Birther, Rush Limbaugh Fan Threatens the President, Gets Arrested
An 81-year-old “birther” was arrested today and charged with threatening President Barack Obama’s life, according to federal court records.
Prosecutors allege that Elwyn Nels Fossedal was in a post office near his Wisconsin home last month when he announced, “If President Obama was here I would shoot him right there and kill him right now.”
When Secret Service agents confronted Fossedal about the threat—which was relayed to law enforcement by witnesses—he would not recant the statement and “repeated the threat using different words. He also made a number of additional threats towards the President,” according to a felony complaint.
Fossedal, a retired Pfizer employee, appears to be a “birther” based on comments he has posted online. A Rush Limbaugh fan, Fossedal has also called for Obama’s impeachment over the Affordable Care Act and declared that, “We need to throw the Muslim in the White House, OUT.”
In a funeral home obituary for his wife, Fossedal is reported as having resigned from the Lions Club International because the community service organization purportedly “would not allow the worship of Jesus Christ” so that it could “be accepted by Islamic Nations.”
More manufactured, fake outrage, from the Republican swill geyser
Here Is What’s Wrong With That Story About Obama Knowing That Your Health Care Policy Would Get Cancelled
By Igor Volsky
The NBC News investigations unit is reporting that “50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a ‘cancellation’ letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law” — a fact administration officials knew but kept from the public.
The cancellations are a result of so-called grandfather rules promulgated by President Obama’s Health and Human Services. The rule exempts health insurance plans in existence before March 23, 2010 — the day the Affordable Care Act became law — from many of the new regulations, benefits standards and consumer protections that new plans now have to abide by, but says that policies could lose their designation if they make major changes. From NBC:
Buried in Obamacare regulations from July 2010 is an estimate that because of normal turnover in the individual insurance market, “40 to 67 percent” of customers will not be able to keep their policy. And because many policies will have been changed since the key date, “the percentage of individual market policies losing grandfather status in a given year exceeds the 40 to 67 percent range.”
That means the administration knew that more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them.
This all sounds very ominous until you consider that the naturally high turnover rate associated with the individual market means that it’s highly unlikely that individuals would still be enrolled in plans from 2010 in 2014. In fact, the Obama administration publicly admitted this when it issued the regulations in 2010, leading Republicans like Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) to seize on the story in order to push for repeal of the grandfather regulations. Here is a story in The Hill from Sep. 22, 2010 pointing to this very same 40 to 67 percent range:
The debate was widelycovered in the press, so it’s unclear what exactly the NBC investigation unit has uncovered.
The goal of grandfather regulations is to allow a consumer to keep their existing policies, while also ensuring that there are some basic patient protections built into these plans. If insurers make changes that significantly burden enrollees with lower benefits and increased costs they have to come into compliance with all consumer protections. Therefore, policies lose their grandfathered status if insurers cancel coverage when a person becomes ill, impose lifetime limits on benefits, eliminate all benefits for a particular condition and reduce the cap for covered services each year, among other changes. (In fact, in November of 2010, the federal government loosened some of these standards.)
So yes, individuals can keep the plans they have if those plans remain largely the same. But individuals receiving cancellation notices will have a choice of enrolling in subsidized insurance in the exchanges and will probably end up paying less for more coverage. Those who don’t qualify for the tax credits will be paying more for comprehensive insurance that will be there for them when they become sick (and could actually end up spending less for health care since more services will now be covered). They will also no longer be part of a system in which the young and healthy are offered cheap insurance premiums because their sick neighbors are priced out or denied coverage. That, after all, is the whole point of reform.
Here is how Marilyn Tavenner — the head of CMS, the agency responsible for implementing the law — responded to questions about what she would tell an American who has received a cancellation notice during Tuesday’s health care hearing:
The Tea Party is fixated on destroying what is salvageable and necessary
By Patrick White
We had out-of-town company over the weekend and planned a BBQ yesterday for them with a couple of our kids and their families. Since our weather has cooled we knew we needed to use our patio heater plus several other gas electric appliances most homes have. So far, so good.
