Rand Paul …Again

One of the things that should be required in this country as a condition to hold office is to pass you basic High School Government and Civics exam. I mean, if they can test poor people for drug use as a basis of receiving aid, then we ought to test all elected officials for intelligence, and a comprehensive understanding of how our systm of government works…
I mean, if you are too stupid to understand it, then by no means should you be allowed to serve.
That would eliminate a lot of problems in America.

Rand Paul: Majority Rule Gave Us Jim Crow, Japanese Internment

Senator Rand Paul, exercising his minority rights by conducting a filibuster on the US Senate floor…

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) compared President Barack Obama winning elections to Jim Crow laws and Japanese internment on Thursday, arguing that they all grew out of “majority rule” thinking.

On the Fox News show “On The Record”, host Greta Van Susteren asked him about Obama. “He is quoted back in January 23rd, 2009, right when he became president first term. He said, ‘I won, so I think on that one I trump you.’ I mean, this is sort of — this has always been the viewpoint he has communicated to Republicans on the Hill,” she said.

Paul responded, “Well, you know, the danger to majority rule, to him sort of thinking, the majority voted for me now I’m the majority, I can do whatever I want and that there are no rules that restrain me — that’s what gave us Jim Crow. That’s what gave us the internment of the Japanese — that the majority said, ‘you don’t have individual rights and individual rights don’t come from your creator and they are not guaranteed by the constitution.’ Just whatever the majority wants.”

He went on, “There is a real danger to that viewpoint. It’s consistent with the progressive viewpoint. It’s been going on for 100 years. Progressives believe in majority rule, not constitutional rule. They don’t believe that rights are inherent to the individual. They think your rights are whatever the government says they are, whatever the majority says.”

But Paul’s comment that Jim Crow grew out of majority rule does not jibe with history. Blacks were absolute majorities in Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina — and made up more than 40 percent of the population in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Virginia — during the 1880s, just after Jim Crow laws began. Presumably, if there was majority rule, then Jim Crow would not have been enacted.

Japanese internment began after then- President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order that the Supreme Court upheld in Korematsu v. United States.

Speaker Boehner – “Tea Party Has Lost All Credibility”

The internal battle for the Republican Party heats up. Republican House speaker , John Boehner hammers the Tea Party over their intransigence, and refusal to participate in a functional Government…

 

 

Beginning to look like the Adults are taking charge again…

What ‘s Open and Closed in a Government Shutdown

The following is a list of what will shut down tomorrow if and agreement is not reached on the debt ceiling… Something between 1.5 and 2 million people will be laid off.Only about 800,000 of that is Federal workers. The bulk of the layoffs will be in the 3 million or so federal contract workers, affecting small, medium and large companies. Estimated costs to taxpayers will be in the $50 million to $100 million a day range, not counting what happens in financial markets.

U.S. Postal Service – OPEN

Mail will continue to be delivered, as the U.S. Postal Service is an independent agency.MORE INFO

National parks – CLOSED

“Effective immediately upon a lapse in appropriations, the National Park Service will take all necessary steps to close and secure national park facilities and grounds.”MORE INFO

Passport offices – PROBABLY OPEN

“Consular operations domestically and overseas will remain 100% operational as long as there are sufficient fees to support operations. However, if a passport agency is located in a government building affected by a lapse in appropriations, the facility may become unsupported.”MORE INFO

National zoo, all Federal Facilities (National Aquarium, National Arboretum, National Archives, Smithsonian, National Gallery of Art    etc) – CLOSED

The Smithsonian-run National Zoo will close, and none of its live animal cameras will be broadcast, including the popular baby panda feed.MORE INFO

Social Security,  Medicare and Medicaid – OPEN

Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and unemployment insurance — benefits considered mandatory spending — would be paid. But new applicants might not have their applications processed until the government reopened.MORE INFO

