Perhaps it's headlines like these:
In 2001, then-Del. Bob McDonnell contributed $500 to her unsuccessful House bid as an independent.
This is the same Bob McDonnell who is now governor, who signed the forced ultrasound bill among other atrocities. And of course, she was running as an independent, before deciding she had better odds of victory pretending to be a Democrat.
Thompson has put Dance on the spot:
Led by Del. Joseph D. Morrissey, D-Henrico, Dance’s opponents have accused her of voting against her own party line too many times. “For eight years, Rosalyn has masqueraded as a Democrat who then turned around and voted Republican,” Morrissey said in an interview. Yesterday, over 250 of you gave over $6,500 to a previously unknown candidate for a state House seat, far exceeding any expectations I or anyone on the Daily Kos elections team had. For a candidate that had about $2,000 cash on hand, this is game changing. Just like in the IL-02 special election, the Daily Kos community has reshaped a race.
So let's keep the momentum going by chipping in $3. Let's get rid of a Lieberdem, let's build our bench in a state that is trending our way, and let's make sure we help our Virginia friends have a legislature that can stop the worst abuses of their crazed governor and his House majority.
The American Family Association has accused the American Association of Retired Persons of being a fringe organization that promotes a “homosexual agenda” that does not represent older American’s “values and standards.”
Why? Because, in addition to coupons for Outback Steakhouse and discounts on prescription refills, the retiree organization’s website has a page to provide “resources, news, and other topics of interest to older lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, their family and friends.”Being pro-family means you're not even allowed to acknowledge the presence of gay people? Really, do we think the AARP is engaging in some big conspiracy here, a plot to turn senior citizens gay? What, for the valuable coupons?
I remember back when these people were actually taken seriously—or, at least, more seriously than they're treated now. I remember the whole "moral majority" nonsense, for that matter, an entire movement built around a new implied segregation, right-wing Christianity versus everyone else, with the demands that the right-wing position be enshrined into all the laws and everyone else was supposed to shut up and wait patiently to be converted. What I can't decide is whether or not it's actually worse now than it was then or if it just seems that way. Has the movement gotten actively dumber? Surely, I think, it must have—but then we have to remember that back then, we had Dan Quayle, an actual sitting Vice President, locked in battle with a goddamn fictional television character about her abominable single-motherhood. That wasn't exactly a shining moment of glory for conservative familah-values Republicanism either, that one.
It feels like there's a doctoral thesis to be had in all this, some hypothesis to be looked into as to whether the rise of Fox News has made abject stupidity more popular than ever, or whether the unwillingness of society to keep discriminated-against groups discriminated-against has sent the whole subculture of far-right conservatism into a mental woodchopper, or whether there's been no actual increase in the American Family Association stupidity index at all, we just think there has been because we've blocked all the earlier crap these groups have worked themselves into a frothy mixture over in past decades. I wonder.
Komen officially insisted the defunding decision wasn't political even as Handel was running around retweeting things that made it clear she saw Planned Parenthood in terms of abortion and only abortion; it turned out that Handel had pushed Komen to defund Planned Parenthood against the recommendation of the foundation's staff and a board subcommittee. After leaving Komen, she made it her mission to whine about and smear Planned Parenthood at every opportunity. She's also on the record opposing gay adoption and saying "I do not think that gay relationships are—they are not what God intended."
Handel is the only woman and the only person not already in Congress thus far in a Senate primary that includes Rep. Paul Broun, who thinks Paul Ryan's budget isn't harsh enough and voted against not only the bipartisan Violence Against Women Act but against the crappy Republican version as well; Rep. Jack Kingston, who thought the National Guard should "take a pass" on guarding events like the Boston Marathon; and Rep. Phil Gingrey, an OB/GYN who, until he was running for Senate, thought Todd Akin was "partially right" about his "legitimate rape" comments. So Handel's in good company there.
The Georgia Senate race is a serious long shot for Democrats, but not a total impossibility if Democrats land a good candidate and Republican primary voters choose someone whose extremism is a little too close to the surface.
