Democracy in Action

So in a partial repeat of 2014, Bill Shuster (R-PA) is facing a vicious primary challenger from the right by the name of Art Halvorson.  In 2014 Shuster was able to fend off Halvorson’s challenge in a three way primary battle, with Shuster picking up 52.8% of the vote, Halvorson earning 34.5%, and livestock farmer Travis Schooley rounding out the race with 12.7%.  In the 2016 primary, Shuster and Halvorson will square off one against one for a seat in the US House that has been filled by a Shuster since 1973.  (Bill’s father, Bud Shuster, held the seat from 1973 until resigning in 2001 a few months before Bill won his first term.  Ah, political nepotism.)

The primary battle gives every indication of being a nasty one, with Halvorson running on a purely obstructionist platform, slamming Shuster for not shutting the government down to defund Obamacare, then ripping him for not shutting it down over Planned Parenthood funding.  If it gives you any idea, Halvorson’s campaign motto is “Rescue America.”  The candidates recently had a debate, which resulted in a very amusing write up in the Altoona Mirror as a conservative newspaper attempted to perform simultaneous fellatio on two candidates that seem to hate each other with the passion of a million white hot suns.

Art Halvorson, Republican primary challenger for the District 9 U.S. House seat, attacked incumbent Bill Shuster in a debate Saturday, calling him out for being part of a Republican failure to counter President Barack Obama’s liberalism and for alleged ethics problems because of his relationship with a lobbyist.

Shuster accused Halvorson of lying and of running a relentlessly negative campaign – to the extent of flip-flopping just to position himself opposite of the incumbent.

Shuster can’t duck responsibility for leaders in the Republican-majority House and Senate for failing to control spending, the national debt and taxes with a budget, a failure that has undermined the economy and damaged the nation’s confidence, Halvorson said.

That failure culminated in the $1.1-trillion “Cromnibus” spending bill passed in December – “an atrocity” – that failed to defund Obamacare, gave the president a “blank check” on executive amnesty for illegal immigrants and “caved” to Obama on Planned Parenthood, Halvorson said.

Shuster actually voted against a $1.5 trillion spending bill a few months earlier that had many of the same effects, according to an analysis by the Conservative Review.

Spending and revenue bills originate in the House, but the Senate needs to agree, and that’s been a stumbling block, Shuster said.

Still, Republicans over the last few years have cut $2.1 trillion, reducing it four years in a row, which had not happened for more than 60 years, he said.

They’ve also managed significant changes for cuts in the tax code, including some that have been made permanent, Shuster said.

I’m sorry, this is the most painful article on a political debate I believe I have ever read.  I’ve never seen a line by line recap of arguments for presidential debates, let alone House primary races.  Rather than writing anything original, it seems that the reporter just wants to avoid offending either candidate by making sure to repeat each of their talking points.  And it just keeps on going…..

The nation needs to pay its debt and most of the Obama-care spending is mandatory, Shuster said, adding that nevertheless, he has always opposed Obamacare and participated in successful efforts to eliminate or defund pieces of it, like the “death panels.” He opposes amnesty “in any way, shape or form,” opposes admitting anyone from “failed states,” favored building a wall along the Mexican border and the identification of illegal immigrants, followed by their processing for deportation.

Shuster’s not a true conservative, having received an F from the Club for Growth and the Heritage Foundation, Halvorson said.

Shuster is actually ranked 135 among the House’s 435 members by the club for 2014, a number that is broadly representative since 2005, in a chart on the club’s website.

The Club for Growth is “a bunch of millionaires and billionaires that have formed a little clique,” anyway, Shuster said.

It’s no credit to a lawmaker to try for a 100 percent voting record for any group, because you need to look at every piece of legislation, Shuster said.

He has an 86 percent rating from the American Conservative Union, a 90 percent rating from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a 100 percent rating from the National Right to Life Committee, he said. He has an A rating from the National Rifle Association.

Look, my right wing cock is bigger than yours!  No, my right wing testicles are heavier than yours! Time for someone to play the religion card…..

Halvorson said he’s a born-again Christian who follows the Scriptures and “upholds the highest ethical standards,” while Shuster has “a close, intimate relationship” with a lobbyist who has access to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, of which Shuster is the chairman, and that Shuster has cavorted in South Beach, almost as if to celebrate their successful partnership.

