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Robert Reich laments the insanity that has taken over the Republican Party (emphasis below is mine):
We’re witnessing the capture by fanatics of what was once a great and important American political party.
The Republican Party platform committee now includes a provision calling for a constitutional amendment banning all abortions, without an exception for rape or incest. This is basically Missouri senatorial candidate Todd Akin’s position. (At least the GOP platform doesn’t assert that women’s bodies automatically reject “legitimate” rapists’ sperm.)
Paul Ryan, Romney’s selection for vice president, has co-sponsored 38 anti-abortion measures while in the House of Representatives, including several containing no exception for pregnancies caused by rape or incest.
But the GOP’s fanaticism goes far beyond the its growing absolutism about abortion.
Ryan’s proposed budget, approved by almost all House Republicans, is also an exercise in fanaticism. It replaces Medicare with vouchers that won’t possibly keep up with rising healthcare costs — thereby shifting costs directly on to the elderly.
That budget also harms the poor and rewards the rich, but does little or nothing to reduce the federal budget deficit. Over 60 percent of its spending cuts come out of programs for lower-income Americans. Its tax cuts for the rich reduce revenues by $4.6 trillion over the decade while saving the typical millionaire hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
The GOP’s looniness doesn’t even stop there. Republicans remain unwaivering in their support of state laws allowing or encouraging the profiling of Latinos. And unrelenting in their war against gay rights.
It’s not just women, seniors, budget hawks, the poor, Latinos, and gays who are catching on to the Republicans’ extremism. Americans who don’t fall into one of these categories are becoming alarmed, too — as they should.*
Although the GOP lurch to the right-wing margin of America may bode well for Democrats this coming Election Day, it bodes ill for America. The capture of one of our great parties by fanatics is nothing to celebrate. A democracy needs at least two sane political parties.
*See: GOP War on the Middle Class: the RNC dumps support for the mortgage interest deduction
Businessweek reports that ahead of the Republican National Convention, the GOP dumped the mortgage interest deduction from its platform (but kept donations to “charity” – like to the Mormon Church!):
While Romney was caving to pressure from Paul supporters, the platform committee itself made a surprising move. The GOP refused to put itself on record as supporting the mortgage interest deduction, writes my Bloomberg News colleague James Rowley. The idea is that Romney’s tax plans rest on eliminating deductions and loopholes he has not specified, so the party wants to give a President Romney ample room to maneuver by taking interest on mortgages off its protected list. However, on the same day, the platform group voted to retain its support for deductions granted to charitable donations.
The mortgage interest deduction is the nation’s largest tax benefit. The government forgoes about $90 billion per year to the millions of American homeowners that claim it. It is cherished by the middle class, and some economists consider it the bedrock of the housing market. The mortgage interest deduction has many critics, but by virtue of its popularity among voters, killing it would amount to political suicide. That’s why you’ll find plenty of politicians who advocate getting rid of tax credits and loopholes, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a single one publicly opposing the mortgage interest deduction. (via: sarahlee310)
It seems the faithful Fox / Rush audience of the Republican voting base won’t wake up until the GOP actually punches them in the gut. I wonder if this news might be that gut punch.
Of course, who never will have to worry about a pregnancy resulting from rape or incest? Republican men.
NPR: “In Tampa, Fla., a week ahead of their national convention, Republicans are drawing up their party platform. There are muted disagreements over a few issues, such as immigration and same-sex marriage. But at least within the platform committee, one of the least controversial issues discussed this week is abortion. With little discussion, the committee on Tuesday adopted the same anti-abortion language it included in GOP platforms in 2004 and 2008. It seeks passage of a constitutional amendment that would extend legal rights to the unborn, essentially banning abortion. The language in the platform includes no exceptions for rape or incest.”
The thinking goes ‘God chose to “bless”’ women with pregnancies from rape: “GOP 4th Senate District Committeewoman Sharon Barnes told The New York Times “that abortion is never an option.” Barnes “echoed Mr. Akin’s statement that very few rapes resulted in pregnancy,” according to theTimes, and she added that “at that point, if God has chosen to bless this person with a life, you don’t kill it.””
Think Progress adds: “In saying they would not oppose a rape exception, Romney and Ryan are both changing their tune. Romney said in 2007 he would be “delighted” to sign a bill banning all abortions, and Ryan has been staunchly anti-abortion in all cases, even attempting to restrict abortion access to victims of “forcible rape” only. The human life amendment has been a tenet of the Republican Party platform since the dawn of the Reagan era in 1980. It has survived for 32 years and nine presidential elections, even after former presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) pushed hard in 2000 for an explicit exception for rape and incest. McCain ceded the language to party officials during his own run in 2008.”
Ladies, do you think being raped might make you a little “uptight”? That’s Dr. John C. Willke’s explanation for why rape doesn’t usually produce pregnancy — you see, when we’re “uptight” our “tubes are spastic.”
That’s where Todd Akin got the idea for his “legitimate rape” defense.
Dr. John C. Willke, a general practitioner with obstetric training and a former president of the National Right to Life Committee, was an early proponent of this view, articulating it in a book originally published in 1985 and again in a 1999 article. He reiterated it in an interview Monday.
“This is a traumatic thing — she’s, shall we say, she’s uptight,” Dr. Willke said of a woman being raped, adding, “She is frightened, tight, and so on. And sperm, if deposited in her vagina, are less likely to be able to fertilize. The tubes are spastic.”
More importantly, in 2007 Mitt Romney was proud to receive Willke’s endorsement, this Master of Lady Parts and Reproductive Magic:
“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,” the Romney campaign said in an October 2007 statement.
“I am proud to have the support of a man who has meant so much to the pro-life movement in our country,” Romney said in the statement. “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.”
At the time, Willke called Romney “the only candidate who can lead our pro-life and pro-family conservative movement to victory.”
Here’s what they really mean:
Buzzfeed reports that “Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria will address the Democratic National Convention next month, according to a release… [she] has taken on a significant fundraising role for Obama, and has worked on Hispanic and women’s outreach for the campaign.”
Particularly in light of Rep. Todd Akin’s comments on rape this week, the Obama campaign has readied another push on women’s rights and women’s health, and is planning on using the convention to highlight the “War on Women.”
Among the other names announced on the all-female list announced today:
-Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin
-Former Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Tammy Duckworth
-Sandra Fluke, Georgetown University Student
-Denise Juneau, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Montana
-Nancy Keenan, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America
-U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, together with the women of the U.S. Senate
-Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund
“All of a sudden, this man gets up and says: ‘So how long are you people going to blame the previous administration?’ And I said: ‘Forever.‘” — Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright at a campaign rally for Pres. Obama
“At a time when poverty is increasing, when public parks and public libraries are being closed and when public schools are shrinking their offerings and their hours, when the nation’s debt is immense, and when the 400 richest Americans have more wealth than the bottom 150 million of us put together — Romney’s 13 percent is shameful.” — Robert Reich
13% is a bad tip not a tax rate.
Matthew O’Brien of The Atlantic calculated last week that under Ryan’s proposals Romney would have paid not 13.9 percent but .82 percent, or just $177,000 or so on $21 million earned. In fairness, I should note that the Ryan proposal isn’t the same thing as the Romney proposal–the Ryan plan eliminates all taxes on capital gains (the main source of Romney’s income), while Romney’s position is to continue to tax rich peoples’ capital gains, albeit at a lower rate than presently. So Romney under Romney’s plan would pay more, but less than 13.9. — Michael Tomasky
Mitt Romney may have a lower effective tax rate than many middle-class Americans, but he’s still dreaming of ways to pay even less… At a town hall-style event in Manchester, New Hampshire on Monday he said: “So many friends here in New Hampshire. I feel like I’m almost a New Hampshire resident. … It would save me some tax dollars, I think.”
“If you know you’re running for president anyway, I think it’s just part of the price of running. … Obama did so Romney probably should do it. Look, it’s an interesting debate about what tax rates people should pay, how progressive the tax code should be. I personally, if I were designing the tax code, would have a tax code in which Mitt Romney paid more than 13 percent, I would say, given what I know about the kind of investments he made money from. I’m just not a believer that he needed — that there would have been any economic determent to paying more, and I think it just seems kinda weird that he pays a lower rate than an awful lot of middle-class people.” — Bill Kristol
“And when it comes to releasing taxes, that’s a precedent that was set decades ago, including by Governor Romney’s father. And for us to say that it makes sense to release your tax returns, as I did, as John McCain did, as Bill Clinton did, as the two President Bushes did, I don’t think is in any way out of bounds. I think that is what the American people would rightly expect… People want to know that, you know, everybody’s been playing by the same rules including people who are seeking the highest office in the land.” — President Obama
Steve Benen: Mitt Romney has released his tax returns for 2010, and promised to disclose the returns for 2011. When might we see the most recent year? Ed Gillespie told Fox News we’ll probably get them by Oct. 15 — still two months away. (My note: and about 3 weeks before the election!)
Romney said that when he looked back over his tax returns from the last ten years, he found that he had never paid less than 13 percent of his earnings and that we’re just going to have to trust him on that. However, [Rachel] Maddow said, in 2002 when Romney was running for governor of Massachusetts, it was demanded of him that he release tax returns to demonstrate a residency in that state of at least seven years. Romney refused and insisted that the public take his word for it. Eventually it came out that Romney had lied. He was forced to pay Massachusetts taxes retroactively, because when he said that the public would have to take his word that he had paid taxes for seven years as a Massachusetts resident, it simply wasn’t true. Now he wants us to take his word that he has paid at least 13 percent of his massive income over the last 10 years in taxes. Why should we take him at face value? He has demonstrated a willingness to prevaricate on this very subject in his career as a public figure. “The precedent for trusting them on this,” Maddow said, “is not good.” — Maddow: Romney’s history shows he’s willing to lie about his taxes
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Still better than no coffee at all.