Category Archives: Taxes

California man, 20, who drugged and raped his teenage sister gets lenient sentence of less than a year prison as judge insists the ‘stigma’ is enough

nolan bruder

Sex offender Nolan Bruder

Unreal.

From Daily Mail: A 20-year-old man who drugged and raped his 16-year-old sister was sentenced to less than a year in prison by a California judge on Wednesday.

Nolan Bruder pleaded guilty earlier this month and admitted that he gave his younger sister high potency marijuana to smoke until she reached a point where she no longer recognized him as her brother after she resisted his repeated sexual advances, KRCR reported.

Bruder was sentenced by Judge William Follet to serve only three years in prison with all but 240 days suspended in favor of granting probation for rape of an intoxicated person, according to the Del Norte District Attorney’s Office.

Follet said that the stigma of this conviction along with the mandatory sex offender registration requirements would ‘sufficiently deter Bruder.’ 

After the judge’s sentencing, district attorney Dale Trigg said he ‘could not disagree more with (it).’

‘The message that this sends to our community is that sexual predators who get their juvenile siblings stoned enough can have sex with them without any meaningful consequence,’ Trigg told KRCR. ‘That is not the message I want to send to our community,’

Trigg said that the judge noted in court that the victim took her own clothes off and was not unconscious.

Follet apparently also questioned if there was enough evidence for a jury to convict Bruder, despite there being a video-taped confession that the 20-year-old gave after admitting to what he did.

During the sentencing hearing, Deputy District Attorney Annamarie Padilla argued that Bruder should be sentenced to prison for six years in following the Probation Department’s recommendation.

Trigg said that since the highly-publicized rape case involving ex-Stanford swimmer Brock Turner, the California legislature changed the law to make such crimes ineligible for probation.

Turner sexually assaulted an unconscious woman after a party and was eventually spent three months in jail for the crime. Trigg said that in this case, Bruder benefited from the fact that the crimes he committed pre-dated the change in the law, which allowed Follet to sentence him to probation.

The district attorney argued that Bruder’s crime is significantly worse than Turner’s. ‘In a lot of ways, this case is more egregious than Brock Turner,’ Trigg told KRCR. ‘This defendant took advantage of a position of trust as this victim’s big brother. He knew she didn’t want to have sex with him.

‘She told him that repeatedly. So he got her stoned on dabs he gave her until she didn’t even recognize him in order get what he wanted.’

DCG

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The price tag on universal health care in California is bigger than state’s budget

government solve all problems

Shocker, not.

From Sacramento Bee: The pricetag is in: It would cost $400 billion to remake California’s health insurance marketplace and create a publicly funded universal health care system, according to a state financial analysis released Monday.

California would have to find an additional $200 billion per year, including in new tax revenues, to create a so-called “single-payer” system, the analysis by the Senate Appropriations committee found. The estimate assumes the state would retain the existing $200 billion in local, state and federal funding it currently receives to offset the total $400 billion price tag.

The cost analysis is seen as the biggest hurdle to create a universal system, proposed by Sens. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, and Toni Atkins, D-San Diego.

It remains a longshot bid. Steep projected costs have derailed efforts over the past two decades to establish such a health care system in California. The cost is higher than the $180 billion in proposed general fund and special fund spending for the budget year beginning July 1.

Employers currently spend between $100 billion to $150 billion per year, which could be available to help offset total costs, according to the analysis. Under that scenario, total new spending to implement the system would be between $50 billion and $100 billion per year.

“Health care spending is growing faster than the overall economy…yet we do not have better health outcomes and we cover fewer people,” Lara said at Monday’s appropriations hearing. “Given this picture of increasing costs, health care inefficiencies and the uncertainty created by Congress, it is critical that California chart our own path.”

The idea behind Senate Bill 562 is to overhaul California’s insurance marketplace, reduce overall health care costs and expand coverage to everyone in the state regardless of immigration status or ability to pay. Instead of private insurers, state government would be the “single payer” for everyone’s health care through a new payroll taxing structure, similar to the way Medicare operates.

Lara and Atkins say they are driven by the belief that health care is a human right and should be guaranteed to everyone similar to public services like safe roads and clean drinking water. They seek to rein in rising health care costs by lowering administrative expenses, reducing expensive emergency room visits and eliminating insurance company profits and executive salaries.

