Things have a dreadful habit of backfiring for the Republicans. The more they blustered about President Bill Clinton's adultery the higher his approval rating climbed. By and large, the public thought it was a case of too much about too too little. 

It seems like the party has learned absolutely nothing. Take the fruitless email investigation and the search for.. what are they searching for?. Does anybody remember?
We do know how it began.

Investigation Ad Nauseum

The Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee Investigation started out, as we all know, as a search for culpability in the deaths of State Department officials in the Benghazi attacks, which left four dead. 

After two agonizing years (filled with unsupported but damaging leaks to the press) the committee found that the CIA and the military acted properly in responding to the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, and asserted no wrongdoing by Obama administration appointees.  (Presumably, that would include the appointed Secretary of State.)

On the Benghazi investigation, more than $3,500,000 was thrown away. That figure exceeds the budget of the entire House Intelligence Committee. and does not include "significant expenditures made by the State Department and Defense Department to find and declassify material requested by the committee or the expense of witness travel for those who work for the government."

A miserable flop of a smear. So, what to do now, they asked? Why not a start a new investigation into Democratic candidate's use of a private email server? With the help of the media, the new so-called scandal investigation dragged on and on.
It didn't go smoothly. 
In October, false accusations by Chairman Trey Gowdy forced the CIA to step in with a rebuttal
Gowdy’s accusation was that Secretary Clinton had sent an email containing "some of the most protected information in our intelligence community, the release of which could jeopardize not only national security but human lives.”
Totally untrue. No apology or clarification. The investigation pressed on as it does today. 
How much will be spent on this investigation is anybody's guess. It won't be cheap. As one source noted:
Rep. Gowdy now states the committee will continue its work into 2016 raising its cost to taxpayers to more than $6,000,000, casting his inaction as the result of the Obama administration’s slow pace at producing requested documents, a questionable premise.
Critics of the committee (and the numbers are growing) have called the investigation as nothing short of a taxpayer funded witch hunt of a leading presidential candidate. 

Supporters of the Republican-led investigations say Hillary must be guilty of something. However, many in the GOP seem to forget when it came to keeping secrets. nothing could surpass the overt duplicity of former vice-president Dick Cheney. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

How Three Asian Nations are Beating Outrageous Price-Gouging by American Pharmas

by Nomad

Some have started to question the exorbitant prices pharmaceutical companies charge the public. In Asia, we may be seeing a push back against what some see as price-gouging of the most desperate and vulnerable segment of the world's population: The sick and the poor.

In the recent past, Nomadic Politics examined, in two posts, alleged price-gouging for one company's drug for Hepatitis C. There are further developments to that story. First, let's re-cap.

The Breakthrough

The story begins with some very good news. It was reported last year that one orally-administered drug,  Sovaldi (sofosbuvir), has proved to be a breakthrough for the treatment of a silent killer virus, hepatitis C.  
From the clinical trial reports, researchers claimed that Sovaldi was not a life-long treatment but a genuine cure for the deadly disease itself. The therapy required a 12-week therapy but at the end, most of the patients would be free of the disease.  

Then came the bad news: Gilead Sciences, the patent-owner and developer of the drug, was definitely not a charity organization. It was a profit-making company which, according to Wikipedia, earned US $12.059 billion in 2014. 
It was immediately clear to everybody that the Hep C cure was not going to be given away free. Few, however, were expecting the price the company settled on. Sovaldi costs $1,000 a day, adding up to staggering $84,000 for a 12-week supply. 
The problem is obvious: at that price, a cure is out of reach of most patients in the world and even in rich countries.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Obamacare and Red State Rejections: How the Cost of Poor Decisions Continue to Mount

by Nomad

Many Republican governors who refused to accept Medicaid expansion in their states could be having second thoughts. The full consequences of their decision are slowly but surely becoming clear.

The Obamacare battle has taken a few interesting twists.

If you look at many of the conservative sites, you'd think it was a disaster and the worst thing that ever happened to America. The fog of partisanship is hard to peer through but grandually that mist seems to be lifting and that's bad news for red states.

With around 22 states now refusing to expand Medicaid under the national healthcare policy, analysts have been warning that Republican governors may end up paying a political price for their principled rejection. 

That's particularly true in Texas and Florida where the numbers of uninsured are high. According to some estimates, one quarter of the nation's low-income uninsured reside deep in the heart of Texas. 