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission      – CLOSED

Export-Import Bank of the United States – CLOSED

Federal Communications Commission – CLOSED

FDIC Office of Inspector General – CLOSED

Federal Election Commission- CLOSED

Federal Labor Relations Authority – CLOSED

Federal Trade Commission – CLOSED

Millennium Challenge Corporation – CLOSED

National Science Foundation – CLOSED

U.S. courts – Open for 10 Days

Civilian military workers (Department of Defense) – CLOSED (About 800,000 will be furloughed)

Commodity Futures Trading Commission – CLOSED

Consumer Product Safety Commission – CLOSED

Department of Education – CLOSED

Department of Interior – CLOSED

Department of Justice – Partially CLOSED

Department of Labor – Partially CLOSED

Department of Commerce Partially CLOSED

Department of Energy – Partially CLOSED

Department of Transportation – Partially CLOSE

Department of Homeland Security – Partially CLOSED

Environmental Protection Agency – Partially CLOSED

Executive Office of the President – Partially CLOSED

General Services Administration – Partially CLOSED

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Partially CLOSED

Treasury – Partially CLOSED

Small Business Administration – Partially CLOSED

Public schools – OPEN

While public schools will remain open, the U.S. Education Department will stop most of its operations. Among other things, payment of Pell Grants and Direct Student Loans could be delayed.MORE INFO

Government Contractors – Many Closed

Anyone with a T&M type contract will not be able to do work for the gvernment, Whether the companies decide to furlough workers is up to them. Even if a contract is fully funded, contractor employees might be in a jam if they work in a federal building that is closed or with federal workers who are furloughed because of the shutdown.MORE INFO

U.S. Capitol – CLOSED

Public tours of the U.S. Capitol will be suspended in the event of a government shutdown.MORE INFO

Federal courts – OPEN

According to Judge John D. Bates, director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, federal courts could continue to operate for approximately two weeks with reserve funds.MORE INFO

Immigration procedures – PROBABLY OPEN

The Department of Homeland Security will no longer operate its E-Verify program, which means that businesses will not be able to check on the legal immigration status of prospective employees during the shutdown. Other fee-based immigration services should continue.MORE INFO

WIC program – CLOSED

The WIC program, which provides food to 8.9 million low-income women and children, would be out of money, its supporters say.MORE INFO

VA disability claims – CLOSED

All VA medical facilities would remain open for inpatient and outpatient care, but benefits programs overseen by the VA would probably be affected by a shutdown.MORE INFO

Federal prisons – OPEN

Federal prisons would be staffed. MORE INFO

SNAP – OPEN for 30 days

USDA said funding for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits — formerly known as food stamps — will continue in October under authority granted by the 2009 stimulus bill.MORE INFO

Airports – OPEN

Air traffic controllers and baggage screeners are considered essential, so planes will fly.MORE INFO

IRS – PROBABLY CLOSED

Tax filers facing an Oct. 15 deadline would find the phone lines at the Internal Revenue Service dead.MORE INFO

Food inspectors – OPEN

Meat and poultry inspectors will keep working.MORE INFO

Patent and Trademark Office – OPEN

The Department of Commerce will maintain patent and trademark application processing during the shutdown.MORE INFO

Amtrak – OPEN

Amtrak officials have said trains will continue to run.MORE INFO

Congressional Budget Office – CLOSED

Merit Systems Protection Board – CLOSED

 

The Racism in Italy – It’s Not Just Spain

 

Italy Integration minister Cecile Kyenge, who was born in Democratic Republic of Congo

 

Wherever you have a “right wing” – You have racism. In this, the US is no different from Europe.

Bananas Thrown At Black Italian Minister, Cecile Kyenge, During Speech

Italy’s first black minister, a target of racist slurs since her appointment in April, has condemned a spectator who threw bananas towards her while she was making a speech at a party rally.

Integration minister Cecile Kyenge, who was born in Democratic Republic of Congo, has angered far-right groups with her campaign to make it easier for immigrants to gain Italian citizenship.

Shortly before the incident on Friday, members of the right-wing Forza Nuova group left mannequins covered in fake blood at the site of the rally in Cervia, central Italy, in protest against Kyenge’s proposal to make anyone born on Italian soil a citizen.

