War on Women

21 Things Republicans Have Demanded In Exchange For Not Shutting Down The Government Or Tanking The Global Economy

boehner

BY JUDD LEGUM ON SEPTEMBER 30, 2013

Since the Republicans took over the House of Representatives in 2011, they have repeatedly attempted to use the prospect of a government shutdown or a debt default as leverage. A shutdown would furlough close to a million federal workers and cut off essential services for millions more Americans, while a default on U.S. debt, even according to Speaker John Boehner, could devastate the global economy. While the recent debate has focused on Obamacare, that is just the latest in a series of demands made by Republicans. The following is a list of things that have been, at various times, demanded by Republicans under threat of a government shutdown or default:

1. A balanced budget amendment [Link]

2. Approving Keystone XL [Link]

3. Eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood [Link]

4. Medicare privatization [Link]

5. Tax reform, as outlined by Paul Ryan [Link]

6. The REINS Act, which would require Congress to approve significant federal regulations [Link]

7. Means-testing Social Security [Link]

8. Defunding Obamacare [Link]

9. Allowing employers to eliminate insurance coverage for birth control [Link]

10. An expansion of off-shore drilling [Link]

11. Preserving all the Bush tax cuts [Link]

12. “Trillions” in budget cuts [Link]

13. Slashing funding for food stamps [Link]

14. Protecting mountaintop strip mining [Link]

15. Stripping the EPA of authority to regulate greenhouse gases [Link]

16. Loosening regulation on coal ash [Link]

17. Delaying Obamacare implementation by one year [Link]

18. Repealing a tax on medical devices [Link]

19. Eliminating Social Service Block Grants [Link]

20. Expanding drilling on federal lands [Link]

21. Restricting the child tax credit [Link]

In just over 2 years, Republicans have been successful in extracting around $1.7 trillion in budget cuts or 72% of the total deficit reduction over that period. Under President Bush the government never shut down and the debt limit was raised five times with bipartisan support and without conditions.


This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe.

Yet Another Reason Why Employers Should NOT Have Control of OUR Health Care Insurance

Conservative Court Says Religious Employers Can Deny Their Workers Birth Control

— by Ian Millhiser on Jun 28, 2013 at 9:58 am

An eight-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit struck a major blow against Obama Administration rules ensuring that most workers’ health plans will cover birth control. Although Thursday’s decision in Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius leaves a few procedural stones unturned before courts can begin carving holes in the birth control rules, it leaves little doubt that a majority of the court’s judges will allow employers with religious objections to birth control to withhold birth control from their employees.

The Supreme Court established more than three decades ago that a company may not “impose the employer’s religious faith on the employees.” As the Court explained in United States v. Lee, “[w]hen followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity.” So there should be little doubt that the employer in this case, a national chain of crafting retailers, must comply with a law requiring them to include birth control coverage in their health plans. Religious objections cannot be imposed upon an employer’s workers.

The Tenth Circuit’s majority, however, brushes past this aspect of the Lee opinion, although it somehow manages to rely on Lee for the proposition that religious employers’ right to immunize themselves from the law is much more robust than many other courts have held. Simply put, the opinion is a disaster for workers whose bosses cite religious justifications for ignoring their employees’ legal rights.

The majority opinion does not simply conclude that a for profit corporation may assert a religious objection to a law — itself a questionable proposition — it even opens the door to “a large publicly traded corporation tr[ying] to assert religious rights” (although the court does admit that it would be difficult for Walmart to prove that its alleged religious beliefs are sincere). It defines an important limit on religious liberty cases, the requirement that the plaintiff show that a law “substantially burdens” their exercise of religion, so narrowly as to render this limit a nullity in many cases. And it even includes some language suggesting that religious employers could successfully object to laws ensuring “gender equality.”

The last part of the court’s reasoning is significant because it portends the next strike religious conservatives are likely to launch if they win their case against the birth control rules — empowering people with conservative religious beliefs to ignore anti-discrimination laws. As social conservative writer Ross Douthat argued shortly after the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, the march towards marriage equality may be inevitable, but conservatives can still undermine this march by “build[ing] in as many protections for religious liberty as possible along the way.” Similarly, laws forbidding discrimination against gay workers will be drastically reduced in effectiveness if employers who bear religiously motivated animus against gay people can simply ignore those laws. Today, religious conservatives have their sights set on women who use birth control. If they win, gay people are next.