Why the GOP thinks it could blow it
Republicans are worried one thing could screw up the political gift of three Obama administration controversies at once: fellow Republicans.
Top GOP leaders are privately warning members to put a sock in it when it comes to silly calls for impeachment or over-the-top comparisons to Watergate. They want members to focus on months of fact-finding investigations — not rhetorical fury.First of all, note that the underlying assumption here is that Republicans are on the cusp of some sort of major victory thanks to Benghazi, IRS, and AP—as long as they don't screw it up. The reality, however, is that it's May of 2013, the next election isn't for 18 months, and none of these are turning out to be nearly as big as Republicans may have hoped.
The only thing new about Benghazi is that Republicans made up some emails to push their coverup narrative. Unless the IRS probe turns up something to link it to the White House (which does not appear likely), it's going to turn out to be a nothingburger. And while the AP phone records subpoena is a big deal, it's something that Republicans really don't care that much about anyway.
The point is, I'm not convinced that there is anything there for Republicans to blow. But let's assume for the sake of argument that VandeHei and Allen are right, and that there is something to blow. Here's their prime piece of evidence (my emphasis):
Reince was counseling patience, not skepticism. He didn't express the slightest hint of a doubt that the evidence exists for impeachment—he just said Republicans need to wait until they get it. But he made it clear that he thinks the evidence is out there to be gotten. In his words: "Where there's smoke, there's fire." The GOP debate isn't about whether to impeach Obama: It's about when to do it—and for what reason.
Now, thanks to Major Garrett of CBS News, we have explicit confirmation that Republicans were behind the false leaks. Garrett reports (my emphasis):
The reality is that even if the Republicans transcript of the emails had been accurate, it wouldn't have been a smoking gun to prove their claim that Benghazi is a bona fide scandal. Ironically, now that we know Republicans fabricated the emails, there actually is a scandal worth pursuing: the story of how Republicans dishonestly exploited a national security tragedy to score political points.
Daily Kos Radio's Kagro in the Morning show podcasts are now available through iTunes.
Oh, we'll have plenty to talk about, for sure. Greg will come by, and so will Armando. The so-called "scandals" are still brewing, sort of, though they're beginning to fall apart. And it's the end of another spectacular week of #GunFAIL. So we'll be busy.
Looks like I'm pushing the big news for the show until next Friday. But hey, now it's a cliffhanger!
UPDATE: Ah, screw it! Let's go today!
The big news for fans of the show today, and for those who haven't yet found the time to become fans of the show, but who generally approve of the concept, I have this:
Daily Kos Radio has its first advertising sponsor: Audible!
It ain't gonna make anybody a millionaire, but it's nice to know that maybe we've got something here, and we can keep the lights on for a while longer.
And if you want to help convince them to keep doing it, download today's show when the podcast goes up this afternoon at the Daily Kos Radio page, and be sure to visit audiblepodcast.com/kagro, where you can sign up for Audible and get a free audio book download for your troubles!
We're LIVE at 9 a.m. ET with Kagro in the Morning, thanks to NetrootsRadio.com.
download the Stitcher app on your favorite mobile device, and search for the Netroots Radio live stream? And hey, when you do, be sure to sign up with the promo code DAILYKOS, and earn Daily Kos Radio $1 in the Stitcher affiliate program!
Please do remember to "favorite" us while you're at Stitcher. We're bouncing up and down in the rankings these days, and the more of you who help us, the more listeners out there who'll find us on the Stitcher network.
Miss the last show? You can catch it here:Need more info on how to listen? Find it below the fold.
• MA-Sen: PPP's new Massachusetts Senate poll (commissioned by the League of Conservation Voters) shows Dem Rep. Ed Markey improving his position over Republican businessman Gabriel Gomez. There was some consternation a couple of weeks ago, when PPP's initial survey put Markey up just 44-40, but now he's legged out to a wider 48-41 lead—and, importantly, is a lot closer to 50 percent. Markey's favorability has improved a touch, from 44-41 to 48-40, and as PPP's polling memo notes, he's doing much better with self-identified Democrats (77-12 versus 68-21 initially). That suggests that slightly miffed Stephen Lynch supporters are coming home after the primary.