“Immigration kills,” was written on leaflets accompanying the dummies – a slogan Forza Nuova has previously used when referring to murders committed by immigrants in Italy.

Although the bananas missed the stage where Kyenge was speaking, she responded to the gesture on Twitter, calling it “sad” and a waste of food, considering the economic crisis.

“The courage and optimism to change things has to come above all from the bottom up to reach the institutions,” she added.

Kyenge has faced regular insults since becoming minister, often from other politicians. Earlier this month a senior parliamentarian in the anti-immigration Northern League party likened her to an orangutan and only apologised after a storm of criticism.

 

Haiti (Finally) Gets a New Prime Minister

The most powerful man in Haiti is not the President – it is the Prime Minister. Under the Haitian Constitution, the Prime Minister holds absolute control of the purse strings, appointment of members of the Cabinet, and control over lower level Government appointments.

In a battle reminiscent of Republicans holding up Democrat appointments in the US – the Haiti Senate has roadblocked President Martelly’s appointments to the Prime Minister position since President Martlelly took office in May. Two candidates have been outright rejected.

What this has meant for the country is that reconstruction of the major infrastructure has been at a complete standstill. There has been virtually no work done on any of the critical systems in the country, other than that done by the sheer guts and perspicacity of the local citizenry. Announcements of various projects, or international investments and aid have been largely symbolic, as since the resignation of the previous Prime Minister there has be no one in the Haitian Government with the authority to sign a contract on behalf of the Government of Haiti.

So the appointment and ratification by the Haitian Congress of Dr. Cornille is being greeted warmly by the international and local Haitian communities. Hopefully – nearly 2 years after the devastating earthquake.

Bill Clinton aide confirmed as Haitian prime minister

Haiti’s Senate confirmed the nomination of Garry Conille, an advisor to former US president Bill Clinton, to be the country’s prime minister.

Conille, a 45-year-old physician by training, was the third candidate put forward by President Michel Martelly for the post in a bid to end a three-month long impasse over the makeup of his fledgling government.

Seventeen senators voted in favor of Conille’s candidacy, three voted against it and nine abstained during the hours-long session.

Conille’s selection was approved by the lower house of parliament last month.

Senate president Rodolphe Joazile announced that the candidacy had been ratified, but Senator Joseph Lambert of the opposition UNITE party said the body had not given Conille a “blank check” and that he should also seek a vote of confidence from the two chambers of parliament.

The prime minister in Haiti is appointed by the president and mainly serves as cabinet chief.

Conille has been serving as chief of staff to Clinton who, as the UN special envoy for Haiti, is a key player in deciding how the impoverished country will spend millions of dollars in international reconstruction aid.

Conille was educated in Haiti and received graduate training in health administration at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a Fulbright scholar.

He has also worked as the United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP) resident representative for Niger.

Martelly, a popular former singer elected by a wide margin, was sworn in as president of Haiti on May 14 but has not yet put his government in place amid resistance from the opposition-dominated parliament.

Martelly vowed to “change Haiti” upon taking office, promising to restore order and confidence in a country struggling to emerge from one of the most destructive earthquakes of modern times.

Much of the capital was leveled in a 7.0-magnitude quake in January 2010 that killed more than 225,000 people and left one in seven homeless in a nation that was already the poorest in the Americas.

The pace of reconstruction has been painfully slow for hundreds of thousands of traumatized survivors who lost everything and are forced to live in squalid tent cities around the still-ruined capital.

UN aid chief Valerie Amos called for continued humanitarian assistance to Haiti on Thursday, stressing that it was still a country in crisis.

Visiting the country during a two-day evaluation mission, Amos said the 600,000 people still living in camps have urgent needs for basic food, water, sanitation and housing services.

The humanitarian situation has been further aggravated by a cholera epidemic that has killed more than 5,000 people, food insecurity for 4.5 million and an active hurricane season that has already destroyed homes and crops.

626… Not Just Tuskeegee

More about medical experiments conducted by the US Government on patients in Guatemala. The studies are chillingly similar to the sort of experimentation done on prisoners by the Nazis and Japanese during WWII.

