Political MoJo

House Votes to Defund Planned Parenthood

| Fri Sep. 18, 2015 1:46 PM EDT
Planned Parenthood supporters rallied in Utah in August as the state government moved to defund the group.

The House on Friday voted 241-to-187 to strip Planned Parenthood of some $500 million in federal family planning funds for a year. The move is intended to keep the public eye on allegations of illegal behavior by Planned Parenthood staffers but remove the possibility of a government shutdown by conservatives bent on defunding the organization.

The vote followed several grueling hearings held by the House Judiciary Committee into the undercover sting videos that allegedly show Planned Parenthood employees selling fetal parts, which would be a violation of federal law. The organization has denied the allegations, and state after state investigating the videos, which are heavily edited, has been found no evidence of wrongdoing. As the October 1 deadline for funding the government approaches, however, several conservative members of Congress, including presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), threatened to block any government funding bill that provided Medicaid or family planning dollars to Planned Parenthood. But it remains to be seen if this latest vote will satisfy conservative elements of the party.

Planned Parenthood is barred by law from using federal funds to provide abortions. The $500 million or so it receives each year from the government allows the group to provide family planning and other reproductive health services to mostly poor women on Medicaid. Ahead of the vote, conservative activists and lawmakers circulated a list of thousands of other family planning providers that could replace Planned Parenthood for the thousands of poor women who use its services. There is ample evidence to suggest that these alternatives to Planned Parenthood do not have the capacity to treat the group's patients.

The bill now goes to the GOP-held Senate, where it almost certainly faces a filibuster by Democrats in the minority.

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Rand Paul Aide Claims Marco Rubio Staffer Punched Him in the Face

| Fri Sep. 18, 2015 10:08 AM EDT

Update 11:40 am EST: Below is a purported video of the incident:



A top political aide to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is accusing a campaign official working for rival presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) of punching him in the face during an altercation at a Michigan bar Thursday night.

John Yob, the national political director for Paul's campaign, says Richard Beeson, the deputy campaign manager for Rubio, "literally physically assaulted me" while the two were at Horn's Bar on Mackinac Island.

Here's how Yob described the encounter in a Facebook post:

Last night I went to a bar on Mackinac Island for the GOP Mackinac Conference. I ran into a guy named Rich Beeson, who frankly I didn't even know who it was at first because he isn't relevant in our political world…He literally physically assaulted me by punching me in the face. The state police are looking for him. I have it on video, from multiple angles. This will play out in the national media in the next few hours.

On Twitter, Yob called for Rubio to fire Beeson.



Brandon Hall, a Michigan politics blogger, writes that he saw the altercation take place:

As I was sitting at the bar talking to someone at Horn's in Mackinac Island Thursday night, I witnessed Beeson suddenly, out of nowhere, approach one of Rand Paul's advisers, John Yob-unprovoked-and try to hit him. Beeson missed a full on shot but still struck Yob’s in the face with a powerful blow near the jaw.

Hall says that Beeson was trying to gin up votes for Rubio at the upcoming Makcinac Island straw poll. Hall also claims to have video of the scuffle.

A spokesman for the Paul campaign declined to comment. Rubio's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Republicans Hate Planned Parenthood but Want to Put One of Its Backers on the $10 Bill

| Thu Sep. 17, 2015 4:05 PM EDT
Rosa Parks arrives at court to be arraigned for the racial bus boycott in 1956.

At the end of last night's GOP debate, moderator Jake Tapper asked the candidates which woman they would choose to put on the $10 bill. Several of the 11 candidates on stage named their daughters or wives. Mike Huckabee awkwardly poked fun at his wife's spending habits in nominating her. "That way," he said, "she could spend her own money with her face!"

But Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump went for gravitas. All three picked Rosa Parks, the civil rights leader whose refusal to give up her seat sparked the Montgomery bus boycott, to be the first woman pictured on US paper currency. "An everyday American that changed the course of history," said Rubio. "She was a principled pioneer that helped change this country," noted Cruz, clarifying that he would put her on the $20 bill, in order to keep Founding Father Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill.

