U.S. Senators Who Support Rape

4 11 2009
Jamie Leigh Jones

Jones survived a gang rape by fellow employees of KBR (Halliburton)

In 2005 KBR, a taxpayer-endowed contractor (as well as the largest non-union construction company) attempted to cover up employee-on-employee gang rape by locking up the victim in a shipping container without food and water and threatening her with reprisals if she reported the incident. And that’s OK.

Newly elected Senator Al Franken introduced an amendment that would forbid federal contractors from forcing victims of sexual assault, battery and discrimination to submit to binding arbitration (where a third-party typically chosen by the contractor adjudicates) and thereby prohibiting them from going to court.

And 30 (t-h-i-r-t-y) senators voted against it.

Credit new Senator Al Franken however, for introducing an amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill that would punish contractors if they “restrict their employees from taking workplace sexual assault, battery and discrimination cases to court.” You’d think that this would be a no-brainer, actually, but that didn’t stop [Senator] Jeff Sessions from labeling Franken’s effort a “political attack directed at Halliburton.” Franken, of course, pointed out that his amendment would apply broadly, to all contractors…

Some senators and their supporters argue that the reason they voted against such an amendment was that it was unenforceable. Well… so what?

Who cares if the amendment is unenforceable? What unenforceable really means is that not every occurrance of the action can be prevented. Other examples of this include flag burning, gay sex, and speeding. None can be successfully prevented, and yet much can be done legally to a) disuade people from doing it and b) make peoples lives very difficult if they do.

Sometimes amendments are unenforceable because the U.S. Supreme court strikes down a similar law in another state, as was the case with Alabama’s 1901 ban on interracial marriage.  The law was unenforceable as of 1967, but an amendment to eliminate it from Alabama’s state constitution in 1999 was still unanimously voted upon and put into effect.

It starts with the idea and journeys through what can be done in both legislative and judicial branches of our government. If more legislation is needed in order to arrive at an enforceable amendment, so be it. But why would you vote against something you agree with just because you believe it is not 100% enforceable? If there was an amendment to save all puppies from drowning, would you vote against it because, jeeze, we’ll never be able to enforce that? No. You vote ‘yay’ and go on to support initiatives that align with that point of view.

The silver lining is that on September 15, 2009, the 5th Circuit Court of appeals ruled in favor of Jones, in a 2 to 1 ruling, and found that her alleged injuries were not, in fact, in any way related to her employment and thus, not covered by the contract. (Please note: 1 judge actually ruled against that.) In addition, in October of 2009 the Franken Amendment did pass, but it was not unanimous as it should have been. As usual, see The Daily Show with Jon Stewart for the funny version.

The following is a list of Senators who voted against the Franken Amendment. All 30 are Republicans who were elected to office by voters in 19 states. More than half of those voters were women and all of those voters are able to be raped, assaulted, and discriminated against. If it were up to the boys and girls on this list (yes, there are women who voted against this, too.) those voters would never see the inside of a court room.

Rogues Gallery:

Alexander, Lamar – (R – TN)  Class II
455 DIRKSEN SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-4944

Barrasso, John – (R – WY)  Class I
307 DIRKSEN SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-6441

Bond, Christopher S. – (R – MO)  Class III
274 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-5721

Brownback, Sam – (R – KS)  Class III
303 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-6521

Bunning, Jim – (R – KY)  Class III
316 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510 
(202) 224-4343

Burr, Richard – (R – NC)  Class III
217 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-3154

Chambliss, Saxby – (R – GA)  Class II
416 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-3521

Coburn, Tom – (R – OK)  Class III
172 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-5754

Cochran, Thad – (R – MS)  Class II
113 DIRKSEN SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-5054

Corker, Bob – (R – TN)  Class I
185 DIRKSEN SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-3344

Cornyn, John – (R – TX)  Class II
517 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510 
(202) 224-2934

Crapo, Mike – (R – ID)  Class III
239 DIRKSEN SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-6142

DeMint, Jim – (R – SC)  Class III
340 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-6121

Ensign, John – (R – NV)  Class I
119 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-6244

Enzi, Michael B. – (R – WY)  Class II
379A RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-3424

Graham, Lindsey – (R – SC)  Class II
290 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-5972

Gregg, Judd – (R – NH)  Class III
201 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-3324

Inhofe, James M. – (R – OK)  Class II
453 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-4721

Isakson, Johnny – (R – GA)  Class III
120 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-3643