At the appointed time, I started setting up the patio heater and found a couple of bird’s nests I’d missed earlier, so I cleaned those out. But, as soon as I opened the propane tank I smelled gas…not a good sign, shouldn’t be a gas smell. I needed to find the leak since I’m not a fan of gas explosions.
I asked one of our kids (well, officially he’s one of our kids even though he’s about 46) to start the BBQ while I tried to find the gas leak.
Ok, leak fixed. Lit the pilot and turned the unit on, all is well and we’ll have heat soon. Then checked on the BBQ and, well, it wouldn’t start. I checked the pressure gauge I have on the unit and it showed about 50 percent full, but, well, it wouldn’t start. I put on my “one” spare (and full) tank and it lit, but the gauge was stuck at 50 percent. In the middle of this I was informed that the patio heater quit. Well, guess what…empty propane tank. In my mental calculations the day before, I thought that we had enough propane to use the heater. Wrong! Hint: don’t ask me to do mental calculations and deliver opinions on important things.
My wife told me that we were moving everything except the cooking inside. She also told me that she was using the microwave to melt butter and it shut off the kitchen lights, not once, not twice but three times! Never happened before!
Believe it or not, I made it through all that without turning the air blue…not even one little, tiny bad word. Ah, what fun am I?
Now, had I been a Teabagger, the BBQ, patio heater and microwave would all be in the creek and the kitchen lights would still be off. Because, you see, their position is to destroy not fix. Destroy the ACA, destroy the government, destroy voting and women’s rights, destroy, destroy, destroy.
Today our newspaper published a column titled, “Inarticulate republicans keep missing their audience” by Thomas Sowell. When we cut through the verbiage we really see that Thomas thinks it’s perfectly fine for republicans to use continuing resolutions (“CR” Thomas…he hates the use of the term “CR”) to manage the government. In my opinion, every time congress uses a CR they are telling the world that they can’t do their job and pass a budget. Back to Thomas…he refers to the ACA when he writes, “We are in the midst of a national crisis, immediately affecting millions of Americans and potentially affecting the kind of country this will become if ObamaCare goes into effect…” The bold and italics are mine, the “national crisis” belongs to Thomas. A national crisis? Affordable health care is a national crisis? Dismantling the government and using extortion to accomplish political goals isn’t a crisis? Thomas, what planet did you just visit?
In another column from today’s paper titled, Obamacareis Sick, But Worth Fixing”, Clarence Page gives us an opposing view and it seems that the ACA isn’t the crisis Thomas declares it to be. Any time a program is enacted by congress, any time a program is coded, there are going to be problems because it’s virtually impossible to anticipate every situation. Smart people move to correct the errors, congress doesn’t. Congress is the only organization I know that will use multiple cruise missiles to kill a single fly.
Republicans articulating their position? How do you convince people that slicing cheese by taking big swings with a splitting mall is the best way to accomplish the goal of getting smaller slices. It ain’t gonna happen. The Teabaggers are driving the republican train and they aren’t interested in governing, just destruction anyway they can get it and they are dragging the Republican Party down with them. How do you articulate that position Thomas?
Ann Coulter has a brain fart: “The shutdown was so magnificent, run beautifully, I’m so proud of these Republicans”
Crazy lady Ann Coulter said Monday night that Republicans were smart to shutdown the federal government in an attempt to delay or defund Obamacare. ‘Destroy’ would be a better word, since that is their motivation.
“This is why I think the shutdown was so magnificent, run beautifully, I’m so proud of these Republicans, and that is because they have branded the Republican Party as the anti-Obamacare party,” she told Fox News host Sean Hannity.”
