GOP Chair: No Evidence Of Misconduct By Planned Parenthood

Source:Patheos.com

Author:Michael Stone

Emphasis Mine

The Republican case against Planned Parenthood has collapsed: Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Chair of the House Oversight Committee, admits there is no evidence of wrongdoing by the family planning agency.

Rep. Chaffetz (R-UT) said Thursday that the GOP’s investigation into Planned Parenthood’s use of federal funds hasn’t turned up anything of significance.

Speaking during a Judiciary Committee meeting on Thursday, Chaffetz said:

Did I look at the finances and have a hearing specifically as to the revenue portion and how they spend? Yes.

Was there any wrongdoing? I didn’t find any.

Late last month Chaffetz grilled Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards during a five-hour hearing. During that hearing, Chaffetz was rude and belligerent, and repeatedly interrupted Richards as she tried to answer his questions in front of the House Oversight Committee.

However, in the end Richards had the last word, telling the belligerent congressman to “check your source” after Chaffetz was caught lying about a deceptive chart he was using in a failed attempt to discredit the women’s health organization.

Chaffetz, a candidate for House speaker, has been leading an expensive and misguided investigation into the business practices of Planned Parenthood after deceptive and misleading videos were released that allegedly showed company executives discussing the sale of fetal tissue.

Recently Planned Parenthood has been the victim of a well financed and cynical campaign to smear the organization dedicated to healthy family planning and women’s reproductive health.

The Center for Medical Progress, a front for radical, anti-abortion, forced-birth extremists, has been running a highly orchestrated campaign to discredit Planned Parenthood and ultimately undermine legal and safe abortion.

The group recently released heavily edited, deceptive and dishonest videos about Planned Parenthood designed to generate political support to defund the organization.

 

See:http://www.patheos.com/blogs/progressivesecularhumanist/2015/10/gop-chair-no-evidence-of-misconduct-by-planned-parenthood/

Obama Just Neutralized The Hobby Lobby Decision With New Obamacare Rules !

Source: Occupy Democrats

Emphasis Mine

Last year, the Supreme Court handed down a controversial decision in the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case that allowed employers to deny basic healthcare to women based on their personal beliefs. (N.B.: Employers beliefs, not employees). Conservatives all across America, who want to punish women for their “scandalous” sex-lives, celebrated the court’s Hobby Lobby ruling; it didn’t matter to them that many women take birth control to help chronic health problems, like endometriosis- the idea of women taking control of their sex lives and reproductive health was too much to bear. Now, a year after the infamous ruling, President Obama has issued new guidelines for Obamacare’s birth control mandate that protects women in spit of the ruling.

On Friday, the Obama administration released its new guidelines and they ensure that all women, except for those who work for a religious organization, have access to free birth control. Under the administration’s new rule, if a company wants to deny its employees contraceptives, they must write a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) stating their objection. The Department of Health will then find a third-party insurer to provide birth control to the employees, free of cost.

The new guidelines come on the heels of a circuit court ruling that struck down further attempts by the religious right-wing to deny women access to the basic healthcare. An ultraconservative judge with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, Jerry Smith, told a group of employers that they had to submit letters to HHS when they objected to the contraceptive coverage. The employers complained that they were enabling women to get the coverage if they were forced to submit the paperwork, saying that helping them, in any way, went against their personal beliefs. The judge was not sympathetic and threw them out of court.

HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell released a statement after the president released his new guidelines and said that the department was committed to ensuring that every woman had access to services:

“Women across the country should have access to preventive services, including contraception.  At the same time, we recognize the deeply held views on these issues, and we are committed to securing women’s access to important preventive services at no additional cost under the Affordable Care Act, while respecting religious beliefs.”

The birth control mandate has saved women $1.4 billion since it went into effect in 2012. Even though Obama’s new rules make basically make the Hobby Lobby ruling a moot point, one lawmaker, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), is irritated that the president had to accommodate religious organizations, at all, and is working on legislation to repeal the Hobby Lobby ruling.

“In the 21st century, women should be able to make their own decisions about their own bodies—and no one should have to ask their boss for permission to get the health care they need. I’m committing to continuing to fight, along with the Administration and all my colleagues, to fix this Supreme Court-issued license to discriminate and protect the rights of women and families across our country.”