He is referring to Shelley Rubino, a lobbyist for Airlines for America. Shuster has said previously that she doesn’t lobby his office or his staff directly, and that legal counsel has cleared their handling of the matter.

The personal attacks and “misrepresentation” of his record is “disgraceful,” Shuster said.

“My campaign has been about me,” Shuster said. “Your campaign has been about me.”

Negative from start to what he expects to be the finish, he added.

Negative?  Where would he have ever got that idea?

The Republicans had the power of the purse, but have squandered it, surrendering to Obama, Halvorson said.

The nation is failing, confidence is low and the economy is weakening, Halvorson said.

“We’re supposed to be a city on a hill, but there’s nothing to look up to,” he said. “Two more years is not warranted.”

Confidence is low?  Hell yeah, because of Republicans like Halvorson is swearing he will be who think compromise is failure.  This guy is a True Believer, who seems to honestly think the nation would have rose up in support of the House Freedom Caucus if they would have shut the government down over Planned Parenthood.

“I represent conservative values,” Shuster said. “I’ve worked hard to find solutions.”

He’s faced election successfully eight times, he added.

And that is possibly the weakest rebuttal in the history of debates.  In 2010 this Congressional district was rated the most Republican district in the state.  Our last Democratic Representative lost his re-election bid……in 1939.  The GOP candidate could blow coke off a stripper’s ass on national television the day before the election and still draw 60%.  Shuster did make one strong point without trying, showing every moderate voter listening exactly why a GOP presidential win would be disastrous.

The key to the kind of accomplishments Halvorson is hammering him about will be getting a Republican president, which will enable Congress, working with that president, to drive down taxes, control spending, harness debt and appoint a conservative to the Supreme Court to replace the late Antonin Scalia, Shuster said.

The absolute worst part about this all?

Pennsylvania has a closed primary, so only registered Republicans get to decide between these candidates.  No Democrat has filed to run in opposition in November, although to be honest, why even bother when you know your opponent is going to pull 60% of the vote no matter what?  So 40% of the district gets to hope the Republican primary voters aren’t crazy enough to primary Shuster, who, for all of his failings, at least gets things done for the district.

So yeah.  Democracy in action.  The districts registered Republicans will choose our district Representative with no outside input.

What a system.

The Honesty Was Nice While It Lasted

So here is the title of the original post I was writing about this:

Trump Says Something Anti-Abortion Activists Have Been Drooling for Decades to Hear a Politician Say, Anti-Abortionists Promptly Do What They Do Best: Lie.

Yeah, that’s a mouthful.  But since this is Foster Disbelief and not The Daily Mail, I decided to scrap it and start over.

For some reason Donald Trump, the(gag) front running candidate for the Republican presidential (I just threw up a little) nomination, had a sit down interview with Chris Matthews the other day.  I didn’t watch it.  I actually stayed as far away from the television as I possibly could when MSNBC aired the interview.  No thank you.  I can suffer through a Trump interview to see if anything is newsworthy.  I can tolerate watching Chris Matthews on MSNBC because I respect the other voices that make up MSNBC’s political coverage.  Matthews interviewing Trump is just a black hole of idiocy that I won’t even pretend I would willingly put myself through.    (Seriously, listening to Matthews go on about the possibility of a Clinton/Kasich unity ticket during one night of MSNBC’s primary coverage had me contemplating either switching to Fox News or puncturing my ear drums with an ice pick.  He’s the liberal answer to Bill O’Reilly.  Something that, along with the ideological purity police, is something we really don’t need.)

And seemingly for no reason but to punish me and force my poor ears to hear clips of the interview all week, Trump decided to show anti-abortion activists that he really was one of them, honestly, scout’s honor, no take backs, no crossed fingers, he swears.

At a taping of an MSNBC town hall that will air later, host Chris Matthews pressed the Republican presidential front-runner Trump for his thoughts on abortion policy. Trump said he’s in favor of an abortion ban, explaining, “Well, you go back to a position like they had where they would perhaps go to illegal places, but we have to ban it,” according to a partial transcript from Bloomberg Politics.

Matthews asked if there would be a punishment for women who received abortions if they were made illegal. Trump responded, “There has to be some form of punishment.” He elaborated that the punishment would have “to be determined” and the law will depend on the upcoming Supreme Court confirmation battle and the 2016 election.

