Class warfare and income redistribution. Say it with me.

These Republican asshats can’t think of a single idea beyond giving the wealthy more tax cuts, loopholes and subsidies, can they?

Another federal pay freeze on tap in the Senate

The Senate is expected to vote Tuesday on an amendment to the transportation bill that would extend the current two-year pay freeze for one more year.

Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., wants to use the pay freeze extension to pay for a wide range of tax deductions and credits. He introduced the amendment to the transportation bill, S 1813, on Thursday.

The National Treasury Employees Union denounced Roberts’ proposal and urged senators to oppose it. In a statement released friday, NTEU President Colleen Kelley said the pay freeze and increased retirement contributions have already cost federal workers $75 billion.

“Enough is enough,” Kelley said. “Federal employees’ paychecks and retirement programs are not piggy banks to be raided to pay for tax breaks attached to a highway bill. It is time to stop these repeated attacks on middle-class federal employees who have dedicated their professional lives to serving their fellow Americans.”

What would this be called except for class warfare and income redistribution? Well here’s an idea: let the Bush tax cuts expire on the wealthiest one percent and bring in some extra revenue for once. Bush’s tax cuts were supposed to be TEMPORARY as I recall.


via: questionall

GREAT TOOL: learn how the Affordable Care Act benefits you

Learn how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) aka Obamacare, benefits you and your family.

Great tool. Check it out and share: http://www.barackobama.com/health-care 

via: con-tem-plate

I’ll be having cervical surgery soon (ADR), so as someone staring down a $5,000 deductible this year (with standard BCBS!), these reforms are very welcome. There hasn’t been ONE year that my insurance premiums haven’t increased — nor one year that the % of increase wasn’t greater than any cost of living wage increase I may have received.

What service do health insurance companies provide again? Shouldn’t we all be paying into some kind of central SOCIALIST health-network so we can just be 100% covered for health care and skip the corporate raiders completely? Just get on with the 21st century and civilization?  I’m very Lutheran about healthcare: there shouldn’t have to be a middleman / priest between us and doctors / God.

Armed Forces radio debates dropping Limbaugh amid mounting criticism: let’s get this done!

“No one in the Army listens to [him] anyway. AFN carries him for the retired white 65 to 90 crowd.” — American soldier, deployed to Afghanistan, who was not authorized to speak about Limbaugh.

Republican shock jock Rush Limbaugh covers his face as an ex-Marine calls him a "Nazi" during a radio segment in 2009. Screenshot via YouTube.
image: RawStory

Unfortunately, the white 65 – 90 crowd also includes Pentagon officials and top military brass, most of whom would like to ‘shape the young minds‘ they lead, to fit with their conservative military-political aspirations.

I’ve said this several times before, but it bears repeating: AFN and Armed Forces radio is funded with tax payer dollars — yours and mine. On the serious side of that fact: it’s simply unacceptable for more than half the taxpayers in America (if not more) that part of the taxes we pay to the federal government are going into Rush Limbaugh’s bank account! Period. On the less serious side of it: that means we’re actually subsidizing Limbaugh’s Viagra co-pay. In other words, the taxpayers are paying him to have sex! See how that circled around and actually works?

Amid mounting criticism, Armed Forces radio debates dropping Limbaugh

Will the Pentagon pull Rush Limbaugh’s radio show from the armed forces radio network?

Broadcast to troops in bases throughout the world and aboard US Navy ships, the network’s self-described mission is to provide “a touch of home” for service members overseas.

Yet as the furor over Mr. Limbaugh’s description of a Georgetown University student as a “slut” reaches troops overseas, US military veterans as well as soldiers serving in Afghanistan are asking the Pentagon to drop Limbaugh’s radio program from its lineup.

An organization of some 100,000 US military veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, VoteVets.org, is also circulating a petition calling for the removal of Limbaugh’s show from the US military’s network, and signatures on it are growing everyday, says Maj. Jon Soltz, the chairman of VoteVets.org.

