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I'm so outraged as I'm writing this that I'm going to have to be extra careful about typos, etc.

Republicans in Congress have passed a bill that would make it perfectly legal for your boss to fire you for using birth control - but only if you're a woman!

They'd never be able to pass this if it were a federal law (at least, as of now) but this piece of Republican demagoguery is for the District of Columbia (aka Washington, DC), the only area of the continental United States that has no vote in congress.  

May 1, 2015:  Extreme politicians in the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution that lets DC bosses discriminate against any employee for her reproductive health choices. If the resolution becomes law, it would effectively overturn RHNDA, the DC bill that would have protected employees in the city from such discrimination.

First, the DC Home Rule Act sets up a pretty complicated process for how a bill becomes a law in Washington, DC. Congress reviews all legislation passed by the democratically elected DC Council before it can become law, and if members of Congress decide they don't like what they see, things can get a little messy.

Oh, but wait - it's not just birth control.  Your boss could also fire you for using in vitro fertilization.

I feel like I've awakened in a time warp, back to the year 1850 (or maybe 1750).  It's probably better for my blood pressure to just let these two articles tell the rest of this incredible but real, horrendously outrageous tale.  But first, this definition for a relatively newly coined word in the War on Women:
Gynotician:  A politician who feels more qualified than women and their doctors to make women's health care decisions.  

Focus on birth control:
GOP Politicians in Congress Attack DC Home Rule and Women's Reproductive Rights

Broader focus, including in vitro fertilization, written by someone who was there when the vote was taken (debate on the House floor didn't even begin until after 9PM Thursday night and note-taking was not allowed):
Hobby Lobby on Steroids – House Votes To Overturn DC Law So Employers Can Fire Women For Using Birth Control

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After someone published on the internet the war game scenario map that forms the basis for upcoming military training exercises, paranoia went wild in Texas and Gov. Greg Abbott was quick to jump on it.

On a map released by the U.S. Army Special Operations Command to show the fictitious battlefield of the Jade Helm 15 training exercise, Texas is labeled as "hostile territory."
Austin American-Statesman
On Monday, command spokesman Lt. Col. Mark Lastoria attended a Bastrop County Commissioners Court meeting to answer community questions and was met with hostile fire.  Lastoria, in response to some of the questions from the 150 who attended, sought to dispel fears that foreign fighters from the Islamic State were being brought in or that Texans' guns would be confiscated, according to a report in the Austin American-Statesman.
Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the Texas Guard to monitor federal military exercises in Texas after some citizens have lit up the Internet saying the maneuvers are actually the prelude to martial law.
Paranoia Catches Abbott's Attention
Never one to miss an opportunity to stoke paranoia, Gov. Abbott took to twitter to stir the pot:

I've ordered the Texas State Guard to ... safeguard Texans' constitutional rights, private property and civil liberties

Though met with some effusiveness ("you are the most awesome governor EVER! Much love for you! Thank you for doing a fantastic job!"), not everyone is buying it:
".@GregAbbott_TX < succumbs to nut bag fears of US military training ops."

Discuss

Forced Birthers prove that they don't understand irony - or perhaps it's just that their hypocrisy knows no bounds.

Excerpted from:
The Most Creative Ways That Anti-Choice Activists Try To Shut Down Abortion Clinics

In Kansas:

[citing] their own disruptive protests — including graphic anti-abortion signs that they said may be “inappropriate” for children ... [forced birthers say] abortion providers shouldn’t be allowed to operate their businesses because they attract too many anti-choice protesters to otherwise quiet neighborhoods...
One anti-abortion activist argued that the clinic’s new owner would “provoke” gun violence.
In Alabama:
Last fall, while arguing in court that North Alabama’s only abortion clinic shouldn’t be allowed to continue operating, lawyers representing an anti-abortion group played videos of confrontations between abortion protesters and clinic escorts. They argued that the arguments in front of the clinic would be too noisy for the neighbors, and the surrounding area shouldn’t be subject to the potential disruption. James Henderson, the executive director of the Alabama Christian Coalition, testified that the clinic needs to go because he faces “the risk of personal physical injury” during his own protests at the site.
Lest anyone believe that California doesn't have its share of whackos:
“Of all the well-documented abuses of the California Environmental Quality Act, this one may be the most absurd,” an editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle lamented this week.  [A]bortion opponents have been waging a legal battle against a Planned Parenthood clinic because they say it’s in violation of the California Environmental Quality Act — alleging that the clinic will result in significant “environmental impacts” to the region because of the noise and the traffic disruptions stemming from their own protests.
I have to stop being surprised at the audacity of these idiots daring to present such ludicrous claims in court because, so far, no judge has thrown them out for wasting the court's time.  It is, nonetheless, outrageous that they're playing the courts for fools and getting away with it.  Each time they're allowed impunity to do this, they grow bolder.

Read the full article at Think Progress.  It's detailed, with far more examples of ways the Forced Birthers have successfully blocked or derailed abortion clinics, and it's a great piece of reporting.  Here's the link again:
The Most Creative Ways That Anti-Choice Activists Try To Shut Down Abortion Clinics

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Everyone needs to know this tactic so well that they immediately recognize it when they see it: DARVO = Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender.  The name was coined by Jennifer J. Freyd in “Violations of power, adaptive blindness, and betrayal trauma theory” (1997), Feminism & Psychology.  Definition:  A behavior of perpetrators of wrongdoing (especially sexual offenders), when accused of attacking their victim, reversing the roles of victim and offender.
DARVO

It's a sick and twisted psychological tactic that's been around for quite a while but it's not as widely recognized as it needs to be.  The more it's recognized and the better it's understood, the less likely it is to work.

Here's why it more important than ever to recognize it now:
The religious rightwing's uber leaders love to don their well-used victim costumes when they get called out for trying to force everyone else to live by their sharia-like rules.

I really noticed it becoming popular when Bill O'Reilly invented the so-called "War on Christmas." However, since Indiana's new bigot empowerment law passed this week, I'm seeing it used multiple times daily by the rightwing's christo-fascist leaders. Thanks to years of practice, they really have it down to a science.  What's more, they've inculcated even their most brainless followers with it (with the help of Faux Newz) as a talking point to be used for all arguments.

Know it when you see it.  Name it and call them out on it.  Laugh at them for their transparency. DARVO - it's what's for dinner if you're a christo-fascist.

Poll

Do you recognize DARVO when you see it?

62%38 votes
31%19 votes
0%0 votes
1%1 votes
4%3 votes

| 61 votes | Vote | Results

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Last year, Mississippi's Governor Phil Bryant stated that his goal as governor was to “end abortion in Mississippi.”  So far, a federal court has stopped him from doing that but earlier this week, a vigilante decided to do give the governor some help.

Sometime late Sunday night or early Monday morning, the last remaining abortion clinic in Mississippi, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, was severely vandalized. According to a post on the clinic’s website, the clinic’s security cameras were destroyed overnight and its generator was dismantled and seriously damaged. The post continued: “A review of our DVR showed that in the early hours of the morning, a masked intruder came onto the property and proceeded to methodically destroy our cameras. Other damage found indicates that they were trying to destroy the power lines coming into the building, no doubt hoping to stop all patient care for the near future.”
Mississippi's Only Remaining Abortion Clinic Attacked - Governor Can't Stop Legal Procedure
There are six states with just one clinic for a person to obtain a safe, legal abortion — Arkansas, Missouri,North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Mississippi.

What makes Mississippi's sole clinic stand out right now is the recent federal court ruling that Mississippi's TRAP law (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) is unconstitutional because the result would be no abortion access in the entire state.  Predictably, last month the state asked the Supreme Court to overturn that ruling.

A 2012 study that compared a state's restrictive laws about abortion to its number of reported incidents of harassment and vandalism against providers and clinics showed a direct correlation; the most restrictive states have the most harassment and vandalism.
Anti-abortion Violence in America

From the clinic's website:

"Coincidentally, we are currently enduring an extended period of targeted protest by the California based group Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust," the clinic website reads. "Operation Save America has also come to Mississippi to harass our staff and our patients. Unfortunately by now we are all 'used' to the yelling and shaming these groups frequently bring with them. And even though we are now stripped of part of what makes us feel secure, we will find ways to adapt. Maybe it will be adding barbed wire to the roof……slowly morphing into a fortress, both intimidating yet reassuring. Of course the goal of the anti-abortion terrorists is to transform a legal, safe, and common medical procedure into a fearful, and traumatic experience for everyone involved."
Wake Up Mississippi
Gov. Bryant's vow, combined with the wave of conservative victories in the off-year elections of 2010 and 2014, has emboldened anti-choice zealots and they've always done their best work in the dark, whether it's vandalism or on election night.  

"I want to be invisible. I do guerilla warfare. I paint my face and travel at night. You don't know it's over until you're in a body bag. You don't know until election night." --Ralph Reed, Head of the Christian Coalition - The Hill, December 17, 1997

Discuss
Tom Cotton's smile - Cotton in January 2014 at the Gillett Coon Supper, an annual Arkansas scholarhsip event that features raccoon entrees -AP
The dead eyes, the lack of personality, his lack of judgement when it comes to how others will view his actions, an utter lack of empathy for other human beings and an overweening ambition that developed early - all point to Tom Cotton as a man to be watched very carefully.

Even though, at age 37, he's the youngest senator in Washington, Red State calls him "the most powerful man in Washington."

An in depth, well researched article in the September, 2014 edition of The Atlantic traces Cotton from a childhood where he didn't speak until he was three years old and had a long lasting, severe speech impediment, through his college years and his thesis that sought to prove that only extremely ambitious males should rule, all the way to his nascent political career and important votes that reveal a troubling mind set.

Cotton's college thesis reveals his scorn for average Americans.

Cotton insists that the Founders were wise not to put too much faith in democracy, because people are inherently selfish, narrow-minded, and impulsive. He defends the idea that the country must be led by a class of intellectually superior officeholders whose ambition sets them above other men... he derides the Federalists’ modern critics as mushy-headed and naive.
“Ambition characterizes and distinguishes national officeholders from other kinds of human beings,” Cotton wrote. “Inflammatory passion and selfish interest characterizes most men, whereas ambition characterizes men who pursue and hold national office. Such men rise from the people through a process of self-selection since politics is a dirty business that discourages all but the most ambitious.”
http://www.theatlantic.com/...
And, yet, his ambition to be part of that "dirty business" was clearly evident from early on to local king makers.
From the time he was a teenager, Cotton has been nurtured and groomed by conservative institutions—scholars, think tanks, media, and advocacy groups—to be the face of their political crusade.
http://www.theatlantic.com/...
It's not surprising that they seized on a young Tom Cotton.  His is a brand of conservativism that is more heartless than most, a fanatical elitism that sees his views as uber superior in a way that few do (or would admit to).
His is a harsh, unyielding, judgmental political philosophy. “I don’t think Arkansas needs to bail out the Northeast,” Cotton said of his vote against the Hurricane Sandy relief bill.  
He has dismissed the potential for default if the debt ceiling was not raised as a desirable “short-term market correction,” and said food stamps should be cut because too many recipients live high on the hog: “They have steak in their basket, and they have a brand-new iPhone, and they have a brand-new SUV.”
http://www.theatlantic.com/...
His views on women and numerous anti-woman votes seem to be summed up thusly:
... men are “simple” and women are “the problem”
http://www.rawstory.com/...
Oh, and that letter to Iran, written by this Senator with 61 days on the job?
He received $700,000 for his senate campaign from the Emergency Committee for Israel.  http://www.salon.com/...
Rumors abound that the Republican powers-that-be are preparing to run him for the presidency in 2020.
Discuss

This morning, my husband mentioned that he'd heard a discussion that included some conjecture on the possibility that Netanyahu's diatribe against a nuclear nonproliferation deal with Iran might actually push Iran closer to an agreement.  That may prove prescient.

Just now, I've come across the official response from Iran's foreign minister to the letter from 47 Republican senators (aka Netanyahu's fan club) that has immediately become infamous.

Asked about the open letter of 47 US Senators to Iranian leaders, the Iranian Foreign Minister, Dr. Javad Zarif, responded that "in our view, this letter has no legal value and is mostly a propaganda ploy.  It is very interesting that while negotiations are still in progress and while no agreement has been reached, some political pressure groups are so afraid even of the prospect of an agreement that they resort to unconventional methods, unprecedented in diplomatic history.  This indicates that like Netanyahu, who considers peace as an existential threat, some are opposed to any agreement, regardless of its content.
Zarif expressed astonishment that some members of US Congress find it appropriate to write to leaders of another country against their own President and administration. He pointed out that from reading the open letter, it seems that the authors not only do not understand international law, but are not fully cognizant of the nuances of their own Constitution when it comes to presidential powers in the conduct of foreign policy.
I admit I felt quite a bit of schadenfreude as I read the words of this obviously intelligent and well read man lecturing these moronic Republicans about their own country's constitution and international law.
The Iranian Foreign Minister added that "change of administration does not in any way relieve the next administration from international obligations undertaken by its predecessor in a possible agreement about Iran's peaceful nuclear program." He continued "I wish to enlighten the authors that if the next administration revokes any agreement with the stroke of a pen, as they boast, it will have simply committed a blatant violation of international law.
He emphasized that if the current negotiation with P5+1 result in a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, it will not be a bilateral agreement between Iran and the US, but rather one that will be concluded with the participation of five other countries, including all permanent members of the Security Council, and will also be endorsed by a Security Council resolution.
Zarif expressed the hope that his comments "may enrich the knowledge of the authors to recognize that according to international law, Congress may not modify the terms of the agreement at any time as they claim, and if Congress adopts any measure to impede its implementation, it will have committed a material breach of US obligations.
The Foreign Minister also informed the authors that majority of US international agreements in recent decades are in fact what the signatories describe as "mere executive agreements" and not treaties ratified by the Senate.
Here is the full text of the letter:
Dr. Zarif's response to the letter of US senators
Discuss

Star Trek's Leonard Nimoy died today at age 83.

Spok is Dead

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The Guardian: Six Former Colleagues Dispute O'Reilly's Claim He Was "Attacked By Protesters" During The L.A. Riots

The hits just keep on coming.  This one is even better because it shows what an absolute asshole O'Reilly is.  He egged on angry residents and made a bad situation worse.  It actually says something good about the residents where he was filming that they didn't take him up on his taunt, "Come on, you wanna take me? I'll take you on."

Here's the story:
Six Former Colleagues Dispute O'Reilly's Claim He Was "Attacked By Protesters" During The L.A. Riots

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I'm not usually in favor of piling on but in this case I'll make an exception.  Here's a glaring example of a much more recent whopper from O'Reilly, repeated only a few months ago, and now people who know the facts are speaking up:

Excerpt from O'Reilly's best-selling 2012 non-fiction book, Killing Kennedy:

In March of 1977, a young television reporter at WFAA in Dallas began looking in to the Kennedy assassination.  As part of his reporting, he sought an interview with the shadowy Russian professor who had befriended the Oswalds upon their arrival in Dallas in 1962.  The reporter traced George de Mohrenschildt to Palm Springs, Florida and traveled there to confront him.  At the time, de Mohrenschildt had been called to testify before a congressional committee looking in to the events of November, 1963.  As the reporter knocked on the door of de Mohrenschildt's daughter's home, he heard the shotgun blast that marked the suicide of the Russian, assuring that his relationship with Lee Harvey Oswald would never be fully understood.
By the way, that reporter's name is Bill O'Reilly.

O'Reilly repeated the tale for the Killing Kennedy audiobook.

He again repeated it on his show on November 30, 2014, via running a clip from 2012.

There's just one little minor detail:  That suicide happened in Palm Springs, Florida.  O'Reilly was in Dallas, Texas at the time.  Read the rest here:

Media Matters for America - O'Reilly Lied About Suicide of JFK Assassination Figure, Former Colleagues Say

Note:  Bethesda 1971 also wrote a diary about this that preceded mine by 28 minutes.  Please give that one a rec and tip, too!
http://www.dailykos.com/...

Discuss

“I know hedge fund managers all over the world who are buying airstrips and farms in places like New Zealand because they think they need a getaway."
- former hedge fund partner tells Davos during session on inequality.

Although I read that quote on Robert Reich's FB page, this seems to suddenly be all over the internet.  Every source I found, however, was a cut-and-paste from the Guardian's article.

Here it is:
Nervous super-rich planning escapes - Davos, 2015

Discuss
Google is taking down advertising for right-wing anti-abortion groups after their ads were shown to be deceptive.  These “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” often present themselves as providing abortion services but are really just fronts for anti-abortion propaganda.
http://aattp.org/...
Google's action on this is long overdue.  So-called "Crisis Pregnancy Centers" prey on desperate and/or gullible women, the uninformed, the misinformed, the naive.  

A Google search, for virtually any city, for "abortion clinic" will find various brands of Crisis Pregnancy Centers at the top of the list, usually in the paid ads.  

The typical CPC website is very professionally done and aimed at their initial goal - to get you in the door.  Note that the word du jour for them is now "Center," instead of  "Clinic," because they've been busted so many times for misrepresenting themselves as medical clinics.  

Their initial goal is simply to get you to walk through their door.  Even though the typical ad states, "Complete and accurate information is shared on all your options confidentially, in a supportive, non pressured environment," every sort of psychological manipulation is used, from blatantly false medical information ("abortion causes cancer") to outright guilt tripping and slut shaming.

A 2006 study showed that “87% of federally funded ‘pregnancy resource centers,’ more commonly knows as crisis pregnancy centers, provided false and misleading information” and “grossly exaggerated the medical risks of abortion.”
http://aattp.org/...
The firm [Google] has taken a guarded approach to blocking content from its search pages. In this case, however, NARAL was able to demonstrate that the ads directly violated Google's own policies, Hogue said.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/...
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