Republican war on women

Rachel Hunt pulls ahead of Bill Brawley after mail-in votes counted

In case you're still jaded, every vote does count:

Absentee ballots put Democrat Rachel Hunt ahead of Republican Rep. Bill Brawley on Friday night in one of the state’s closest legislative races. Brawley, who lives in Matthews, led by 52 votes on Election Day. But Friday’s count of absentee ballots gave Hunt a 64-vote lead, according to the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections.

The race was one of the highest-profile in North Carolina, matching a powerful committee chair and the daughter of a four-term governor. It was also one of the most expensive. Hunt raised over $1.2 million and got about $900,000 in support from the state Democratic Party. Brawley raised over $410,000.

To be honest, when I saw reports that mail-in absentee ballots were yet to be posted, I assumed the worst. That Brawley's lead would actually grow. I've always associated mail-ins with octogenarian Republicans determined to make their regressive voices heard at least one more time, and I am deliriously happy to have that prejudice shattered. It's still way too close for comfort, and I have little doubt that Brawley will stretch this thing out as long as he can by demanding a recount. And he won't be the only one doing so:

Profile of a shameless misogynist

NC needs laws to better address sexual harassment in the workplace

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Because the lack of concern speaks volumes:

"If you have the terrible misfortune to be sexually harassed in North Carolina at an employer that has less than 15 employees, you literally have no claim in North Carolina," Noble said. "You don't have a federal claim, and you don't have a state law claim. And that's wrong."

If a victim works at a larger employer, they can file a claim under federal statute, Noble said. But that's more difficult, more complicated and more expensive. As a result, many people don't follow through. In the meantime, Noble said calls to her office about sexual harassment have increased 500 percent since coverage of the stories began appearing in the news media last fall.

Even that increase in wanting to "take action" represents just a tip of the iceberg. And when it comes to behavior such as this, men are more than happy to emulate other men who appear to be getting away with it. No doubt Republicans would say it should be left up to the civil courts to handle it and not an "authoritarian government." But in their next breath they will whine about too many lawsuits and the need for "tort reform." Don't look for any relief coming from that direction, because most of these folks live in a 1950's bubble. Which may explain why half of working women have been harassed in the workplace:

Trump drinks in adoration from anti-abortion crowd

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The panderer-in-chief is looking for an extremist edge in the 2018 mid-terms:

“Every day between now and November we must work together to elect more lawmakers who share our values, cherish our heritage, and proudly stand for life,” Trump said. He summed it up for the roomful of enthusiastic supporters: “The story is, ’18 midterms, we need Republicans.” Trump has long been an unlikely sweetheart for conservative and evangelical voters. But now, in the lead-up to the midterm elections, the thrice-married former Democrat who used to describe himself as “very pro-choice” has been offering catnip to conservative voters.

Last week, the administration unveiled a new push to strip funding from Planned Parenthood and other family planning clinics. The initiative, which was formally unveiled Tuesday, is aimed at resurrecting parts of a Reagan-era mandate banning federally funded family planning clinics from referring women for abortions, or sharing space with abortion providers.

Women's rights are being attacked on all fronts, which is why it's more important than ever for Democrats to not only hold fast to their principles, but push back against these misogynistic and regressive movements. I'm not a big fan of "purity tests" for candidates or elected officials, but this is one issue where no compromise will be accepted. And I'm pretty sure such a compromise would backfire on you anyway:

Manning vs. Budd: NC's 13th shaping up to be an epic battle

And Ted Budd better pack more than a lunch:

It looks as though politically attuned residents of the 13th Congressional District might be getting something this year that hasn’t been seen in these parts for quite a while. The novelty? A highly competitive, evenly matched contest for North Carolina’s 13th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, one that could keep pollsters and political operatives on the edge of their chairs till the last vote is tabulated Nov. 6.

The rising tide of interest in the clash between freshman incumbent U.S. Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) and Democratic challenger Kathy Manning of Greensboro also extends to the national level, where activist groups across the political spectrum see it as one of about 30 races pivotal for the Republican Party’s chances of retaining its House majority against what some prognosticators view as a looming “blue wave” favoring Democrats.

Just a historical note: The only reason Ted Budd ended up in Washington in the first place was because the Club For Growth saw an opportunity to take advantage of a crowded GOP Primary, and poured money in so Budd could squeak by with a measly 20% of the vote. This race is going to garner national attention all the way through to November, and it's likely to get very ugly before it's over:

NC GOP double-bunks three of its elected women

Apparently they have too many women in office:

Incumbent lawmakers running for re-election are used to campaigning against primary challengers, but usually those challengers aren't other incumbents. But that's a situation four Republican state senators are facing this year after redistricting drew two incumbents each into District 45 and District 31. First-term Sen. Deanna Ballard, R-Watauga, faces off against three-term Sen. Shirley Randleman, R-Wilkes, in District 45, which includes Watauga, Wilkes, Avery and Alleghany counties and part of Surry County.

