McConnell Needs to Go in 2014

“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” –Senator Mitch McConnell, 23 October 2010

With this statement, Senator McConnell rewrote his own job description from that of a United States Senator representing the people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, to a hard-nosed ideologue intent on a solitary goal of ending another man’s political career.

Two years and hundreds of filibusters later, the President wins his bid for reelection, by a landslide.

What does Senator “one-term” McConnell have to say about that?

“The American people did two things: they gave President Obama a second chance to fix the problems that even he admits he failed to solve during his first four years in office, and they preserved Republican control of the House of Representatives,” McConnell said in a statement. “The voters have not endorsed the failures or excesses of the President’s first term, they have simply given him more time to finish the job they asked him to do together with a Congress that restored balance to Washington after two years of one-party control.” –Senator McConnell

You see what he did there? Senator McConnell is pretending that the record number of filibusters he and his party orchestrated, even on legislation that they agreed with, is a personal failure of President Barack Obama.

The lack of productivity in the Senate for the past four years is a failure of Mitch McConnell and the Republican Party, not President Barack Obama.

Take a look at this handy chart, that lays out exactly who has filibustered in the Senate the most, by number and by percentage. At the top of the chart? Republican after Republican, after Republican. If your Senators are on the top half of this list, you should be angry. Very angry.

Filibustering is refusing to debate. It is refusing to vote. It is refusing to allow anyone to debate or vote–per Senate rules, sixty Senators must vote to overrule a single, anonymous Senator who may filibuster a bill, then waltz out of the Chamber, off into the city. A filibuster, under current rules, does not require a Senator to hold the floor. It does not require that one, single Senator to even be in the building.

If one or both of your Senators are on the top half of this list, your hired representatives are refusing to do their jobs.

Just think a second: what would happen if you decided you left an anonymous note on your boss’ desk saying that you didn’t feel like working that day, then walked out? I’d be written up, docked points, and fired.

There hasn’t been balance in Congress since President Obama was elected in 2008, and that’s because the vast majority of the Republican Party has been refusing to do their jobs.

Mitch McConnell is the orchestrator of this collective tantrum, and as a resident of Kentucky, I am angry. Rand Paul, my other Senator, has refused to work over eighty percent of his short time in the Capital. I am very angry. My state has no voice in the Senate. None. Kentucky’s representatives in the Senate anonymously protest, then run off into the city to do whatever it is old white men do in Washington D.C.

Kentucky, we have two more years until Mitch McConnell is up for reelection. And you know what? I’m angry enough that I’d consider running against him myself–but I don’t meet the minimum age requirement, and I won’t meet it in two years, either. So to anyone considering running against Mitch in 2014? Consider this as my letter of interest.

Advertisements

Congress Infringing on First Amendment Rights with HR347?

Well, this is alarming. This bill just passed unanimously in the Senate, and nearly so in the House:

This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011’’.

RESTRICTED BUILDING OR GROUNDS.
Section 1752 of title 18, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:
§ 1752. Restricted building or grounds (a) Whoever—
(1) knowingly enters or remains in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority to do so; (2) knowingly, and with intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions, engages in disorderly or disruptive conduct in, or within such proximity to, any restricted building or grounds when, or so that, such conduct, in fact, impedes or disrupts the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions; ‘‘(3) knowingly, and with the intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions, obstructs or impedes ingress or egress to or from any restricted building or grounds; or ‘‘(4) knowingly engages in any act of physical violence against any person or property in any restricted building or grounds;
or attempts or conspires to do so, shall be punished as provided in subsection (b).
‘‘(b) The punishment for a violation of subsection (a)
is—‘‘(1) a fine under this title or imprisonment for
not more than 10 years, or both, if—
‘‘(A) the person, during and in relation to the offense, uses or carries a deadly or dangerous weapon or firearm; or ‘‘(B) the offense results in significant bodily injury as defined by section 2118(e)(3); and‘‘(2) a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both, in any other case.

