Rick Berg is currently the at-large Representative for North Dakota, and is running for the Senate seat held by retiring Senator Kent Conrad. Yesterday evening, Buzzfeed reported that in 2007, when Berg was a state representative, he voted for a bill that would make abortion a “Class AA felony,” punishable by life in prison without parole. This penalty would be applied to a woman who obtained and abortion and anyone who helped her do so. Here’s the relevant text from Think Progress:
A new section to chapter 12.1-16 of the North Dakota Century Code is created and enacted as follows:
Intentional termination of human life – Preborn children. A person is guilty of a class AA felony if the person intentionally destroys or terminates the life of a preborn child. A person that knowingly administers to, prescribes for, procures for, or sells to any pregnant individual any medicine, drug, device, or other substance with the specific intent of causing or abetting the termination of a preborn child is guilty of a class AA felony.
Here let me introduce you some kratom samples to try out, suppliers, exporters, importers, buyers, sellers, dealers, distributors and commission agents worldwide.
A person that intentionally or knowingly aids, abets, facilitates, solicits, or incites a person to intentionally destroy or terminate the life of a preborn child is guilt of a class C felony. For purposes of this section, “preborn child” includes a human being from the moment of fertilization until the moment of birth.
The bill contains a separate section that says that a doctor who “provides health care” to a pregnant woman must “make every effort” to save both mother and fetus. If there is “accidental or unintentional injury” during this care, the doctor is not guilty of homicide. But the bill doesn’t specify whether the health care could include an abortion or whether the women who sought the abortion would still be considered a murderer.
According to Think Progress,
Berg was quick to denounce the comments of a fellow Senate Candidate, Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), when he claimed that a woman couldn’t get pregnant from “legitimate rape.” Berg called the statement “insulting and reprehensible,” and “condemn[ed] them in the strongest terms possible.”
But like vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, Berg didn’t indicate to the media that he essentially agrees with Akin that a woman who is impregnated through rape or incest should be forced to carry the perpetrator’s child against their will. I was somewhat shocked to learn that Rick Berg’s wife is a primary care doctor.
But the most shocking part of this story is that Rick Berg was given a brief speaking role at last week’s Republican National Convention. From the Bismark Tribune:
North Dakota Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rick Berg got a few moments in the spotlight at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday.
The Republican congressman spoke for two minutes about North Dakota’s low unemployment, job growth and state budget surplus. He says North Dakota provides a contrast to the sluggish national economy.
Berg says North Dakota doesn’t “burden our job creators with red tape” and that people “trust the individual, not big government.”
Here’s Ed Schultz talking about Berg, who is a millionaire, and admitted he didn’t know what the minimum wage is.
Fortunately, Berg has a Democratic opponent, former North Dakota Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp. In a poll taken in late July, Heitkamp was leading Berg by 6 points. Unfortunately, it’s not clear what Heitkamp’s views on abortion rights. I’ve posted a video of her below. She sounds fairly conservative, but she would obviously be far better than Rick Berg!
Here’s her website.
Dakinkat is back on-line! Now if I can just get my internet back, we may have a full complement of writers by the beginning of the Democratic Convention. Now let’s see what’s in the news this morning.
I have to hand it to President Obama. He had to be angry about Clint Eastwood’s disrespectful performance at the RNC last Thursday, but he’s not going to give Mitt Romney the satisfaction of showing it.
“He is a great actor, and an even better director,” the president said in an interview with USA TODAY aboard Air Force One, on his way to campaign rallies in Iowa Saturday. “I think the last few movies that he’s made have been terrific.”
Was he offended?
“One thing about being president or running for president — if you’re easily offended, you should probably choose another profession.” Obama said with a smile. He said there would be no effort to counter with a similar stunt at the Democratic National Convention, which opens in Charlotte Tuesday.
“I think we’ll be playing this pretty straight,” he said.
The WaPo’s Jonathan Capehart asked DNC executive director Patrick Gaspard about if Eastwood presentation was “disrespectful.” Here’s the response:
“First, Clint Eastwood spoke to an empty chair and then Mitt Romney gave an empty speech,” Gaspard replied. “So, I’m going to focus on Mitt Romney [and] his lack of clearly delineated plans for middle-class Americans.” But Gaspard, who was Obama’s political director in the first half of the term, had more to say.
This was not Clint Eastwood’s convention. It was Mitt Romney’s. He hired these Hollywood consultants to reinvent himself and all I saw, yet again, was the same guy who was a private-sector outsourcer, a failed governor of Massachusetts and now an extreme right-wing candidate for the presidency. So, I’m going to focus on that.
