Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Headlines - Tuesday July 31

New Jersey Bed & Breakfast Owner Tells Lesbian Mom: God Invented AIDS So That We Don't Have To Serve Gays
Romney praises socialized medicine in Israel that includes govt mandate
It's socialized medicine that covers everyone in the country. And Romney just praised its amazing ability to keep health care costs down.
"When our health care costs are completely out of control. Do you realize what health care spending is as a percentage of the GDP in Israel? 8 percent. You spend 8 percent of GDP on health care. And you're a pretty healthy nation," Romney told donors at a fundraiser at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, speaking of a health care system that is compulsory for Israelis and funded by the government. "We spend 18 percent of our GDP on health care. 10 percentage points more. That gap, that 10 percent cost, let me compare that with the size of our military. Our military budget is 4 percent. Our gap with Israel is 10 points of GDP. We have to find ways, not just to provide health care to more people, but to find ways to finally manage our health care costs."
Well, Mr. Romney, here's how Israel does it - with nationwide government mandated health care.

From The Jewish Daily Forward:
Health care provision in Israel is made through not-for-profit health maintenance organizations. Six months after the Jewish state was established, in 1948, just 53% of the population had HMO insurance. Israel steadily increased its financial contribution to HMOs, making membership more affordable, and in 1973 it obliged employers to pay contributions toward employees' policies.

But HMOs were still free to turn away people who they regarded as too high-risk, so in 1995, when 4% of the population was uninsured, the government made coverage universal by passing the National Health Insurance Law. It meant that everybody had the right — and obligation — to be covered by one of the country's four not-for-profit HMOs. Residents of the country pay from income-related contributions collected through the tax system, which cover around 40% of HMOs' costs. The state pays the remaining 60%.

People are allowed to choose which HMO to join and are allowed to change once a year, but the differences are mostly superficial: By law they are obliged to provide a standardized "basket" of services and medicines, from emergency to preventative. Except for some consultations and tests for which the patient makes a contribution to the cost — usually less than $10 — HMOs transfer funds to clinics, health centers and hospitals to cover all services. There are only a handful of completely private hospitals.
To some degree he can't help himself. His entire campaign is based on a lie - that he's a Republican, let alone a conservative - so now he keeps speaking the truth, like about health care in Israel, and then finds himself up against his earlier lies.

Things are tough on Romney's worldwide alienation tour, and his press secretary is getting touchy (via):

"Show some respect," he said after being challenged for not taking questions, according to pool reports.

"We haven't had another chance to ask a question," a New York Times reporter said.

"Kiss my ass," Gorka said back. "This is a Holy site for the Polish people. Show some respect."

Just a few moments later, Gorka told a Politico reporter to "shove it," reports CNN.

The Army does not need massive numbers of tanks. It has thousands of them sitting in mothballs.

But that doesn't stop Congress from designating money for more tanks. And if they aren't buying more tanks, Congress wants to spend money to refurbish tanks the Army isn't using.

the company that makes tanks, General Dynamics, has been buying the loyalty of congressman to ensure that they get to make more tanks.

Ike was right. This is all about government welfare for large corporations. If the government was paying a bunch of us to blog about meaningless bullshit, you can bet your ass that the same congressvermin who are in General Dynamic's pocket would be evincing high levels of outrage. And the other congressfools will keep mum because they want the support of General Dynamic's tools when it comes time to protect their local bridges to nowhere.

So General Dynamics will upgrade more tanks, which will then be parked in storage forever. Corporate welfare at its finest.  
Then he insulted the Palestinians. In Rmoney's world view, Israel is superior because they have a stronger economy than the Palestinians, who have been forced into massive refugee camps, barred from working - even getting hold of building materials is an ordeal. But none of that would matter if their culture was superior like Israel's is. Seriously. (You can go ahead and scream now. I'll wait. . .)
At what point does Limbaugh's hate-speech cross the line into criminality? I am of the opinion that anyone who openly advocates misinforming voters about the date/polling places of elections is overt election tampering. On his show on Monday, he suggested that poor people should be misinformed about when and where to vote.
Shortly after Romney said that Israel is less safe with Obama in office, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak praised the president's policies, declaring, "President Obama is doing in regard to our security more than anything that I can remember in the past."
House Republicans have gone to great lengths to block implementation of a new food safety law, while also trying to cut the budgets of agencies that oversee food safety. But new data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows just how foolhardy those moves are, as rates of foodborne illnesses are rising:

The most recent figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the rates of infections linked to four out of five key pathogens it tracks – salmonella, vibrio, campylobacter and listeria – remained relatively steady or increased from 2007 through 2011. The exception is a strain of E. coli, which has been tied to fewer illnesses over the same time period.