Matthews, to his credit (I feel dirty for typing that), was all over Trump like a bad toupee rather than allowing the reality show star to word salad his way out of the question.  Progressives immediately held it up as yet another extremist view held by Trump,  Wow, that’s a surprise.  Liberals were going to disagree with Trump’s position on abortion no matter what he said.  Trump’s running as a Republican, which means he has to be “pro-life.”  (What a great political system we’ve built on the corpses of the founding fathers.  Sigh.)  What was surprising was the response by anti-abortion activists as they rushed to distance themselves from Trump.

The central goal of the pro-life movement may be to eliminate abortion, but to the vast majority, the responsibility doesn’t lie with the woman getting an abortion, but the doctor who is providing it.

Even the most staunch pro-life groups were quick to express their disappointment with Trump’s initial statements. Susan B. Anthony List and March for Life, two of the country’s most prominent anti-abortion groups, tweeted that women who have abortions need “healing and compassion” and that punishment is “solely for the abortionist who profits off of the destruction of life.”

Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League and a long-time pro-lifer, says that the responsibility of an illegal abortion “should fall on abortion providers, not the women who turn to them in desperation.”

“If Donald Trump is going to run successfully as a pro-life candidate, it’s time he started listening to the pro-life movement,” he says.

Trump’s Republican rivals said much of the same.

“But of course women shouldn’t be punished,” Republican candidate John Kasich said. “I don’t think that’s an appropriate response. It’s a difficult enough situation.”

Fellow GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz echoed Scheidler’s sentiments, saying in a statement that being pro-life isn’t just about the “unborn child,” but the mother as well – something that is “far too often neglected.” The movement, he said in a statement, is about “creating a culture that respects her and embraces life.”

“Of course we shouldn’t be talking about punishing women; we should affirm their dignity and the incredible gift they have to bring life into the world,” he said.

Me thinks the activists doth protest too much.  The only reason pro-life people claim they don’t want the woman punished is because that is a horrifically unpopular position in the larger population.  I am sure some anti-abortion activists honestly do not want the woman punished beyond being forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term, just as I’m also sure some of them really want to reduce the amount of abortions and would support proven programs such as Colorado’s IUD program,  and some of them think those who shoot abortion providers are murderers.

And if the majority of anti-abortion activists share those beliefs, if they truly want to end abortion and not punish women for being sexually active, if they’re “pro-life” position prohibits the assassination of providers and the bombing of clinics, then those people need to make that clear and stop providing cover for the more extreme members of their movement.

It is the same argument I make to “moderate” Christians.  Shrugging your shoulders and saying that the gay haters aren’t “real Christians” doesn’t cut it.  In fact, going from the Bible, most of the time the fundamentalists have more textual support for their position.  Hey “moderate pro-lifer?”  When you call abortion “murder” and insist it is the “American Holocaust,” you are giving coverage to the clinic bombers and doctor killers, just as the moderate Christian who argues for the infallibility of the Bible protects the anti-gay bigots.

Watching Ted Cruz attack Trump over this issue is even more rich.  The “Pro-Lifers for Cruz” coalition that Ted loves pointing out, is co-chaired by the president of Operation Rescue, Troy Newman.  Newman wrote the book “Their Blood Cries Out,” which was written before anti-abortionists began softening their language to find more support.  Here’s a telling passage (and I urge you to read the whole article from Right Wing Watch.)

While Newman never explicitly calls for the execution of women who have had abortions, as he does abortion providers, he makes very clear that he sees these women as equally culpable for the supposed crime.

He tells the story of a woman in California accused of paying two men $1,000 and some “sexual favors” to murder her husband. Both the woman and the men who executed the hit, he reports, received the same sentence. How, Newman asks, is this different from abortion?

There was no outpouring of public concern from the community declaring her a victim of society. There were no help centers set up to give aid to all future contract killers so that they might find alternatives to murdering their husbands. The churches did not welcome her on the condition that neither of the parties would discuss the crime. There was no legislation brought forward by the National Organization for Women to pardon her and all future murderesses. There was no sympathy publicly expressed for her — only the satisfaction that comes from witnessing justice.

Why, then, do we consider any differently the women who seek to hire killers to murder their pre-born children? Why the hesitancy to say that not only the mothers, but also the fathers who willfully abort their babies, are guilty of murder? Why is there such outrage expressed at the notion that those who know of the crime but do not intervene, like most of the churches in America, share a portion of the guilt?