I guess Romney wasn’t really all that proud of the Eastwood skit after all. According to ABC News Eastwood was left on the cutting room floor during production of the RNC promotional video.
A video mash-up of speakers from last week’s Republican National Convention does not include an appearance from the “mystery RNC speaker,” Clint Eastwood.
The two-and-a-half minute video posted today to the Romney campaign’s YouTube account features former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, VP nominee Paul Ryan and of course, Romney himself, but it leaves out Eastwood’s controversial speech.
Joe Biden went on the attack yesterday.
Campaigning in Pennsylvania, vice president Joe Biden attacked Mr Romney’s international agenda as laid out in last week’s convention address, suggesting that it put him out of step with the US’s priorities overseas.
“He said it was a mistake to end the war in Iraq and bring all of our warriors home. He said it was a mistake to set an end date for our warriors in Afghanistan and bring them home,” Biden told supporters.
He added: “He implies by the speech that he’s ready to go to war in Syria and Iran.”
Biden also ripped Paul Ryan’s speech.
He…noted Ryan had not told the complete story when he talked about a General Motors plant that closed in Janesville, Wis., his hometown.
“What he didn’t tell you was that plant in Janesville actually closed while President Bush was still president,” Biden said.
Later, in Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin, Biden again challenged Ryan’s criticism of Obama.
“He created a bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report. He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing,” Ryan said of Obama during his acceptance speech in Tampa.
Biden was having none of that telling.
“What he didn’t tell you is he sat on that commission,” Biden said to laughter.
“I love these guys. Oh, I love these guys, how they claim to care about the deficit,” Biden went on. “Ladies and gentlemen, the thing I most love about them is about how they discovered the middle class at their convention. Isn’t that amazing? All of a sudden their heart was bleeding for the middle class.”
Rahm Emmanuel was out defending his former boss. From the Chicago Sun-Times:
Mayor Rahm Emanuel, former President Barack Obama’s former chief of staff, framed Mitt Romney Sunday as a backward-looking candidate, blistering his acceptance speech as laying “out the policies of Ground Hog Day.”
Emanuel discussed the upcoming Democratic National Convention with David Gregory on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” where he was introduced as an “architect” of Obama’s first term policies.
“If people want to know about the first term? Very simple. General Motors is alive and well. And Osama Bin Laden is not. And that’s what got done,” Emanuel said.
Emmanuel also criticized Romney’s acceptance speech as “weak.” From The Hill:
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) said Mitt Romney’s convention speech was “devoid and vacuous” and allowed for Clint Eastwood’s appearance to claim the spotlight.
President Obama’s former chief of staff said Sunday on “Meet the Press” that there was “nothing memorable about Mitt Romney’s speech” in Tampa.
“Not a memorable line, not a memorable philosophy,” Emanuel said.” “There was nothing there.”
I strongly recommend this piece at HuffPo by Sherman Yellin: Why Mitt Romney IS NOT Like a Bad Haircut. I can’t do it justice with an excerpt. Please click on the link and read it. It’s not very long.
In other news, there’s a story coming out soon in Vanity Fair about how Scientology auditioned women to be Tom Cruise’s next wife–and Katie Holmes wasn’t their first choice.
In the October issue, Vanity Fair special correspondent Maureen Orth reports that in 2004 Scientology embarked on a top-secret project headed by Shelly Miscavige, wife of Scientology chief David Miscavige, which involved finding a girlfriend for Tom Cruise. According to several sources, the organization devised an elaborate auditioning process in which actresses who were already Scientology members were called in, told they were auditioning for a new training film, and then asked a series of curious questions including: “What do you think of Tom Cruise?” Marc Headley, a Scientologist from age seven, who says he watched a number of the audition videotapes when he was head of Scientology’s in-house studio, tells Orth, “It’s not like you only have to please your husband—you have to toe the line for Scientology.” Both Nicole Kidman and Penélope Cruz ran afoul of Scientology and David Miscavige, according to another former Scientologist. “You can’t do anything to displease Scientology, because Tom Cruise will freak out,” Headley says.
According to Orth, Nazanin Boniadi, an Iranian-born, London-raised actress and Scientologist, was selected and dated Cruise from November 2004 until January 2005. Initially she was told only that she had been selected for a very important mission. In a month-long preparation in October 2004, she was audited every day, a process in which she told a high-ranking Scientology official her innermost secrets and every detail of her sex life. Boniadi allegedly was told to lose her braces, her red highlights, and her boyfriend. According to a knowledgeable source, she was shown confidential auditing files of her boyfriend to expedite a breakup. (Scientology denies any misuse of confidential material.) The source says Boniadi signed a confidentiality agreement and was told that if she “messed up” in any way she would be declared a Suppressive Person (a pariah and enemy of Scientology).