The candidates are right that Parks was a "principled pioneer," but her advocacy went beyond racial justice. Later in life, Parks was an avid supporter of Planned Parenthood, and she even served on its board.

That's an inconvenient fact for the GOP candidates who have been eager to demonize Planned Parenthood. Throughout the debate, all of them repeatedly touted their pro-life records and vowed to defund Planned Parenthood. Cruz is currently leading the charge against Planned Parenthood in the Senate, threatening to shut down the government over a spending bill that includes federal funding for the women's health organization.

Cruz elaborated on that ongoing funding battle at the debate, honing in on the doctored sting videos that purport to show Planned Parenthood officials selling fetal organs for profit—a criminal allegation that state after state has found to be false. "Absolutely we shouldn't be sending $500 million of taxpayer money to funding an ongoing criminal enterprise," Cruz said of Planned Parenthood. "And I'll tell you, the fact that Republican leadership in both houses has begun this discussion by preemptively surrendering to Barack Obama and saying, 'We'll give in because Obama threatens a veto.' We need to stop surrendering and start standing for our principles."

Behold the Most Glorious Donald Trump Vine You Will Ever Encounter

| Thu Sep. 17, 2015 3:58 PM EDT

Find yourself mesmerized by Donald Trump's extreme facial contortions last night?

Well, you're not alone! Here to expertly convey the orgy that took place on Trump's visage is the following Vine:

(h/t Gawker)

Play the 2006 Bernie Sanders-Themed Arcade Game

| Thu Sep. 17, 2015 12:31 PM EDT

Imagine the delight in the Mother Jones DC office this morning when, exhausted from last night's marathon Republican presidential debate, we discovered a nine-year-old web-based arcade game starring Bernie Sanders. We started playing it, and you can too.

The game, Bernie Arcade, comes from the Vermont senator's 2006 reelection campaign and feels both very 2006 and very Bernie Sanders. It still lives online thanks to the Web Archive. The game features the candidate in an eco-friendly hydrogen-fueled plane. Using the arrow keys, the player navigates the plane through unfriendly skies, dodging the "extreme right wing," big bags of special-interest money, mud from mudslingers, and literal fat cats. Wonky underdog that he is, Sanders fights back by shooting these objects with fact sheets as a jaunty bluegrass tune by a Vermont band, the Cleary Brothers, plays in the background.

The game gives players a glimpse of Sanders' can-do pluck, even after his plane has crashed due to an onslaught of flying felines. "The good news is—and there is some good news out there—that is an unbelievable number," his voice says after the game—even if your score is abysmally low.

Sanders' isn't the only candidate with a game to his name. This summer, the Mother Jones office gathered to play Trump: The Game, a bizarre Monopoly-style game in which players learn about the GOP front-runner by borrowing from an endless credit line with the bank to buy up real estate properties. But Sanders' game takes the opposite approach. Instead of winning by acquiring cash, players are supposed to dodge the flying bags marked with dollar signs. As MoJo reporter Pat Caldwell observed, Sanders' game forces successful players to unlearn what video gamers have been doing for years: winning games by acquiring money. "I lost immediately," said MoJo reporter Tim Murphy, who reflexively went for the money on his first flight in the hydroplane.

Hillary Clinton Just Trolled the GOP Debate So Good

| Wed Sep. 16, 2015 10:06 PM EDT

In Donald Trump's America, everyone speaks English.

When asked by CNN's Dana Bash during Wednesday night's GOP debate about his criticism of Jeb Bush for speaking Spanish on the campaign trail, the Republican front-runner and real estate mogul responded:

We have to have assimilation to have a country. We have to have assimilation. I'm not the first one to say this, Dana. We have had many people over the years for many, many years saying the same thing. This is a country where we speak English, not Spanish.

In true troll fashion, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton tweeted some insight.  