But it is not just Texas or Florida. If any state could benefit from Obamacare it's Mississippi. The state tops the charts for poor-health indicators: highest in poverty, second-highest in obesity, highest in diabetes and highest in pre-term births. There, 20% Mississippi's nearly 3 million residents are on the Medicaid rolls. Twelve percent are on Medicare, and 20 percent are uninsured, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. 
And yet, despite the dire need, Republican Governor Phil Bryant decided to turn down an estimated $426 million in federal funds, citing administration costs and rather oddly, the possibility that Obamacare could in the future be repealed.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Why Rand Paul's Remarks about Gay Discrimination by Employers Exposes his True Character

by Nomad

While Rand Paul claims to be against all forms of discrimination when it comes to discrimination against gays in the workplace, Paul is willing to look the other way.

In Iowa on Wednesday, Presidential candidate Rand Paul exposed himself. 
Not literally. 

Today MSNBC reports noted that during his 3-day tour in Iowa, Paul was asked whether there was a need for hiring. He didn't think discrimination against gay and lesbians was a matter for the courts. He came out against any employment protections for LGBT citizens, saying:
"I think society is rapidly changing and that if you are gay, there are plenty of places that will hire you."
Discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation by employers was something that all gay and Lesbian Americans should just put up with. They had no right to expect any protection under the law.

Paul said that designating the LGBT community as a protected class, like race, gender, and ethnicity, would create a new group "who can now sue." 
Demanding equality is not, and has never been, seeking to become a "protected class."

And the same argument used by Pand could be applied to every other group presently covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, sex, or ethnic origin.

Once you open the doors for discrimination in labor practices, it can easily spread to other areas, like the public sphere. 
Indeed, Rand Paul's reply could have been used for anti-discrimination laws in the past. The owners of "whites-only' restaurants or swimming pools could easily have made the same arguments. "There are other restaurants for blacks to eat at. Other swimming pools that black children can swim in. If they don't like sitting at the back of the bus, then let them walk."
If you think that comparison is an exaggeration, it's just not true.
Five years ago, that very question was brought up and Paul stumbled and fumbled for an answer.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

7:50 am. July 14, 1939, Oklahoma City

by Nomad

All photographs were taken by Russell Lee as part of the federally sponsored Farm Security Administration (FSA) photographic documentation project of the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Party's Over: Has the GOP Become Incapable of Leading the Nation?

by Nomad

It's becoming harder and harder to ignore the fact that the Republican Party is in chaos. Still worse, the problem is not going away any time soon. It's a battle for the heart and soul of the party. Some are asking whether all this insurgency and infighting has made the GOP incapable of governing the nation?

An article in the Los Angeles Times by Doyle McManus notes that despite having more conservatives in Congress than at any time since the 1920s, despite having control of both the Senate and the House, the GOP is a mess. Its radical minority has left the House with "no speaker, no cohesion and no strategy for turning its conservative agenda into law."

And, as McManus points out, they have nobody to blame (certainly not Obama) for this but themselves. The establishment Republicans have negligently allowed the extremists like Cruz and others to take control.
As soon as Speaker of the House John Boehner declared his intention to step down, he decided to blast the GOP radicals. calling them “false prophets” who misled their ever gullible voters. Boehner claimed that these firebrands purposely "whipped their people into a frenzy" with lies and false promises. Things, he said, they knew full well they could never keep. Like closing down Obamacare or impeaching the president over (fill in the blank).

Monday, October 12, 2015

Turkey in Shock After Bomb Blasts in Capital Kill Nearly 100 Peace Marchers

by Nomad

After twin bomb blasts rocked the Turkish capital on Saturday morning, many Turks are shell-shocked. and wonder how much worse will things get. 

Although the entire Turkish nation is in deep shock and mourning, for some of us this horrendous attack in Ankara yesterday didn't really come as a surprise.
The viciousness and the scale were however hard to comprehend.

 Violence, Tragedy and Insecurity
The double bombing at a little after ten on Saturday morning was the deadliest terrorist attack that Turkey has seen, Nearly 100 lives were lost and with hundreds more injured. There are, reports now say, something around 160 presently undergoing treatment at hospitals. The death toll is expected to rise since 65 of the injured are in intensive care. 
There were no claims of responsibility for the attack.   

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Recording the Police: When Your Constitutional Protections Mean Nothing

by Nomad

US constitution RightsYou may not know this but you really do have a constitutionally-protected right that is routinely ignored by law enforcement. And worse than that, there's not a lot you can do about it.

Civil liberties attorneys will tell you straight up that you have a right to photograph and videotape any public official doing their jobs when plainly visible in public spaces. And yes, that includes on-duty police officers. 

The Interference Limitation
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) adds that it is perfectly legal and that right includes recording the "outside of federal buildings, as well as transportation facilities, and police and other government officials carrying out their duties."

