Pro Abortion OB-GYNs Give Big $$$ to “Even in Cases of Rape & Incest” Andy Barr (or: “Baby Killers” for Barr?)

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That’s a $2,500 contribution from the Political Action Committee of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The Washington-based ACOG PAC has given Andy Barr $7,500 so far in this election — despite the fact that ACOG works to protect the safe and legal availability of abortions, and Andy Barr believes abortion should be illegal even for survivors of rape and incest.

Rape and incest, folks — that’s who Andy Barr is… and that is who the American Congress of OB/GYNs is supporting.

It’s shocking that a group of medical professionals who’ve made it their life’s work to protect the health and well-being of women would support a man who is anti-woman almost across the board.

Andy Barr is opposed to Equal Pay for women, claiming that it’s not a real issue that women are paid 72 cents on the dollar for doing the same job as a man.

Andy Barr supported and celebrated the Hobby Lobby case, which allows employers to determine the birth control methods of their female employees. Women are chattel, their uteruses belong to the CEO, Andy Barr’s all for it… and the Congress of OB/GYNs is giving Andy Barr $7,500.

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Andy Barr has viciously attacked Planned Parenthood, calling it an “abortion factory” when in fact, as ACOG should well know, such services make up just 2% of Planned Parenthood’s overall operation — and 0% of their operation in Kentucky. The vast majority of what Planned Parenthood does provide is general OB/GYN services to women in desperate need of such.

One would think that ACOG would support Planned Parenthood. Instead, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which represents 90% of the OB/GYNs in America, is supporting Garland H. Barr IV.

Andy Barr wants to completely abolish the Affordable Care Act. Andy has repeatedly attacked the ACA, has fallaciously claimed the health care law “destroys jobs”, and Andy Barr’s big plan for Kentucky is to repeal Kynect and kick over 500,000 now-insured Kentuckians to the curb.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists support key elements of the Affordable Care Act that Andy Barr would destroy.

  • ACOG supports maternity coverage for all women in all plans; Andy Barr would repeal it.
  • ACOG supports coverage of women’s preventative health services under all plans; Andy Barr would repeal it.
  • ACOG supports the end of pre-existing condition exclusions; Andy Barr would repeal it. 
  • ACOG supports the end of gender rating, the end of coverage rescissions, and the end of annual and lifetime benefit caps; Andy Barr would repeal it.

This list goes on. In fact… while Andy Barr is pushing for the extreme and total repeal of the ACA, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is worried that the in places, the ACA doesn’t go far enough. But ACOG PAC has given $7,500 (at least) to help re-elect a congressman who would repeal the law in its entirety, ripping it up — like Mitch McConnell — root and branch.

In Kentucky, ACOG PAC is aggressively backing an anti-woman candidate whose positions on issue after issue are antithetical to the very mission of America’s obstetricians and gynecologists.

ACOG is actually a big supporter of Planned Parenthood, writing amicus briefs on PP’s behalf, even joining Planned Parenthood and other “pro-abortion” forces in objecting to the ban on federal money going to Planned Parenthood. Andy Barr calls Planned Parenthood an “abortion factory” and ACOG, which supports Planned Parenthood, gives $7,500 to Andy Barr.

This hypocrisy cuts both ways. For ACOG’s members it should be galling that their organization would fund an anti-woman candidate who believes rape and incest survivors should be forced by the government to carry a fetus to term. For Andy Barr’s virulent extremist base, the fact that Barr is taking money from “baby killers” who have joined forces with Planned Parenthood to publish a “study” on the efficacy of RU-486 should make them see blood on Andy’s hands. (When will Barr’s far-right wing extremist “even in cases of rape and incest” base call on him to return this “blood money”?)

Down the line, this unholy matrimony does not make sense. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists was “profoundly disappointed” by the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision… but they’ve given $7,500 (so far, and that we know of) to Andy Barr who praised the decision to subjugate a woman’s body to her employer as a win for “religious freedom.”

The list, sadly, goes on.

So I asked ACOG PAC why they were supporting an Anti-Woman Congressman who is part of the small and extremist “Even in Cases of Rape & Incest” wing of the Republican Party.

Why would a group that represents 90% of the OB/GYNs in America and which proclaims “the availability of safe, legal abortion remains of vital importance to the health of women” throw its support behind a man who has famously used his infant child in an anti-choice campaign mailer?

You can read ACOG’s official statement below, but what it boils down to is this: Andy Barr’s office is for sale.

Andy Barr will do the bidding of the highest bidder. We have seen this in his work to defend and protect the interests of Too Big To Fail Banks and shady hedge funds on Wall Street, and we have seen it in Andy Barr’s work to protect and defend this nation’s fleet of Predatory Payday Lenders.

In the case of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, their press people say they are supporting Andy Barr because he is pushing supposedly “bipartisan” legislation (it has 1 Democratic co-sponsor and 19 Republicans) which would address so-called “frivolous lawsuits.” Medical “liability reform” is a big topic for doctors (that’s part of why if you have any procedure done they always make you sign a waiver that says if they kill you accidentally you can’t sue them) and it’s a cause regularly championed by pro-business Republicans. What’s strange is that, whatever you think of medical liability reform, ACOG is choosing to place their interests in liability reform above their interests in caring for women and ensuring laws and policies that protect women’s health.

In fact, on their website ACOG lists their legislative priorities and if you look at it, “liability reform” comes in below their more important mission of protecting women’s lives… a slew of priorities Andy Barr has opposed entirely in his two-year-old congressional career.

Here’s the official statement from ACOG on why they’ve given Andy Barr $7,500:

Ob-GynPAC is bi-partisan and works to elect candidates from both political parties, and maintains balance in its political giving.  Ob-GynPAC works with all candidates and elected officials to advance the interests of our specialty, regardless of political party. Republican and Democratic candidates are important to our specialty, often on different issues, and seats of power shift between the parties. Our PAC protects our profession, not a party.

Ob-GynPAC is our specialty’s PAC, and since its earliest days has adhered to a policy of not including any specific issue as a litmus test, including abortion votes, in our decisions to support or oppose candidates for elected office.

Rep. Andy Barr specifically has been an outspoken champion for medical liability reform alternatives, and is an original sponsor of “Saving Lives, Saving Costs,” a medical liability reform Safe Harbors Bill. Our statement in support of that bill can be found here: http://www.acog.org/About-ACOG/News-Room/Statements-and-Advisories/2014/ACOG-Statement-In-Support-of-the-Saving-Lives-Saving-Costs-Act

I followed up by asking if their stated mission of being “bipartisan” and “not supporting a party” meant that they had also given money to Barr’s opponent, Elisabeth Jensen. Jensen is an advocate for women’s health and has been one of the only Democrats in the entire country to run on the importance of the Affordable Care Act, specifically its protections for women’s health and OB/GYN provisions.

Here’s what ACOG had to say:

Unfortunately, we have not been able to support her financially. Because we represent the only specialty dedicated to women’s health, we can’t focus on only one issue, no matter how important an issue it is. Medical liability reform is one of many key areas of focus for members of Ob-GynPAC.

 That is unfortunate.

ACOG, which has given heavily to such prominent pro-choice candidates as Wendy Davis in Texas, has placed its interest in “medical liability reform” above their interest in protecting women’s health and women’s rights.

If I were a member of ACOG, this would be a good time to call the head office — and an even better time to offset their insane, anti-woman support of noted misogynist Andy Barr and instead give some money to his opponent, Elisabeth Jensen.

Help Alison ditch Mitch by helping Elisabeth Jensen The 6th District's Anti-Barr.

Help Alison ditch Mitch by helping Elisabeth Jensen
The 6th District’s Anti-Barr.

Andy Barr’s for sale… and it’ll only cost you some women’s rights.

Do you want to defeat Mitch McConnell? (Think Lexington)

On the one hand, it was a rough day for the Grimes campaign. Last night, by most accounts, Alison defeated Mitch McConnell in the one and only debate the curiously-baby-faced five-term U.S. Senator has granted the good people of the Commonwealth, and yet through most of this day the conversation has circled around Alison’s unwillingness to say whether she voted for the President of the United States. Then there was news that the DSCC was “going dark” in Kentucky and that MoveOn was pissed at Alison over her “illegal immigrants” ad.

On the other hand… the last poll had Grimes up 2 points, she just posted yet another record fundraising haul and stirring just behind the moronic laughter of people like Chuck Todd, there is a media-counterswing coming (see here, here and here) as attention turns to Mitch McConnell’s bald-faced lies about Kynect and his master plan to rip insurance cards out of the hands of 500,000 Kentuckians.