I’m looking forward to reading the entire gossipy article!
In other Scientology news, there’s a new movie out that is supposedly based on Scientology, The Master.
Director Paul Thomas Anderson acknowledges that Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard was the inspiration for the title character in `’The Master,” but says the focus of the film is the relationship between a charismatic spiritual leader and his troubled follower, not the movement itself.
The movie, set in the 1950s, stars Philip Seymour Hoffman as a charismatic cult leader who captivates a tortured but sympathetic World War II veteran portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix.
Anderson sought to quickly dispel any speculation about the film’s influence on his friendship with Tom Cruise, who starred in Anderson’s 1999 film `’Magnolia” and whose Scientology beliefs are well-documented.
`’We are still friends. I showed him the film, and the rest is between us,” Anderson said.
In other cult news, Unification Church founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon has died.
The Universal Peace Federation said on its website that Moon died early Monday morning of complications related to pneumonia. He was 92.
“Our True Father passed into the spiritual world at 1:54 AM Monday, September 3rd, Korea time,” a message on a Unification Church English-language website said.
Ahn Ho-yeol, a church spokesman, said Moon’s funeral will be held Thursday, with “individual prayers” planned for the three days until then.
“Rev. Moon died from overwork, from frequent trips aboard, including to the U.S., and from morning prayers which caused respiratory disease,” Ahn said.
I posted this on yesterday’s morning thread, but I think it bears repeating: Private equity firm founded by Mitt Romney under investigation for tax strategy
New York’s attorney general is investigating whether executives at Bain Capital, the private equity firm founded by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, improperly avoided paying $200 million in federal income taxes, according to a report by The New York Times.
More than a dozen firms are under investigation by the attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, who has subpoenaed documents that would show whether some fund management fees were converted to fund investments. Profits on investments are taxed at a much lower rate than management fees, which count as earned income.
Hundreds of pages of leaked financial documents from Bain Capital that have been posted online indicate at least $1 billion in executives’ management fees were converted to investments, whose capital gains are taxed at 15 percent, instead of the 35 percent paid on earned income in the top tax bracket.
According to the documents, executives could take money that would have been paid to them for managing investment funds and put the money into the funds, instead. The executives could pick and choose which companies to invest in, within a given fund, and were not required to invest the value of their fees for the entire life of a fund. They could decide whether to convert fees to investments on a quarter-to-quarter basis.
Today’s WaPo also has a story on Bain Capital and Romney’s taxes: Mitt Romney exited Bain Capital with rare tax benefits in retirement
Before Mitt Romney retired from Bain Capital, the enormously profitable investment firm he founded, he made sure to lock in his gains, both realized and expected, for years to come.
He did so, in part, the way millions of other Americans do — with the tax benefits of an individual retirement account. But he was able to turbocharge the impact of those advantages and other tax breaks in his severance package from Bain in a way that few but the country’s super-rich can ever hope to do.
As a result, his IRA could be worth as much as $87 million, according to his estimates, and he can continue to earn tax-advantaged income from Bain more than a decade after he formally left the firm.
If Romney wants to demonstrate his honesty, he can always release those secret tax returns.
That’s all I’ve got for today. What are you reading and blogging about?
I’m really beat after two nights of watching the horror show down in Tampa, so today’s post is going to be a link dump. Luckily, there are lots of good reads out there.
Yesterday we were talking about how the media is handling the blatant lies of the Romney campaign on welfare and medicare. Some media outlets have actually begun calling them out and using words like “false” and even “lies.”
Some links on that topic–some of which come from yesterday’s comments, because I think this is such an important issue.
Jonathan Chait: Mitt Doesn’t Care About Your Facts.
Brian Beutler: A Critical Juncture (h/t RalphB)
James Fallows: Bit by Bit It Takes Shape: Media Evolution for the ‘Post-Truth’ Age (h/t JJ)
Robert Reich: How Romney Keeps Lying Through HIs Big White Teeth
Dave Wiegel: “You Didn’t Build That”…But You Sure Did Edit It.
Now, some important reads on Romney/Ryan and race-baiting.
Harold Meyerson: In modern GOP, the old South returns (h/t RalphB)
Ron Fournier: Why (and How) Romney is Playing the Race Card (h/t JJ)
Joan Walsh: Paul Ryan and the GOP’s New Dog Whistle Politics
By now everyone knows that a CNN camera woman was harassed at the GOP Convention. Two attendees reportedly threw nuts at her and said “This is how we feed animals.” They were removed, but no one knows if they were permanently banned. CNN has chosen not to reveal the camera woman’s name or the names of the perpetrators–why?
