Fake President says declining to fund his wall doesn’t mean Congress actually said “NO”

❝ In the first court hearing over President Trump’s border wall funding plan, administration lawyers on Friday vigorously pressed their controversial argument that Congress did not in fact deny him the money when lawmakers excluded it from the appropriations bill they enacted in February.

To bar spending, Deputy Assistant Attorney General James M. Burnham told a federal judge here, Congress would have had to explicitly say that “no money shall be obligated” in any form…

Trump’s new favorite word – BULLSHIT – applies here as well as most of his blather and bluster.

US-born, having to sue Texas for denying birth certificates

Juana, a 33-year-old mother of three, works as a kale picker on the U.S.-Mexico border near McAllen, Texas, where she shares a one-bedroom trailer with her children. She was born in Mexico, and her uncle helped her to cross into Texas when she was 14 years old.

“I’ve been here practically half my life,” said Juana, who did not want to reveal her last name because she is undocumented. “I pay taxes. I’ve never depended on the government.”

Her children, born the Texas side of the border, are U.S. citizens. But when she went to the local vital statistics office earlier this year to get a copy of her youngest daughter’s birth certificate, she was turned away for lack of proper identification. Her child, who was born in November 2013, still does not have a birth certificate…

Juana is among 28 undocumented immigrants who are suing the Texas Department of State Health Services on behalf of their U.S.-born children for denying them their birth certificates. The suit was filed in May and was amended on Tuesday to include more plaintiffs.

The lawsuit comes as 2016 presidential candidates engaged in bitter debates about the fate of an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. Some 26 U.S. states filed a lawsuit attempting to block the White House’s plan to protect about 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation.

The 14th Amendment states that all people born in the U.S. are citizens. But in the immigrants’ lawsuit, the two civil rights groups suing the state on the immigrants’ behalf say the department is violating the law by refusing to recognize the matrícula consular — an ID card issued by Mexican consulates — as a valid form of identification.

Parents must present a birth certificate to enroll a child in school or day care, apply for benefits or even to have a child baptized.

Because undocumented immigrants, many of them from Mexico and Central America, do not have a required form of ID like a green card or work authorization papers, they are required to show two secondary forms of identification to get a child’s birth certificate. Often that includes the matrícula consular. But Texas in 2008 announced a new policy of rejecting matrículas, citing security concerns. The measure went largely unenforced until 2013…

Juana, for her part, did not encounter problems presenting her matrícula along with hospital records to obtain birth certificates for her two older children, who are 13 and 8 years old. But obtaining a birth certificate for her youngest child has proved challenging…

She should have the same rights as a child born to American parents,” she said.

Republican-controlled states are in a race to the bottom of the scumbag barrel. True, violating constitutional rights is nothing new for the cretins who pass for today’s version of a conservative; but, rarely has there been such an array of lies and bureaucratic hypocrisy passed off as legitimate.

On one hand, it is hilarious to see rightwing populists spend half their time whining about government interference in daily life – and the other half inventing new ways for governments to interfere with the daily lives of Americans who ain’t the right color, right religion, or just plain rightwing enough to satisfy turdbrains.

On the other, there’s nothing new or even faintly grinworthy about stupid people wasting local taxpayer dollar$ to enforce their bigotry upon legitimate citizens of this nation.

Governor Susana manages to kill $100 million in Health Exchange funding


Not unless the governor says so!

A sharply worded letter from Governor Susana Martinez to the Secretary of Health and Human Services cost New Mexico almost $100 million in funding to build out and run our state’s health exchange, and that has exchange staff scrambling to build a new exchange without any money.

Staff of the health exchange (NMHIX) say that there appears to be no process to appeal or reapply and New Mexico appears to be the only state in the country denied funding to complete the build out of the state’s insurance exchange, publicly known as Be Well NM.

New Mexico has already received $122.3 million from the federal government ($34.3M in 2011, $18.6M in 2013, $69.4 in 2014) to set up and run the exchange through the end of 2014.