If you listen to the Jesse Bentons of the world, you would think that all is lost for Alison. In a wild midterm season with the balance of power in the US Senate on the line, the DSCC’s decision to move their money elsewhere could reflect many motives — perhaps they’re upset at the Obama dodging, perhaps they’ve seen some tea leaves that 2% lead otherwise hides, perhaps they’re seeking to demonstrate that Grimes and Harry Reid are by no means on the same page, or perhaps they looked at Grimes’ record setting fundraising numbers and they realized they could better spend their resources elsewhere. After all, the folks declaring this race done and pushing the story that national Dems have abandoned Grimes are very conveniently overlooking the fact that Sherrod Brown campaigned with her today and Hillary Clinton will be with her tomorrow. When the probable next President of the United States is coming to town, it’s more than a little far-fetched to claim Alison’s been abandoned. 

I don’t agree with Alison on every issue (like, you know, I’m okay with saying I voted for the President and I think it’s pretty screwed up to call your fellow human beings “illegal”) but I’m not afraid to vote for her because the alternative, whatever you think of Alison Lundergan Grimes, is just another six years of getting rimracked by Mitch McConnell.

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There are many keys to victory if Alison Lundergan Grimes hopes to win. She’s got to do well in Eastern Kentucky and in Northern Kentucky and she must dominate in Louisville and Lexington.

If you want Alison Lundergan Grimes to win this race, don’t give her any more money. She’s doing fine. Other people will take care of that. If you are someone who has cash to give and wants to say “Don’t let the door hit ya” to Mitch McConnell, then here’s what you want to do: You want to support Elisabeth Jensen in the 6th District. 

Here’s how it works:

Sanctity

Grimes has a load of cash, she’s got a teeming staff and she’s got plenty of volunteers. The money they have is ready to be spent on even more commercials, some good and some terrible. But they have that all mapped out, plotted out… everything.

What the Grimes campaign needs help with is boots on the ground, GOTV folks, big turnouts and big energy in Kentucky’s 6th District — and specifically in Lexington.

Midterm elections often favor Republicans because people don’t turn out in the same numbers as in Presidential election years — that means, women voters don’t show up in the same way, Black and Hispanic voters don’t show up in the same way, working families don’t show up in the same way, and neither do college students.

Lexington is a hotbed of uncounted votes. 

To unlock those uncounted votes, there needs to be some concerted local action. If Grimes has enough money already coming in, the clear answer is:

Help Alison ditch Mitch by helping Elisabeth Jensen, the 6th District's Anti-Barr.

Help Alison ditch Mitch by helping Elisabeth Jensen, the 6th District’s Anti-Barr.

By supporting Elisabeth Jensen’s campaign against Tea Party Extremist Andy Barr, you would effectively be aiding the Grimes’ campaigns efforts against Mitch McConnell.

Andy Barr believes abortion should be illegal even in cases of rape and incest; Elisabeth Jensen believes women should be paid the same amount as men for doing the same job.

Andy Barr wants to extend tax breaks for millionaires and pushes protective legislation for predatory lenders. Elisabeth Jensen wants to raise the minimum wage, protect Social Security and Medicare, invest in education and create jobs in Kentucky.

Andy Barr wants to destroy Kynect and kick 500,000 people back out into the ranks of the uninsured; Elisabeth Jensen is an unabashed defender of Kentucky’s health care marketplace.

Winning Lexington BIG is fundamental to defeating Mitch McConnell. Alison Lundergan Grimes is pulling in record amounts of cash, and as with many House races across the country, that focus on the Senate is tapping funds for the House.

If you want Alison Lundergan Grimes to defeat Mitch McConnell, then you want to give money to Elisabeth Jensen.

If you want Mitch McConnell to lose, then you need Elisabeth Jensen to win. Every ballot that looks just like this:

Sanctity

Is the ballot that Lexington and the 6th District needs to cast.

Grimes has the cash to air unlimited new commercials, she probably has a bunch of great ads about “illegals” and gun shooting already banked, and you can count on the fact that you will see them before you go and vote for her.

So what you can do, if you want to defeat Mitch McConnell, is support Elisabeth Jensen — give money, get a yard sign, talk to your friends, volunteer to go door to door: Find out more here.

Every new voter you can find for Jensen is a new voter for Grimes. 

