Bill O’Reilly says the Government Shouldn’t Pay for Birth Control Because Women Are Too Blasted to Use It Anyhow

From RH Reality Check:

by Martha Kempner, RH Reality Check
July 25, 2011

As we noted last week, the Institute of Medicine released a report in which it recommended that the health reform guidelines for preventive care that are being developed by the Department of Health and Human Services should include no-copay for contraception.  Since then the anti-choice, anti-contraception, anti-women conservatives have come out with a slew of ridiculous arguments as to why this is a bad idea.  Robin Marty pointed to the Des Moines Registers’ argument that without a co-pay, people have “no skin in the game” and may use more health care (in this case birth control) than they really need (I’ll take two diaphragms please?).  And, in her piece this morning Amanda Marcotte looks at arguments that say we will create a society based on “consequence-free sex” and are dangerously “decoupling sex from procreation,” and suggests that many of these arguments boil down to “Dirty sluts don’t deserve nothing.”

One of those singing that tune is Bill O’Reilly, who briefly discussed the report in his Culture Warriors segment last week. He seemed outraged that the government would be forced to pay $4 billion just for the pill and argued:  “Many women who get pregnant are blasted out of their minds when they have sex. They’re not going to use birth control anyway.”

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Christo-Fascist NOM Pastor At NY Rally: Gay Marriage Is Just Like The Soviet Union

From The New Civil Rights Movement:

by David Badash
July 26, 2011

Pastor Kevin Backus at the Buffalo, New York National Organization For Marriage (NOM) anti-​gay hate rally, claims establishing same-​sex marriage is just like the Soviet Union’s efforts to abolish marriage. Because encouraging more families, and giving them legal protections, is the same as getting rid of all marriages and families, right? This is all about the conservative mindset, the belief in the “zero-​sum” game. If you win, I must lose. If you have something, I cannot have it too. If we have the same thing, mine is worth less. Imagine what they do when their neighbors buy the same car?

Whether of not the Soviet Union attempted to do so (scholars are at odds on this,) the idea comes straight from none other than Rush Limbaugh himself who made the same analogy when Iowa embraced same-​sex marriage, banning discrimination from its constitution.

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The Utterly Wrong Beltway Myth Driving the Debt Ceiling Insanity

From Alternet:

Belief in the mythic “swing voter” whose views happen to line up with the Washington establishment is setting the country on a course toward disaster.

By Joshua Holland
July 25, 2011

On Monday night, Barack Obama painted the debt ceiling fight as a product of Republican extremism. He said that everyone in Washington agrees we need to enact deep and painful cuts, and that “the debate has centered around two different approaches. The first approach says, let’s live within our means by making serious, historic cuts in government spending. Let’s cut domestic spending to the lowest level it’s been since Dwight Eisenhower was president.”

That, according to the president, is the “balanced,” Democratic approach – asking “everyone to give a little without requiring anyone to sacrifice too much.” But, “Unfortunately, for the past several weeks, Republican House members have essentially said that the only way they’ll vote to prevent America’s first-ever default is if the rest of us agree to their deep, spending cuts-only approach.”

All of that, for better or worse, is accurate. But the surreal dance over raising the debt ceiling is not only a result of Republican intransigence. It is also the result of a bipartisan embrace of a fundamentally flawed reading of the current political climate — an abiding belief that, rather than being confused about how we came to run today’s high deficits, there exists a “silent majority” of Americans who hate government, who want nothing more than an opportunity to support politicians who favor deep cuts to the public sector, and who are appalled at the lack of “bipartisan cooperation” standing in the way. Unfortunately, Republicans stand to gain the most from that misunderstanding.

Obama gave the speech after the GOP’s refusal to release the economy they hold hostage even after the Democrats capitulated entirely to all their demands for cuts. Over the weekend, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid offered a package that would decrease spending by $2.7 trillion over the next decade, without any revenues increases, in exchange for raising the debt ceiling and avoiding default through the 2012 elections.

As the president noted, it’s everything the GOP has asked for during the standoff. But they keep moving the goalposts. GOP leaders had previously opposed a short-term hike, arguing that it would cause “uncertainty” in the markets. So Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, is rolling out a counter-proposal that would raise the debt ceiling by around 1 trillion – enough to keep the government funded through the beginning of next year – in exchange for a trillion in cuts, and then a 12-member, bipartisan “super-Congress” would come up with another round of deep cuts, and their recommendations would get an automatic up-or-down vote on the eve of an election year.

With offers on the table that fall well to the right of what even Republican voters want, why does the GOP refuse to accept victory? On its face, there are two reasons. First, Boehner doesn’t have the votes within his own party – a group of House Republicans who are pushing the ludicrous “cut, cap and balance” bill have already rejected his counter-offer – and bringing any bill to the floor that might attract enough Democratic votes to push it over the top would surely cost him his speaker’s gavel. Second, while Reid’s proposal gives them everything they wanted in terms of cuts without revenues, it leaves Medicare intact. Republicans very much want concessions on Medicare in order to blunt Democratic attacks on incumbents for supporting Rep Paul Ryan’s, R-Wisconsin, plan to privatize Medicare.