‘‘(c) In this section—‘‘(1) the term ‘restricted buildings or grounds’ means any posted, cordoned off, or otherwise restricted area— ‘‘(A) of the White House or its grounds, or the Vice President’s official residence or its grounds; ‘‘(B) of a building or grounds where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting; or ‘‘(C) of a building or grounds so restricted in conjunction with an event designated as a special event of national significance; and ‘‘(2) the term ‘other person protected by the Secret Service’ means any person whom the United States Secret Service is authorized to protect under section 3056 of this title or by Presidential memorandum, when such person has not declined such protection.’’.

At first glance, this seems like a fairly innocuous bill. However, the sections in bold are what concern me. Though suspiciously vague, it seems as though this is another bill written in response to very specific events, without any consideration for the broader implications. Though this time, the legislation passed, with overwhelming support and with little media attention.

Those who have taken note of the bill, are speculating that this could make protesting illegal, especially at events like Party Conventions and UN summits. I’m inclined to agree, given the sections that I’ve highlighted in bold.

Getting My Activism On: Contacting Representatives

I apologize for the light posting today. I am one angry feminist. Darrell Issa’s little stunt yesterday motivated me to get my activism on. I signed a number of petitions while I was at work yesterday. Today, I visited the One Million Pissed Off Women page on facebook and saw this:

“The asshole (OMG I’m shaking MAD) at ISSa’s office just told me that this is all about trying to get Obama out because of his persecution of traditional religious institutions. He just stuttered when I brought up ED and penile implants and had nothing to say about the fact that the largest Catholic institutions ALREADY provided birth control in their insurance plans. This is a fringe element push and has nothing to do with us. He also said (in a very Neener-neener, sing-song way) that the republicans were in power, they are going to stay in power and Issa has the control to have his hearings any way he saw fit.. Smarmy FUCKER!!!”

So I decided to give ol’ Issa a call myself. (202-225-3906!) An aide answered, and asked me where I was from. When I said Kentucky, I was immediately transferred to voicemail without comment or the opportunity to say much of anything.

His mailbox was full. I couldn’t leave a message.

I went back to OMPOW’s page, and read the comments. There are more similar stories of women calling, and either getting transferred or condescended to. I learned that Mr. Issa is up for re-election this year, and that his opponent is Jerry Tetalman. I visited his website, and lo and behold! He has, on his front page, pronounced that he is pro-choice.

I wondered if he’d responded to yesterday’s travesty. He hadn’t. So, I decided to e-mail him. This is my message:

“Jerry,

Hello, my name is Brittany-Ann. I just learned about your candidacy today. I am a pro-choice feminist, and it heartens me to see a man who is not only pro-choice, but believes so strongly in a woman’s right to choose that he is willing to put it on the front page of his website.

Yesterday, your opponent, Darrell Issa, convened a committee made up completely of extremely conservative religious men to discuss women’s right to access birth control. Women all over the country are mobilizing–calling Issa’s office, e-mailing him, and blogging about his actions. I tried to call myself, and got transferred to a full voicemail inbox.

I count myself as politically active, and indeed, I blog regularly about political issues. But the recent attacks on women’s rights to birth control, abortion, including Virginia’s new vaginal ultrasound law, have motivated me to become more involved than ever before. I know I’m not alone.

This is why I urge you to make a public statement in support of women’s rights. The Republican war on women is an ever-increasing part of their party platform. Progressives, in turn, need to become more aggressive as allies to women.

We have to fight back. We need every woman, and every male ally to stand up for our rights, publicly, and without shame.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Brittany-Ann Wick”

Ron Paul: Trying to Take Away Constitutional Protections since 2004.

It’s no secret that Ron Paul is no friend to human rights (except perhaps to Ron Paul fans) but Paul’s We The People Act is mind-blowing in its blatant hostility to the rights of women and LGBT people.

