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Republicans still can't decide whether there is a War on
Caterpillars Women, or whether President Obama started it, or whether it's a fictional invention of the media or the Democrats, or whether it's a Democratic War on Women Ann Romney.
This week, Michele Bachmann said, "There is no war on women. There's never been a war on women." Which is either on or off message, depending on the day. For example, Sen. John McCain on Meet the Press, March 20, 2012:
GREGORY: Do you think that there is something of a war on women among Republicans?But this week, during a Senate debate on reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, McCain flip-flopped on the problem he'd previously acknowledged. He took to the floor to make his case while his party launched an unprecedented opposition because they don't like the part where it includes protection for immigrants, lesbians and Native American women. Or, as Melissa McEwan (aka Shakespeare's Sister) brilliantly described it, "Protect the sanctity of traditional domestic violence!"
McCAIN: I think we have to fix that. I think that there is a perception out there because of how this whole contraception issue played out ? ah, we need to get off of that issue, in my view.
While McCain ultimately voted to reauthorize the act, he first had to spend more than 10 minutes explaining why women are perfectly equal already and, just as his fellow Republican Bachmann claimed, the War on Women is mere fiction:
My friends, this supposed ?War on Women? or the use of similarly outlandish rhetoric by partisan operatives has two purposes, and both are political in their purpose and effect. The first, purely political; the first is to distract citizens from real issues that really matter, and the second is to give talking heads something to sputter about when they appear on cable television. Neither purpose does anything to advance the well being of any American. [...]Apparently, Mitt Romney's flip-flopping is contagious, and John McCain has a bad case of it.
To suggest that one group of us or one party speaks for all women or that one group has an agenda to harm women and another to help them is ridiculous if for no other reason than it assumes a unity of interests, beliefs, concerns, experiences and ambition among all women that doesn?t exist among men or among any race or class. [...]
Thankfully, I believe men and women of our country are smart enough to recognize that when a politician or political party resorts to dividing us in the name of bringing us together, it usually means that they?re either out of ideas or short on resolve to address the challenges of our time. At this time in our nation?s history, we face an abundance of hard choices. The vicious slogans and the declaring of phony wars are intended to avoid those hard choices and to escape paying a political price for doing so. [...]
Leaving these problems unaddressed indefinitely and resorting to provoking greater divisions among us at a time when we most need unity might not be a war against this or that group of Americans, but it is surely a surrender: a surrender of our responsibilities to the country and a surrender of decency.
As I previously wrote, and as readers of this series well know, Republicans can deny it all they want, but there is a War on Women. It's real, and it's dangerous, and it's not about zingers and slogans:
It's about a constant legislative assault by the Republican Party, at the state and federal level, on women's equality and basic rights, from health care to equal pay to funding programs to combat violence against women. Women aren't stupid, even if Republicans, like Herman Cain, insist that "men are much more familiar with the failed policies than a lot of other people."Despite the best efforts of the 31 Republicans (yes, all men) who voted against it, the Senate passed the not-watered-down Violence Against Women Act. Next stop is the House, so tell your representatives to pass the Violence Against Women Act.
On 1T day in New York City, hundreds of college students from around the city gathered at Union Square for a rally and then marched downtown to Wall Street. At Union Square, some students publicly burned their student loan debt documents. "1T" stands for 1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion) dollars, which is now the official amount of student loan debt owed to big banks by American college students.
Students in other cities around the country are also rising up in protest, many signing pledges refusing to pay back their loans.
Several hundred protesters, mostly college students wearing placards noting the size of their debt loads, rallied in New York City's Union Square park on Wednesday.
They set fire to student debt documents and held signs reading "Debt free degrees" and "Education in America: Don't bank on it."
Hadi Nassar, 31, whose eight years of undergraduate and dental school education has left him $186,000 in debt, said he was having to rethink his plan to work at a community health clinic.
"It makes me angry. It makes me not want to do what I set out to do - which was, help people, take care of people," said Nassar, a dental resident. "That type of job isn't going to give me enough income, monthly, to pay this off."
While both Democrats and Republicans agree that it is imperative to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling to 6.8 percent, as they are set to do on July 1st, they part ways as to how to cover the loss of revenue estimated at $5.9 billion.