Delroy Burton, chairman of D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Union and a 21-year veteran on the force joins that chorus:
As a basic principle, we can’t tell you to stop recording. If you’re standing across the street videotaping, and I’m in a public place, carrying out my public functions, [then] I’m subject to recording, and there’s nothing legally the police officer can do to stop you from recording.”
There are some important limitations, of course.
In the course of recording, you do not have the right to put your life or the lives of others in danger. You cannot break the law in order to record, such as trespassing or disturbing a crime scene. You should not interfere with officers attempting to keep the peace in, for example, a riot or civil disturbance.  

The recording should be done in a transparent manner, and not in a surreptitious or covert way. If you record public servants without their knowledge, you could be accused of - get this- eavesdropping. Privacy laws protect the police too.

As Burton puts it succinctly "Record from a distance, stay out of the scene." As long as you are not directly involved, nothing more than a citizen witness, the police have no right to tell you to stop recording.
That's the theory, anyway.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Forgetful Senator Graham and a Flooded Two-Way Street

by Nomad

When it comes to helping people in need, Americans have always been fairly generous. Austerity-obsessed Republicans  however sometimes tend to forget what goes around, comes around.

The Great Flood of 2015
In the aftermath of extensive and deadly flooding in his state, Republican presidential hopeful Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is now making a pitch for much needed federal relief. The situation is pretty dire, from the news reports.

Some residents in the effected areas have lost everything. Even as the rains have subsided, the dangers are still mounting. Dams have been breached and other infrastructure have collapsed and rivers are still rising.
CNN reported yesterday:
Eleven people are known dead in the state due to weather-related incidents. Of those, seven drowned, according to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety. Four others died in traffic accidents.
Local media is proclaiming the flooding a "catastrophe of incredible proportion."

The Governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley, declared the flooding on this massive scale was a "1000 year event." A risky thing for her to say. It's almost (but not quite) as if she is saying that the climate has changed. Or something.
She'd better watch that kind of loose talk. In the past she has received campaign funding from the climate-change denying Koch brothers.
According to one source, “The Kochs love Nikki Haley." But it is a fickle kind of love as changeable as the weather.
Greenpeace points out that the brothers have for decades been actively financing climate denial groups and lobbying against a federal and state level any climate change legislation. It's really not much of a secret.

As you might or not know, Senator Graham is- in his meek and hopeless fashion- running for president and with a showing of less than 1%, right down there with Jim Gilmore, George Pataki, and Rand Paul

If an effort to show off his leadership skills, he told Wolf Blitzer:
"Let's just get through this thing, and whatever it costs, it costs.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Pearl S. Buck and the Privileges A Woman Must Give Up

by Nomad

A quote from a famous writer of the 1940s gives some stern advice for women voters of today. You can no longer afford the "privilege" of being complacent. 

Whenever I see women cheering in rallies for Republican conservatives, I wonder what kind of mindset would support the very elected officials who have showed so little respect for women's issues, such as women's health and reproductive choices. 

I ask myself how can so many women vote against their own interests. Where do these women come from?
One source gives a snapshot of the female conservative.
Married women are more likely to be conservative and, as the report shows, they're the one bright spot in a dark picture for the GOP. More importantly, while single women are more liberal, they don't vote as often as married women.
With so much at stake, why would any woman decide not to vote?

For such people, one writer gave a finger-wagging talking-to to women who don't concern themselves with politics.
In her 1941, book Of Men and Women,  Nobel Prize–winning author Pearl S. Buck wrote that certain attitudes had to change if women were ever going to make a positive impact politically:

What she has to give up will be her present privileges,
-the privilege of remaining ignorant in spite of education,
-the privilege of mental laziness,
-of not having to think thoroughly through any thing because she knows the ultimate decision will not rest on her,
-the privilege of being willful and capricious and irresponsible,
-the privilege of idleness and of having time to spend lavishly on self-adornment and amusement, and
-the privilege of escaping from the problems of life, by retreating from them into her home and considering that her whole duty is there.
She is, in short, to become an adult creature ready for the responsibilities of liberty."

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Oregon, Obama and The Greatness of an Angry Man

by Nomad

In the aftermath of the Oregon shooting, the visibly upset President Obama spoke to reporters and to the nation.
He was not shocked. It's hard to be shocked when, as the UKGuardian points out, there's been on average a mass shooting – involving four or more injured people – nearly every day. There have been an astounding 994 mass shootings in 1,004 days. The president was angry and he made no effort to disguise the fact.

Somehow, said the president, this has become routine. The events, the reactions, the tears and the prayers. Why must this keep happening before something gets done. Is this something we have all become numb to?