In addition to covering undocumented people illegal aliens, Lara said the goal is to expand health access to people who, even with insurance, may skip doctor visits or stretch out medications due to high co-pays and deductibles.  “Doctors and hospitals would no longer need to negotiate rates and deal with insurance companies to seek reimbursement,” Lara said.

Insurance groups, health plans and Kaiser Permanente are against the bill. Industry representatives say California should focus on improving the Affordable Care Act. Business groups, including the California Chamber of Commerce, have deemed the bill a “job-killer.”

“A single-payer system is massively, if not prohibitively expensive,” said Nick Louizos, vice president of legislative affairs for the California Association of Health Plans. “It will cost employers and taxpayers billions of dollars and result in significant loss of jobs in the state,” the Chamber of Commerce said in its opposition letter.

Underlying the debate is uncertainty at the federal level over what President Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress will do with Obamacare. The House Republican bill advanced earlier this month would dismantle it by removing its foundation – the individual mandate that requires everyone to have coverage or pay a tax penalty.

Republican-led efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare is fueling political support for the bill, Atkins said at a universal health care rally this past weekend in Sacramento hosted by the California Nurses Association, a co-sponsor.

“This is a high-ticket expense…We have to figure out how to cover everyone and work on addressing the costs in the long-term — that’s our challenge,” Atkins said. “I’m optimistic.”

The bill has to get approval on the Senate floor by June 2 to advance to the Assembly. A financing plan is underway, which could suggest diverting money employers pay for worker’s compensation insurance to a state-run coverage system.

Lara said he believes California can and should play a prominent role in improving people’s lives. “We can do better,” he said.

DCG

Planned Parenthood Will Close 4 Iowa Clinics Due To New State Restrictions

mammograms

Don’t’ believe the fearmongering of this article from Refinery29. There are still PLENTY of health care clinics in Iowa. My quick search found the following:

The Iowa Association of Rural Health Clinics has a list of over 140 rural health clinics in Iowa. And of course, there are the countless other municipal health care clinics as well as private health care facilities.

Plenty of facilities for Iowa residents to receive “vital health services” that only Planned Parenthood can provide.

From Yahoo (Refinery29): Following in Texas’ disastrous footsteps, four Planned Parenthood clinics will close in Iowa because of the state government’s actions to partially defund the health organization. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad signed a health and human services budget that discontinued the state’s federal Medicaid family planning waiver and replaced it with a state program that excludes any clinic that offers abortions.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland announced on Thursday that it will close one third of its 12 health centers in Iowa this summer, leaving an estimated 14,600 patients in Quad Cities, Burlington, Keokuk, and Sioux City without their current healthcare provider.

Iowa’s $1.77 billion health and human services budget keeps roughly the same amount of funds for family planning as the previous year, but places new restrictions on which facilities can receive money to cover low-income patients’ health care. Because the Hyde Amendment already prevents federal funds from paying for abortion, the budget change is the latest attempt by Republican politicians to shut down abortion providers.

Defunding Planned Parenthood and forcing clinics to shutter keeps low-income women from accessing vital health services such as contraception and cancer screenings, as the organization says abortions make up roughly 3% all services it performs.

Back in 2011, Texas took similarly drastic measures, cutting its family planning budget by more than $70 million and directing it away from clinics that provided abortion. Across the state, 25% of all family planning clinics closed, and about 30,000 fewer women had access to a health clinic two years later.

Clinic closures in the Lone Star State also forced women to drive four times farther to have an abortion. A Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) study found that Texas women whose closest clinic stayed open drove an average of 22 miles, while women whose closest clinic closed drove an average of 85 miles for health services. The women furthest from an open clinic had to drive more than 250 miles.

Iowa’s new regulations forced clinics to close right away, which foreshadows what will happen if the healthcare bill passed in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier in May becomes law. The GOP’s American Health Care Act proposes cutting off Medicaid reimbursements Planned Parenthood currently receives for treating low-income patients for one year unless its clinics stop performing abortions.