Time is Money and the GOP is Throwing It Away

Earlier this week, the Republicans in Congress (including NV2’s Mark Amodei) voted for passage of yet another bill limiting a woman’s reproductive rights.  It not only would shorten the time frame during which a woman could choose to end a pregnancy, but would also require rape/incest victims to report that assault to authorities to be able to exercise that choice.  That bill would be HR1797.  That’s right, despite not having passed a single jobs bill, the REPUBLIBAN brethren in Congress would rather waste time and our taxpayer dollars on a bill the President has already promised to veto. Their actions are shameful and out of touch with what our country needs.

Available legislative time on the agenda is finite.  That means if the folks in charge of the House of Representatives, that would be the REPUBLIBAN brethren, choose to use their time to debate and process crap bills like this, the alternative cost is that there is NO TIME to devote to meaningful actions necessary to say, pass a jobs bill, pass comprehensive immigration reform, fix the still lingering foreclosure problems still facing many families, or ensure that students will be able to secure reasonable loan interest rates such that they don’t become mere indentured servants to the mighty megabanks.

Just looking at the time wasted on HR1797, here’s what’s shown on Thomas:

4/26/2013: Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and in addition to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.

4/26/2013: Referred to House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (41 members)
4/26/2013: Referred to House Judiciary Committee (40 members)

5/23/2013: Referred to the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations. (15 members)
5/23/2013: Referred to the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice. (12 members)

5/23/2013: Subcommittee Hearings Held.
6/04/2013: Subcommittee Consideration and Mark-up Session Held.
6/04/2013: Forwarded by Subcommittee to Full Committee (Amended) by the Yeas and Nays: 6 – 4 .

6/12/2013: Committee Consideration and Mark-up Session Held.
6/12/2013: Ordered to be Reported (Amended) by the Yeas and Nays: 20 – 12.
6/14/2013 10:09pm: Reported (Amended) by the Committee on Judiciary. H. Rept. 113-109, Part I.

6/14/2013 10:09pm: Committee on Oversight and Government discharged.

6/14/2013 10:10pm: Placed on the Union Calendar, Calendar No. 77.

6/17/2013 7:32pm: Rules Committee Resolution H. Res. 266 Reported to House. The resolution provides for one hour of debate on H.R. 1947 and provides for consideration of H.R. 1797 with one hour of debate and one motion to recommit with or without instructions.

6/18/2013 4:41pm: Considered under the provisions of rule H. Res. 266. (consideration: CR H3730-3743)

6/18/2013 4:41pm: The resolution provides for one hour of debate on H.R. 1947 and provides for consideration of H.R. 1797 with one hour of debate and one motion to recommit with or without instructions.

6/18/2013 4:41pm: DEBATE – The House proceeded with one hour of debate on H.R. 1797.

6/18/2013 6:01pm: The previous question was ordered pursuant to the rule. (consideration: CR H3743)

6/18/2013 6:01pm: POSTPONED PROCEEDINGS – At the conclusion of debate on H.R. 1797, the Chair put the question on passage and, by voice vote, announced that the ayes had prevailed. Ms. Ros-Lehtinen demanded the yeas and nays and the Chair postponed further proceedings on the question of passage until later in the legislative day.

6/18/2013 6:15pm: Considered as unfinished business. (consideration: CR H3743-3744)

6/18/2013 6:45pm: On passage Passed by the Yeas and Nays: 228 – 196 (Roll no. 251). (text: CR H3730-3731)

6/18/2013 6:45pm: Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection.

6/18/2013 6:45pm: The title of the measure was amended. Agreed to without objection.

6/19/2013: Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

So, what kind of alternative costs are we talking about?  Well, let’s start with the annual salary of a U.S. Representative to Congress.  That would be $174,000/yr.  Now, let’s look at the number of legislative days each of our Representatives will work this year. That would be 126 days (out of 365 calendar days).  Given that they’re only scheduled to be in DC for 4 consecutive days in any calendar week, I’ll give them the benefit of a doubt and say they work 10 hour days.  That means available legislative hours =  126 days x 10 hrs/day =1260 hrs.  That means that the cost for each legislative hour for each representative = $174,000 /1260 hrs =$138.10/hr.

So, for each subcommittee and each committee, and then the House as a whole spent only an hour dealing with this bill what did that cost us as taxpayers (you know, the folks who pay their salaries)?

Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations
Hearing/Markup: 15 members x 3 hr x $138.10/hr = $6214.50

 Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice
Hearing/Markup:12 members x 3 hr x $138.10/hr = $4971.60

Full Judiciary Committee
Amendment/Vote of Yeas & Nays:  40 mbrs x 2 hrs x $138.10 = $11,048.00

Full House Oversight and Government Reform Committee
Vote of Yeas & Nays:  41 mbrs x 1 hr x $138.10 = $5662.10

Full House of Representatives (424 Voting/10 Not Voting)
Debate & Votes:  424 Mbrs x 2 hrs x 138.10/hr = $117,108.80

And none of these figures include the monies paid to that folks in the background, the clerks on the floor of the house, any payments made to those who testified for their travel (etc.), the webmasters who need to post information about the hearings, markups, debates, and votes.  But as you can see, the nominal cost of just the Representatives themselves for consideration of this onerous bill amounts to:

$6214.50 + $4971.60 + 11,048.00 + $5662.10 + $117,108.80 = $145,005.00

Just for reference sake, the average U.S. per capita personal income in 2012 was $42,693.  Thus, the alternative costs the Speaker Boehner and his REPUBLIBAN brethren chose to waste would have basically employed 3.4 individuals (3 full time jobs + 1 part-time job) for a year!  In Nevada, the 2012 per capita Income was only $37, 361 … so in Nevada, that same wasted money, on just that one bill, could have employed 3.9 individuals!

Amodei Clearly Declares War on NV’s Women

Today, our congressional representative, Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV2), essentially declared WAR on the women of Nevada by voting FOR passage of HR1797, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, authored by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ).  This onerous bill bans abortions after 20 weeks, based on the medically disputed theory that fetuses can feel pain at that point. While it contains exceptions for women whose lives are in danger, it requires that rape and incest victims must prove that they reported their assaults to criminal authorities.  In addition, it contains no exceptions for severe fetal anomalies or situations in which the woman’s health is threatened by her pregnancy.  Here’s a summary of what the brethren of the REPUBLIBAN feel is the “appropriate choice” for women throughout our nation:

  • Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act – Amends the federal criminal code to prohibit any person from performing or attempting to perform an abortion except in conformity with this Act’s requirements.
  • Requires the physician to first determine the probable post-fertilization age of the unborn child, or reasonably rely upon such a determination made by another physician, by making inquiries of the pregnant woman and performing such medical examinations and tests as a reasonably prudent physician would consider necessary.
  • Prohibits the abortion from being performed if the probable post-fertilization age of the unborn child is 20 weeks or greater, except where necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, illness, or injury, excluding psychological or emotional conditions. Permits a physician to terminate a pregnancy under such exception only in the manner that provides the best opportunity for the unborn child to survive, unless that manner would pose a greater risk than other available methods would pose of the death or substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function, excluding psychological or emotional conditions, of the pregnant woman.
  • Subjects individuals who violate this Act to a fine, imprisonment for not more than five years, or both. Bars prosecution of a woman upon whom an abortion is performed in violation of this Act for violating or conspiring to violate this Act.
  • Defines “abortion” to mean the use or prescription of any instrument, medicine, drug, or any other substance or device to intentionally kill an unborn child or to intentionally terminate a pregnancy with an intention other than: (1) after viability, to produce a live birth and preserve the life and health of the child; or (2) to remove a dead unborn child.

HE voted for passage of a such a bill based on propaganda and bogus science?  Really?  HE thinks women lie about being raped and therefore should have to PROVE they were actually raped?  Really?  HE thinks victims of incest must PROVE they were a victim of rape? Really?  HE thinks HIS judgment about womens’ health issues is superior to any woman’s, and therefore, it’s HIS job to legislate that decision for every woman throughout our nation?  Really?

HE thinks that fetus is just viable as a 9-month old fetus at a gestational age of just a mere 20 weeks?  Really?  This from the same guy who has voted to REPEAL health care reform how many times? This from the same guy whose party claims they want to “repeal and replace Obamacare”?  UH … where’s the replacement?  Who does HE think is going to pay the outrageous costs involved to care for a 20-week fetus delivered using the best opportunity for the unborn child to survive?  What lifelong disabilities will that child/adult have related to all those “life-saving” procedures visited on that extremely, prematurely delivered child?  My guess is that HE didn’t spend a single moment to ponder any of those questions.  HE just voted the way Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor told him to vote!

Well Ladies, it’s time for a change in representation! HE clearly does NOT represent us. Who among us is going to step up to the plate and strike him out?  Start your campaign early … build your support team to knock on doors throughout CD2 and help folks learn who you are and who/what you represent.  This vote was the equivalent of one too many salvos over our front hedges.  The vote for passage of HR1797 may just be symbolic to Rep. Amodei and his  REPUBLIBAN brethren, but THAT vote was clearly a declaration of #WARonWomen!

If you are as  appalled and disgusted as me by Rep. Amodei’s vote on HR1797, his DC phone# is 202-225-6155. Business hours may be over at the time of this writing, but don’t let that dissuade you.  Please take the time to call his number and if nothing else, leave a voicemail expressing your displeasure with his YES vote for passage of HR1797.

