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Did Republicans just have their worst day ever?

Lately the GOP's rhetoric has been about rebranding and scandals. But maybe Thursday was just a slow news day. 

Marco Rubio's rebrand is to fight against LGBT protections in the workplace. 


Oh, well okay. I mean that's his thing. We shouldn't really expect anything less of him, especially since voting against allowing the Violence Against Women Act to go to the Senate floor for debate. I mean, who does that? 

But, maybe it was just an isolated incident. Maybe it's just one guy getting caught with his guard down a little...

Wait, what did Texas Governor Rick Perry have to say about religious freedom?


That's your talking point. That's your hook. Everyone has the right to choose a religion, as long as they have a faith? Last I checked, 77% of people in the US were Christian. It really doesn't look like they need a hand from the government to fight some oppression, or in this case, discomfort over saying, "Merry Christmas." 

So Christmas in June aside, maybe that's not the worst thing to legislate. I mean, in the grand scale of geopolitical affairs, the governor of Texas giving religious preference to a group in a very religious state, while misguided, isn't exactly like coming out in support of someone like, say, Bashar al-Assad, the malevolent dictator who slaughters his own people and has now been proven to have used chemical weapons against Syrian rebels. 

Yeah, not like any GOP politicians are going to stand up for him.

From: Roll CallSen. Paul: Taxpayer dollars funding 'war against Christianity in the Middle East' - The Hill

“These countries are not our true allies and no amount of money will make them so. They are not allies of Israel, and I fear one day our money and military arms that we have paid for will be used against Israel,”

Alright, so Rand Paul just doesn't want to see US support go to rebels who might make problems for Israel, which makes him, essentially, a proponent of the status quo, which also means Bashar al-Assad stays in power?

Dammit. 

We all knew the GOP rebrand was shaky but it can't be this bad. They're just running out of stuff to say since Scandalmania doesn't seem to be rocking as much this week. But we have covered Senator Rand Paul's support for the Assad regime. There really isn't anywhere we could go from there, right?

From: PoliticoRick Santorum: Why Mitt Romney didn’t win - Politico

It just doesn't end... I mean, Romney soundly beat Santorum! Is this reality? 

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Categories: LGBT Women Voting Rights War and Peace


WI State Senate Explodes over Mandatory Ultrasound Vote

Boom.

What the hell happened in Wisconsin? 

The State Senate exploded when debate on a mandatory ultrasound bill abruptly ended, and Senators were screamed down by Senate President Mike Ellis (R). 

Senate Bill 206 (text here ) is the latest in a series of ultra-strict anti-abortion bills that would enforce mandatory, unnecessary, and invasive, as well as not even medically sound ultrasounds on women seeking an abortion. What's more is that Governor Scott Walk is most likely going to sign it into law, as it's expected to sail through the GOP-controlled House. 

Rachel Maddow's commentary on the issue adds poignancy to it all:

@ 0:20 - Watch what happens when he forces debate to end and he loses his mind

@ 0:32 - Lays waste to Democratic traditions by forcing an end to debate

@ 0:54 - "YOU'RE OUT OF ORDER." "NO YOU'RE OUT OF ORDER." Completely explodes at Senators voicing their dissent

@ 1:41 - Dissent will "not be tolerated"

@ 1:50 - 8th ear-splitting gavel smash... it indicates that the loudest and angriest person in the room dictates policy

@ 1:51 to end - Maddow's take. Will there be a political cost to pay for forcing medically unnecessary procedures on women?

All of this begs the question, "What the hell is going on?"

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Categories: Women Privacy


The Supreme Court Was on the Right Side of History with Marriage Once, Let's See Them Do It Again

From: ABC NewsIf you follow us on Facebook, maybe you saw this post. For a brief summary, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that interracial marriage was a Constitutionally protected practice in 1967. How often do we get unanimous rulings on anything now? That ruling also laid the claim that marriage was a basic civil right for all, and four decades later we stand to make total marriage equality a civil right. 

There's plenty to get mad about, but history has given us something be hopeful about.

There are two cases the Supreme Court will rule on this month. One, the Defense of Marriage Act that the Obama administration stopped supporting long ago, and California's Proposition 8. 

History has shown that the Supreme Court will stand up for civil rights, and that can be seen in several rulings over the years. 