“We have seen what happens in states like Texas, and now in Iowa, when politicians attack access to care at Planned Parenthood — it’s devastating, and sometimes deadly, for the women who are left with nowhere to turn for care,” Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley, chief medical officer at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement to Refinery29. “I am concerned about the health and well-being of the people in Iowa who now can no longer turn to their trusted health care provider.”

Texas has already proven that when a state cuts off Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid funds, it forces clinics to close and keeps women from getting the health services they need. Now, Iowa has followed suit and essential care for women is at stake in one more state.

DCG

WHO spends more on travel costs than fighting AIDS

margaret chan UN

Traveling large: UN Health Agency Director-General Margaret Chan

Your tax dollars at work.

From NY Post: The World Health Organization is spending more money on the travel bug than on fighting AIDS or malaria, according to a new report.

The UN health agency blows around $200 million a year on travel costs so its honchos can fly business class and stay in five-star hotels — more than what it reserves for battling some of the world’s biggest health crisis, the AP reports.

“We don’t trust people to do the right thing when it comes to travel,” the agency’s finance director Nick Jeffreys was caught saying at a 2015 seminar, according to the report.

WHO last year spent around $71 million on AIDS and hepatitis, $61 million on malaria and $59 million on tuberculosis, the wire service reports — although it does allocate a generous $450 million to polio every year.

Meanwhile, the agency’s director-general Dr. Margaret Chan racked up a $370,000 travel bill in one year, and recently stayed in a $1,008-a-night hotel in Guinea, the AP reports.

WHO is nevertheless asking for more moolah to fight disease — and taxpayers will be footing the bill.

UN member countries pay for the agency’s $2 billion annual budget, and the US is the largest contributor.

The agency defended itself by saying “the nature of WHO’s work often requires WHO staff to travel” and noting that it reduced travel costs by 14 percent last year — although that came after the particularly pricey 2014 Ebola outbreak, the AP notes.

And other aid agencies manage to fly staff around on much tighter budgets — the UN’s children’s agency UNICEF spends $140 million a year and has twice the staff, while Doctors Without Borders forbids business-class travel and spends on $43 million a year despite having more than five times as many staffers, the outlet reports.

DCG

Colorado governor pardons felon to stave off deportation

hickenlooper

Obama and Gov Hickenlooper

Keep it up liberals. 2018 wont’ be so pretty for your party if you keep aiding and abetting illegal aliens.

From Yahoo: Colorado’s governor on Friday pardoned a Cuban immigrant for an armed robbery he committed 19 years ago in an effort stave off the man’s deportation after immigration authorities detained him following a judge’s ruling that he should no longer be imprisoned.

The pardon from Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, was the latest twist in the saga of Rene Lima-Marin, 38. He came to the U.S. as a toddler as part of the 1980 Mariel boat lift from Cuba and had legal residency until it was revoked following his 2000 criminal conviction. Lima-Marin was sentenced to 98 years in prison for the robbery. But he was mistakenly paroled from Colorado state prison in 2008.

Lima-Marin married, had a child and got a steady job installing glass before state authorities realized their mistake in 2014 and sent him back for the remainder of his 98-year prison sentence.

A Colorado judge earlier this week ordered Lima-Marin released from state prison, saying it would be “draconian” to keep him incarcerated. But before he could return to his family, immigration authorities picked him up, citing a still-active deportation order from 2000. His lawyers said a pardon was his only chance to stave off deportation.

Lima-Marin’s case has become a bipartisan cause celebre in Colorado, as 98 members of the state Assembly, Democrats and Republicans, called on Hickenlooper to grant him clemency. Though the legal roots of Lima-Marin’s deportation order stretch back to actions of the Obama administrations, his detention comes as the Trump administration has moved aggressively to speed up deportations, sometimes sparking clashes with local officials.

“This was a question of justice,” Hickenlooper told an afternoon news conference. “This was a pretty clear example of someone who’s done all the work necessary to earn a second chance.”

It’s unclear whether the governor’s action will be enough to stop Lima-Marin’s deportation. “I’m not a lawyer,” Hickenlooper said when asked whether the pardon would be enough.