In November 2014, states were permitted to apply for additional funds to build out the remaining parts of their state-based exchanges and operate for three full years, beginning in January 2015…

But when the state submitted it’s application to the federal government for funding, it included letters from state leaders, including Governor Martinez and then-Secretary of Human Services, Sidone Squier.

These two dimwit Republicans questioned whether or not the changes would be beneficial – and they saw no reason to follow Federal uniform standards and procedures. About as elitist, parochial and incompetent as you can get.

Result? New Mexico is the only state of those applying for additional funds to update and codify a hybrid health exchange – to be refused. The Feds point out it was the letters from Governor Susana and Sidone Squier that encouraged that decision.

RTFA from ProgressNowNM. All the details, planned uses, dotted i’s and crossed t’s are there.

Poor old Noah – he doesn’t qualify for an $18 million tax break

A Noah’s Ark-themed amusement park may have sprung a financial leak after being denied millions of dollars in tax incentives.

The Ark Encounter, a Genesis-themed attraction with a 500-foot-long wooden replica of Noah’s Ark, was denied approximately $18 million in tax breaks from the state of Kentucky. Why? According to Think Progress, it may have something to do with refusing to comply with the state’s existing nondiscrimination policies…

This isn’t the first time that Ark Encounter and its parent company Answers in Genesis have been tied in with state taxes. When the park was announced almost four years ago, MSNBC reported that it would be eligible for $37 million in state tourism incentives, despite worries that taxpayers were funding a religious theme park.

Fast forward to early October, when the park’s president Mike Zovath let it slip that he only planned to hire creationists. Ark Encounter had received preliminary approval for $18 million in sales tax rebates over the next 10 years, but the Secretary of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet had warned Zovath that companies which discriminate on religious bases cannot receive these incentives.

And it turns out that the Cabinet was true to its word. In a letter, Tourism Secretary Bob Stewart noted that “the use of state incentives in this way violates the separation of church and state provisions of the Constitution and is therefore impermissible…”

Is there a Christian nutball in the country who doesn’t also feel it’s their fundamental[ist] right to be given taxpayer dollar$ to fund their personal religious beliefs?

Thanks, Mike

NC Republicans block compensation for sterilization victims


Elaine Riddick in her home in Atlanta, today
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

There was a time when over half of the states in the U.S. had eugenics programs. Only one state continued after the revelations of Nazi atrocities at the end of World War 2. North Carolina.

The North Carolina Senate rejected a plan to compensate victims of a mass sterilization plan that targeted mostly poor minorities for decades in the 20th century…Senate Republicans refused to support the measure put forth by the House to set aside $10 million in the state budget for compensation, which would have given victims $50,000 each. The move would have made North Carolina the first state to compensate eugenics victims…

North Carolina ran one of the country’s most active eugenics programs, targeting people who were poor and undereducated, and those with physical or mental disabilities. The North Carolina Eugenics Board, a five-person panel, made its decisions in the name of social welfare…

Elaine Riddick, 58, was one of the victims. Pregnant after she was raped at age 14, Riddick was sterilized without her knowledge when she went to a North Carolina hospital to give birth to her son in 1968. Years later, she learned what had happened to her

Deemed “promiscuous” and “feebleminded” by a social worker at the hospital, Riddick, who came from a black family on welfare, was recommended to the state for sterilization. Riddick’s illiterate grandmother was told that they were doing a “procedure” that was necessary to help the young girl; she signed the consent papers with an X. The state authorized and paid for the procedure, and without her consent or even her knowledge, Riddick was sterilized shortly after she gave birth…

“I was raped twice,” Elaine Riddick said, “once by the perpetrator and once by the state of North Carolina.”

North Carolina Republicans offer up their worship of the almighty dollar as key to their rejection of compensation. Some admit to concern over extending responsibility to all political crimes. Their biggest fear is that they might have to repay victims of all the crimes committed by the state against ordinary citizens.