Greg Sargent: CNN should reveal details of nut-throwing incident
Digby harked back to the famous incident when Dan Rather was attacked by a security person at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968 and pointed out that Rather and Walter Cronkite didn’t shrink from commenting on the thuggish behavior.
Several links about Tuesday night’s top speakers, Ann Romney and Chris Christie
Connor Friedersdorf: Chris Christie’s RNC Speech Misled Viewers on Medicare
Andrew Rosenthal: Chris Christie: But Enough About Mitt, Let’s Talk About Me
Errol Lewis: Tough Truths About Christie’s New Jersey
E.J. Graff: Ann Romney Loves Women!
Don’t Miss this one! Ed Kilgore: Who’s Zoomin’ Who on Abortion?
E.J. Dionne: In defense of Juan Williams (and Chris Matthews)
Today is the last day of the GOP Convention, and tonight is Mitt’s big moment!
Gail Collins: Renovating Mitt Romney
Dana Millbank: Republicans playing Brutus
Michael Kinsley: Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Todd Akin: Going for distance
Now what are you reading and blogging about today?
Well, the deed is done. Mitt Romney is finally the official nominee of the Republican Party. We thought it might be fun to live blog the speeches tonight.
First up will be Rick Santorum, scheduled for 7PM. Santorum’s speech will focus on Work and Welfare, according to Real Clear Politics.
It’s not the timeslot he would have preferred, but Rick Santorum’s speech to the Republican National Convention on Tuesday night is being touted as “particularly good” by the Romney campaign.
That was the praise issued by senior Romney strategist Russ Schriefer, who said that he has seen a copy of Santorum’s speech, which is slated to open the evening session in Tampa at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
In keeping with themes that he often homed in on during his own presidential run, Santorum’s convention speech is expected to touch upon his blue-collar roots and social conservatism, but the hot-button issue of welfare reform will be at the center of his remarks.
Doesn’t that sound delightful? He’ll probably say something like this:
Seriously, the Christian Science Monitor explains why Santorum’s speech is so important to the Romney campaign.
Tuesday night in Tampa, Santorum brings to the stage his newly won star power as a leading voice of social conservatism – and an unspoken message that Romney, who governed Massachusetts as a moderate, can now be trusted.
Santorum’s appearance represents “another piece of the mosaic they’re trying to put together of a united Republican Party and conservative movement,” says Gary Bauer, a social-conservative leader who endorsed Santorum for president. “Republicans only win when they bring together social, economic, and foreign policy conservatives. I think it’s happening.”
Here is the full schedule for tonight, from the Houston Chronicle:
7 p.m. Reconvene
Remarks by Speaker John Boehner
Remarks by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus
Video and remarks by Mayor Mia Love (Saratoga Springs, UT), U.S. congressional candidate
Remarks by Janine Turner
Remarks by former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum
Remarks by Host, U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers
8 p.m. Remarks by U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (NH), accompanied by Jack Gilchrist
Remarks by Governor John Kasich (OH)
Remarks by Governor Mary Fallin (OK)
Remarks by Governor Bob McDonnell (VA), accompanied by Bev Gray
Remarks by Governor Scott Walker (WI)
9 p.m. Remarks by Governor Brian Sandoval (NV)
Remarks by Sher Valenzuela (small business owner, candidate for DE Lt. Governor)
Remarks by Senate Republican Candidate Ted Cruz (TX)
Remarks by Artur Davis
Remarks by Governor Nikki Haley (SC)
10 p.m. Remarks by Mrs. Luce’ Vela Fortuño
Remarks by Mrs. Ann Romney
Remarks by Governor Chris Christie (NJ)
Benediction by Sammy Rodriguez
I’m guessing Ann won’t speak until at least 9:00, maybe later. Then Chris Christie will give the keynote. In between Rick and Ann, we’ll see such charming personalities as Bob “Vaginal Probe” McDonnell and Scott Walker, representing the Koch Brothers. What? No Todd Akin?
If we fill this thread up, we’ll start another one. Have fun documenting the atrocities!
I can’t work myself up to writing a real post today for some reason. I’m kind of in a holding pattern waiting for the Republican Convention to start. I’m expecting it to be a complete disaster along the lines of the one in 1992 when Pat Buchanan gave his “Culture War Speech” and ended George H.W. Bush’s hopes for a second term.