Johanns, Mike – (R – NE)  Class II
404 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-4224

Kyl, Jon – (R – AZ)  Class I
730 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-4521

McCain, John – (R – AZ)  Class III
241 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-2235

McConnell, Mitch – (R – KY)  Class II
361A RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-2541

Risch, James E. – (R – ID)  Class II
483 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-2752

Roberts, Pat – (R – KS)  Class II
109 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-4774

Sessions, Jeff – (R – AL)  Class II
335 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-4124

Shelby, Richard C. – (R – AL)  Class III
304 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-5744

Thune, John – (R – SD)  Class III
493 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-2321

Vitter, David – (R – LA)  Class III
516 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-4623

Wicker, Roger F. – (R – MS)  Class I
555 DIRKSEN SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-6253

What is a class? – Article I, section 3 of the Constitution requires the Senate to be divided into three classes for purposes of elections.  Senators are elected to six-year terms, and every two years the members of one class—approximately one-third of the Senators—face election or reelection.  Terms for Senators in Class I expire in 2013, Class II in 2015, and Class III in 2011.





“What do Undecided Women Want?”

3 11 2008

Let’s ignore the inherent flaw in the question (that “women” all want the same anything – let alone those who are admittedly torn about something.)

“It was really crushing when Hillary lost…I felt like [Obama] could have spoken out and said okay, enough is enough, stop with the sexist comments, the misogyny, but I didn’t hear that from him, but a lot of us did feel that although we were loyal, lifetime Democrats we could not vote for Barack Obama … It’s just the fact that they told a whole segment of American society to go away, we’ll win the election without you… it was just incredibly insulting to so many women in this country….but again, it’s the policies, and that may be why I eventually wind up voting the Democratic ticket in November, but either way I won’t be very happy with my vote. Either way I vote this year it will be with great reluctance and with a lot of sadness.”

Amen, sista.

I have never been undecided about who I want as president, Obama or McCain. For me it has always been Obama. However, who I want to see as president and who I vote for are not necessarily the same.

As far as I’m concerned, I lost this race back in August. Now it’s just choosing between a royal jackass and a spineless jackass. I mean, Obama sounds good – but he ain’t gonna be THAT good. Others like me promised ourselves that we would not vote for the candidate who gutted Hillary’s campaign. If we were to uphold that promise, that would mean voting third party or voting McCain-Palin. One is a vote for progressive ideas, the other is just a protest vote. I’m not voting McCain-Palin. Then again, HRC did practically beg her supporters to vote for Obama. To ignore that call would be a disservice to HRC.

So, you could call me torn about who I will vote for, but I am not torn one bit about who I would rather see as POTUS. And I get that my candidate lost – I do – but that loss and how it came about is exactly what drives this ambivalence. Obviously Obama is closer to Clinton on policy issues. Obviously Palin being anywhere near that much power is a feminist nightmare. It isn’t about who would be the better President – that’s no contest. But if there are no consequences, microscopic as my vote is, for treating an experienced, intelligent, articulate, progressive woman candidate like dirt, then what’s the friggin point?

And it isn’t about calculating either – I understand that every vote counts, and that there is no guarantee that Obama can win without my vote. By the same token, I refuse to take responsibility for 99,999,999 other people’s votes. It is my decision, as their votes are theirs.

I’ll be happy to see a non-white male become POTUS, but don’t pretend like this vote is easy for former Hillary supporters and loyalists. Respect that passion, as I respect Obama supporter passion.





The Beginning of Hope or the End of It

31 10 2008

“Right now, in America, we are living in the center of a potential paradigm shift. A definite, burgeoning movement. A time of Hope. With the upcoming elections, we could redefine America’s standing in the world by enacting foreign policy that is based on the universal understanding that we are all interconnected. That the rape of an eight-year-old-girl in Congo is akin to the rape of an eight-year-old girl in Chicago or Phoenix. We use the words and slogans “Never again” and “Not on our watch”, but right now thousands are being displaced, raped, murdered in Eastern DRC.”

There are policies that Barack Obama and I do not see eye to eye on. I have serious reservations about a few of his decisions, and I continue to hold a political torch for Hillary Clinton.

However.

I believe that Barack Obama will do more for the people of Congo than John McCain will.

I believe that Barack Obama will do more for women’s rights in the U.S. than John McCain will.

I believe that an administration under Barack Obama will listen to issues of the poorest American people more than under John McCain.

I believe that Barack Obama will show more diplomacy, both at home and abroad, than John McCain.

I believe that Barack Obama will support scientific research more than John McCain.

I believe that Barack Obama will inspire other leaders better than John McCain.

For all these reasons, I believe that Barack Obama will make a better U.S. president than John McCain.

I will be stepping into the gym of my local high school this Tuesday at 6 am, where I will state my name, show some ID, and make a few choices that will change the course of history for my country and the world. The biggest assholes in the history of America will be the people who, on Wednesday, wake up and realize that they were registered to vote and just didn’t.

 
Read the Article by Eve Ensler at HuffingtonPost





Maybe You Shouldn’t Vote

29 10 2008

“If everyone was a brilliant voter, we would never elect bad leaders, and the last eight years might have turned out quite differently. So this election year, before you step into a voting booth and possibly screw things up for the rest of us, I ask that you take a moment to answer the following questions and determine whether you have the skill and the know-how to vote responsibly for our next president.”

I understand the intention behind suggesting that informed voters are better than lots of voters – and that is true. However, this is not the time to scare first time voters into staying at home. Actually, there is never a time to do that. Part of taking the responsibility of voting seriously is understanding and acknowleging that, despite your assumptions and intentions, the person you selected (if they win) were a bad choice. Four years later, you will likely inform yourself more and become a *more* informed voter.

Ignorance doesn’t just evaporate – it’s a long, painful process to pull yourself up by your intellectual bootstraps and try to better yourself . If you never take the first steps of the journey, however, you will never reach the end. That includes screwing up. Do you think people who voted for a Third Party candidate in 2000 or 2004 haven’t done some soul searching leading up to the 2008 election?

C’mon – don’t be a willful ignoramus – vote as best you can, and pay attention once in a while to how your choice affects the next four years of your life and your neighbors’ lives.

 
More on Voting
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost





Obama Should Spill a Little Red Ink to Turn a Few More Red States Blue

28 10 2008

“Indeed, a significant chunk of that money should be directed to Kentucky where challenger Bruce Lunsford is running just a few points behind McConnell. Want real change in America? Imagine a Senate without McConnell in it.”

A filibuster (talking out a bill) is a form of obstruction in Congress. An attempt is made to infinitely extend debate on a proposal in order to delay the progress or completely prevent a vote on the proposal taking place.

In 1917 in response to the actions of isolationist senators who attempted to out talk a bill, a rule allowing for cloture (ending a filibuster) was adopted by the Democratic Senate. President Wilson urged the Senate to change its rules to thwart what he called a “little group of willful men”.

In the 1960s, no Senate had more than 7 filibusters.

The 1999, with a Democrat president and a Republican supermajority in the Senate, the Senate had 58 filibusters.

In late 2007, with a Republican president and a Democrat majority (but not a super majority), Congress broke the record for the most filibusters, and then broke the record again with the most cloture votes in a single session, topping 70 clotures against a record number of filibusters from the Republican minority.

THATS why they’ve been dubbed the “do nothing” congress – Republicans won’t let the Democrats do a damn thing. Maybe if they had, the citizens wouldn’t be so quick to push for a supermajority.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/110th_Congress
More on Al Franken
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost





McCain’s Warning: Perils Of One-Party Rule

27 10 2008

It is unreasonable to say that electing a Democrat president and having a Democrat majority in Congress equals
“one party rule”.

First of all, the supreme court, the third branch of government, is conservative-Republican heavy.

Second, we were living under the same “one party rule” when Bush was president with a majority in Congress for 6 years. True – it wasn’t a veto proof majority. We had that when Clinton was president, although he was a Democrat with a veto-proof Republican majority in Congress. Count the ways that went wrong.

That brings me to the third point – members of Congress and Senators are elected directly by citizens. If there is a majority in the legislative branch of government, it’s because a majority of people wanted them there. I wish a majority of citizens hadn’t wanted Republicans to have a majority in Congress for six years of Bush’s term – but they did and I lived with that. The bottom line is that my neighbors wanted it, I was outnumbered, and so I had to live with our collective decision. Now my neighbors might want a Democrat majority in Congress – and I support that. I also support a Democrat for president. It is not a package deal – they are individual decisions being made by millions of people. If a Democrat majority in Congress and Democrat President is what the majority of citizens want, then by golly that is what they should get – for better or worse.

This is the democratic system, like it or lump it.

More on John McCain
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost





Family Guy & National-Socialist Humor

20 10 2008

A little light-hearted fun for your viewing pleasure.

Family Guy does rock.