Earlier this year, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) led a Republican effort to block renewal of the Violence Against Women Act because he objected to the fact that the reauthorization bill includes certain protections for LGBT individuals, undocumented immigrants and Native Americans. Grassley said that he would abandon this effort last night, however — likely because the reauthorization now has the supermajority of supporters it needs to defeat a Republican filibuster. Nevertheless, the bill must still survive the GOP-controlled House of Representatives, where it faces a much rougher ride, before its longstanding protections for domestic violence victims can be continued.
In light of these recent Republican efforts to hold some domestic violence survivors hostage to block protections for others, formerGov. Mitt Romney’s campaign was recently asked whether he supports including the protections for gay people, undocumented immigrants and Native Americans or not. Team Romney would not answer the question:
Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for Mr. Romney, said in an e-mail, “Gov. Romney supports the Violence Against Women Act and hopes it can be reauthorized without turning it into a political football.” But she declined to specify which version he supported.
As Attorney General Eric Holder said yesterday, it is “inconceivable” that there is actually a debate over whether to protect domestic violence victims or not. It is equally inconceivable that anyone could deem some victims more worthy of protection than others. Romney, however, doesn’t seem willing to even go that far. He won’t even tell us which people caught in a horrific spiral of domestic violence deserve the law’s full protection against domestic violence.
Nugent — who is on the NRA’s board — has since stood by his comments, likening himself to “a black Jew at a Nazi-Klan rally,” adding, “there are some power-abusing, corrupt monsters in our federal government that despise me because I have the audacity to speak the truth.”
But it doesn’t seem that the NRA is too comfortable with what Nugent said. The gun lobby scrubbed the entire 26 minute video from its YouTube page. A Google search shows that on April 15, “NRAVideos,” the NRA’s official YouTube page, uploaded the full video of the interview in which Nugent made the remarks about Obama:
But now the YouTube URL associated with that video no longer works, reading: “This video has been removed by the user”:
Right Wing Watch still has video of Nugent’s remarks here.
Newt Gingrich has gotten noticeably fatter over the course of his campaign. His belly bulged onto his lap as he sat on a yellow couch in the basement of a Lancaster, Penn., Marriott one recent night; he had fastened only one of the two buttons on his black suit jacket, and even it appeared to be straining. In this sense, and perhaps this sense only, Gingrich has not been diminished by his ongoing quest for the presidency.
The police chief who oversaw the University of California, Davis, police department during its notorious pepper-spraying of Occupy protesters said Wednesday that she is stepping down.
Global warming has raised global sea level about 8 inches since 1880, and the rate of rise is accelerating. [...] A Climate Central analysis finds the odds of ?century? or worse floods occurring by 2030 are on track to double or more, over widespread areas of the U.S.
A Mensa reject named Michael Baker was arrested earlier this week after he posted a photo on Facebook of himself siphoning gas from a cop car.
Libertarian techie nerds take heed! A Ron Paul video game is coming to your PC. Since the status-quo-loving political system makes it near-impossible for the Good Doctor to shake things up in Washington, you can finally put down that ?End the Fed? poster and kick some virtual ass.
I don?t want government telling me what I can do and what I can?t do because I?m an American. But in Monongalia County you can?t smoke a cigarette, you can?t smoke a cigar, you can?t do anything. And I oppose that because I believe in everybody?s individual freedoms and everybody?s individual rights to do what they want to do and I?m a conservative and that?s the way that goes. [...]
Remember Hitler used to put Star of David on everybody?s lapel, remember that? Same thing.?
The Vatican has launched a crackdown on the umbrella group that represents most of America's 55,000 Catholic nuns, saying that the group was not speaking out strongly enough against gay marriage, abortion and women's ordination.
Rome also chided the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) for sponsoring conferences that featured "a prevalence of certain radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith."
Just in time for Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Vatican is reportedly considering allowing the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) back into its fold. The Society, noted for its virulent anti-Semitism, had been excommunicated, but Pope Benedict XVI lifted the order in 2009. Now, the Pope once again has reached out to the group to attempt "reconciliation," and has requested that it sign a "doctrinal preamble." [...]
In 2009, when the Pope first lifted the group's ex-communication, Haaretz reported that a team of journalists from Joods Actueel, a Jewish publication based in Antwerp, had documented a large amount of anti-Semitic material on the SSPX society websites, in five languages. [...]
The Vatican may get the SSPX back into communion with the Catholic Church, but they will not be able to scrub the mouth of Bishop Richard Williamson, a member of the society, who in 2009 denied the Holocaust. The "good" Bishop is also somewhat of a 9/11 truther.
When Republicans first took back the House of Representatives in 2010, the new chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL), said that he feels Washington’s role is to “serve the banks.” And his committee certainly followed through on that directive yesterday, voting to repeal a key provision of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law that is aimed at preventing a repeat of the ad-hoc bank bailouts that occurred in 2008:
The House Financial Services Committee voted along party lines to repeal the section of the law that allows the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp to liquidate large, failing financial institutions seized by the government.
This authority was included in the law in an attempt to avoid the type of market chaos and government bailouts that followed the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers in September 2008 by giving the government a mechanism for better controlling the breakup of a financial giant.
As I explained here, this provision corrected a key flaw in the nation’s regulatory structure by giving the government the power to seize and wind down a failing financial firm, recouping any losses to the taxpayer by selling off the failed firm’s assets. In 2008, due to not having this power, the government was left in the unenviable position of either bailing out banks or potentially allowing the financial system to implode.
House Republicans justified repealing the provision by claiming that it would reduce deficits by $22 billion over the next ten years. This was based on a rather bizarre score from the Congressional Budget Office, which said the provisions “costs” $22 billion because, in the event that the government needs to unwind a failing firm, it might not recoup all of the money spent unwinding it within a ten-year budget window; therefore, CBO said, the provision “costs” money (though no money is actually being spent). As financial analyst Brian Gardner said, “it’s tough to understand where the $22 billion comes from — it’s a wild assumption since there are currently no cash flows involved with this part of Dodd-Frank.”
Financial Services Committee Republicans also voted to gut the budget of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and to eliminate a key foreclosure prevention program (that, admittedly, has been underwhelming). If their goal is to “serve the banks,” they could barely have done more to accomplish that yesterday, short of just giving them more free government money.
Mitt Romney?s campaign has benefited from Big Oil and Big Coal?s backing, which have poured more than $16 million into ads attacking President Barack Obama?s energy policies. As a favor, Romney says he plans to open public lands and water to drilling while undoing safety and environmental protections.
Below, we take a side-by-side look at Obama and Romney’s policies and their divisions on fossil fuels, clean energy, public health, and pollution. Beneath the chart is a more detailed comparison of the candidates? energy proposals and rhetoric.
Click here to view this media
The Hill catches Michele Bachmann making another of her unforced errors with an unfortunate choice of words, or just absent-mindedly using a racially-loaded Republican dog whistle? Whatever the case, offensive as usual.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) blasted President Obama following his proposed "crackdown" on firms found to be manipulating the oil market, saying he is "waving a tar baby in the air" as a distraction from high gas prices.
"This is just about waving a tar baby in the air and saying that something else is a problem," Bachmann said in an interview Wednesday with The Shark Tank, a conservative news organization that covers Florida politics. "I have never seen a more irresponsible president who is infantile in the way that he continually blames everyone else for his failure to first diagnose the problem and second to address the problem. It's always everyone else's fault."
She said her message for the president is, "Get over it," and stop blaming everyone else.
The term "tar baby" is a racially loaded phrase coined in the "Brer Rabbit" tales. The term generally means a "sticky situation," but has also been used as a derogatory term for a black person.
Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Republican from Colorado, apologized last year after he said associating with Obama was "like touching a tar baby."
Ever classy, Bachmann ends with this:
"The president is a complete and under fraud and a hypocrite on this issue, with all due respect to the presidency."
The Republican candidates for President were a series of sick jokes perpetrated on the American public but none more so that Michele Bachmann.
One frequently cited rationale for corporate tax breaks is that companies will use the extra money to create jobs. They'd love to create jobs, we're told, if only they could afford to do so, and one more tax break will make that possible. Instead, we see that many companies are sitting on giant piles of cash and cutting jobs anyway. The AFL-CIO's Paywatch includes some data on major corporate cash hoarders?five companies that added $57.8 billion to their cash stockpiles between 2007 and 2011 while cutting more than 64,000 jobs worldwide. (We can't know how many of those jobs were in the United States, because companies aren't required to tell us that.)
