Friday, June 01, 2012

Department of Justice Orders Rick Scott to Stop Voter Purge

Fri Jun 01, 2012   By Joan McCarter at DailyKos

The Department of Justice has ordered Florida Gov. Rick Scott to halt the purge of of voters from its rolls, a "clean-up" that Florida officials insist is necessary to prevent non-citizens from voting, but has proven to be targeted toward primarily Latino and Democratic voters.

T. Christian Herren, chief of the department's voting section, wrote in a detailed, two-page letter to Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner that the state is in violation of both Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act and the National Voter Registration Act, informing Detzner that the state had until next Wednesday, June 6 to respond. The Voting Rights Act requires that Florida get preclearance from the federal government before it makes changes to voting processes or procedures because of the history of racial discrimination in voting in five of the state's counties.

"Our records do not reflect that these changes affecting voting have been submitted to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia for judicial review or to the Attorney General for administrative review as required by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act," Herren wrote.

"Accordingly, it is necessary that they either be brought before that court or submitted to the Attorney General for a determination that they neither have the purpose nor will have the effect of discriminating on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group under Section 5." [...]

Herren also said that the National Voter Registration Act bans Florida’s effort because it says “a State shall complete, not later than 90 days prior to the date of a primary or general election for Federal office, any program the purpose of which is to systematically remove the names of ineligible voters from the official lists of eligible voters.”

About 2,700 voters have received notification that the state has determined that they are not citizens and are thus ineligible to vote. They were given 30 days to provide proof of citizenship and restore their voter registration. For many, that 30 days will expire on June 9.

The state hasn't yet formally responded to the Justice Department, but initial statements indicate it will fight. “We are firmly committed to doing the right thing and preventing ineligible voters from being able to cast a ballot,” said Chris Cate, spokesman for Secretary of State Ken Detzner, who was ordered by Gov. Rick Scott to conduct the purge. In fact, prior to the DOJ intervention, the state said that it intends to expand the purge list, regardless of the high number of citizens it was disenfranchising.

The state has until Wednesday to respond. If it refuses to stop the purge, the DOJ can and probably will get a temporary restraining order imposed, and take the state to court.


Thursday, May 31, 2012

Friday Funnies:Facebook,Republicans, And Mitt Romney?

  Well hell, what a week this has been! It’s still has been a Facebook week, unless you do not own any of the overpriced I.P.O. stock. Factually challenged, serial liar Mitt Romney is now dating “ birther “ Donald Trump, and the Republican Party and its followers are still idiots, terminally stuck on stupid.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Copyright © 2012 Creators Syndicate

Copyright © 2012 Creators Syndicate

Copyright © 2012 Creators Syndicate

Jay Leno:"Mitt Romney pledged this week (that) if elected president, he will drive down unemployment to 6% or lower before the end of his first term. Well, it's easy enough to do; all he has to do is re-hire the people he already fired."

"Former President Bill Clinton posed for pictures with his arms around two women, both of whom turned out to be famous porn stars. See, this is why we miss Clinton. He was like a president and a Secret Service agent all rolled into one."

"The Center for Responsive Politics reports that President Obama has become the first politician in history to raise $1 billion in his political career. Imagine how much more he could have raised if people hadn't lost it all in his economic plan?"

Bill Maher; "This Facebook fiasco is one of the biggest clusterf**ks ever on Wall Street. Regular people got screwed and the banks and the insiders did okay. Or as Mitt Romney calls it, 'The American Dream.'"

"Mitt Romney was attacking Obama about our failing education system. He has a point. We are graduating millions of people in this country who are so lacking in basic analytical skills, they are considering voting for Mitt Romney."

"As George Bush once said, 'Our kids is not learning.'"

"Mitt Romney has begun vetting his vice presidential candidates. This is a tough thing because they want to appeal to the Republican base. They want a strong conservative there, but someone who will not upstage Mitt Romney. So the search is on for a strong conservative in a coma."

"Mitt Romney is trying to get the Latino vote ... He maintains he’s always had a great relationship with the Latinos in his life, as long as they don’t wake him up with the leaf blower."

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Gov. Scott Walker: Once A Fan Of Recalls…

until he has had to face one himself.

