Election Reports – Western States – 2/17/14

Ann Kirkpatrick: wiki commonsDemocratic Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick is running for re-election in Arizona’s 1st District. She’s had a difficult ride in the red state, winning a House seat in 2008 but losing her bid for re-election to Republican Paul Gosar in the 2010 GOP sweep. For the 2012 election, redistricting essentially separated Gosar and Kirkpatrick, giving her the chance to run again. She won the seat, but some thought her vote on the Affordable Care Act reduced her support in Arizona and she squeaked-by with a 3 point margin of victory.

Kirkpatrick is seen as someone who fights for rural Arizona. She’s currently working to make permanent the Payment-in-Lieu-of-Taxes (PILT) program, which brings in badly needed funding for vital services to counties in states like Arizona with large areas of nontaxable, federal land. Kirkpatrick has been endorsed by numerous officials in District 1 cities and counties. One endorsement from Greenlee County Sheriff Larry Avila:

Ann has experience as a county prosecutor, so she knows how important public safety is to a community. Her work has made Greenlee County better for our families and I look forward to having her continue fighting for us in Washington.

Kirkpatrick’s opponents maintain her support for Obamacare is a weakness. She surprised so-called “angry voters” by walking out of a 2009 town hall meeting on the Affordable Care Act. It turned out to be a smart move; there may have been some “angry voters”, but most turned-out to be fake, part of a nation-wide harrassment strategy funded by teabagger groups Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks designed to show a phoney picture of overwhelming opposition to the ACA in town halls full of teabaggers bussed-in from other areas.

Kirkpatrick points-out that although she voted for the ACA, she has called attention to the problems with Obamacare. Kirkpatrick teamed-up with Democratic Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09) to ask HHS Secretary Sebelius to look into the difficulty Arizonans were having with ACA enrollment (reminder: GOP Governor Jan Brewer went against her own party and approved Medicaid expansion under the ACA in Arizona). In response, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) made adjustments that increased flexibility for enrollees.

The House Majority PAC released a campaign video on the issues with Kirkpatrick and the ACA:

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Kirkpatrick is ready for the campaign and will receive support from state Democrats and the DNC. She has raised $1.2 million and still has around $825k on hand. Assuming she’s the nominee, her challengers in the general include Republicans Andy Tobin (Speaker of the Arizona House), businessman Adam Kwasman and cattle rancher Gary Kiehne.

Research by Doug Marquardt and S. Luther.

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Young Earth Believer Ken Ham Just Might Be Onto Something…

When Bill Nye and Ken Ham agreed to debate evolution some worried that the event would simply provide a forum for a fundamentalist to expound his anti scientific point of view.  The debate was also seen as objectionable for essentially allowing that the issue is debatable, which it really is not from the scientific point of view.

As it turns out, Nye did quite well in the debate.   The ultimate proof that Nye carried the argument is provided by none other than fundie televangelist Pat Robertson whose reaction to the debate was to implore fellow Christians to stop making a joke of themselves.  When a proponent of  fundamentalism loses Pat Robertson on issues of faith, they really have just lost the argument.

Ham’s reaction to Robertson was to essentially implore almighty God to remove the scales from the eyes of those who believe as Robertson does, and to bemoan the influence of the televangelist on his far flung audience.  I for one would echo Ham on this, but I’m not certain the results of Robertson reaching true enlightenment would prove satisfactory to Ham’s point of view on most issues.   Further, as long as Robertson maintains his fundamentalist outlook on the important issues of the day, (with the notable exception the Young Earth theory) I also agree with Ham that Robertson’s influence on his audience is truly unfortunate.

Robertson’s embarrassment stemmed from Ham’s defense of the young Earth theory, where by fundamentalist bible believers contend that the planet is around 6000 years old.  In order to forward this theory Ham finds himself defending another embarrassing belief.  Ham must contend that prior to the great flood of Noah that all animals were vegetarians.

“I have not spent a lot of time with lions, but I can tell they have teeth that really aren’t set up for broccoli,” Nye countered.

“Just because an animal has sharp teeth, it doesn’t mean it’s a meat eater, it means it has sharp teeth,” Ham answered

Surprisingly enough, Ham may have a point on this one.  I have stumbled over incontrovertible photographic evidence that Lions once did, and indeed still apparently may subsist entirely upon a vegetarian diet, which proof I hereby submit for the record:

A fundamentalist lion grudgingly proves the Young Earth theory.

A fundamentalist lion grudgingly proves the Young Earth theory.