There are currently more than 11,000 military veterans and family members who have signed the petition.

[...] For now, Pentagon officials say they have no plans to drop the show. “Our goal is to provide a wide array of programming for service members overseas that would be available to them stateside,” says Pentagon spokesman George Little. “Airing programming on the American Forces Network does not constitute endorsement of what is said or shown.”

That said, Mr. Little adds, “We always take seriously the feedback of our service members.”

The U.S. Army pulled their ads from Limbaugh’s radio show. It’s time for AFN to do the same. From last week:

Female Veterans Demand Rush Limbaugh’s Show Be Pulled From American Forces Network — Rush Limbaugh has a freedom of speech and can say what he wants, but in light of his horribly misogynistic comments, American Forces Radio should no longer give him a platform. Our entire military depends on troops respecting each other – women and men. There simply can be no place on military airwaves for sentiments that would undermine that respect. When many of our female troops use birth control, for Limbaugh to say they are “sluts” and “prostitutes” is beyond the pale. It isn’t just disrespectful to our women serving our country, but it’s language that goes against everything that makes our military work. Again, we swore to uphold our Constitution, including the freedom of speech, and would not take that away from anyone – even Limbaugh. But that does not mean AFN should broadcast him. In fact, it shouldn’t.

TAKE ACTION:

EXCLUSIVE: 141 Companies Drop Advertising From Rush Limbaugh

Just, LOL. Radioactive Rush Limbaugh. FINALLY.

EXCLUSIVE: 141 Companies Drop Advertising From Rush Limbaugh

ThinkProgress has obtained an internal memo from Premiere Radio Networks listing 96 national companies that have “specifically asked” their advertisments not be played during the Rush Limbaugh Show.

[...] Previously, ThinkProgress has reported that 50 companies requested their advertising be pulled from the Rush Limbaugh show following his sexist attacks on Sandra Fluke. The publication of the memo adds an additional 91 companies to the list of companies that have dropped Limbaugh:

21st Century Insurance • Hotels.com • Rite Aid • Ace Hardware • Honda • Robitussin • Acura • IBM • Sam Adams • Advance Auto Parts • Icy Hot • Sam’s Club • Advil (All products) • Intuit/Small Business • Schiff – Digestive Advantage • Alacer/Emergen-C • Schiff – Mega Red • Allegra (all products) • Johnson & Johnson (All Brands) • Schiff – Move Free • Kohl’s • Schiff – Sustenex • Ally Bank • La Quinta • Scotts Miracle-Gro (all products) • American Express • Lifetime • Autozone • Little Caesars • Sony • Boston Beer • Lowe’s • State Farm • British Petroleum • Luxottica • Staples • Bullfrog Sunblock • Macy’s • Sterling/Kay Jared Jewelers • Caltrate • MasterCard • Subway • Centrum • McDonalds • Takeda Uloric • Chapstick • Midas • The Home Depot • Clorox (Pinesol/Homecare) • Napa Auto Parts • ThermaCare • Cortizone • National Realtor • Toyota • DeVry • NBC-TV • Discover Card • Office Depot • Twinings of London • Domino’s Pizza • Office Max • Tyson/Wright Brand Bacon • Exxon/Exxon Mobil • One Main Financial • Unisom • Farmers Insurance • United Healthcare • Ford • Orkin • U.S. Army • Outback • U. S. Postal Service • General Motors (All products -GM Certified Service • Chevy • Onstar • Cadillac • etc) • Preparation H • Visa • Gold Bond (all products • ProNutrients (all products) • Walgreens • Grainger • Progressive Insurance • Wal-Mart • Green Mountain Coffee • Prudential • Wells Fargo • Hallmark • Radio Shack • Wrigley • H&R Block • Rent-A-Center • Yahoo!

VIEW A COPY OF THE MEMO HERE…

Adios, el Rushbo!

UPDATE:

U.S. Army among 141 groups pulling ads from Limbaugh

via: sarahlee310 — Now get him off the Armed Forces Network…

The Republican Party’s “race to the bottom” for the American worker: blame federal employees

Are there, in fact, “too many” federal workers? Look at the numbers below: if there are about six employees for every 1,000 Americans, that works out to one federal employee for every 167 Americans, or one fed responsible for an average of 167 people.

Federal workers under siege

According to a December 2010 report from the Office of Personnel Management, there were approximately 5.4 federal employees per 1,000 Americans in fiscal 2006. Four years later, there were about 5.9 federal workers per 1,000 Americans. The average federal employee salary was $74,311 in September 2010, according to OPM.

The size and pay of the federal workforce is untenable, many Republicans say, in the face of a federal deficit expected to top $1 trillion for the fourth consecutive year.

“We don’t have money,” said Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.), who chairs a House subcommittee overseeing federal workforce issues. “If we were a business, we would shut down so many segments of our operation that we would put people on the streets.”

“Federal workers are patriotic, they work hard and by and large, do a great job,” added Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who sits on Ross’s panel. “I’m just concerned that there are too many of them. There would be more money to pay for the core of our federal workforce if we didn’t keep adding to the sheer number of federal employees.”

But Democrats, as well as unions representing thousands of federal workers, see it differently. They accuse congressional Republicans of launching an unjustified attack on federal employees — a product, they say, of the anti-government sentiment fueled by the tea party-backed, GOP takeover of the House.

Here’s a thought: if the population of the US continues to increase, doesn’t that mean there are probably more people who need services and programs?

The Republicans like to compare federal wages with private sector wages such as employees at Walmart and also the wages of fast food employees and other minimum-wage type jobs. The GOP would like to see everyone earning Walmart wages (lower the minimum wage!) so that CEO bonuses and corporate profits could be higher, but that’s another argument for another day.

However, since Walmart employee compensation is a favorite for the GOP to compare to federal workers wages / benefits, let’s go ahead and compare the number of employees to “customers” between Walmart and the federal government.

From Walmart’s own “Investor Relations” website, the stated number of employees is 2,000,000 worldwide. Walmart claims to serve 200,000,000 customers each week. Guess how many customers per employee that works out to? 100. So the average Walmart employee handles / services 100 customers each week. That’s 67 less than a federal worker.

Or look at it this way, the population of the United States as of 2011 was 311,591,917. The article and graph above show there are less than 1,900,000 federal employees. You do the math. The average federal worker is responsible for more people than the average Walmart employee — going strictly by the numbers.

So when Rep. Dennis Ross says, “If we were a business, we would shut down so many segments of our operation that we would put people on the streets,” I don’t think he knows what he’s talking about at all. Walmart is the shining example of corporate success — yet they have more employees per customer than the federal government and they’re still going! Of course, we all know how they do it: cheap imports, low wages, no benefits, and generally screwing over their employees. In fact, Walmart actually costs taxpayers $1,557,000,000.

The bottomline is: the federal government isn’t a business. There’s no ‘profit’ to be made, no product to be sold. Yet comparing federal and Walmart employees to the US population and Walmart customers, it appears that the federal government really doesn’t have “too many” workers. The Republican Party’s repeated attempts to demonize all aspects of federal service is shameful — particularly because it’s simply a political maneuver for the benefit of the one percent and corporations.

Federal employees provide for the nation in countless ways. Think about the acreage / mileage covered daily by a law enforcement officer with the Forest Service or the Border Patrol. Or consider the number of Social Security / Medicare applications processed each month or the number of complaints that have to be processed weekly at the FDA by an individual fed. And how many incoming container ships do you suppose are being processed, right now, at all the nation’s ports?

So are there too many feds? If the truth were told, there are probably not enough.