By  eXtina  on Wed May 30, 2012         Original Post

Gov. Scott Walker has claimed the effort to recall him and his allies is an expensive and unnecessary political gambit, even  though Wisconsin's Constitution is clear that the reasons for recall are to be specified by those seeking the recall.

He says

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign is spending a lot of the money it has collected from out-of-state billionaires to fund a television ad campaign that preaches against recall elections.

The governor’s “Recall: No” campaign, ../ argues that the push for a recall election is simply “sour grapes.” Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch won the 2010 election, the line goes, so Wisconsinites should swallow hard and shut up for four years.

This fantasy, that elections produce a “king for four years” or an “elected despot” (to borrow phrases from Thomas Jefferson and James Madison), has been promoted by the governor in interviews with right-wing talk radio and regular appearances on Fox News and CNBC programs.

“A minority of voters will get to force a new election in Wisconsin … costing millions of dollars to the taxpayers this spring,” Walker griped in the latest of the appearances on programs that he makes as part of a fundraising push.

And Tom Barrett reminds us that Walker signed petitions to recall Sen. Feingold and Sen. Kohl, because he disagreed with political decisions they made, one of only a few state legislators to do so. Walker has no memoryof signing those petitions he says, and they have since been destroyed. And took money from this group after it disbanded.

In 2002 Walker became the favored candidate of the group seeking to replace County Executive Tom Ament. He waxed poetic about that 'display of hope'when he ran for governor in 2010.

You know the folks that were angry about this started a recall and they were told they needed to collect 73,000 signatures in 60 days. Well, not hundreds, not thousands, but tens of thousands of ordinary people did an extraordinary thing. They stood up and took their government back. In less than 30 days they collected more than 150,000 signatures. It was at that moment I realized the real emotion on display in my county wasn’t just about anger. You see, if it had been about anger, it would have been about people checking out and moving out or giving up. But instead what happened was really amazing. You saw people standing up shoulder to shoulder, neighbor to neighbor and saying we want our government back. And in doing so the real emotion on display was about hope.”

Recall of Scott Walker? Sour grapes.  Recall of someone Walker wants to replace? Democracy and hope on disply. Just a little bit of hypocrisy there.


BREAKING! Obama To Sell Florida Back To Spain!

     Hello.  Joe Arpaio here.  You probably didn't know I was a Kossack.  Well, I'm gonna school you on that and a lot of other things.  For example, did you know that my Special Investigation Unit has just received solid intelligence to the effect that when King Juan Carlos was visiting Pensacola, Fla. in February 2009, he wasn't just there to commemorate the 450 years since the city's founding by Spaniards. 

In fact, the Spanish King was there to sign an earnest money agreement with "President" Obama, whereby the United States would sell Florida back to Spain.

As America's Toughest Sheriff®, I've been watching this situation for some time.  It looks like when Michelle Obama went to visit the Spanish royal family in August 2010 with her daughter Sasha, this was simply a cover story.  

The real purpose of course was to turn over her extra keys to Florida and give Queen Sofia the instructions on how to set the burglar alarm.

And tell me that this isn't suspicious:

PENSACOLA, Florida (AP): In the City of Five Flags on Thursday, it was the red and yellow of the Spanish banner that dominated as King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia helped celebrate the history Pensacola shares with their country.

School children wearing the Spanish colors and thousands of others with signs lined much of the route from Pensacola Beach to downtown to welcome the royal couple, who were invited as part of the 450th anniversary of the first Spanish settlement in what is now the United States.

Can you imagine the brainwashing that's already gone on to accustom little school children into fervently waving the Spanish flag?

I've been reading how back in 2010, this Obama fellow, whoever he is, met with the King of Spain in February 2010 and told King Juan Carlos he'd like to visit Spain.  Then it hit me like a federal lawsuit alleging systemic abuses of civil rights by my own department:  Obama means he'd like to visit Disney World as soon as it gets sold back to Spain!

All you have to do is connect the dots ...

* In 2010, the American Youth Soccer League held its National Games in Palm Beach, Florida.  Soccer of course is the most popular sport in Spain.  The 9,000 so-called players, coaches and so forth that came to the city were actually foreign infiltrators trying to subvert the local Floridians from true American sports, such as football, roller derby, and getting drunk and trying to shoot a beer can off your buddy's head with a crossbow.