District Attorney George Brauchler, whose office prosecuted Lima-Marin, said Hickenlooper did not give prosecutors time to review the pardon application as required by state law. “The hasty decision to ignore state law was made seemingly to skirt federal law, and that is not an appropriate use of the governor’s pardon power,” said Brauchler, who is running for governor.

Carl Rusnok, a spokesman for ICE, indicated that Hickenlooper’s pardon would not be enough to stop the deportation. “Rene Michael Lima Marin currently has final orders of removal from a federal immigration judge,” he said in a statement.

Hans Meyer, Lima-Marin’s lawyer, said he’d file motions to vacate that order. “We’re incredibly grateful to the governor for a just and fair solution,” he said. “This is a tremendous first step.”

But Jason Kasperek, the assistant manager at a Blockbuster video store that Lima-Marin and an accomplice robbed in 1998, said Lima-Marin should be back in prison. “I just think that it’s scandalous how he used the system,” Kasperek said of Lima-Marin, recalling how the robbers held a rifle to his head as they forced him to open the store safe. “I think it’s completely ridiculous. It’s unjust for all victims who have been involved in it.”

The Blockbuster was one of two video stores that Lima-Marin and his accomplice Michael Clifton robbed. They were convicted on multiple robbery, kidnapping and burglary counts. Clifton is still in prison, serving his 98-year sentence.

This is not Lima-Marin’s first time in immigration detention. Though Trump has ordered immigration authorities to step up their enforcement of deportation orders, Lima-Marin’s legal jeopardy actually stems from changes made by Obama.

After his 2008 parole, immigration authorities held Lima-Marin for 180 days. But at the time, Cuba would not accept any additional people who had arrived on the Mariel boat lift as deportees. As a result, Lima-Marin was released. He continued to check in with immigration authorities regularly, said his wife, Jasmine.

But when Obama in January ended the “wet foot-dry foot” policy that had protected Cuban immigrants who arrived from the island, it opened the door to additional Cubans from the Mariel boat lift to be deported.

DCG

Socialist Seattle council member urges Seattle Seahawks to hire Colin Kaepernick

kaepernick sawant tweet

Sawant’s message to the Seahawks

Don’t hire him because of his football skills, rather it is his SJW skillz that matter.

From MyNorthwest.com: Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant has weighed in on issues from the minimum wage to taxing the rich. But now she’s speaking up on something new — the Seahawks.

Sawant penned a letter Friday to Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll and owner Paul Allen in support of bringing Colin Kaepernick onto the team. “I am writing to convey that Colin Kaepernick would be welcome in Seattle, and to encourage you to take the opportunity to sign him as the Seahawks’ backup quarterback,” Sawant writes.

“I am not a football expert,” she continues. “But everything I have read strongly suggests that the only reason a player with Kaepernick’s skills is still a free agent is because of the backlash against his courageous leadership last year against racism, brutality, and discrimination. If that makes other teams wary of signing him, shame on them. In Seattle, we know our communities will only benefit from his activism as well as his talents on the field.”

As the Seahawks hunt for a backup quarterback, Kaepernick’s name has been among those considered for the job. Without any official word on his chances with the Seattle team, he has already received support of teammates such as Michael Bennett. Kaepernick made headlines last year when he opted to kneel during the national anthem, drawing attention to racial inequality in America.

Sawant’s letter continues, citing social justice issues she is passionate about and relates them to the quarterback. She ends by saying that it would “be a poor message” for the Seahawks to send to young people if Kaepernick was not able to be signed to a team after taking a knee.

The rest of Sawant’s letter reads:

“As you know, Colin Kaepernick has been widely recognized as a leader amongst professional athletes for speaking out on social justice issues that are vital to the lives and livelihoods of regular working people, many of whom are Seahawks fans. His courage in openly and defiantly supporting the Black Lives Matter movement is not without precedent; indeed, it is reminiscent of Tommie Smith and John Carlos’s historic stance for black freedom on the podium of the 1968 Olympic Games, and Muhammad Ali’s refusal to participate in the war in Vietnam.

