Archive for February 7th, 2012
At Truthout, Retired Republican House and Senate staffer Mike Lofgren indicates that he is seeing so much toxic warmongering aimed at Iran these days that it makes George W. Bush look like a pacifist:
For most of my three-decade career handling national security budgets in Congress, Iran was two or three years away from obtaining a nuclear weapon. The idea of an Islamic bomb exerts a peculiar fascination on American political culture and shines a searchlight on how the gross dysfunctionality of American politics emerges synergistically from the individual dysfunctions of its component parts: the military-industrial complex; oil addiction; the power of foreign-based lobbies; the apocalyptic fixation on the holy land by millions of fundamentalist Americans; US elected officials’ neurotic need to show toughness, especially in an election year. The rational calculus of nuclear deterrence, which had guided US policy during the cold war, and which the US government still applies to plainly despotic and bellicose nuclear states like North Korea, has gone out the window with respect to Iran. . . . Whether it is sources in Tel Aviv, sources in Washington, or both, that are feeding Iran stories to the US news media is unclear. Whoever they may be, they are playing much of the press – The Washington Post and CBS News are standout examples – like a Stradivarius. In Pentagon-speak, this is known as “prepping the psychological battlefield.”
Former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) ripped into both President Barack Obama and his re-election team on Tuesday morning for backing off its previous criticism of outside spending on campaigns and embracing the role that super PACs will play in the 2012 election.
“It is a dumb approach,” Feingold said in a phone interview with The Huffington Post. “It will lead to scandal and there are going to be a lot of people having corrupt conversations about huge amounts of money that will one day regret that they went down the route of what is effectively a legalized Abramoff system.”
Guttmacher Institute has released a Fact Sheet on unintended pregnancies in the United States. Here’s what I learned:
Most American families want two children.
About half (49%) of the 6.7 million pregnancies in the United States each year (3.2 million) are unintended.
By age 45, more than half of all American women will have experienced an unintended pregnancy, and three in 10 will have had an abortion.
Unintended pregnancy rates are highest among poor and low-income women, women aged 18–24, cohabiting women and minority women. In 2006, black women had the highest unintended pregnancy rate of any racial or ethnic groups.
In 2006, 43% of unintended pregnancies ended in abortion and 48% ended in birth.
Compared with higher-income women, poor and low-income women are less likely to end an unintended pregnancy by abortion.
In 2006, two-thirds (64%) of the 1.6 million births resulting from unintended pregnancies were paid for by public insurance programs, primarily Medicaid.
Total public expenditures for births resulting from unintended pregnancies nationwide were estimated to be $11.1 billion in 2006.
Two-thirds of U.S. women at risk for unintended pregnancy use contraception consistently and correctly throughout the course of any given year; these women account for only 5% of all unintended pregnancies. In contrast, the 19% of women at risk who use contraception inconsistently or incorrectly account for 43% of all unintended pregnancies. The 16% of women at risk who do not practice contraception at all for a month or more during the year account for 52% of all unintended pregnancies.
Without publicly funded family planning services, the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions occurring in the United States would be nearly two-thirds higher among women overall and among teens; the number of unintended pregnancies among poor women would nearly double.