Posted: October 4, 2016 Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: 2016 Vice Presidential Debate, abortion rights, conspiracy theories, Donald Trump, Gay Marriage, Hillary Clinton, Indiana, Julian Assange, Mike Pence, right to work laws, Tim Kaine, Wikileaks
Tonight at 9, Vice Presidential nominees Tim Kaine and Mike Pence will debate on national TV for the first and only time. We will have a live blog for discussion of the event.
NPR is billing these two as “softening the image” of the Democratic and Republican tickets.
Unlike running mates of the past, Pence and Kaine have not been unleashed as “attack dogs” to chew viciously on their adversaries. This year, the headlines about outrageous charges have come from the top of the ticket — with help from various TV surrogates and the rest of the media chorus.
Kaine and Pence, by contrast, serve to soften the image of the national tickets. They are Tim and Mike, known by the friendlier, shorter versions of their first names. Both have made their way in politics as loyal party men, to be sure, but as warmer and more personable versions of their respective partisan stereotypes. And both have been known for their ability to maneuver and adapt to changing political circumstances.
So far, at least, both have performed admirably in their subordinate roles. It might even be said that both have exceeded expectations in their assistance to the nominees who chose them.
Kaine has been a prolific fundraiser as well as an affable and effective salesman on the stump. Pence has been enormously influential in bringing religious and social conservatives around to accepting and endorsing Trump. Even some who had pleaded for primary voters to pick anyone but Trump have come on board this fall, however reluctantly; and several have done so after meeting with Pence. Former rival and bitter critic Ted Cruz is one example.
How anyone could consider Mike Pence “softer” on anything is beyond me. I can only assume that NPR is ignorant of or choosing to ignore Pence’s record in the House and as Governor of Indiana.
Here’s one mainstream article that calls attention to Pence’s “baggage.” Roll Call (September 19, 2016):
Pence made national headlines in early 2015 when he signed into law the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” which limited the legal actions that could be taken against an individual or business for asserting their religious beliefs.
The law sparked widespread outrage. Opponents contended that it would give license to religious conservatives to refuse service to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. In response, several major events and corporations — including Salesforce.com, the NCAA, and the gaming convention Gen-Con — threatened to limit business ventures in the state or boycott it altogether.
Pence adamantly defended the RFRA legislation and refused to say whether it allowed for discrimination, which led to extensive questioning of his underlying motives.
What followed was a hemorrhaging of support from moderate Republicans in the state, and intense backlash on social media and in the press. So much so that he quietly signed a subsequent piece of legislation — dubbed the “RFRA Fix” — that clarified that the law did not allow businesses to discriminate based on a customer’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Read about more of Pence’s ugly record at the link. He tried to set up a state “news bureau,” a propaganda organ paid for by taxpayers.
Pence is virulently anti-abortion and did everything he could to get rid of Planned Parenthood in the state. He attempted to prevent Syrian refugees from settling in Indiana. He has helped keep Indiana a “right-to-work” state. More background on Pence’s views:
Planned Parenthood: This Is Mike Pence’s Indiana, and It’s Terrifying.
Mother Jones: Mike Pence Has Led a Crusade Against Abortion Access and LGBT Rights.
Mother Jones: Pence Tells Evangelicals He’ll Help Trump Restrict Abortion Rights.
Bustle: Mike Pence’s Stance On Gay Marriage Is As Harsh As His “Religious Freedom” Views.
In These Times: Mike Pence May Be a Friend to Trump, But He’s No Friend to Workers.
Here’s the Clinton campaign’s take on Pence and his defenses of Trump:
Republican Trump supporters have been waiting breathlessly for an “October Surprise” from Julian Assange and Wikileaks. A couple of days ago, long-time Trump adviser and conspiracy theorist Roger Stone tweeted this cryptic warning:
Then yesterday he tweeted this:
But so far, Stone and the Trumpettes have been disappointed.
The Washington Post: Trump backers realize they’ve been played as WikiLeaks fails to deliver October surprise.
For weeks, backers of Republican nominee Donald Trump have hyped the tantalizing possibility that the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks was on the verge of publishing a set of documents that would doom Hillary Clinton’s chances in November….
The group’s founder, Julian Assange, did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm, suggesting to Fox News hosts that his scoops could upend the race with documents “associated with the election campaign, some quite unexpected angles, some quite interesting.”
The announcement by WikiLeaks that it would host a major news conference Tuesday only seemed to confirm that the bombshell was ready to burst. The pro-Trump, anti-Clinton media world rippled with fevered speculation.
But the dreamed-of takedown of Clinton was not to be.
The much-vaunted news conference, as it turned out, was little more than an extended infomercial for WikiLeaks on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of its founding.
Assange, whose group released a trove of hacked Democratic National Committee documents on the eve of the party’s convention this summer, breezily dismissed the idea that anyone should have expected any news at his news conference.
“If we are going to make a major publication about the U.S., we wouldn’t do it at 3 a.m.,” Assange said at one point, referring to the Eastern daylight start time for the event.That didn’t go over well with Trump backers who had stayed up through the night, thinking they’d be watching live the unveiling of the death blow to the Clinton campaign.
That didn’t go over well with Trump backers who had stayed up through the night, thinking they’d be watching live the unveiling of the death blow to the Clinton campaign.
LOL! Read more hilarious stuff at the link. The Trump campaign is nothing but a “fever swamp” of conspiracy theorists, white supremacists and neo-Nazis. Just look at the campaign’s leadership and advisers like Alex Jones.
Mother Jones: How Trump Became Our Conspiracy Theorist in Chief.
Consider Trump’s inner circle: Campaign CEO Stephen Bannon is on leave from Breitbart News, the conservative site he helped turn into a one-stop destination for breathlessly reported stories like “Muslim Prayer Rug Found on Arizona Border” (on closer inspection, the “rug” was probably a track jacket). Trump’s deputy campaign manager, David Bossie, a peddler of many of the wildest Clinton conspiracy theories of the 1990s, once made a documentary alleging that Hillary Clinton had murdered a critic’s cat. Trump adviser Roger Stone, a former Nixon campaign aide and political dirty trickster, wrote a book claiming that Chelsea Clinton got four plastic surgeries to mask the identity of her real father.
Populist movements have long flirted with what political theorist Richard Hofstadter, writing about Barry Goldwater in 1964, called the “paranoid style in American politics”—the penchant for framing opponents as the tools of a powerful but shadowy fifth column. But Trump has embraced and normalized the political fringe in unprecedented ways—and that could have far-reaching effects.
That Trump would devote much of the substance of his campaign to wild claims and ominous innuendo is not surprising: This is what first made him a conservative star. Five years ago, Trump embarked on a national press tour to question the legitimacy of President Barack Obama’s birth certificate. Obama, Trump suggested, was actually a Kenyan-born impostor named “Barry Soweto.” Establishment Republicans may have snickered, but Trump’s strategy was an unmitigated success. A CNN poll showed that his support among likely GOP voters nearly doubled once he started talking about the birth certificate. He became a regular guest on Fox & Friends, a sought-after speaker at conservative dinners, and a campaign prop for Mitt Romney, who flew to Las Vegas to accept Trump’s endorsement. In just a few months, Trump showed how intoxicatingly viral the netherworld of conspiracies could be. (Even when he finally conceded that Obama was born in the United States, he claimed the birther rumors originated with Clinton.)