Latest GOP Budget Marks Latest Attack on Women

Budgets are statements of values and priorities. Based on the GOP’s latest budget, apparently the interests of women are not a priority.

Here’s a look at how the GOP budget is bad for women and children.

P2Pv3-0

Here’s a link to a comparison of the numbers of all three versions of Ryan’s Path to Poverty budgets. [Numbers compiled from 112-HCONRES34112-HCONRES112, 113-HCONRES###]

Evening Brief: Important Stories That You Might’ve Missed


This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe.

Under the Reading Lamp — 4/30/2012


ALEC’s Comeuppance

Jim Hightower, Op-Ed: “ALEC’s operatives take these cookie-cutter bills from state capitol to state capitol, getting Republican governors and key legislators to introduce them. Then the organization helps organize astroturf campaigns to ram such ugliness into law. Gov. Scott Walker’s repressive agenda in Wisconsin is an ALEC product. So is Arizona’s war on Latinos, as is Florida’s murderous “stand your ground” shoot-em-up law.”

Putting Our Premiums Into Medical Care, Not Profits

Wendell Potter, News Analysis: “The recent news from the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation that health insurers will have to send rebate checks totaling more than $1.3 billion to Americans this summer was especially gratifying to me. It more than justified my decision three years ago to clue members of Congress in on how insurance companies have systematically been devoting ever-increasing portions of our premium dollars to rewarding their shareholders and top executives.”

Top Republican Strategist Denies Women are Paid Less Than Men

Igor Volsky, Video Report: “Now we know, at least from both of your perspectives,” Maddow said, pointing to Castellanos and Romney surrogate Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), “women are not fairing worse than men in the economy that women aren’t getting paid less for equal work.” “It’s about policy and whether or not you want to fix some of the structural discrimination that women really do face that Republicans don’t believe is happening,” she added.

Five Tax Fallacies Invented by the 1%

Paul Buchheit , Op-Ed: “In 2009, the United States ranked 26th out of 28 OECD countries in total federal, state, and local taxes as a percent of GDP. Only Chile and Mexico had lower tax rates. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, ‘federal taxes on middle-income Americans are near historic lows.’ For taxpayers in the top 1%, the tax burden has fallen dramatically in recent years.”

AZ Lawmakers Lash Out at Imaginary United Nations Conspiracy With Assault on All Poverty & Environmental Laws

Ian Millhiser, News Report: “If this bill becomes law, Arizona’s government agencies would instantly be forbidden from doing anything to reduce poverty. Or to combat air pollution. Or to ensure that radioactive waste does not contaminate the environment. Or potentially to do anything at all to promote human health. Under this bill, Medicaid, state unemployment and welfare programs and nearly any environmental programs would need to cease, immediately.”

War, Money, and Moral Hazard

Thomas Magstadt, Op-Ed: “In the wake of the US bank-induced 2008 global financial crisis, policy makers, pundits, and economists suddenly rediscovered moral hazard in the under-regulated "free-market economy" both as a theoretical concept and as an existential danger. Nobody was more ardent in pushing this idea than then Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson, who served in that position from 2006 to 2009.”

Don’t Let Congress Kick College Grads in the Teeth

Robert Borosage, Op-Ed: “The Republican chair of the House education committee says he has “serious concerns” about the bill. And the Republican budget — championed by Paul Ryan and embraced as “marvelous” by Mitt Romney — both calls for deep cuts in Pell grants and assumes that the interest rates on government sponsored student loans will double. What are the Republican “concerns”? They claim to be opposed to the $6 billion cost of keeping the rate low. But jacking up the rate simply shifts that $6 billion cost onto the next generation of students who are already crushed by debt.”

Trickle-Down Gulf Wreck-onomics

Robert S. Becker, Op-Ed: “‘BP’s toxic sludge inundation,’ or ‘BP’s fatal frothy flood,’ even ‘BP’s contagion of contaminated crude’ — crude and indiscriminate indeed when this glut of gunk continues its death march. Even bacteria called upon to consume oil slicks are nixed, slain by two million gallons of the solvent concoction Corexit. Keen observer of the Gulf tragedy, I’d be downright remiss to withhold scandalous news about oil stuck to human skin, eyeless shrimp, fish-scale infections, or rising mortality for marine mammals and previously endangered sea turtles.”

Feds File First Criminal Charges Related to BP Gulf Spill

Abrahm Lustgarten, News Analysis: “According to an FBI affidavit submitted to the court along with the indictment, Mix, who worked for BP until January 2012, was directly involved in BP’s efforts to understand how much oil was flowing out of the broken Macondo well. On April 21, 2010, Mix estimated that between 68,000 and 138,000 barrels of oil were leaking each day— far more than the 5,000 barrels that were estimated publicly at the time.”

