How I got on their email list I'll never know. But if the GOP really wants my opinion on what I'd like to see them do to change Washington...
(For the record, yes - I did submit that message)
Being convicted of spousal abuse would ordinarily end a political career. For Maine’s Erick Bennett, though, it’s only inspired one to begin.
Formally declaring candidacy for U.S. Senate from his Portland campaign headquarters on December 30, Bennett claimed an earlier conviction for domestic violence was part of his inspiration, according to the Bangor Daily News.
In 2003, Bennett was convicted of a Class D assault charge against his wife, who’s since divorced him.
He contested, but a 2004 appeal before the Maine Supreme Judicial Court only confirmed the conviction.
Still claiming innocence at the recent announcement, Bennett told press that part of his decision to take on incumbent Sen. Susan Collins in 2014’s Republican primary was Collins’ support for domestic violence laws that aid battered spouses.
He could offer no examples of such legislation when asked, but his website lists Collins’ votes for the Violence Against Women Act as examples of the need to replace the incumbent.
Regarding VAWA’s 2002 reauthorization, Bennett’s site reads:
“This is good for GLBT special interest groups and lawyers but bad for everyone else(.)”
Criticizing Collins’ vote for the program again in 2012, the site’s homepage reads:
“(VAWA) is a bloated social services and welfare program.”
On another of the site’s pages, Bennett claims that VAWA affects 2nd Amendment rights, is abused by women who make false charges, overlooks males attacked by women, and is wrong for including protection of lesbians and bisexuals.
This opposition to VAWA, combined with his record of domestic violence, could indicate an affinity between Bennett and today’s Republican Party.
For example, the Violence Against Women Act was left to expire in January after the GOP-led House refused to vote on its reauthorization. In February, nine Republican senators initially blocked it from coming to the floor for vote in objection to VAWA’s inclusion of immigrants and LGBT victims. It was only reinstated on February 28 after House Republicans’ restrictive modifications to the Act failed.
And as Bennett stated at his recent press conference:
“I’m pretty much just your typical Republican.”
Bennett even claimed his legal conviction indicated his capabilities to serve.
"The fact that I have been jailed repeatedly for not agreeing to admit to something I didn’t do should speak to the fact of how much guts and integrity I have. If I go to D.C., I’m going to have that same integrity in doing what I say, and saying what I do, when it comes to protecting people’s rights, as well as their pocketbooks.”
Maine’s GOP is quickly distancing itself from Bennett, even challenging his claims of political experience.
Bennett said he was paid staff of Gov. Paul LePage’s 2010 campaign, but state party executive director Jason Savage, who directed the campaign division Bennett claims he served, denies the claim.
Facing a questionable primary opponent doesn’t indicate any strength in the standing of incumbent Collins, however. First elected in 1996, her stances have frequently altered, and ratings from special interest groups have flip-flopped every year.
For example, in 1999 Collins received a 100-percent rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America and a 0 grade from the National Right to Life Committee. In 2012, though, she was rated 80 by Right to Life and 0 by NARAL.
Whoever wins the June 10 primary will have to continue campaigning for the following general election.
Shenna Bellows, executive director of Maine’s ACLU, announced her Democratic Party candidacy for the same U.S. Senate seat in November.
In his recent filing with the Federal Election Commission, congressional candidate Mark Sanford reported receiving $2,500 from conservative mogul David Koch on February 1,the Sunlight Foundation first reported.
With a net worth of approximately $34 billion, Koch is ranked by Forbes to be the fourth most-wealthy American. Executive VP of Koch Industries, a conglomerate affiliated with paper, chemicals and oil, he’s better known for political activism and special-interest lobbying.
An apparent basis for his support of Sanford in this special election, the two agree on many political principals.
For example, Koch is a board member of the libertarian Cato Institute. In 1980, he was vice-presidential candidate of the Libertarian Party, running on a platform that called for elimination of Social Security, minimum wage and corporate taxes.
In his own political career, Sanford openly identified with the movement, calling his identification as a libertarian “a badge of honor.” In his previous term in U.S. Congress (1995-2001), he voted against strengthening Social Security and sponsored a bill for its privatization.
Both also have affiliation with the Tea Party. Koch is an original founder of Americans for Prosperity, a conservative organization affiliated with creation of the organization by its partner group, FreedomWorks. He’s also credited with providing ample funding to the Tea Party movement.
Columbia’s The State newspaper says Sanford was a “Tea Party frugal before it was politically fashionable,” and The Daily Beast says he “was Tea Party before there was a Tea Party.”
The South Carolina Libertarian Party, which has no candidate in this race, also identifies with the Tea Party movement, using the “Don’t Tread On Me” Gadsden Flag in the header logo of its website.