Democrats would close a tax loophole they have dubbed the "Gingrich/Edwards Loophole," which allows millionaires to avoid paying Medicare taxes. Republicans want to eliminate the preventative health fund, which House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) called a "slush fund" on Wednesday.
"Unfortunately, rather than finding common ground on a way to pay for this critical policy, H.R. 4628 includes an attempt to repeal the Prevention and Public Health Fund, created to help prevent disease, detect it early, and manage conditions before they become severe," the White House said in a statement on Friday.
"Women, in particular, will benefit from this Prevention Fund, which would provide for hundreds of thousands of screenings for breast and cervical cancer. This is a politically-motivated proposal and not the serious response that the problem facing America?s college students deserves. If the President is presented with H.R. 4628, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill."
In response to the White House threat of a veto, Boehner spokesman Michael Steel issued the following statement, ?The president is so desperate to fake a fight that he?s willing to veto a bill to help students over a slush fund that he advocated cutting in his own budget. It?s a simple as this: Republicans are acting to help college students and the president is now getting in the way."
An alternative resolution to the student debt crisis was introduced as Michigan Congressman Hansen Clarke made the case in April for "forgiving" student loan debt:
This month in the U.S. House, I have proposed H.R. 4170 -- The Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012 -- which would eliminate many of the awful consequences of educational indebtedness. In doing so, it would give Americans greater purchasing power, helping to jumpstart our economy and create jobs.
The bill provides full loan forgiveness for current borrowers who have paid the equivalent of 10 percent of their discretionary income for 10 years or who are able to do so over the coming years. It moreover caps interest rates on federal student loans at 3.4 percent and enables existing borrowers to break free from crushing fees by converting many private loans into federal loans.
Crucially, Americans who are behind on their payments due to a setback such as unemployment or illness would be eligible to enroll in the new program. The bill seeks to ensure that no one would be consigned to "indentured servitude" because of a stroke of bad luck.
To control costs and create prudent incentives for both students and institutions going forward, the bill allows future enrollees in the program to receive forgiveness up to a limit of $45,520 after paying up to 10 percent of discretionary income for 10 years. Under the bill, both current and future borrowers could still opt for the benefits of the existing income-based repayment program as an alternative.
If you would like to support this bill, you may do so by signing your name at HR4170.com. Rep. Clarke also suggests that you consider asking your Representative in Congress to sign on as a co-sponsor.
What's coming up on Sunday Kos ...
Regular Features-On This Day In History April 28 by TheMomCatPunting the Pundits by TheMomCatThese Weekly Features-Popular Culture (Misic) 20120427: The Moody Blues by TranslatorHealth and Fitness News by: TheMomCatRandom Japan by mishimaThis Featured[...]
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Today Ryan delivered the weekly GOP radio Address, further cementing in Americans' minds that voting for Romney and for any Republican running for Congress (or anything else for that matter) means voting for the end of Medicare and Social Security and for the dark Ayn Rand dystopian agenda that informs Ryan's crabbed political mindset. Or, as Paul Krugman put it so eloquently yesterday, reading Ayn Rand led Paul Ryan "to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world."
This blog-- and Blue America-- have been trying to call people's attention that Paul Ryan-- as well as dozens of other Republicans with severely stunted intellectual development-- have been hung up on Ayn Rand's cheap, tawdry vision of American economic politics. It must be starting to sink in because Ryan is furiously back-pedalling on his devotion to his mentor.
Despite a clear and very incriminating trail on YouTube and Facebook, Ryan is completely changing his story-- or trying to-- on Rand. Now he says he rejects her philosophy... quite the departure. So why was he forcing anyone who wanted to work for him to read her idiotic adolescent book, Atlas Shrugged? What happened to "The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand?" And what about giving out the books of this woman (who he now dismisses as an "atheist," which he's always been aware she proudly was) as presents on the anniversary of Jesus' birthday? Cruel irony, no?
You would never know it from watching the DCCC, but the only way to really stop Paul Ryan is to replace him with Rob Zerban, the progressive Democrat running for the southeast Wisconsin congressional district Ryan holds, a swing district that goes back and forth between Democrats and Republicans. Obama won it in 2008 and Zerban can win it in November-- if Ryan's pal Steve Israel stops starving the Zerban campaign of cash. Blue America has a billboard up now and we'd like to do more... a lot more. You can help us with that if you'd like to-- here. One thing I can guarantee you, though... waiting for the DCCC to act means another term of Paul Ryan spewing his anti-family poisons in Congress and on TV. Meanwhile, Rob is just plowing ahead and not sitting around waiting for Steve Israel to get some vision. Here's something Rob sent out to his supporters yesterday:
Paul Ryan has found some flip flops to wear this spring.
Paul Ryan has said Ayn Rand is the reason he got into politics. As Rachel Maddow points out, Ryan has gone so far as to say that he makes all his interns and staff read her books.
Most people don't know who Ayn Rand is. Briefly, Rand became notorious for attacking people of faith as "sheep" as saying religion should be abolished. The author was famous for saying the only true belief system was selfishness.
When Paul Ryan came out with his budget, which rewards the rich and punishes poor and middle class families, Ryan used the Catholic faith to justify his plan. He received criticism from Catholics, including the Conference of Bishops and Georgetown University. Many Catholics are unhappy with Ryan using their faith to justify an attack on the poor.
The disconnect between Ryan's policies and Ryan's statements is clear. Ryan talks the talk of faith, he talks about caring for the people, but he lives the politics of selfishness as described by Ayn Rand. His statements, and his actions, simply don't add up.
This is not a battle about religion. I think people's beliefs are their own. What is troubling is a track record of dishonesty.
I am telling the people of Wisconsin and America what my values are and what I stand for. It would be nice to see some honesty from Paul Ryan for a change.
We will continue to hold Paul Ryan accountable and build a winning campaign.
A helmet tip to The Poke.
Welcome to the first week of the rest of the 2012 campaign cycle. And, as expected, it was actually a pretty sleepy week, on balance. There were some big headlines downballot (where two House incumbents found themselves on the outs after a key primary election), but the race for the White House might have seen its slowest week in terms of news and data in months.
The near future could get pretty interesting, though. North Carolina and Indiana head to the polls in a little more than a week, and the primary elections for the Wisconsin recalls fall on the same date. That touches off a four-week span with 10 states having primary elections of some sort.
The moral of the story?it is only going to be quiet for a minute or two. So rest up. As for this week's data and headlines, you can find them just past the jump in this "calm before the storm" edition of the Weekend Digest.
What a Hobson's choice. It's not easy being president, especially when the so-called "loyal opposition" so consistently holds the poor and powerless hostage. Sometimes I wonder how they got so screwed up that they put power and greed ahead of other human beings, because this is just plain amoral:
President Barack Obama threatened on Friday to veto a House Republican bill that would keep government-backed student loan interest rates at their current level because of a poison-pill amendment, even though his veto would play directly into an obvious trap laid by Republican political strategist Karl Rove.
President Obama has said repeatedly that student loan rates must not go up ? which they will on July 1 without Congressional action ? and the Interest Rate Reduction Act would indeed accomplish those ends. However, it would do so by eliminating the Prevention and Public Health Fund, a key part of Obama?s health care reforms.
?This is a politically-motivated proposal and not the serious response that the problem facing America?s college students deserves,? the administration said Friday in a policy statement (PDF), threatening a veto the bill if it lands on Obama?s desk.
The bill passed the Republican-controlled House of Representatives on Friday afternoon by a margin of 215-195, with votes falling mostly along party lines.
That veto could be issued at hazard to the president, who?s facing a political Catch-22 thanks to a new strategy hatched by former Bush political adviser Karl Rove. Rove?s political action committee, American Crossroads, has a new ad out this week that makes a pitch for the youth vote by condemning Obama as a ?cool? president who?s somehow causing students to struggle.
We Are Women March 4.28.12 - Susan Montee (D) and Courtney Cole (D) (April 19, 2012)
Approximately three hundred individuals from across the state gathered this morning near the James C. Kirkpatrick State Information Building in Jefferson City for a march to a rally at the Capitol in support of women's rights.
The march to the Capitol.
Participants started gathering in the parking lot two hours before start of the march.
"I Have A Voice, I Vote"
"Allow me to probe you, M'lady" and "So then...What do I do with these huddled masses?"
"I'll Show You My Tramp Stamp In Nov!"
March organizers Courtney Cole (left) and Paula Wilmarth (right) react to a remark by one of the speakers at the rally.
"This slut will remember in November."
"Keep your Boehner out of my Uterus."
"I can't believe we are still fighting this shit!"
Most others can't either.
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