Who holds the fathers, the mothers, the neighbors, the pastors, and the bystanders guilty? Who would dare?

God can! God does!

By comparing abortion directly to any other act of premeditated contract killing, it is easy to see that there is no difference in principle. However, in our society, a mother of an aborted baby is considered untouchable where as any other mother, killing any other family member, would be called what she is: a murderer.

..

When Newman endorsed Cruz, Ted was quick to play up the endorsement on his campaign website.
“I am grateful to receive the endorsement of Troy Newman,” Cruz said. “He has served as a voice for the unborn for over 25 years, and works tirelessly every day for the pro-life cause. We need leaders like Troy Newman in this country who will stand up for those who do not have a voice.”
How extreme is Newman?

“Today’s scheduled execution of Paul Hill is not justice, but is another example of the judicial tyranny that is gripping our nation. A Florida judge denied Rev. Hill his right to present a defense that claimed that the killing of the abortionist was necessary to save the lives of the pre-born babies that were scheduled to be killed by abortion that day. Our system of justice is based upon ‘innocent until proven guilty,’ but in Rev. Hill’s case, there was no justice because the court prevented him from presenting the legal defense that his conduct was justifiable defensive action.

“There are many examples where taking the life in defense of innocent human beings is legally justified and permissible under the law. Paul Hill should have been given the opportunity to defend himself with the defense of his choosing in a court of law. [Operation Rescue West press release, 9/3/03, via Media Matters]

How about banned from Australia extreme?

Troy Newman, the president of Operation Rescue, had been scheduled to begin a speaking tour in Australia on Friday. But immigration officials canceled his visa before he left the United States after Australian politicians raised concerns that he might encourage violence against abortion providers or women seeking the procedure.

He managed to board a flight from Los Angeles despite not having a valid visa but was detained by immigration officers at Melbourne Airport while trying to enter the country on Thursday.

[…]

Terri Butler, a Labor member of the Australian Parliament, had called for the government to revoke Mr. Newman’s visa this week. In a letter to Mr. Dutton, she cited passages from a book that Mr. Newman co-wrote that called for abortion doctors to be executed. [New York Times10/2/15]

Anti-abortion activists may spend the whole week screaming that they don’t want women punished for having an abortion.  Just like they claim they aren’t against contraception when it serves their purposes, just like they claim they are against violence in the aftermath of each clinic bombing or doctor assassination.

What matters is their language when no one is watching.  The stuff they say when they are surrounded by only true believers.  As they continue to escalate the debate with inflammatory language.  As they publish the names and home addresses of providers.  As they unscientifically claim one contraception method after another is actually abortion.

It is about ending abortion.  It is also about taking reproductive control away from women and forcing them back into the kitchen.  If it was honestly all about abortion we live in a nation that is rich enough to practically eliminate elective abortions.  Abortion could be nothing but a procedure that occurs only during the current “exceptions.”  Rape, incest and the life of the mother or non-viable pregnancy.  We could provide every woman of reproductive age contraception.  We could turn abortion into an incredibly rare procedure, rather than one that is more common than anyone realizes.  But there’s no slut shaming involved there, and it doesn’t serve to reinforce the patriarchy.

Trump says some insane shit.  Trump takes some extreme positions.  Don’t buy the lie that this (even though he did walk it back later) is one of them.  This is a mainstream belief in the GOP.  It just isn’t one they like outsiders to know about.

 

Pro-Life Honesty

From the Altoona Mirror’s Letters to the Editor section comes this surprising bit of honesty from  “pro-life” activist Richard A. Ruth:

Pro-life – what does that mean? It seems to mean a lot of things to a lot of different people.

Some think it means to be concerned for the poor.

Others think it means to do away with the death penalty. Others think it means to be civil with people at all times.

But when anyone active in the pro-life movement, including myself, uses the term, it means one thing, and one thing only, namely, anti-abortion.

We are against murdering a baby in its mother’s womb.

So, if anyone uses the term “pro-life,” but does not mean anti-abortion, please do not use that term, but rather coin your own phrase.

Much of the confusion was caused years ago by a cardinal in Chicago, whose name I am happy to forget. His concept of pro-life included many things, like the spiritual and corporal works of mercy and almost any good deed one can think of. This concept is called “the seamless garment.”

