Republicans won’t let go of their conspiracy theory about some nefarious “cover-up” in “talking points” for Ambassador Susan Rice’s TV interviews on the Benghazi attack. But they should at least have better skills for detecting a real cover-up, since they’ve had direct experience, as Robert Parry documents.
In 2011, I gained access to files at the George H.W. Bush library in College Station, Texas, showing how Bush’s White House reacted to allegations in 1991 that he had joined in an operation in 1980 to sabotage President Jimmy Carter’s negotiations to free 52 American hostages then held in Iran.
However, the key to understanding the October Surprise case was that it appeared to be a prequel to the Iran-Contra scandal, part of the same narrative. The story started with the 1980 crisis over 52 American hostages held in Iran, continuing through their release immediately after Ronald Reagan’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 1981, then followed by mysterious U.S. government approval of secret arms shipments to Iran via Israel in 1981, and ultimately morphing into the Iran-Contra Affair of more arms-for-hostage deals with Iran until that scandal exploded in 1986. […]
GOP’s New Outreach to Women: It’s a Trap - Republicans launch 1st concerted effort to win back female voters with ‘Working Families Flexibility Act’, a bill packaged as a lifeline to working moms. It’s a cruel hoax—a slick attempt to give employers more power & hourly workers much less.
(The Nation) - House Republicans are launching their first concerted effort to win back female voters on Tuesday with the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013, a bill that’s being packaged as a lifeline to working moms across the country.
Unfortunately, the legislation is a particularly cruel hoax—a slick attempt to give employers more power, and hourly workers much less.
At first blush, the idea sounds good. The bill would allow hourly workers to convert overtime pay into time off: in other words, instead of getting paid for extra hours, they could stockpile additional vacation time. The pitch here is that working parents could have more flexibility in their schedule and an enhanced ability to balance work and family. “This week, we’ll pass [Representative] Martha Roby’s bill to help working moms and dads better balance their lives between work and their responsibilities as parents,” House Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday.
The GOP is specifically invested in convincing women this bill is for them. The GOP spent $20,000 last week on a digital ad campaign focusing on so-called “mommy blogs,” like Ikeafans.com and MarthaStewart.com, and geo-targeting Democrats in swing districts. “Will Rep. Collin Peterson stand up for working moms?” one iteration of the ad asked.
A fawning National Review profile of Roby, the bill’s sponsor, explains how she wasn’t sure she could handle a run for Congress in 2009 because of concerns about taking care of her children while running for a House seat and potentially becoming a member of Congress—and how those concerns have now inspired her to push this important legislation.
But it’s not too hard to see how pernicious this legislation truly is. “Flexibility” is a word that should make hourly workers check for their wallets—employers hold most of the power in the relationship with hourly workers, which is all the more true if they are not unionized. So “flexibility” to decide if you want to get paid for overtime work, instead of getting fewer hours later on, can quickly become a way for employers to withhold payment for overtime work while also cutting your hours down the road.
Over 160 labor unions and women’s groups sent a letter to members of Congress on Monday, protesting that the Working Families Flexibility Act is “a smoke-and-mirrors bill that offers a pay cut for workers without any guaranteed flexibility or time off to care for their families or themselves.”
Republicans say this isn’t true, and that there are safeguards in the bill that would prevent employers from muscling their employees into surrendering overtime pay. “It is illegal for them to do that. There are enforcement mechanisms in the bill,” Eric Cantor said in February.
But this is where they’re being really tricky—the bill does give workers the right to sue over such intimidation, but denies them the right to use much quicker, and cheaper, administrative remedies through the Department of Labor. It also gives the Department of Labor no additional funds to investigate nor enforce provisions of the act.
Yeah, I know exactly how this is going to pan out if it passes. Employers will pressure workers to work more overtime, then pressure them to take comp time instead of pay. It would be far too easy for an employer to imply that you will be replaced if you don’t comply.