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The Face of Planned Parenthood

As a young well educated professional struggling to find a job with health insurance today, I find myself in need of affordable healthcare. Even with my current health insurance, I cannot afford the best plan. So, where do I go when I need care? Planned Parenthood. Every time a politician opens their mouth to discuss defunding Planned Parenthood I get angry. Why do people say the right to life is so important to them when they want to take away a place that offers healthcare for millions of women? Is my life not important to them? The truth is they only care about the unborn. Once you are born their concern about your life vanishes. Not only is this hypercritical, but it is just ridiculous. The Republican party harps on the idea of a smaller government. A government that does not need to be  involved in the lives of its people. Last time I checked telling me what to do with my body is a bit of a privacy violation. A huge one in fact! What is the fascination with women’s health? Why do Republicans feel the need to be so controlling? There are far more important issues facing this country than where women get birth control and pap smears.

A pap smear is critical in the detection of Cervical cancer.  Perhaps those who want to defund Planned Parenthood would rather I just chance my health. The last time I went to the clinic, the staff counseled me on my blood pressure. Again, something that is very important to my overall health especially since cardiac issues run in my family. I have personally benefited from the services of Planned Parenthood, and so have other women in similar situations. If the Republicans met us, would they tell us to our face we don’t deserve care? Planned Parenthood is here to stay Republicans. The next time you bring up defunding, think of me. Think of a young professional who gives back to her community through volunteer work. The girl who supports her local businesses and entrepreneurs.  Leave women’s health alone and move on to more important issues. I have a few suggestions if you don’t know where to start.

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President Obama’s Little Noted But Epic Win

The passage through the house and senate of a clean debt limit increase bill has exposed deep divisions in the Republican party.  Ted Cruz’ stunt forcing Republican Senate leaders to vote in favor of allowing the vote to proceed has only earned Cruz deeper enmity from his side of the aisle.   John Boehner’s announcement that he would mainly rely upon Democratic votes with a few Republican crossovers was appropriately wrapped up by his weak rendition of Zippity Doo Dah as he exited the press conference.

One aspect of the clean debt limit increase that has been given little attention is the total and final victory by President Obama over a tactic which Republicans have used continuously since 2011 to vex the President and cause ongoing economic uncertainty.   President Obama and a unified Democratic congressional caucus have ended the bad habit of governing by crisis. 

Until this victory, Republicans held the economy hostage on a regular basis, attempting to pass initiatives they could not pass under normal procedure or shoot the hostage.   The final defeat of this tactic is far more important to the nation going forward than the Republican civil war, even if the subject matter is not as titillating to cover.

Following several months of  media coverage of President Obama’s  falling poll numbers, sustained criticism of the ACA website and general carping at the President from the unhinged right, why can’t the MSM give the President credit for an epic victory and the final defeat of the main legislative tactic the Republicans used against him for the last three years?  One is left with the sense that if coverage of the Whitehouse does not include some sort of chortling about how Obama looks bad on the issue the story will be embargoed.  

If anything, more attention of this win by the President has been paid by Republicans bashing other Republicans for allowing it to happen than by the MSM giving the President his due.  

 It may be tempting to ascribe this oversight to the media obsession with the “horserace” of Washington politics, and right now all the attention is on who will win the civil war on the right.  But Democrats and President Obama finally defeating one of the most damaging tactics ever used to push an agenda is a meta victory in the grand scheme of our democracy, and should be worthy of far greater notice.

Posted in Barack Obama, Congress, Conservatives, Debt and Budget, Democratic Leaders, Economic Policy, John Boehner, Politics, Tea Party, Ted Cruz, The Economy, The Media | Tagged
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Jindal Goes Deepity

Daniel Dennet coined the word Deepity, and provides this definition: “[A] proposition that seems both important and true – and profound – but that achieves this effect by being ambiguous. On one reading, it is manifestly false, but it would be earth-shaking if it were true; on the other reading, it is true but trivial. The unwary listener picks up the glimmer of truth from the second reading, and the devastating importance from the first reading, and thinks, Wow!

Having twice titled Peggy Noonan the queen of the deepity, I have been looking forward to the time that we could enthrone a king to rule at her side. Bobby Jindal is making a mighty effort to win the crown as the king of the deepity.

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Biden: There Is No Republican Party

Vice President Joe Biden tells it like it is at the House Democratic policy conference:

There isn’t a Republican party. I wish there were, I wish there was a Republican party. I wish there was one person we could sit across the table from and make a deal and make the compromise and know when you got up from the table that the deal was done.

There is no — all you had to do was look at their response to the State of the Union, what were there, three or four?

