During a roundtable discussion on NBC’s Meet the Press, Rep. Blackburn (R-TN) was asked by David Axelrod if she would support legislation that created workplace equality.
She responded with an unexpected answer for a woman, “I’ve always said that I didn’t want to be given a job because I was a female, I wanted it because I was the most well-qualified person for the job. And making certain that companies are going to move forward in that vein, that is what women want. They don’t want the decisions made in Washington. They want to be able to have the power and the control and the ability to make those decisions for themselves.”
In 2009, Rep. Blackburn voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which amended the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s statute of limitations for filing lawsuits on the basis of wage discrimination, and she also voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act in the same year, which would have amended the 1963 Equal Pay Act and the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act.
The rationalizations that I can come up with is that Republicans oppose federal laws that support fair pay and workplace equality and think the states should be the ones who do that. The other is that they think the “free market” will eventually do it, because if people wanted women to have equal pay then they shouldn’t buy from companies that don’t provide equal pay and then the world will be this magical place with unicorns and rainbows where nothing bad happens, because the “free market” takes care of everything.
I’m going to err on the side of the former.
The other, more placate-ey, explanation is that Republicans hate women.
A bill in the state of Montana is being introduced by State Rep. Steve Lavin (R – Kalispell) that would give corporations the right to vote.
According to ThinkProgress, HB 486 would give “…a firm, partnership, company, or corporation [who owns] real property within the municipality, the president, vice president, secretary, or other designee of the entity is eligible to vote in a municipal election…”
You can read the full text of the bill here.
Corporate “personhood” has gone far enough. It was bad enough when the Supreme Court ruled in 2010 in Citizens United v. FEC that corporations (and other entities, like labour unions) could have unlimited, undisclosed independent campaign spending in elections, which created “Super PACs.” It was bad enough when the Supreme Court ruled in the same year in SpeechNow.org v. FEC that individuals could have unlimited contributions to Super PACs.
It was bad enough when a major presidential candidate said that “corporations are people, my friend.” And it was bad enough that the Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear a case challenging the last hurdle in the way of outright buying elections: unlimited contributions directly to a candidate’s campaign.
Now they are giving corporations the right to vote! My outrage cannot be adequately expressed via text, and I do not wish to use caps lock.
The Montana bill would essentially give someone the right to vote twice in an election. This is ironic, since in the months up until the 2012 elections the Republican Party was running around with their heads cut off screaming about the virtually nonexistent problem of voter fraud, which usually involves a person voting multiple times.
This is all while Montana was pushing through one of those infamous voter ID bills, one that would only allow a person to vote in elections with either a driver’s license or a tribal ID card. This would be possibly one of the most restrictive voter ID bills in the country, as similar laws being fought over in other states and in the courts mostly allow for passports and other forms of government issued identification that are not a driver’s license.
To be fair, the bill was essentially killed only a few weeks ago after it was tabled in Montana’s State Administration Committee.
I can only imagine what could happen if HB 486 were to ever become law anywhere in the United States. Some company… sorry, someone (since corporations are people, my friend) with enough money and power could create countless shadow companies and put their employees, colleagues, or friends “in charge” of them, thereby creating an endless number of “people” to vote in elections.
If anything is a threat to our democracy, it is not the few dozen of people who try to vote twice by pretending to be someone else. If anything is a threat, it is the efforts by some in this country to deny people the right to vote based on the colour of their skin or how much money they make. If anything is a threat, it is HB 486 and the deluge that can follow.
If you live in the state of Montana, please contact your state representatives and tell them to kill this bill!
President Obama is being heavily criticised for the Fast and Furious “gunwalking” scandal that came to light following the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry by gun traffickers who were being sold guns by the ATF. The operation began when the Tuscon, Arizona branch of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) planned on selling guns to Mexican gun traffickers. These guns would then be tracked back to the Mexican drug cartels as part of a sting operation in hopes of finally breaking the drug cartels that have been wreaking havoc on the Mexican-American border.