Verizon, which leads the pack, having cut 41,100 jobs while its "cash holdings and short-term investments grew 311 percent to $14 billion at the end of 2011, from $3.4 billion at the end of 2007," is also a major corporate tax avoider. Verizon paid a negative effective federal income tax rate from 2008 to 2011 while chasing after more and more tax breaks and trying to force its unionized workers into taking cuts to health care and benefits and job security.
Verizon may be the worst, cutting jobs, trying to make jobs worse, and accumulating a Scrooge McDuck-style cash hoard, but it's not just Verizon. Nonfinancial corporate businesses had $2.2 trillion in liquid assets at the end of 2011, and the fact that they're just sitting on that is hurting the American economy:
According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), if U.S. nonfinancial corporations invested $508 billion of their excess cash holdings, U.S. GDP would grow an additional 1 percent to 1.6 percent a year between 2012 and 2014 and 2.4 million new jobs would be created.We know that helping these corporations accumulate more money doesn't create jobs or help the working economy. And if lower corporate taxes created jobs, the United States would be at full employment and looking into making second jobs mandatory, given our effective corporate tax rate. If corporations are going to act only in their own shortest-term self-interest, our policies and politics should at least reflect that, and make it mandatory for them to pay something approaching their share.
Another study by the Political Economy Research Institute found that if corporations and banks invested $1.4 billion in cash into productive investments and job creation, unemployment would fall below 5 percent by the end of 2014.
In the latest issue of the magazine, I have a piece examining a strange and growing trend in some conservative circles?pushing states to adopt alternative currencies to the federal dollar. The basic concern is one you've probably heard from Ron Paul: The Federal Reserve can't be trusted, the national debt is out of control, so the U.S. dollar, backed only by faith in the government, may become worthless. (The story outlines some of the more obvious economic problems with this theory.)
To deal with the concern, problem-solving state lawmakers have started introducing bills to create a second currency, one of gold and silver. Sounds like a fringe concept right?
Well, not entirely. In the 2011-2012 legislative cycle, 17 states saw some form of the legislation introduced, either implmenting a second currency or at least prompting a study of one. The famous (and failed) "doomsday bill" in Wyoming included one such study. Utah already passed its version last year, so you can now start paying taxes in gold eagles?if you have any that is.
And now it looks like Missouri may join Utah in the ranks of the bimetallic. Through just a voice vote, the AP reports that the state House passed a measure to recognize gold and silver as legal tender in the state. That means, much like Utah, states would have to accept the metal as tax payments, though no one else has to accept anything besides the dollar. The bill must pass the House once more before it can head to the Senate. You might call it the yellow brick road to becoming a law.
We're talking about massive, massive fraud. And this is what the state Attorneys General and the federal regulators gave up, in exchange for their non-investigatory investigation.[...]
Read The Full Article:
As polls in favor of marriage equality trend upward, politicians are pushed into an awkward corner. The Prospect's Paul Waldman explained earlier this morning how the incentives just aren't there yet for Democrats to go out on a limb and support same-sex marriage; favoring civil unions probably captures enough of the vote. But at the same time, Republicans have to struggle with the divide between their base, which wants constitutional amendments barring any legal recognition for LGBT couples, and the wider public, whose views soften each passing month. As I noted earlier this week, it's already created a divide between Romney and some of his high-dollar donors.
Now it looks like an issue state-level Republicans will have to grapple with as well. North Carolinians will vote next month on a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. The Charlotte Observer reports that one major candidate has done his best to duck the issue:
He?d rather talk about something else ? say, the economy or education.
But press Pat McCrory about gay marriage, and the presumptive Republican nominee for governor will say this much ? and little more: On May 8, he plans to vote for the proposed N.C. constitutional amendment reaffirming the state?s ban on same-sex marriage.
That puts him in line with evangelical Christians and other parts of the GOP?s conservative base, who back the so-called marriage amendment by large margins.
But it sets him apart from some leaders in Charlotte?s business community and from many moderate voters ? the very groups that formed McCrory?s base during his many years as mayor of Charlotte.
The article goes on to note several prominent local business Republicans who have been vocal opponents of the measure, while McCrory largely stays silent except for affirming his support for the amendment when questioned by reporters.
So far, the divide between the conservative base and business Republicans hasn't translated into a new policy direction for the party, but the cracks are beginning to show. Republican candidates still have to nominally align themselves with anti-LBGT measures, but as time goes on, pressure from their major funders should eventually push more and more Republicans away from stumping against LGBT civil rights.