When your stance appears to be “beat more women”, you can’t turn around and get into a red in the face, slamming the podium rage about how the war on women is imaginary. Also, being endorsed by the MRA douchebags? Yeah, that’s also not going to help you.
The House has just passed a watered-down version of the Violence Against Women Act, by a vote of 222 to 205. The GOP-backed iteration of the bill strips out the provisions to protect undocumented, Native American, and LGBT victims that were included in the Senate version.
VAWA is usually a non-controversial, bipartisan effort, but this year has become a political talking point, with Republicans trying to slow its passage and providing fewer protections for victims. A misogynistic ‘men’s rights’ group has even voiced its support for the GOP’s version of the bill.
Meanwhile, a female Republican joined other women Senators in pressuring the House GOP to pass the Senate’s version.
…The President has issued a veto threat should the House version of the bill come to his desk.
Update: 23 Republicans voted against the passage of the bill, while 6 Democrats voted in favor of it.
Update: 196 men voted in favor of the watered-down version of the bill today: 191 Republicans, 5 Democrats. [thinkprogress/Annie-Rose Strasser/16 May 2012]
But at least one group is coming to the GOP’s defense. The National Coalition for Men (NCFM) has released a statement arguing that the Republican alternative will “ensure more of the abused are better served” and provide protections for the “true victims” of domestic violence — heterosexual men [thinkprogress/Igor Volsky/16 May 2012]
The abuser lobby, which ridiculously calls itself the “men’s rights movement”, was handed a massive victory today by the Republican-controlled House, who passed a watered down version of the Violence Against Women Act. Prior to this year, even Republicans by and large felt that tacitly endorsing moderate levels of wife-beating was a bridge too far, but since their new motto is, “Bitches: Fuck ‘Em”, I suppose this sort of thing was inevitable. Right Wing Watch has a piece up about the lobbyists who influenced this vote. These lobbyists, led by the anti-victim group Concerned Women for America, is a real cadre of hateful people. The coalition released a letter supporting the watered-down bill, and it was signed by a rather notorious wife-beater who ran for office by claiming his ex-wife endorsed him, which she did not. There’s also a group that represents men who purchase mail order brides. They’re concerned that the bill would allow women who have been secured through their services to divorce husbands who beat them without being deported. (A favorite tactic of abusers is to marry immigrants, often secured through these services, and then terrorize them with the threat of deportation if they don’t take their beatings like good girls.) These are the people that the Republicans are listening to. [pandagon/16 May 2012]
“Republicans are once again choosing millionaires over the middle class and Speaker Boehner is threatening to take our nation into another manufactured crisis that will harm America’s families,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Added Senate Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Charles Schumer of New York, “The last thing the country needs is a rerun of last summer’s debacle that nearly brought down our economy.” [McClatchy Newspapers/David Lightman/16 May 2012]
[W]hile Republicans have accused the Democrats of playing politics with women’s domestic safety, the opposite may actually be true. In a sit-down with bloggers on Capitol Hill today, DNC Chair and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) told reporters that she’d heard House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) actually ordered his caucus to move VAWA as far to the right as possible [thinkprogress/Annie-Rose Strasser/16 May 2012]
Mitt Romney’s reaction to J.P. Morgan Chase’s mounting losses from reckless trades is “the market will take care of it.” His spokesman says “no taxpayer money was at risk” so we don’t need more financial regulation. Romney has even promised to repeal Dodd-Frank if he’s elected president.
Yet at the same time, Romney has come out strongly against same-sex marriage. He’s also against abortion. He has no problem with government intruding on the most intimate of decisions a person makes.
He’s got private and public morality upside down. He doesn’t want to regulate where regulation is necessary — at the highest reaches of the economy, where public immorality has cost us dearly, and will cost even more unless boardroom behavior is constrained. Yet he wants to regulate where regulation is least appropriate — at the level of the individual, in bedrooms and other intimate spaces, where private morality should govern. [robertreich/15 May 2012]
Really? Romney made a “mistake” claiming Bain was about job creation? That’s a big mistake for the person who was running the joint to make. Mitt Romney doesn’t know what they do at Bain? And, it’s Obama’s job to correct the record and explain what Bain does? Why? Why isn’t that Mitt Romney’s job?…Why wasn’t Romney called on the original lie? We all know why Mitt Romney didn’t explain private equity. Because it was better for Mitt Romney to breeze by the facts and claim he “created 100,000 jobs”. The Obama campaign are simply attacking on the grounds of the original Romney claim, which was jobs. Romney had months to tell the truth. He didn’t. And look what’s happened! Romney is no longer claiming he created 100,000 jobs, and has seemingly dropped jobs and moved on to debt. Debt is something he might actually understand, due to his experience loading up companies with debt while at Bain. [balloon-juice.com/Kay/16 May 2012]
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is back to claiming that his former private equity firm, Bain Capital, helped create at least 100,000 jobs, telling conservative radio host Ed Morrisey that “we were able to help create over 100,000 jobs.” The Romney campaign used the 100,000 number at the outset of the campaign, then admitted it was bogus, started using it again, couldn’t answer challenges from reporters, and finally gave the number a massive downgrade to a mere “thousands” earlier this week. There’s still no evidence backing up the claim, other than a right-wing editorial endorsing Romney. An ad from Romney’s 1994 Senate campaign, meanwhile, claimed that the firm created 10,000 jobs — though there’s little evidence to support that either. [thinkprogress/Travis Waldron/16 May 2012]
As ThinkProgress noted yesterday, Romney’s attack ignores that his own economic plan would add more than $10 trillion to the national debt. It also ignores Romney’s record as governor of Massachusetts, which had the nation’s highest per capita debt total when he left office in 2007.
According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis (compiled by Connecticut’s chief analyst in 2009), Massachusetts had $10,504 in per capita bond debt in 2007, the highest total in the nation. No other state had more than $10,000 in per capita debt, and only one had more than $8,000. Massachusetts ranked second, behind only Alaska, in per capita debt as a percent of personal income, with debt making up more than 21 percent of each resident’s income. [thinkprogress/Travis Waldron/16 May 2012]
• Mitt Romney: JP Morgan’s $2 billion loss was someone else’s $2 billion gain.
• “They’re like, ‘Well, the poor pitiful women that can’t afford to go out of state are just going to start doing them at home with a coat hanger.’ That’s what we’ve heard over and over and over. “But hey, you have to have moral values. You have to start somewhere, and that’s what we’ve decided to do.
Arizona Congressman Trent Franks’ attempt to push a 20-week “fetal pain” abortion ban in Washington, D.C. (despite the fact that there is no science showing a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks) is at best just another chance for the Republican to show off his anti-choice credentials and allow anti-choice House members to woo their supporters with their love of restrictions on women’s reproductive health. At worst, it’s an attempt to create a piece of legislation which, if it does become law, would provide a direct track to the Supreme Court to challenge Roe V. Wade. There is no evidence for fetal pain in the second trimester of pregnancy, and fetuses are not viable at 20 weeks.
Either way, he’s not intending to let his moment of glory be overshadowed, even if that means refusing to let D.C.’s actual Congressional representative speak on the bill.
On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee will be reviewing a ban on any abortion after 20 weeks, but Democratic Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, who represents the District, will not be allowed to testify, despite the fact that she would be the one who represents the women who would be affected by the bill if it passes. [RH Reality Check/Robin Marty/16 May 2012]
• If You’re Knocked Up in Kansas and Don’t Want to Be, You Better Hope You Get the Right Pharmacist
• Short-term victories like passing more bans on gay marriage, sometimes repeatedly in single states, might feel good for homophobic Christians, but in the long run, it’s their religion that will pay the ultimate price; available evidence shows that anti-gay activism is souring young people on Christianity.
• Colorado Congressman Mike Coffman (R) goes on birther rant against the president at fundraiser. Listen. [Update - he apologizes]
A military exercise involving more than 11,000 troops from 19 countries is under way in Jordan, reportedly just miles from Syria’s border.
Dubbed Eager Lion 2012, the operation is “very significant,” a source close to the Jordanian government told NBC News, adding it was the first of its kind in 15 years “in terms of size and importance.”
The source and an analyst both said the war games should be seen as a message to neighboring Syria’s rulers. [msnbc.com, and NBC News/F. Brinley Bruton/17 May 2012]
ANKARA, Turkey, May 17 (UPI) — Turkey said an Israeli aircraft was chased away by Turkish fighter jets after it violated Turkish Cypriot airspace this week. The announcement by the Turkish military said the incident took place over Cyprus on Monday, Today’s Zaman reported Thursday. It is not clear why the Israeli plane was flying over the Turkish Cypriot coast but there was speculation it may have been spying on Turkey’s oil and gas exploration efforts. [upi/17 May 2012]
RAMALLAH, West Bank, May 17 (UPI) — A new 24-member Palestinian government headed by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has been sworn-in in Ramallah, the Palestinian Authority said. [upi/17 May 2012]
Months of lobbying by prominent Democrats and Republicans and an assist from a high-powered lobbying firm that specializes in sanitizing the records of dictators seem to have paid off for Mujahideen-e-Khalq. The Obama administration is preparing to remove the Iranian exile group from the State Department’s official list of terrorist organizations, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday
…De-listing MEK comes at an opportune time for several high-profile public officials. A number of former officials who allegedly recieved money in exchange for advocating for MEK are reportedly the targets of a federal inquiry into whether they violated US anti-terrorism laws, which forbid even non-violent advocacy on behalf of listed terrorist groups. MEK has American blood on its hands, but today the group is reportedly a huge help to Israel in assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists—perhaps part of the reason it is being delisted. Memo to terror groups: If you want to get off the US terrorism list, make sure you kill the “right” civilians and offer generous speaking fees. [motherjones/Adam Serwer/16 May 2012]
MANHATTAN (CN) – A federal judge granted a preliminary injunction late Wednesday to block provisions of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act that would allow the military to indefinitely detain anyone it accuses of knowingly or unknowingly supporting terrorism.
Signed by President Barack Obama on New Year’s Eve, the 565-page NDAA contains a short paragraph, in statute 1021, letting the military detain anyone it suspects “substantially supported” al-Qaida, the Taliban or “associated forces.” The indefinite detention would supposedly last until “the end of hostilities.”
In a 68-page ruling blocking this statute, U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest agreed that the statute failed to “pass constitutional muster” because its broad language could be used to quash political dissent. [ADAM KLASFELD/courthousenews.com/16 May 2012]
Hydraulic fracturing, the process of extracting natural gas from rock and shale by hitting it with high-pressure water and chemicals to cause large fissures, has come to Southern California, despite the major earthquake potential here and the documented evidence that fracking leads to elevated seismic activity.
Yesterday, Josh Fox, the Oscar-nominated director behind the anti-fracking movie Gasland, witnessed fracking going on adjacent to an oil field in Baldwin Hills, close to a residential neighborhood as well as a public park, and directly on a known fault line. This is a fairly new phenomenon, where oil and gas companies use the oil lands they’ve already leased for fracking. The Western States Petroleum Association, an industry group, promised yesterday to voluntarily report fracking activity at FracFocus, a website tracking fracking across the country. The WSPA said that companies fracked on 628 wells in California last year, out of tens of thousands of oil and gas wells.
Fox held a press event in Baldwin Hills yesterday and spoke last night at the Hammer Museum in Westwood about this new threat. “This could trigger a 7.4 earthquake,” he said bluntly.
The Missouri National Guard is investigating whether it may have another extremist in its ranks.
Earlier this month, authorities in Florida arrested several members of a white supremacist group who were alleged to be training for a race war in America. Those arrested on conspiracy and hate crime charges were members of the American Front, a militia-style neo-Nazi group with a long history of violence against black, gay and Jewish people. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch/Phillip O'Connor/15 May 2012]
Newly sworn-in French President Francois Hollande has arrived in Berlin for key talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, after his plane was apparently hit by lightning.
The plane was forced to turn back to Paris. Mr Hollande later completed his journey on a second plane. [bbc/15 May 2012]