Infant Mortality Rises in North Carolina: Black Babies do Better in Botswana
by FishOutofWaterFollow forNorth Carolina BLUE
attribution: NC State Center for Health Stats
Botswana, a 96% black African nation, has an infant mortality rate of 9.9 per 1000 live births according to the CIA. North Carolina’s infant mortality rate rose for the second year in a row in 2012 to 7.4 per 1000 for all babies and 13.9 per 1000 for black infants. Black babies in their first year of life have better prospects for survival in Botswana than North Carolina. Rural counties with high African American populations along the I-95 corridor have extraordinarily high infant mortality rates for a developed nation. Japan’s infant mortality rate is 2.2 while the rate in Pasquotank County, NC is 20.4. Yet, Governor McCrory (R) has refused to expand Medicaid to cover the working poor, rejected running a state health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act, delayed funding the Women’s Infants and Children program, slashed unemployment insurance, and is attempting to privatize a state run Medicaid program that had been a national model before the great recession hit.
“It’s discouraging that the rate worsened, particularly after the past several years, where we were at record lows,” said pediatrician Peter Morris, who heads the legislative Child Fatality Task Force. …Morris also noted that the research indicates that the state of a woman’s health before she gets pregnant is a prime predictor of how healthy her babies will be. About 12 percent of births were to women who had fewer than six months between delivery and a subsequent conception.
“If you’re trying to take care of women’s health before they’re pregnant, it’d be a really good idea to have health care coverage for their entire adulthood,” Morris said.
Even though low-income women are eligible for Medicaid when they’re pregnant and for three months after they give birth, about one in five of North Carolina’s adults under the age of 65 is uninsured.
My wife is an obstetrician/gynecologist working in North Carolina so I know the difficulties of delivering health care to pregnant women here. When the great recession hit, the state cut and delayed Medicaid payments, causing financial problems. She closed her practice and found a job in a larger town. Doctors and hospitals delivering care to lower middle class and working class women have been hit hard by the recession, just like their patients. That’s why infant mortality is rising. Rural and community hospitals in North Carolina are struggling to survive. Big city hospital systems bring in high revenues from insured patients for specialized procedures. Urban hospital centers put the profits back into improving their facilities and investing in new equipment. Rural and community hospitals are struggling to replace obsolete equipment at present revenue levels. I interviewed the CEO of Onslow Memorial Hospital, Ed Piper, about the need for Medicaid expansion to learn the details.Ed explained to me that hospitals made a deal with the federal government to accept an end to federal payments for unreimbursed care because the Affordable Care Act would expand Medicaid coverage for the working poor and provide subsidized insurance coverage for lower middle class Americans who weren’t covered by employer provided insurance plans. His hospital’s revenues are now running barely above costs, a 3.5% margin, barely enough to replace failing old equipment. But, because McCrory is rejecting Medicaid expansion, his hospital will be in trouble next year when the federal reimbursements for unreimbursed care cease. Onslow county has one of the best infant mortality rates in rural eastern North Carolina. Smaller hospitals in poor counties with out military bases will be in deep trouble. And these counties already have third-world-level infant mortality rates as high as 20 deaths per 1000 births.
North Carolina’s Rate of Uninsurance by County correlates Directly with Infant Mortality
For 30 years Democrats and Republicans worked together in North Carolina to improve the health care of women and children to cut infant mortality rates. Governor Jim Holshauser, a moderate Republican who died this summer, began efforts in the mid 1970’s to improve infant mortality rates by improving rural health care.
He supported creating a statewide kindergarten system. He backed the Coastal Management Act, regarded as national landmark environmental legislation to protect the state’s fragile seacoast. Holshouser helped start the rural health center program to provide more medical care in the countryside. He oversaw a major expansion of the state park system. He appointed several blacks and women to high-visibility posts in state government. And he supported creating black-oriented enterprises such as Soul City, the new town project started in Warren County by former civil rights leader Floyd McKissick.
To date, McCrory and the Republican legislature that took over in 2012 have implemented extreme anti-government policies that have shocked many North Carolinians accustomed to the prudent governance of Jim Holshauser and moderate Republicans. One of my wife’s cousins, a longtime Republican, and his wife just declared themselves independents in response to the extreme, inhuman policies of today’s North Carolina Republicans. He is not alone. McCrory’s popularity is plummeting. The latest PPP poll showed McCrory’s approval rating in the low 30s.