From the day he kicked off his 2016 presidential campaign, an air of paranoia has infused almost everything Trump has said or done. He demanded a border wall on the grounds that Mexico was sending killers and rapists into the country, boosting his claims with an Infowars video he’d seen on the Drudge Report. He promised to “bomb the shit out of” ISIS, while insinuating that the current commander in chief harbored sympathies for the terrorist group (“There’s something going on”). After Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died in his sleep, Trump fanned theories of an assassination. He trumpeted a National Enquirer story suggesting that Ted Cruz’s dad was involved in the Kennedy assassination (even though Stone had written a best-selling book fingering Lyndon B. Johnson).
Read the rest at Mother Jones.
Time Magazine: Why Tonight’s Vice Presidential Debate is Unusual.
The New Yorker: Why the Vice-Presidential Debate Does and Doesn’t Matter.
Media Matters: .What Media Need To Know About Mike Pence’s Economic Record.
WSOC TV: Michelle Obama to campaign for Hillary Clinton in Charlotte.
Melissa McEwan at Share Blue: I published this photo of Hillary Clinton and the response was overwhelming. (Must Read!)
Deadspin: Trump Supporters Spent The Debate Tweeting At Jon Lester Because They Thought He Was Moderator Lester Holt.
What stories are you following today? Let us know in the comment thread and be sure to check back tonight for the VP Debate live blog!
Posted: May 25, 2016 Filed under: 2016 elections | Tags: abortion rights, Hillary Clinton, Mary Lou Bruner, Texas School Boards
I’ve got some good and bad news from Texas! Texas is is kinda like that you know? These are the kinds of things that happen when you and like-minded people get up and vote crazy out or in. Let me start with the good news. One of the worst of the Texas Christianists ran for a State Education Post and lost big time. It’s hard to even imagine her teaching small children at one time.
The East Texas woman who claimed President Obama was a drug-addicted gay prostitute in his youth was defeated in a Republican primary runoff election Tuesday, losing her bid to become one of the top education officials in Texas.
The woman, Mary Lou Bruner, 69, a former kindergarten teacher, had used her Facebook page to post her extreme views on politics and education. Ms. Bruner called the Boy Scouts “a homosexual organization” and declared that because of her conservative views, Mr. Obama “has had me investigated.” She encouraged parents to home-school their children because that was “the only way you can be in control of what they are taught,” and claimed that school shootings across the country had begun “after the schools started teaching evolution.”
Her postings drew national attention as she campaigned for a seat on the State Board of Education, the 15-member body that sets curriculum standards, adopts textbooks and establishes graduation requirements in Texas public schools. In March, Ms. Bruner earned the most votes in the Republican primary, winning 48 percent, but failed to get enough votes to avoid a runoff.
On Tuesday, Ms. Bruner was defeated by a wide margin by Keven M. Ellis, 45, a chiropractor who is the president of the school board in Lufkin. Because Republicans dominate the district, the winner of the Republican race is expected to beat the Democrat — Amanda M. Rudolph, a professor at Stephen F. Austin State University — in the general election.
“The voters did their homework,” Mr. Ellis said in a statement as he declared victory.
Ms. Bruner never backed away from her remarks on Facebook. “I’m just saying what I believe and what the people of my district agree with,” she said when she declined an interview with The New York Times in March.
One of her biggest critics, the nonprofit Texas Freedom Network, which collected and publicized her Facebook statements, said on Tuesday, “Texas escaped an education train wreck tonight.”
Bruner lost by 18%. I’m sure Texas has not heard the end of her but at least the amount of damage she can inflict on Texas children has been minimized.
Only several months ago, Mary Lou Bruner, 69, of Mineola, Texas, had been the front-runner for the powerful seat on the Texas State Board of Education, the second-largest school system in the nation.
But as conspiracy theories in Bruner’s old Facebook posts surfaced, her lead shrunk. Voters ultimately chose fellow Republican Keven Ellis, a local school board president, for the GOP nomination. Bruner lost by about 18 percent in the primary runoff.
Bruner’s Facebook posts, which have since been deleted, ranged from the biblical to bizarre. The posts went back several years and were published by left-leaning government watchdog group Texas Freedom Network.
In one, she wrote that a flood from Noah’s Ark destroyed dinosaurs — not a meteor invented by atheists.
In another, she claimed Democrats killed John F. Kennedy. And in one of multiple anti-Islam comments, she said House Speaker Paul Ryan’s beard made him look like “a terrorist.”
She also took swings at Obama, claiming he spent years as a prostitute in his twenties, which she claimed enabled him to pay for drugs and explained why he now has a “soft spot for homosexuals.”
Her defeat was celebrated by the group that had outed her Facebook posts.
So here’s what happens when crazy gets elected. “Up against strict laws, Texas women learn do-it-yourself abortions.” (h/t to Adrastos) I have no doubt that Lousiana women will be learning these tricks from their Texas sisters. We have a newly elected Democratic Governor that’s signing everything he can into law to trap and limit women’s right to health care and abortion. This is one who promised that enacting laws in support of his personal religions convictions/fetishes wouldn’t be a priority for him.
Susanna was young, single, broke and pregnant in southern Texas where, thanks to the state’s strict laws, her chances of getting a surgical abortion at a clinic were slim to none.
So she did what an estimated 100,000 women or more in Texas have done – had a self-induced abortion.
With the help of a friend, some online instructions and quick dash across the Mexican border for some pills, she addressed the issue of unwanted pregnancy in a state where women are finding abortion services too expensive and too far away.
Restrictive laws took hold in Texas in 2013, forcing so many clinic closings that fewer than 20 remain to serve 5.4 million women of reproductive age.
Supporters of the laws say they protect women’s health. The regulations require clinics to upgrade to hospital standards and doctors performing abortions to have formal agreements to admit patients to local hospitals.
But experts say that if the U.S. Supreme Court upholds Texas’ restrictive abortion laws, the numbers of self-induced abortions will escalate.
So far, the number of Texas women who have taken that option could be as high as 100,000 to 240,000, depending on how it is calculated, experts say.
“We certainly hypothesize that if there is a bad ruling from the Supreme Court that leads to more clinic closures, yes, this will only become more common,” said Dr. Daniel Grossman of Ibis Reproductive Health in California and researcher with the Texas Policy Evaluation Project at the University of Texas at Austin.
Susanna, a musician in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley who chose to use an alias to protect her identity, described her self-induced abortion two years ago at age 23 as “almost primal.”
“It was like we were back in the days of the Wild West, like we have to figure this out by ourselves and just grit our teeth and get through it,” she said.
Research shows U.S. women opt to self-induce due to the closing of their local clinic, the expense of a clinical procedure or the costs of traveling to a distant facility.
