By now you've probably heard that in an interview released today, Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri, the Republican nominee for Senate, said that women's bodies had an innate but unspecified mechanism that prevented pregnancy in cases of "legitimate rape." [...]
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“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” – Todd Akin [Gawker]
AS SOMEONE born and raised in Missouri it’s simply unacceptable to think that my home state could elect this ignorant man to the Senate. Todd Akin actually believes that a woman who’s been raped can “shut the whole thing down” and keep from becoming pregnant herself.
Claire McCaskill is a Blue Dog, Obama-backing Democrat with little to laud, but seriously, Missouri, even Republicans should send a message and either skip this vote on the ballot or simply write in someone else. Anyone voting for Todd Akin proves they don’t have our country’s best interest in mind.
If Akin can’t figure out the basics of human biology, which we all learn as a kid, there is no way he can make intelligent choices on war and peace.
Missourians have fallen a long way from Harry Truman.
I talk to a lot of people running for Congress. I've been doing it, more or less, systematically since 2005. It's part of the Blue America vetting process. One of the questions I ask all the candidates is about marriage equality for the LGBT community. When I started, the question was about whether or not the candidate supported it. I was even interested if they supported it in their heart despite being able to say so aloud in a red, red district. That's changed remarkably fast. Almost all Democrats support marriage equality now, including all moderates. Only the most dire, ancient reactionaries who, for whatever reason, haven't flipped to the GOP yet, still oppose marriage equality. And the question has changed as well. Now I ask how the candidate is going to persuade conservative voters that marriage equality is the right path.
Last month I spoke with a self-described "very conservative" Washington state senator, Steve Hobbs. And he is very conservative-- but not on social issues, including LGBT equality. Hobb's is a pro-Choice, pro-LGBT Democrat, with a voting record to back up those claims. It's in contrast to the Blue Dogs in DC who swear they're just fiscally conservative and then vote straight-up reactionary when it comes to matters of Choice, corporate corruption and equality. In the guest post he did for DWT on the topic he talked about how his military service in Afghanistan helped him understand the need for equality on a very personal level. "How could I look my gay and lesbian comrades in the eye if I voted no? How could I stand next to them, train with them, fight with them and potentially die with them if I voted to deny them the same rights that I have? I represent a swing district in Snohomish County, Washington, where the majority of my constituents do not support marriage equality. That?s fine. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and, believe me-- they shared them with me before I took my vote." I'd have more respect for conservatives in general if there were more conservatives like Steve Hobbs.
Jim Graves, the Democrat running against Bachmann, may not be another Alan Grayson, Barbara Lee or Ra˙l Grijalva but he is somewhat more of a progressive, across the board, than Hobbs. His district, though, is as conservative as Hobbs' is. In a guest post he did for DWT he talked about how he combats Bachmann's deranged homophobia on the stump:
I also reject my opponent's understanding of the role of government. She talks a lot about making government smaller. But, in fact, she seems to think the government should interfere with the most personal decisions a person could ever make. She would like government officials to tell the victim of rape what she ought to do with her body. She would like the government to determine who a person can and cannot marry. Now, I have been married to my wife, Julie, for nearly forty years. Our marriage has been the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I don?t see how anyone would want our government to deprive individuals the freedom to experience that same joy and happiness no matter what their sexual orientation.
Ron Barber (AZ)- hasn't voted on any LGBT issues so far
John Barrow (Blue Dog-GA)- 16.67
Tim Bishop (D-NY)- 28.57%
Leonard Boswell (Blue Dog-IA)- 28.57%
Lois Capps (D-CA)- 100%
Ben Chandler (Blue Dog-KY)- 16.67
Mark Critz (PA)- ZERO
John Garamendi (D-CA)- 100%
Kathy Hochul (NY)- 100%
Larry Kissell (Blue Dog-NC)- ZERO
David Loebsack (D-IA)- 50%
Jim Matheson (Blue Dog-UT)- 14.29
Mike McIntyre (Blue Dog-NC)- ZERO
Jerry McNerney (CA)- 50%
Bill Owens (NY)- 33.33%
Kurt Schrader (Blue Dog-OR)- 66.67%
Louise Slaughter (D-NY)- 71.43%
Betty Sutton (D-OH)- 50%
Tim Walz (MN)- 50%
JR: Here’s my weekly weekend update onáLanguage Intelligence. It’s had better reviews and better sales than any of my previous books — itáhit #73 on Kindle nonfiction bestseller list – probably because it is more entertaining and more useful. I am reposting Van Jones’ review because I wouldn’t have published this book if not for him. He read a draft in 2010 and urged me to get this book out there. Thank you Van!
by Van Jones
In a war of ideas, the weapon of choice is words. Even when equipped with better and more popular ideas, progressives are losing the fight on ideas because of how we communicate those ideas — or fail to communicate them.
