Skip to main content

This is how you go after an extremist candidate:

Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.) called Republican Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst an “onion of crazy” as the race there tightens.

Speaking at the Iowa state fair on Saturday, Wasserman-Schultz sought to tout Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), who has been dropping in the polls, and portray Ernst as extreme.

“I know that this state is know for its wind energy, for corn, for soybeans, but that woman is an onion of crazy,” she said. “Every time you peel back a layer, you find something more disturbing about her views.”

She pointed to Ernst’s suggestion in January that President Obama should face “removal from office or impeachment,” a comment that Ernst has sought to walk back.

Wasserman-Schultz then called out Ernst’s May comment that “I do have reason to believe there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq,” which Ernst has also walked back. - The Hill, 8/17/14

I think using an onion was a metaphor for Ernst's craziness is completely accurate because the more you peel it's layers, the more it makes you cry. You can read all about Ernst's layers here:

Now Ernst lately is trying to get the press to stop focusing on her extremist positions and on a serious issue:

Currently a Republican state senator and lieutenant colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard, Ernst told various news outlets that she experienced unwanted attention while serving in the Army and, if elected, will work to overhaul how sexual assault cases are handled in the armed forces.

“I had comments, passes, things like that,” Ernst told TIME. “These were some things where I was able to say stop and it simply stopped, but there are other circumstances both for women and for men where they don’t stop and they may be afraid to report it.”

CNN reached out to Ernst's campaign to confirm the comments.

She is slated to speak on the issue of sexual assault in the military at the Iowa Federation of Republican Women’s Diamond Anniversary dinner on Friday.

In a statement, Ernst said she would work with Democratic Sen. Kristen Gillibrand of New York who's been pushing for legislation to take the authority for prosecuting sexual assault in the military out of the chain of command - a position Ernst said she backs. - CNN, 8/15/14

Gillibrand's Military Justice Improvement Act had the support of 44 Democrats and 11 Republicans. Here's some more info:

The carefully crafted Military Justice Improvement Act (MJIA) S.1752, moves the decision whether to prosecute any crime punishable by one year or more in confinement to independent, trained, professional military prosecutors, with the exception of crimes that are uniquely military in nature, such as disobeying orders or going Absent Without Leave. The decision whether to prosecute 37 serious crimes uniquely military in nature, plus all crimes punishable by less than one year of confinement, would remain within the chain of command.

According to the FY2012 SAPRO report released earlier this year by the Defense Department:

    An estimated 26,000 cases of unwanted sexual contact and sexual assaults occurred in FY2012, a 37% increase from FY2011.

    25% of women and 27% of men who received unwanted sexual contact indicated the offender was someone in their military chain of command.

    50% of female victims stated they did not report the crime because they believed that nothing would be done with their report.

    Of the 3,374 total reports in 2012, only 2,558 reports were unrestricted, which means they were actionable. Of those unrestricted reports, 27 percent were for rape, 35 percent were for abusive and wrongful sexual contact, and 28 percent were for aggravated sexual assault and sexual assault. The remaining cases were for aggravated sexual contact, nonconsensual sodomy, indecent assault and attempts to commit those offenses.

    Across the Services, 74% of females and 60% of males perceived one or more barriers to reporting sexual assault. 62% of victims who reported a sexual assault indicated they perceived some form of professional, social, and/or administrative retaliation.

Another report released by the Defense Department this year showed that more than 1 in 5 female servicemembers reported experiencing unwanted sexual contact while serving in the military. Even the current top military leadership admits the current system “has failed” and as Commandant of the Marine Corps General James F. Amos stated this year, victims do not come forward because “they don’t trust the chain of command.”

The problem of sexual assault in the military is not new, neither are the pledges of “zero tolerance” from commanders, which date all the way back to then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney in 1992. Many of our allied modern militaries have moved reporting outside of the chain of command, such as Britain, Canada, Israel, Germany, Norway and Australia. At a September 2013 hearing, military leaders from Australia, the United Kingdom, Israel and Canada testified on how changes they’ve made to their justice systems — including the one up for debate in the Senate — haven’t caused problems for their commanders.

The Military Justice Improvement Act also:

    Provides the offices of the military chiefs of staff with the authority and discretion to establish courts, empanel juries and choose judges to hear cases (i.e. convening authority).

    This legislation does not amend Article 15. Commanding officers will still be able to order non-judicial punishment for lesser offenses not directed to trial by the prosecutors.

Of course Republicans derailed Gillibrand's bill. If Ernst was in the Senate, would she have bucked her own party on this? Don't count on it:

Ernst maintains that she is not endorsing New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's bill to overhaul sexual assault policies and by detaching sexual assault and other major military crimes cases from the chain of command. She claims that she would instead work with Gillibrand on new legislation that would garner more bipartisan support, something she could provide herself by endorsing the bill. Hmm.

Of course taking a stand for women in the military and running the risk of alienating herself from her peers in the Republican party and the pentagon is a huge move. More importantly for her, it's a smart one. For the woman whose claim to fame has consisted of comparing her goals in Washington to "hog castration," it's a step in a very different direction, much needed for her image. - Jezebel, 8/16/14

Ernst's opponent, Rep. Bruce Braley (D. IA) supports the Military Justice Improvement Act and slammed the U.S. Senate for failing to pass it:

"It’s shameful that the Senate missed this historic opportunity to make the kinds of changes sexual assault survivors have told me are needed to protect the brave men and women in our military,” Braley said. “Those who oppose these reforms are on the wrong side of history and I’m going to do everything I can to support reforms that address this crisis.”

The MJIA moves the decision whether to prosecute any crime punishable by one year or more in confinement to independent, trained, professional military prosecutors. Currently, military commanders have the power to overrule military lawyers and prevent sexual assault prosecutions from moving forward. Braley has been a longtime advocate of removing the decision to prosecute away from the military chain of command.

This year, Braley’s guest to the State of the Union Address was Anu Bhagwati, Executive Director of the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN)—a group that has been at the center of the national effort to reform the military’s handling of military sexual assault.

In 2011, Braley introduced the Holley Lynn James Act--a bill to help victims of sexual assault and domestic violence in the military get justice. The bipartisan bill was named after a constituent of Braley’s who was killed by her husband while both were in the service. - Rep. Bruce Braley (D. IA), 5/6/14

The Senate needs guys like Braley who state clearly where they stand on this issue and are serious about tackling this issue. Not extremists who try to use double speak on a serious issue. Click here to donate and get involved with Braley's campaign:

Originally posted to pdc on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 02:49 PM PDT.

Also republished by Military Community Members of Daily Kos and The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site