Gomez, meanwhile, has seen his favorables move down, from 41-27 to 42-34, probably as people learn that yeah, he really is a Republican. He's taken a nosedive with Democrats in particular, though independents seem to like him more now. But as long as Markey consolidates Democratic support and keeps Gomez from getting much in the way of crossover voters, then the math simply isn't there for Gomez.
Meanwhile, Gomez is going up with his first TV ad of the special election, for a buy of "at least $200,000," according to the National Journal. That's a pretty limp sum for a state that includes the expensive Boston media market, and the spot itself isn't exactly awesome. Gomez tries to emphasize both his family's immigrant roots (he himself was born in Los Angeles) by speaking a bit of Spanish, as well as his military background. In the second half, he insists that "if you come to America, you should commit to the idea of America"—and then awkwardly recites a portion of the Pledge of Allegiance.
On Monday, an exasperated Obama, referring to the emails, said: "There's no 'there' there." The same is true of the allegation of a broader Benghazi coverup. And now that we know, let's move on. The New York Times editorial board looks at how each day reveals facts that deflate the GOP's wild conspiracy and cover-up theories:
[T]he details of the troubles swirling around the White House this week are bluntly contradicting Republicans who want to combine them into a seamless narrative of tyrannical government on the rampage. [...]
Whatever cranky point Republicans had been making against President Obama for the last five years — dishonesty, socialism, jackbooted tyranny — they somehow found that these incidents were exactly the proof they had been seeking, no matter how inflated or distorted. [...] when bound together and loudly denounced on cable television and in hearings, they serve to obscure the real damage that Republicans continue to do to the economy and the workings of government. [...]
For those who are wondering whether this week’s political windstorms will hinder Mr. Obama’s second-term agenda, here’s a bulletin: That agenda was long ago imperiled by the obstruction of Republicans. (See Guns. Jobs. Education. And, very possibly, Immigration.)Scot Lehigh at The Boston Globe:
Watergate? Nixonian? Impeachment?
Please. Someone get the smelling salts. [...]
[C]harges of a Benghazi coverup don’t pass the evidence test. Comparisons to Nixon are idiotic. And it’s the height of partisan absurdity to suggest that anything we’ve seen in these so-called scandals could justify impeachment.Head below the fold for more debunking of the GOP's spin machine.
• Percentage of U.S. college graduates who are women: 51.1
• Of Fortune 500 CEOs who are: 4.2
• Amount North Dakota’s attorney general requested the state to budget for legal challenges to its new abortion laws: $400,000
• Percentage of state-owned land in the West Bank allocated by the Israeli government for Palestinians: 0.7
• For Israeli settlers: 51
• Percentage change since Obama took office in the number of veterans waiting more than a year for federal benefits: +2,231
• Percentage of known human genes that are patented: 100
• Portion of those caught in possession of drugs by the U.S. Border Patrol who are U.S. citizens: 3/4
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2008—McCain's Campaign Led by Tainted Lobbyists:John McCain talks straight, but he acts crooked. Mr. Reform strays from the straight path by following crooked lobbyists for their money, money that comes from corporations and brutal foreign governments.
McCain's been embarrassed several times the last few weeks by lobbyists connected to his campaign. Last week he was forced to fire two lobbyists who had worked for the brutal military junta in Burma/Myanmar, the oppressive goons who are killing people through their refusal to let aid workers in to the country and help the millions of Burmese affected by the cyclone.
This morning we learned about a lobbyist working for McCain who also worked for the governments of Serbia and Qatar.
McCain also had to dismiss one of his top operatives in Virginia, Craig Shirley. Shirley's has long been involved in shady dealings on behalf of the GOP, including hyping the orchestrated "rescue" of US soldier Jessica Lynch from a hospital in Iraq, and the scurrilous Willie Horton ad used against Michael Dukakis in 1988.