When I read an early draft of Joe Romm’sáLanguage Intelligence two years ago, I told Joe it changed my life. I realized what I had learned from osmosis and practice through hundreds of speeches and direct feedback were secrets figured out centuries ago by the Elizabethans and others. Social scientists and advertisers have confirmed these secrets are the key to being memorable and persuasive.
To get our ideas out there, progressives need to communicate more powerfully. We aren’t failing to come up with good solutions. We’re failing in explaining them to the American people. That’s why I am encouraging every progressive to read Joe Romm’s new book:áLanguage Intelligence: Lessons on Persuasion from Jesus, Shakespeare, Lincoln, and Lady Gaga.
Let me give you a quick example of Romm’s Rules, in effect: When Rebuild the Dream campaigned toáprevent the doubling of Stafford loan rates this summer, we followed his formulas for effective communication. By doing so, we were able to help millennials and students win a big victory on student loans.
The first rule: keep it short. “Don’t Double My Rate” got straight to the point of what we were trying to accomplish. It’s hard to envision a campaign slogan like “Keep federal Stafford loans at their current low rates” taking off in the same way.
The second and third rules: Use figures of speech and repetition to make memes memorable. The alliterative nature of “Don’t Double” helped make the campaign catchy, effective, and persuasive. As President Obama took up the “Don’t Double My Rate” cause, the term was repeated in speeches and the media, and it was constantly trending on Twitter until Congress took action to pass “Don’t Double.”
That is just one example of the usefulness of Joe’s approach. As one of the most impactful climate bloggers on Earth, Joe Romm knows the ins-and-outs persuasive communication. HisáLanguage Intelligence is the progressives’ field guide in the war of ideas. If you liked Lakoff’sáDon’t Think of An Elephant, you’ll loveáLanguage Intelligence.
Rep. Todd Akin, the GOP Senate candidate in Missouri, set off a firestorm today after claiming that women who are victims of “legitimate rape” don’t usually become pregnant because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Now, several conservative writers have started calling for Akin to withdraw from his Senate race:
One of the first was Reihan Salam, a prominent author at the conservative flagship National Review:
Todd Akin ought to step the heck down.
— Reihan Salam (@reihan) August 19, 2012
John McCormack, a staff writer at Bill Kristol’s The Weekly Standard, also called on Akin to step down:
— John McCormack (@McCormackJohn) August 19, 2012
GOP political strategist Patrick Ruffini noted that former Sen. Robert Torricelli (D-NJ) withdrew from his reelection campaign after a scandal:
I think we may have a Torricelli situation here.
— Patrick Ruffini (@PatrickRuffini) August 19, 2012
Given his long history of political extremism, Akin’s views have long been out of step with the American political mainstream.
One of the very first books I read after beginning my transition in 2003 was Kate Bornstein's Gender Outlaw. My first thoughts were "She is so wrong about transsexual people -- we are NOT in between male and female! I know I'm a woman!"And I still know[...]
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Rep. Todd Akin is not a doctor. His own congressional bio says he worked as an engineer and a steel plant manager before running for office. But he's heard from doctors that rape victims' bodies spring into action to prevent a resulting pregnancy. Why[...]
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Romney ways of making sure that other rich people don't pay any taxes either.
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If ABC held a debate and no one actually understood the real issues, would anyone care? It would appear not, since This Week's little Newseum debate jumps right out of the gate with the wrong frames, wrong issues, and wrong questions. There's so much fail in one hour that it's difficult to even know where to start, but let's go with the beginning, where Tapper seems to intentionally frame the discussion in false terms with false premises.
After ringing the scare bells over the 2013 "Fiscal Cliff", he moves on to "entitlements" -- his word, not mine. On this, the week of Social Security's 77th anniversary of never missing a payment and creating a society where there is at least some baseline for a life past retirement, Tapper instead frames the entire debate around some mythical world where we did not pay into this social safety net for the duration of our employment.