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And two final notes:

If you have an “Alison” sign in your yard, you need to go down to the Fayette County Dems office on Broadway and pick up a Jensen one to put right next to it.

The 6th District is big, wide and diverse. It ain’t just Lexington — it’s Frankfort, Midway, Paris, Versailles… the votes to Ditch Mitch are sitting next to you at the restaurant, they’re your friends and your neighbors, your lovers and loads of strangers. If you don’t have money to give, just reach out and touch someone.

The clock’s a-tickin.

Awash in Predatory Payday Lending Money, Andy Barr Does Payday Lenders Bidding (against G-d’s will)

Last Thursday, Elisabeth Jensen shook up her campaign staff and on Friday, she hit Andy Barr for his work to protect predatory payday lenders. That staff shakeup came three weeks before the election and two weeks after internal polling put Jensen within single digits but still trailing considerably — with a whopping 17% undecided. If that many are undecided, then the race is, too, and perhaps it’s not disarray that led to a shake up but rather a clear-eyed realization that time’s winding up, it’s time to make some decisive moves because something’s gotta give.

Getting somethings to give has never been a problem for Andy Barr. He’s taken half a million dollars from Too Big To Fail Banks, investment firms, insurance giants — all of them industries Barr “oversees” from his perch on the House Financial Services Committee.

Last Friday, Elisabeth Jensen’s campaign attacked Andy Barr for his servicing of the Predatory Loan industry. In August 2013, Congressman Andy Barr sent a letter to the Department of Justice complaining to them that efforts to regulate the online payday lending industry would “adversely impact tens of millions of low income American families who depend on short-term credit provided by online lenders.”

The letter, signed by Barr and several other prominent Republicans on the payday lending dole, argues that “rate limitations” should not be imposed on a lending system which routinely charges 400% APR or more on its predatory loans. Barr writes that government institutions do not have “the authority to ‘take away the very air’ that online lenders ‘need to survive.’”

As Ronnie Ellis reported last week, Jensen’s repeated attacks on Andy Barr’s Too Big To Fail campaign bankroll have forced Andy to try to explain himself:

SIXTH DISTRICT CONGRESSIONAL RACE HEATING UP

Jensen also charges that Barr — who sits on the House Banking Committee — caters to Wall Street rather than to middle class wage earners. Barr said his efforts to amend or reform the Dodd-Frank banking reform passed in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent bank bailouts is intended to make it easier for small lending institutions to make capital available to small business and farm owners.

Andy Barr wants to “make it easier” for small lending institutions to make capital available — and that is why he’s working feverishly to dismantle the Wall Street reform law passed in the wake of the economic collapse of 2008. 

The lack of regulation in the payday lending industry, coupled with ballooning income inequality in which more and more Americans now live paycheck to paycheck, has led to a booming predatory loan marketplace — and these “small lending” institutions that Andy Barr is protecting are making a killing.

And so is Andy Barr.

In June of this year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (which Barr has fallaciously claimed is worse than the NSA) reached a settlement with ACE Cash Express in which the predatory lender would pay $10 million “for using illegal debt collection tactics to pressure consumers into debt traps.”

That sort of government enforcement is not what predatory lenders want to see; and it’s exactly that sort of enforcement the predatory payday lenders are paying Andy Barr to stop.

For example, ACE Cash Express which has used illegal debt collection tactics to pressure consumers into debt traps has given Andy Barr at least $1,500 in this election cycle.

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The Online Lenders Association, on whose behalf Andy Barr wrote that letter in which he was so concerned about maintaining these predators’ air flow so that they could continue to extend predatory loans to struggling working Americans, is also underwriting Andy Barr’s campaign:

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Garland H. Barr IV is also a good friend of the predatory payday lenders at Cash America:

BarrTabsCashAmerica

The predatory payday lending industry has a front group that advocates on its behalf and puts forth an alternate version of reality in which payday loans put food on people’s table in an attempt to counter the actual reality in which these predatory lenders trap families in unending cycles of debt. That group is called the Community Financial Services Association of America and they, too, like to give money to Andy Barr:

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That is all likely the tip of the iceberg. Not every payday lender gives money to Andy Barr under such obvious names. For example, Wichita-based BOK Financial is a mortgage lending company which also operates payday lending schemes — or “FastPay Loans” as they call them — through subsidiary banks. BOK Financial has been targeted in lawsuits for its lending practices and “annual percentage rates grossly in excess of the rates represented in the FastLoan agreements.” BOK Financial is yet another backer of Andy Barr’s predatory re-election effort:

BarrTabsBOK

Then there’s William C. Pruett. He’s given generously to Andy Barr and on the surface, one might assume he’s just another of Andy Barr’s giant pool of heavy out-of-state donors — but it appears Pruett’s may have some interest in the payday loan market through outposts in Arkansas.