* At the University of Florida the College of the LIBERAL Arts & Sciences has a whole department dedicated to the study of ... Spanish.  There can only be one purpose why liberals would want the youth of Florida to study Spanish: to prepare them to become subjects of Juan Carlos, rey de España.


* The Miami Dauphins aren't called that for no reason.  Juan Carlos I is in fact a member of the Bourbon family, which invented whiskey (that's how they got all their money) and also became kings of Spain after the War of Jenkin's Ear (or Jones's Nose, or something like that).  And "Dauphin" was one of the titles used by the Bourbons, there's even a picture of a Dauphin on their coat of arms!  Coincidence?  I think NOT.

* Florida has 29 electoral votes, and is considered a swing state.  And it's no surprise that the Liberal "President", Barack Obama, would consider selling Florida back to Spain.  That whole anti-colonist spin he was putting on (with the aid of his double agents, Dinesh D'Souza and Newt Gingrich) was just a false flag to prevent the Republicans from ever again getting Florida's electoral votes.

And if that doesn't convince you, consider the bilingualism at Florida's resorts.  Our academics at prestigious Area 51 University have translated this apparently innocuous Spanish text:

¡Atención los miembros del equipo de Expedición Everest! Una vez a bordo, asegurar todas las artes en la sección de carga frente a usted. Entonces, baje el cinturón de seguridad. Para su seguridad, permanezca sentado con las manos, brazos, pies, y piernas dentro el tren. Y cuida los ninos. Gracias.

into it's true nefarious form ...

Pssst, comrades of the Left Wing Conspiracy! See those happy people the next car over gibbering away in English?  Well, pretty soon Florida's gonna be reunited with the Spanish crown, and it's those folks who will be picking the oranges and the lettuce and you'll be the ones calling in to Rush Limbaugh complaining about furriners.   Ssssh ... keep it to yourself, Barack hasn't gotten over to Spain yet with Air Force One to pick up the money.   We don't want to blow the deal.

Coming up next:  What's Obama doing consulting with Peter the Great?  Is Alaska going back to the czars at 2 cents an acre?

UPDATED: It's been brought to my attention that my opponent, Paul Penzone in the next election, probably doesn't believe that Obama is going to sell Florida back to the Spaniards.  He must be part of the conspiracy too! Whatever you do, don't go to his website at and give him your financial support!

Again, the website NOT to go to is

Originally posted to Plan 9 from Oregon on Fri May 25, 2012

Monday, May 28, 2012

HEALTHCARE:The Stunning Truth About Healthcare Pricing

Sun May 27, 2012

A story in today's LA Times describes in rare detail why US healthcare is insanely expensive.  It's not due to malpractice lawsuits, patients who expect too much, high-tech medicine or burdensome regulations. No, it's the result of insurance industry bureaucracy and greed. While many consumers have long suspected that, hard evidence has been elusive.  Now, an investigation by the Los Angeles Times has turned up that hard evidence.

Evidence shows that healthcare costs are arbitrary and capricious.

The LA Times article, "Healthcare's High Cost: Many hospitals, doctors offer cash discount for medical bills," provides data showing that healthcare costs are neither realistic nor consistent. Americans purchase insurance with the expectation of getting reduced out-of-pocket healthcare costs, but instead pay more than they would if they just paid cash--sometimes, much, much more.  Example:

Los Alamitos Medical Center, for instance, lists a CT scan of the abdomen on a state website for $4,423. Blue Shield says its negotiated rate at the hospital is about $2,400.

When The Times called for a cash price, the hospital said it was $250. [LATimes]

Similar cost disparities exist at other hospitals, according to the Los Angeles Times and Dr. David Belk, MD, and insurance companies pocket the difference.

Healthcare reforms passed in the Obama administration require hospitals to disclose  their standard charges, i.e., list prices.  But, only a sucker pays the list price. The real cost of medical procedures remains hidden to most consumers.

The insurance industry can make exorbitant demands because it has full control of healthcare

Dr. Belk gives free talks around the country about the true costs of healthcare. Take a look at  video of one such talk on his website, along with a treasure trove of related information.

    In his video, Dr. Belk counters insurance industry propaganda with facts and figures, concluding, "Every price is jacked up...we're looking at 10 times on average." There is no reason, he says, why a CT scan should cost more than a plane ticket or a transmission overhaul.