Most commonly they take misoprostol, available in Mexico without a prescription, at home.
Educating themselves on the procedure, women like Susanna’s friend Selena, also not her real name, have stepped in to teach other women to do what clinics can no longer provide.
This kind of insanity is why my daughter chose to open her practice in a blue state. She once dealt with a woman who had sepsis from a botched abortion while a 4th year med student. You may recall this story since I’ve told it before. She was in a Michigan hospital doing a rotation. The resident in charge walked away from the patient and refused to treat her. This left my daughter and the nurse. My daughter said that she wanted to be some place where she could focus on women’s health without worrying that the state wold be looking over her shoulder every times she treated a patient.
Meanwhile, Louisiana women have a 72 hour waiting period now thanks to a patriarchal asshole of a governor who actually is a Democrat. He was pushing for an equal pay law at the same time so you have to give the devil credit where it’s due, but this is just unacceptable. Even worse, it has a name that just makes women sound like we all make giddy decisions impulsively.
When it comes to Infuriatingly Deceitful Labels Anti-Choice Lawmakers Use To Disguise Their Stonewalling Access To Healthcare As Being Beneficial To Women™, we know the usual go-tos: There’s the obvious “pro-life” label, which, as we all know by now, actually stands for “pro-force women to give birth whether they like it or not” while the movement’s supporters gleefully vote against funding for living children born into dire poverty. And now, in Louisiana, there’s mandated 72-hour waiting periods for abortion patients, gently dubbed the “Women’s Enhanced Reflection Act.” How fucking quaint.
Last Friday, Governor John Bel Edwards signed into law a bill that will triple the current 24-hour period women seeking legal abortions have to wait. The law, mirrored by states like North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Utah, is slated to be enacted on August 1.
In the state of Louisiana, there are only four clinics that perform abortions at this time, and according to 2009 analysis by Guttmacher Institute of 12 different published studies on required waiting periods and counseling sessions, enacting waiting periods already effectively drives women seeking abortions to travel out of state:
“Following enforcement of the [mandatory counseling and waiting period law], abortion rates fell, the number of women going out of state for an abortion rose and the proportion of second-trimester abortions increased.”
We have to unite. Like-minded people, we have to unite and vote. Our rights to our lives and bodies are in danger. There are some very angry white men out there that do not want what they feel they are entitled to–including the right to determine other folks’ religions, bodies, choice of lovers, and right to jobs and safety–to be shared with the rest of us. You can tell exactly what this is because it appears that a huge number of Bernie Bros are prepared to switch to Donald Trump. It’s about not letting the law treat every one equally. There are many white men and Christians that are not like this. There are some women, gay men, and racial and religious minorities that will sell us out. But, those of us who are the vast majority must ensure we vote in people who want to see rights extended to all.
For all their divergent beliefs, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have each tapped into raw anger and resentment that is in some ways more emotive than ideological. The dangers for Hillary Clinton are clear. By most reasonable standards, she is as unimpeachably liberal as Humphrey was in 1968, yet she is equally distrusted by the anti-establishment left. She will need to guard against defections to an anti-establishment conservative who has proved every bit as deft as Wallace.
And, like Carter in 1980, Clinton will enter the fall campaign with sky-high disapproval ratings, in no small part because her primary opponent spent a year casting her as an enemy of the common man. True, Trump is also wildly unpopular. But people tend to forget that Reagan was hardly more trusted when he unseated Carter than Trump is today—and that year, voters chose the candidate who represented a break with the status quo.
And, like Carter in 1980, Clinton will enter the fall campaign with sky-high disapproval ratings, in no small part because her primary opponent spent a year casting her as an enemy of the common man. True, Trump is also wildly unpopular. But people tend to forget that Reagan was hardly more trusted when he unseated Carter than Trump is today—and that year, voters chose the candidate who represented a break with the status quo.
Despite the fact that Hillary Clinton is supported by a huge, diverse population we still get this media meme that she represents the establishment candidate. She holds a record for being the most admired woman for 20 years in a row.
We have to fight these narratives. It’s important. But it’s equally important to ensure that we all vote. We need to find out who represents us up and down the ticket in the fall. Now, I voted for this governor because he definitely was not evil like David Vitter. But when he started going off sanctimoniously on a private choice concerning his daughter in an ad, I chose not to work for him. I am unlikely to be around to see him leave office. Some times, local races in backwards states are like that. But, we have a clear choice come November for President.
I am tired of watching rights that have been hard fought for and won be taken away by crazy yahoos. We have this Texas example to show us what is possible. People who cared voted. That’s all we can and must do.
So, here’s some pics to tickle Boston Boomer’s heart and a post to support JJ as she deals with her Brother Denny who is in the ER! We love you both!!!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Posted: November 30, 2015 Filed under: just because | Tags: abortion rights, religious extremism, right wing religious fananticism, stochastic terrorism, women's health
Hope your weekend was great!
It’s been a depressing and sad few days as we continue to watch the world’s fundamentalist religions–based in so much Iron Age Mythology–continue to assert the need to control and dominate women. Saudi Arabia has sentenced a maid to death by stoning for adultery while giving the man a few symbolic lashes. Here in the US, Republican candidates for the US presidency appease a similarly addicted religious minority by skirting the real issues surrounding the shooting at Colorado’s Planned Parenthood. What we are seeing is the same poison fruit from the same poison tree.
There are so many mass shootings in this country—in a school or a church, a movie theatre or a mall—and so little is expected of American politicians in regard to them that, in the two days since Robert Dear began firing his gun at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado, the Republican Presidential contenders have largely been able to hide from the tragedy. At midday on Friday, Dear initiated a gun battle that lasted five hours and took the lives of three people, including a police officer, and wounded nine others. Dear’s motives, and his mental state, are not yet fully known. But, of all the places he could have walked into, he chose a Planned Parenthood clinic, and, of all the fragments of deranged rhetoric he could have repeated, he chose, according to the Times and other press reports, to say something about “no more baby parts.” This is a reference to the false charge that Planned Parenthood has illegally trafficked in the sale of fetal organs—and that is the mildest way of framing the allegations that anyone listening to a Republican debate or rally would likely have heard. The loudness of the slurs against the organization is in telling contrast to the cautious silence that descended when it became a target of gun violence.
I remember my work in high school and university on modernizing state laws so that crimes against women and children were moved from the areas of property crimes to crimes against people. I was appalled to find that state law required three witnesses to a rape as evidence a crime had happened. I worked at a nascent rape and domestic violence crisis center back in the early 70s that was started by the Junior League and still continues as a major operation at the local YWCA.
I also remember a panel discussion at my Presbyterian church when SCOTUS was deciding Roe v. Wade. It was my first experience seeing so many ignorant and angry people expressing the need to control other people’s bodies and lives. I thought that the progress we had made would continue. Then, came the 1980s and a backlash from the pews of what my family used to refer to as “holy rollers”.