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‘In Gitmo I got 30 days in darkness for feeding iguanas’ – ex-detainee

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The Most Shocking Thing My Mother Ever Told Me About Sex (And How It’s Shaped My Politics)

From Huffington Post:

By Author, commentator and contributing editor,
Posted: 7/26/11

Recently my mother told me something shocking. When she decided that her family was complete and sought a tubal ligation from her doctor (aka “to have her tubes tied”), she was told that her husband would have to sign a form giving his consent. This was not during the dark ages, but the dawn of the 1980s. And this was not some third world country practicing sharia law, but Texas. (Yes, I can already hear some of the 3rd world jokes many of you are making about my home state right about now. To which I say, “Hook ’em Horns.”)

Her story was a stark reminder that it really wasn’t that long ago that our country was stuck in the dark ages when it comes to women having the right to control our own bodies. It was also a powerful reminder that while abortion remains the most divisive reproductive rights issue — and the one likely to garner the most headlines — it is not necessarily the most important. There are countless reproductive rights issues that affect all women — including those who may not consider themselves pro-choice. These are the issues I consider most at stake with the ongoing assault on Planned Parenthood. And it is through these issues that President Obama may end up leaving his greatest legacy.

Last week a nonpartisan panel convened by the Institute of Medicine recommended that insurance companies be required to cover birth control for free as a form of preventive care under the new health care law. If the government follows the panel’s recommendations, this could end up being not just one of the most important moments in the reproductive rights movement since Roe v. Wade, but the most important moment ever. (Click here to see some of the most important reproductive rights cases besides Roe v. Wade.)

A poll released during the 50th anniversary of the birth control pill found that cost remains a key barrier for couples when it comes to using contraception. As I have noted in a previous column, “though it seems like it would be a no brainer for insurers to cover birth control rather than face the prospect of eventually covering another dependent, a 2007 Mercer study found that while about 70 percent of insurers provide coverage for erectile dysfunction medications, (as in Viagra) HALF of all health insurance plans do not provide contraceptive coverage.”

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Pawlenty: Marriage Equality “Devalues” the Institution

Fox Host: Free Birth Control Is Liberal Conspiracy To ‘Eradicate The Poor’

The right wing conservatives and Christo-Fascists love the poor.  That’s why they have made so many of us by shipping our jobs off shore and destroying the economy.

From Think Progress:

By Marie Diamond
Jul 21, 2011

Public health officials and women’s rights groups are cheering the recent recommendationof the Institute of Medicine that “health insurers should pay for a range of services for women at no cost, including birth control, counseling on sexually transmitted diseases, and AIDS screening.”

But unsurprisingly, many on the right immediately lashed out at the decision, denouncing it as “feminist pork” or tantamount to government-sponsored abortion. Some particularly vile reactions came from Fox News, where host Greg Gutfeld said eliminating birth control co-pays was part of a much more sinister leftist plot:

GUTFELD: If you’re talking about free birth control, who’s going to use free birth control? The people who can’t afford it. So the left has figured out a way to eradicate the poor, and it’s by eradicating the poor!

Watch it:

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Ultra Right Wing Rep. Allen West: Gay People Can “Change Their Behavior”

From Equality Matters:

by Carlos Maza
July 25, 2011

Rep. Allen West (R-FL), who is quickly running out of feet to stick in his mouth, stepped in it again on Saturday.

Explaining his opposition to the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Rep. West offered a dire prediction: “When you take the military and you tell it they must conform to the individual’s behavior, then it’s just a matter of time before you break down the military.”

Moments later, when pressed by an observer who demanded to know how Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal was different from the racial integration of the military in the 1950s, West objected to the comparison with his usual vehemence: “Let me explain something to you. I can’t change my color. People can change their behavior, but I can’t change my color.”

West’s explanation is wrong and ridiculous. Attempts to pathologize homosexuality as some kind of malleable mental state have failed over and over. Every reputable medical association that has examined the matter has concluded that being gay, much like being straight, is not a choice that anyone consciously makes. From the American Psychiatric Association:

APA affirms its 1973 position that homosexuality per se is not a diagnosable mental disorder.  Recent publicized efforts to repathologize homosexuality by claiming that it can be cured are often guided not by rigorous scientific or psychiatric research, but sometimes by religious and political forces opposed to full civil rights for gay men and lesbians. [APA, accessed 7/25/11]

As the APA implies, the notion that being gay is a choice is not just an impediment to equality; it is also the keystone of so-called “reparative therapy” techniques that attempt to convert gays and lesbians into heterosexuals.