Q2 Do you approve or disapprove of Governor Pat McCrory’s job performance? Approve …………………………………………………. 32% Disapprove ………………………………………………. 50% Not sure …………………………………………………. 19%
Governor McCrory and the Republican legislature can reverse course and expand Medicaid to prevent a disastrous decline in rural health care. At present North Carolina has one and a half million uninsured residents. About half a million of those residents would be eligible for Medicaid expansion. Because the federal government is picking up the full cost of expansion, North Carolina would bring in over a billion federal dollars to hospitals and health care providers across the state at no cost to the state. In many rural counties, community hospitals are the largest employers. Those hospitals, their workers and their communities will be slammed by rejecting Medicaid expansion. Counties will lose millions of federal dollars they desperately need.
About half a million of the uninsured earn less than 100 percent of the poverty level – $11,490 for a single person and $23,500 for a family of four. They are not eligible for insurance subsidies, and therefore are not subject to a penalty for not buying health insurance. That’s because authors of the Affordable Care Act assumed this group would get benefits through the Medicaid expansion.Mostly these people who earn too little to get subsidies are healthy adults without children. They are “literally too poor to be eligible,” said Madison Hardee, a lawyer with Legal Services of the Southern Piedmont.
Hospitals across North Carolina had embraced Medicaid expansion. It meant they would be reimbursed for treating poor people who are unable to pay hospital bills.
“This was integral to implementation of the Affordable Care Act,” said Joe Piemont, president and chief operating officer of Carolinas HealthCare System in Charlotte.
“These (uninsured) folks are here, and we’re taking care of them now, but it certainly would have been a benefit to have them qualify for the Medicaid expansion.”
The annual cost to North Carolina’s hospitals of not expanding Medicaid is estimated to be as much as $660 million, based on an analysis conducted for the N.C. Institute of Medicine by N.C. Division of Medical Assistance.
What the Republican ideologues and the governor don’t understand is that keeping women of child bearing age healthy saves both money and lives. For every baby that dies in the first year there are many more that require long hospital stays. One sick baby of uninsured parents can cost a hospital hundreds of thousands of dollars. It’s far cheaper to fund insurance and good nutrition for healthy mothers and babies than it is to pay the cost of caring for prematurely born infants. When women with uncontrolled blood sugar problems come into the office or hospital pregnant the damage to the baby may already be done. High maternal blood sugar levels in early pregnancy can cause heart defects and other fetal anomalies. Pregnancy Medicaid is not sufficient to prevent devastating health problems that will be apparent at birth. Blood sugar levels need to be controlled in the early weeks of pregnancy before women typically show up for care. Women need health care and adequate nutrition before they get pregnant to prevent birth defects and prematurity.North Carolina’s infant mortality rate is shameful. The infant mortality rate for black babies is beyond shameful. How can a state in the nation with the world’s largest economy have worse black infant mortality than Botswana?
I am appalled and disgusted that Governor McCrory is promoting policies that will kill even more babies. North Carolina’s rural health care is about to collapse under the load of uninsured poor people that could be covered by Medicaid expansion. Governor McCrory needs to change course to save babies and to save North Carolina’s community hospitals.
Faux “News” | Forbes, Fox News Push Conspiracy Theory About Obamacare Website Glitches
By Michael Allen,
When former President George W. Bush’s new Medicare Drug Program debuted on Jan 1, 2006, it was a technological disaster.
Similarly, Obamacare’s website Healthcare.gov has had its technical glitches, but unlike the Medicare Drug Program’s limping start, Obamacare is being accused by Forbes and Fox News of an evil conspiracy.
According to Avik Roy of Forbes, Obamacare is tricking people because it asks for their information before displaying prices set by the insurance companies. Roy believes this reverse order is some sort plot to keep Americans from seeing the insurance prices they eventually will see after they register for Obamacare.
A growing consensus of IT experts, outside and inside the government, have figured out a principal reason why the website for Obamacare’s federally-sponsored insurance exchange is crashing. Healthcare.gov forces you to create an account and enter detailed personal information before you can start shopping.
This, in turn, creates a massive traffic bottleneck, as the government verifies your information and decides whether or not you’re eligible for subsidies. HHS bureaucrats knew this would make the website run more slowly. But they were more afraid that letting people see the underlying cost of Obamacare’s insurance plans would scare people away.
