(Think Progress)He thinks passing laws against dogfighting is an insult and a waste of government time, and he thinks the Bush administration-led mandate for slightly more efficient lightbulbs was proof that George W. Bush surrounded himself with communist infiltrators, but Steve King knows what America should be focused on: coming up with new explanations for why conservatism's dumbest, most transparently racist conspiracy theory must keep going in spite of all possible evidence against it:
"We went down into the Library of Congress and we found a microfiche there of two newspapers in Hawaii each of which had published the birth of Barack Obama. It would have been awfully hard to fraudulently file the birth notice of Barack Obama being born in Hawaii and get that into our public libraries and that microfiche they keep of all the newspapers published. That doesn?t mean there aren?t some other explanations on how they might?ve announced that by telegram from Kenya. The list goes on. But drilling into that now, even if we could get a definitive answer and even if it turned out that Barack Obama was conclusively not born in America, I don?t think we could get that case sold between now and November."Yes. Yes, there are many explanations for why the scary black man might secretly be from Kenya, despite there being no actual evidence of that. As a newborn, he might have been spirited to Hawaii by saucer people. He might be a Time Lord. Hawaii and Kenya might secretly be the same place, a secret guarded by hundreds of years of mapmakers, worldwide, who were in on the conspiracy. All of those things could be true, and Steve King, who is a moron, has absolutely no ability to weigh different pieces of evidence and judge the relative quality or likelihood of each?a feature which is no doubt why a group of other outright morons got together to elect him to help pass laws and things, under the supposition that only morons can write laws that would make sense to morons, which is probably true.
All of that said, however, I will personally pay 20 American dollars to have Steve King shut his goddamn yap already. While that is not much, I am certain that there are many, many other Americans who feel the same way, and that they, too, would be happy to contribute money to the cause. Surely, a mouth as stupid as the one owned by Steve King can be rented, and surely, a mouth as stupid as the one owned by Steve King would happily sell itself to the highest bidder, regardless of topic. I don't want Steve King to come out for gay marriage, or have a conversion on global warming, or even to recognize that maybe, just maybe, a decent society might have an interest in regulating ritual combat among animals staged for the amusement of sociopaths. No, what I want most in this world is for Steve King to stitch that uncannily stupid mouth of his tightly shut. A vow of silence, for America. When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one person to shut his unholy, rotten gob already, that person should take the fucking hint and just do that.
Martin HeinrichIn 2008, Martin Heinrich went from Albuquerque City Council to the U.S. House of Representatives, becoming the first Democrat to win the 1st District seat since it was created in 1969. The district's voters elected him to higher office in part because of his achievements in his four year tenure on the council, achievements which included a 31 percent hike in the minimum wage for workers in the city of Albuquerque. That advocacy for low-wage workers made sense for Heinrich, the son of an electrician and a factory worker who also worked the family farm. Starting from age 12, Martin worked too, bussing tables, washing dishes and bagging groceries.
Heinrich also served as Natural Resources Trustee for the State of New Mexico, and has drawn strong support from environmental groups. That support included an early and big ad buy from the League of Conservation Voters, the Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, the National Wildlife Federation and the Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund. The groups are also behind a smart piece of legislation from Heinrich that would make sure that public lands that are supposed to be open to the public for fishing, hunting, and recreation, but where access is blocked. What's smart about this legislation is that it creates a natural coalition between groups that might not normally work together: the "hook and gun" crowd and environmentalists. Access for hunting and fishing on public lands is a big issue in the West, and one where two often opposing groups find common ground. It's smart coalition building, that broadens Heinrich's appeal across the state.
The other thing that should broaden Heinrich's appeal for progressives is his opponent, Heather Wilson. If you've been around a while, you'll remember that Wilson was Heinrich's NM-01 predecessor. She resigned the seat to run for the Senate seat being vacated by Pete Domenici, but lost her primary. You might also remember Wilson because of her involvement back in the bad old days with the Bush administration, Alberto Gonzales, and the prosecutor purge. Former New Mexico U.S. Attorney David Iglesias, a Republican and one of the eight fired prosecutors in the purge, has consistently alleged that Wilson pressured him to take action on a political corruption case that Wilson was using as political fodder against her opponent Patricia Madrid. When Iglesias pushed back, Wilson pushed Gonzales to fire Iglesias, which he did. Wilson continues to deny the allegations, but even Karl Rove has confirmed them. This incident helped Wilson become one of the most corrupt members of the 110th Congress, as compiled by the nonpartisan Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).
If you've been keeping up on the War on Voting, you'll also remember that a person associated with her campaign was caught trying to manufacture evidence of voter fraud. The husband of one of Wilson's senior campaign aides registered the family dog to vote in order "to expose the problems with the registration system," proving once again that voter registration fraud pretty much only exists when Republican operatives commit it to prove it exists. That's the Heather Wilson ethos. So is going negative in the campaign, right out of the gate.
Heinrich has maintained a five-point lead in PPP's polling of the race over the last three months, holding at 48-43. And Wilson has a growing problem of disapproval. "Where she had a net -5 favorability spread before (40-45), that is now -11 (38-49)." Her early launch into negative campaigning isn't likely to help her close that favorability spread.
This race is certainly winnable. Tom Udall carried it 61-39 in the 2008 Senate race, and Barack Obama won it 57-43. Martin Heinrich is in a strong position to help keep New Mexico blue in 2012. And to help Upgrade the Senate by adding another voice for filibuster reform, for protecting Social Security and Medicare, for comprehensive immigration reform, and for workers' rights.
Answers to the Orange to Blue candidate questionnaire are below the fold.
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Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
John Lennon: ?For our next song, would the people up in the cheaper seats clap your hands? The rest of you can rattle your jewelry.? 1963, The Royal Variety show.
It probably indicates something about my frame of mind that I?d rather not consider, but I thought about this famous John Lennon line while contemplating the weirdness that is our Two Party system: while the whole political theatre is leaning Rightward, reflecting the way The Deciders (h/t to W.) want the people to go, there are clearly more ?clap your hands? seats than ever, and far fewer ?rattle your jewelry? luxury seats in the suites well above the rabble on the floor.
And so, for our next election entertainment, would the people in the cheaper seats, Left and Right, clap your hands, hold up your signs, scream, tweet, update your FB status, Like or Unlike the latest campaign trail story, throw your little symbolic monetary contributions into the Blue or Red collection plate, vote, express your joy or fears regarding the election outcome, then go away until we call you back for 2014 mid-terms? The rest of you ? and you know who you are, as do we ? rattle your jewelry, and we?ll immediately respond with whatever you need. Your whim is our policy.
enlargeWhen Harry Reid gets feisty, he gets really feisty. When he gets feisty and he reads his crystal ball into the future, well, it just sounds like the rant of a genius.
After sharing the unsubstantiated rumor which might have come from a Bain employee about the possibility that Romney might not have paid any taxes for ten years, Reid paints a picture of Romney's billionaires that isn't pretty.
"We feel comfortable in the Senate," he said. "Where the problem is, is this: Because of the Citizens United decision, Karl Rove and the Republicans are looking forward to a breakfast the day after the election. They are going to assemble 17 angry old white men for breakfast, some of them will slobber in their food, some will have scrambled eggs, some will have oatmeal, their teeth are gone. But these 17 angry old white men will say, 'Hey, we just bought America. Wasn't so bad. We still have a whole lot of money left.'"
You just cannot read that paragraph without thinking about Harry Reid's mild-mannered way of speaking, and when you read the words with his voice in mind, it just reads as comedy gold.
Let's hope they're eating bitters for breakfast the day after the election.
Yesterday, Blue America endorsed Sue Thorn, a populist Democrat from West Virginia, who's running for Congress in the first district (the northern third of the state). We didn't really get a chance to talk much about black lung disease, something most of us don't come into contact with. But most of "us" don't live in West Virginia or in other coal mining regions. Black lung disease is something Sue talks a lot about while she's meeting voters. It helps define what it means, from her perspective, to support her state's crucial coal industry. She's been harshly critical of a GOP budget move that would prevent the Labor Department from working to end black lung disease.
Republican lawmakers in the House Appropriations Committee have added language to the Department of Labor budget bill for 2013 that would prevent the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) from implementing or enforcing a proposal meant to combat black lung disease by reducing miner?s exposure to coal dust.
Black lung disease is caused by exposure to coal dust and results in a slow, painful death for those who suffer from it. West Virginians recently learned that black lung disease, an agonizing and irreversible condition that kills thousands of coal miners, is on the rise. In the last decade, black lung disease has doubled, according to a report from the Center for Public Integrity and NPR News. Sue Thorn criticized the bill and called for the removal of the provision:
?As proud Mountaineers who love our state and revere our miners, we can?t remain silent on this issue. Our miners put their lives on the line to provide for their families and put food on the table every day. They deserve better.
?It?s become evident that Congress can?t be trusted to protect our miners. Two-faced lawmakers, bought and paid for by the coal industry, inserted dangerous language into the labor appropriations bill that would stop efforts to end this debilitating, deadly disease.
?Coal and utility companies have consistently provided jobs for West Virginians who need to provide for their families, but we must always remember that a business exists first and foremost to make a profit. Coal industry lobbyists will fight tooth and nail against mine safety and health legislation because it might affect their bottom line.
?It?s time to get big money out of politics. It?s no coincidence that the same shameless Republican lawmakers that oppose improved MSHA regulation receive massive checks at election time from coal industry CEOs and PACs. As House Republicans scheme to pass despicable legislation that would keep MSHA from doing its job, miners are suffering and dying.
"I won?t sell my soul to any money-hungry industry. I?m running for Congress with small donations from everyday people because that?s who I represent. I won?t take money from corporations that expect me to spread fearmongering propaganda for campaign cash. I won?t use outrageous scare tactics to make West Virginians think federal regulation will strip them of their paychecks. I?ll vote in the best interests of West Virginia. People?s lives will always take precedence over profits.?
"In the last 40 years, black lung disease killed or helped kill 70,000 coal miners. This torturous, deadly disease is caused by exposure to coal dust in the mines. In the last decade, black lung disease has doubled among coal miners, and cases are now being found in younger miners. Yet McKinley just voted against enacting a new federal rule that would combat the problem and save lives.
"McKinley also failed to support the Robert C. Byrd Mine and Workplace Safety legislation when it was introduced in the US House of Representatives in April 2011, and has failed to speak out in support of the legislation since it was re-introduced last week by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV).
"McKinley's criticisms of Gerard ring hollow coming from someone who consistently puts coal company profits before coal miners and their safety. Maybe McKinley's comments are more reflective of the fact that his campaign started receiving funding from Massey Energy's Don Blankenship in 2010, shortly after the Upper Big Branch mine disaster and Blankenship's contributions exceeded Federal Election Committee rules. While McKinley's biggest funders are coal companies and he may be a friend of theirs, he's certainly no friend of coal miners."
Santorum. Santorum, everywhere.I missed Rick Santorum. I'm glad to see he's landed on his feet, is still going on about the obvious moral failures of others (in this case, Palestinians), and "expects" to be speaking at the Republican National Convention, despite not actually having been invited yet.
Santorum confirmed that he has not been asked to speak at this August's Republican National Convention, though he's certain that invitation will come and he will play a major role.Will Rick Santorum be invited to the ball? I can hardly wait to find out!
"I have no doubt that we'll have some role at the convention. And as you they haven't announced any speakers other than Chris Christie as the keynote. I will do my best to be helpful in the cause," said Santorum.
I think probably the way Rick Santorum could be most helpful to Mitt Romney is to be very quiet and avoid reminding people how Mitt Romney made it to the top of the GOP pack primarily because every other candidate either self-immolated or was an obvious nutcase, but that's just me. Not inviting Santorum (and Bachmann, and Cain, and Gingrich, and Paul!) to speak at the convention would be a terrible, terrible slight, and would make all of us very sad.
Sarah Palin labeled Massachusetts senate candidate Elizabeth Warren a “Marxist” during an appearance on Fox News on Wednesday afternoon, building on a conservative argument that Warren’s viral speech arguing that government contributes to the success of the individual, is anti-American. “I will tell you, though, it is cracking me up watching what the Democrats, this idiotic strategy of theirs, to have Elizabeth Warren, who has almost confessed to her Marxist views these views that replicate failed European countries abutted redistribution of wealth, all these failed policies and she is the face of that message in the convention!” Palin declared. Watch it:
Representative Ed Markey (D-MA) has drafted a bill aimed at ensuring transparency in the use of unmanned aircraft for surveillance inside the United States by requiring FAA oversight and disclosure of how drone operators planned to use the machines. Currently, 106 different government entities are cleared to fly drones at home, and similar use by private organizations is becoming increasingly plausible. Markey worries that there are “no privacy protections or transparency measures in place” that can adequately head off the abuse of this technology.
Of all the GOP candidates, Mitt Romney staked out the most extreme immigration positions during the Republican primary. He said his immigration plan would be to make undocumented immigrants “self-deport,” and he vowed to veto the DREAM Act. Since he effectively locked up the nomination, however, Romney tried to distance himself from his earlier hardline stances, and a Republican Party official even tried to claim that Romney is ?still deciding what his position on immigration is.”
But Romney is still losing among Latino voters by an enormous (and widening) margin. While Romney has tried to moderate his immigration views from the primary to the general election, his immigration advisers and supporters still include extremely anti-immigrant officials.
Currently serving as Kansas? secretary of state, Kobach is the author of harmful state and local anti-immigrant ordinances like those in Arizona, Alabama, and South Carolina. He wrote the vast majority of them as senior counselor to the restrictionist Immigration Reform Law Institute and as a private consultant. He has insisted that Romney wants SB 1070 as a national model, and he doesn’t expect Romney to soften the extreme immigration positions he took during the GOP primary. And following President Obama’s directive to halt deportations for up to 1.4 million young undocumented immigrants, Kobach called the policy “illegal.” Kobach advised Romney’s 2008 campaign on immigration and homeland security, and he returned to that role for the 2012 election after he endorsed the GOP presidential candidate in January. In April, Romney tried to distance himself from Kobach while softening his immigration positions, saying he was a “supporter,” not an “adviser” before conceding that Kobach was still an “informal adviser.”
After the former Republican California governor endorsed Romney, the presidential candidate named Wilson honorary California chair of his campaign. In a statement touting the endorsement, Romney said, ?I?m honored to have Governor Pete Wilson?s support, because he?s one of California?s most accomplished leaders.? As governor of California, Wilson prominently supported Proposition 187, an anti-immigrant ballot initiative that made unauthorized immigrants ineligible for public services such as health care or public education. California voters approved the measure in 1994, a precursor to Arizona’s SB 1070, before courts declared it unconstitutional in 1997.
The former Arizona Senate president, who was ousted in a recall election, was the architect of Arizona’s infamous SB 1070. He threw his support behind Romney and said that the GOP presidential candidate’s “immigration policy is identical to mine.” And Pearce said Romney “absolutely” called for Arizona’s law to be used as a national “model” because Romney has advocated for self-deportation. “[Self-deportation] is in SB 1070,” Pearce said in April.
Citing only Romney?s ?pro-business background? and his ?political history,? Arizona’s nativist Republican governor endorsed Romney ahead of her state’s primary in February. Brewer is one of the nation’s most anti-immigrant governors, and she signed SB 1070, the first of a wave of anti-immigrant bills authored by Kobach.
After President Obama announced the directive to halt deportations for DREAM Act-eligible young adults, Romney refused to say whether or not he would undo the policy. But Walser, a co-chair of Romney’s campaign for issues pertaining to Latin America, said he thought Romney would get rid of it. “My anticipation is that he would probably rescind this directive were he to be elected in November,” he told The Daily Telegraph. He added that the decision would match up with the “very tough” positions Romney had taken on immigration. Walser is a senior policy adviser at the Heritage Foundation who spent 27 years working for the U.S. State Department.
The Texas Republican, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, became one of Romney?s earliest congressional endorsers in October 2011, choosing to back the former Massachusetts governor over Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Smith has pledged to not hold a hearing on the DREAM Act in his hearing, which Romney vowed to veto.