The president is being criticised for asserting his executive privilege to withhold certain documents concerning the operation. Congressional Republicans, the Republican National Committee, and the Romney campaign all jumped on President Obama for this action, saying that he is going back on his promise for having a transparent government and that him and Attorney General Eric Holder, who recommended the president use his executive privilege, are trying to coverup a flubbed operation that resulted in the murder of a federal agent. They either fail to remember or simply ignore the fact that President Bush invoked his executive privilege six times. This is President Obama’s first.
The Republican controlled House of Representatives voted along party lines to hold the attorney general in contempt of Congress and linking him to the failed operation and its supposed coverup. This could land Holder in prison or at least with a hefty fine, but more than likely not.
The other criticism of trying to coverup the operation, Deputy Attorney General James Cole wrote in a letter to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who is chairing the Congressional probe into the matter, that the Justice Department releasing 7600 documents concerning Operation Fast and Furious should have been ample evidence that no coverup is trying to be made. The Californian Representative seemed to ignore that bit of information, and the attorney general was still voted in contempt.
President Obama and his administration are claiming that Republicans and the Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney are doing nothing more than politically motivated attacks to make him look bad in an election year instead of doing what they promised when they won the House in the 2010 midterms, which was creating jobs and helping the economy, seeing as they have killed almost any bill put forth by the Democrats of the Democratic president that would do such a thing.
Politicians and pundits alike on the right appear to be unaware of the fact that Operation Fast and Furious began during the Bush Administration in 2006 when it was known as Operation Wide Receiver. When Fox News had something to say about it, they conveniently left out these important details, or would simply ignore them when they were shown right to their faces. Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly either do not care about the facts or will outright ignore them if they do not fit into their notions of President Obama being the Black Hitler and will do and saying almost anything in order to criticise him.
So why is it that President Obama is being blamed (again) for something that began during his predecessor’s administration?
As most of my followers around the interwebs know, I live in Texas (unfortunately), and the primaries for US Senate in Texas are right around the corner. Watching the GOP primaries unfold makes me laugh (when it doesn’t make me cry), because it shows the kind of in-fighting and identity crisis that the GOP is experiencing in this political climate.
Currently, the top contenders for the Republican primary seat that is being left vacant by retiring Senator Kay Baily Hutchinson (the key figure who killed the DREAM Act, so good riddance) are Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who is being backed by Governor Rick Perry (you know, the guy who held that giant prayer rally in Houston), and former state solicitor general Ted Cruz, who is being backed by former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin, both of whom (Perry and Palin) are Tea Party favourites. Both sides seem to be trying to call the other side moderates and that their candidate will cause the most disruption in Washington DC in order to win Tea Party support.
A spokesman for Ted Cruz’s campaign said, “…conservatives are supporting Ted Cruz over David Dewhurst to take our country back from go-along, get-along moderate politicians.” I watched a political ad today attacking Dewhurst, where they quote-mined a bunch of news articles in order to make it seem like he’s a moderate somehow. The problem with this is that Lt. Gov. Dewhurst is one of the most conservative politicians in Texas (which is a bad thing).
Now it seems that Dewhurst will win the Republican primary over Cruz. Once there, he will be going up against the Democratic candidate, which is expected to be former Texas House Representative Paul Sadler. Knowing Texas, the Democrats will lose unfortunately.
However, what it’s come down to is that conservative Americans have moved so far to the right that calling someone a liberal is overdone. They made liberal such a dirty word in America that they are moving along to the next thing: moderate. It’s bad to be a moderate. It’s bad to reach across the aisle. It’s bad to work with others like grown adults do. It’s bad to compromise, because we would rather see America suffer than have to work with those damn Democrats. We would rather kick and scream and whine to get what we want, and if we can’t get it, then no one can have anything.