However, Roy fails to mention that Obamacare doesn’t actually set the prices of the insurance rates — the insurance companies do. The Obamacare health care exchanges, which are accessed via HealthCare.gov, simply categorize different health insurance plans in different states, with prices set by the insurance companies.
Roy repeats the fallacy that Obamacare sets insurance premium prices, adding, “So, by analyzing your income first, if you qualify for heavy subsidies, the website can advertise those subsidies to you instead of just hitting you with Obamacare’s steep premiums.”
HealthCare.gov states, “Insurance plans in the Marketplace are offered by private companies,” which debunks the rumors that Obamacare is actually offering health care plans.
The network ran a segment on Tuesday morning explaining that the White House knew about potential glitches before HealthCare.gov launched on Oct. 1, “but did nothing to stop it because the White House doesn’t want to show you how expensive those plans really are.”
If that sounds too ridiculous to believe, it is. The administration may have hoped to immediately present consumers with their subsidized rates to reduce confusion, but it never tried to hide the unsubsidized cost of coverage.
Friday was the fourth day of the government shutdown, and there’s still no sign of an exit. What’s surprising about the ongoing fight is how a small group of members of Congress have managed to bring Washington to a halt. Just months ago, Speaker John Boehner was warning that forcing the government to shut down over Obamacare or anything else was politically hazardous. Yet Boehner remains stuck, his strategy dictated by a small rump of members in the Republican caucus who refuse to budge. On Monday night, as government funding ran out, a group of around 40 hardline conservatives refused to support any resolution to fund the government that didn’t defund Obamacare. Since Monday night, their goals may have become less clear, but their resolve has not weakened. While it’s widely believed that a “clean” resolution would pass the House handily, it would also likely lead to a right-wing rebellion in the caucus that would spell the end of Boehner’s speakership.
So who are those hardliners? To compile this list, we started with a roster that the Senate Conservatives Fund, a group aligned with Ted Cruz, created of representatives who were allied with them. We cross-checked it with the list of members who signed an August letter by Rep. Mark Meadows demanding that Boehner use a shutdown as a threat to defund Obamacare, and against other public statements this week. It’s not a comprehensive roll — there’s no official “wacko bird” caucus that keeps a register — but it’s a window into the small but powerful group of men and women in the House of Representatives who brought the federal government to a standstill.
Quoted: “It is a simple issue of fairness: Members of Congress, their staff, and the political elite should not be given special relief from the harmful effects of Obamacare while the rest of America is left holding the bag.”
Quoted: “I am deeply disappointed that President Obama and the Senate refused to come to the negotiation table and failed to fund the federal government.”
Representative: Phil Gingrey
Home District: Marietta, Georgia
Quoted: “A majority of Americans think Obamacare will make health care in our country worse, and they’re right. House Republicans are listening to the American people, and I urge Harry Reid and Senate Democrats to do the same.”
Quoted: “House GOP is united around a very reasonable policy: POTUS should give families the same Obamacare delay he gave to businesses.”
Representative: Vicky Hartzler
Home District: Harrisonville, Missouri
Quoted: “The American people have spoken already on this: They do not want Obamacare …. It is hurting people.”
Representative: Tim Huelskamp
Home District: Fowler, Kansas
Quoted: “Most Americans realize the government shutdown has no impact on their daily life. They got their mail today; they’re going to get their Social Security check.”
Representative: Jim Jordan
Home District: Urbana, Ohio
Quoted: “We have to get something on Obamacare, because that — if you want to get this country on a fiscal path to balance, you cannot let an entitlement of this size that will truly bankrupt the country and, more importantly, one that’s not going to help Americans with their health care, you can’t let this happen. ”
Representative: Steve King
Home District: Kiron, Iowa
Quoted: “The American people have rejected Obamacare. The president is willing to put all of that on the line to save his namesake legislation, which I think would go down in history as the largest political tantrum ever.”