As National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen M. Kelley  says, “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.”  In other words, do we want federal government employees to earn wages and benefits similar to Walmart employees? Or would it be better — for ALL workers — to see Walmart finally pay its employees a fair wage and benefits, and quit costing the US taxpayer so much money SIMPLY so that their CEOs can take home more money?

Monday morning’s 6 semi-interesting things

1) Being in Congress loses its thrill for some lawmakers – For members of Congress, the thrill is gone. They don’t make national policy anymore. They can’t earmark money for communities back home. The public hates them. And perks little and big, from private jet travel to a little free nosh now and then, have been locked down by ethics rules. As they head for the exits this year, many leaving Congress say the prestigious job of being a congressman sucks now, and that’s why lawmakers young and old are trading in their member pins for a new life in the private sector.

2) What is Congress “doing” this week? – Afghanistan: Lawmakers expressed condolences and concern on the Sunday morning political talk shows in response to the news that a U.S. soldier allegedly opened fire on Afghan civilians inside homes before turning himself in. There are several Senate Armed Services and Appropriations committee hearings scheduled for this week that could serve as venues for senators to raise further concerns or skepticism about the war. [...] Fixing Congress: The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee plans to hold a hearing Wednesday to review several pieces of legislation that would change how Congress handles the budgetmaking process, including a proposal known as “No Budget, No Pay.” (GET THIS: from this same article, the Republicans say to expect three major endorsements for Romney. They consider that “doing something.” That’s “work” to them.)

3) Sen. James Inhofe, pretty much came right out and admitted that the reason why he denigrates and attacks climate science is because the Bible told him not to worry – “Well actually the Genesis 8:22 that I use in there is that ‘as long as the earth remains there will be seed time and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night,’ my point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.”

  • Greenland’s Ice Is Growing DarkerEven mild global warming could completely melt Greenland’s ice cap – The Greenland icesheet is more sensitive to global warming than thought, for just a relatively small — but very long term — temperature rise would melt it completely, according to a study published on Sunday. [...] Greenland is second to Antarctica as the biggest source of locked-up water on land. If it melted completely, this would drive up sea levels by 7.2 metres (23.6 feet), swamping deltas and low-lying islands. [image: NASA]
  • Fourth Warmest Winter On Record For The U.S. – February is gone, and the non-winter of 2011 – 2012 is the history books as the fourth warmest in U.S. history, said NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center yesterday. The winter average temperature of 36.8°F was just 0.4°F cooler than the warmest winter on record, the winter of 1999 – 2000. If you lived in the Northern Plains, Midwest, Southeast and Northeast, it seemed like winter never really arrived this year–27 states in this region had top-ten warmest winters.

4) LOL Rick Santorum: ‘I’d like everybody to get out’ of race – Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum has a foolproof plan to win the GOP nomination: He wants everybody else to just quit. On Sunday, NBC host David Gregory asked the candidate if he would like to see former House Speaker Newt Gingrich drop out if he loses upcoming primaries in Alabama and Mississippi. “I’d like everybody to get out,” Santorum admitted. “That’d be great if they could just clear the field.” “Congressman Gingrich can stay in, the Speaker can stay in as long as he wants, but I think the better opportunity to make sure we nominate a conservative is to give us an opportunity to go head to head with Gov. [Mitt] Romney at some point. Hopefully that will occur sooner rather than later.” [image: thatslayerchick]

5) Chris Matthews: The GOP is ‘treating women like they’re not really voters’ – Chris Matthews displayed Sunday morning his bemusement for the Republican Party’s comments and behavior towards women so far during the 2012 presidential campaign. “One of the time warps these days is watching Republicans ignore the simple fact that women vote and are the majority voters,” he said on his weekly show. “I do think it’s odd the way we’re talking about contraception — by the way, as if that’s only a women’s issue, it’s a male female issue, obviously — and treating women like they’re not really voters.”

  • Centrist Women Tell of Disenchantment With Republicans - Deborah R. Stevens, a self-described “dyed in the wool” Republican, said she felt hopeless. “I’m looking for a candidate that will be honest, that will come out and say, ‘Yes, I support women, I want you advanced and not trampled upon,’ ” said Ms. Stevens, 63, who lives near Myrtle Beach, S.C. “I want answers desperately. I want candidates to tell me, ‘I’m not overturning Roe v. Wade.’ It’s there. Leave it there.” Ms. Russell, who changed her political views at the baby shower, said she was impressed with how Mr. Obama handled his administration’s compromise over the much-debated birth control policy, saying, “I think he’s more of a women’s candidate.” Mr. Romney’s reaction to Mr. Limbaugh’s statements about the Georgetown student cemented a negative view of him. “I expected him to have the guts to stand up and say what Rush did was wrong,” she said. “Wrong, wrong, wrong in every sense of the word wrong.” A rally for women’s rights in San Diego on Thursday drew Jessica Lopez, 27, a registered independent who said she voted for President George W. Bush in 2004. Ms. Lopez said her choice this year became clear amid the Republican debate on contraception and abortion. “This has really energized me, that I need to get more involved with the Obama campaign,” she said. Ms. Lopez added: “The G.O.P. has never been so clear about their agenda for women. I’m afraid if we get a Republican president, my health will be up to their personal discretion.”
  • Hysterical Womenfolk All On The Rag Despite Gallantries of The GOP – You would think the women of America — particularly “right-leaning” women who voted for George W. Bush and John McCain — would understand when the great big strong menfolk tell them not to worry their pretty little heads about things like “their bodies” and “not being filthy whores.” But in a shocking twist that nobody could have predicted, it seems “women,” if there even is such a thing, are catching themselves a little case of the sulks! Ladies are now stealthily congregating at baby showers and beauty parlors and, we don’t know, shoe stores? and morphing into Obama-voting communists, just because the Republican party patiently explained to them that a man’s place is at the head of the household, and a woman’s place is in A Handmaid’s Tale. [...] In happier news for the GOP, recent polling suggests that fully one-third of women still want the Republicans to control Congress. They will get a special treat tonight. Maybe a new vacuum.

6) GOOSE / GANDER / FAIRPLAY TURNABOUT AND WHAT NOT: Before getting a prescription for Viagra or other erectile dysfunction drugs, men would have to see a sex therapist, receive a cardiac stress test and get a notarized affidavit signed by a sexual partner affirming impotency, if state Sen. Nina Turner has her way. The Cleveland Democrat introduced Senate Bill 307 this week. A critic of efforts to restrict abortion and contraception for women, Turner says she is concerned about men’s reproductive health… Turner said if state policymakers want to legislate women’s health choices through measures such as House Bill 125, known as the ‘Heartbeat bill,’ they should also be able to legislate men’s reproductive health.

  • Oklahama Democrat Adds ‘Every Sperm Is Sacred’ Amendment to Personhood Bill - Oklahoma state senator Constance Johnson has a great sense of humor. To poke fun at the sheer absurdity of the Personhood Amendment which would give zygotes the same rights as extra-utero-American citizens, Senator Johnson added the following language as an amendment to the bill: However, any action in which a man ejaculates or otherwise deposits semen anywhere but in a woman’s vagina shall be interpreted and construed as an action against an unborn child.
  • imageThe Rectal Probe amendment - To protest a bill that would require women to undergo an ultrasound before having an abortion, Virginia State Sen. Janet Howell (D-Reston) on Monday attached an amendment that would require men to have a rectal exam and a cardiac stress test before obtaining a prescription for erectile dysfunction medication.
  • A bill that would ban Georgia males from seeking vasectomies – From the press release: “Thousands of children are deprived of birth in this state every year because of the lack of state regulation over vasectomies,” said Rep. Yasmin Neal, author of the bill. “It is patently unfair that men can avoid unwanted fatherhood by presuming that their judgment over such matters is more valid than the judgment of the General Assembly, while women’s ability to decide is constantly up for debate throughout the United States.”