Shirley was simultaneously an official with McCain's campaign and involved in an independent campaign against Democrats. The McCain campaign is spinning his dismissal as a matter of principle, when in fact Shirley was breaking the law by being on both sides of what should be a divide, the candidate campaign, and an independent operation that is legally prohibited from coordinating its activities with the campaign.
— @climatebrad via TweetDeck
On today's Kagro in the Morning show, during Greg Dworkin's roundup, we wondered if the big casualty of the week was Benghazi. IRS talk included entries from FiveThirtyEight, an old LA Times article on IRS targeting of a liberal church, the Nixon tapes on political use of the IRS, Rick Perlstein's "Washington Misses the Point on the Tea Party and the IRS," Mark Sumner's "The IRS 'scandal'—all smoke, no fire," and David Cay Johnston's "The other IRS scandal." Armando chimed in from the road on these stories. Finally, the ridiculous "wish we'd had some AR-15s up in Boston" talking point, and a short catch-up on new filibuster reform talk.
You can probably guess what happened next.#obamacareinthreewords Even covers car-thieves. @darrellissa
— @RL_Miller via TweetDeck Still not repealed RT @DarrellIssa: Hey folks, #ObamaCareInThreeWords -- go!
— @SimonMaloy via web #ObamaCareinThreeWords Preexisting conditions covered?
— @nycsouthpaw via web #ObamaCareInThreeWords Lower cost prescriptions
— @jonhartmannjazz via web perverse GOP obsession #ObamaCareInThreeWords
— @lizzwinstead via TweetDeck Mitt Romney's plan. #ObamaCareInThreeWords
— @jamescdownie via web Because four words is too complex for republicans #obamacareinthreewords
— @runnermatt via Twitter for iPhone Weepy Orange Drunk #JohnBoehnerInThreeWords
— @Thers via web
Then there was this one:It's. The. Law. #ObamaCareInThreeWords, http://t.co/...
— @whitehouse via web
And, finally, some good advice.Ha ha! Don't write hashtag checks your ass can't cash.
— @KagroX via Twitter for iPhone
3:29 PM PT: In case you've been on pins and needles awaiting the outcome of the 37th Obamacare repeal vote, it passed 229-195. Only two Dem defections. We're weeding the blue dog bastards out.
3:39 PM PT: The defecting Dems: McIntyre (NC) & Matheson (UT)
An attempt by the National Republican Congressional Committee to embarrass Democrats went awry on Thursday, when the group published a blog post riddled with errors. Among the errors: Misspelling the name of George W. Bush-appointed IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, claiming that Gary Ackerman and Bob Filner are both Democratic members of Congress when both have actually left the House, and this:
The list of Democrats also included Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.). While he remains in office, the man pictured was not the congressman; it's the former mayor of Medellín, Colombia -- Luis Pérez Gutiérrez. The NRCC's defense?
NRCC spokesman Daniel Scarpinato told The Huffington Post, "This was an early draft that was not meant to be posted publicly because it had not yet been edited." Good one, guys. Maybe Darrell Issa should investigate, hmm?
Yesterday, the White House released 100 pages of emails about the Benghazi talking points and announced the resignation of the acting IRS Commissioner, but our friend MargaretGretchen Carlson from Fox News wasn't fooled by Obama's clever transparency strategy:
I have to say, this is really good stuff from Carlson—it really makes you appreciate the national treasure that is Fox News. What would we do without them? And when will they finally get the recognition they deserve?
1:23 PM PT: OMG, I wrote Margaret Carlson instead of Gretchen Carlson. What an embarrassing slip-up. In my defense, I was too busy being bamboozled by the bright lights of 'Bama's document dump.
Liberty’s lawsuit now has several points: that the employer mandate violates the Commerce Clause; that the individual and employer mandates violate the First Amendment’s religious protections as well as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act; and that since the individual mandate’s penalty was ruled a tax by the Supreme Court, the bill should have started in the House—not the Senate.
