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Monday, December 09, 2019

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Voters Told Them No, But Kansas Republicans Still Push New Abortion Restrictions

Imagine that your party puts forward a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion before the public, and it gets demolished by voters. I mean, the kind of blowout we didn’t even see in a presidential election in Kansas, a deep-red state. In 27 out of 40 state state Senate districts, the amendment was defeated. Statewide, the amendment was a disaster for Republicans, helped set the stage for the retention of Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly, and made way for an equally solid win by Democratic Rep. Sharice Davids in a newly drawn district geared toward making her a candidate they could beat.

So how do Republicans respond to this news in the land of Oz? I would say they are doubling down but at this point, but II can’t even keep track of how many times they are going back to this old chestnut.

Legislation proposed by GOP state Sen. Chase Blasi, who recently replaced state Sen. Gene Sullentrop, indicates that Republicans have decided that, if Kansas residents won’t approve abortion bans, city councils and city governments will. Republicans hope they will find themselves stacked up with conservatives willing to ban abortion procedures everywhere in Kansas that they still exist.

Blasi represents District 27, where 54 percent of voters rejected the anti-abortion constitutional amendment. Despite that, the newly minted state senator wants to make a splash—by working at crafting legislation that would result in exactly the opposite of what his district chose at the ballot box.

Nothing says “I respect voters” like trying to fool them into thinking the issue is over—while putting the issue in front of friends and allies in lower offices before voters have even had a chance to consider who represents them. That’s right: Imagine passing legislation that allows a local city council member or mayor to move on an anti-abortion agenda three years into their term—when such a policy was expressly impossible for those three years, and before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

The bill offers a straightforward change to Kansas statute:

(b) No political subdivision of the state shall regulate or restrict abortion Except as provided in subsection (a), nothing shall prevent any city or county from regulating abortion within its boundaries as long as the regulation is at least as stringent as or more stringent than imposed by state law. In such cases, the more stringent local regulation shall control

The endgame here is not that hard to calculate. Republicans believe that their attempt to ban abortion during a special election failed because it got the attention of voters. If they can continuously place the issue on every single ballot from now on, voters will be forced to take abortion access into consideration in city council votes and mayoral votes in every locale in Kansas.

While there are few actual clinics in the state, fear, uncertainty, and doubt could certainly propel elections in every community—including places like my own sub-1,000-population hometown—into wild debates. Does our town want to allow a clinic? Would a council member vote to permanently ban one from ever coming into town?

With more Democrat-friendly city governments and county commissions in larger communities, Republicans are hoping to take on abortion again this November. This is a strategy built on moving the goalposts, to keep trying to make it easier and easier for the side that lost—badly—to come back and declare victory.

For Kansans who believed the August 2 “No” vote on the constitutional amendment banning reproductive care would be the end of Republican attacks on the issue, it’s now crystal clear: Kansas Republicans have no intent of giving up on forcing birth, and banning abortion remains one of their top goals—whether the public is with them or not

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

How Lara Trump Siphoned Millions From A Dog Rescue To Trump Resorts

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

As a country, most of us like dogs. We care about our animals. They are friends, and we want to make sure they have humane lives. Dogs love us without many conditions, and if you want to anger America, you start attacking the handling of dogs or cats.

What if a charity claiming to help dogs were to funnel nearly $1.9 million worth of donations straight into Donald J. Trump's high-end resorts? And what if, let's say, an event chairwoman of that charity was the daughter-in-law of the one who financially benefits?

Those are the questions everyone is asking right now.

Lara Trump, the daughter-in-law in question, imagines herself a potential candidate for U.S. Senate in North Carolina next year, as Trump reminded everyone at a Mar-a-Lago fundraiser for Big Dog Ranch Rescue on Friday.

The would-be candidate may regret this video being out there, though, as it shows that these dog events are a great way to give her father-in-law funds.

A dog rescue charity with links to Lara Trump has spent as much as $1.9 million at former President Donald Trump's properties over the last seven years and will drop an additional quarter-million at his Mar-a-Lago country club this weekend.
According to a permit filed with the town of Palm Beach, Florida, Big Dog Ranch Rescue estimates it will spend $225,000 at the club where Donald Trump has taken up full-time residence since leaving the White House. All the profit from that spending winds up in his pocket.

This kind of self-dealing has been the subject of an investigation by state attorneys elsewhere and the results have not been good.

Daughter-in-law Lara Trump has been advertised as a "chairwoman" of the charity's fundraisers over the past several years. The spending by a charity she is associated with at her family's businesses mirrors practices at Donald Trump's now-shuttered Trump Foundation and Eric Trump's Eric Trump Foundation, which also spent donor money at Trump properties.
The self-dealing by the Trump Foundation was so egregious that New York state Attorney General Letitia James cited it as the reason the charity could no longer operate.

You might consider helping your local Humane Society instead.

Tucker Carlson Pukes Up Baseless Slur About Biden Marriage

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Sarah McLachlan once sang: "When somebody loved me, everything was beautiful/Every hour we spent together, lives within my heart/And when she was sad, I was there to dry her tears/And when she was happy, so was I, when she loved me." Tucker Carlson, however, doesn't seem to have ever run into that experience. Instead, the Fox News commentator took to the airwaves with a sinister plot: Maybe, just maybe, President Joseph R. Biden's 44-year marriage was actually the work of political consultants who imagined that long ago that if he and Jill played their cards right, had a child, and decades later they stayed together, then just maybe, it would cover up a plot to cover up senility that wouldn't be evident until 40years later.

That, in a nutshell, is the conspiracy being floated by the bloviator who takes up a spot on Fox News nightly. He insinuated that he knows the Biden marriage is a sham. He knows it because, well, he offers absolutely no proof at all. He doesn't apparently need any to get on the airwaves and begin making accusations about why a couple would hold hands. It is certainly a contrast to the disdain Melania Trump showed her husband the former president over and over, but really Tucker? Really?

I have yet to meet any political consultant in any party who would ever, ever suggest they can predict with certainty that their candidate, 40 years later, will need to be married with grandchildren in order to run for president, and they can use this longstanding marriage as cover for themselves under the idea that they will need it someday.

I feel sad for Tucker Carlson, actually. If you are this cynical about love and family, then please explain to me what exactly constitutes a "pro-family" viewpoint?

Top White House Staffer Shares Faked Video Of 'Biden Sleeping’

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

With Rep. Steve Scalise in trouble for sharing a faked video of activist Ady Barkan, you'd think that the White House would try to avoid the completely faked video market right now. White House director of social media and deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino, JrScavino is aiming to prove that assumption wrong.

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Cruising On Bike, Biden Trolls Fox News Reporter

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

This morning, on a bike ride—one of those physical activities I have yet to see the world's healthiest orange president do—Joe Biden was asked a question by Fox News' Peter Doocy: "Mr. Vice President, have you picked a running mate yet?" Biden, in response, answered "Yeah, I have." Doocy, believing he had a scoop, asked: "You have? Who is it?" Biden responded: "It's you," and continued to ride away.

The obvious truth is that it is incredibly likely Biden does have a running mate, but why give that to Fox New? Rather than accept the answer tongue-in-cheek, though, Fox News continued to report as though they had a big scoop on hand.

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