Which one of the “Romney Bunch” will play the Pat Buchanan role? Will it be Rick Santorum? Will it be Mike Huckabee? Or Will it be Mitt Romney himself, the birther-in-chief?
Here are a few interesting links I’ve found this afternoon.
Think Progress: Seven birthers to speak at Republican Convention.
1. Donald Trump. The famed billionaire/birther king Donald Trump has been the most vociferous — and most closely connected to Romney — person alleging that the President wasn’t born in the United States.
2. Actress Janine Turner. The Northern Exposure star who has her own conservative radio show wrote a long screed titled “Reasoning ‘Kenyan Born.’” In it, she complains that anyone who questions the president’s citizenship is deemed a racist: “If this were a legal case in court, [Obama’s] book bio stating that Obama was ‘born in Kenya’ would be taken into consideration.”
3. Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens. During a town hall captured on video (at 3:5), Olens said, “You know the state of Hawaii says he’s produced a certified birth certificate… so on one hand I have to trust the state of Hawaii follows the laws. On the other hand it would be nice for the President to say, here it is, I have a copy.”
4. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. On one radio appearance during Huckabee’s bid for president, the former governor said, “I would love to know more [about where Obama was born]. What I know is troubling enough.” He later walked back the statement.
5. Florida Gov. Rick Scott. In 2010, the Orlando Sentinel reported than an audience member at one of Scott’s campaign events asked “what he would do about President Obama’s ‘birth certificate’ and whether he could legally appear on the 2012 ballot in Florida.” Scott responded, “I’ll have to look into it.”
6. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). The Vice-Chairman of the House Republican Conference once told reporters “Oh, I’d like to see the documents.”
7. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. Jindal was willing to sign a “birther” bill into law. It would have required all presidential candidates to release their birth certificate in order to qualify for a spot on the state’s ballot.
Some of the best known birthers in the nation are scheduled to take the stage at a star-studded event in Phoenix, where they plan to call for Congress to investigate whether President Obama’s birth certificate is real.
There will be singing. There will be speeches. Drinks will be available for purchase. The only question is whether the venue, which features seating in the round, will activate its spinning stage. Promoters are calling it “A Greater Phoenix Tea Party Patriots Event” but you can call it Birtherpalooza.
The star of the gala is Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the eccentric Arizona lawman and a Republican who is running for his sixth term in office this year. Arpaio has been trying to find his way into next week’s festivities at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., even scheduling an “invitation only” event for Republicans at a nearby zoo. But he will not be part of the convention itself.
Arpaio has positioned himself as one of the leaders of the birther movement. For almost a year, he has been using a combination of taxpayer money and amateur volunteers to try to bolster the conspiracy theory that Obama’s birth records are elaborate forgeries designed to put a foreigner in the White House.
Pat Boone will be there too!
The Economist seems to think Romney should follow his own advice to “run toward the problem,” and release his tax returns as well us let us in on what he really believes in.
Mitt Romney had an interesting article yesterday in the Wall Street Journal entitled “What I Learned at Bain Capital.” In it, he explains how his business experience taught him how to help companies grow—and what to do when trouble arises. “When you see a problem,” Romney says, “run toward it before the problem gets worse.”
After Gawker’s massive release of Bain documents, Various journalists have begun to pore over the material and find instances in which Romney may have played fast and loose with U.S. laws.
Now that the hunt has begun, tax experts have begun to sniff blood. The more adamant that Mr. Romney is that he will not release his returns, the more energetic the search for answers will become.
The political reality is that Mr. Romney’s taxes create a massive distraction for his candidacy and get in the way of serious discussion of the substantive questions facing the country. So why doesn’t Mr. Romney follow his own excellent leadership advice, that he learned so well at Bain Capital, and run towards the problem, not away from it?
From the Post Partisan blog at WaPo: Romney’s Secret Tithe, in which Rachel Manteuffel discusses Romney’s latest excuse for not releasing his taxes–he doesn’t want to reveal how much he gives to his church. Haven’t he and Ann both said frequently that they give 10 percent? So is he afraid the church will find out he’s been holding out on them or what?
Florida Governor Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency. Will the RNC have to be postponed? I hope not.
Scott said the goal was to make sure every local, state and federal agency “has the exact same information” on the storm and preparations in order to make informed decisions. He issued the state of emergency Saturday during a media briefing in Broward County.
The state is also focusing on preparations ahead of the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Scott said delegates were being information on how to remain safe during a storm. Officials in the Tampa area were also being kept informed of issues that may occur due to Isaac, such as storm surge and bridge closures.
Tampa airport remained open Saturday.