Sunday, July 17, 2016

"One thing is absolutely clear about this Pence pick"

That's the title of an email from the Clinton campaign. But when I first read it, I inserted an "r" into the last word. I like my version better. Here's why.

First off, lists four reasons why Pence is really bad news.

(1) He signed one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country.

In April, Gov. Pence signed into law a bill that forbids abortion on the basis of fetal chromosomal abnormalities, including Down syndrome, among other factors. The law further bans fetal-tissue donation — requiring any aborted or miscarried fetus to be cremated or buried. And it placed onerous restrictions on abortion providers nearly identical to those that the Supreme Court recently found unconstitutional in Texas.

(2) He signed a bill that made it OK for Indiana businesses to discriminate against LGBT customers.

In 2015, Pence signed a "religious freedom" law, whose sweeping language permitted Indiana businesses to refuse to serve LGBT Americans, much like Southern businesses used to discriminate against African-Americans during the days of segregation.

Backlash against the law was swift and intense. Pence was forced to quickly sign a bill amending the legislation, which the governor claimed had been subject to "mischaracterizations."

(3) He blocked the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Indiana — and illegally tried to cut off federal aid to existing refugees.

In the wake of the massacre in Paris last fall, Pence issued an executive order to block the resettlement of Syrian war refugees in Indiana. Not content to keep new war widows and orphans out of the state, Pence upped the xenophobic ante by also trying to cut off federal aid to those already in the state. A federal judge blocked Pence's action, writing that the governor's order "clearly constitutes national origin discrimination" and "in no way directly, or even indirectly, promotes the safety of Indiana citizens."

(4) He's an unreconstructed drug warrior.

At a time when lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are tackling the nation's drug problems with less focus on incarceration, Pence signed a bill to reinstating a mandatory minimum drug sentence. Many drug users sell drugs on the side to support their addictions. Thanks to Pence, any Indiana resident convicted twice for selling meth or heroin is now sentence to a full decade in prison. Expressing his pleasure at signing a law stripping judges of discretion in drug sentencing, Pence declared, "We need to make it clear that Indiana will not tolerate the actions of criminals."

Now, with the help of the Clinton campaign's research via their email mentioned above, I can add a few more reasons.

Trump’s new running mate, Mike Pence, has an atrocious record of anti-woman, homophobic, extreme conservative governance.

He also has some absolutely absurd ideas that make him a natural partner for the Trump ticket. To wit:

(5) Mike Pence doesn’t believe smoking causes deaths. He wrote on his website, “smoking doesn't kill. In fact, two out of every three smokers does not die from a smoking related illness.” … last time I checked, that means one out of every three smokers DOES die from a smoking-related illness, right?

(6) Mike Pence thinks climate change is a hoax. Again, in his own words: "Global warming is a myth. The global warming treaty is a disaster. There, I said it."

(7) Mike Pence shut down the only HIV testing center in Scott County, Indiana -- in the name of preventing HIV/AIDS. In a huge surprise, that county later experienced what the press called “an exploding HIV outbreak.”

Mike Pence might not think smoking, climate change, or HIV pose serious threats -- but one thing is absolutely clear: Mike Pence himself is a pretty serious threat to the American people.

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