It did much to weaken the pro-life movement and caused much confusion.

Rarely have I seen an anti-abortionist state it so bluntly.  It isn’t about women’s health.  It isn’t about what is best for the child.  It isn’t about the sanctity of human life, it’s about the sanctity of the life of the fetus, nothing more.  After they are born?  Fuck ’em.  Dare suggest that “pro-lifers” care about more than the embryo?  Your name will be gladly forgotten.

Of course, embryos are much easier to care about apparently.  Especially if your world view includes this:

Those who are in sympathy with the poor should research the abuses in the welfare system. One that I am familiar with is this: Women are encouraged to have many children. The more children they have, the more money they get. Often a woman will have three to five children to three to five different fathers.

Ahem.  Citation fucking needed.  Also, wait.  If a few poor people play the system, then fuck ’em all?  What about those that are not abusing the welfare system?  Do they not exist?  Oh, I know, they just need to work harder, is that it?  You know, I understand people who are anti-abortion.  I don’t agree with them, but I understand where they are coming from.  But the above quote?  That’s just ignorance.  And prejudice.  And unless I have the Karl Marx version of the Bible, it’s pretty far from the teachings of Jesus.

If Richard Ruth takes requests, I would love to read his thoughts on #blacklivesmatter.  I’m sure they are well thought out and enlightening.

I have to admit however, that Mr. Ruth defeats me with his closing paragraph.

The Democrats are not concerned whether their clients lose their souls or not. They are more interested in getting their votes and their children’s future votes. The more kids they have the more votes they will eventually get.

Wait, what?!?  If that was true, wouldn’t they be anti-abortion then?  Let me see if I can break it down sentence by sentence and see what I am missing.

The Democrats are not concerned whether their clients lose their souls or not.

Good?  The Democratic party is a political entity, not a religion.  The United States is not a Christian nation.  We do not have a Biblical government.  The Democrats shouldn’t care about their members, voters, or “clients” imaginary ghost spirits anymore than they are concerned if their auras are out of wack or if the feng shui of their homes is out of alignment.  (Do political parties have clients?  Does he think Democratic field offices also provide abortion services?)  Maybe the Republican party would find a more receptive audience for their fiscally conservative platform if they stopped worrying about their “client’s” souls?  Pandering to members of a religion tends to turn off those who are not members of that religion.  As much as the GOP would love to pretend “Christianity” is one monolithic religion, it is really a diverse collection of sects, all with contradictory beliefs.  Some Christians are pro-choice.  Some Christians are for LGBTQ rights.  Wait, they aren’t real Christians?  Maybe you aren’t the real Christian.  How about we just stop trying to force others to follow our religious beliefs?  Just an idea.

They are more interested in getting their votes and their children’s future votes.

That’s a bad thing?  Once again, I would hope a political party cares more about votes than religion.  *shrug*

The more kids they have the more votes they will eventually get.

Nope.  Even sentence by sentence, my head explodes at this point.  Did Mr. Ruth write a different letter raging against the Quiverfull movement and somehow edit them together?  Can someone explain this to me?


While we’re on the subject of Altoona Mirror anti-abortion letters, I give you one from Arnie Calaba:

My question/writing here is “How can we, as one nation under God, our United States, expect to prosper/have blessings when we are destroying our little ones in the womb by abortion?”

1954.  That’s when “one nation under God” was added.  That’s all for now, because that is a nonsensical question, along the lines of “How can we, as one town infested with unicorns, expect to prosper when we insist on locking gnomes into their hovels at night?”

There are so many telling signs of the downward, slippery slope we are on as a nation. Our economy’s $19 trillion deficit and so much bickering and upheaval in Washington, D.C.

Wait.  That’s not “so many.”  That is two.  Both caused by pro-life Republicans, I might add.

How can we stand by and allow Planned Parenthood to sell aborted baby parts (lungs, brains, etc.) for a profit?

Lying is a sin.  If you would have written this letter the day those deceptively edited videos came out, I would give you the benefit of the doubt.  But it is March.  Everyone who cares about the facts knows that those videos were cut to make it appear the Planned Parenthood representatives were saying things that they were not.  All you had to do to prove that fact is watch the uncut videos.  Add to that the investigations launched by various states into Planned Parenthood’s practices, all of which cleared the organization from any wrong-doing.

