It's no secret that the GOP is still fighting Roe v. Wade 40 years later.
So it should come as no surprise that they decided to blow $2 million tax-payer dollars on a symbolic vote to further restrict a woman's right to choose.
Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz) sponsored the bill, and it resembles the recent string of legislative battles that have taken place in a dozen different states. The bill would ban most abortions after 20 weeks, passed on very clear party lines. What's more, the bill passed out of an all-male committee.
It's a man's world
One of the fights that came out of this bill was a GOP attempt to, once again, redefine rape and would force women to report a rape to the authorities. The bill originally didn't even have a rape or incest exception, and after a debate in which Republicans argued against an amendment, the public outcry resulted in them quietly adding one (and to have a key-sponsor of the bill take his name off of it in outrage - he was one of the 6 Republicans to vote against it, too)
This cannot be real life
You won't believe where the justifications of this are coming from. One Republican believes that, because a fetus was rocking back and forth in the womb, that it was masturbating and feeling pleasure. And, therefore, it can feel pain.
Just. What? Rachel Maddow breaks it down for us...
Okay maybe it is real life. But it doesn't end there. The GOP's longstanding effort to rebrand itself and appeal to kids may actually have played a role in Congressman Burgess' fetal masturbation theory. No one wants this to be true, but it's hard to escape reality.
At the Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference, one panel dedicated time to making the GOP accessible to millenials. No, they weren't going to try and do it by softening their stances, like this College Republicans report suggested. Instead they were going to add humor and sarcasm to the debate.
Essentially, they want to make abortion funny.
So far the push by the GOP to restrict a woman's right to choose has been the most popular policy objective they've had to work with, and their ridiculous attempts to shape the debate have hit a wall. There's no way this legislation will pass congress, and no way that they can push this on the people from Washington.
There's a hashtag on Twitter we like for moments like this: #GoodbyeGOP
Our friends over at MoveOn.org sponsored a poll done by Public Policy Polling. The results show rare bipartisan support to have student interest rates lowered!
83% of American voters polled by PPP have indicated they want to either lower student loan interest rates, or keep them at current levels. This figure splits in two direction:
41% of those polled expressed support for Elizabeth Warren's proposal to lower them to 0.75%
42% of those polled said they would prefer them to stay at current rates
The partisan breakdown saw 86% of Republicans, 84% of Democrats, and 77% of independents supporting lowering or keeping rates the same. Large majorities of voters are saying that they would be less likely to vote for their member of congress if they supported raising their rates, and a greater majority would vote to have rates lowered to 0.75% - this breaks down as 60% of Democrats, 54% of independents, and 50% of Republicans. Senator Warren's bill has the strongest support of those polled, with a 2:1 margin supporting it - this breaks down to 65% of Democrats and 56% of Republicans and independents each. Source:Public Policy Polling
There is clear, bipartisan support for Senator Warren's bill to lower student loan rates to the same that big banks pay to borrow from the government.
Note: We couldn't embed the video, but you can catch it here, then click on "Senator Elizabeth Warren," to skip to the beginning of her speech.
Now for the blow-by-blow.
@ 15:45 - Power is becoming one-sided, with deep pockets lining up to push against anything that changes the status quo.
@ 17:00 - Even if powerful interests lose the fight in congress, they turn it into a victory with a favorable court opinion.
@ 17:50 - There is an intense fight over what the federal court system will look like in the future.
@ 18:15 - There is a major lack in professional diversity on the federal bench.
According to a study published by ACS earlier this year, as of 2008, the federal appellate bench was "dominated by judges whose previous professional experience is generally corporate or prosecutorial." The study examined the biographies of 162 judges listed in the Almanac of the Federal Judiciary. It found that 85% of the judges had worked in private practice, and also noted that it was "clear from the judges’ biographies that a sizable number of them worked for large, well-known firms that tend to represent corporations."
@ 21:10 - A great quote on Judge Chen:
At his induction ceremony, Judge Chen was quoted as saying that he never considered withdrawing his name from consideration because, as he explained, “I believe that someone should not be disqualified from the bench simply because they once represented the voiceless and unpopular, rather than the wealthy and the powerful.” Judge Chen is right.
@ 22:10 - Recent data shows a very pro-corporate tilt on the Supreme Court.
The five conservative justices currently sitting on the Supreme Court are in the top ten most pro-business justices in a half century – and Justices Alito and Roberts are numbers one and two – the most pro-business.
@ 22:45 - The extremely pro-business Chamber of Commerce, as well as other pro-business groups have had more and more wins against increasingly conservative courts. At this rate, these courts will be bought and paid for by corporate interests.
The courts have an extreme pro-business bias, and their ability to pick and choose cases is giving it the power to shape the evolution of the political landscape to its, and the powerful corporate interests to give them more power than at any point in recent history.
But, maybe it was just an isolated incident. Maybe it's just one guy getting caught with his guard down a little...
Wait, what did Texas Governor Rick Perry have to say about religious freedom?
That's your talking point. That's your hook. Everyone has the right to choose a religion, as long as they have a faith? Last I checked, 77% of people in the US were Christian. It really doesn't look like they need a hand from the government to fight some oppression, or in this case, discomfort over saying, "Merry Christmas."
So Christmas in June aside, maybe that's not the worst thing to legislate. I mean, in the grand scale of geopolitical affairs, the governor of Texas giving religious preference to a group in a very religious state, while misguided, isn't exactly like coming out in support of someone like, say, Bashar al-Assad, the malevolent dictator who slaughters his own people and has now been proven to have used chemical weapons against Syrian rebels.
Yeah, not like any GOP politicians are going to stand up for him.
Sen. Paul: Taxpayer dollars funding 'war against Christianity in the Middle East' - The Hill
“These countries are not our true allies and no amount of money will make them so. They are not allies of Israel, and I fear one day our money and military arms that we have paid for will be used against Israel,”
Alright, so Rand Paul just doesn't want to see US support go to rebels who might make problems for Israel, which makes him, essentially, a proponent of the status quo, which also means Bashar al-Assad stays in power?
We all knew the GOP rebrand was shaky but it can't be this bad. They're just running out of stuff to say since Scandalmania doesn't seem to be rocking as much this week. But we have covered Senator Rand Paul's support for the Assad regime. There really isn't anywhere we could go from there, right?
Rick Santorum: Why Mitt Romney didn’t win - Politico
It just doesn't end... I mean, Romney soundly beat Santorum! Is this reality?
The State Senate exploded when debate on a mandatory ultrasound bill abruptly ended, and Senators were screamed down by Senate President Mike Ellis (R).
Senate Bill 206 (text here ) is the latest in a series of ultra-strict anti-abortion bills that would enforce mandatory, unnecessary, and invasive, as well as not even medically sound ultrasounds on women seeking an abortion. What's more is that Governor Scott Walk is most likely going to sign it into law, as it's expected to sail through the GOP-controlled House.
Rachel Maddow's commentary on the issue adds poignancy to it all:
@ 0:20 - Watch what happens when he forces debate to end and he loses his mind
@ 0:32 - Lays waste to Democratic traditions by forcing an end to debate
@ 0:54 - "YOU'RE OUT OF ORDER." "NO YOU'RE OUT OF ORDER." Completely explodes at Senators voicing their dissent
@ 1:41 - Dissent will "not be tolerated"
@ 1:50 - 8th ear-splitting gavel smash... it indicates that the loudest and angriest person in the room dictates policy
@ 1:51 to end - Maddow's take. Will there be a political cost to pay for forcing medically unnecessary procedures on women?
All of this begs the question, "What the hell is going on?"