Nathan Miller, vice chairman of the Watauga County Republican Party, said a lot of people are frustrated with having a double-bunked district. "They're both highly qualified, they're both highly competent," Miller said. "Frankly, I don't know why they got double-bunked. ... They're both strong-willed females in the N.C. Senate. Why would you want to double-bunk them? Eventually one of them is going to lose."

If by "eventually" you mean tomorrow, then yes, eventually one of them will lose her seat. The other race mentioned (District 31) also has a double-bunked GOP woman (Joyce Krawiec), so that makes three out of the four unlucky candidates female. Because GOP values are either inscrutable or non-existent.

SC Democrats block statewide abortion ban

A little too close for comfort:

At 1 a.m. Friday, after three days of debate and facing a Democratic filibuster with no end in sight, Senate Republicans gave in. A bill that would have outlawed virtually all abortions in South Carolina was killed Friday morning after the Senate's GOP majority failed — on a fourth try — to sit down the Democrats who were keeping it from getting a final vote.

The bill made exceptions only for cases of rape, incest or serious medical emergencies. It would have outlawed some 97 percent of the roughly 5,700 abortions performed each year in South Carolina.

For those of you still working under the misconception Republicans would never actually succeed in outlawing abortion, that they're just using the issue to garner votes from the fundamentalist crowd, this should set you right. If Democrats had not held fast on their filibuster, South Carolina women would be on the road to the Handmaid's Tale. And in answer to your next question (What about Roe V. Wade?), engineering a Supreme Court challenge is likely exactly what they were trying to do. Iowa Republicans have openly admitted that was why they just passed their "fetal heartbeat" bill, which would ban abortions after six weeks:

Notes from the Kakistocracy: Ronny Jackson nomination evidence of deeper problems

Quite possibly the worst candidate to run the Veterans Administration:

During an overseas trip in 2015, Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, the White House physician, was intoxicated and banged on the hotel room door of a female employee, according to four sources familiar with the allegation. The incident became so noisy, one source familiar with the allegation told CNN, that the Secret Service stopped him out of concern that he would wake then-President Barack Obama.

Two sources who previously worked in the White House Medical Unit described the same incident, with one former staffer telling CNN that it was "definitely inappropriate, in the middle of the night," and that it made the woman uncomfortable. At the time, the incident was reported up the chain of command, and it is one of multiple drunken episodes involving Jackson on overseas trips, according to a source familiar.

Those two paragraphs highlight three major problems with the military, two of which make Jackson supremely unqualified to run the VA. Because there is always a victim, the 1st problem is sexual harassment and assault. Decades of efforts to curb this have mostly failed, and Jackson is a prime example why. When junior officers see (and hear about) a Rear Admiral pulling this crap, they know the good old boy's club is still alive and well. This makes the problem "perpetual," meaning it will likely never stop, unless drastic measures are taken. The 2nd problem is substance abuse in the ranks. This is another problem that is not new, but seventeen years of sustained hostilities in Afghanistan and Iraq have supercharged it, and the vast majority of the record-breaking number of veteran suicides can be chalked up in the substance abuse column. The last thing we need is an alcoholic at the helm of the VA. The last problem exposed above is the military's inability to police its own ranks, once officers have achieved Field Grade level. Jackson should have been cashiered years ago, but he's still partying on. Now that my critique of the military is done, let's look at the dysfunctional White House:

NC's GOP Congressmen lining up to take lone female Republican leader's job

Like misogynistic sharks at a feeding frenzy:

The lone female member of House Republican leadership is under siege in D.C. and back home in Washington state. In Congress, several fellow GOP members are pining for her job, questioning her effectiveness as chairwoman of the conference and weighing whether to challenge her.

At least one Republican, Rep. Mark Walker of North Carolina, is seriously considering challenging McMorris Rodgers, several of those sources said. But the other lawmakers who want her job are hoping McMorris Rodgers steps down or runs for another position.

Of course that had to come from anonymous sources, because Mark Walker would never give anyone a straight answer on the record. He is a master at dodging questions (and people), and if you ask him about this he'd probably launch into a poorly thought-out diatribe about government getting out of the way of business. Or whatever is percolating in that walnut-sized brain of his at the time. But she probably won't get promoted either, because little Paddy McHenry has got plans of his own:

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