Other notable donors to Sanford’s campaign include Thomas Ravenel, who then-governor Sanford suspended from the state treasurer’s office in 2007 after federal indictment on cocaine charges, and billionaire hedge fund investor Richard Chilton.
Sanford is one of 16 Republican candidates in this special election to fill the 1st District seat, which has remained empty since January when Tim Scott assumed Jim DeMint’s senate office following resignation.
The primary race is March 19; the victor of an anticipated April 2 GOP runoff will face the Democratic candidate in a May 7 final election.
That Democrats and Republicans think differently is rather obvious to most.
But these opposing political supporters even think from different parts of the brain, a recent study found.
According to the recent (and appropriately titled) “Red Brain, Blue Brain” report, Democrats have higher activity in the left insula – the part of the brain that processes internal cues and emotions – when facing risks.
When Republicans think about risk, however, they have much higher activity in the right amygdale, the region of the brain associated with fear and exterior cues. As a result, these conservative-leaning voters “show greater sensitivity to threatening stimuli,” the report concludes in its summary.
In other words, Democrats tend to think through challenging circumstances before responding, while Republicans are more prone to react impulsively and emotionally to outside influences.
The “Red Brain, Blue Brain” study was conducted by professors of medicine, psychology, psychiatry, biology and (of course) political science, and was released by the Public Library of Science on Feb. 13.
Eighty-two subjects who identified their political preferences participated in the research, which included MRI tests conducted as they participated in risk-taking mental exercises and games. Researchers confirmed subject party identification by voting records.
Republican campaign platforms and political ads used that year and in following have been laden with such tactics, too. For example (and see slide show for images at the bottom of this page):
Democrats have more activity in the part of the brain connected with wider social connections, such as friends and issues that affect more people and are inclusive of other parts of the world, the USC study concludes; on the other hand, Republicans are dominantly active in the brain region associated with tight social connections, such as family and their own personal properties and interests.
(from The Daily Beast)
John Kuhn may have ended his congressional campaign shortly after first announcing it, and due to potential violations of election laws made in a recent letter requesting donations.
The Charleston attorney and one-time state senator formally declared his interest in the 1st Congressional District race on Dec. 18.
In a Dec. 28 letter, a copy of which was recently posted on Summerville Patch, Kuhn requested campaign donations for the special election required to fill the seat of Rep. Tim Scott, who assumed an empty senate seat following Jim DeMint’s Dec. 6 resignation.
(click for larger image)
The single-page letter (see on right) is openly missing a disclaimer notice – the common “paid for by” box – that the Federal Election Commission requires to appear on all distributed for a campaign.
Specifically, 11 CFR 110.11(c)(2) states “on printed materials, the disclaimer notice must appear within a printed box set apart from the other contents in the communication.”
The common disclaimer is absent from Kuhn’s letter, however.
Any materials for collection of federal campaign donations are also to list maximum contribution amounts, which for congressional races are $2,500 per person per election cycle, and other donation restrictions.
Kuhn mentions no such limitations, however. In fact, his letter asks recipients to donate “as much as you possibly can(.)
“I need a lot of money,” the letter reads.
And if any recipient honored the request, Kuhn’s campaign might face difficulty in complying with yet another regulation.
Federal campaigns are required to report to the FEC the name, mailing address, occupation and employer of all who donate over $200 in one year to political campaigns, and donation requests are to specify that requirement. Even though Kuhn’s letter requests contributions, it doesn’t ask for the needed information.
The Charleston attorney seemed confident in his campaign when submitting the letter. “I have a great chance to win this election because they drew the perfect district for me after the last census.”
Filing for the special election begins on Jan. 18. Primary races are scheduled for March 19, and voters will select a new congressional representative on May 7.
In 2001, Kuhn was elected state senator of District 43, covering parts of Charleston and Berkeley counties.
However, he lost the primary race in the next election cycle to Chip Campsen, who still holds the office.
Kuhn made news in early 2012 when he endorsed Ron Paul in South Carolina’s Republican presidential primary.
(David Becker/Getty Images)
While he is still taking flak for a secret video that got released last week (see below), there were many other notable quotes and deeds from Mitt Romney in that same period that shouldn’t be overlooked.
And that “47 percent” line wasn’t the worst of them, either.
Romney appeared on Univision, a Hispanic U.S. television network, but only after his campaign team was allowed to fill the empty seats of the studio with Romney supporters. And his faux pas (or “paso en falso”) wasn’t the tanned, Spanish skin tone that some media thought to be his cosmetic attempt to look Latino.
Romney reportedly refused to enter the stage when called by the hosts (“threw a tantrum,” according to one witness) because he didn’t like this traditional intro of the network. He forced the crew to start shooting all over again with his own favored introduction of last-minute planning.
Speaking about his goal to repeal the Affordable Care Act on Sunday’s 60 Minutes, Romney suggested that folks without insurance could simply go to a hospital emergency room when they needed medical care.