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Virginia’s Marriage Equality Ban Struck Down by Federal Judge

Virginia’s marriage equality ban struck down by federal judge (via Raw Story )

The Virginia law banning same-sex marriage was struck down on Thursday by a federal judge, who ruled that it violates the equal-protection clause of the 14th Amendment, and argued that the law mirrored the state’s former ban against interracial marriages…

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Election Reports – Eastern States – 2/14/14

Senator Kay Hagan of North Carolina is the newest target of Hagan, Kay 010809-18418-rb 0014Americans for Prosperity, the ultra-conservative group funded by the billionaire Koch brothers. Despite not yet having an opponent, Republicans have already spent over $8 million on an attack ad campaign against her. Senator Hagan’s campaign has responded to the attacks, saying:

This is just another baseless smear campaign from a Koch Brothers-backed group that doesn’t disclose its donors, doesn’t speak for North Carolinians, and has a record of airing ads that fact checkers call ‘false’. The Koch Brothers have poured more than $8 million in North Carolina trying to buy a Senate seat because they know Kay will always choose the best interests of North Carolina over their special interest agenda.

Her full response, along with fact checks on all of the lies in the ad, can be found on her website. Senator Hagan also appeared on MSNBC’s All In With Chris Hayes to discuss how her continuing support of the Affordable Care Act has been the focus of many of the attacks leveled against her.

Allyson Schwartz, Representative for Pennsylvania’s 13th District and candidate for Governor has received the endorsement of Adrian Shanker, former President of Equality Pennsylvania, who cited her unfaltering opposition to the state-wide ban on gay marriage since its creation in 1996. Schwartz responded to her second endorsement from former Equality Pennsylvania Presidents saying “Pennsylvanians are ready for a new Governor that will embrace equality, progress, and opportunity for every Pennsylvanian.”

Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, Representative of Massachusetts’ 3rd District, posted a picture on Twitter for what women really need this Valentine’s Day: R.E.S.P.E.C.T. 

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Research by Julia Persinger

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This speech will BLOW YOU AWAY!

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Authorities: Ohio Republican Ripped Off Investors to Fund Campaign and Friend’s Church

Authorities: Ohio Republican ripped off investors to fund campaign and friend’s church (via Raw Story )

An Ohio Republican already facing more than 100 years in prison on 16 felony charges was slapped Thursday with 53 additional counts. Rep. Peter Beck, of Mason, has already pleaded not guilty to the previous charges, but the new charges handed up by…

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Election Reports – Central States – 2/12/13

Parker Griffith: Wiki CommonsLast week Parker Griffith, the former Congressman from Alabama, filed papers to run as a Democratic candidate for the Governor of Alabama. He has switched parties, twice. He was a Democratic Congressman for Alabama, but switched to the Republican Party for the 2010 and 2012 elections and was “primaried” by teabaggers. Now, he has rejoined the Democratic Party as a gubernatorial candidate.

Besides questions he’ll face on the political opportunism of switching parties, Griffith will need to explain why he voted against Obamacare. He previously stated it was because the bill was “confusing“. He’s now calling for Medicaid expansion in Alabama. Griffith is also campaigning on adding a state lottery to fund college scholarships.

Former minor league baseball player and businessman Kevin Bass announced his candidacy in December to be Alabama’s next governor. Bass is the owner of the manufacturing company Bass Bats and Bass Gloves. So far, his only experience in politics is an unsuccessful run for mayor of Fayette in 2012. But sometimes voters aren’t in the mood for an experienced politician, so anything’s possible.

In Minnesota, Democrat Jim Read will be running for the U.S. House representing Minnesota’s 6th District. Jim’s been a political science professor for the past 25 years and has authored three books on politics. The 6th District is the most Republican-leaning district in the state. Since Michele Bachmann decided she will not seek a 5th term, four Republicans have announced they will run for the seat.

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (IL-09) released this statement in response to the DOJ’s new policy toward same-sex couples:

I am pleased to see the Department of Justice act to recognize the importance of marriage equality throughout the nation.  The changes in the Department’s policy memorandum released Monday will ensure that individuals in same-sex marriages will now be treated the same as other legally married couples with regard to civil and criminal trials, bankruptcy filings, and more.

As a founding member of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, I am so proud to see how far we’ve come over the past few years. I will continue to advocate for LGBT equality wherever discrimination continues.

I also applaud Michael Sam, former University of Missouri football player and current N.F.L. prospect, for his courage. Our country is changing for the better when young people like him take it upon themselves to break down barriers. Sam is an inspiration to all of us, and he is especially an example to other youth. This is a great day, a great week for equality and I will always be a proud supporter of this kind of progress in our society.

There will be several Republican candidates hoping to challenge Schakowsky in November, including Susanne Atanus, the candidate who made news last month with these remarks:

God is angry. We are provoking him with abortions and same-sex marriage and civil unions. Same-sex activity is going to increase AIDS. If it’s in our military it will weaken our military. We need to respect God.