The Bible doesn’t say “the ends justify the means.”  I’m sorry.  No matter how badly you feel it should, it doesn’t.  Lying is still a sin.

And you are a liar.

How can we remain a United States, one nation under God, if abortion – the destruction of “little ones” in the womb continues?

I’ll give you this Arnie, repeating the nonsensical question you opened with to close is better than whatever the fuck type of closing Mr. Ruth went with.

You’re still a liar.

(Edited to fix two three typos.)

 

 

A “Wait, What?!?” That Caused Me To Cover My Monitor In Coffee.

There is so many delusional people in the United States today that it is difficult to pick a most delusional faction of the populace.  Is it members of the GOP who insist they had nothing to do with the rise of Trump?  Members of the GOP who still think Marco Rubio will become the GOP nominee?  Voters who believe Ted Cruz wouldn’t strangle a puppy on camera if it got him the nomination?  Progressives who apparently think the Tea Party and the House Freedom Caucus are on to something and claim they will sit out the election if HRC wins the nomination, refusing to acknowledge that another Clinton in the White House would be better than the modern GOP having control of every branch of government for a few years?  Pro-lifers who honestly believe Planned Parenthood is selling baby parts out of the trunk of their car to the highest bidder?  Gun owners who seriously believe the authors of the Bill of Rights would agree that the private ownership of an assault rifle is a right, not a privilege?  Citizens that truly believe we are living in a post-racial society, even after being smacked in the face with the crime that is the poisoning of Flint?

Just when I think it is impossible to choose a winner, Ed Brayton rescues me, drawing my attention to indeed, the most delusion segment of the population, hands down.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you your hysterical overreaction of the day. In an article on Pat Robertson’s CBN website, unhinged anti-gay bigot Brian Camenker of MassResistance says that Christians today are being treated just like the Jews were in Nazi Germany because they’re being “demonized.”

 

Some say American Christians are paranoid, that they’re feeling targeted and persecuted. But is it possible America is facing a growing anti-Christian agenda?

Some on the frontline of the culture wars have responded with a resounding “yes.” They feel it up close and personal – right in their faces.

“I’m particularly sensitive to that because I’m Jewish,” Brian Camenker, with Mass Resistance, told CBN News.

“I saw what happened to Jews in the 1930s and 40s and much of that same thing is happening to Christians now,” he said. “There’s an organized movement to demonize Christians.”

Maggie Gallagher, with the American Principles Project, agreed.

“What we’re seeing very clearly is an effort to target them [Christians] legally when possible and then to humiliate or deprive them of social respect,” she said.

I’m honestly speechless.  Thanks Ed.

Move Over Todd Akin, It’s Pete Nielsen Time!

Remember Todd Akin?  Remember how he said that abortion restrictions didn’t need exceptions for rape because “legitimate rape” doesn’t result in pregnancy?  Remember how he lost a senate race that should have been a cake walk mainly due to that comment?

After the amazing crash and burn Akin performed for the nation back in 2012, you would think that Republicans would learn a lesson from the whole fiasco.  You’d be wrong, of course.  Why?  Damned if I know.  Maybe it’s because some of them really believe, with zero evidence, that, ahem, “legitimate” rape is too traumatic to result in conception.  Or maybe it is an “ends justify the means” situation, where as long as it results in punishing women for being sexual beings.  What, you thought I was going to strike that out and end the sentence with “less abortions?”  Why?  When has the so-called “pro-life” movement ever supported something with an actual chance of lowering the number of abortions?  They can say they care about the unborn child all they want, but until they stop opposing common sense measures, like Colorado’s long term contraception initiative for an example, measures that are actually effective at lowering the rate of abortion, why should any of us give them the benefit of the doubt as to their motives?  They aren’t just protesting Planned Parenthood’s abortion facilities; they want it all shut down, because this has much more to do with women’s sexuality than the fate of some fetuses.  Nothing should prove that faster than the speed at which they cease caring about the child upon birth.

Whatever their reasons may be, they keep beating that same old drum.  Today’s “Wait, What?!?” is brought to you by the Idaho legislature.  “I da Ho?  Well then close your damn legs, ya slut!”

From The Spokesman-Review:

During the hearing Rep. Pete Nielsen, R-Mountain Home, said, “Now, I’m of the understanding that in many cases of rape it does not involve any pregnancy because of the trauma of the incident. That may be true with incest a little bit.”

