Sunday, March 18, 2012

Last Call

The Kroog reminds us that between 2001 and 2010, before HCR was ever on the books, 1 in six Americans lost their employer-based health insurance during the Bush years and the 2008 recession that followed.

Reed Abelson at Economix points us to a startling study on the effects of the Great Recession on health insurance. You can see similar trends in the Census data, but for whatever reason this survey — carried out by a highly reputable group — is even stronger. Here’s the key picture:

What this says is that the system that has provided workable insurance coverage to many (but not enough) Americans is coming apart at the seams. And this in turn means that if health reform goes down, we’re going to be looking at a wave of misery spreading across the land.

Republicans want to replace HCR with "You're at the mercy of the insurance companies.  Good luck."  And yes, this includes Mitt Romney, who has vowed time and time again to "repeal Obamacare".  Like it or not, it's the only way forward now.  If it's repealed...and if the GOP wins, it will be...then it's over.

Better choose a side.

Mitt's Deal With The Devil

So what's Mitt Romney going to do to win? Make a deal with the Devil, of course.

While Romney’s public activities are geared almost entirely toward winning the nomination, his campaign is on a private mission aimed beyond spring. Senior aides and surrogates — hoping to seize a moment when even some unfriendly Republicans are beginning to see Romney as inevitable — have spent the past several weeks making calls and visits to conservative leaders and activists who have resisted Romney’s candidacy.

Campaign manager Matt Rhoades has been wooing tea party organizers in general-election swing states and, in some cases, offering private meetings with Romney. Advisers with roots in the conservative movement, such as Bay Buchanan and Mark DeMoss, have been reaching out to evangelical leaders who are backing other candidates. Elected officials, led by Sen. Roy Blunt (Mo.), have been courting lawmakers and Beltway power-players who are not on board.

In Boston, longtime confidants Beth Myers and Ron Kaufman are developing a plan for the GOP convention in Tampa, to prevent the party from being divided during the nominee’s turn in the spotlight. Still other Romney emissaries are in touch with mega-donors — including billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who has been supporting former House speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.), and Foster Friess, who backs former senator Rick Santorum (Pa.) — to persuade them to jump ship.

The coordinated approach, detailed this week in interviews with Romney advisers and supporters, is designed to assure all factions within the party that, as one adviser said, “when the dust settles, we want everybody on board.”

This is the part where Romney makes his promises to the Tea Party and the Corporate wings of the GOP that their extremist nonsense will be his first political acts in office.  He wants Santorum and Gingrich out, and to do that, he has to convince the money people that Romney is for sale.

Of course he's for sale.  He stands for the highest bidder.  And he's making deals to get the Tea Party lunatics and the billionaires who fund them the America they want at the expense of all of the rest of us.

Do we finally understand that Mitt Romney is in no way, shape or form a "moderate" ?

Morocco Promises Changes In Rape-Marriage Law

RABAT, March 15 (Reuters) - Morocco on Thursday said it would amend a law allowing rapists to marry their underage female victims after the suicide of a teenage girl raised doubts about the effectiveness of reforms to women's rights in the country.

Sixteen-year-old Amina El-Filali killed herself last week near the northern city of Larache by swallowing rat poison after a six-month forced marriage to the man who raped her.

Local human rights activists say the law violates women's rights and was created to avoid damage to the reputation of the victim's family.

Rape victims in Morocco carry a stigma of shame and dishonour. They are often suspected by police and judges of consent, and little social assistance is given to help them rebuild their lives.

Convicted rapists face five to 10 years in prison, and up to 20 years when the victim is underage.

At the westernmost boundary of the Muslim world, and only a stone throw's away from Europe, Moroccan women find themselves enjoying more freedoms. A family law reformed in 2004 won the North African country praise from the West for giving Moroccan women more rights than many Arab states.

But that reform, which led to the creation of matrimonial courts, has been dogged by Morocco's conservative and predominantly male judges, and by a failure to adopt laws to ensure better protection to women from physical abuse.

If there was consent, it wouldn't be rape. There is no shame for the family, or the victim, or there shouldn't be. Being selected for rape can come down to opportunity, or something out of the victim's control, such as eye color or height. It cam come from being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or as the result of a poor decision. But it never, ever comes from consent, or the very definition of rape is contradicted.

That a female minor could be raped and then forced to marry her attacker is insane. How does that save her or her family any pain? Compounding the mistake at the victim's expense is deplorable. Forced marriage is sickening enough as it is, but marrying one's attacker would be a lifetime of servitude to the person who caused them pain and terror.

And this is after radical improvements.

A Special Place In Hell, Oklahoma Style

"It is - if not the most - probably one of the most heinous crimes we've had in our county," said Undersheriff LouAnn Brown with the Osage County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators say the Thomas' four adopted children, two boys and two girls, were abused for as long as nine years. The children are between 13 and 15 years old.

"Food was an issue, and punishment, was they were only allowed a certain amount of food, the kids have talked about that and if they overstepped that limit then there was punishment," Brown said.

Court documents detail the children were allegedly paddled regularly, forced to eat horse manure, forced to perform sex acts, fed bar soap and cayenne pepper and forced to vomit food and eat it off the floor.

"It's hard because we have families of our own and for people to be able to adopt children and then abuse them like these children have been abused, it's just wrong," Brown said.

According to court documents, the couple had two other foster children who were removed from the home in 2003 by the Department of Human Services after signs of abuse were discovered.

This made me sick to my stomach.  This can't be chalked up to anything but pure evil.  I hope these two lose their freedom forever, and those poor kids are given the best that Oklahoma has to offer them.  Somebody dropped the ball, and these kids paid for it for almost a decade.  Unforgivable.

Split Decision Equals Derision

Republicans in Wisconsin continue to fall apart at the seams as Gov. Scott Walker's self-immolation keeps claiming political victims around him.

Wisconsin state Sen. Pam Galloway (R) is resigning from the chamber today, citing a family health situation. Galloway was one of the targeted incumbents in upcoming recall elections.

This also means that as of now, the Republicans have officially lost their Senate majority, leaving the chamber split 16-16. The recall elections to come will determine who takes the majority. 

Wisconsin Dems are not sitting idly by, and if they regain the Governor's mansion and the State Senate now, Wisconsin's GOP is done for.  It shows that we can fight back, even in states like Kentucky.  We'll see.
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