Saturday, April 17, 2010

Crooked Banksters And LGBT Visitation Rights


Just about everyone I know-- probably not my Glenn Beck-watching brother-in-law, but everyone else-- has gotten a little impatient with how long it's taking for Obama to change the world. Yesterday's announcement of the SEC fraud charges against Goldman Sachs is the kind of thing we'd like to see in the news every day. It would be incredible if the politicians-- on both sides of the aisle, from Mark Kirk and Spencer Baucus to Chris Dodd and Chuck Schumer-- were forced to disgorge the immense bribes they have accepted from Goldman Sachs over the years. I'm still waiting to hear from one politician to announce he or she is returning any of the $31,612,375 in thinly veiled bribes Goldman Sachs and its top executives have doled out to federal candidates since 1990.

I seem to recall that in 2007, when Republican Senator Larry Craig was caught in a public toilet propositioning a policeman for sex, Republicans from Mitt Romney, John Ensign and Norm Coleman to Susan Collins were tripping all over themselves to give back his campaign contributions. Were poor Senator Craig's offenses more serious to our nation than Goldman Sachs's? I don't even think the most vile and contemptible homophobes-- a Virginia Foxx or Steve King-- would claim that. But the "gay thing" is always so much easier to exploit than something more abstract, like greed or selfishness or corporate sociopathic behavior.

And that brings us to Obama's other big announcement in the change direction, his order that hospitals grant visitation rights to same-sex partners if so requested by patients.
In a memo to his Health and Human Services agency, Obama ordered the secretary to ensure that all hospitals getting Medicare and Medicaid money honor all patients' advance directives, including those designating who gets family visitation privileges.

The order also requires that documents granting power of attorney and healthcare proxies be honored, regardless of sexual orientation. The language could apply to unmarried heterosexual couples too.

One of the members of Congress who has been fighting the hardest for this is NY Rep. Jerry Nadler, Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Clearly delighted, both for his constituents and for the concepts of justice and human dignity, Nadler issued this statement:
I want to thank President Obama for this important memo on hospital visitation and medical decision-making for same-sex couples and families, as well as for other caretakers who are not legal spouses. This ensures that everyone will have the same unqualified right to have a person of their own choosing with them in the hospital. This basic civil right is long overdue and essential within a society that seeks to treat its citizens equally and promote the stability and health of families. Without marriage equality, this memo is absolutely critical for ensuring that the federal government is protecting the medical rights of all families and not discriminating against certain classes of citizens.  LGBT families need and deserve the same civil rights as other American families, and I applaud this progress in that long struggle.

I doubt you'll even find one GOP homophobe to stand up and denounce this publicly. Still waiting for Virginia Foxx, though. Still, that doesn't mean that there won't be any pushback from the right at all. Take "Lord" Christopher Monckton, for example, a conservative FreedomWorks-Glenn Beck dim bulb who is still demanding that HIV patients be put in isolation.

Does this mean we sit back and wait for Obama-- who has surrounded himself with corporate shills and conservatives like Rahm Emanuel and Lawrence Summers-- to get to all the promises he made during his campaign? Uh, no. Let's never forget what President Franklin Roosevelt told a group of reformers about leading the way: "I agree with you. I want to do it. Now make me do it." And at the rate Obama's going he'd need the same four terms FDR had to do as much as Roosevelt did for the progressive agenda in just his first term! But this week, he did good, thanks in no small part to the reformers who are pushing him.

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At 4:49 PM, Blogger lawguy said...

I've seen the FDR thing all over the internet, but before last year I'd never heard of it and my major in college was American History, basically that general period.

I suspect that it is more of a cop out for Obama than it is a real incident.


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