BarrTabsPruettCashNowAKIn a sense, there’s really no telling how much of Andy Barr’s campaign is underwritten by the predators in the payday loan industry. To find out exactly, one would have to research each heavy out-of-state donor to Barr’s campaign to see if there are such connections. Yet another example of this is Jere Ervin and Robert Garrett, both of Tennessee. They are affiliated with a group called SPD Financial — and SPD stands for Speedy Pay Day:

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Then there are groups that offer business products for the Pay Day lending industry — like Clarity Services and Tim Ranney, who defends the industry at the same time Clarity hawks their subprime products to it.

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And then we have a Robert Reich of Florida who runs the pleasant sounding “Community Loans of America.” As of 2011, Reich had over 1,000 payday storefronts across the country and publicly shuttered his 20 operations in Oregon after that state passed new regulations on the predatory payday lending market.

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This list could go on for days. Andy Barr is being funneled large sums of money from the payday loan industry he is actively seeking to protect. Andy Barr is putting out-of-state payday lenders ahead of Kentucky voters.

There is no doubt about this. Andy Barr and the payday lenders who fund him wish to overturn the Dodd Frank law that places just some regulation on the unregulated predatory industry.

In backing the payday loan industry, Andy Barr — who is literally taking cash from these payday lenders while pushing deregulations to protect their industry — is not only standing on the wrong side of Kentucky voters and families, Andy Barr is standing on the wrong side of G-d.

The Kentucky Baptist Convention is just one of many religious groups in the state that has called for strict enforcement and regulation in this unregulated industry. As the Kentucky Baptists fight to protect families, Andy Barr fights to protect payday lenders.

This list goes on. With Andy Barr and the payday lenders on one side while on the other stands groups like the Catholic Charities of Louisville, the Catholic Conference of Kentucky and the Kentucky Council of Churches. There’s a whole fleet of other groups, community organizations, non profits, all of which work day in and day out with families that get caught in the Andy Barr Predatory Lending cycle. They see the effects of the type of legislation (and de-regulation) Andy Barr is pushing, and they don’t want to see any more of it.

Here are some facts about payday lending in Kentucky from the Kentucky Coalition for Responsible Lending:

Kentucky’s 400% Payday Loans Threaten the Financial Security of Families

Kentucky data reveals payday loans are long term debt, not a quick financial fix.

  • Database shows that KY payday lenders keep borrowers indebted for 202 days a year on average, much longer than the advertised 2-week loan!
  • Kentucky payday lenders charge $15.00 per $100 borrowed, plus additional fees, every two weeks. This means payday loans carry at least a 391% APR.
  • A typical Kentucky payday borrower was trapped in 10 payday transactions in 2012, usually taken out back-to-back, thus costing $562 in fees alone for a $330 loan.
  • Despite marketing claims of a short-term loan, payday lenders depend on this long-term, repeat use – over 90% of payday revenue is generated by borrowers with five or more loans a year.
  • In 2012, more than 5,200 Kentuckians were trapped in 30 or more payday loans!

“A History of Pubic Service” — campaign sends out hilarious mailer

Jennifer Scutchfield is running for re-election in Lexington’s 7th District City Council race against an Iraq war veteran, Michael Moynahan, who’s currently completing his MBA and works with a non-profit to help low income folks in Lexington manage their utility bills. Perhaps it’s that resume that inspired this mailer from the Scutchfield campaign — an attempt to highlight her own long history of public service… or, wait a minute. That’s not right.

Ouch

Eesh. That eye-popping gaffe, sent in by a reader who can read, is apparently popping through the mailboxes of the 7th.

A little background on Scutchfield: The 7th District race, like all City Council races, is non-partisan — but the Fayette County Republican Party is pushing “our candidates” and Scutchfield is one of them. The Women Republicans of Fayette County have hosted a fundraiser for Scutchfield.