Black Americans before Civil Rights feared going to hospitals in some parts of the country…

Perhaps for good reason. Dr John Cutler appears to be our very own Dr. Mengele.

Guatemala Experiments: Syphilis Infections, Other Shocking Details Revealed About U.S. Medical Experiments

A presidential panel on Monday disclosed shocking new details of U.S. medical experiments done in Guatemala in the 1940s, including a decision to re-infect a dying woman in a syphilis study.

The Guatemala experiments are already considered one of the darker episodes of medical research in U.S. history, but panel members say the new information indicates that the researchers were unusually unethical, even when placed into the historical context of a different era.

“The researchers put their own medical advancement first and human decency a far second,” said Anita Allen, a member of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues.

From 1946-48, the U.S. Public Health Service and the Pan American Sanitary Bureau worked with several Guatemalan government agencies to do medical research – paid for by the U.S. government – that involved deliberately exposing people to sexually transmitted diseases.

The researchers apparently were trying to see if penicillin, then relatively new, could prevent infections in the 1,300 people exposed to syphilis, gonorrhea or chancroid. Those infected included soldiers, prostitutes, prisoners and mental patients with syphilis.

The commission revealed Monday that only about 700 of those infected received some sort of treatment. Also, 83 people died, although it’s not clear if the deaths were directly due to the experiments.

The research came up with no useful medical information, according to some experts. It was hidden for decades but came to light last year, after a Wellesley College medical historian discovered records among the papers of Dr. John Cutler, who led the experiments.

President Barack Obama called Guatemala’s president, Alvaro Colom, to apologize. He also ordered his bioethics commission to review the Guatemala experiments. That work is nearly done. Though the final report is not due until next month, commission members discussed some of the findings at a meeting Monday in Washington.

They revealed that some of the experiments were more shocking than was previously known.

For example, seven women with epilepsy, who were housed at Guatemala’s Asilo de Alienados (Home for the Insane), were injected with syphilis below the back of the skull, a risky procedure. The researchers thought the new infection might somehow help cure epilepsy. The women each got bacterial meningitis, probably as a result of the unsterile injections, but were treated.

Perhaps the most disturbing details involved a female syphilis patient with an undisclosed terminal illness. The researchers, curious to see the impact of an additional infection, infected her with gonorrhea in her eyes and elsewhere. Six months later she died.

Dr. Amy Gutmann, head of the commission, described the case as “chillingly egregious.”…

Threat of Beer Shortage Forces Republicans to Capitulate in Minnesota

President Obama – I have a solution for you!

Since the debt crisis will force a government shutdown – perhaps what needs to happen is to shut down beer production and delivery…

As the Olympic Beer riot showed, white folks in this country will go crazy with no beer! It would be National Tar and Feather a Rethugly Day…

In about 2 weeks.

One by one, bars get tapped out

Hundreds of bars, restaurants and stores across Minnesota are running out of beer and alcohol and others may soon run out of cigarettes — a subtle and largely unforeseen consequence of a state government shutdown.

In the days leading up to the shutdown, thousands of outlets scrambled to renew their state-issued liquor purchasing cards. Many of them did not make it.

Now, with no end in sight to the shutdown, they face a summer of fast-dwindling alcohol supplies and a bottom line that looks increasingly bleak…

Dayton, GOP reach a budget deal to end the two-week government shutdown

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and GOP legislative leaders announced Thursday evening they have reached a budget deal to end a two week government shutdown.

After a three-hour meeting with GOP leaders, Dayton said the shutdown will be done “very soon, within days.”

Dayton agreed to drop his insistence on a tax hike and accept the Republican offer to borrow money to balance the budget.

But the governor said the deal must include a $500 million bonding package for new building projects around the state, withdrawal of the divisive social issue proposals now threaded through Republican spending bills, and elimination of the GOP proposal to reduce the state workforce by 15 percent.

House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, said he will have the votes in the House to pass the agreement.

Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, agreed. “We believe the caucus will ultimately support this.”

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