  • Lawrence v. Texas, 2003, which ruled sodomy laws to be unconstitutional 
  • Loving v. Virginia, 1967, which found that VA's law barring interracial marriage was unconstitutional, which also overturned the 1883 case Pace v. Alabama and made any restriction on race-based marriage unconstitutional
There are also non-SCOTUS rulings to consider. California's long history with the battle over marriage equality has its own tale to tell:
  • In re Marriage Cases, May 2008, the California Supreme Court ruled that the "...legislative and initiative measures limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples violate the state constitutional rights of same-sex couples and may not be used to preclude same-sex couples from marrying."
    • This overturned the legislature's 1977 law and the initiative that passed in 2000 that both banned same-sex marriage.
  • Prop 8, which passed in November, 2008 with 52% of the popular vote, overruled California's Supreme Court by adding a ban same-sex marriage to the state constitution.
  • From: Christian Science MonitorPerry v. Schwarzenegger, 2010, the Federal District Court in San Fransisco overturned Prop 8, saying the state violated the Due Process Clause of the US Constitution, and had no compelling/rational interest in the law.
  • Perry v. Brown, 2011, had the case moved to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and by Feb. 2012 ruled that Perry v. Schwarzenegger should be upheld, as Proposition 8 did nothing but lessen the status and dignity of gay and lesbian couples. 

There is a definite pattern of courts supporting civil rights and marriage equality. 

The Obama administration wouldn't defend DOMA, and pressure is mounting for President Obama to sign an Executive Order barring LGBT discrimination by federal contractors. The Supreme Court will rule on Proposition 8 in a matter of weeks, or even days, giving the tens (or hundreds) of thousands of couples the right to marry the partner they love, and the millions of marriage equality supporters and activists who have stood up for basic civil rights a reason to be happy. 

Finally, check out this awesome video from Americans for Equal Rights, on their support to overturn Proposition 8:


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Senator Warren Smacks Down GOP Plans to Make Profits Off the Backs of Students


You can't miss these highlights.

@0:24 - Two issues: money and values. 

@1:10 - "Two weeks ago, House Republicans passed a plan that would produce higher profits off the backs of our college students."

@1:38 - Completely smacks down Senator Coburn's (remember him?) plan to increase the government's interest rates and profits off of students

@2:17 - Outlines the hypocrisy of the system that's rigged against students

@4:06 - "This really is about our values. Have we become a people who will support our big banks with nearly-free loans, while we crush our kids who are trying to get an education?"

@4:24 - The obscene profits that the government makes off of students is morally wrong.

@4:42 - The people are speaking, with 1 million+ signatures in support of student loan reform.

Find the full text to her speech here.

Become a citizen co-sponsor of her bill to give students the same ultra-low interest rates as big banks.

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Do not pity the banks, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all those who live without subsidies.

The banks have failed. No, we're not really going to hear it screamed on the streets, but the only profits they're making are the tens of billions in subsidies that taxpayers are shoveling into them every year. 

3 cents of every tax dollar collected goes to subsidizing "too big to fail" banks

That's 3% of the total taxpayer pie going to help out an industry that already controls $9 trillion, or roughly half of the US economy. This amounts $83 billion, three-quarters of which goes into JP Morgan, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo & Co, and Goldman Sachs. But what if those subsidies were taken away?

Seen below is a chart generated by Bloomberg, show the typical annual profit, values of subsidies, profits without subsidies, and the return on equity without a subsidy. The results are pretty sad.


(Source )

You get the picture rather quickly. It's bad, and their profits are literally transfers from taxpayers to their balance sheets. Without that, some of them are even in the negative - Citigroup by over $4 billion.

So what would happen if we removed those subsidies? To start, we could cancel sequestration. That sits at $85 billion (two billion more than these subsidies), and has real impacts on the daily lives of Americans across the entire country, and the half of the economy not controlled by the banks. 

Another effect of cancelling these subsidies could be the end of "too big to fail". Forcing the banks to actually act responsibly and get their own profits would be a great step towards forcing them to act in the markets.

But no, we live in the times of crony-capitalism. It's going to take brave progressives like Elizabeth Warren to take on the banks. 

Also, thank Dumbledore for the title. 

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Categories: Economy and Jobs


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