Representative: Raul Labrador
Home District: Eagle, Idaho
Quoted: To Chris Matthews of MSNBC: “You know, your boss, Tip O’Neill, shut down the government 12 different times. And you didn’t call him a terrorist.”
Quoted: In response to Harry Reid calling Tea Partiers “anarchists”: “When the other guy starts calling you names, you know that you’re winning the debate, and you know that he knows you’re winning the debate.”
Representative: Mark Meadows
Home District: Cashier, North Carolina
Quoted: “James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 58 that ‘the power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon . . . for obtaining redress of every grievance.’”
Representative: Randy Neugebauer
Home District: Lubbock, Texas
Quoted: “We get tons of mail and E-mails and phone calls. And overwhelmingly, those phone calls say, ‘Congressman, do everything you can to get rid of this very onerous piece of legislation. We don’t want the government running our health care.’ And so, from my perspective, we’re doing the people’s work here.”
Representative: Matt Salmon
Home District: Mesa, Arizona
Quoted: “I was here during the government shutdown in 1995. It was a divided government. we had a Democrat president of the United States. We had a Republican Congress. And I believe that that government shutdown actually gave us the impetus, as we went forward, to push toward some real serious compromise.”
Representative: Mark Sanford
Home District: Charleston, South Carolina
Quoted: “Our society has been held together for over 200 years in no small part due to the belief that our system was fair or equitable, yet the implementation of the Affordable Care Act has been anything but that.”
Quoted: “I know it’s not comfortable for a lot of people here, but this is how it’s supposed to work. It’s supposed to be cantankerous. It’s supposed to be this constant grinding.” *
* A previous version of this story quoted Schweikert saying that the shutdown “is my kind of fun.” That statement was taken out of context. The congressman was referring to an interview with NPR, not with the government shutdown. We regret the error.
Buchanan: Better to Destroy Country Than End Anti-Obamacare Drive
Nutter Pat Buchanan shows what he is really all about:
In a column fittingly titled “Republicans, Stand Up – Polls Be Damned!,” Pat Buchanan calls on Republicans in Congress not to give up on the push to derail Obamacare, even if it means the collapse of the Republican Party. If the GOP goes down, Buchanan writes, Republicans should bring America down with them as he urges the GOP to be like Samson, who killed himself along with countless Philistines in bringing down the temple.
“Republicans should refuse to raise the white flag and insist on an honorable avenue of retreat,” Buchanan claims. “And if Harry Reid’s Senate demands the GOP end the sequester on federal spending, or be blamed for a debt default, the party should, Samson-like, bring down the roof of the temple on everybody’s head.”
He urges Republicans to ignore three new polls showing the GOP approval rating tanking over its role in the government shutdown, because time will prove the Republicans were right about Obamacare all along.
Tea Party Galaxy: Voyage to the Center of Delusion
With the government shutdown continuing and no real negotiations happening, it seems that Captain Ted Cruz is still at the helm of the Republican Party. It’s helpful to remember that the Tea Party crew’s main demand is an end to Obamacare, a health care reform law that was passed years ago.
Putting it another way, the Republicans, currently led by the Tea Party, are willing to risk a US default in order to keep working class Americans from accessing affordable health care. This is their best chance to finally drown government in the bathtub, so why would they ever negotiate? They’re having the time of their lives.
And even though the latest Tea Party/Republican talking point is that a default won’t really be that bad and we have plenty of money to pay the interest on our debt, I don’t think I want to stake the world’s economy on Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. I think the Republican space ship may be a recurring character, let’s see how it holds up under the gravitational pull of economic calamity and increasing corporate pressure. Be sure to like, comment and tell yer friends! Oh, and you can find more links to the news behind the cartoon on my site.
Reliving The Crazy: Michele Bachmann’s Greatest Hits
by Sahil Kapur
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) announced Tuesday her tenure in Congress will come to an end in 2014. First elected in 2006, the Minnesota congresswoman rose to fame — and notoriety — around the 2008 election, after which there was a cushy place in the GOP for her brand of apocalyptic hysteria and zealous social conservatism.
Here are some of her greatest hits.