Fracking Industry California Dreamin’: A Future California Nightmare?

Steve Horn, Op-Ed: “Yesterday, The Bakersfield Californian reported that another oil and gas industry giant is making its way to The Golden State: Hess Corporation. Hess has operations on six of the seven global continents and will be headed to California’s yet-to-be-fracked Monterey Shale basin, which contains some 15 billion barrels of proven recoverable shale oil, according to the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration.”

Chesapeake Energy Well Blowout in Wyoming Causes Evacuation, Methane “Roared” for Days

Brendan DeMelle, News Report: “Once again, the failure appears tied to a faulty casing job. The Douglas Budget reports that, “the horizontal part of the drilling had been completed. The drillers pulled out the bit and were going to run the casing into the horizontal leg of the well.” That’s when the blowout occurred, apparently. Tom Doll, a Wyoming State Oil and Gas supervisor, told local press that the state had no idea how much methane gas had spewed into the air following the blowout, and would rely on Chesapeake to supply an answer.”

Rights Groups Hold International Drone Summit in Washington, DC

News Report: “We’re dragging this secretive drone program out of the shadows and into the light of day,” said Medea Benjamin, one of the Summit organizers and author of the new book Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control. “It’s time for the American public to know the true extent—and consequences—of the killing and spying being done in our name.” Lawyers representing Pakistani drone-strike victims and journalists investigating the attacks shared their experiences of these events in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. New footage of interviews with victims was aired.

The Viet Nam Conflict and the Fabricated Lies of War

Javier Rodriguez, Op-Ed: “That war was no different than the occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, the war against that other colonial power, Spain, the recent coup de tat against President Manuel Celaya and the democratically elected government in Honduras, and this one in particular hits the veins, the war on Mexico, where we lost over half of the territory. Indisputably history says, they have all been fabricated. No exceptions.”


Burden of Proof: Geithner, Obama, and Wall Street’s Unpunished Crimes

Richard (RJ) Eskow, Op-Ed: “Now the President’s really cracking down on Wall Street, we were told. In the face of widespread criticism for his proposed foreclosure fraud settlement with five top banks, the President eventually accompanied that deal with a promise of tougher enforcement. He appointed New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who had been pursuing banks and resisting previous deals, to his previously lethargic mortgage fraud group.”

Under the Reading Lamp — 3/12/2012



Physicians in Congress Committing Malpractice on Millions

imageWhat would you think if your physician told you, “Keep smoking because quitting would kill tobacco and health care jobs.” Or, “Don’t take your high blood pressure medicine, you can’t afford it.” And, “Don’t lose weight, no one has proven obesity is bad for you.” That’s exactly the quality of medical advice we are getting from the 18 Republican physicians currently serving in Congress. Some of the most well known are the father and son team of Rep. Ron Paul and Sen. Rand Paul, and Sen. Tom Coburn. Some of the most well known are the father and son team of Rep. Ron Paul and Sen. Rand Paul, and Sen. Tom Coburn. Almost all of these physician/Congressmen have been key soldiers in the Republican war on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), calling it a “job killer,” pronouncing relevant health science “unproven,” claiming we “can’t afford” their regulations.


Nine States Have Legalized Malpractice Against Women

Prenatal testing during pregnancy is offered with the goal of identifying medical conditions that affect a fetus. Some of these medical conditions can be treated, other times knowing about the diagnosis in advance will affect how or even when the delivery occurs, and sometimes a condition is identified that leads a woman to choose an abortion. Although women in Pennsylvania, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Idaho, Indiana, Missouri, Minnesota, North Carolina might not get to hear all of their medical information. In these standard bearing states for misogyny a doctor is allowed to withhold information that they think could lead to an abortion and not be sued as a result. These are called “wrongful birth laws” and they allow doctors to put their own personal beliefs first, free of legal repercussions


Reid: Republicans Exaggerating Benefits of Keystone XL Pipeline

imgresRepublican claims about the benefits of the Keystone XL oil pipeline are greatly overblown, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Sunday.  “It won’t lower the price of oil. Construction won’t be complete for a long, long time,” Reid said during an interview on CNN’s State of the Union, referring to the proposed Alberta, Canada, to Texas pipeline. “And under the way it’s constructed now, all the oil would be sold elsewhere. We can’t have that. When I say elsewhere, I mean to some other country.”


Electoral chaos-History repeats? The “house” decides?

In 2012, there will be a 3-way battle for the White House. One of these days the media’s is actually going to share that fact with the rest of the country — but only when the New York Times et all are ready to take us on their journey into uncharted territory. A third party nominating platform will  have ballot access in all 50 states. They will select an Internet nominee through a nominating process. 6 qualified candidates will be ‘drafted” by the public. One lucky politician is going to get “the yellow brick road” to the White House.