The aspect of Liberty’s case that’s gotten the most attention from other plaintiffs may be its contraceptives claim. The school says that the law is violating its right to religious freedom by requiring it to cover, through its employee health plans, birth control and drugs that it says can cause abortions. More than 50 other lawsuits have been filed throughout the country, challenging the same provision. And the issue is likely to reach the Supreme Court. [...]
[T]he Obama administration’s lawyers say that Liberty didn’t file that charge back in 2010—the contraceptive coverage rules hadn’t come out yet—so it can’t add that to its lawsuit now.That won't stop them from trying. Back in September, 2011, the Fourth Circuit tossed Liberty's case on jurisdictional grounds. Liberty appealed, and the Supreme Court sent it back, after asking the Justice Department to respond to the challenge. The DoJ wants to have this rehearing, probably because the Fourth Circuit is among the more liberal courts.
So, anyway, here we go again. Back on the floor of the House, and back in the courts.
- Today's comic by Ruben Bolling is Super-Fun-Pak Comix - Caveman Robot and more:
- No pregnant teen bellies allowed in Michigan high school yearbook photos.
- Brad DeLong dismembers Michael Kinsley's attacks on Krugman:
But most fascinating thing, for me, is that Kinsley's claim that "Austerians don’t get off on other people’s suffering" comes in the middle of a passage in which… well, Michael Kinsley gets off on other people's suffering:
Krugman also is on to something when he talks about paying a price for past sins. I don’t think suffering is good, but I do believe that we have to pay a price for past sins, and the longer we put it off, the higher the price will be…. The problem is the great, deluded middle class--subsidized by government and coddled by politicians. In other words, they are you and me. If you make less than $250,000 a year, Obama has assured us, you are officially entitled to feel put-upon and resentful. And to be immune from further imposition…. Austerians deserve credit: They at least are talking about the spinach, while the Krugmanites are only talking about dessert. If writing that the "great, deluded middle class--subsidized by the government and coddled by politicians" needs to experience a decade-long siege of high unemployment isn't "get[ting] off on other people's suffering", I don't know what "getting off on other people's suffering" could possibly mean.
- Boston bomb suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev left note in boat where he was captured:
The note—scrawled with a marker on the interior wall of the cabin—said the bombings were retribution for U.S. military action in Afghanistan and Iraq, and called the Boston victims "collateral damage" in the same way Muslims have been in the American-led wars. "When you attack one Muslim, you attack all Muslims," Tsarnaev wrote.
Dzhokar said he didn't mourn older brother Tamerlan, the other suspect in the bombings, writing that by that point, Tamerlan was a martyr in paradise—and that he expected to join him there soon.
- "10 to 20" More Years of War Against al-Qaida: Asked at a Senate hearing today how long the war on terrorism will last, Michael Sheehan, the assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict, answered, “At least 10 to 20 years.”
- Maryland Gov. O'Malley signs assault weapons ban:
Governor Martin O'Malley signed the sweeping gun control measure Thursday. Under the new legislation, which the governor helped push through the General Assembly, anyone buying a handgun will have to submit fingerprints to obtain a license. The bill also bans 45 types of assault weapons, but those who own the weapons before the law goes into effect will be allowed to keep them.
Gun magazines will be limited to 10 bullets, gun ownership by people who have been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility will be banned, and Maryland State Police will be able to suspend the licenses of gun dealers who fail to comply with recordkeeping obligations.
- Study: munchies or no, pot smokers are skinnier: Marijuana use is associated with an acute increase in caloric intake," goes the clinical jargon for popular lore. Still despite eating more while high (by some measures, over 600 extra calories per day), marijuana users' extra intake doesn't seem to be reflected in increased [Body Mass Index]. Indeed, studies have identified a reduced prevalence of obesity in the pot smoking community.
- Classic Renaissance paintings redone as modern celebs: Worth1000 ran a “Modern Renaissance” photo effects contest this past February that challenged their community members to recreate classic paintings using the faces of modern celebrities from movies and television shows. There were some really hilarious and impressive entries. You can view all of digitally manipulated images at Worth1000.