(progresstexas.org) - David Dewhurst and Texas Republican lawmakers hosted a press conference Tuesday morning touting Steve Hotze, a Houston-area “doctor” who is suing to stop the Affordable Care Act being implemented in Texas. Hotze’s rather inane beliefs include the idea that a woman must get permission from a man to work outside the home.
The following is an overview of Hotze’s beliefs:
- A wife may work outside the home only with her husband’s consent
- Birth control pills prevent “the production of women’s biologically identical female hormones and pheromones, making them less attractive to men”
- When men lose their testicles to disease or injury, they have difficulty reading a map, performing math problems and making decisions
- All disease and disability is caused by the sin of Adam and Eve
- Medical problems are frequently caused by personal sin
- No doctor shall provide medical service on the Sabbath
GOP Senator Confirms It: Obama is right about politicized GOP opposition “just because the president wanted to do it.”
(Washington Post) - President Obama is getting widely mocked by commentators and Republicans for using the phrase “permission structure” at his presser yesterday in the course of claiming that Republican officials are constrained from cooperating with him because their base would see it as a “betrayal.”
So it’s good to have a Republican Senator on record confirming that Obama is right about this.
I’m talking about Pat Toomey. The Senator from Pennsylvania didn’t directly address Obama’s remarks, but something he said in another context perfectly confirms the President’s diagnosis of the GOP.
Via Amanda Terkel, Toomey admitted in an interview that expanded background checks went down to defeat because Republicans opposed the bill out of a desire to deny the president a victory. Here’s what Toomey said, according to a write-up in the Times Herald:
“In the end it didn’t pass because we’re so politicized. There were some on my side who did not want to be seen helping the president do something he wanted to get done, just because the president wanted to do it,” Toomey said.
That’s pretty significant. But Toomey’s subsequent effort to walk this back is in some ways even more so:
In subsequent comments, he tried to walk that remark part-way back by noting he meant to say Republicans across the nation in general, not just those in the Senate. “The toughest thing to do in politics is to do the right thing when your supporters think the right thing is something else,” Toomey said.
According to Toomey, what doomed Manchin-Toomey is that Repulicans across the country opposed it only because the president supported it.
This is pretty obvious to anyone paying attention, but it’s nice to have a republican on record saying so.
It’s also nice to know that these people evidently don’t give a fuck about American citizens and would rather play games more suited to middle school students.
WARREN, NH (Think Progress) — At Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s (R-NH) Warren Town Hall Tuesday, a Republican state legislator questioned the senator about whether she shared his concern that America was headed for an armed internal revolution due to President Obama’s immigration reform proposals and his pro-immigrant appointees. And, in an exclusive followup interview outside the forum, the lawmaker, New Hampshire State Rep. Edmond Gionet (R), explained to ThinkProgress that he believes “something is bound to happen” and “people are revolting because they’re looking to have a government in place that’s more user-friendly” to people like them.
As New Hampshire residents pressed Ayotte to respond to questions about her vote against enhanced background checks for gun purchasers, her hand-picked moderator instead called on Gionet. Ayotte had earlier recognized him among the honored guests present. Gionet praised Ayotte’s vote against background checks and then asked her about whether she shared his fear that fellow conservatives might need to overthrough the government.
GIONET: One of the things that concerns my constituents — the majority of my constituents –- is the appointments that are now being made in Washington by our President and the way he is handling the illegal immigrants, nationalizing them and giving them the opportunity to vote, and wanting to keep track of our guns. They are worried that they are going to have to use these guns because of our own government. Now is there anything in Washington that says — any telltale signs that maybe we might be headed for an internal revolution given the fact that these kinds of things are going on? This is what’s said in the groups that I sit in.
AYOTTE: Obviously, I hope not.
Well, combine this with that story I posted earlier about how 44% of republicans who responded to a survey said that an armed revolution may be needed soon and this type of talk becomes all the more worrisome.
Rise of the conservative revolutionaries. Almost half of Republicans think an armed revolution may be needed soon.
(Salon) - There’s plenty of proof of an authoritarian streak and animus toward democratic ideals in today’s conservative movement. There was the movement’s use of its judicial power to halt a vote recount and instead install a president who had lost the popular vote. There is the ongoing GOP effort to make it more difficult for people to cast a vote in an election. There is the GOP’s record use of the Senate filibuster to kill legislation that the vast majority of the country supports. There is a GOP leader’s declaration that what the American people want from their government simply “doesn’t matter.”
Up until today, you might have been able to write all that anti-democratic pathology off as a pathology infecting only the Republican Party’s politicians and institutional leadership, but not its rank-and-file voters. But then this poll from Fairleigh-Dickinson University was released showing that authoritarianism runs throughout the the entire party.
Take a look at the cross-tabs on page 3 of the national survey – that’s right, you are reading it correctly: almost half (44 percent) of all self-described Republican voters say they believe “an armed revolution might be necessary to protect our liberties.” Just as bad, more Republicans believe an armed revolution might be necessary than believe one isn’t necessary.
This poll raises two obvious questions, each of them more disturbing than the next.
According to the Farleigh Dickinson poll, 44 percent of rank-and-file Republicans seem to believe that because they aren’t getting their way through the ballot box, bloodshed may be justified to impose their will on everyone else. Think of it as sore loser-ism juiced by violence.
In 2010, Republicans threatened to put the nation into default unless Democrats agreed to fulfill every wild conservative wish, more or less, about the size of government. This time? Apparently, Republicans are planning to threaten default unless they get … tax reform!
GOP’s debt limit threat goes off the rails
(The Washington Post) - That’s the takeaway from a nice Post story about GOP strategy heading into the need to raise the debt limit this summer. The problem, basically, is that Republicans have already cut discretionary spending deeply thanks to sequestration, so it’s relatively hard for them to ask for that. What about entitlement cuts? Yes, Republicans had previously claimed they wanted entitlement cuts, and in his budget, Obama offered them Chained CPI on Social Security. But while cutting “entitlements” in the abstract is a big attraction for many conservatives, cutting Social Security and Medicare – which is what cutting entitlements actually means — is unpopular. So — while this is not entirely clear cut or decided — House Republicans apparently have suddenly decided they don’t want to ask for those in exchange for the debt limit hike, either.
Instead, they are considering forcing the Democrats to go along with them on tax reform. Jonathan Chait had some fun with this by noting that the main difference between the parties on tax reform is that Republicans insist on revenue-neutral tax reform while Democrats want net revenue increases, which means that Republicans would be threatening to default the nation unless Democrats … agree to larger deficits.
The author of this story sums it up nicely in the last line of the story: This is what a “post-policy party” really looks like.
(America blog) - The Kansas legislature is about to empower the state to quarantine people with HIV and AIDS. The local Fox affiliate says the legislation is expected to become law in the next few weeks.
Republicans in the Kansas state legislature promise that the quarantine power will never be exercised against people with AIDS, but they then shot down a Democratic-led effort, by Senator Marci Francisco, to exempt people with HIV and AIDS from the quarantine provision.
Funny how they don’t ever plan on using it against people with AIDS, but then refuse to exempt people with AIDS from the quarantine they promise they’ll never use.
(AlterNet) - Attendees at last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) were reportedly thrilled by a short sci-fi video depicting a dictatorial near-future government and the underground “Movement on Fire” that springs up to resist it. The video, a thinly veiled advertisement for violent insurrection from the “Tea Party Patriots” group, boasts professional acting and Hollywood production values. But underneath its bright, professional sheen lurk dark overtones of End Times paranoia that will resonate with millions of American fundamentalists. Its apocalyptic imagery is as ancient as Revelations, its glossy look as modern as a Revlon ad, and its near-subliminal barrage of rapid-cut imagery rings with the terror-fueled sermons of 1,000 preachers.
This was shown at CPAC. CPAC. THE conservative conference.
This isn’t just the fringe element of the right, it IS the right. This kind of thing is becoming more and more mainstream with them and it’s quite frankly horrifying.
(patheos.com) - It’s funny. Only two years ago the GOP was continuing to use gay marriage as a wedge issue. We were to believe that there was a pernicious homosexual agenda at work that would undermine and destroy straight marriage – and that the GOP were the ones to stop it. Now that people are catching wise, some of the Republicans are embracing the evil of marriage equality in order to save their political lives. Opportunism, it’s what’s for dinner. I suspect more GOP people are about to turn a 180 in the exact same way (while pretending as though they’d always been disappointed in the GOP’s oppression of gay people).
But for the ideologically pure of the GOP base, the Tea Partiers, they’re not having it. Perhaps they believe god will carry them through an election with a position opposed by most of the electorate. That must be what Mike Huckabee is thinking when he says that if the GOP adopts marriage equality that the Evangelicals will form a third party.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Pandering to the religious right would end up being the GOP’s undoing.
They have now starting to wedge-issue themselves in half.
(The Raw Story) - Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) on Thursday insisted that it was her “duty as a believer in Christ” repeal President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law before “it literally kills women, kills children, kills senior citizens.”
In a speech on the House floor, the Minnesota Republican thanked Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) for continuing the fight to undo Obamacare.
“The American people, especially vulnerable women, vulnerable children, vulnerable senior citizens, now get to pay more and get less,” Bachmann opined. “That’s why we’re here because we’re saying let’s repeal this failure before it literally kills women, kills children, kills senior citizens!”
“Let’s not do that!” she exclaimed. “Let’s love people, let’s care about people. Let’s repeal it now while we can.”
Bachmann explained that she was fighting Obamacare because she was a “born again believer in Jesus Christ.”
“And I believe, as part of my duty as a believer in Christ and what he has done for me, that we should do for the least of those who are in our midst,” she said. “That’s my personal belief and my personal conviction. And that’s why I want our government to create the space so that we can help people, because I’ll guarantee you one thing, Mr. Speaker, this doesn’t help people.”
So, basically, she believes it is her duty as a Christian to repeal something that would actually expand access to healthcare for millions of the poor, working poor, children and the elderly.
This is religious grandstanding and it’s disgusting. She should have been laughed off of the floor, but instead her cohorts congratulate her ‘saying things in a way that none of the rest of us are capable of’.
I my honest opinion, this is sick.
Climate science-denying Republican to head climate subcommittee: Another day, another anti-science move by the House Science Committee
(Salon) - A House subcommittee on climate change announced that its new Chair will be Rep. Chris Stewart, a Republican from Utah who does not believe in man-made climate change, and who has written several end-times novels that were endorsed by none other than Glenn Beck.
“I’m not as convinced as a lot of people are that man-made climate change is the threat they think it is,” Stewart told the Salt Lake Tribune. “I think it is probably not as immediate as some people do.”
As Tim Murphy from Mother Jones reports, Stewart is no big fan of the EPA or Endangered Species Act either:
But if Stewart isn’t sure how he feels about climate change, he’s dead-set in his view of the EPA: He wants the agency dissolved. In August, following a campaign event in the southwest corner of the state, Stewart told the St. George News that the Environmental Protection Agency should be eliminated because, as he put it, “The EPA thwarts energy development.”
During his congressional campaign, Stewart highlighted the Endangered Species Act as the mark of a regulatory state gone wrong. “There is no better example of the overreach of government than in environmental law,” he said in an interview last April with the Freemen Capitalist, a conservative website.
Stewart is in good company on the House Science Committee: The current chair, Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, once decried media coverage “slanted in favor of global warming alarmists,” and another Republican, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, has dismissed “scientific fascism” and called climate change research part of an “international conspiracy.”
We have someone who thinks that peer-reviewed scientific evidence is some kid of conspiracy heading a climate science sub-committee.
Gee, you don’t think lobbying groups have anything to do with this do you? /s
This is absolutely ridiculous.