For those who didn't understand her, Clinton said: "Freedom includes the right to speak in any language. That makes us strong as a country, and it is something that we should celebrate—not denigrate." 

Here's the full exchange between the Republican presidential candidates: 

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Jeb Bush Just Admitted to Smoking Pot

| Wed Sep. 16, 2015 10:02 PM EDT

During the final hour of tonight's marathon Republican presidential debate, moderator Jake Tapper asked candidates about their positions on marijuana policy. That's when Jeb Bush, who has been previously accused of being a hypocrite by fellow presidential hopeful Rand Paul for his hardline stance against medical marijuana, weighed in with the following admission: Forty years ago, he too smoked pot. Just like nearly every teenager in America. He then sheepishly apologized to his mother.

The confession, which drew a handful of chuckles from the crowd, was immediately followed by a tweet from his campaign that reemphasized the important part of his statement:

Despite his admission, the presidential hopeful went on to defend his opposition to legalizing medial marijuana.

Donald Trump Doesn’t Know Foreign Groups Because They’re Just “Arab Name, Arab Name”

| Wed Sep. 16, 2015 9:55 PM EDT

During Wednesday's GOP presidential debate, Donald Trump—the Republican who's still running laps around the competition in the polls—faced a seemingly tough question from moderator Jake Tapper: can he really serve as an effective president when he can't name or even recognize many foreign leaders and groups?

The question stems from Trump's appearance earlier this month on Hugh Hewitt's radio show, in which he confused Iran's Quds Force, a special forces unit within the country's Revolutionary Guard, with the Kurds in Iraq.

Tapper framed the question around Sen. Marco Rubio's recent criticism of Trump over the gaffe. "If you don't know the answer to these questions, then you are not going to be able to serve as commander and chief," Rubio said earlier this month.

How'd Trump deal with Tapper's question? After all, confusing and mispronouncing foreign names was a standard criticism that dogged George W. Bush throughout his presidency. But Trump? Nah, he's not worried. First, he boasted about how Hewitt—a co-moderator of the CNN debate—had since apologized and said that "Donald Trump is maybe the best interview anywhere that he's ever done."

"I will say this though," Trump continued, "Hugh was giving me name after name—Arab name, Arab name, Arab—and there are few people anywhere, ANYWHERE, that would have known those names. I think he was reading them off a sheet."

Oy vey.

The Moment When Carly Fiorina Completely Owned Donald Trump

| Wed Sep. 16, 2015 9:45 PM EDT

In one of the GOP primary debate's most memorable moments, Carly Fiorina put Donald Trump in his place for his comments, in a recent Rolling Stone article, criticizing her looks as he argued why she could never be president. "Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that?" Trump told the magazine. "Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!"

The debate exchange came after Trump doubled down on his criticism of Jeb Bush for remarking last month that "I'm not sure we need half a billion dollars for women's health programs."

"I think it will haunt him," Trump said during the debate. "I think it's a terrible. I think it's going to haunt him absolutely. He came back later and he said he misspoke. There was no question because I heard when he said the statement. I was watching and he said the statement."

When moderator Jake Tapper then asked Carly Fiorina for her thoughts about Trump's recent remarks, she turned the tables on The Donald. "You know, it's interesting to me," Fiorina said. "Mr. Trump said that he heard Mr. Bush very clearly in what Mr. Bush said. I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said."

The typically bombastic Trump responded sheepishly: "I think she's got a beautiful face and I think she's a beautiful woman."

Here Are Trump’s Most Extreme Facial Expressions So Far From Tonight’s Debate

| Wed Sep. 16, 2015 8:35 PM EDT

Donald Trump gave the good people of America what they really wanted tonight in CNN's GOP Debate—an array of facial expressions to cherish forever. Here are some of our favorites.

Resting bitch face:

"Oh, if I must" face:

"Yeah, right!" face:

Raging sexist face:

Gassy face:

Inquisitive face:

Jeb-trolling face: