Hometown: Upstate NY
Home country: USA
Current location: Houston Area TX
Member since: Mon Nov 10, 2003, 05:30 PM
Number of posts: 135,060
Hometown: Upstate NY
Home country: USA
Current location: Houston Area TX
Member since: Mon Nov 10, 2003, 05:30 PM
Number of posts: 135,060
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) isn’t exactly the most sophisticated observer of international politics. As such, he was treated to a crash course in foreign policy by the Romney campaign prior to his selection as the GOP Vice Presidential nominee. Now, one of Ryan’s key advisers during that briefing period is calling for congressional authorization for war with Iran.
Elliott Abrams, a former Bush Administration official who focuses on the Middle East, took to the pages of the Weekly Standard to argue that neither Iranians nor Israelis think the Obama administration is “serious” about attacking Iran, and that the only real way to convince them is having Congress vote for war:
In any event, the debate over a joint resolution will clarify who stands where. At the moment, no one is persuaded that the United States will use force to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. That situation worries Israelis and emboldens Iranians, not the outcome we want. A clear statement now that is backed by the nominees of both parties and elicits widespread support in Congress would demonstrate that, whatever the election results, American policy is set. That is the best (and may be the only) way to avoid an Israeli strike in the near future and the best (and may be the only) way to persuade Iran to negotiate seriously. And if we are unwilling as a nation to state that we will act to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, that conclusion should solidify support for what would then become the inevitable Israeli strike. A refusal by the White House to seek such a joint resolution would itself suggest that, while “all options are on the table,” the likelihood is that that is precisely where they will remain.
The weight of the evidence (according to the Pentagon and the U.N.) suggests that, far from emboldening Iran, the Obama administration’s diplomacy and sanctions policy has significantly slowed Iran’s nuclear policy relative to the baseline left by the Bush administration. Abrams’ claim that Iran is more likely to come to the table if threatened by war is also highly improbable, given that the specter of an American attack is one of the regime’s most effective tools for dealing with its domestic problems. Finally, the Obama administration has already taken a number of steps that credibly establish the possibility of an U.S. strike — having Congress authorize military force would likely add nothing to these steps other than lock the United States down a path that could result in a costly war.
Posted by maddezmom | Tue Aug 21, 2012, 11:50 AM (8 replies)
Rep. Steve King, one of the most staunchly conservative members of the House, was one of the few Republicans who did not strongly condemn Rep. Todd Akin Monday for his remarks regarding pregnancy and rape. On Monday, King signaled why — he might agree with parts of Akin’s assertion.
King told an Iowa reporter he’s never heard of a child getting pregnant from statutory rape or incest.
“Well I just haven’t heard of that being a circumstance that’s been brought to me in any personal way,” King told KMEG-TV Monday, “and I’d be open to discussion about that subject matter.”
A Democratic source flagged King’s praise of Akin in the KMEG interview to TPM. But potentially more controversial for King is his suggestion that pregnancies from statutory rape or incest don’t exist or happen rarely. A 1996 review by the Guttmacher Institute found “at least half of all babies born to minor women are fathered by adult men.”
The tie between statutory rape and teen pregnancy has been the subject of ad campaigns from groups like United Way.
Posted by maddezmom | Tue Aug 21, 2012, 11:24 AM (7 replies)
It’s Code Red as Republicans try to distance themselves from Representative Todd Akin’s recent startlingly inaccurate biology lesson. Claiming that victims of what he called “legitimate” rape could somehow “shut down” the process of conception, Akin, who sits on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, has since tried to dismiss his remarks as boorish, one-off musings. (He meant to say “forcible rape,” not “legitimate rape.”) Obama issued an unequivocal statement that “Rape is rape.” Meanwhile, a Romney-Paul spokeswoman quickly clarified that their administration would permit abortions in cases of rape.
But the story doesn’t end with a bizarre, unscientific comment about how reproduction works. This embarrassing episode is only the latest in a long string of Republican rape canards that present a binary view of female sexuality where some women are deemed worthy of legislative sympathy while others are not.
The ignorance is reaching a new crescendo but it goes back decades. We heard from periodontist-turned-lawmaker Henry Aldridge that women who are “truly raped” can’t become pregnant because the “juices don’t flow.” Others, including a Federal judge, have called pregnancy from rape as likely as “snow in Miami” and “one in millions in millions,” while some have embraced specious claims about the effect of emotional trauma on conception from “assaultive rape” (so called), and other science-bending notions. Former state representative Stephen Freind once opined that raped women “secrete a certain secretion” to prevent conception. (If such a thing existed, surely the pharmaceutical industry would like to hear about it.)
More recently, vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan drew fire for language in the co-sponsored No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act that initially distinguished between “forcible rape,” and statutory rape of minors or non-violent rapes that could affect mentally impaired, retarded or drugged women.
Read more: http://ideas.time.com/2012/08/21/todd-akin-fallout-rape-abortion-and-the-dark-history-of-qualifying-violence-against-women/#ixzz24CIPunUl
Posted by maddezmom | Tue Aug 21, 2012, 11:05 AM (3 replies)
The official platform language poised for approval at next week's Republican National Convention doesn't fully represent the party's presumptive presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said Tuesday.
Republicans are gathered this week in Tampa to draft official platform language, and potential language calling for the adoption of a constitutional amendment to curb abortion rights has drawn newfound scrutiny.
The RNC's platform committee is set to vote Tuesday evening on draft language related to abortion, which calls for "a human life amendment to the Constitution," along with "legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children."
"I think as far as the details of some of these things, like an exception for rape or life of the mother, these are not uncommon differences that candidates have and don't share some of the detail on some of those exceptions," Priebus said on MSNBC. "This is the platform of the Republican Party; it's not the platform of Mitt Romney."
The party adopted identical language in its 2004 and 2008 platforms, which doesn't talk about exceptions or granular details, but also doesn't specifically stipulate an exception to bans on abortion in cases of rape, incest, or the health of the mother.
RNC Chair: We’re a pro-life party
On the heels of Rep. Todd Akin’s incendiary remarks on rape, NBC News has confirmed that next week’s Republican National Convention platform could include calls for the “Human Life Amendment,” which would outlaw abortion in all circumstances, even in cases of rape or incest. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus discusses.
Posted by maddezmom | Tue Aug 21, 2012, 10:56 AM (13 replies)
August 20, 2012 - 7:38pm (Print)
This lesson in voodoo reproductive biology finds it basis in a long line of witch doctors willing to make things up out of thin air in their quest to control women's bodies. One such "doctor" is John Wilke. It turns out that Mitt Romney is tied to Dr. Wilke through a campaign umbilical cord.
Mitt Romney himself welcomed and touted the endorsement of Dr. John Wilke in 2007.
According to a 2007 campaign press release:
Today, Dr. John Willke, a founder of the Pro Life Movement, endorsed Governor Mitt Romney and his campaign for our nation's highest office. Dr. Willke is a leading voice within the pro-life community and will be an important surrogate for Governor Romney's pro-life and pro-family agenda.
"Unlike other candidates who only speak to the importance of confronting the major social issues of the day, Governor Romney has a record of action in defending life. Every decision he made as Governor was on the side of life. I know he will be the strong pro-life President we need in the White House," said Dr. Willke. "Governor Romney is the only candidate who can lead our pro-life and pro-family conservative movement to victory in 2008."
Welcoming Dr. Willke's announcement, Governor Romney said, "I am proud to have the support of a man who has meant so much to the pro-life movement in our country. He knows how important it is to have someone in Washington who will actively promote pro-life policies. Policies that include more than appointing judges who will follow the law but also opposing taxpayer funded abortion and partial birth abortion. I look forward to working with Dr. Willke and welcome him to Romney for President."
Posted by maddezmom | Tue Aug 21, 2012, 10:17 AM (0 replies)
Romney's 2007 campaign embraced Willke as “an important surrogate for Governor Romney's pro-life and pro-family agenda.”
During his 2008 presidential campaign, Mitt Romney welcomed the endorsement of a pro-life doctor linked to Rep. Todd Akin’s widely condemned statement that “legitimate rape” rarely leads to pregnancy.
Dr. John C. Willke is a leading proponent of the view that women are unlikely to become pregnant by “forcible rape,” a theory he laid out in a 1999 article on the subject.
Akin, a Missouri Republican now running for the U.S. Senate, echoed that theory during an interview with KTVI-TV in St. Louis on Sunday, citing unnamed doctors to claim, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
After his comments sparked an uproar, Akin quickly said he “misspoke.”
Willke, meanwhile, defended his opinion in interviews on Monday, including one with The New York Times.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/pro-life-doctor-john-willke-linked-akin-forcible-rape-claims-endorsed-romney-2007-article-1.1141021
Posted by maddezmom | Tue Aug 21, 2012, 10:12 AM (4 replies)
s the Republican convention approaches, "etch a sketch," Mitt Romney continues to reshape himself. Overnight, he's for allowing abortion in cases of rape and incest, after being against it. Now he poses as the savior of Medicare after being the scourge of the entitlement society.
But for all the shape shifting, Romney's core worldview is clear, forged in the experience that made his fortune as head of Bain Capital. For this reason, the Campaign for America's Future has created bainofourexistence.com to provide a constantly updated resource of reporting on and analysis of Bain and Romney. (This will be a constant work in progress. To contribute to the site, please go here.}
The various scandals surrounding Romney at Bain - Did he create jobs or destroy them? Did he actually quit in 1999 or later? Was he responsible for companies that went bankrupt after he left? etc.- miss the point. Bain Capital, with Romney at its head, epitomizes the Gilded Age capitalism of the last decades, an era of casino finance, of debt and deals, frauds and follies that gave us extreme inequality, a declining middle class, and eventually brought the economy to its knees. And Romney, for all of his repositioning, is running as an advocate of that casino capitalism, a defender of the rigged rules and skewed policies that underpin it. As Robert Reich has noted, unlike Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt, who ran as "traitors to their class," Romney is an unabashed tribune of the rich. The worldview forged at Bain is revealed in his personal life as well as his policy choices.
The Fixed Casino
As Charles Ferguson writes in Predator Nation, private equity companies like Bain Capital may be the "most efficient money-seeking organisms in the world." As the head of Bain, Romney was a money guy, not a businessman. Bain people don't know cars or steel; they aren't part of building companies grounded in communities, with proud workforces. They aren't entrepreneurs with an idea, seeking to build a business. They certainly aren't job creators. They know numbers, money, tax codes.
Posted by maddezmom | Tue Aug 21, 2012, 09:56 AM (2 replies)
A broad, overall view or perspective of an issue is often referred to as “the big picture,” and it typically has several related facets that individually contribute to a larger agenda. If one steps back and takes an overall view of the 112th Congress, it is impossible to miss the big picture that Republicans have used a multi-faceted approach in their war on women, and especially their right to choose their own reproductive health. For the past couple of days, there has been a firestorm over comments made by Representative Todd Akin regarding what he calls “legitimate rape,” and although it is a big story, it is just a microcosm of the entire GOP’s overall view of women.
Akin’s remark that in the case of “legitimate rape,” a woman’s body mysteriously blocks conception sparked outrage and disbelief for more than one reason. Many were stunned at Akin’s lack of understanding of human biology and the reproductive process, and many more were dumbfounded that he differentiated between “legitimate rape” and an insane notion that there is something called “illegitimate rape.” However, it is unfair to single out Akin when his comments have been part and parcel of the entire Republican Party’s opinion of women and their right to choose their own reproductive health. It was curious to watch Republicans abandon and condemn Akin over his remarks on legitimate rape and conception, especially when they have voted with him to eliminate women’s right to choose throughout the 112th Congress.
The Romney campaign team issued a statement that a “Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape,” but as critics began connecting Paul Ryan to Akin it became glaringly obvious that Ryan and Romney share his twisted pro-life position. This column has pointed out that Paul Ryan co-sponsored, with Akin, a national personhood bill that defines a single-celled zygote as having all the rights of an American citizen ever since Romney tapped him for vice-president. However, Ryan’s history of support for anti-choice legislation goes back farther than his support for a personhood bill. Last year, Ryan co-sponsored the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” that redefined rape to limit access to abortion services, and his Path to Prosperity budget slashes funding for Medicaid and Title X that provides low-income women with contraception and family planning counseling. Last year, Ryan supported amending Title X to prohibit grants from being awarded to groups like Planned Parenthood, and Romney said he would scrap the Title X program entirely to cut costs. However, according to the Guttmacher Institute, every dollar spent helping women avoid pregnancy saves $3.74 in Medicaid spending so the issue is not cutting costs, but ending women’s right to choose when they give birth.
The prescient question is; what is the basis of Ryan, Romney, Akin, and the rest of the Republicans’ pro-life stance? It is based entirely on the Christian bible and not fiscal conservatism. In 2010 Ryan wrote that “I cannot believe any official or citizen can still defend the notion that an unborn human being has no rights” and it explains his attempt at legislation granting personhood to a zygote. In fact, while Republicans were condemning Akin, Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council (FRC) and staunch pro-life advocate stood by him and voiced their unwavering support. Perkins claimed the controversy was a “gotcha political” moment, and issued a stern warning to Republicans who considered criticizing Akin, and said the controversy was to divert attention from Akin’s Senate opponent Claire McCaskill. FRC’s Action PAC president Connie Mackey issued a statement that “We know who Todd Akin is. He’s a defender of life. He’s a defender of families and this is just a controversy built up,” but like Ryan, Romney, and Republican Party, Akin is not a defender of families.
Posted by maddezmom | Tue Aug 21, 2012, 09:21 AM (7 replies)
A new poll released Tuesday lends credence to what Democrats — and even some Republicans — have warned about Paul Ryan being thrust onto the GOP ticket: Most Americans don’t much care for the Wisconsin Congressman’s sweeping proposal to reform Medicare.
The latest survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP), conducted on behalf of the Daily Kos and Service Employees International Union (SEIU), shows that 45 percent of registered voters are opposed to Ryan’s proposed reforms to Medicare, while 36 percent support his proposal.
A star among Republicans and the tea party, Ryan’s entrance in the presidential race has rejuvenated a conservative electorate that has been slow to warm up to Mitt Romney.
The Romney camp has attempted to distance itself from the policy plank for which Ryan is best known — his sweeping budget proposal, which included a plan to supplant Medicare for seniors with a private voucher system, that passed the House of Representatives largely along party lines earlier this year — insisting that it’s the budget put forth by the candidate at the top of the ticket that matters the most. Tuesday’s poll suggests that might not please Republicans, 65 percent of whom support Ryan’s plan for Medicare.
Posted by maddezmom | Tue Aug 21, 2012, 08:25 AM (1 replies)
As Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney take the stage in Tampa this week, the ghost of an Austrian economist will be hovering above them with an uneasy smile on his face. Ryan has repeatedly suggested that many of his economic ideas were inspired by the work of Friedrich von Hayek, an awkwardly shy (and largely ignored) economist and philosopher who died in 1992. A few years ago, it was probably possible to fit every living Hayekian in a conference room. Regardless of what happens in November, that will no longer be the case.
Hayek’s ideas aren’t completely new to American politics. Some mainstream Republicans, including Ronald Reagan, have name-checked him since at least the 1980s as a shorthand way of signaling their unfettered faith in the free market and objection to big government. But few actually engaged with Hayek’s many contentious (and outré) views, particularly his suspicion of all politicians, including Republicans, who claim to know something about how to make an economy function better. For these reasons, and others, Hayek has become fashionable of late among antigovernment protesters, and if Ryan brings even a watered-down version of his ideas into the Republican mainstream, the country’s biggest battles about the economy won’t be between right and left, but within the Republican Party itself — between Tea Party radicals who may feel legitimized and the establishment politicians they believe stand in their way.
For the past century, nearly every economic theory in the world has emerged from a broad tradition known as neoclassical economics. (Even communism can be seen as a neoclassical critique.) Neoclassicists can be left-wing or right-wing, but they share a set of crucial core beliefs, namely that it is useful to look for government policies that can improve the economy. Hayek and the rest of his ilk — known as the Austrian School — reject this. To an Austrian, the economy is incomprehensibly complex and constantly changing; and technocrats and politicians who claim to have figured out how to use government are deluded or self-interested or worse. According to Hayek, government intervention in the free market, like targeted tax cuts, can only make things worse.
Many of Ryan’s most famous proposals have clear Hayekian roots. His Roadmap for America’s Future includes calls for government to step out and let the market decide. His proposal to allow citizens to buy whatever health insurance they want, rather than use a government-promoted exchange, also seems to be embedded in the Austrian tradition. In other important ways, though, Ryan is anything but Austrian. While Hayek would laugh at an economic forecast for distant 2013, Ryan’s budget plan includes predictions about 2083. The congressman’s proposal for two separate tax systems — a flat-tax system and a loophole-filled tax system — is exactly the sort of contradictory governmental problem-solving that Hayek detested.
Posted by maddezmom | Tue Aug 21, 2012, 08:10 AM (0 replies)