The Border Wall: The Last Stand at Making the US a White Gated Community

Mark Karlin, Truthout: “The construction of the ‘barrier’ wall – accompanying large-scale militarization (the Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the FBI, the military etc.) – is on America’s southern border, and there is meaning in that. Its location is prima facie evidence that the ‘immigration issue’ is really a euphemism for keeping poor brown-skinned people out of the US – as well as creating a ‘practice’ zone for protecting American economic and political interests in Mexico and Central America.”


How Public Sector Layoffs Are Holding Back the Recovery


Heather Boushey, ThinkProgress: “The current economic recovery is going well if one looks at private sector job creation. The pace of private sector job creation is slower than in the recovery from the early 1990s recession … Since early 2009, governments at all levels have shed nearly 700,000 jobs, most of them at the state and local level. Since August of 2008 state and local governments have shed a total of 647,000 workers, of which 64 percent were women workers.”


Canadian Government Targeting Opponents of New Oil Sands Pipeline 

Lisa Song, InsideClimate News: “As US environmental groups renew their battle against the resurrected Keystone XL oil pipeline, their counterparts in Canada are facing a deeper problem – a government campaign to limit their influence over Canada’s Northern Gateway pipeline…. As environmental groups have stepped up their campaigns against the project, key figures in the Harper administration have publicly denounced them as extremists, and a federal finance committee has announced plans to audit all of Canada’s charities.”


Environmental Protection Agency Puts Greenhouse Gas Rules for Oil Refineries on Backburner

Elizabeth McGowan, InsideClimate News: “Election-year politics, $4-a-gallon gasoline and an anti-regulatory fervor on Capitol Hill have aligned to thwart EPA’s vow to issue final carbon emissions standards for oil refineries this year…. The pullback on refineries – combined with an earlier and separate delay on regulating greenhouse gases from fossil fuel power plants – means EPA has yet to control emissions from a pair of sizable industrial sources.”


Welcome to the 1% Recovery

Mike Konczal, New Deal 2.0: “As the one percent reap 93 percent of the income gains from the recovery, we’re rapidly returning to pre-New Deal levels of inequality … It’s important to remember that a series of choices were made during the New Deal to react to runaway inequality, including changes to progressive taxation, financial regulation, monetary policy, labor unionization, and the provisioning of public goods and guaranteed social insurance. A battle will be fought over the next decade on all these fronts.”


A Field of Hawks

Eugene Robinson, Washington Post Writers Group: “Unless Ron Paul somehow wins the nomination, it looks as if a vote for the Republican presidential candidate this fall will be a vote for war with Iran. No other conclusion can be drawn from parsing the candidates’ public remarks. Paul, of course, is basically an isolationist who believes it is none of our business if Iran wants to build nuclear weapons…. But Paul has about as much chance of winning the GOP nomination as I do.”


A Sex Ed 101 Curriculum for Conservatives

Recent national kerfuffles over abortion and contraception access bring up many important questions: Should employers retain control over your wages and benefits after they sign them over to you? Is contraception, a service used by 99 percent of American women, really so controversial? How much state regulation should there be over women’s most private decisions? But amidst all those questions is one overarching one: Do conservatives need a crash course in sex ed?


Julie Gillard’s Rise Marks the Triumph of Machine Politics Over Feminism

John Pilger, Truthout: “In 1963, a senior Australian government official, A.R. Taysom, deliberated on the wisdom of deploying women as trade representatives. ‘Such an appointee would not stay young and attractive forever [because] a spinster lady can, and very often does, turn into something of a battle-axe with the passing years [whereas] a man usually mellows.’ On International Women’s Day on March 8, such primitive views were worth recalling; but what has happened to modern feminism? Why is it so bereft of its political, indeed socialist roots that any woman who ‘achieves’ within an immoral system is to be admired?”


Busted for Busting Out at Bank of America

Medea Benjamin, Op-Ed: The women in the cell were proud of us for standing up to the banks; so were some of the police. “They were arrested for protesting against foreclosures at Bank of America,” one of the policemen told a policewoman while I was being fingerprinted. “I’m with you there,” she said. “Those bankers are thieves. They take government money to bail them out but then they refuse to lend money to black women like me. I lost my house because I couldn’t get a bank loan, even though I have a good, steady job.”