….

Nielsen stood by his remarks after the hearing, saying pregnancy “doesn’t happen as often as it does with consensual sex, because of the trauma involved.”

Asked how he knew that, he said, “That’s information that I’ve had through the years. Whether it’s totally accurate or not, I don’t know.”

He added, “I read a lot of information. I have read it several times. … Being a father of five girls, I’ve explored this a lot.”

Why, may I ask, has this man “explored this a lot”?  Hopefully it is for work, and not an attempt to figure out how likely his daughters would be to get pregnant if he…….

Moving on….

The scientific consensus on the issue is that rape is as likely to result in pregnancy as consensual sex, and some studies suggest the rate of pregnancy is higher in rape. A 2003 study that appeared in the scientific journal “Human Nature,” for instance, found that the rate of pregnancy from rape exceeded the rate of pregnancy from consensual sex by a “sizable margin.”

Is it any wonder if a percentage of the anti-choice brigade decides to ignore scientific consensus?  Members of the GOP already freely ignore the scientific consensus when it comes to evolution and global warming, what would make this a bridge too far?  Of course, in those cases the only people being called “liars” are scientists and biology teachers.  I wonder if they stop and think that by holding on to the “legitimate rape doesn’t cause pregnancy” thing that they are directly calling every rape victim who got pregnant from her attack a liar?

Something tells me they just don’t care.

Moderate Republicans Probably Still Exist, They Just Aren’t Running For President

There is a major difference between being “too moderate to win the GOP presidential nomination” and actually being a moderate.  John Kasich, the Republican governor of Ohio is indeed, frighteningly enough, more than likely a member of the former category.  He may even be the most moderate member of the GOP to run for the 2016 nomination.   What he certainly is not is a moderate.

Don’t get me wrong here, compared to the other candidates, Kasich sounds like he belongs in a different party at times.  He used his faith as a reason to accept the ACA medicaid expansion, he doesn’t think deporting 11 million people is a realistic goal,  and he believes climate change is taking place.  Yay?

But check out all of his views.  Sure, his faith caused him to go along with the medicaid expansion, but it also seems to color his opinions on all the issues.  He believes the death penalty is compatible with Christianity, has a nice, fresh “A” rating from the NRA, seems to subscribe to the “just say no” school of drug policy. he supports tax cuts for “job creators” while he deceives people about the so called “death tax” that he wishes to eliminate.  I’m not going to spell out all his views for ya, if you are interested, click the above link.  I just want to point out one of his “moderate”moves as governor of Ohio, as seen on Wonkette today:

still drinking the delicious Kool-Aid flavor called “John Kasich is actually a moderate.”

We are here to tell you that flavor is garbage. That flavor is a lie. Witness Kasich’s latest super moderate action: defunding the ever living fuck out of Planned Parenthood in Ohio.

The bill strips state and some federal funding from health clinics that perform and promote “nontherapeutic abortions,” including Planned Parenthood facilities.

while the bill grants an exemption to abortions performed in cases of rape, incest and preserving the life of the mother, it jeopardizes the fate of other vital women’s health programs.For example, the $1.3 million in state grants that Planned

Parenthood is slated to lose was allocated toward HIV testing, cancer screenings and programs that help prevent domestic violence and infant mortality.

I really don’t give a shit about your views on abortion.  Why?  Because none of that fucking money was going towards abortions.  Cause it isn’t about abortions.  If it was, then the “pro-life” advocates would be screaming for universal access to long term contraception.  You know, something that actually reduces abortions.

Until proven otherwise I have to assume this war against Planned Parenthood is just what it seems.  The policy position that sexually active women do not deserve reproductive health care and cancer screenings because they are slutty slut sluts who should have kept their knees locked.

2015: When Dr. Frankenstein Discovers He Can Not Control His Creation

It’s almost funny.

Okay, I’m lying.  It isn’t “almost” funny, it is straight out hilarious.  But once the laughter dies out, we are left with the sad reality of a major political party imploding in front of our eyes with devastating effects on the nation.   Perhaps other democracies could weather a similar storm better, perhaps not, but what is undeniable is that our system, with its two major political parties accompanied by several meaningless “3rd” parties, is badly damaged when one of the two main parties, if you pardon my french, shits the bed.