He said the burden of guilt falls ultimately on the American people for not demanding more from their representatives in Washington in their respective state legislatures.
"This is a political choice that we make, to allow this to happen every few months in America. We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones."
"This is not, Obama said, "something I can do myself."
He asked the American public to consider the ways they can get their government to change the laws and to save lives. "To let young people grow up." He declared
"That will require a change of politics on this issue. If you think this is a problem then you should expect your elected officials to reflect your views."

The Intrinsic Good: Why All Conservatives Should Be Rallying Around Same-Sex Marriage

by Nomad

You would probably never consider the Supreme Court decision against same-same marriage bans to be a great victory for the conservatives. And yet, that's exactly what it was. They just refuse to admit it.

The Friends of the Court
The term, AMICI CURIAE, in Latin means the "friends of the court." These are respected citizens who offer fact-based evidence  as well as reasoned advice to the Supreme Court judges. This assistance is unquestionably a great asset to the justices.when they are tasked with difficult rulings. 

Such consultants are also failsafe against making judicial blunders. In theory, the more input from varied sources is given, the more balanced and well-thought out that decision will be.  
The group is normally made up "social and political conservatives, moderates, and libertarians from diverse backgrounds."

One look at the list of participants would reveal the truth about Senator Ted Cruz's ridiculous charge that the “tragic” Supreme Court decisions were a case of "judicial activism." In the case of the same sex marriage ban ruling, the group came from all walks of life.   
Many have served as elected or appointed officeholders in various Presidential administrations, as governors, mayors, and other officeholders in States and cities across the Nation, as members of Congress, as ambassadors, as military officers, as officials in political campaigns and political parties, and as advocates and activists for various political and social causes.
To claim this group of around 280 men and women from such varied political and social backgrounds could have an activist agenda is preposterous in the extreme.

When the SCOTUS was reviewing the constitutionality of state-level same sex marriage bans, the Amici dutifully reviewed as much information as it could find on the legality of same sex bans. Around 55 court cases were referenced and 19 authoritative texts were also consulted before they reached their conclusions.

The counsels, in addition, reviewed the constitutional and statutory provision with care. Due to the importance of the case and the ramifications of the decision, the amicus brief not a hastily drawn-up brief.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

An Insidious Evil: Voting Rights Act, the SCOTUS Blunder and Voter ID Laws

by Nomad

President JohnsonA couple of years ago, one of the great legislative achievements from the 1960s was all but dismantled. Strange too since only seven years before it was gutted, both parties in Congress had voted to keep this landmark legislation around for another generation. We examine how this could have happened and what have been the effects.

In American history,  7 March 1965 became known as Bloody Sunday.
It was on this day that civil rights protesters clashed with Alabama State troopers. With billy clubs and tear gas, state troopers and county possemen beat, before the eyes of the nation, unarmed demonstrators. 

Despite that, two days later, a second march was organized. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was there and led the marchers and this time troopers stepped aside to let them pass. 

But that night, a gang of white thugs took their revenge of a civil rights activist, James Reeb. Reeb a white Boston minister, had come to join in the second march. Beaten to death by white men with clubs for his support of African American rights. Reeb became a martyr to the civil rights cause when he lapsed into a coma and died on 11 March 1965.

The entire nation shocked that such things could happen in the land of the free. What followed was remarkable, a national outcry against the activities of white racists leading to direct legislative action by Washington.

The Search for a Solution
On 15 March 1965, President Lyndon Johnson swiftly moved into action. He spoke before a joint session of Congress on a matter that was important to him and, he believed, important to the nation. The subject was the proposed Voting Rights Act, new laws which aimed at prohibiting racial discrimination in voting.

In certain areas of the nation, racial discrimination in voting was a deeply entrenched  problem. It had become “an insidious and pervasive evil,"  the result of an "unremitting and ingenious defiance of the Constitution.” The time had come to rectify this long-standing problem as the federal government sometimes had to do.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Dumping: Why Hospitals Continue to Abandon their Homeless Patients

by Nomad

The problem of hospital's dumping homeless patients back on the street is a shame for the nation.

The practice of homeless dumping has been for some time now a shame of the national healthcare system. Nobody is very much surprised that it happens. In a system where money outranks almost other considerations, priorities can pretty regularly become warped by the profit margin. The penniless and homeless simply aren't worth the expense of adequate healthcare when the chief aim is to make a return on investment. 

That's the harsh reality of privatized healthcare. 

In numerous incidents, hospital employees and/or emergency services  have been caught releasing back to the streets otherwise homeless patients who may be in need of expensive medical care. These patients should have been placed in shelters or in some kind of adequate facility. The street is the last place for them, for their sake's and for the sake of general public health.