Jim Hightower | Attack of the Billionaires

Jim Hightower, Op-Ed: “Hosted by the billionaire Koch brothers at the posh Renaissance Esmeralda golf resort in California’s Palm Springs desert in early February, the confabulees were mobilizing and monetizing what Charles Koch called the “mother of all wars.” That would be their self-proclaimed war to enthrone their ilk over workers, consumers, the environment, and democracy itself.”


Catholicism is Not the Tea Party at Prayer

E.J. Dionne Jr., Op-Ed: “The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops will make an important decision this week: Do they want to defend the church’s legitimate interest in religious autonomy, or do they want to wage an election-year war against President Obama? And do the most conservative bishops want to junk the Roman Catholic Church as we have known it, with its deep commitment to both life and social justice, and turn it into the Tea Party at prayer?”


Efficiency Standards to Save Americans More Than $1 Trillion by 2035

Stephen Lacey, News Analysis: Assuming that 11 new standards being considered for computer equipment, electric motors, fans, and pumps get established, the U.S. could see a 14% reduction in annual electricity use by 2035 compared with current projections. According to the ACEEE report, assuming household appliances are updated every 15 years through 2040, the average American household could save 180 megawatt-hours of electricity and over 200,000 gallons of water. Translated into understandable figures: Roughly $30,000.


Tom Engelhardt | The 0% Doctrine

Tom Engelhardt, Op-Ed: “The president had offered a new definition of “aggression” against this country and a new war doctrine to go with it. He would, he insisted, take the U.S. to war not to stop another nation from attacking us or even threatening to do so, but simply to stop it from building a nuclear weapon — and he would act even if that country were incapable of targeting the United States. That should have been news.”

If there’s a “Compromise” at all …

I’ve been listening to all the hooplaw about HHS Secretary Sibelius’ decision relative to contraception coverage rules under Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act —PPACA (the health care reform act) and find the divide disturbing. Male pundits appear to be arguing for religious rights, drowning out the voices of female pundits who are attempting to argue for women’s rights.

Both sides need to sit down, shut up and think the situation through, looking for a solution that allows a successful outcome for both sides. But, thus far, instead of looking for a means to resolve the rights of both, each is arguing for one group to have to sacrifice their rights at the expense of the other … that somehow women have to take a back seat to religion … or vice versa.

What if neither side had to sacrifice their rights?  They don’t … you know.  It’s all in how one looks at the problem. You see, the problem is the means through which one assumes the health insurance must be delivered to the employee. Both sides are looking at the situation as though the religiously-affiliated organization MUST be the deliverer of the health care insurance policy.

If they delay introduction of this requirement until PPACA is fully implemented, and if the Churches then stop providing health insurance (adjusting employee salaries accordingly to be able to compete for employees in the employment market), their employees could purchase through the exchanges, a health insurance policy appropriate for their needs.

Such a solution would allow both sides of the equation to remain equal in terms of rights retained. Churches and their sponsored organizations would not have to fund health insurance programs that include birth control coverage. Women and families who work for those religiously affiliated schools and/or hospitals, who do not espouse those religious precepts, would not be denied coverage and thus have to incur the full commercial expense for birth control.

It’s a simple and elegant solution … but in today’s reality, I’m not sure either side will be willing to put aside their rhetoric and take action that will move us toward an equitable solution.  I fear instead this will be yet one more volley in the GOP’s war on womens’ rights and liberties.

Amodei/Heck Vote for HR358, the “Let Women Die Act”

Have you heard about yesterday’s House approval of HR358, deceptively called the “protect life act,” which is really a “let women die” act?

Republicans are waging a War on Women. Since taking over the House, the radical right has been actively working to roll back the freedoms and protections of American women.  They are not just attacking our right to choose, but threatening our actual health.  236 of 238 Republicans voted for passage.  It’s like group-think.  Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL13) and Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY24) were the only Republicans to cast a NO vote.

Fifteen Democratic representatives also voted for passage of this bill:  Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR4); Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA2); Rep. Daniel Lipiniski (D-IL3); Rep. Jerry Costello (D-IL12); Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-IN2); Rep. Dale Kildee, (D-MI5); Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN7); Rep Mike McIntyre (D-NC7); Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC11); Rep. Dan Boren (D-OK2); Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA4); Rep. Mark Critz (D-PA-12); Rep. Tim Holden (D-PA-17); Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT2); and Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV3).