I have two grown daughters now and I never thought that they’d face so many of the same issues that I faced at their age. When they were very young, I saw those same angry, ignorant faces of my youth beginning to coordinate and organize to target women. We’ve gone so far back since the early 1980’s and we’ve endured so much harassment from radical religionists that it’s sometimes difficult for me to believe we live in a developed country. But, here in many parts of the United States, folks take Iron Age Mythology as seriously as they do in the hills and tribes of Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. Women and children have always been at the forefront of the suffering inflicted by the hyperreligious. Vigilance and action is required continually and today like never before.
We are going backwards.
We are losing many battles in a war fought to take away women’s rights and autonomy. I spent some time reading this MoJo article on the last few years of Republican control of many local legislatures. Again, I cannot believe my daughters face challenges that no modern, civilized nation should create.
This is what 2015 looks like: Abortion providers struggle against overwhelming odds to stay open, while women “turn themselves into pretzels” to get to them, as one researcher put it. Activists have been calling it the “war on women.” But the onslaught of new abortion restrictions has been so successful, so strategically designed, and so well coordinated that the war in many places has essentially been lost.
Most abortions today involve some combination of endless wait, interminable journey, military-level coordination, and lots of money. Roe v. Wade was supposed to put an end to women crossing state lines for their abortions. But while reporting this story, I learned of women who drove from Kentucky to New Jersey, or flew from Texas to Washington, DC, because it was the only way they could have the procedure. Even where laws can’t quite make it impossible for abortion clinics to stay open—they are closing down at a rate of 1.5 every single week—they can make it exhausting to operate one. In every corner of America, four years of unrelenting assaults on reproductive rights have transformed all facets of giving an abortion or getting one—possibly for good.
“Every day is just frightening,” Chelian said. “I think things are bad, and then they get worse somewhere else. And you go, ‘Oh my God, it could be worse.’ And I go to sleep with that. I wake up with that.”
It’s gotten so bad that women are going back to the days of hangers. It’s been estimated that up to 240,000 women in Texas alone have try to give themselves abortions.
Ever since Texas passed HB2 in 2013, the omnibus abortion law at the heart of a pivotal case the Supreme Court will review early next year, more than half of the state’s 41 abortion clinics have been forced to close. As these closures have mounted, advocates in the state have worried that the decline in abortion access could lead to a rise in the number of women trying to terminate pregnancies by themselves.
A new study quantifies some of those fears: At least 100,000 Texas women—and as many as 240,000—between the ages of 18 and 49 have attempted to self-induce abortions, according to a report released today by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP). The study also found that it is possible that the rate of women attempting to self-induce abortions is rising in Texas as a result of the state’s additional restrictions on abortion care. The report points to previous studies that have explored the correlation between a rise in abortion restrictions and the prevalence of self-induced abortions. A 2008 national study found that about 2 percent of women reported that they tried to terminate pregnancies on their own. In 2012, a year after Texas passed several new abortion restrictions, a study of Texas women seeking care at an abortion clinic found that about 7 percent reported attempting to end their pregnancies without medical assistance before seeking clinic care.
“This is the latest body of evidence demonstrating the negative implications of laws like HB2 that pretend to protect women but in reality place them, and particularly women of color and economically disadvantaged women, at significant risk,” said Dr. Daniel Grossman, one of the study’s co-authors and a professor in the department of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at the University of California-San Francisco, in a press call Tuesday morning.
None of us that have been active in the women’s right movement for decades were surprised at the most recent attack and murders at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood. We anticipated it happening some where and we are not surprised by the deflection of the enablers of violence against women and those who help women. There has been a long, well-funded and organized racket supported by media outlets and capitalized on by the Republican party to reinstate witch hunts and burnings. We also know this is not about life. It’s about controlling women. Amanda Marcotte–writing for Salon–explains this well.
Victim-blaming and avoiding responsibility was the norm on the right, with Rep. Adam Kinzinger going on CNN while Dear was still holding the clinic hostage and ranting about “these barbaric videos,” in reference to the hoax videos falsely accusing Planned Parenthood of “selling” fetal tissue that were released over the summer and that all Republicans are apparently duty-bound to pretend are somehow meaningful despite being thoroughly debunked. He also pushed the idea that there’s a chance that Dear’s choice of a target is random and not rooted in anti-choice ideology.
Since then, of course, conservatives’ slim hope that Dear was somehow just a random psycho instead of an anti-choice nut has grown slimmer. Sources spoke about the “baby parts” line and that Dear mentioned Obama in his statements to police.
Ever since the Paris attacks, we’ve been hearing from the right how there is no excuse for religious fundamentalists using violence to terrorize people for the making life choices the fundamentalists don’t approve of. I do wish they would take their own advice on this front.
This whole display is especially bizarre when you consider that there is nothing new about anti-choice terrorism, which has taken the lives of eight clinic workers prior to this attack. That this would happen was entirely predictable. Since the release of those hoax videos, there’s been a rash of arsons and bombings of Planned Parenthood clinics across the country, a story which has received a surprisingly small amount of media coverage.
In other words, this is what everyone in pro-choice circles has been dreading would happen any day now. As recently as October 29, an abortion provider in Washington, D.C., penned an op-ed in the Washington Post about how her life is being rather unsubtly threatened by anti-choicers who put her picture and address online. You know, for “information.” Answers about who would need that, except someone who was intending to harm her, are not offered.
Anti-choice demagoguery is fruitful politics for the right. There’s a lot of fear out there about women’s changing social roles and increasing independence, coupled with a ton of resentment over other people’s sex lives. The anti-choice movement has created a perfect cover story—it’s about “life” and “babies”!—that allows conservatives to indulge these ugly urges while pretending to have noble intentions.
This combination has been so successful at inciting the masses, raising money, and turning out the vote that the anti-choice movement has become increasingly bold in recent years, expanding the legal attacks beyond abortion and looking for ways to undermine access to contraception as well. The increased outrage at Planned Parenthood in recent months, while ostensibly about abortion, is in actuality a lot more about contraception. None of the money that Republicans are cutting from Planned Parenthood is for abortion, but for contraception and STI prevention and treatment. Or even prenatal care, in some cases.
You cannot relentlessly stoke people’s sexual resentments, day in and day out, while calling it “moral” without some of those people (mostly men) tipping over into outright violence. Anti-choice extremism is a logical home for angry, bitter men who want to blame women and women’s sexuality for their own personal failings and frustrations. And there are a lot of angry men out there, furious at women for not being what they want us to be, using “baby killer” as a cover for resentments that have nothing to do with actual babies.
There’s so much evidence and history that’s it’s very hard to deny that this is a well orchestrated and well funded movement. We have only to go back and remind ourselves of the murder of the late Dr. Tiller and the words of Bill O’Reilly to see how the right lights the fires of fanaticism and violence.
O’Reilly said that liberal groups were targeting him unfairly.
“Even though I reported on the doctor honestly, the loons asserted that my analysis of him was ‘hateful,'” O’Reilly wrote. “Chief of among the complaints was the doctor’s nickname, ‘Tiller the baby killer.’ Some prolifers branded him with that, and I reported it. So did hundreds of other news sources.”