President Obama’s new guidelines are a step in the right direction. It is ridiculous that an employer has any say over their employees healthcare decisions. These decisions should be left up to a woman and her doctor; an employer has no place in that equation. Senator Murray’s plans to repeal the asinine Hobby Lobby ruling would be welcome legislation, but the GOP will likely fight it tooth and nail. Why? Because they love to punish women. They claim that they support the ruling, because of religious freedom; but, when their religion stomps on the rights of women to access healthcare, it is no longer freedom at all. It’s a good thing women have President Obama and Democrats in their corners, because the right-wing will stop at nothing to attack us.

See: http://www.occupydemocrats.com/obama-just-neutralized-the-hobby-lobby-decision-with-new-obamacare-rules/?subscribe=success#blog_subscription-2

Startling Proof that Teen Pregnancies Drop When Birth Control Is Free

If birth control were free, there would be fewer unwanted pregnancies.

Source: AlterNet

Author:April Short

Emphasis Mine

If birth control were free, there would be fewer unwanted pregnancies. This is the longstanding hypothesis put forth by women’s health advocates (and correspondingly written into the Affordable Care Act). Over the last six years, a private grant fund from the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation (billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s late wife) has given Colorado a unique opportunity to test this hypothesis. The results are astounding.

When teenagers and poor women in the state were offered free, long-acting contraceptives—i.e. intrauterine devices (IUD) and implants—they overwhelmingly accepted, and the rate of teen pregnancies has plunged. Teen births in Colorado dropped by 40 percent between 2009 and 2013 and the number of abortions in the state decreased by 42 percent, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

The New York Times called the results of the experiment “startling,” in a cover story this week, noting that while teenage births “have been declining nationally, experts say the timing and magnitude of the reductions in Colorado are a strong indication that the state’s program was a major driver.”

The impact of the program has been most noticeable in the poorest parts of the state, where the rates of unplanned teenage pregnancy have historically been highest. As the Times explains,

“In 2009, half of all first births to women in the poorest areas of the state happened before they turned 21. By 2014, half of first births did not occur until the women had turned 24, a difference that advocates say gives young women time to finish their educations and to gain a foothold in an increasingly competitive job market.”

The Times article also notes that the number of women using long-term birth control methods in Colorado is much greater than the use of those methods nationally.

About 7 percent of American women ages 15 to 44 used long-acting birth control from 2011 to 2013, the most recent period studied, up from 1.5 percent in 2002. The figures include all women, even those who were pregnant or sterilized. The share of long-acting contraception users among just women using birth control is likely to be higher.”

While the Affordable Care Act mandates “free contraception” for many in the US, not all insurance coverage is panning out equal. Some plans include a required payment for birth control, and others only offer a limited selection of birth control methods free of charge. And, as the Times notes:

Only new plans must provide free contraception, so women on plans that predate the law may not qualify. (In 2014, about a quarter of people covered through their employers were on grandfathered plans, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.)

Advocates also worry that teenagers — who can get the devices at clinics confidentially — may be less likely to get the devices through their parents’ insurance. Long-acting devices can cost between $800 and $900.”  Meanwhile, Colorado’s program is beginning to run low on funding, but for now continues to save the state money and time. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment estimates that the birth control initiative has saved the state’s Medicaid program (which covers more than three-quarters of teenage pregnancies and births) $5.85 for every dollar spent.

See: http://www.alternet.org/gender/startling-proof-teen-pregnancies-drop-when-birth-control-free?akid=13285.123424.ETvjTg&rd=1&src=newsletter1039055&t=1

Putting Lipstick on a Pig: 4 Messes that Sink the GOP’s Dreams of Regaining the Presidency

How does a party of insular, rigid true believers, thrusting warlike middle fingers towards modernity, talk itself into modernizing?

Source: Alternet

Author: Robert Becker

Emphasis Mine

Beyond rightwing foment and self-flagellation, epic dilemmas bedevil all Republican dreams of regaining a national majority:

1)    Fealty to manifestly discredited belief systems (cultural, economic, religious, and scientific);

2)    Fealty to disgraced, ideological leaders whose arteries are hardening, rhetorically-suicidal and/or slow to get demographic “death spirals;”

3)    Justified anxiety that “rebranding” different enough to engage newly-empowered centrists will alienate far more base zealots already feeling besieged from both sides.