- On today's Kagro in the Morning show, during Greg Dworkin's roundup, we wondered if the big casualty of the week was Benghazi. IRS talk included entries from FiveThirtyEight, an old LA Times article on IRS targeting of a liberal church, the Nixon tapes on political use of the IRS, Rick Perlstein's "Washington Misses the Point on the Tea Party and the IRS," Mark Sumner's "The IRS 'scandal'—all smoke, no fire," and David Cay Johnston's "The other IRS scandal." Armando chimed in from the road on these stories. Finally, the ridiculous "wish we'd had some AR-15s up in Boston" talking point, and a short catch-up on new filibuster reform talk.
First off: review this chart prepared by the Alliance for Justice. Learn it, memorize it, love it. It breaks down the entities by what kinds of advocacy each can do.
Short version: a 501(c)(3) is a non-profit for religious, charitable, or educational purposes. They are limited in terms of the amount of lobbying and advocacy they can do, and cannot touch elections. But donations are tax-deductible. This category includes institutions like the Red Cross, but also includes entities like The Heritage Foundation—which focuses on research and education on public policies, but doesn't do any lobbying on behalf of particular legislation and does no work to elect people to enact said policies. (It has an affiliated 501(c)(4), Heritage Action for America, for its lobbying work.)
A 501(c)(4) is a "social welfare" organization. It can do more than a (c)(3) in terms of advocacy, but donations to them are not tax-deductible. However, as with (c)(3)s, individual donors are not publicly disclosed. The current IRS scandal regards 501(c)(4) organizations. As they explain, their definition of "social welfare" is broader than yours:To be operated exclusively to promote social welfare, an organization must operate primarily to further the common good and general welfare of the people of the community (such as by bringing about civic betterment and social improvements). For example, an organization that restricts the use of its facilities to employees of selected corporations and their guests is primarily benefiting a private group rather than the community and, therefore, does not qualify as a section 501(c)(4) organization. Similarly, an organization formed to represent member-tenants of an apartment complex does not qualify, because its activities benefit the member-tenants and not all tenants in the community, while an organization formed to promote the legal rights of all tenants in a particular community may qualify under section 501(c)(4) as a social welfare organization. An organization is not operated primarily for the promotion of social welfare if its primary activity is operating a social club for the benefit, pleasure or recreation of its members, or is carrying on a business with the general public in a manner similar to organizations operated for profit link].
Seeking legislation germane to the organization's programs is a permissible means of attaining social welfare purposes. Thus, a section 501(c)(4) social welfare organization may further its exempt purposes through lobbying as its primary activity without jeopardizing its exempt status. An organization that has lost its section 501(c)(3) status due to substantial attempts to influence legislation may not thereafter qualify as a section 501(c)(4) organization. In addition, a section 501(c)(4) organization that engages in lobbying may be required to either provide notice to its members regarding the percentage of dues paid that are applicable to lobbying activities or pay a proxy tax. For more information, see Lobbying Issues.
The promotion of social welfare does not include direct or indirect participation or intervention in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office. However, a section 501(c)(4) social welfare organization may engage in some political activities, so long as that is not its primary activity. However, any expenditure it makes for political activities may be subject to tax under section 527(f). For further information regarding political and lobbying activities of section 501(c) organizations, see Election Year Issues, Political Campaign and Lobbying Activities of IRC 501(c)(4), (c)(5), and (c)(6) Organizations, and Revenue Ruling 2004-6.Follow below the fold for a breakdown of all that.
With Marsh gone, Republicans had a momentary 20-19 edge, and they used it to full effect, ramming through a bill to redistrict the Senate's own lines for the second time in less than two years. Legislators had already passed a revised map following the decennial census in 2011, but Republicans wanted a brand new map to consolidate their power. Their plan would increase the number of seats they were likely to win and shrink those the opposition would have had a chance of capturing. State House Republicans and the Republican governor eventually killed the plan, but not before two House Democrats expressed their willingness to support the plan. You read that right—two Democrats were ready to back a GOP scheme so egregious that it was killed by Republicans themselves.