Settlers steal Palestinian water – after stealing Palestinian land


Israeli sentry at one of the springs
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

Jewish settlers have seized dozens of natural springs in the occupied West Bank, barring Palestinians or limiting their access to scarce water sources…

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said it had surveyed 530 springs in the West Bank and found that 30, mostly in areas where Israel retains military control, were taken over by the settlers. It added that Palestinians currently had limited access to 26 other springs where settlers had moved in and threatened to take control. The report said settlers had not encroached on 474 remaining springs surveyed.

“Springs have remained the single largest water source for irrigation and a significant source for watering livestock,” the report said, adding that some also provided water for domestic consumption in areas not connected to pipelines. “The loss of access to springs and adjacent land reduced the income of affected farmers, who either stop cultivating the land or face a reduction in the productivity of their crops,” the report said…

“Settlers have developed 40 springs as tourist sites, deployed picnic tables and benches and given them Hebrew names … It is generating employment and revenue for the settlements and it is a way of promoting or advertising settlements as a fun place,” OCHA researcher Yehezkel Lein said.

A fun place if you are thief.

In 2009 a spring named Ein el Qaws, located near the village of Nabi Saleh, was taken over by settlers from Halamish, forcing villagers to obtain their irrigation water from other sources, the report and residents said.

“The spring was used to irrigate hundreds of olive and fruit trees in the village and the children used to swim in it, now if we try to go to the spring, the settlers and soldiers come and kick us out,” said villager Nariman Tamimi.

A spokesman for Israel’s military-run Civil Administration in the West Bank said…blah, blah, blah, blah.

Israel…says the status of settlements should be decided in peace negotiations.

Except that Israel – with the support of Congress and the White House – hasn’t negotiated anything in good faith for decades. No one seriously expects them to start any time soon.

Hershey school rejects honor roll-boy for being HIV-positive

The family of an HIV-positive boy sued a boarding school in Hershey, Pennsylvania after it denied admission to the 13-year-old citing safety concerns…

HIV, or the human immunodeficiency virus, is medical condition that undermines the body’s immune system and can make those infected susceptible to lethal cancers and infections. HIV is a precursor to AIDS, or the Acquired immune deficiency syndrome, a pandemic which has killed roughly 25 million people since its discovery in the early 1980s…

…HIV is not transmitted by day-to-day casual contact, such as through shaking hands or a casual kiss. The CDC said it is not possible to become infected from a toilet seat, a drinking fountain, a door knob, dishes, drinking glasses, food, or pets…

The child’s attorneys at the non-profit AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania sought to compare the school’s actions to the Ryan White case, in which an HIV-positive Indiana boy was expelled from middle school in the 1980s because of the infection. That case led to the Ryan White Care Act of 1990.

Federal and state laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of a real or perceived disability, including having HIV, according to the National Association of State Boards of Education…

“Like Ryan White, this young man is a motivated, intelligent kid who poses no health risk to other students, but is being denied an educational opportunity because of ignorance and fear about HIV and AIDS,” said AIDS Law Project Executive Director Ronda B. Goldfein, who is representing the boy and his mother in the lawsuit.

The boy “is an honor roll student and an avid athlete” who controls his HIV through a regimen of medication that does not impact his school schedule, according to the lawsuit filed with the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia.

The school, which was founded by industrialist Milton S. Hershey in 1909 to care for orphans, said their case is different because it is a boarding school “where children live in homes with 10 to 12 other students” on its campus “24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” McNamara said.

Ignorance, as usual, is not bliss. It is a cause and vector for backwards decisions made by foolish people who haven’t a clue – in this case – about the lack of danger or infection from someone infected by HIV. They have no understanding of the difference between HIV and AIDs. They have no perception of the effectiveness of today’s medications in controlling the effect on someone with the ailment in their system.

After 29 years of aiding leprosy patients nun forced to leave India


Residents of the rehab Centre come to say goodbye

A Catholic nun from Britain who has spent 29 years caring for leprosy patients in Bengaluru, India, is being forced to give up her work and leave the country after Delhi refused to renew her residency permit.