4)    Reactionary robber barons will keep afloat any “anti-business Obama” gang, whatever the setbacks, with plenty more billions to secure favorable permits, subsidies, laws, and deregulation.

In a nutshell, how does a party of insular, rigid true believers, thrusting warlike middle fingers towards modernity, talk itself into modernizing just because it lost one election? Aside from putting lipstick on a pig, where’s the miraculous (earthbound) agency that modernizes angry, resentful Tea Partiers whose outrage targeted the very diverse, younger, secular crowds now crowning the future?

GOP loyalty to losers

On point, unlike liberal losers who politely leave the stage (nearly all but Carter and Gore since 1980), Republican flops and misfits endure for decades, poisoning hate media and Sunday talk shows, even wreaking havoc across GOP primaries. That Newt Gingrich, or shameless, still illiterate Sarah Palin types get to harangue anyone beyond pets, testifies to the unholy resilience of party-wounding blowhards. In fact, Mitt Romney looks to be the exception by getting the quick boot, but then his staggeringly dumb remarks justify exile to the W. gulag. Dick Cheney gets more respect.

What close observer thinks that rightwingers will adapt simply because minority status looms? In fact, authoritarian control freaks live off opposition, especially from upstarts with darker skins with less money (thus  moochers voting themselves ‘gift’ handouts). Face facts, as Mittens speaks for most Republicans (certainly hordes of over-compensated CEOs), his party is beyond “rebranding” but needing once-a-century reformation – or more devastating national defeats.

Further, since Tea Party fanatics would rather fight and lose than switch, they won’t abandon prime commandments. Certainly not 1) big government is bad government, except when killing enemies. Or 2) only low taxes guarantee growth and job creation (ditto, less regulations and red tape). That 3) states rights are still divinely-ordained (bring back the Civil War), or 4) Christianity is, let’s be honest, the world’s best, truest religion. And, finally, what reluctant reformers doubt 5) free-market capitalism isn’t authorized by whatever Biblical texts defend profits, exploiting the earth, and infinitely expandable markets. Hands, anyone?

Disasters only blessings in disguise

Why should hard-hearted, religious fundamentalists, in lock step with economic fundamentalists called robber barons, reconfigure such magical thinking simply because unwashed minorities screw up popular elections. That’d be surrendering under siege, and good Christian soldiers reflexively distort momentary defeats into blessings in disguise, spiritual tests airmailed by God. After all, the big, cosmic truths are self-evident and fixed, and quick, selective historical readings proving majorities are far less perfect than the Good Book. Plus, the GOP is still armed and dangerous, knowing how to organize, collect billions, forge unanimity of thought, marry old-time religion with employment and regressive values, even do what Mormons once celebrated, “lying for the Lord.” For more on the narcotic of lying, see Amanda Marcotte’s excellent piece, “Conservatives’ crisis of confidence.”

Of course willful ignorance extends beyond politics, and the enduringly dumb war against science goes beyond secession chatter after a loss. Blithering idiots indict both the competence and honor of the entire modern science complex, snubbing reproductive and evolutionary biology, geology, anthropology, archeology, ecology, climatology, astronomy plus incontrovertible carbon dating. Nor do like-minded Biblical literalists hesitate to impugn the world’s greatest experts on language, scriptural texts, even independent scholars proving the “inerrant Holy Bible” was a calculated amalgam edited by fallible humans, promoting consensus-building, with marketable chapters that favor church expansion. Will those who defy this sweep of intellectual and moral advancement reverse entrenched fantasies because a black hustler, born who knows where, finagled his way into a second term? Is that the incentive to abandon all that wishful thinking driving glorious conspiracy theories?

Doubt not conservatism

Thus, two weeks of soul-searching and behold, bold and mighty breakthroughs: “Never give up conservative principles, just make them sound less offensive.” Back to the PR drawing board: “better pandering to key demographics.” The “great ideas of conservatism” are untarnished, ruined only by wretched pitchman, like that tin-ear plutocrat, or Karl “over-the-hill” Rove, or FOX goons aghast at actual election results. Rock-ribbed conservatives don’t need change but changed decoys that cover up failed mindsets and disaster agendas.

Forget rebranding: what addicts to unreality need is psychological intervention. But, alas, that only works when the dope fiends (in both senses) admit vulnerability (too much like sin), then accept input from trained, outside experts (sounds like trusting elites). That leaves only a course in miracles, but that’s a longer shot still.

For ultimately the GOTP (Good Old Tea Party) doesn’t merely revere American Exceptionalism but Republican Exceptionalism. The right is doomed by the inviolate, mystical conviction of its own superiority. That’s what obstinate obstructionism is all about: truth is not open to discussion, especially framed by secular heathens. I’ll believe in rebranding when the GOP stops disenfranchising voters or backs off Congressional gerrymandering behind its dishonest majority, considering how many fewer overall House votes it received. I’ll accept rebranding when the right stops sabotaging majority rule with chronic filibustering. Since “rebranding” leaves unchanged all core assumptions, we’re finally talking shifts in public relations, not human orcommunity relations. More’s the pity.

The GOP Proctology Clinic?

So folks like Governor Jindal can wish away “the politics of stupid” but what about the politics of ignorance, the willful blindness that denies legitimacy to a re-elected president and unarguable electoral outcomes? Now wouldn’t that neat principle attract awakened minorities and women, profoundly offended by racist, anti-immigrant, anti-women and anti-science ideologues? If true believers are open to adaptation, let’s begin not only with immigration but climate change, fussing less about who caused what than what emergency measures are necessary to stem the tide.

We all search for evidence that real change is in the offing, on the right or the left, for that matter. To this end, I fervently second the cumbersome solution put forth by that stalwart Republican, Haley Barbour – his party demands nothing less than a “very serious proctology exam” that needs “to look everywhere.”  Right, bring on those bloated, obstructed fat cats, kicking and screaming in high dudgeon. Karl Rove, first up, then Romney, Ryan and Rush Limbaugh. No videos, please, for even rationalists can only take so much reality.

Robert S. Becker writes on politics and culture.

See: http://www.alternet.org/tea-party-and-right/putting-lipstick-pig-4-messes-sink-gops-dreams-regaining-presidency?akid=9704.123424.O5Vcj3&rd=1&src=newsletter748106&t=3

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Was Right, and We Already Have Proof

Source: The Nation

Author: Zoe Carpenter

Among the many questions raised by the Supreme Court’s ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby is how sweeping its legacy will be. Supporters of the decision have insisted that the ruling is “narrow,” as it explicitly addresses “closely held” corporations objecting to four specific types of birth control—including IUDs and Plan B—because the business’ owners consider them (inaccurately) to cause abortion. Besides, the Court argued, the government can just fill any coverage gaps itself, and it’s only women whom corporations are now permitted to discriminate against. “Our decision in these cases is concerned solely with the contraceptive mandate,” claimed Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority. “Our decision should not be understood to hold that an insurance-coverage mandate must necessarily fall if it conflicts with an employers’ religious beliefs.”

Bullshit, is essentially what Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had to say about the majority’s claim to have issued a limited ruling. In her dissent, Ginsburg deemed it “a decision of startling breadth.” She noted that “‘closely held’ is not synonymous with ‘small’,” citing corporations like Cargill, which employs 140,000 workers. Even more alarming is the majority’s endorsement of the idea that corporations can hold religious beliefs that warrant protection under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

In fact, it only took a day for the Court’s “narrow” decision to start to crack open. On Tuesday, the Court indicated that its ruling applies to for-profit employers who object to all twenty forms of birth control included in the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate, not just the four methods at issue in the two cases decided on Monday.

In light of its ruling on Hobby Lobby and a related suit, the Supreme Court ordered three appeals courts to reconsider cases in which they had rejected challenges from corporations that object to providing insurance that covers any contraceptive services at all. The plaintiffs in all three cases are Catholics who own businesses in the Midwest, including Michigan-based organic food company Eden Foods. Meanwhile, the High Court declined to review petitions from the government seeking to overturn lower court rulings that upheld religiously based challenges to all preventative services under the mandate.

It’s bad enough that the Court privileged the belief that IUDs and emergency contraceptives induce abortion over the scientific evidence that clearly says otherwise. With Tuesday’s orders, the conservative majority has effectively endorsed the idea that religious objections to insurance that covers any form of preventative healthcare for women have merit. This development is not surprising, as it’s the logical extension of the premise that the intangible legal entities we call corporations have religious rights. That’s a ridiculous idea, certainly, but not a narrow one—no matter Alito’s assurance that he intends it to be used only to justify discrimination against women.

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The cases that must now be reopened aren’t even based on junk science, just general pious resistance to women’s health services. And at least one of those cases is only tenuously about religious freedom. “I don’t care if the federal government is telling me to buy my employees Jack Daniel’s or birth control,” Michael Potter, the founder of Eden Foods told Irin Carmon. “What gives them the right to tell me that I have to do that? That’s my issue, that’s what I object to, and that’s the beginning and end of the story.” As one judge wrote, “Potter’s ‘deeply held religious beliefs’ more resembled a laissez-faire, anti-government screed.”

The hole that the Supreme Court tore in the contraceptive mandate can be repaired with a tailored fix, most likely by the Obama administration extending the same accommodation it offered nonprofit religious groups to women working for the closely held for-profit corporations implicated in the Hobby Lobby ruling. Under that work-around, insurance companies themselves—or, in some cases, the federal government—will pick up the tab for female employees’ contraception coverage when their employer opts out.

More vexing is the extension of the RFRA to corporations. Business owners now have a new basis for trying to evade anti-discrimination laws and their responsibilities to their employees. Religious liberty is already the rallying cry for conservatives looking for a legal way to discriminate against LGBT Americans; other business owners have tried to use religion to justify opposition to minimum-wage laws and Social Security taxes. Faith groups are already trying to capitalize on the Hobby Lobby decision out of court; on Wednesday, a group of religious leaders asked the Obama administration for an exemption from a forthcoming federal order barring federal contractors from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

According to Alito, courts have no authority to “tell the plaintiffs that their beliefs are flawed.” Where, then, are the boundaries? How will courts decide which beliefs are “sincerely held?” Alito asserts that the majority opinion provides “no such shield” for other forms of discrimination, but we have to take his word on it. The language of the ruling may be limited to contraception, but there are no explicit constraints on its underlying logic.

 

Read Next: Katha Pollitt asks, Where Will the Slippery Slope of ‘Hobby Lobby’ End?

Emphasis Mine

See:http://www.thenation.com/blog/180509/supreme-court-has-already-expanded-its-narrow-hobby-lobby-ruling?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=email_nation&utm_campaign=Email%20Nation%20%28NEW%29%20-%20Headline%20Nation%20Feed%2020140703&newsletter=email_nation#

5 Things Conservatives Lie Shamelessly About

Source: AlterNet

Author: Amanda Marcotte

Mark Twain once famously said, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” Twain wasn’t praising lies with this comment, of course, but modern-day conservatives seem to think he was dishing out advice instead of damning the practice of dishonesty. Conservatives have figured out a neat little rhetorical trick: One lie is easy for your opponents to debunk. Tell one lie after another, however, and your opponent’s debunkings will never catch up. By the time the liberal opposition has debunked one lie, there’s a dozen more to take its place.

Science educator Eugenie Scott deemed the technique the “Gish Gallop,” named for a notoriously sleazy creationist named Duane Gish. The Urban Dictionary defines the Gish Gallop as a technique that “involves spewing so much bullshit in such a short span on that your opponent can’t address let alone counter all of it.” Often users of the Gish Gallop know their arguments are nonsense or made in bad faith, but don’t particularly care because they are so dead set on advancing their agenda. Unfortunately, the strategy is so effective that it’s been expanding rapidly in right-wing circles. Here are just a few of the most disturbing examples of the Gish Gallop in action.

1. Creationism. It’s no surprise creationists inspired the coining of the term Gish Gallop, as they have perfected the art of making up nonsense faster than scientists can refute it. The list of false or irrelevant claims made by creationists, as chronicled by Talk Origins, numbers in the dozens, perhaps even hundreds, and more are always being spun out. Trying to argue with a creationist, therefore, turns into a hellish game of Whack-A-Mole. Debunk the lie that the speed of light is not constant, and you’ll find he’s already arguing that humans co-existed with dinosaurs. Argue that it’s unconstitutional to put the story of Adam and Eve in the science classroom, and find he’s pretending he was never asking for that and instead wants to “teach the controversy.”

“Teaching the controversy” is a classic Gish Gallop apology. The conservative wants to make it seem like he’s supporting open-minded debate, but instead he just wants an opportunity to dump a bunch of lies on students with the knowledge that they’ll never have the time and attention to carefully parse every debunking.

2. Climate change denialism.This strategy worked so well for creationism it makes perfect sense that it would be imported to the world of climate change denialism. Climate change denialists have many changing excuses for why they reject the science showing that human-caused greenhouse gases are changing the climate, but what all these reasons have in common is they are utter nonsense in service of a predetermined opposition to taking any action to prevent further damage.Skeptical Science, a website devoted to debunking right-wing lies on this topic, has compiled a dizzying list of 176 common claims by climate denialists and links to why they are false. Some of these lies directly contradict each other. For instance, it can’t both be true that climate change is “natural” and that it’s not happening at all. No matter, since the point of these lies is not to create a real discussion about the issue, but to confuse the issue so much it’s impossible to get any real momentum behind efforts to stop global warming.

3. The Affordable Care Act. It’s not just science where conservatives have discovered the value in telling lies so fast you simply wear your opposition out. When it comes to healthcare reform, the lying has been relentless. There are the big lies, such as calling Obamacare “socialism,” which implies a single-payer system, when in fact, it’s about connecting the uninsured with private companies and giving consumers of healthcare a basic set of rights. In a sense, even the name “Obamacare” is a lie, as the bill was, per the President’s explicit wishes, written by Congress.

But there are also the small lies: The ACA funds abortion. Under the ACA, old people will be forcibly euthanized. Obamacare somehow covers undocumented immigrants. Congress exempted itself from Obamacare (one of the lies that doesn’t even make sense, as it’s not a program you could really get exempted from). Healthcare will add a trillion dollars to the deficit.

The strategy of just lying and lying and lying some more about the ACA has gotten to the point where Fox News is just broadcasting lies accusing the Obama administration of lying. When it was reported that the administration was going to hit its projections for the number of enrollments through healthcare.gov, a subculture of “enrollment truthers” immediately sprang up to spread a variety of often conflicting lies to deny that these numbers are even real. It started soft, with some conservatives suggesting that some enrollments shouldn’t count or arguing, without a shred of evidence, that huge numbers of new enrollees won’t pay their premiums. Now the lying is blowing up to the shameless level, with “cooking the books” being a common false accusation or, as with Jesse Watters on Fox, straight up accusing the White House of making the number up. Perhaps soon there will be demands to see all these new enrollees’ birth certificates.

4. Contraception mandate.The ACA-based requirement that insurance plans cover contraception without a copay has generated a Gish Gallop so large it deserves its own category. Jodi Jacobson of RH Reality Check chronicled 12 of the biggest lies generated by the right-wing noise machine in just the past couple of years since the mandate was even announced. It is not “free” birth control, nor is it “paid for” by employers. The birth control coverage is paid for by the employees, with benefits they earn by working. The mandate doesn’t cover “abortifacients,” only contraception. No, birth control doesn’t work by killing fertilized eggs, but by preventing fertilization. It’s simply false that the prescriptions in question can all be replaced with a $9-a-month prescription from Walmart, as many women’s prescriptions run into the hundreds and even thousands a year. No, it’s not true that the contraception mandate is about funding women’s “lifestyle”, because statistics show that having sex for fun instead of procreation is a universal human behavior and not a marginal or unusual behavior as the term “lifestyle” implies.

5. Gun safety. The gun lobby is dishonest to its core. Groups like the NRA like to paint themselves like they are human rights organizations, but in fact, they are an industry lobby whose only real goal is to protect the profit margins of gun manufacturers, regardless of the costs to human health and safety. Because their very existence is based on a lie, is it any surprise that gun industry advocates are experts at the Gish Gallop, ready to spring into action at the sign of any school shooting or report on gun violence and dump so many lies on the public that gun safety advocates can never even begin to address them all?

A small sampling of the many, many lies spouted by gun industry advocates: That guns prevent murder, when in fact more guns correlates strongly with more murders. That gun control doesn’t work. That gun control is unpopular.  That any move to make gun ownership safer is a move to take away your guns. That a gun in the home makes you safer when it actually puts your family at more risk. That guns protect against domestic violence, when the truth is that owning a gun makes abuse worse, not better. Even the standard line “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” is a distracting bit of dishonesty, since most gun deaths aren’t murders but suicides.

How do you fight the Gish Gallop, when trying to debunk each and every lie is so overwhelming? There are a few tactics that help, including creating websites and pamphlets where all the lies can be aggregated in one place, for swift debunking. (Bingo cards and drinking games are a humorous version of this strategy.) A critical strategy is to avoid lengthy Lincoln-Douglas-style debates that allow conservatives to lie-dump rapidly during their speaking period, leaving you so busy trying to clean up their mess you have no time for positive points of your own. Better is a looser style of debate where you can interrupt and correct the lies as they come. I’ve also found some luck with setting an explicit “no lies” rule that will be strictly enforced. The first lie receives a warning, and the second lie means that the debate is immediately terminated. This helps prevent you from having to debunk and instead makes the price of participation a strict adherence to facts.

Amanda Marcotte co-writes the blog Pandagon. She is the author of “It’s a Jungle Out There: The Feminist Survival Guide to Politically Inhospitable Environments.”

Emphasis Mine

See: http://www.alternet.org/5-things-conservatives-lie-shamelessly-about?akid=11677.123424.pmD4Yc&rd=1&src=newsletter978221&t=2

Mike Huckabee, and why Republicans have trouble talking to and about women

Source: Washington Post

Authors: Aaron Blake and Sean Sullivan

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee (R) had a challenge for Democrats on Thursday.

If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it,” Huckabee said at the RNC winter meeting. “Let’s take that discussion all across America.”

As it turns out, Democrats are  quite happy to oblige.

Shortly after Huckabee’s “libido” comments, Democrats distributed them far and wide, rehashing the so-called GOP “war on women” and accusing Huckabee of insensitivity. Some enterprising campaigns even sought to tie their Republican opponents to the former presidential candidate, hoping Huckabee’s controversy would also play a bit part in their own races.

In the end, Huckabee’s comments are likely to be soon forgotten, but they do reflect a broader problem the Republican Party has when it comes to women.

Basically, the party has a very difficult time talking about these issues without opening itself up to such attacks.

Let’s explain:

Huckabee was not saying himself that women have uncontrollable libidos and need birth control; he was saying Democrats make women believe this so that they vote Democratic.

There are a few problems with his approach, though.

1) Huckabee’s 54-word sentence — which includes a 50-word dependent clause — was initially so confusing that several reporters thought Huckabee was attributing the “libido” idea to himself. (Now, we’re sure some Democrats think Huckabee wastalking about himself, but do you really think he’s that stupid?)

2) Even as the sentence reads today, it still could sound as if Huckabee thinks certain women need to “control their libido” — though that doesn’t seem to be his intention.

3) The contraception issue is, quite frankly, not the GOP’s friend.

That last statement might surprise some folks, particularly on the right, who can rightly point out that some polls show a slight majority of the American people thinks religious institutions should be exempt from covering birth control.

But while polling on a federal contraception mandate varies — and depends a lot on how you ask the question — the enthusiasm is certainly on the pro-mandate side. That, and Democrats are much better at controlling the message on this issue.

A March 2012 Washington Post-ABC poll showed Americans favored mandating contraception coverage by a margin of 61-35. Those who felt strongly in favor of the mandate outnumbered those who strongly opposed it nearly two to one, 50-27.

The numbers were much closer when it asked specifically whether religious institutions should be exempted (the crux of the current debate). In that case, 49 percent thought it should be mandated, while 46 percent thought it should not. But, again, strong supporters trumped strong opponents — by around eight or nine points.

In other words, the passion is clearly more on one side of this issue, and if Democrats can define this issue along the lines of the first polling question rather than the second — the one bringing religious institutions into the mix — they’re clearly fighting a winning battle.

As it happens, Democrats have been quite successful at doing just that, just as they did Thursday with Huckabee. In fact, if you look at Huckabee’s comments, he made no mention of religion and contraception at all.

None of this is to say that Huckabee committed a huge gaffe that will hurt Republicans significantly going forward. But, clearly, whatever point he was trying to make was lost thanks to a poor choice of words — a cautionary tale to a party that has all too often found its members doing much the same thing (think “legitimate rape”).

Huckabee is generally one of the GOP’s most gifted messengers. If even he is falling into this kind of a rathole, that doesn’t suggest great things ahead for his party.

Emphasis Mine

see: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/01/24/mike-huckabee-and-why-republicans-have-trouble-talking-to-and-about-women/?wpisrc=nl_pmpol