1) Barack Obama Has ‘Anti-American Views’
One MSNBC appearance in October 2008 all but sealed Bachmann’s reputation — as a paranoid wacko to liberals and a fearless hero to the tea party crowd.
“Absolutely. I’m very concerned that he may have anti-American views,” she said of candidate Barack Obama. “That’s what the American people are concerned about.”
And members of Congress should be investigated for having anti-American views, she added. “I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out, are they pro-America or anti-America?”
2) Obamacare Allows Abortion Field Trips For 13-Year-Olds
Referring to patient privacy protections in the Affordable Care Act, Bachmann wondered if young teenagers could go get abortions during school days.
“Does that mean that someone’s 13-year-old daughter could walk into a sex clinic, have a pregnancy test done, be taken away to the local Planned Parenthood abortion clinic, have their abortion, be back and go home on the school bus that night?” she said on the House floor. “Mom and Dad are never the wiser.”
3) Census Data Can Put You In Internment Camps
In a June 2009 Fox News interview, Bachmann linked the census to Japanese internment camps.
“Between 1942 and 1947,” she said, “the data that was collected by the Census Bureau was handed over to the FBI and other organizations at the request of President Roosevelt, and that’s how the Japanese were rounded up and put into internment camps. I’m not saying that that’s what the administration is planning to do. But I am saying that private personal information that was given to the Census Bureau in the 1940s was used against them to round them up in violation of their constitutional rights.”
4) Iraq Should Reimburse America For Being Liberated
During a debate while running for the Republican nomination for president, Bachmann said Iraq and Libya should reimburse the United States for being liberated.
“Cutting back on foreign aid is one thing. Being reimbursed by nations that we have liberated is another,” she said. “We should look to Iraq, and Libya, to reimburse us for part of what we have done to liberate these nations.”
5) Founding Fathers ‘Worked Tirelessly’ To End Slavery
In a Jan. 2011 speech, Bachmann credited the Founders with ending slavery, even though it was abolished generations after they died.
“We know there was slavery that was still tolerated when the nation began,” she said. “We know that was an evil and it was scourge and a blot and a stain upon our history. But we also know that the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States.”
6) HPV Vaccine Leads To ‘Mental Retardation’
While running for president, Bachmann said she has reason to believe the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine has “dangerous consequences” such as mental retardation.
“There’s a woman who came up crying to me tonight after the debate. She said her daughter was given that vaccine,” she told on Fox News. “She told me her daughter suffered mental retardation as a result. There are very dangerous consequences.”
7) People Keep Urging Me To Impeach Obama
Just this month, Bachmann floated the possibility of impeaching President Obama.
“As I have been home in my district, in the 6th District of Minnesota,” she said on Capitol Hill, “there isn’t a weekend that hasn’t gone by that someone says to me, ‘Michele, what in the world are you all waiting for in Congress? Why aren’t you impeaching the president? He’s been making unconstitutional actions since he came into office.'”
A new Quinnipiac poll out this morning highlights just how unpopular the House strategy has been: By a 72-22 margin, voters opposed Congress shutting down the federal government to block the implementation of Obamacare. Even though Americans were divided on the merits of the healthcare law itself—with 45 percent in favor and 47 percent opposed—they were against the idea of Congress cutting off funding for the law, 58 percent to 34 percent.
Self-identified Republican voters backed the shutdown by a narrow 49-44 margin, but that’s where the support ended. Democrats (90-6 oppose) and independents (74-19) overwhelmingly were against the shutdown. And while Obama receives a negative 45-49 job approval rating in the poll, those figures look like a standing ovation compared to the 74 percent of respondents who said they disapproved of the job Republicans are doing in Congress. More poll results here.
Why Are American Teens So Ignorant About Sex and Birth Control?
A new survey reveals just how ignorant young people are about contraception and pregnancy.
Photo Credit: pedrosimoes7
When it comes to sex and reproduction, even the most mind-numbingly intuitive conclusions can be politicized or disbelieved. So they bear repeating and resubstantiation. Take this recent Guttmacher study on contraceptive knowledge. Surveying 1,800 men and women ages 18–29, the authors “found that the lower the level of contraceptive knowledge among young women, the greater the likelihood that they expected to have unprotected sex in the next three months, behavior that puts them at risk for an unplanned pregnancy.” In other words, access to factual information helps prevent risky behavior.