In case you haven’t been following this one, here’s a brief summary of this bill:

  • Amends the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) to prohibit federal funds from being to used to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion services. (Currently, federal funds cannot be used for abortion services and plans receiving federal funds must keep federal funds segregated from any funds for abortion services.) 
  • Requires any qualified health benefit plan offered through an Exchange, that includes coverage for abortions, to also offer a qualified health benefit plan through the Exchange that is identical in every respect except that it does not cover abortions.  (This is currently a requirement under PPACA.)
  • Prohibits a federal agency or program and any state or local government that receives federal financial assistance under PPACA from requiring any health plan created or regulated under PPACA to discriminate against any institutional or individual health care entity based on the entity’s refusal to undergo training in the performance of induced abortions, require or provide such training, or refer for such training. (Isn’t that just lovely.  If you’re a woman who’s experiencing a miscarriage, and that miscarriage is incomplete, you’re bleeding profusely and you need a procedure to complete that miscarriage which incidentally is also known as an abortion procedure … and no one is trained or qualified to provide that service/procedure at your local hospital … you’re probably going to bleed to death.) 
  • Creates a cause of action for any violations of the abortion provisions of PPACA. Gives federal courts jurisdiction to prevent and redress actual or threatened violations of such provisions by issuing any form of legal or equitable relief, including injunctions and orders preventing the disbursement of all or a portion of federal financial assistance until the prohibited conduct has ceased.  (Oh Great!  To ensure the GOP version of death panels for women has some teeth to ensure the mother’s life is not saved, they’ve given the courts considerable authority for both actual and ‘threatened’ incidences, as well as any necessary jurisdiction to halt any procedure in progress, impose penalties and deny federal disbursements.)
  • Gives standing to institute an action to affected health care entities and the Attorney General. Requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to designate the Director of the Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to receive and investigate complaints alleging a violation of PPACA abortion provisions. (Oh … and if it’s not enough to impose the death penalty on women via the courts for having the misfortune to be suffering from life-threatening complications during a pregnancy, they’re going to create a whole bunch more government bureaucracy to ensure women die instead of getting the care they desperately need.
  • Requires the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to ensure that no multistate qualified health plan offered in an Exchange provides coverage of abortion services.  (I’m so tired of hearing the GOP rant about the free enterprise system and letting the markets solve all the problems … this essentially prevents all of the major health insurance programs who offer health coverage to national employers participating in the health exchanges, with employees in multiple states, from offering insurance policies that include an abortion provision.  If you’re thinking of having a baby … I sure hope you have an uneventful pregnancy … otherwise … you’re gonna have to pony up to the bar for all of the medical expenses once things go awry … and none of those expenses will be tax-deductible medical-related expenses.)

The bill is not expected to pass the Senate, and President Obama has promised to veto it even if it does, but this vote was more than symbolic — these provisions are likely to surface again, either as standalone legislation or as amendments to other bills.  It’s obvious that Americans want Congress to work on creating jobs and helping our ailing economy, yet Speaker Boehner and his GOP supporters STILL focus their energies on attacking women’s health. The GOP majority in the house is doing absolutely every thing they possibly cant to:

  • Prevent purchase of health insurance in the new Exchanges that includes abortion care, meaning that millions of women would either be prevented from purchasing insurance plans that cover abortion or would lose the coverage they currently have.
  • Allow hospitals to refuse to perform emergency abortions, letting them deny emergency abortions to women whose life or health could be saved by the procedure.
  • Take away existing health insurance coverage, opening an enormous loophole in the new health care law that would allow states to broaden refusal laws so that insurance companies in their state could deny women the access to contraception without co-pays that we secured, with your help, over the summer!

The stakes have never been higher for women in our country.  It’s time to organize the fight against Nevada’s GOP representatives currently in Congress.  Dina Titus is the only woman currently running for the House in Nevada and she is proudly supported by EMILY’s List, Women’s Campaign Forum, Planned Parenthood, and others.

During her term in the 111th Congress and throughout her years as Minority Leader in the Nevada Legislature she has been a constant fighter for our shared values.  That is why she is working hard each day to return to Congress and continue to stand up for women in Nevada and throughout our country.

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New Planned Parenthood under Attack by GOP … AGAIN!

Republicans are at it again, continuing their witch hunt against Planned Parenthood.  Now, they’ve demanded reams and reams of documents from health clinics across the country. And, they’re threatening, again, to strip Planned Parenthood of vital federal funding for services like cancer screenings and family planning.

You heard me right. Republicans in Congress want to cut cancer screenings for women.  These Republicans are destroying women’s access to basic health care that allows all of us to control our lives and our futures. We need to fight back.

Don’t forget … in many areas, Planned Parenthood is the only option for women who need birth control, regular gynecological exams, or cancer screenings.  Send an email to your Congressional Representatives letting them know that you support funding for Planned Parenthood.

Republicans won’t give a second thought to women or our access to health care.  They don’t care about the issues that really matter to Americans, like creating jobs or getting the economy back on track. All they care about is scoring points with the Tea Party, protecting their corporate benefactors, and doing anything possible to prevent President Obama from securing a second term.