"How many of you use your car insurance to pay to fill your gas tank or change your oil?  How many of you use your homeowner's insurance to pay your electric bill? Why is it that healthcare is the only industry in which we use our insurance for absolutely every expense, no matter how mundane? And, in a sense, we're forced to because if we say, "I'd rather pay for it myself," you're're fined ten times the actual value of the service you're getting." Moreover, the system limits what the physician can do even when a patient offers to pay cash.
"We're both stuck in this system where the insurance companies dictate everything we do. They control every dollar that goes into medicine--and not only do they control every dollar that goes into medicine, they can have complete control of the message. They can tell us whatever they want, and who are we to argue with them, because we have no understanding of what these costs are."
Thus, "They have us all looking in the wrong direction, and all talking about the wrong thing."  

Overpriced healthcare undermines health and the economy

One of the implications of exorbitantly priced healthcare is that many people do not receive needed care, and some die as a result.  Another implication is that huge expenditures on healthcare reduce our ability to pay for other things.

The average healthcare cost for a family of four is $20,728 a year.  The same amount of money would buy a new, mid-priced car, the LA Times points out--or a year's college tuition. No wonder many college students rack up massive student loan debt.

Were it not for the high cost of healthcare, the average American could purchase vastly  more non-healthcare goods and services. By co-opting consumer dollars, over-priced healthcare destroys jobs in other parts of the economy.


With new evidence in hand, consumers are empowered to demand a better healthcare system. That might be a private system combining high-deductible major medical insurance with patient direct pay for routine expenses, or a "single payer" government program, or something else entirely. In any case, the healthcare casino must be shut down. But, that will not happen until Americans demand it, insisting that politicians address it in their campaigns and pass reforms in their terms of office.

The time for change is now.

Originally posted to Deep Harm on Sun May 27, 2012


Obama Group Being Sneaky With Wall Street

Stunner! Gov’t “Secretly” Moves To Backstop Wall Street’s Derivatives Exchanges, Globally

 By bobswern on May 26, 2012

Around the time I posted my two latest diaries, early on Thursday [SEE: “Already In Deep Hot Water, JPMorgan Chase May Have Just Reached Its Boiling Point (Part I of II)” and “‘WhaleMu–JP Morgan’s Next Surprise?’ by Michael Olenick (Part II of II)”], little did I know that THIS absolute stunner appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

The story, and the facts related to it, truly speaks for itself. Here are excerpts from it from Thursday’s Wall Street Journal

…J.P. Morgan's recent trading loss and the resulting Washington blather about tighter regulation have grabbed headlines. Little noticed is that on Tuesday Team Obama took its first formal steps toward putting taxpayers behind Wall Street derivatives trading—not behind banks that might make mistakes in derivatives markets, but behind the trading itself. Yes, the same crew that rails against the dangers of derivatives is quietly positioning these financial instruments directly above the taxpayer safety net.
We’re reminded of the Dodd-Frank legislation, wherein: ”One part of the law forces much of the derivatives market into clearinghouses that stand behind every trade. Mr. Dodd's pet provision creates a mechanism for bailing out these clearinghouses when they run into trouble.”
…the law authorizes the Federal Reserve to provide "discount and borrowing privileges" to clearinghouses in emergencies. Traditionally the ability to borrow from the Fed's discount window was reserved for banks, but the new law made clear that a clearinghouse receiving assistance was not required to "be or become a bank or bank holding company." To get help, they only needed to be deemed "systemically important" by the new Financial Stability Oversight Council chaired by the Treasury Secretary.

Last year regulators finalized rules for how they would use this new power. On Tuesday, they began using it. The Financial Stability Oversight Council secretly voted to proceed toward inducting several derivatives clearinghouses into the too-big-to-fail club. After further review, regulators will make final designations, probably later this year, and will announce publicly the names of institutions deemed systemically important.

We're told that the clearinghouses of Chicago's CME Group and Atlanta-based IntercontinentalExchange were voted systemic this week, and rumor has it that the council may even designate London-based LCH.Clearnet as critical to the U.S. financial system.

(Hot-link to Financial Stability Oversight Council is provided by diarist. Bold type is diarist’s emphasis.)

The piece continues on to report on remarks by former Goldman Sachs senior exec Gary Gensler, who’s now the Chairman of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). We’re told that:  “…U.S. taxpayers thinking that they couldn't possibly be forced to stand behind [U.S. banks’] overseas derivatives trading will not be comforted…” by Chairman Gensler’s remarks from this past Monday, where he “…emphasized his determination to extend Dodd-Frank derivatives regulation to overseas markets when subsidiaries of U.S. firms are involved.”