London-born Jacqueline Jean McEwan, now known as Sister Jean, or the Mother Teresa of Sumanahalli, runs a mobile clinic for leprosy patients. She has been ordered to leave without explanation by the union home ministry and if her appeal for permission to stay goes unanswered by 2pm on Monday she will have to board an evening flight bound for London…

“I work with leprosy patients in two city slums and a nearby village. They’re old and neurologically damaged, and suffer from ailments such as cancer. I’ve spent a long time with my people in Bengaluru, but wherever God wants me to be I won’t remain idle,” she said.

As the Guardian reported in March, leprosy has officially been eliminated in India, yet 130,000 new cases are diagnosed every year. Funds for both leprosy charities and government leprosy programmes have reduced, and some projects have shut down.

But the Sumanahalli Society, on the outskirts of Bengaluru in Karnataka state, has been doing extraordinary work in the treatment, vocational training and rehabilitation of leprosy patients, winning national and other awards. The mission was set up in the late 70s after a request by Karnataka’s chief minister to the archbishop of Bengaluru. Today, Sumanahalli leather goods, garments and other products are marketed in the UK by the Leprosy Mission, an international development organisation.

“But we don’t have anybody to take care of our clinics who is as trained and committed as Sister Jean,” said the director of the society, Father George Kannanthanam. “She’s wonderful – she knows every leprosy patient by name…If Sister Jean has to leave, the main loss will be for the patients,” he added. “They call her ‘Amma’ – she’s like a mother to them. It’s as if Sumanahalli’s heart is being ripped out.”

I know, I know, just some bureaucratic mistake. Still – it shouldn’t take an international brouhaha to rectify the simplest issue in medicine – continuing care. No doubt there’s some ego-damaged politician somewhere in the loop who feared their little fiefdom was threatened.

Pharmco missed deadline – loses patent extension!

The United States Patent and Trademark Office on Friday again denied the Medicine Company’s request to extend the life of the patent protecting its main drug, the blood thinner Angiomax.

Medicines has been trying since 2001 to undo an error, when it narrowly missed a 60-day deadline for requesting the patent extension. Because the patent office would not accept the late application, the patent has been scheduled to expire next Tuesday, rather than in late 2014.

On Tuesday, however, a federal judge ordered the patent office to reconsider its rejection of the extension, suggesting the agency had been too strict in interpreting the law regarding the 60-day deadline. The judge, Claude M. Hilton of the United States District Court in Alexandria, Va., also told the patent office to keep the patent in force while it conducted its reconsideration.

By Friday, however, the patent office had already concluded its review, telling the company that it would stick with its previous decisions and would not accept the company’s application.

The decision, and especially how rapidly it was made, stunned and infuriated the company

The Patent Office is, after all, usually ready to rollover for corporate America.

In a 15-page decision, accompanied by more than 300 pages of attachments, the Patent Office defended its decision. It said Medicines had waited until the last minute to file the fairly simple patent extension application. It also said the company did not sue the patent office until the patent had nearly expired, instead spending years lobbying Congress. “MDCO’s dire situation is therefore exclusively of its own making,” it said.

France denies citizenship over veil

The French government has refused to grant citizenship to a foreign national on the grounds that he forced his wife to wear the full Islamic veil.

The man, whose current nationality was not given, needed citizenship to settle in the country with his French wife.

But Immigration Minister Eric Besson said this was being refused because he was depriving his wife of the liberty to come and go with her face uncovered.

In a statement, Mr Besson said he had signed a decree on Tuesday rejecting a man’s citizenship application after it emerged that he had ordered his wife to cover herself with a head-to-toe veil.

“It became apparent during the regulation investigation and the prior interview that this person was compelling his wife to wear the all-covering veil, depriving her of the freedom to come and go with her face uncovered, and rejected the principles of secularism and equality between men and women,” he said.

Later, the minister stressed that French law required anyone seeking naturalisation to demonstrate their desire for integration.

The interior ministry says only 1,900 women wear full veils in France, home to Europe’s biggest Muslim minority.

France is serious about being a secular state. They don’t pick and choose among religions for acceptable and not-so-acceptable the way many nations do.