I admit to having liberal pipe dreams of a reality where progressives held super majorities in both houses of Congress alongside the presidency, the same dreams I’m sure many conservatives have substituting in their own party, where economic and social reforms pass into law as fast as the Speaker can call the vote.  I also know that the scenario is not only unrealistic, but also not in the best interest of the nation.  The thought of the GOP with a rubber stamp, able to pass any legislation they desire rightfully scares me, but it’s not like I trust the Democratic party with that kind of power either.  They may give us a 15$ minimum wage and true nationalized health care, but we’d need it with all the unvaccinated kids running around, making sure there’s no GMOs out there, increasing yields and feeding hungry people.

Those are extreme examples of liberal idiocy, and I understand that there are anti-vax nuts who consider themselves conservatives as well, but the point is simple.  Conflict, argument, and debate yields better policy than rubber stamps.  No matter what party is in power, our system demands a strong opposition party.  We have ways for the minority party to affect legislation built in to the system.  I’m not running a civics class here, but the framework the founders set up encourages discussion and compromise, with the understanding that no matter how much members may disagree on issues, everyone is working for the betterment of the United States and its citizens.


Decades ago, when the GOP set “The Southern Strategy”in motion, no one understood what kind of monster they were building.  What they knew was that it worked.  The demographics at the time allowed Republicans to win elections on the strength of nothing but the votes of white men, as they routinely lost all other categories.   The cycle was now in place, as each election victory the Christian social conservatives delivered to the GOP caused the Republicans to cater to them more, counting on their turn out to get them the needed votes.  But when you court no one other than one narrow group, you risk irrelevance if that group ever falls out of power.  Perhaps in the 1970’s Republican strategists honestly believed the nation would always be majority Caucasian.  Perhaps they just didn’t care, figuring the strategists who came later would change tactics when the demographics warranted the switch.  Maybe they were just really racist.  Whatever the case was in the previous decades, today we live in a different country, both demographically and culturally.  The GOP has found itself in no-man’s land.

That “base” of the party that they spent so many years cultivating, through fear, xenophobia, and extremist rhetoric, makes up less of the population than ever.  After the 2012 election cycle, many members of the GOP admitted that in order to win the presidency, they would have to branch out and attract other groups.  No longer was “The Southern Strategy” a viable path to the White House.  Yet almost as soon as those words were printed, those who spoke them began to walk them back.  While that “base” wield less power than ever nationally, within the GOP it is an entirely different story. For in a country notorious for poor electoral participation, the so-called “base” exercises their right to vote yearly, and there are enough of them to cost GOP Congressmen and women their seat in primary elections if they are seen as RINOs, leading GOP representatives and senators to have to worry about challenges not only from the left, but from their right as well.

Who is this “base” that has taken control of the GOP?  They are the creations of right-wing talk radio, Fox News (Fair and Balanced!), and the Republican parties own propaganda.  They value ideological purity, not the ability to compromise.  They want what they want and are willing to watch the whole system crash and burn if they don’t get it.  They are poisonous to the party they claim as their own.  If you don’t see that, chances are you are one of them, as even many Republicans understand the damage they are doing.

Speaker Boehner resigned before teaming with the Democrats to pass a spending bill keeping the lights on in the Government til December, avoiding an unprecedented challenge to his leadership by “fellow” Republicans who want to shut the government down over deceptively edited hit videos on Planned Parenthood.  His almost definite successor, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, became much less definite after withdrawing from consideration yesterday.  McCarthy was just about as conservative as they come, as was Speaker Boehner.  They also believe in the system, and understand two vital rules in politics; you can’t always get what you want, and some hills are not worth dying over.  Why the hell would McCarthy take the job if he was destined to face the same attacks from his own party as Boehner suffered?

Perhaps the situation was best summed up by Representative Peter King (R-NY):

“This is unprecedented to have a small group, a tiny minority, hijack the party and blackmail the House,” said Rep. Peter King of New York.

Yep, sure is.  Wait til December when they shut down the government.

We’re living through history, boys and girls, make sure to pay attention.  The GOP has to deal with their creation, and no matter how they choose to do it, it isn’t going to be pretty, unfortunately, for either the Grand Old Party or the nation as a whole.  Sure it’s fun to watch them flounder and suffer the consequences of their own design, but those consequences affect all of us.