For more on the Financial Stability Oversight Council, simply click on the hot-link to it, above.

If you wish to learn more about the potential implications of this action, I would strongly suggest a read of my two posts from Thursday, also linked above. IMHO, this is a stunning development that is directly-related to those two posts.

It is truly amazing that our government uses the convenient reality that our nation’s too-big-to-fail banks simply cannot be properly regulated because much of these banks’ activities occur globally, outside of our government’s jurisdiction. However, as of this week, it is now a part of “the record” that when it comes to backstopping Wall Street’s actions with U.S. taxpayer money, on an international basis, there’s no problem facilitating that ongoing travesty…whatsoever.

Sun May 27, 2012 at  4:48 AM PT: Please checkout THIS comment.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

President Obama Talks On Mitt Romney’s Bain Experience

  President Obama had a little chat at the Iowa fairgrounds with the fair-goers on Thursday and the President had a few sharp words on Mitts time ( his record ) at his former ( ? ) company, Bain Capitol, and what it would says about Romney’s approach to the Presidentcy.

   A few snips of Obama’s speech, which can be read in its entirety right here.

Governor Romney has made his experience as a financial CEO the entire rationale of his candidacy for president. Now, he doesn’t really talk about what he did in Massachusetts. But he does talk about being a business—business guy. Right? He says this gives him a special understanding of what it takes to create jobs and grow the economy—even if he’s unable to offer a single new idea about how to do that, no matter how many times he’s asked about it, he says he knows how to do it. So I think it’s a good idea to look at the way he sees the economy.
Obama then pointed out that Romney's goal was to earn a profit for Bain, not to create jobs. There's nothing inherently wrong with that, he said, but:
When maximizing short-term gains for your investors rather than building companies that last is your goal, then sometimes it goes the other way. Workers get laid off. Benefits disappear. Pensions are cut. Factories go dark. In some cases, companies are loaded up with debt — not to make the companies more productive, not to buy new equipment to keep them at the cutting-edge, but just to pay investors. Companies may go bankrupt as a result. Taxpayers may be on the hook to help out on those pensions. Investors walk off with big returns, and working folks get stuck holding the bag.
And experience in doing those sorts of things—in short, Mitt Romney's experience—is not what we want in the White House, Obama said.
Now, that may be the job of somebody who's engaged in corporate buyouts. That’s fine. But that’s not the job of a President. (Applause.) That’s not the President's job. There may be value for that kind of experience, but it’s not in the White House. (Applause.)
Obama then made the case for what he thinks a president should be focused on:
See, the job of a President is to lay the foundation for strong and sustainable broad-based growth — not one where a small group of speculators are cashing in on short-term gains. It’s to make sure that everybody in this country gets a fair shake—(applause)—everybody gets a fair shot, everybody is playing by the same set of rules. (Applause.)
Without using labels, Obama then contrasted the Democratic vision for American capitalism with Mitt Romney's Republican vision:
Now, let me tell you something. We believe in the profit motive. We believe that risk-takers and investors should be rewarded. That's what makes our economy so dynamic. But we also believe everybody should have opportunity. (Applause.) We believe—we think everybody who makes the economy more productive or a company more productive should benefit.

And the problem with our economy isn’t that the American people aren’t productive enough—you’re working harder than ever. Productivity is through the roof. It's been going up consistently over the last decade. The challenge we face right now—the challenge we’ve faced for over a decade—is that harder work hasn’t led to higher incomes. Bigger profits haven’t led to better jobs. And you can’t solve that problem if you can’t even see that it's a problem. (Applause.)

And he doesn't see it's a problem. And so this experience explains why he is proposing the exact same policies that we already tried in the last decade, the very policies that got us into this mess. He sincerely believes that if CEOs and wealthy investors are getting rich, then the wealth is going to trickle down and the rest of us are going to do well, too. And he is wrong. Source

  I’m not sure about you, but, I do not think that America needs another businessman in the White House. Just think back to our last President with an MBA, George Bush. His business acumen is what got the United States into this mess in the first place. Mitt Romney’s policies would be just a continuance of Bush’s.