Farewell, Nelson Mandela

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South Africa’s first black president spent nearly a third of his life as a prisoner of apartheid, yet he sought to win over its defeated guardians in a relatively peaceful transition of power that inspired the world.

As head of state, the former boxer, lawyer and inmate lunched with the prosecutor who argued successfully for his incarceration. He sang the apartheid-era Afrikaans anthem at his inauguration and traveled hundreds of miles to have tea with the widow of the prime minister in power at the time he was sent to prison.

It was this generosity of spirit that made Mandela, who died Thursday at the age of 95, a global symbol of sacrifice and reconciliation in a world often jarred by conflict and division…

Mandela’s death deprived the world of one of one of the great figures of modern history and set the stage for days of mourning and reflection about a colossus of the 20th century who projected astonishing grace, resolve and good humor.

“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people,” Mandela said. “I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

RTFA. It is long as it should be. Nelson Mandela led a courageous life over many decades, conquered many enemies. Those enemies often included the government of these United States and many European democracies. Governments make wrong decisions over time, often for the worst of reasons. Mandela would forgive them.

Some of us who fought to support the wars of national liberation around the globe may also forgive. We will never forget.

Right-wing governors who refused Medicaid expansion force their state taxpayers to pick up the tab for states that did expand Medicaid

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Georgia’s Grady Memorial Hospital loses $45 million

The 20 states that did not expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act help pay for the expanded Medicaid program in other states…

A Commonwealth Fund Study found Texas, Florida, Georgia,and Virginia were the biggest losers among states not expanding Medicaid because they are forgoing billions of dollars in federal funds, while residents in their states are contributing to the cost of the expansions in other states…

…Researchers explained federal funds that pay for state Medicaid programs are raised through federal general revenue collection — taxes paid by residents in all states — whether or not they participate in the program.

Therefore, taxpayers in states not participating in the Medicaid expansion will bear a share of the overall cost for Medicaid, without benefiting from the expanded program in the 20 states. Glied and Ma estimated the net loss of federal funds to states that do not expand Medicaid by using projected federal Medicaid spending in each state and calculating the federal Medicaid-related taxes paid by each state…

After taking into account federal taxes paid by state residents, states with the highest net losses include Texas, which will see a net loss of $9.2 billion in 2022; Florida, which will lose $5 billion; Georgia, which will lose $2.9 billion and Virginia will lose $2.8 billion, the study said.

Meanwhile, in states that chose not to expand Medicaid, hospitals are planning budget cuts because of the loss of patients that expanded Medicaid would have provided…

Nothing puts the lie to Republican blather about fiscal responsibility than decisions like this. Allegiance to ideology opposing benefits for the poor and working poor, rooted in petty fury over losing yet another election to someone who doesn’t fit the populist mold of White and Right…guaranteed these fools would decide to block an opportunity to aid the poorest of their state populations. Making it certain in the process that state taxpayers would not only pay for the loss; but, pick up the tab for states where elected officials decided in favor of expanding healthcare.

They will continue to campaign on the lie that they saved people money – when all they guaranteed was increasing poverty, ill-health and a harder life for many of their fellow Americans. They are liars and criminals.

Post-racist society? In Florida, Confederates try to stop monument to Union soldiers

The Civil War might be long over, but a battle about putting a monument honoring Union soldiers at Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park in Florida is still underway.

The proposal to install a monument at the park — the site of the biggest Civil War battle fought in Florida — was met with opposition on Monday night during a public hearing…

Each year, Olustee hosts a reenactment of a four-hour battle in which Union forces were routed by Confederate troops…

A descendant of someone who died at the Battle of Olustee, Mike Farrell, proposed the new memorial because of his experience serving as an historical exhibitor at the park.

“I always have the visiting public approach me and ask me where the Union monument is on the battlefield, and I often tell them, ‘There isn’t any.’…What I’m talking about is a battlefield monument,” Farrell said.

Republican state Rep. Dennis Baxley…proposed halting the monument from within the state house. “I can do a very simple proposal to the Legislature that we protect all monument sites,” he said.

Racists have grown more practiced in the semantics-based lies they use to answer questions about bigoted proposals. I guess that in itself is recognition of growing understanding among Americans still dull enough to be suckered into rightwing politics. They don’t care to admit publicly how much of their craptastic chicanery is proposed to satisfy racism, justify slavery.

They’re only kidding themselves. The rest of the nation looks and nods – “Yes, these are the village idiots who continue to think they weren’t defeated by the strength of the Union. They believe the South will rise again and Jim Crow laws will be reinstated.”

Illustrating once again how easy it was for Nixon to decide on the Southern Strategy, just how easy it was for Republicans to lock up the bigot vote.

Latest revelations on NSA tracking your mobile calls

Not a month goes by without former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, unleashing new government surveillance allegations, but on Wednesday, the Washington Post dropped a bombshell: The NSA is tracking cellphones around the world at a rate of almost five billion records per day. This revelation is particularly shocking because it affirms fears that the government is keeping tabs on the physical location of Americans.

1. The NSA can find you in a hotel and can probably tell if you’re having an affair…

2. Americans are definitely being tracked, but providing the exact number is “awkward”…

3. All the collected location data wouldn’t fit in the Library of Congress…

4. Don’t bother trying to hide. The NSA knows if you’re trying to avoid them…

5. And you don’t need to be a suspect to be targeted…

The Feds say that this kind of data collection is not protected by the Fourth Amendment; so, as far as Uncle Sugar is concerned, we’re all legitimate targets.

Read the full report over here.