Schakowsky won in 2012 with 66% of the vote. With opponents like Atanus, history should repeat itself.

Research by Doug Marquardt

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Phil Roe’s Duct Tape Solution Should Apply to Phil Roe

Yesterday, I posted on Tennessee Republican Phil Roe’s suggestion that the GOP should give their nominees “a roll of duct tape to put over their mouths so they don’t say stupid things”. What I didn’t realize, as I didn’t listen to the entire hour and 10 minute video, is that Roe made some pretty stupid remarks, himself.

Roe on including women’s reproductive care and childcare in the ACA:

phil roe: wikipedia commonsI have been fixed. My wife has been fixed, ok. We got three kids. Both of us have determined that if we had to raise another kid now, we would jump off the Capital hand first into the parking lot face first. You got the idea. Don’t want any more kids. But I have to buy pediatric dental coverage, pediatric vision coverage, infertility coverage, OB coverage, of which I don’t need any of. Those are the reasons that you buy with a health savings account and a catastrophic policy what you and your family need.

Roe ignores the fact that when he and his wife had their kids, insurance covered their expenses while others without kids paid into the system to cover things they didn’t need at that moment. We all know how insurance works; anyone can have an accident or develop a condition that’s not shared by all policy holders. Premiums are pooled to pay for a wide range of conditions that don’t apply to every single policy holder. The risk is spread out. That’s how insurance works. Roe and his family benefited from that system years ago, but now he wants to ensure others cannot receive the same benefits. That’s the Republican argument against Social Security, Medicare, and many other programs that benefited conservatives in the past, but now they want to eliminate or slash the programs for others.

Roe remarks on the SOTU address:

I almost had a Joe Wilson moment at the last State of the Union address when the president, for the umpteenth time had the audacity to stand up and say Republicans have no ideas.

So, its Ok for Roe to say “stupid things” like Joe Wison, but not Ok for other Republicans.

Roe’s little Heritage Foundation meeting on the “Future of Health Care” explains his legislation (assuming he repeals Obamacare) which relies on health savings accounts, no subsidies, and a high risk pool that has no limitations on premium rates; exactly what we had prior to Obamacare. He throws-in malpractice reform to ensure that when doctors f*ck-up, you have a harder time suing for damages. Not exactly new ideas from conservatives. Roe even says about his own legislation:

The bill I wrote, I understand, should be amended. I don’t even agree with everything here.

How can he not agree with his own bill? Did Obama endorse it and now he needs to disagree?

Its open for amendment, as opposed to the 80 amendments the Republicans brought to the Affordable Care Act, not one was ruled “in order”.

This is just a barefaced lie. In fact, hundreds of Republican amendments were considered and 161 Republican amendments were INCLUDED in the ACA legislation. Any Republican or teabagger who tells you the ACA was not bipartisan or no Republican amendments were included is lying.

Another ACA lie from Roe:

We have spent literally billions of dollars and have nothing to show for it except a failure.

I suppose its a failure to rich, conservative doctors, like Roe. But to the millions who were uninsured because of pre-existing conditions (like myself) and could not afford the outrageous “high-risk” insurance premiums, or those who were dropped from their parents policy once they developed a serious condition (like kids with cancer), or those who were dropped from their parents policies after a certain age, or those who paid high, individual policy premiums and are now paying much less under the ACA, or those who were too poor to afford coverage in the first place; for the millions who finally have health care coverage and can live their lives without fear, its a massive success.

Roe cites some “private conversation” to do some fearmongering:

I’m a, I had a private conversation I had Friday with someone who is extremely knowledgeable in the hospital, a, realm, and he believes several hundred hospitals across the country are gonna go out of business.

Yeah right, “hundreds”. No believes hyperbole. Michele Bachmann had similar “private conversations” that appeared to be made-up for effect. If Roe had a credible source, he would have identified it. In all probability, it was simply two right-wingers discussing their outrageous conspiracy theories.

And finally, Roe on eliminating Medicaid:

We shouldn’t have a different system for our lower-income people, we should, they should have an insurance plan like I have.

First of all, Roe confirmed in the video that he is on Medicare, not a private insurance plan, so that was another lie. But even if he still had a plan, one of the primary reasons for the ACA and Medicaid expansion is that the poor cannot afford a plan “like you have” and if they are under 65, they can’t get Medicare.

I have to note that one woman in the audience made a very cynical, conservative strategy suggestion, saying that Medicaid is a “great wedge issue to make the case to the American people that government just didn’t show up a couple years ago in Obamacare, its been moving toward a one payer system for a long time”. When it concerns most issues, fear-mongering is all the American people can expect from the radical right.

See the full-length CSpan video …

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