A new Ipsos poll (PDF) compares how voters reacted to President Obama’s support of marriage equality versus how they responded to reports that Mitt Romney bullied gay kids in high school. According to the results, 28 percent (including 46 percent of Democrats) felt less favorable toward Mitt Romney, with only 5 percent favoring him more for being a bully. Most Republicans (83 percent) said it had no impact on their opinion of the candidate. On marriage, Obama broke even, gaining 31 percent favor (including 53 percent of Democrats) and losing 30 percent favor (including 56 percent of Republicans). The poll seems to suggest that conservatives are coldly indifferent to the struggles of the LGBT community, yet strongly oppose the advance of equality.
The House has just passed a watered-down version of the Violence Against Women Act, by a vote of 222 to 205. The GOP-backed iteration of the bill strips out the provisions to protect undocumented, Native American, and LGBT victims that were included in the Senate version.
VAWA is usually a non-controversial, bipartisan effort, but this year has become a political talking point, with Republicans trying to slow its passage and providing fewer protections for victims. A misogynistic ‘men’s rights’ group has even voiced its support for the GOP’s version of the bill.
Meanwhile, a female Republican joined other women Senators in pressuring the House GOP to pass the Senate’s version.
The House also voted down, by a vote of 187 to 236, a request to send the bill back to the Judiciary Committee. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-MN) introduced the motion, saying that the Republican’s bill violates the confidentiality a victim is entitled to by telling her abuser that she called the cops.
Now that the House has approved its version of the bill, it will go to conference to be negotiated by both the House and Senate. The President has issued a veto threat should the House version of the bill come to his desk.
23 Republicans voted against the passage of the bill, while 6 Democrats voted in favor of it.
196 men voted in favor of the watered-down version of the bill today: 191 Republicans, 5 Democrats.
The Army announced a review of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other behavioral issue diagnoses since 2001 at all its medical facilities nationwide. The probe comes after a review of 400 cases of reversed PTSD diagnoses at Washington state’s Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Of those cases, 100 had their PTSD diagnoses restored. ?Reviewing our processes and policies will ensure that we apply an appropriate standard at every installation — one that is influenced only by the opinion and expertise of our medical professionals,? said Army Secretary John McHugh and Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno in a statement. Fears circulated that the Army reversed diagnoses because of the cost of treatment.
The provision scaring children away from schools is not the only harsh provision left intact by the new bill leaves. Unchanged provisions include one that bars undocumented aliens from renting property and another that allows law enforcement to check immigration status based on a “reasonable suspicion.” It also preserves a section that proscribes a variety of penalties, including permanent loss of license, for businesses that hire undocumented workers. Plus, the new bill piles on by adding another harsh provision requiring the state Department of Homeland Security “to post a quarterly list of the names of any undocumented alien who appears in court for a violation of state law, regardless of whether they were convicted.”
The one bright side of the bill is that it clarifies which “business transactions” undocumented immigrants are prevented from entering into with the state. The new bill only requires proof of citizenship for getting car tags and driver’s, business, and commercial licenses — a change that clarifies a provision that has been used to deny water to immigrants in their homes.
Because the regular session of the Senate ends at midnight tonight, the House and Senate much reach a compromise today for these changes to go into effect. Opponents of the law protested before and after the vote by the Senate, and protests are expected to continue. Four of seven protestors who blocked a Senate hallway were led away in handcuffs.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse discusses one of the proposed solutions to the problem of anonymous campaign contributions
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia refused to grant a stay on an earlier decision that told the Federal Election Commission that the secret donors behind millions of dollars of electioneering communications must be revealed. The court rejected the request for a stay on a 2-1 vote and ordered that the full appeal go forward in the fall.
At issue is the ability of tax-exempt groups that run political ads within two months of the general election ? or within one month of a primary ? to keep secret the names of their donors. Such groups spent some $80 million in the 2010 congressional elections, primarily supporting conservative candidates or attacking their opponents. The donors behind less than 10 percent of that amount were ever disclosed.