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The Koch Brothers Are the New Brothers Grimm

From Koch Watch:

Blogged by Jillian Barclay on Winning Progressive
22 July 2011

In the 1800s, the Brothers Grimm wrote a series of fairy tales, such as Hansel and Gretel and Snow White, that were far more gruesome, creepy, and twisted than the sanitized versions of those stories that Disney has now created. Today, the role of the Brothers Grimm is being filled by the Koch Brothers. Unfortunately, the fairy tales they are writing are threatening to create a gruesome, creepy, and twisted future for our society.

You have heard of David and Charles Grimm-Koch. But do you really know who they are? What they stand for? How they are writing a new fairy tale for America? These two are multi-billionaire brothers who are both in their 70′s. They are purchasing the United States, and they seek control of all policy making in the United States. Their philosphy: Why run for one political office when you can buy many political offices? Their efforts are designed to gain as much influence as possible at every level of government: federal, state and local, leaving no stone unturned.

The Grimm-Koch Brothers have personally contributed millions of dollars to federal, state and local candidates who agree with their radical anti-government principles. They contribute heavily to the Republican Governors Association and the Chamber of Commerce. The contributions to just these two organizations are in the millions. Their front organization, Americans For Prosperity, founded in 2004 by David Koch, is supposedly a grass roots organization, but how many grass roots organizations were founded and receive funding and direction from billionaires and their mega-corporations?

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The ‘contemptible indifference’ of bad pedestrian infrastructure

From Mother Nature Network:

Sometimes an afterthought is worse than no thought at all, especially when it comes to designing cities for people instead of cars. A rumination on thin sidewalks and the hidden meaning of the phrase ‘some kind of vegetable.’

By Chris Turner
Fri, Jul 22 2011

I know it’s more romantic to say I like long walks on the beach or a rugged mountain hike, and I do enjoy both of those pastimes, but my true love is a good long urban amble. I’ve delightedly pounded pavement, traversed plazas and navigated parks from Berlin to Bangkok; the last time I was in New York, some friends and I spent a lazy afternoon walking from Central Park to Greenwich Village.

Not all urban infrastructure was created equal, though, and you can find yourself in some tricky spots. For me and my wife, half the sport is in exploring territory hostile to pedestrians, counting the errors and careless afterthoughts. It amounts to a kind of urban planning geek’s feast of Schadenfreude, hunting for all the ways in which the landscape encourages the use of the automobile.
Behavioral economists call this “choice architecture,” and in the modern North American city, the choice architecture is a monument to the primacy of cars.

A case in point: last weekend, my wife and I went on a hike through Nose Hill Park here in Calgary — a vast oasis of wild prairie on the edge of our hometown, more than three times the size of Central Park — with the intention of traversing the adjoining residential neighborhood to arrive at a shopping plaza boasting one of the city’s better pretend-Irish pubs. There’s also an LRT station nearby.

So then: we were hiking from the city’s biggest green space to the nearest transit hub. We left the park via the only trail in the southern half of the park that doesn’t terminate in a parking lot. We arrived immediately at a major intersection between two midsized six-lane commuter arteries. On the median as we crossed, we discovered an absolute gem of indifferent urban design:

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Right-wing terror in Norway

From The Socialist Worker:

Alan Maass reports on the murderous rampage in Norway by a far-right sympathizer–and the media’s rush to blame an all-too-familiar scapegoat.

Alan Maass
July 25, 2011

CLOSE TO 100 people died in Norway at the hands of a far-right fanatic whose connections to the organized racists and Islamophobes extend to the anti-Muslim bigots in the U.S.

Anders Behring Breivik is accused of setting a car bomb in downtown Oslo. At least seven people died in the blast in front of the Oil Ministry, but which also apparently targeted a 17-story office tower that contained the offices of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, leader of the governing Labor Party.

But the much more terrible death toll came from a shooting spree at an island summer camp for young members of the Labor Party.

Breivik, dressed as a police officer, reportedly claimed he was on the island of Utoya, northwest of Oslo, for a “security check.” After gathering campers together, he opened fire–and proceeded to hunt down and kill dozens more after the initial bloodbath. He continued murdering until police finally made it to the island–and then gave himself up.

According to lawyer Geir Lippestad, Breivik confessed to the killings and said he “went to Utoya to give the Labor Party a warning that ‘doomsday would be imminent’ unless the party changed its policies.”

The media instantly blamed “Islamic terrorism” for the killings, but Breivik is the exact opposite–a former member of the youth wing of Norway’s far-right Progress Party, with “a history of anti-Muslim commentary and an affection for Muslim-hating blogs such as Pam Geller’s Atlas Shrugged, Daniel Pipes, and Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch,” as’s Glenn Greenwald reported.

To judge from his messages on Facebook and other websites, Brievek saw himself as a warrior against immigrants–especially Muslim immigrants, who he blamed for “[transforming] my beloved Oslo into a multicultural shithole.” In one post, according to a rough translation from Norwegian, Breivik declared:

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