Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Headlines - Tuesday February 21

Rick Santorum Is Against Pre-Natal Care

The government shouldn't make health care providers fully cover prenatal tests like amniocentesis, which can determine the possibility of Down syndrome or other fetal problems, Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum said Sunday.

Santorum, an outspoken opponent of abortion rights, told the CBS News program "Face the Nation" on Sunday that amniocentesis "more often than not" results in abortion.



Now that the world is waking up (finally) to the environmental cost of the tar sands oil, the EU has been reviewing plans to list this oil as even more polluting than regular oil. Keep in mind that Harper is from Alberta, where the filthy tar sands industry is driving the economy. Europe doesn't need a war of any kind these days, especially a trade war, but that just may happen...

The Guardian:

Canada has threatened a trade war with European Union over the bloc's plan to label oil from Alberta's vast tar sands as highly polluting, the Guardian can reveal, before a key vote in Brussels on 23 February. "Canada will not hesitate to defend its interests, including at the World Trade Organisation," state letters sent to European commissioners by Canada's ambassador to the EU and its oil minister, released under freedom of information laws. The move is a significant escalation of the row over the EU's plans, which Canada fears would set a global precedent and derail its ability to exploit its tar sands, which are the biggest fossil fuel reserve in the world after Saudi Arabia. Environmental groups argue that exploitation of the tar sands, also called oil sands, is catastrophic for the global climate, as well as causing serious air and water pollution in Alberta.



Via Ezra Klein, this graph:

So 80% of the economists think the stimulus created jobs, yet for some reason these folks are still running the show globally:

Specifically, in early 2010 austerity economics — the insistence that governments should slash spending even in the face of high unemployment — became all the rage in European capitals. The doctrine asserted that the direct negative effects of spending cuts on employment would be offset by changes in "confidence," that savage spending cuts would lead to a surge in consumer and business spending, while nations failing to make such cuts would see capital flight and soaring interest rates. If this sounds to you like something Herbert Hoover might have said, you're right: It does and he did.

Now the results are in — and they're exactly what three generations' worth of economic analysis and all the lessons of history should have told you would happen. The confidence fairy has failed to show up: none of the countries slashing spending have seen the predicted private-sector surge. Instead, the depressing effects of fiscal austerity have been reinforced by falling private spending.

Furthermore, bond markets keep refusing to cooperate. Even austerity's star pupils, countries that, like Portugal and Ireland, have done everything that was demanded of them, still face sky-high borrowing costs. Why? Because spending cuts have deeply depressed their economies, undermining their tax bases to such an extent that the ratio of debt to G.D.P., the standard indicator of fiscal progress, is getting worse rather than better.

Meanwhile, countries that didn't jump on the austerity train — most notably, Japan and the United States — continue to have very low borrowing costs, defying the dire predictions of fiscal hawks.

Kthug goes on to ask "So what will it take to convince the Pain Caucus, the people on both sides of the Atlantic who insist that we can cut our way to prosperity, that they are wrong?"

The answer of course is nothing. Nothing will convince them they are wrong. This is not about facts or data our actual outcomes, this is about their religion. This is about faith. Nothing will prove to them that they are wrong, because they believe. You will have more luck convincing the Pope there is no God than you will convince a wingnut economist that no matter how low you cut taxes, government revenues will still increase. They just believe.



How it works.


At least they have the grace to oil up....again.



Blue Girl:

Has anyone else had more than enough of Rick Santorum's pious nonsense? I know I reached that point long ago, back when he was a Senator, before his theocratic tendencies helped him get kicked to the curb in an 18-point loss in 2006, but apparently there is still a market for the consecrated snake oil he's selling.

On Saturday, he challenged the President's "Christianity" when he told a group of supporters at a campaign stop in Ohio that the policies of this White House are motivated by "a different theology."

Obama's agenda is "not about you. It's not about your quality of life. It's not about your jobs. It's about some phony ideal. Some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible. A different theology," Santorum told supporters of the conservative Tea Party movement at a Columbus hotel.

When asked about the statement at a news conference later, Santorum said, "If the president says he's a Christian, he's a Christian."

But Santorum did not back down from the assertion that Obama's values run against those of Christianity.

"He is imposing his values on the Christian church. He can categorize those values anyway he wants. I'm not going to," Santorum told reporters.

Those are some pretty ugly words conveying some pretty horrifying sentiments, even if they are coming from an inocuous-looking doofus in a sweater-vest. Taken in tandem with his recent refusal to correct a supporter who asserted that the President is "an avowed Muslim" it's part-and-parcel of an unacknowledged attempt to divide the nation into the "true believers" on one side and all the rest of us heretics and heathens on the other.

Let's be clear here...I don't mean Christians versus everyone else. I mean a particular sub-group of Christians, traditionalists, versus everyone else. And as far as the traditionalists are concerned, moderate, mainline and liberal Christians are not merely as bad as the rest of us, they're worse. So far as Ricky and his ilk are concerned, they are traitors in a spiritual war, they have abdicated their responsibilities and taken up arms against their brethren.

This is the part of Santorum that scares me witless. He is from an Italian family that emigrated to the United States in the 1920s -- right around the time that the Fascists were coming to power in Italy and using the Catholic church to their ends. Watching Santorum, listening to him, and putting his words in the context of his personal family history makes my blood run cold.

He doesn't want to lead a republic, he wants to rule over a theocracy. He whinges about religious freedom, but never acknowledges that in the country he wants to lead, there is no religious freedom for all, only for a few, and anyone who wants to be free from religion, well, there's a rack, or a dunking stool, or a set of stocks in the public square, just waiting with your name on it.  

Without a doubt Ricky realizes that we are all someone's heretic; he just doesn't care, because he plans on being the one making the determinations about who faces the lions.


A Republican lawmaker in Indiana was the only state House member to "refuse to sign a resolution honoring the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts that lawmakers approved last week," claiming that the "radicalized organization" supports abortions and the homosexual agenda. In a letter obtained by The Journal-Gazette of Fort Wayne on Monday, Rep. Bob Morris (R) informed colleagues that "he did some research on the Internet and found allegations that the Girl Scouts are a tactical arm of Planned Parenthood, allow transgender females to join and encourage sex." The letter is here.

Morris also said the fact that first lady Michelle Obama is honorary president "should give each of us reason to pause before our individual and collective endorsement of the organization" and criticized the group for accepting "Boys who decide to claim a 'transgender' or cross-dressing life-style."

Indiana Republicans are keeping their distance from Morris and his allegations. Rep. Kathy Richardson (R) spoke in support of the resolution last week and told the Journal-Gazette, "I guess he's entitled to his opinion…They are out selling cookies – not sex and abortions." House Speaker Brian Bosma (R) said he hasn't read the letter or "investigated [the Girl Scouts] closely."


Sheriff Paul Babeu, an anti-immigration hawk who is running for Congress in Arizona, resigned as co-chair of Mitt Romney's Arizona campaign amid allegations that he threatened a former male lover with deportation if he exposed their relationship. Since the news broke, Babeu acknowledged that he is gay and has come out in favor of marriage equality, but denied the other claims made in reports.


Ben and Jerry's vs Citizens United

Ben & Jerry's has launched a drive to overturn Citizens United, the Supreme Court ruling that allows corporations to make unlimited donations to political campaigns.

There's way too much money in American politics. It's drowning out people's voices, especially since the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision gave corporations the green light to spend limitless sums of money to influence our elections. We are building a movement of engaged citizens and responsible business leaders working together to oppose this decision and Get the Dough Out of Politics. Our goal is to take back American democracy, and over-rule the Supreme Court, with a Constitutional Amendment that will keep corporate money out of our elections. We call on Congress to pass a Constitutional Amendment that overturns Citizens United and gets the money out of politics.
Amendments to the federal constitution are spectacularly difficult and laborious to make, which is why we haven't seen one in many decades. But if ever one had a chance....


Mere 1% of Americans can correctly identify nation's top global enemy

You can't see it, but he's wearing a tutu.

Favored pick "Iran" won this season's Gallup poll for "America's Top Enemy" by its highest-ever margin, wow! A full third of Americans picked Iran as their most dreaded bogeyman this year (up from a quarter last year) for, eh, some sort of reason. Perhaps a follow-up "why" question might have been interesting or informative here, pollsters? Nope. Gallup cheated and filled in the essay section on its own without Americans' help, as may be noted from the conspicuous lack of JEE-HAD and TERRORIZM mentions in their concluding analysis to explain Iran's ongoing dominance in this award category: "Iran's continued public announcements of its growing nuclear capabilities, its threats of war with U.S. ally Israel, and the possibility that Iran could disrupt the flow of oil out of the Middle East and further affect domestic oil and gas prices no doubt all contribute to Americans' negative views of the country." Hm. Well to be fair, by this logic that we ought to freak out over the country that's doing the best job of constantly threatening new wars and buying scary new weapons and driving up oil prices, the nation that Americans should really fear most is, ha ha, their own. So what percentage of Americans managed to arrive at this conclusion? (HINT: the headline gives it away.) READ MORE »


If by weird you mean sane and balanced ....



The GOP's latest cyanide pill:

Man on Dog, needs a good dictionary-bombing:


Santorum says liberals are "anti-science," because we don't want to use up the Earth's resources in a big hurry and pollute everything. In other words, if you don't want to do something that science tells you is absolutely stupid, that means you're against science. Black is white, up is down, and Rick Santorum's a freakin' genius.


A French man is suing the Catholic Church with a demand that his name be stricken from their baptismal records. The church
has refused, fearing a national wave of such demands.



This is what's wrong with the GOP

From PPP's latest poll of Michigan primary voters.

Santorum's advantage over Romney seems to be a reflection of voters being more comfortable with where he is ideologically. 48% of voters think Santorum has more similar beliefs to them, compared to only 32% who pick Romney on that question. 63% of primary voters think Santorum's views are 'about right' compared to only 42% who say that for Romney. 37% believe that Romney is 'too liberal.'

63 percent think Santorum's views are 'about right.'

Rick Santorum thinks homosexual sex should be a felony and heterosexual sex should be a misdemeanor. His views are 'about right?'

Apparently if you're to the left of Rick freaking Santorum, only 37 percent of the GOP will approve of you. Thus we discuss the curious case of Mitt Romney.

You may have been able to make a very convincing argument that Mitt Romney was liberal at one point in time, but the rhetoric he has chosen to run on is far from liberal. So either conservative voters simply don't believe Romney is genuine, or they believe he's still too liberal.

My initial assumption would be the former, but in a world where 63% think Santorum's views are 'about right,' it's possible Mitt Romney really is still too liberal even if you take his campaign rhetoric at face value.

The 37 percent of voters who think Romney is too liberal is a higher percentage than he is currently polling at in Michigan where he's hovering around 33 percent support. And given that Romney is still campaigning against the bailout of Detroit in Michigan, the fact that more people think he's too liberal than have decided to support him must be leaving the Romney campaign scratching their heads.

An environment where 63 percent think Santorum is 'about right' has major implications for the general election even if Romney is the nominee. He will not be able to waver, at all, on the criminalization of womanhood.



Mario: The Sick Mind of Rick Santorum



After watching the absolute madness emerging from the Republican presidential contest this week, the illustration above speaks for itself. From Mitt Romney's insane opposition to the automotive industry bailout which saved hundreds of thousands of jobs to Pope Rick Santorum's sick dream in having contraception made illegal, masochistic is the nicest thing I can think of describing anyone who would help these people win election.


TPM: Flat Earth Rick

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