Catholic Church, Rick Santorum, Red States: your argument is invalid

NEW STUDY: “Birth and abortion rates among U.S. teens fell to RECORD lows” due to “increased use of contraceptives”

The teen abortion rate in 2008 dropped to the lowest rate seen since 1972 at 17.8 per 1,000 teen girls and women, the analysis found, and was down 59 percent from 1988 when the abortion rate peaked at 43.5 per 1,000 teen women.

via: solitaryforager

If you have any friends or family employed by the federal government who also support the GOP…

…be sure to show them this link / story from the Washington Post. Maybe ask them why they hate themselves, or how they could support cutting their own throats by voting for a political party which so clearly despises them as a group?

REPUBLICANS KEEP FOCUS ON FEDERAL WORKERS (note: headline changed by me)

A bill under consideration Tuesday by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee would force workers to pay 1.5 percent more toward their pensions over three years beginning in 2013. The bill is expected to pass the committee on a party-line vote, then move to the full House for consideration.

But the bill under consideration today is just one of several GOP proposals to curtail federal pay and benefits that is moving through the legislative process. Let’s briefly recap the bills under consideration:

1.) The Securing Annuities for Federal Employees Act of 2012: The bill would calculate federal retirement based on a federal employee’s highest five years of earnings instead of the current rate, which calculates the highest three years. The change would apply only to workers hired after this year and who do not have at least five years of previous federal service. Notably, lawmakers also would be included. The bill also would force pension contributions to rise 1.5 percent over three years and make other changes that would force many employees to pay more for a smaller retirement program.

2.) Honest Budget Act: The bill would make it more difficult for Congress to pass appropriations bills without first approving a budget. It also tightens rules on paying for natural disasters that increase overall spending. Tucked within the bill, however, are provisions that would freeze all within-grade step increases for federal employees. Virtually every federal employee eligible for the pay bump earns it, according to the Office of Personnel Management, and payouts average about $2,000 as a worker graduates through the 10 steps of a grade in the 15-grade General Schedule pay system.

3.) Extending the Federal Pay Freeze One More Year: The bill would extend a pay freeze for federal employees, congressional staffs and lawmakers for one more year, beginning in 2013.

4.) Down Payment to Protect National Security Act of 2012 : The bill would extend the federal employee pay freeze through June 2014 and cut the federal workforce by 5 percent through attrition. Supporters say those cuts would shore up sequestration cuts in defense spending set to take effect next year.

As National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen M. Kelley said, reducing wages and benefits to federal workers (and to unionized workers and to middle-class workers), is the Republican Party’s plan for a “race to the bottom for the American worker.” Who benefits? Corporations and the one percent — pay less for the same work and pocket more money at the end of the day.

“The federal government, as one of the nation’s largest employers, must set a standard of basic fairness. Contrary to portrayals of ‘generous’ federal benefits, federal employees do not receive paid dental or vision coverage or paid parental leave, nor do they get rich off their pensions. The typical lifetime federal employee will have an annuity from the defined benefit of approximately $1,000 per month. The government’s 401(k)-like fund, the Thrift Savings Plan, may provide around $400 per month if the average employee is able to contribute 5 percent of his or her salary for 30 years. While many private-sector entities have taken to eliminating or slashing health insurance and retirement benefits, especially for low-paid employees, our leaders should not support a race to the bottom for working Americans. Rather, they should seek out ways to increase economic and retirement security for those who may never be able to retire.”

When all the good jobs are gone, there will be no more good jobs. And why would any self-respecting working and middle class teapary / GOP base voter support this “race to the bottom?” Because brainwashing is all part of The Republican Strategy, which has been employed for three decades, at least:

The Republican strategy is to split the vast middle and working class – pitting unionized workers against non-unionized, public-sector workers against non-public, older workers within sight of Medicare and Social Security against younger workers who don’t believe these programs will be there for them, and the poor against the working middle class.

By splitting working America along these lines, Republicans hope to deflect attention from the big story. That’s the increasing share of total income and wealth going to the richest 1 percent while the jobs and wages of everyone else languish.

Also, too, God, guns, and gays.

Related: 

Meanwhile in Mumbai, India

(fka: Bombay) Click image for larger pic:

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Katherine Boo spent three and a half years in Mumbai’s Annawadi slum to research for her new book Behind the Beautiful Forevers. Residents of the slum — which is located next to the Mumbai airport and in the shadow of several luxury hotels — live in devastating poverty.

Mumbai Slum (by cmac66)

Source: flickr.com via: nprfreshair

Obama’s reversal on Super PACs: hypocritical or choosing to be ‘not a sap’?

“President Obama has publicly condemned the Citizens United decision and has publicly opposed the role of Super PACs in campaign finance. Recently, though, he signed off on a plan to actively support Priorities USA Action, a leading Democratic Super PAC that’s had trouble raising as much money as its Republican counterparts. “We’re not going to fight this fight with one hand tied behind our back,” explained Obama’s campaign manager. “With so much at stake, we can’t allow for two sets of rules. Democrats can’t be unilaterally disarmed.”

Is this hypocritical of Obama? For the thousandth time, no, no, no. The playing field is the playing field, and once a public policy has been legally put in place you’d be a sap not to play by the same rules as everyone else. If you oppose the mortgage interest deduction as a matter of policy, you still have every right to take the deduction as long as the rest of the country keeps it in place. If you’re a Republican governor who objects to the stimulus bill, you’d be actively irresponsible not to take your share of the money once it’s there. If you oppose earmarks, you still have an obligation to your district to take them as long as they exist.

This trope needs to go away. Seriously. Just deep six it. We should never hear this nonsense again.”

–  The Hypocrisy Trope That Won’t Die (via ryking)

Wednesday morning’s 9 interesting things

Waking Up to Santorum - As David Axelrod notes, Mitt’s Super PAC is going to be banging away at Santorum, but I don’t think he’s as soft a target as Gingrich, at least for Republicans. His weakness as a general election candidate is his bigotry, but that’s a strength among the 27 percenters, so Romney can’t mention it. Instead, the Romney campaign will be attacking Santorum’s earmarks when he was in Congress. That’s a far cry from adultery and moon bases. Let’s face it: in their hearts, the Tea Party base has secretly wanted Santorum all along, but they held their nose and voted for Romney. With 11 caucuses in March, they can come out of the closet and wallow in it.

Diminishing Santorum’s victories: So tomorrow’s news reports will say it was a big win for Rick Santorum. The numbers, however, are so low as to be laughable: if the vote-per-precinct ratio holds up, a total of 65,000 people will have participated in the GOP caucuses [in Minnesota]. This compares with 1,275,409 Minnesotans who voted for John McCain in 2008, so something like 5% of Minnesota’s Republican voters participated tonight. That is hardly enough to give Santorum a ringing mandate, but, on the other hand, that’s how democracy works. You have to show up.

As a matter of fact, if you announce that there can exist no possible information that might change your mind about abortion, the death penalty, marijuana, same-sex marriage, and the inheritance tax, then yes you are an unreasonable person—or anyway, an unreasoning oneI’ve changed my mind about same-sex marriage as experience has dispelled my fears of the harms from same-sex marriage. If somebody could prove to me that marijuana was harmless or that legalization would not lead to an increase in marijuana use, I’d change my mind about marijuana legalization. And so on through the list. - David Frum 

Mitt Romney is on the Wrong Side of Every Issue - The Ninth Circuit Appeals Court struck down Proposition 9 in California today by declaring that it is unconstitutional and, right on queue, Mitt Romney immediately criticized the decision and blamed activist judges for denying the will of the people. [...] I don’t care what space-god Romney worships, but pledging to overturn same-sex marriage as president while also donating millions of dollars to the religious groups bankrolling anti-gay campaigns crosses a line that should not be crossed. 

Mormon Church ‘owns unregulated gun sale website’ - KSL.com was criticised by  Mayor [Bloomberg]‘s office for running classified adverts which allow individuals to buy and sell handguns and other firearms without proper background checks and no questions asked. The site is owned by Deseret Media, the for-profit arm of the Church of the Latter Day Saints – also known as the Mormons – which has come to prominence recently as a result of the presidential run of member Mitt Romney.

Mentioning Coffee In Romney’s Presence a Form of Grave Offense - Alan Reynolds showed up to a Mittens rally with a sign bearing the (mysterious?) collection of words, “Tea Party Includes Cuban Coffee Romney.” NOT COOL, said Romney campaign staff. Because Mitt Romney does not drink coffee. It is against his magick moon religion. Therefore this hilarious nonsense phrase must be kept away from Mitt AT ALL COSTS and Reynolds was told to leave. No, we don’t understand it, either! Does Mitt Romney melt away like the Wicked Witch if he so much as reads one of the special Mormon naughty words? That’s one theory. The other conclusion one might draw is that Mitt Romney’s campaign staff does not know how to properly interpret teabagger signage, ha ha.

Uh-oh, It’s Morning in America | Paul Krugman - Nobody does hissy fits like Karl Rove; the master of hardball, dirty-trick politics is constantly outraged, outraged, at his opponents’ underhanded tactics. And the latest hissy-target is the Chrysler ad during the Super Bowl, starring Clint Eastwood. Jon Cohn gets it: it’s actually a double-edged problem for the Republicans. They hate any reminder that they were dead wrong on the auto bailout; and they hate any thought that the Democrats are becoming the party of optimism. Hey, only Republicans are allowed to celebrate American success!

President Obama on Super PACs: We Will Not Play by Two Sets of Rules - This is rather unfortunate, but what other choice does Obama have? If he doesn’t deploy his own Super PACs (while never actually coordinating with them, wink), the gargantuan amounts of money the Republicans will throw into the race would give them an overwhelming advantage: We Will Not Play by Two Sets of Rules — Blog — Barack Obama.

Bachmann: ‘I was the perfect candidate’ - The Minnesota congresswoman was asked by Bloomberg TV’s Al Hunt which of the remaining candidates was the most conservative during an interview Friday, and said none of them measured up to her conservative credentials. “I was. I was the perfect candidate,” Bachmann said in response. [...] “America had their chance with the perfect candidate. But any of our candidates are going to be acceptable to the American people, and more than acceptable, because right now, if you look at the Gallup map that came out this week, President Obama is in big trouble all across the country…. Honestly, I don’t think endorsements make a lot of difference … I’m looking at November. I want to make sure that our nominee wins. And so my goal is to be a unifying person who brings the factions together, because now primaries produce factions within a party. And my goal is to bring the Tea Party, evangelicals, mainstream, establishment, and also independents and disaffected Democrats.

Rick Santorum blows Romney away in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri

Oh. My. Gah.

Image: WaPo

Image: NewYorkTimes

For Missouri, just imagine the entire state map covered in Santorum.

Clean Sweep: Rick Santorum Defeats Mitt Romney In Three States

Romney won Colorado big in 2008, taking more than 60% of the vote, and won Minnesota with 41% of the vote the same year. Especially in Minnesota, Romney seemed poised for a repeat success: the state’s last governor, Tim Pawlenty, is Romney’s national campaign chair and has served as his most prominent surrogate since ending his own presidential run last August. But in 2012, his supporters apparently abandoned him en masse: in Minnesota he finished third with just 17% of the vote behind Ron Paul’s 27% and Santorum’s 45%. In Colorado, he took second with about 35% to Santorum’s 40%. Gingrich finished with just under 13% and Paul with just under 12%.

Missouri occupied a strange place in the race — because of a quirk in the scheduling, its primary doesn’t actually count towards determining its delegates and turnout was reportedly low. In addition, Newt Gingrich was not on the ballot.

From the article above:

“Conservatism is alive and well in Missouri and Minnesota,” an exuberant Santorum told Missouri supporters in his victory speech.

Romney congratulated his rival in his own address in Colorado, calling it a “good night” for the candidate.

“This is entirely a beauty contest and has no effect at all,” Gingrich said.

Santorum’s victory speech: