10 Feb

Truth Out Today, Feb. 10, 2012

Friday 10 February 2012

On the News With Thom Hartmann: Spencer Bachus Investigated for Insider Trading, and More
In today’s On the News segment: the Republican chairman of the House Financial Services Committee is under investigation for breaking insider-trading laws, Greeks take to the streets to protest an austerity deal, Virginia’s adoption policies are discriminating against same-sex couples, what the snow (or lack thereof) says about climate change, and more.
Watch the Video and Read the Transcript

William Rivers Pitt | When Clint Eastwood Mocks You, You’re Officially Screwed
William Rivers Pitt, Truthout: “I have said this so many times that I have lost count, and it has been proven correct yet again: the greatest strength enjoyed by the Republican right is their complete, total, and utter lack of shame. They will say anything – literally anything – to gain the rhetorical advantage, even when it flies in the face of twelve dozen statements on the record or forty years of established party doctrine.”
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Obama Bypasses Congress on No Child Left Behind
Mike Ludwig and Alissa Bohling, Truthout: “Instead of hammering students to meet the NCLB standardized reading and math test requirements by 2014, the ten states will implement broader plans to prepare students for college and careers. The plans can rely on science, social studies, and other subjects to measure student achievement. Schools can be exempted from federal penalties for failing to meet NCLB standards, but must work toward improving low-performing schools.”
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White House Amends Birth Control Mandate: Contraceptive Coverage to Be Offered Directly From Insurers
Jodi Jacobson, RH Reality Check: “The way it works is this: Insurers will create policy not including contraceptive coverage in the contract for religious organizations that object. Second, the same insurance company must simultaneously offer contraceptive coverage to all employees, and cannot charge an additional premium. This provides free contraceptive coverage to women.”
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What the Koch Brothers Say Online, but Won’t Say Under Oath?
Glenn Greenwald, Brave New Foundation: “Why will Charles and David Koch produce a video about their position on the Keystone XL oil pipeline and not testify before Congress about it?… The Koch brothers refuse to testify in Congress about their interest in the pipeline, but they’ll make a web video asserting their innocence…. We took the Kochs’ video retreat and added a few facts from the historical record.”
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How to Occupy the Economy, According to Richard Wolff
Andrew Stelzer, Making Contact: “Occupy Wall Street has changed the conversation about the distribution of wealth, and an economic framework which for decades, has been taken for granted. So what now? What policy changes and initiatives should the movement be pushing for? On this edition, University of Massachusetts at Amherst emeritus economics professor Richard Wolff speaks about some of the roots of, and solutions to, the economic inequality that’s finally being acknowledged.”
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Nuclear Regulatory Commission Ignores Fukushima, Green-Lights First New Reactors in 34 Years
Gregg Levine, Capitoilette: “The NRC approved the license over the objections of its chairman, Gregory Jaczko, who wanted the license to stipulate that the units would meet new standards recommended by the agency’s Fukushima Near-Term Task Force (NTTF) report.”
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A Tale of One Activist’s Global Reach, From Pennsylvania to Bucharest
J.A. Myerson, Truthout: “On October 12, Decebal Bilan, who went by John while he was in the United States, first visited Occupy Wall Street with his comrades from around the world and fell in love with it. He and his friends, all in the United States as part of a student cultural exchange set up by the State Department, had received national attention a few months earlier for staging a sit-down strike at the candy warehouse where they worked in Hershey, Pennsylvania.”
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Greek People Start 48-Hour National Strike
Niki Kitsantonis, The New York Times News Service: “Condemning the new barrage of measures as ‘a tombstone’ for Greek society, the country’s two main labor unions called the action on Thursday immediately after government officials announced the deal with creditors on the new austerity measures, which are expected to be voted on in Parliament on Sunday or Monday. Unions are planning protest rallies for both days of the strike, and the day of the vote when the crowds are expected to be largest.”
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This Is No Bailout for Main Street America
Richard D. Wolff, The Guardian UK: “There were a few trickle-up measures: modest individual income tax cuts, repeated but very ineffective efforts to help those subjected to foreclosure, and extensions of unemployment compensation benefits. However, they were utterly dwarfed by what the Treasury and the Fed poured out in trickle-down bailouts.”
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Producers vs. Losers: The Cruel Pro-Rich Propaganda of the Right
Dave Johnson, Campaign for America’s Future: “It is the Romneys, getting their $20-million-plus checks for doing nothing – the ‘gains’ from stripping our economy and sending our jobs to China – who are dependent. Not the people that the Romneys threw out of work or cut their pay in half. Not the people working two jobs yet not making enough to pay rent and get enough to eat.”
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It’s been said that if men got pregnant – instead of women – the Congress would have long ago made abortion legal and contraceptives plentiful and diverse.

As BuzzFlash at Truthout noted yesterday, sex is no crime: “Just because some Americans have sexual hang-ups, doesn’t mean that the rest of us are not entitled to a Plan B [and other contraceptives] as part of our health care coverage.”

The efforts to control a woman’s body are once again heating up, particularly in red states with large legislative majorities. In Oklahoma, the most recent initiative to treat women as chattel for the pleasure of men is Senate “Personhood” Bill 1433:

A bill that would declare that personhood starts at conception is headed to the Senate floor….

“Unborn children have protectable interest in life, health and well-being,” the bill says.

“The laws of this state shall be interpreted and construed to acknowledge on behalf of the unborn child at every stage of development all rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens and residents of this state,” it says.

Constance Johnson, a state senator in Oklahoma, told The Guardian UK:

I am increasingly offended by state law trends that solely focus on the female’s role in the reproductive process. With Oklahoma’s new, never-before-experienced Republican majority, we are seeing enactment of more and more measures that adversely affect women and their rights to access safe medical procedures when making reproductive healthcare decisions.

Johnson introduced an amendment to Oklahoma SB 1433 that dramatically draws attention to the one-sided emphasis on punishing women for sex, while leaving men without any legal or moral risk.

In short – and to put it bluntly – Johnson would outlaw masturbation by making it illegal to commit “any action in which a man ejaculates or otherwise deposits semen anywhere but in a woman’s vagina [which] shall be interpreted and construed as an action against an unborn child.”

While it may seem like a somewhat squeamishly comical legislative amendment, it does provocatively dispel the double standard at play in the predominantly GOP male war on women’s bodies. After all, isn’t a sperm necessary for fertilization, so aren’t men who “expel” sperm outside of the womb committing an act of “murder” against the unborn?

Absurd? Not really. Any law aimed at singling out women when it comes to the fertilization and pregnancy process allows men to have their pleasure with sex without sharing the responsibility.

Senator Johnson is justifiably disgusted at the efforts of male legislators to make the biology of being a woman illegal: “My amendment seeks to draw attention to the absurdity, duplicity and lack of balance inherent in the policies of this state in regard to women. Oklahoma already incarcerates more women than any other place in the world.”

Making zygotes into people is just another way of putting women in a cage, while allowing men to roam free.

If you have any doubt about the “divine intent” of Senator Johnson’s amendment, watch this inimitable “Monty Python” episode: “Every sperm is sacred; every sperm is great. If a sperm is wasted, God gets quite irate. God should strike [you] down for each sperm that is spilled in vain.”

Let that be a lesson to male supporters of “personhood” legislation that has women as its target.

Mark Karlin
Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout


The Right Freaks Out as GOP Poll Finds 20 Percent of Republicans May Vote for Obama
Read the Article at PoliticusUSA

When It Comes to Sex, There Is a Plan B
Read the Article at BuzzFlash

The Neocons’ Big Iran Lie
Read the Article at Salon

Why Millions Won’t Get Help From Big Mortgage Settlement
Read the Article at ProPublica

Gov. Scott Walker to Use Foreclosure Settlement Money to Balance His Budget, Not Help Homeowners
Read the Article at ThinkProgress

White Christian Nationalism at CPAC
Read the Article at The Nation

Santorum: Obama Has Put America on “the Path” of Executing Religious People by Decapitation
Read the Article at ThinkProgress

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