O’Reilly went on to criticize media outlets for glorifying Tiller in order to silence those who oppose abortion, especially late-term abortion.
We wanted to see what O’Reilly had said about Tiller, to see if O’Reilly was indeed being criticized for his reporting on other groups’ characterization of Tiller as he said.
We searched transcripts of The O’Reilly Factor , his show that appears on the Fox News Channel.
We found at least 42 instances of O’Reilly mentioning Tiller by name, going back to 2005. In 24 instances, we found that O’Reilly referred to Tiller specifically as a “baby killer.”
Most of the time, O’Reilly would simply refer to the Tiller as “Tiller the baby killer” or as “Dr. George Tiller, known as Tiller the baby killer” without attributing it to anyone. We found four times when O’Reilly said that “some” called him Tiller the baby killer. We did not find any instance where O’Reilly named an individual or a particular antiabortion group that referred to Tiller that way.
Here is how O’Reilly has discussed Tiller in 2009, prior to Tiller’s death:
• May 15: O’Reilly discussed President Barack Obama’s commencement speech at Notre Dame University, saying he was troubled that a Catholic school would allow Obama to speak. “Barack Obama throughout his political career has enabled abortion. There’s no doubt that he has. All right? He has recently appointed Gov. (Kathleen) Sebelius to (Secretary of) Health and Human Services. Gov. Sebelius is the most proabortion governor in the United States. Based upon Dr. Tiller, the baby killer in her state and all of that, all right.”
• May 11: O’Reilly wondered whom Obama would nominate to the Supreme Court, saying that he thought Obama was “callous” when it came to abortion. “I mean, the guy puts Sebelius in as the health — you can’t get a more fanatically — and that woman is proabortion,” O’Reilly said. “She wants the babies done for. She supported Tiller the Baby Killer out there. So, enough with her.”
• April 27: O’Reilly discussed Sebelius’ nomination as secretary of Health and Human Services. O’Reilly said that Sebelius “recently vetoed a bill that placed restrictions on late-term abortions in Kansas. The bill was introduced because of the notorious Tiller the Baby Killer case, where Dr. George Tiller destroys fetuses for just about any reason right up until the birth date for $5,000. There’s no question Ms. Sebelius is one of the most proabortion politicians in America.”
• March 27: Tiller was charged with misdemeanor offenses for violating Kansas law on late-term abortions. Tiller was acquitted. O’Reilly said, “Now, we have bad news to report that Tiller the baby killer out in Kansas, acquitted. Acquitted today of murdering babies. I wasn’t in the courtroom. I didn’t sit on the jury. But this, there’s got to be a special place in hell for this guy.”
• March 26: O’Reilly talked about the ongoing trial: “Another revolting situation is Dr. George Tiller in Kansas, known as Tiller the Baby Killer, who’s on trial for killing babies who are about to be born, late-term abortions.” O’Reilly also said, “If you want to kill a baby, you hire Tiller, you’ve got to pay him 5,000 up front, and he’ll kill the baby. … You should know, his best friend is the governor of Kansas, Sebelius. … She has taken specific steps to carve out the law so that it will protect Tiller the baby killer.”
• March 17: Still on the Tiller trial, O’Reilly said, “You know this George Tiller, called Tiller the baby killer, is charged with 19 misdemeanors. And what this guy does, and we have proven it beyond a reasonable doubt, Kelly, is that he kills babies in late term. He aborts them in late term. They’re no longer fetuses. They’re viable babies. He aborts them for any and all reasons if you pay him $5,000.”
• March 2: O’Reilly said Sebelius took “campaign money from George Tiller, known as Tiller, the baby killer. He’s currently charged with a variety of crimes centering on his abortion practice. He aborts babies at any time for just about any reason if you pay him $5,000.”
• Jan. 26: O’Reilly discussed an executive order Obama signed allowing federal money to go to international family planning groups that provide abortions. O’Reilly complained that Obama quietly signed the order rather than publicizing it. “I wanted George Tiller the baby killer going, ‘Yeah, can I make more money killing babies now,'” O’Reilly said.
That’s just from 2009. There were many other examples in previous years.
There is so much history between the inflammatory and false propaganda from radical christianists that we actually have a term for it. This is an example of “stochastic terrorism”. Republicans and radical christianists systematically incite violence against women and organizations designed to give them rights.
Republican members of the Religious Right incited violence as predictably as if they had issued a call for Christian abortion foes to take up arms. Inciting violence this way is called stochastic terrorism:
“Stochastic terrorism is the use of mass communications to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable. In short, remote-control murder by lone wolf.”
In an incident of stochastic terrorism, the person who pulls the trigger gets the blame. He—I use the male pronoun deliberately because the triggerman is almost always male—may go to jail or even be killed during his act of violence. Meanwhile, the person or persons who have triggered the triggerman, in other words, the actual stochastic terrorists, often go free, protected by plausible deniability. The formula is perversely brilliant:
- A public figure with access to the airwaves or pulpit demonizes a person or group of persons.
- With repetition, the targeted person or group is gradually dehumanized, depicted as loathsome and dangerous—arousing a combustible combination of fear and moral disgust.
- Violent images and metaphors, jokes about violence, analogies to past “purges” against reviled groups, use of righteous religious language—all of these typically stop just short of an explicit call to arms.
- When violence erupts, the public figures who have incited the violence condemn it—claiming no one could possibly have foreseen the “tragedy.”
Stochastic terrorism is not a fringe concept. It is a terrorist modality that has been described at length by analysts. It produces terrorism patterns that should be known to any member of Congress or any presidential candidate who has ever thought deeply about national or domestic security issues, which one might hope, is all of them.
We can be confident that communications teams for Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum and others are scrambling at this very moment to figure out the nuances of plausible deniability—weighing how best to distance themselves from the violence that killed a police officer and two others without making their protestations of surprised dismay sound as hollow as they actually are—without actually denouncing the disgust and dehumanization of women who have abortions and those who provide them.
The FBI warned about the uptick in terrorist threats against Women’s Health Clinics and specifically Planned Parenthood months ago. There have been firebombings and other acts of vandalism. It was only a matter of time before that video and the rhetoric of the Republican Presidential candidates turned into direct violence against people.
For several months now, law enforcement has been concerned about people targeting reproductive health facilities — specifically Planned Parenthood locations across the country.
As CBS News first reported in September, an FBI intelligence bulletin went out to law enforcement agencies nationwide with that warning. It came asCongress was debating Planned Parenthood funding and on the heels of the release of a series of videos by Center for Medical Progress that purported to show Planned Parenthood doctors discussing the harvesting of fetal tissue from abortions.
The intelligence bulletin warned of “lone offenders using tactics of arsons and threats all of which are typical of the pro-life extremist movement.”
At that time there had already been nine criminal or suspicious incidents in seven states and the District of Columbia.
In one incident in August, someone poured gasoline on a New Orleans Planned Parenthood security guard’s car and set the vehicle on fire. According to the FBI, there was another incident in July in Aurora, Colorado in which someone poured gasoline around the entrance of a Planned Parenthood facility, also causing a fire.