And that brings us to the second time bomb. As the baby boomers retire, the commitments we've made to seniors will balloon. Over the next 75 years, Medicare will run a deficit of more than $30 trillion. That's two times the entire size of the United States economy.
Social Security will run out of money in just 20 years.
In short, if nothing is done, our national debt poses a clear and present danger to the United States.
And, yes, politicians have been warning about the nation's debt for decades, but already this year, we've seen economies destroyed by debt -- overseas in Greece, Italy and Spain. And here at home, with Stockton, California; San Bernardino.
So the big question -- are we next?
is the U.S. headed toward bankruptcy?
(END VIDEO TAPE)
TAPPER: So with that, let's start with our first topic, which will be entitlement spending, specifically, can we fix the nation's finances without cutting entitlement benefits?
That's Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, other mandatory spending programs.
Watch the video and repeat after me: Disaster Capitalism TV. I cannot recall a less factual and more dramatic opening, and yeah, I'm looking at YOU, Jake Tapper. What kind of dishonest tripe is this?
New Rule: Quit using right wing tropes
Social Security is a retirement plan. It is not an "entitlement" in the sense that we're a bunch of little piggies with our snout in the bowl snuffling for more. It is part of the tools we have used for our entire working lives to plan for retirement. Start with that. Calling Social Security and Medicare "entitlements" is a right-wing frame intended to make them sound like some kind of handout. They are EARNED. They are earned with the sweat of every working person's brow. Someone should tell Tapper that.
Next, lose the whole nonsense whine about the baby boomers. Boomers' retirement benefits under Social Security were accounted for and funded from the Reagan Administration forward. No one but Jake Tapper, evidently, is surprised that baby boomers are retiring now. This, by the way, is why some of us in that generation have to wait until we're 66 or 67 to retire. We were staggered in order to extend the life of the fund without forcing higher payroll taxes.
It should also be known that if the wage base upon which Social Security benefits are funded had been raised instead of frozen for several years, there would be more money in the fund. However, Tapper is simply incorrect about it being "out of money in 20 years."
That's false. As in a total falsehood, as in a lie, Romney-style. Tapper should have to retract that publicly and apologize for his scare tactics.
Here, straight from the 2012 Trustees' report, is the projection on Social Security:
After 2020, Treasury will redeem trust fund assets in amounts that exceed interest earnings until exhaustion of trust fund reserves in 2033, three years earlier than projected last year. Thereafter, tax income would be sufficient to pay only about three-quarters of scheduled benefits through 2086.
So no, Jake Tapper. Social Security is not "bankrupt" in 20 years. I would like for you to find one other government program that is able to provide full benefits through 2033, and 75% through 2086 without any change to it. Just one. Go ahead.
While I'm waiting for Jake to find that, I'll grow older, grayer and be eligible for Social Security payments because there isn't any other program as successful as Social Security.
Jake actually challenges the panel to take on the Medicare debate, but that's a topic for a different post. For this one, what is important is that right out of the gate, before Grover or Goolsbee or anyone has an opportunity to say anything, the entire debate is framed in right-wing terms that are INACCURATE.
How can we have an honest debate about anything if we can't get so-called journalists to actually start with a fact-based approach?
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Fox's Carl Cameron caught up to Rep. Paul Ryan after his speech in Florida this Saturday morning for some more fawning and another softball interview as we've come to expect from Uncle Rupert's GOP-TV and asked him about whether his lack of foreign policy experience is going to be an issue in the upcoming election. It doesn't seem to me that Ryan gave this a whole lot of thought before answering.
Speaking to Fox News? Carl Cameron Saturday morning, Republican VP nominee Paul Ryan made the case for why he believes his foreign policy credentials are stronger than President Obama?s, emphasizing that he has been a voting member of Congress longer than the president. Ryan cited his votes in favor of the Iraq War as evidence that he has had more foreign policy experience than Obama.
?I?ve been in Congress for a number of years,? he told Cameron. ?That?s more experience than Barack Obama had when he came into office.?
?I voted to send people to war,? he added.
As a congressman, Ryan voted for the 2002 Iraq Resolution which authorized President George W. Bush to use military force in Iraq. He also voted in favor of the Iraq War troop ?surge? in 2007.
So voting to send other people's kids off to die in an invasion of a country that was never a threat to us is now foreign policy experience. Who knew?