From Mother Jones:

“Paul’s “We the People Act,” which he introduced in 2004, 2005, 2009, and 2011, explicitly forbids federal courts and the Supreme Court of the United States from ruling on the constitutionality of a variety of state and local laws. That includes, among other things, “any claim based upon the right of privacy, including any such claim related to any issue of sexual practices, orientation, or reproduction.” The bill would let states write laws forbidding abortion, the use of contraceptives, or consensual gay sex, for example.”

After some blathering about Congress’ authority to limit the jurisdiction on the Judicial branch, and how everyone agrees with the notion that the Judicial branch has exceeded its power, the legislation says this:

“The Supreme Court of the United States and each Federal court–

      (1) shall not adjudicate–
        (A) any claim involving the laws, regulations, or policies of any State or unit of local government relating to the free exercise or establishment of religion;
        (B) any claim based upon the right of privacy, including any such claim related to any issue of sexual practices, orientation, or reproduction; or
        (C) any claim based upon equal protection of the laws to the extent such claim is based upon the right to marry without regard to sex or sexual orientation; and

(2) shall not rely on any judicial decision involving any issue referred to in paragraph (1).”

The notion of “state’s rights” has long been code for “the right of states to discrimination freely against large segments of their population” but this legislation is abhorrent. Apparently, the concept of “checks and balances” is far beyond this man.

With this legislation, the states would become separate, autonomous entities, protected from reproach, and its people exempted from the protections of the Constitution when it comes to:

1. Women’s rights to reproductive freedom–explicitly when it comes to birth control and abortion.

2. LGBT rights to exist, let alone the freedom to have sex with or marry whomever they want.

3. The establishment of a theocracy.

Paul truly wants to take us back to the days when the Constitution only applied to straight (white) Christian men.

This man has the nerve to continually accuse President Obama of over-stepping the boundaries of his Constitutional authority.

Mind blowing.

Note: This bill was introduced nearly a year ago, has no cosponsors, and hasn’t gone anywhere since. To which I say: good riddance, but I thought it important to highlight, especially for those who claim Paul is a lover of freedom.

Get Your Activism On: Support Birth Control

It’s important to counter the howling protests of the arrogant old men who mistakenly believe they should have a say in women’s reproductive choices. Petitions are an easy way to do that. These are the ones I signed this morning afternoon:

From Planned Parenthood:

Tell Congress: Stop trying to block women’s access to Birth Control

From Ultra Violet:

Tell Congress: Hands off our birth control!

Sign and share!

Weinergate? Please.

If you want to know why Breitbart and his cronies set their sights on Congressman Anthony Weiner, check out this excellent piece by Allan at Angry Black Lady Chronicles.

Seriously, click it.

If you need another reason to discredit the Congressman’s detractors (other than the victim’s statement saying she doesn’t believe for a minute Weiner sent her the photo, Weiner’s denials, the demonstrations of the ease of hacking Yfrog, the mismatch between “the photo” and other photos the Congressman has uploaded, the fact that the only person who saw the tweet was harassing both Weiner and Cordova, et cetera and so on.) this piece is the golden nail in the coffin.

 

 

A Heads Up to Republicans re: Election 2010

Congressman Phil Roe of Tennessee:

Look. Stop talking about the election last November as if it were a mandate to do whatever it is that Republicans are wanting to do this day, or that day. The FACT is, the Republicans that were elected ran on “jobs, jobs, jobs.” They didn’t run on “defund Planned Parenthood at all costs” or “shut down the government.” People are UNEMPLOYED, you PROMISED to get them jobs, and THAT’S what they elected you for.

Not to mention *puts on political scientist hat* that the first midterm has traditionally been unfavorable for the party in power. You understand tradition, don’t you? This was no overwhelming takeover. There were no landslides. November 2010 was a normal election.

Keep going right–and there will be a huge backlash. If there is anything to be learned from Wisconsin, it is that.