The public faces of these fanatics are quick to pray the one day they aren’t harassing women at clinics. You can read JJ’s and BB’s last post over the weekend for many examples of the reaction of the right to the attack on the clinic and the murder of three people. All you have to do is volunteer to be a clinic escort or watch the antics of “protestors” to see the roots of the violence and know that it’s not about life or love.
I was the first appointment that day and noticed a few men, all in their 50s or 60s, milling around the parking lot when we pulled in. Once we got out of the car, one made a beeline for us with a fistful of pamphlets. My aunt said, “Thanks, but no thanks,” and he got irate, screaming, “How can you do this? You’re killing your baby to continue on your whore lifestyle, you jezebel!’ Suddenly we were surrounded by five other men — that’s when the baby-doll parts starting hitting us.
They had a box filled with torn apart baby dolls covered with red paint. All three of us were hit — in the head, chest, torso. As they were pelting us, they yelled, “This is what you’re doing to your baby! Look at the street! It’s strewn with the blood of your baby. That’s your baby scattered across the street!” It was surreal and terrifying at once. And we still had to cross a wide street to enter the clinic. Then they shouted at my aunt, “Grandma, why are you letting her do this? Tell her to give her baby up for adoption!” My aunt responded, “First of all, I’m not old enough to be a grandma. Second, come talk to me when you have a uterus and a vagina.”
It’s a systemic attack on women’s autonomy. We know that it’s nationwide, well-funded, well-organized and it’s basically a syndicate like organized crimes. We know this because many of the law suits against these people involve Civil RICCO.
I’m not sure what it’s going to take to get the majority of this country to realize that we have a huge issue with homegrown white male, christianist terrorism. We can’t get sensible gun regulation because of the NRA syndicate. We also see systemic demonization of Black Lives Matter and Planned Parenthood. One of the major political parties and its small but vocal and voting minority are the problem.
What’s on your voting and blogging list today?
Posted: March 17, 2013 Filed under: court rulings, morning reads, racism, Republican politics, right wing hate grouups, Tea Party activists, the GOP, U.S. Politics, War on Women, Women's Healthcare, Women's Rights, worker rights | Tags: abortion rights, CPAC, North Dakota, Pope Francis, Walmart
Good Morning and
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Hope everyone enjoys their day, I am also hopeful that today we see justice prevail. A verdict is expected in the Steubenville Rape Trial . We will let you know if and when the verdict does come down…
I will start this post off with some political news, CPAC is over, the conservative party has tried to rebrand their image…they sure haven’t changed one bit. Not that I expected anything different, but the conservative nut cases definitely made some people feel unwelcome to the party.
The CPAC Hits Keep on Comin’: Black Man Tossed Out After Wingnut Screams at Him, ‘Race Doesn’t Matter’
Another graphic example of the right wing’s “minority outreach:” CPAC: Black Man Tossed Out After Breitbart Hack Screams at Him ‘Race Doesn’t Matter’.
In this video from CPAC, a black man seems like he sincerely interested in helping find a way for conservatives to appeal to other African Americans, but then he suddenly gets screamed on by a white guy who insists that “race doesn’t matter.” Which in short, summarizes why the Republicans continually lose the vote of any group that doesn’t have white skin.
And the whole scene was caught on tape:
And if you think this was the only disgusting racist outburst at CPAC you would be mistaken…When The GOP Told Whitey I Aint Gonna Take It No More
Yesterday, a CPAC breakout session on reaching out to black voters broke down in shouting and acrimony as a handful of ‘disenfranchised whites’ attacked the premise of the session (along with black complaints about slaveholders), got into a verbal fight with a black female attendee and with all that managed to unite the crowd against the black woman as the one who somehow spoiled all the fun.
TPM’s Benjy Sarlin was there right as it was all happening and wrote this eye-popping account in more or less real time.
the bigger thing coming out of this raucous event isn’t what the one or two people said — though that was probably enough to be the takeaway for many for the entire conference — as the fact that the whole imbroglio ended with denunciations of the black woman who was the one person to go into freak out mode — pretty understandably — on hearing the merits of chattel slavery being argued in the 21st century at a panel on racial tolerance and outreach.
From the Benjy Sarlin link…Tea Party Event On Racial Tolerance Turns To Chaos As ‘Disenfranchised’ Arrive
A CPAC session sponsored by Tea Party Patriots and billed as a primer on teaching activists how to court black voters devolved into a shouting match as some attendees demanded justice for white voters and others shouted down a black woman who reacted in horror.
The session, entitled “Trump The Race Card: Are You Sick And Tired Of Being Called A Racist When You Know You’re Not One?” was led by K. Carl Smith, a black conservative who mostly urged attendees to deflect racism charges by calling themselves “Frederick Douglass Republicans.”
Disruptions began when he started accusing Democrats of still being the party of the Confederacy — a common talking point on the right.
“I don’t care how much the KKK improved,” he said. “I’m not going to join the KKK. The Democratic Party founded the KKK.”
Lines like that drew shouts of praise from some attendees and murmurs of disapproval from one non-conservative black attendee, Kim Brown, a radio host and producer with Voice of Russia, a broadcasting service of the Russian government.
But then questions and answers began. And things went off the rails.
Heh…heh, sorry for the laugh, but what the hell would you expect with a discussion entitled “Trump The Race Card: Are You Sick And Tired Of Being Called A Racist When You Know You’re Not One?”
Scott Terry of North Carolina, accompanied by a Confederate-flag-clad attendee, Matthew Heimbach, rose to say he took offense to the event’s take on slavery. (Heimbach founded the White Students Union at Towson University and is described as a “white nationalist” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.)
“It seems to be that you’re reaching out to voters at the expense of young white Southern males,” Terry said, adding he “came to love my people and culture” who were “being systematically disenfranchised.”
Smith responded that Douglass forgave his slavemaster.
“For giving him shelter? And food?” Terry said.
At this point the event devolved into a mess of shouting. Organizers calmed things down by asking everyone to “take the debate outside after the presentation.”
I have to quote a bit more of this TPM post because it is just too fantastic…
Brown, who took offense at the suggestion modern Democrats were descendants of the KKK, tried to ask a question later once things finally calmed down. She was booed and screamed at by audience members.
“Let someone else speak!” one attendee in Revolutionary War garb shouted.
“You’re not welcome!” a white-haired older woman yelled.
Eventually she asked a question. It was about whether Republicans should call out racist ads.
Attendees interviewed by TPM afterwards expressed outrage at the way the event turned out. Not at Terry and Heimbach — they were mad at Brown.
Chad Chapman, 21, one of the few black attendees, said overall he enjoyed the event — except “there were lots of interruptions, mainly because of the woman.”
I asked whether he was concerned about the question from Terry and Heimbach.
“No they were just telling the truth,” he said. You mean you agree blacks are systematically disenfranchising whites, I asked?
“I listen to anybody’s point of view, it doesn’t really matter,” he said.