One of those Democrats was Rosalyn Dance, and it wasn't the first (or last) time she gave Republicans cover despite representing an overwhelmingly Democratic district. I'll talk more about Dance in future posts—for now I want to focus on her challenger, Evandra Thompson.
Thirty-year-old Evandra spent five years as an Air Force medic, and was at the Pentagon the day it was hit in the 9-11 terrorist attacks. Her actions as a first responder earned her this medal.
After her military stint, the single mother went to college and grad school, and graduated just this past September. Now, despite her youth and political inexperience, she suddenly finds herself facing the most bizarre of primary battles—being cheered on by much of the area party establishment as she takes on the incumbent.
Morrissey said in an interview that he expects many of Virginia’s top Democrats to follow suit in the coming weeks and endorse Thompson in what he calls a move to oust an incumbent accused of voting against her own party line too many times.We haven't often engaged in state-level legislative races, but we have a fantastic opportunity here: get rid of a turncoat Lieberman-esque Democrat who has done way too much to empower her state's reactionary Republicans, while also building our bench with a potential future star.
And given that both candidates currently have just $2,000 cash-on-hand, your dollars will have far more direct impact here than pretty much anywhere else.
The election is June 11, so it'll be a sprint to the end. Since we don't have a state-level questionnaire, we created this one-off, touching on the issues where federal and state issues intersect: same-sex marriage, choice, and Medicaid expansion. She's golden on all of those, and of course she also opposes the redistricting plan that Dance was ready to support.
So contribute $3 to Evandra Thompson. With 100 of us doing that, we'd raise the equivalent of 15 percent of her cash-on-hand. That's some serious bang for your buck! So let's deal a blow against GOP-enabling Democrats, helping our progressive friends in the Commonwealth of Virginia stave off The Crazy.
11:54 AM PT: Damn, nearly $1,500 in 40 minutes. At this pace, we'll be doubling her cash-on-hand in about an hour!
3:31 PM PT (Hunter): Bumped! Amazing—we've already topped 150 people and over $4000 in donations to Thompson. Can we keep it going?
But by the time the 37 members of the House Judiciary Committee were done, Holder had spent most of his time fielding inquiries about Benghazi®, hate crimes, marijuana law enforcement, abortion, Department of Labor nominee Tom Perez, the Boston Marathon bombing, prosecuting big banks, the prisoners still at Guantánamo, early releases of felons in North Carolina, releases of prisoners under the new law reducing cocaine sentencing disparities, religious discrimination, racial profiling, the Anti-Lobbying Act as it applies to Health and Human Services, counterfeit and stolen goods sold over the internet, human trafficking, press shield laws, use of personal email accounts for public business, the imprisonment of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, moving prisoners from Afghanistan to the U.S., financial settlements with black and American Indian farmers under the Pigford case, the right to counsel of juveniles in the criminal justice system, "Fast and Furious," the investigation of General David Petraeus, immigration, sequestration, the timing and announcement of recusals, prosecutions under existing gun statutes, government transparency, and the length of prison sentences.
Oh. Also Holder's alleged contempt for those who voted to charge him with contempt.
Not that most of these matters didn't deserve to be discussed, perhaps even get their own hearing before the committee. But five minutes per member is not enough time to get to the root of any issues and yet plenty of time to turn the hearing into what seemed like a festival of interruptions with Holder as the piñata. Whatever one thinks of Eric Holder and his tenure as attorney general—and I've got more than five minutes of questions he didn't get asked of my own—it was deeply satisfying to see him call out the overbearing Darrell Issa, the self-anointed king of investigations, although not of the Judiciary Committee. Said Holder after some sparring:
• "It is inappropriate and too consistent with the way in which you conduct yourself as a member of Congress. It is unacceptable. And it's shameful."
Some moments of levity, eye-rolling and struck bullseyes:
• Republican Rep. Howard Coble of North Carolina: "Now I am having a senior moment. I forgot what I was going to ask you. It will come back to me in due time. ... Well, maybe it won't."
• Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee: "The Pew Research Group shows that 52 percent of Americans think marijuana should not be illegal, and yet there are people in jail, and your Justice Department continues to put people in jail, for sale and use, on occasion, of marijuana. That's something the American public has finally caught up with. It was a cultural lag and it's been an injustice for 40 years in this country, to take people's liberty for something that was similar to alcohol."
• Republican Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona: "Well, you know, I guess I hear the mantra so often that, you know that, somehow this is choice. But to stand by in silence while the most helpless of all children are tortuously and agonizingly dismembered, day after day after day, year after year, Mr. General, is a—quite honestly a heartless disgrace
that really can't be described by the vocabulary of man."
• Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York: "I have no doubt, and we've already been hearing much hue and cry about the Department of Justice probe of AP records. But I think we should put this in context, and remember that less than a year ago this committee's Republican leadership demanded aggressive investigation of press leaks, accusing the administration itself of orchestrating those leaks. Then, members of this committee wanted the reporters subpoenaed, put in front of grand juries and potentially jailed for contempt. Now, of course, it is convenient to attack the attorney general for being too aggressive or the Justice Department for being too aggressive."
The proximate cause of this anti-abortion site's outrage is an online Planned Parenthood ad with the text, "Your baby will thank you." What it shows, however, is that the right has demonized Planned Parenthood to the point of fever. The hatred of the group is based on the certain knowledge that Planned Parenthood does absolutely nothing but abortions, and late-term abortions at that, and late-term abortions in particular. That the group is focused primarily on women's health care—things like STD testing, cancer screenings and yes, scary-scary contraception—is not allowed to enter their minds. These are the people who honestly believe the faux-stories about "abortionplexes."
The thought process must go something like this:
Truth: Babies suffer during abortions./Babies are ripped apart during abortions./Babies are deprived of life during abortions.
Planned Parenthood: Babies enjoy suffering./Babies enjoy getting ripped apart./Babies enjoy being deprived of life. (Just like we all would, right?!)Loons. Absolute loons. There's a reason convicted clinic bombers can still hold high-profile jobs in anti-abortion organizations, and why people who shoot doctors on the doorsteps of their churches can generate fawning interviews with anti-choice activists wondering if the replacement doctors need to be shot as well. You take one little step and you've gone from there into the realms of the Rick Perrys and Jan Brewers and that particular scab on Texas' ass, Rep. Steve Stockman, looking to defund the group by name, even if its absence in their states will harm the women of their states directly. It's a religious war, and in a religious war you're allowed to bomb things, you're allowed to kill people, and you're allowed to inflict as many unnecessary casualties as possible to get your point across. You're certainly allowed to write laws that punish specific groups for not adhering to your own religious beliefs, too. We don't call them the American Taliban for nothing.
Planned Parenthood is forever talking about how it provides birth control. Right. A baby who was never born because her mother was on birth control is definitely going to thank Mom for that.
In some insane jump of non-logic, Planned Parenthood is attempting to convince women that their babies will “thank them” for visiting their local clinic. This is no better than Nazis posting signs of happy Jews, thanking the SS officers for the death camps – and the gas chambers in particular.Absolute. Loons.
Your baby will thank you when you don't transmit an easily treated STD to them because you had it treated at one of the few local clinics that existed and that you could afford. Your baby will thank you when you don't die from breast cancer that could have been caught early enough to save your life. Your baby will thank you when you don't die in a hospital bed on their first birthday because some goddamn crank has decided that the dead, decaying corpse of a ex-fetus has to stay inside you no matter what because God wills it. This isn't hard, unless your religious opinions are so extreme that you warp all of reality around your own addled noggin.
Again, though, and this is hardly a new phenomenon: the far-right position is based on a fever dream. Reality is not allowed to intrude on the happy conspiracy theories that make the practitioners feel oppressed, or feel righteous, or feel like freedom fighters in service of a cause that nobody else can even parse out. That was always the case, but now Republican governors, senators, congressmen and other party leaders have embraced the fever dreams as governing strategy, and are holding hearings based on the fever dreams, and are passing laws based entirely on the premises of the fever dreams. Government by conspiracy theory.