I’m holding myself back from saying “duh” here, but this still has to be reiterated at a time when abstinence-only education that doesn’t provide detailed information about contraceptive use, except occasionally to emphasize its limits, not only persists but recently got a federal stamp of approval. As an Advocates for Youth report on the impact of abstinence-only education noted, “Proponents of abstinence-only programs believe that providing information about the health benefits of condoms or contraception contradicts their message of abstinence-only and undermines its impact. As such, abstinence-only programs provide no information about contraception beyond failure rates.” That’s how you get terrifying statistics like this one from the Guttmacher report: In the survey, “60 percent underestimated the effectiveness of oral contraceptives and 40 percent held the fatalistic view that using birth control does not matter.” Overall, “more than half of young men and a quarter of young women received low scores on contraceptive knowledge.” It’s also how you get figures like the one from the CDC that found that 31.4 percentof pregnant teens didn’t use contraception because they “thought they could not get pregnant at the time.”
There are two reasons to be optimistic that some dent can be made in these depressing figures, and they both have to do with provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Much has been made of the mandate that insurance policies cover all FDA-approved contraceptive methods, but there’s another aspect that’s been relatively overlooked: the fact that the same provision includes free education and counseling about sex and contraception, at least for the insured. The second reason for optimism is that the mandate will make it far easier for women to get longer-acting and more effective forms of contraception like the IUD — which are also more expensive and which studies have shown women would be interested in if they could afford them. Incidentally, the recent Guttmacher study found that women who were using long-acting or regular hormonal contraception tended to score higher on overall knowledge.
It will be awhile before we know if these changes will move the needle on the nation’s unparalleled rate of unintended pregnancy. The women’s health provisions only go into effect for new plans in August 2012, and older plans will be initially grandfathered and eventually phased out. And of course, there’s another big fat if – whether the Supreme Court overturns all or part of the Affordable Care Act. The Obama campaign and its allies are keen to point out how such a move — or, perhaps, a legislative repeal down the line — will hurt women above all. The Center for American Progress recently released a report on “Women and Obamacare” (the campaign having officially embraced the derisively intended term). It declares Obamacare “the greatest legislative advancement for women’s health in a generation,” which may be true for reasons more depressing than inspiring: There have been very few advancements partly because there has been so much political defense played.
In addition to the reproductive health benefits, the report points to preventive care recommendations for which cost-sharing has already been cut: mammograms, pap smears, prenatal care and so on. According to the report, “close to 9 million women will gain coverage for maternity care in the individual market starting in 2014,” currently not covered in 78 percent of plans sold on the individual market. It notes that women are more frequent users of healthcare services than men, that they’re likelier to make the household decisions on healthcare and that they’re more vulnerable to losing coverage because they’re likelier to be listed as dependents on a partner’s plan. The Affordable Care Act also makes it illegal to engage in “gender rating” – charging women $1 billion more than men on the individual market – and bans states from discriminating on the basis of gender identity in their insurance exchanges.
The report does acknowledge two ways in which Obamacare falls short for women who were “left out of the law — undocumented and recent immigrant women and women who need abortion services.” It claims that “political compromises on abortion coverage were necessary to ensure passage of the Affordable Care Act” – still a bitter loss to reproductive rights groups, who memorably described women as having been “thrown under the bus” by Democrats – “but the work to obtain abortion coverage for all women continues.” The last part is particularly debatable, at least when it comes to any momentum on the funding issue from national Democrats, while Republicans in the states and federally have spent considerable energy trying to limit abortion coverage on even private insurance plans.
Still, if the Affordable Care Act is allowed to stand, the magnitude of having an actual, proactive reproductive health access policy shouldn’t be underplayed. Maybe we’ll get closer to a saner republic where hearing “birth control doesn’t matter” from people who don’t want to get pregnant is a quaint memory.