A media scrum formed around Terry immediately after the close of the event. A woman wearing a Tea Party Patriots CPAC credential who had shouted down Brown earlier urged him not to give his name to the press.
She wouldn’t give her name either, but I asked her what she thought.
“Look, you know there’s no doubt the white males are getting really beat up right now, it’s unfair,” she said. “I agree with that. My husband’s one of them. But I don’t think there’s a clear understanding about what really is going on. He needs to read Frederick Douglass and I think that question should be asked to everyone in this room who is debating.”
Alright, just go to the link and read the rest…including a statement from K. Carl Smith, the man who led the session…wow.
Ralph Nader is the author of this next link: Walmart Bosses and the Minimum Wage
Last weekend on a bright, sunny day a dozen of us demonstrated at shopping malls where Walmart has three of its giant stores, supplied heavily by products from China and other serf-wage countries. But outsourcing the jobs of its American suppliers to China was not the focus last Saturday. We were drawing attention to the plight of one million Walmart workers who are making far less than what Walmart workers made in 1968 when the minimum wage was the inflation-adjusted equivalent of $10.50 an hour today.
In 1968 Walmart was run by its founder, the legendary Sam Walton, who started with one store in Bentonville, Arkansas. Sam had to pay his workers wages that were worth much more than wages today because the law required him to do so.
The clenched-jawed CEO opposition to catching the minimum wage up with 1968 for their workers continues to manifest itself today. CEOs seem to have little concern for the budget-squeezed daily lives of their employees.
These days, however, Walmart is feeling some heat with the rising demand for increasing the stagnant federal minimum wage finally coming from Washington, backed by over 70 percent of the people in polls. A Walmart rival, the successful Costco, has a CEO who already endorsed a federal minimum wage over $10.00 an hour. Costco starts its entry-level workers at $11.50 per hour plus benefits that Walmart workers do not receive. As blogger Alan DiCara said, “Walmart’s benefits department is the U.S. taxpayer.”
Yup, and read the rest of Nader’s post. I’d comment more on the sad situation with Walmart employees….but you all are well aware of the difficulties that come with working for minimum wage.
One thing I find funny is this latest image of the new pope…or should I say…the poor man’s pope.
Hey, look at that…no designer ruby slippers for Pope Francis. You can read Andrew Sullivan’s take on the new pope here.
Meanwhile, here in the states…North Dakota Passes Ban on Abortions After 6 Weeks of Pregnancy
The North Dakota legislature approved the most restrictive abortion laws in the United States on Friday, cutting off abortion access as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. The bill, HB 1456, makes it illegal for doctors to perform an abortion if a heartbeat is detectable in the fetus—something that can happen as little as six weeks after conception. It passed the Senate by a vote of 26 to 17, and will now head to the desk of Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple.
North Dakota lawmakers have been considering a variety of anti-abortion bills. While this wasn’t their most extreme option—another bill would have outlawed all abortions, period—it does mean that North Dakota now has the most restrictive abortion law in the country. This comes just over a week after Arkansas claimed the crown for most restrictive abortion laws, passing a twelve-week ban.
This new law will more than likely be challenged in court, but damn…six weeks? That is ridiculous.
Now for some real interesting stories…in link dump fashion.
Remains of Teutonic Knights Identified
Polish archaeologists have identified the remains of three grand masters of the Teutonic Knights, a medieval religious and military order that ruled much of the Baltic coast in the late Middle Ages.
Take a look at this post and you may find something new to read…New Books on the Middle Ages: March | Medieval News
There is a beautiful gallery here about Science as art: Photography competition brings the two disciplines together
Albert Einstein’s claim that “The greatest scientists are artists as well,” is illustrated by some of the contenders for a photography competition at Cambridge University on Tuesday.
And since it is St. Patrick’s Day, we will end with something green…Globe glows green: It’s St Patrick’s Day fever
Sláinte is the traditional greeting today, and the normal toast is made with a pint of a certain black stout. More extreme fans of St Patrick’s Day – as found among those of Irish descent in the US – will be dressing in as much green as they can lay their hands on, painting their faces and even dyeing their hair.
This year, in celebration of the Celtic saint’s day, more than 40 international landmarks are being lit in green. From the pyramids and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, to the Sydney Opera House and South Africa’s Table Mountain: some of the most recognised man-made and geographical attractions will join a host of British landmarks to “go green”.
Be sure to check out those go green images at the link.
So what are you doing today? Share your thoughts with us…
Posted: January 25, 2013 Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Politics, War on Women, Women's Healthcare | Tags: abortion rights, Bobby "Crazy" Jindal, dung balls, dung beetles, Filibuster Reform, Mary Jo White, rape, Reid, Republicans, SEC, wimp
I really don’t intend this to be a post about Republican crazy but we’re going to start out with that subject. Let’s hope this post morphs into something else by the time I’m done.
Apparently it took a female Republican to come up with the most vicious way to punish women who had the audacity to get themselves raped.
Wednesday, state representative Cathrynn Brown of New Mexico introduced a bill whose sheer audacity makes Todd Akins look as harmless as an ill-informed teenager groping his way through puberty.
The proposed legislation, House Bill 206, would make it illegal for a woman to have an abortion after being raped because the fetus is evidence of the crime. A women who does choose to have an abortion would be charged with the third-degree felony of “tampering with evidence,” which carries up to a three year prison sentence in New Mexico.
As the bill states:
“Tampering with evidence shall include procuring or facilitating an abortion, or compelling or coercing another to obtain an abortion, of a fetus that is the result of criminal sexual penetration or incest with the intent to destroy evidence of the crime.
In other words, Brown just said to rape victims: give birth to this baby or you’ll go to jail.
Crazy Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal says the “GOP is a populist party’ and is the party of the middle class. Whoa, something in that exorcism must be causing him to have some kind of flash back. Here’s Tiger Beat on the Potomac:
“We must quit ‘big,’” he said. “We are not the party of big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts, big corporate loopholes or big anything. We must not be the party that simply protects the well off so they can keep their toys … We are the party whose ideas will help the middle class, and help more folks join the middle class.”
He called repeatedly for a reorienting of the party’s focus from the Beltway to state capitols.
“We believe in planting the seeds of growth in the fertile soil of your economy, where you live, where you work, invest, and dream, not in the barren concrete of Washington,” he said. “If it’s worth doing, block grant it to the states. If it’s something you don’t trust the states to do, then maybe Washington shouldn’t do it at all. We believe solving problems closer to home should always be our first, not last, option.”
Well, he did explain one of the ways he’s made everything worse down here along with that call out to states being able to do what ever they want which sounds remarkably like returning reinstating Jim Crow and expanding Jane Crow.
The Louisiana governor suggested “re-thinking nearly every social program in Washington” in a speech to members of the Republican National Committee gathered here.
“If any rational human being were to create our government anew, today, from a blank piece of paper – we would have about one fourth of the buildings we have in Washington and about half of the government workers,” he said, according to a copy of the speech obtained in advance by POLITICO. “We would replace most of its bureaucracy with a handful of good websites.”