Not only is this practice partly responsible for the very high cost of medical care in the U.S., and even for the high cost of medical insurance for others, but it’s also the exact opposite of what Romney told voters in his last presidential campaign.
In a 2008 debate of Republican candidates, Romney said “they shouldn’t be allowed to just show up at the hospital and say, somebody else should pay for me.”
After long wait and uncountable requests, on Sept. 21 Romney finally released his most recent tax return. He could have taken an additional $1.75 million in deductions for charitable donations, too, he points out, but chose not to, thus increasing his tax burden.
But just weeks ago in July, Romney said he would never, ever pass up on a possible tax deduction; in fact, to do so would mean he shouldn’t get elected, he said. “(F)rankly if I had paid more than are legally due, I don’t think I’d be qualified to become president.”
This release of his last tax return didn’t answer many questions, either, and instead just created new ones.
Lastly, Romney thinks the aircraft industry has long overlooked one needed improvement – retractable windows!
Explaining how an onboard electrical mishap delayed his wife’s flight last Friday, Romney said “you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem.”
Of course, airplane windows don’t open for three main reasons: 1) there is a depreciation of oxygen at flight altitudes, meaning passengers would pass out and quickly die, 2) the temperature is far below zero at such elevations, and 3) passengers would be sucked out of their pressurized cabins. (Add in all the litter from folks tossing out their empty peanut packs, and it’s even clearer.)
And this, folks, is just a one-week recap of the man who wants to be your president.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Mitt Romney flip-flops so much that an opponent once referred to him not as pro-choice, but multiple choice.
He owns a gun/he doesn't own a gun. He's always been Republican/he used to be independent. He was disappointed in Reagan/he wants to be like Reagan. And he's flipped on stem cell research almost as frequently as he's gone from "don't ask" to "do tell."
In short, Romney can't seem to make up his mind on any important issue.
He's catching a lot of flak for that, too, as the campaign season picks up pace. But perhaps the most telling of his flip-floppiness is a report that his primary opponent had compiled against him back in the 2008 race.
John McCain's campaign team compiled a very detailed account on Romney, covering his personal history. One full section of the report detailed the many turnarounds Romney made during his political career - abortion, immigration, taxes, the Second Amendment, and more.
Read the entire 200-page document here on Robservations.
If he changes his mind so often, then how can we count on him to be president?
Ed Carter won Republican Party nomination for State House Dist. 97 in Tuesday’s primary, according to election results.
But Richard Hayes, chair of Dorchester County’s Democratic Party, suspects Carter is ineligible to continue his candidacy due to blatant errors in campaign filing records.
Hayes now formally challenges Carrol Duncan, chair of the county GOP, to produce the paper records of Carter’s Statement of Economic Interests (SEI) to validate his candidacy.
“Carter filed his SEI online before the candidate filing period actually began,” Hayes says. “Duncan let the county election commission think she got a paper copy of his SEI during the actual filing period, though.”
Hayes requests that Duncan provide him and/or local media with copies of Carter’s SEI and Statement of Intention of Candidacy.
According to records of the state Ethics Commission, Carter filed his SEI for this year’s campaign on March 13. (See image below.) Filing didn’t begin until two days later, however.
A candidate's SEI was to be filed online with the state Ethics Commission; a paper copy of that same SEI, complete with date and time stamp, could then be printed from Ethics' website immediately in following. That printed copy was then to be submitted simultaneously with other paperwork to a county’s party chair. (See sample in right column.)
“If Duncan and Carter did this correctly, then they have the paperwork,” says Hayes. “And since there’s already questionability found in the public records of his filing, then either Duncan needs to put up or Carter needs to pull out.”
Section 8-13-1356 of South Carolina’s Code of Law states: “A candidate must file a statement of economic interests for the preceding calendar year at the same time and with the same official with whom the candidate files a declaration of candidacy or petition for nomination.”
The Code’s Section 7-11-15 requires that such candidate registration occur “between noon on March sixteenth and noon on March thirtieth,” however.
As a result, Hayes asserts, the documentation of his March 13 filing could indicate Carter is ineligible to continue his campaign.
Two recent state Supreme Court decisions support Hayes’ claims, as well.
In its May 1 case, the court ruled: “We grant declaratory relief as follows: (1) that individuals not exempt who are seeking nomination by political party primary to be a candidate for office must file a Statement of Economic Interest (SEI) at the same time and with the same official with whom the individuals file a Statement of Intention of Candidacy (SIC); (2) that an official authorized to receive SICs may not accept the forms unless they are accompanied by an SEI; (3) that an individual who did not file an SEI at the same time and with the same official with whom the individual filed an SIC should not appear on the party primary election ballot or the general election ballot(.)”