Around the country, ordinary people, activists, and especially young people, have been inspired by Kaepernick’s opposition to racism, and his broad support of social justice. He has supported Meals on Wheels and other anti-hunger programs, and has spoken out against bigotry and the scapegoating of Muslims. He has provided key support to grassroots social justice organizations, including Silicon Valley De-Bug, Causa Justa/Just Cause, Urban Underground, Black Youth Project 100, Mothers Against Police Brutality, Gathering for Justice, Communities United for Police Reform, and the I Will Not Die Young Campaign.

From the fight for a $15/hour minimum wage, to the struggle for affordable housing, to the movement against police brutality, Seattle’s working people and young people have led the nation in this new era of social movements. I agree wholeheartedly with Michael Bennett that Seattle is the perfect place for Kaepernick. The NFL has an influence on the ideas and attitudes of young people. As you assemble your team, it would be a poor message for you to send to young people that speaking out against racism, police violence, and economic inequality is ‘toxic’ and will be punished rather than applauded.

The working people of Seattle and our youth will be proud to welcome Colin Kaepernick. Please do everything in your power to sign him to the Seahawks. Thank you for your time and consideration.”

DCG

UK schools urged to ‘show sensitivity’ to Muslim pupils by moving revision classes and rescheduling sports days for Ramadan

islam-is-the-answer

Ain’t multi-culturalism grand?

From Daily Mail: Schools are being urged to move revision classes and consider rescheduling sports days to accommodate the needs of Muslim pupils fasting for Ramadan, MailOnline can reveal.

A new report also suggests that schools should also ‘show sensitivity’ when organising graduation celebrations and change PE lesson plans to make sure that activities are ‘less strenuous’.

Ramadan falls at the end of May this year and will last for approximately one month meaning it will clash with GCSE and A Level exams across the country.

During the period Muslims who have reached ‘maturity’ are required to go without food or drink – including water – during sunlight hours. It means that thousands of pupils could face sitting exams with empty stomachs in warm exam rooms at the height of summer when Britain gets an average of 16 hours of daylight.

The pamphlet has been published by the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), which represents more than 18,000 head teachers and college leaders. It recommends teenagers should not stay up late praying during this summer’s exam period because ‘extra devotions in Ramadan are voluntary’ and performing well at school is ‘obligatory’.

The report – which was authored by ‘inclusion specialist’ Anna Cole – warns: ‘Young people should be made aware that Islam does not require them to put their futures in jeopardy.’

It also says that despite a ‘combination of long days, higher temperatures as well as examinations’ putting extra pressure on young Muslims, many will still opt to participate in Ramadan.

The ASCL research paper concludes that primary-aged children should not fast and makes a series of recommendations to secondary school head teachers to ‘ease the pressure’ on Muslim students.

It advises invigilators to avoid suggesting to students that they have a ‘tiny sip of water’ while sitting in hot exam rooms unless there is concern that they are suffering from dehydration. Schools are also asked to provide prayer rooms as well as to make sure exam rooms are in the shade with fans and bottles of water available.

But the guidance starkly warns: ‘If a student taking an exam is showing any signs that they may be dehydrated, such as a headache or drowsiness, they should be advised to terminate the fast immediately by drinking some water.’

In this instance, staff are told to ‘inform pupils of the allowances Islam gives for them to break the fast and make it up later if they feel fasting will in any way jeopardise their performance’. They are also advised to ‘discuss with students whether they would prefer revision lessons to be in the morning or afternoon’.

It continues: ‘School and college leaders will also want to consider the possible impact fasting and late night prayers during Ramadan may have on Muslim children when setting dates for other activities, such as sports days, trips and celebrations.’

The paper – which the authors hope will be a ‘positive opportunity for engagement – was devised in consultation with scholars from across the spectrum of Islamic religion. The guidelines state: ‘Observing Ramadan may bring many benefits to individuals and communities, but also has the potential to cause the individual temporary hardship through hunger and lack of liquids during fasting hours which may impact on physical wellbeing and cognitive performance.

‘Young Muslims and families, particularly those sitting exams this summer, will need to balance their obligations as Muslims with their studies and the importance of examinations for their future, noting that the pursuit of education is also a religious and moral duty for Muslims of both genders.

There are some exemptions to Ramadan, for women on their periods, those who are ill or those experiencing ‘hardship’ – but generally all Muslims past the age of puberty take part.

Read the rest of the story here.

DCG