I’ve been caught in one of his website hells as well as the result of his passion for getting rid of every service that a government more efficiently provides. Things have been replaced by endless phone trees and decidedly unhelpful websites. It ain’t pretty or compassionate. It’s more like being thrown into Somalia.
So, here’s a good time to talk about some interesting facts about Dung Beetles. This is from the National Geographic which should send out a crew to figure out if there’s any sign of intelligent life in Republican held state houses through out the country. Dung Beetles evidently have a keener sense of the right way to go than Republicans as they navigate via the Milky Way.
Talk about star power—a new study shows that dung beetles navigate via the Milky Way, the first known species to do so in the animal kingdom.
The tiny insects can orient themselves to the bright stripe of light generated by our galaxy, and move in a line relative to it, according to recent experiments in South Africa.
“This is a complicated navigational feat—it’s quite impressive for an animal that size,” said study co-author Eric Warrant, a biologist at the University of Lund in Sweden.
Speaking of moving balls of dung around, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has wimped out on Filibuster reform.Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have come to a deal on filibuster reform. The deal is this: The filibuster will not be reformed. But the way the Senate moves to consider new legislation and most nominees will be. Here’s an explanation from Beltway Bob errrr Ezra Klein.
What will be reformed is how the Senate moves to consider new legislation, the process by which all nominees — except Cabinet-level appointments and Supreme Court nominations — are considered, and the number of times the filibuster can be used against a conference report. You can read the full text of the compromise, which was sent out to Senate offices this morning, here (pdf).
But even those reforms don’t go as far as they might. Take the changes to the motion to proceed, by which the Senate moves to consider a new bill. Reid seemed genuinely outraged over the way the process has bogged down in recent years.
“What the Republicans have done is turn the motion to proceed on its head,” he argued. “It was originally set up to allow somebody to take a look at a piece of legislation. What the Republicans have done is they simply don’t allow me to get on the bill. I want to go to it on a Monday, they make me file cloture, that takes till Tuesday. Then it takes two days for the cloture vote to ‘ripen,’ so now it’s Thursday, and even if I get 60 votes, they still have 30 hours to twiddle their thumbs, pick their nose, do whatever they want. So, I’m not on the bill by the weekend, and in reality, that means next Monday or Tuesday.”
But the deal Reid struck with McConnell doesn’t end the filibuster against the motion to proceed. Rather, it creates two new pathways for moving to a new bill. In one, the majority leader can, with the agreement of the minority leader and seven senators from each party, sidestep the filibuster when moving to a new bill. In the other, the majority leader can short-circuit the filibuster against moving to a new bill so long as he allows the minority party to offer two germane amendments. Note that in all cases, the minority can still filibuster the bill itself.
Mary Jo White has been appointed to head the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) by President Barack Obama.
Currently the head of litigation at Debevoise & Plimpton, a private law firm, Ms White will add a female voice to Mr Obama’s second-term team, which is so far dominated by men. More importantly, the former federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York has experience policing Wall Street, which fell under her jurisdiction. Mr Obama has slammed bankers for their role in the financial crisis and ensuing recession. The choice of Ms White seems to signal his resolve in getting tough with the banks.The appointment is not without controversy. Ms White has benefited from the revolving door between public service and private practice. In the aftermath of the crisis, financial firms sought the assistance of former regulators with strong ties to the government. In a scathing article on Bloomberg‘s website, Jonathan Weil notes that Ms White participated in the defence of many people and institutions at the heart of the financial collapse. In October 2008 she was cited in a critical report by the SEC’s inspector general for receiving “relevant information” that was not publicly available. Some will ask whether she is truly a poacher turned gamekeeper or simply setting herself up for another lucrative turn through the revolving door.Mr Obama, for one, is convinced he is getting the “tough-as-nails prosecutor”. By putting Ms White at the SEC, he has suggested that the agency’s priority is enforcement. But a bigger challenge may come from the sprawling Dodd-Frank legislation, and its many gaps and contradictions. Much of the next chairman’s time should be devoted to rethinking how America’s capital markets are structured, and deciding how that vision will be translated into the numerous rules the SEC is required to write under Dodd-Frank’s sloppy mandates. Ms White, in other words, has a big job ahead of her.
Well, today’s post sorta took an interesting turn didn’t it? It went from crazy Republicans to wimpy Democrats with one little mention of the only smart and honest shit pusher in between. Well, at least the pictures are fun to look at.
What’s on your blogging and reading list today?
Posted: July 11, 2012 Filed under: abortion rights, War on Women, Women's Healthcare | Tags: abortion rights, bad states, religious nuts, vagina
We’ve already seen many many ways that states are trying to restrict constitutionally-granted rights like voting. Many states are trying to restrict the rights of women and the GLBT community. Access to abortion rights suffered severe blows under any state suffering from Republican Majority Rule. A recent report showed that 39 states enacted restrictions on a woman’s constitutional right to abortion.
Here are some examples of the kinds of assaults that women have had to endure as Republican majorities try to force them further into second class citizenship.
– Waiting periods: So far this year, states have considered requiring counseling and extending waiting periods for women seeking an abortion. In April, Utah enacted the most extreme waiting period law by requiring women to wait a full 72 hours between obtaining counseling and having the procedure. Twenty-five other states have waiting period laws that generally require the woman to wait 24 hours.
– Fetal heartbeat: Oklahoma and Louisiana adopted measures that attempt to use the fetal heartbeat to dissuade women from seeking an abortion. The Oklahoma law requires health providers to offer women the opportunity to hear the fetal heartbeat if they are after eight weeks’ postfertilization. In Louisiana, health providers must make the heartbeat audible, often necessitating a transvaginal ultrasound.
– Mental health: Arizona and South Dakota passed laws requiring counseling on the unsubstantiated negative mental health consequences of abortion. Nine states now require the counseling. The myth that there is a causal link between abortion and mental health issues has been largely debunked by mental health professionals.
– Public pressure helps: Only 30 percent of abortion restrictions passed by one chamber have actually been enacted so far this year, a significantly lower rate than the proportion signed into law at this point in 2011. Public pushback against the transvaginal ultrasound law in Virginia likely squashed momentum for similar provisions in Alabama, Idaho, and Pennsylvania. In addition, last November’s defeat of the Mississippi personhood amendment probably helped thwart efforts for similar laws elsewhere in the country.
This really does look like a war on Women and their health. It will take years to unravel the damage that Bobby Jindal has done in Louisiana in just a few short years.
A year ago, 2011 was record-breaking in terms of attacks on reproductive health. While this year is set to have fewer restrictions on the books, 2012′s figures are still higher than any year prior to 2011. As was the case last year, issues related to abortion and family planning funding were lightning rod issues in a few state legislatures. In fact, 14 of the new restrictions have been enacted in just three states — Arizona, Louisiana, and South Dakota — three of the most hostile to reproductive health.
No wonder my Ob/gyn daughter is trying to move to the safety of a blue state where the state government doesn’t try to influence what she can and cannot do as a doctor. Here’s the 19 worst states to live for women who would prefer the states stay out of their VAGINAS!