The Tea Party is eclipsing, if not taking over, the Republican Party, and conservatives are becoming more and more conservative in response to claims that even the most conservative of them are moderates, which they are not. It’s a race to the right, and the losers are the American people, especially those that stand in their way. While the Tea Party is fighting itself to see who is the most conservative, it is creating an atmosphere that is extremely hostile to liberals, gay, religious and ethnic minorities, women, the poor, and anyone who is not a white, straight, male, Christian conservative.
As most people are aware, President Barack Obama recently said this during an interview with ABC on Wednesday:
I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or Marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.
Gay rights activists and other supporters of gay marriage have been going completely insane over this. When the news first broke of this, I could not find anything in my feed on Facebook or Twitter for about two hours that was not about the president’s endorsement (or so it seemed) of gay marriage. The news was particularly shocking in light of North Carolina’s move on Tuesday to make a constitutional ban against same-sex marriage and Vice President Joe Biden’s recent interview on Meet the Press where he said that he is “absolutely comfortable” with same-sex couples receiving the same rights as straight couples.
The problem with this is that he has not actually said or promised to do really anything. Okay, he thinks that gays should be allowed to get married. Great. He has not said anything about trying to actively repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), although his administration says that they will not defend it in the courts, and he has not said anything about any new federal policy that would allow for gay marriage at the federal level. An aide to the president said that while President Obama feels that gays should have the right to be married, he also believes that the states should be the ones who ultimately decide if they want gay marriage or not.
The interview seemed to be carefully worded so that if he never does anything to repeal DOMA or try to bring a federal law recognising same-sex couples, he can say that he never promised such a thing. It all appears to be empty election politics so as to stir gay voters who may have been thinking of not voting for him come November (not that they would vote for Mitt Romney, who has stayed consistent, for once, on the issue of gay marriage and how he is against it).
Now despite this, President Obama’s words are encouraging. He has said that his position on the issue has been “evolving,” and maybe he will try to repeal DOMA someday. President Obama does not seem to realise this, but the position of the presidency does have a lot of influence with how the public feels and talks about certain issues, especially since he is a black man and black people and other minorities, while supportive of the Democratic Party, are not as supportive of gay rights as we would hope. Him coming out in favour of gay marriage by fully repealing DOMA and recognising same-sex couples would possibly put this issue in its dying days.
President Obama has done amazing things for gay rights, such as ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT), and although this does seem like nothing more than election rhetoric to get liberals to the voting booths, the idealist in me hopes that someday (soon hopefully) we can all look back on this like we look back today at the people who opposed women’s rights and black rights and think to ourselves, “Those people were fucking stupid.”
In the Republican primaries for the US Senate in Indiana on Tuesday, long-time Senator Dick Lugar lost 40% to 60% to Richard Mourdock, Indiana’s state treasurer. This in it of itself is shocking; Lugar has been in office since 1976 and had been considered one of the greatest minds on US foreign policy.
What led to his loss is even more upsetting. During the campaign Mourdock railed against Lugar for compromising with the Democrats and reaching across the aisle. He continued to call him “Obama’s favourite Republican,” trying to paint Lugar as a moderate and friend to the Democratic Party, saying that he would oppose bipartisanship if he were in office.
This is the disturbing things about the Republican Party.
Anyone who has taken any political science or American history class will tell you that things only ever got done in Congress when parties compromised with each other and decided to work together for the benefit of the country. Someone just won a Congressional primary on the ticket of ignoring common knowledge and the slogan of “We Will Not Work With You, Only Against You.”
“Bipartisanship,” “compromise,” and “working together” have almost become dirty words to Republicans and the Tea Party. The right has become so radical that it has simply refused to do anything that would possibly get anything done if it meant being an adult and actually working with people to do what is necessary for the country.
This may be a good thing after all though. As the Tea Party ultra-nationalists alienate the moderate and establishment Republicans, they will eventually go so far to the right that they will form a third party that will split the vote for the conservatives, giving Democrats and liberals the chance to elect real progressive politicians who can bring real change to this country.