"It's a very important victory in the battle to end the secret contributions that are currently being funneled into federal elections," said Fred Wertheimer of Democracy 21, the liberal group that worked with Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., to sue the FEC.
The ruling applies specifically to so-called electioneering communications. Not addressed were nonprofit groups that make what are called "independent expenditures" in campaigns. Those are covered in a different section of campaign finance law.
Wertheimer says his group is contemplating a second lawsuit seeking to disclose the donors who finance those forms of ads as well.
If this ruling stands up to the appeal, it could go a long way to making elections at least more transparent. It won't deal with the real problem, which is the unlimited spending in campaigns, but at least we'll know who is buying the elections. While we know that people like the Koch Brothers and Karl Rove spent millions to purchase elections in 2010, there is a lot more spending from that cycle that we don't know about. That's no way to run democratic elections.
For four years, the obscenely rich parasites have been threatening that if they were made to pay a single red cent back to the country that handed them their fortunes, they would take their job-
creatin'killing awesomeness somewhere they'd be appreciated.
Promises, promises. But now at least one of them has actually carried through on the threat.
A lot of folks have torn into Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin for renouncing his US citizenship last week in order to avoid his tax bill from the company's IPO, which is really about as high up the Wall Street scumbag scale as you can get considering he's A) turning his back on the country that made this possible and B) stiffing the American taxpayer for about half a billion. Ilyse Hogue at The Nation:Saverin exemplifies the spoiled 1 percenter who erodes the fabric of the country that afforded such opportunity by not paying back the investment America made in him. His decisions are a slap in the face of every person who recognizes that, to be a place that can facilitate the birth of new innovations like Facebook, the United States needs resources. Doubt that? Remember what government funded the research that created the Internet and the web? Harvard University, where the Facebook plot was hatched, took in almost $700 million in federal grant support for tuition and research last year alone. But Saverin's decision is even more insulting to the millions of his less wealthy fellow immigrants who work hard to gain the privilege of giving back to the country that affords them opportunity to pursue their dreams in relative safety. Not to mention the DREAMers who offer to fight and possibly die for the country that they yearn to make their own.
But no, Eduardo just got himself printed on the One Douchebag bill...on both sides. When I say the problem in this country is "I got mine, screw you peons" this is exactly what I mean.
Good luck to him somewhere else. I can't wait for the argument from the right that actually making Saverin pay any taxes at all is what drove him away from America, so we should just exempt rich people from everything: taxes, laws, death. Otherwise they'll go somewhere else, you know.
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Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell (Jim Young/Reuters)
Today, except for a couple of hypocrites worried about reelection, Senate Republicans joined their House brethren and voted to end Medicare as we know it. The only really interesting vote was on Rep. Paul Ryan's budget, the one that the House passed and that Mitt Romney has endorsed. It failed 58-41.
Five Republicans (Scott Brown [MA], Susan Collins [ME], Dean Heller [NV], Rand Paul [KY] and Olympia Snowe [ME]) rejected that bill. For his part, Heller (in a tight reelection race with Rep. Shelley Berkley) said:
?Today?s votes were not a serious effort to pass a budget. After this charade, our nation is no closer to economic prosperity or addressing our massive national debt. I have voted on Republican budgets in the past. It?s no secret where I stand, but every measure brought up for a vote today was meant to fail. It is past time Members of Congress hold themselves accountable and do the job they were elected to do, not hold meaningless votes designed for nothing more than campaign press releases. The biggest problem is both sides of the aisle are at fault. [...]"As with Brown, Heller's no vote likely had a lot more to do with reelection than with principle. Neither of them wants anything to do with ending Medicare as we know it, and giving their Democratic opponents this ammunition.
Which makes you wonder why 41 Republicans were so anxious to embrace it. Embrace it they did, much to Democrats' delight. The Ryan budget will be no more popular this year than it was last year. Which makes this not a totally useless day in the Senate. Just a mostly useless one.
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