In its June 4 case, the court ruled: “(F)iling a paper copy of an SEI simultaneously with the filing of an SIC is the only method by which a non-exempt individual can comply with § 8-13-1356.”
“How could Carter have filed paper copies of the required documents simultaneously?” Hayes asks. “It’s public record he filed his SEI online two days early, and before any registration could be accepted.
“And since Carter filed it early, then how can Duncan have the dated paper copy of the SEI she’s supposed to have received and retained?"
On June 7 Joshua Dickard, executive director of County Elections and Voter Registration, submitted an email to both county party chairs requesting final validation of all candidates. “Please submit any decertified names to my office by 4:00 p.m. today,” Dickard wrote.
Because all of Dorchester County’s Republican candidates, including Carter, remained on the June 12 ballots, Duncan apparently submitted no listing of decertification, Hayes assumes.
“Since she didn’t decertify any candidates, then that means she’s sworn to have the documentation,” he states.
“So let me say it one more time: either Duncan needs to put up or Carter needs to pull out.”
When it comes to campaigning for office, there are some things a politician simply can’t do.
For example, a candidate for public office can’t openly affiliate with any person, group or entity that has any questionable record. Doing so automatically associates the candidate with the negative public reception that entity can have.
Somebody needs to tell that to a couple of South Carolina Republicans, though, who are both having significant portions of their campaigns operated by a company affiliated with adult entertainment.
Summerville Media Group designed and operates the websites of two Republican candidates in Dorchester County – Ed Carter for State House 97 and Bill Hearn, the incumbent County Councilman for District 6.
For verification, simply check the bottom-right corners of each one’s website. At both www.edcarterforthehouse.org and www.billhearn.org will you read “Proudly powered by Summerville Media Group,” complete with link.
It’s when that latter link is explored that things get interesting. Summerville Media Group’s site not only offers additional verification that it designed those political pages (it has images of Carter’s site posted as a sample its web design, for example), but it lists other sites designed and maintained by SMG, too – including (get ready) “Sexy Skin Magazine.”
SMG lists “Sexy Skin” as a proud example of its site design and online marketing.
Using only its SMG page description as source, “Sexy Skin” seems to promote itself as a hub for amateur porn, inviting persons to offer their own photographs for a weekly contest.
“Do you have what it takes?” that website asks, inviting ladies to submit their own pictures. The winner of its “Hottie of the Week” contest can get “a chance to shoot a ‘Feature Layout’ with a Sexy Skin Magazine feature staff photographer.”
SMG affiliation with “Sexy Skin” delves a little deeper, too. It also does “a lot of the Photo Edits of the girls,” its site states, as well as “design the magazine covers for all the issues.”
(Another site claiming affiliation with “Sexy Skin,” and making the exact same “Photo Edits of the girls” claims of personal contribution to it, is that of 106 Designs, which apparently is another name used by SMG. Adding to the GOP:Porn affiliation, 106 Designs lists the website of Dorchester County’s Republican state Rep. Chris Murphy as one of its projects.)
This certainly seems to be an inappropriate affiliation for any politician to have (let alone openly acknowledge, as indicated by their sites’ “proudly powered by” links), but this is a pretty standard theme for South Carolina Republicans.
Take Roland Corning, for example. This former state representative was an assistant deputy Attorney General for the state when he was found in a cemetery one afternoon with an 18-year-old strip dancer – and Viagra. Corning’s a SC Republican.
So is Beverly Russell, who in fact was on the executive committee of the state’s Republican Party. Russell admitted under oath that he had molested his teenaged stepdaughter for over nine years.
Then there’s former Gov. Mark Sanford, who was busted for using taxpayer dollars to fund his extramarital affair in Argentina. Sanford’s GOP, too.
And let’s not forget the longstanding Republican segregationist Strom Thurmond, who impregnated a 16-year-old African-American woman, and then denied being the father of the child throughout his 47-year term in U.S. Congress.
(This isn’t limited to South Carolina Republican officials, please note. Consider the long listing on www.republicansexoffenders.com, which apparently couldn’t keep up with the multitude of consistent news releases of such incidents – it hasn’t been updated since mid-2008.)
This soft-porn affiliation isn’t extended to the Democratic opponents of Carter and Hearn, though. Incumbent Dist. 97 Rep. Patsy Knight has her website maintained by Harbor Light, which includes in its long portfolio not a single site that a kid couldn’t see.
And the same can be said for Miriam Birdsong, the Democratic candidate for Hearn’s county council Dist. 6 spot. Birdsong’s site (still under some construction at the moment) is being made by John Kauth, a photographer with some dazzle in website design.
There are no accusations of reading dirty magazines or visting porn shops cast upon either of these Republican candidates, but if Hearn says he will “lead by example,” and if Carter claims “personal responsibility” as an attribute, then perhaps both should live up to those claims by answering to the affiliation their political campaigns now carry.