Foodborne illnesses sicken 48 million and kill roughly 3,000 Americans each year, and recently, a salmonella outbreak forced the recall of 30,000 pounds of Cargill-produced ground beef. Despite these numbers, the GOP budget made drastic cuts to the Food and Drug Administration in an attempt to prevent the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act, a law signed by President Obama last year that marked the first significant update to food safety law in a generation. The House farm bill, meanwhile, contains an amendment proposed by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) that would prevent states from regulating agricultural products.

Republicans, however, aren't necessarily alone in their fight. Obama also sought cuts to the Food Safety Inspection Service in his budget plan, and his administration has thus far failed to meet required deadlines to implement new regulations. "Everyone was hoping that this new food safety law would be in place and we'd start seeing improvements by now," Erik Olson, a director at the Pew Health Group, told the Washington Post. "What these CDC numbers show is that unless new protections are put into place, millions of Americans are going to continue to get sick from contaminated food."


Good news – the Democratic convention platform committee has decided to include pro same-sex marriage, anti-DOMA, and non-discrimination language in the official party platform.

via The Plum Line

The Washington Blade scoops that Democrats have taken a first step towards approving language for a pro-marriage equality plank in the Democratic party platform at the convention this summer. The Blade reports that the language will also condemn the Defense of Marriage Act and will also say positive things about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation by federal contractors.

A Democratic source confirms to me that the information in the Blade story is accurate. This is the first step in the platform process; the platform drafting committee met over the weekend and approved the preliminary language, which will soon go to the convention delegates in Charlotte for final approval.

As you may recall, a couple months ago there was a lot of speculation and rumor-mongering that there was "rift" within the party, with one faction opposing the inclusion of a pro same-sex marriage platform. And this hearsay was primarily spread by the concerned left.

We know how that turned out.


Romney can't recall whether or not he has paid a tax rate lower than 13 percent in the past. He'll have to go back and check.

JERUSALEM – Mitt Romney could not say today whether he had ever paid a tax rate lower than 13.9 percent, saying he would have to "go back and check." [...]

"I haven't calculated that," said Romney. "I'm happy to go back and look, but my view is I've paid all the taxes required by law."

"From time to time I've been audited as it happens, I think, to other citizens as well, and the accounting firm which prepares my taxes has done a very thorough and complete job pay taxes as legally due," said Romney. "I don't pay more than are legally due."

If you believe him, I have some doomsday insurance to sell you.

And "it was legal." Expect to hear that a lot between now and November.


Mitt Romney on his friendship with Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu:

We can almost speak in shorthand. We share common experiences and have a perspective and underpinning which is similar.

Shorthand? Wow, that is beautiful. Tell us more!

Israel's current prime minister is not just a friend, he's an old friend.

Okay, I'm convinced. Let's see how Mitt's amazingly close bond with Bibi would affect his role as President.

I'd get on the phone to my friend Bibi Netanyahu and say, 'Would it help if I said this? What would you like me to do?'

Wonderful. This is surely something which every American dreams of – a president whose loyalty to an old friend has him placing the interests of a foreign nation ahead of those of the U.S. There is no better definition of a friend than this, is there?

And what does Netanyahu have to say in return about his "old friend", Mittens?

I remember him [Romney] for sure, but I don't think we had any particular connections, I knew him and he knew me, I suppose.

I suppose? Too funny. Listen, if Romney is going to go through the trouble of lying, is it too much to ask that he at least put in the effort to make it a lie that is not this easy to refute?

What is wrong with this guy?

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