Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 7, 2009

WHATEVER IT IS, THEY'RE AGAINST IT.... It's tempting to think a measure like this one would pass unanimously. After all, it's not as if voters would elect monsters to the Senate, right?

In 2005, Jamie Leigh Jones was gang-raped by her co-workers while she was working for Halliburton/KBR in Baghdad. She was detained in a shipping container for at least 24 hours without food, water, or a bed, and "warned her that if she left Iraq for medical treatment, she'd be out of a job." (Jones was not an isolated case.) Jones was prevented from bringing charges in court against KBR because her employment contract stipulated that sexual assault allegations would only be heard in private arbitration.

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) proposed an amendment to the 2010 Defense Appropriations bill that would withhold defense contracts from companies like KBR "if they restrict their employees from taking workplace sexual assault, battery and discrimination cases to court."

All Franken's measure would do is allow victims of rape and discrimination to have their day in court -- not exactly controversial stuff. When Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) accused Franken of pushing a "political attack directed at Halliburton," the Minnesota senator explained that it would apply equally to all defense contractors.

The good news is, Franken's measure passed, 68 to 30.

The bad news is, 30 Senate Republicans -- 75% of the entire Republican Senate caucus -- voted against this.

Perhaps I should be thankful that 10 GOP senators voted with the majority -- by contemporary standards, I suppose that's a lot -- but what possible rationale could three-fourths of the Republican Senate caucus have for voting against this?

Let's not overlook the larger context here. Democrats are expected to try to find "bipartisan" support on practically everything. Some GOP lawmakers think health care reform isn't "legitimate" if it doesn't have 80 votes.

And yet, when the Senate considered a measure yesterday to give rape victims who work for U.S.-subsidized defense contractors a day in court, 30 out of 40 Republican senators said, "No."

The notion that the majority should be able to reach constructive, worthwhile compromises with this minority is clearly ridiculous.

Steve Benen 3:50 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (52)

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Comments

As Atrios would say- sick, damaged people.

Posted by: Steve LaBonne on October 7, 2009 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

no surprise -- misogyny, too, upholds corporate power in a big way.

if those big companies are libel every time a woman tempts a man into, you know, assaulting her (because she probably really wanted him to)...that'd get into some big bucks of retribution...

god damn the good ol'boys' shit-filled souls to hell...

Posted by: neill on October 7, 2009 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sure supporting gang-rapes will play well with the "family values" crowd.

Posted by: Rian Mueller on October 7, 2009 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Since ACORN promotes sexual violence with tax dollars, shouldn't the same argument be used for fed contractors when they too promote sexual violence and want to keep it private? The public has a right to know and the public deserves justice for their tax dollars.

Posted by: Dave on October 7, 2009 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

Will this get 1/100th the coverage of a general raving teabagger screaming "Socialism!"?

Posted by: Go, Sestak! Or Hoeffel! on October 7, 2009 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

Not surprised by the senators that voted no. Alexander, Corker, Cornyn, Inhofe, McCain, McConnel, etc. etc.

Posted by: ATXDem on October 7, 2009 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

Note that all the female senators, Republican and Democrat, voted for the amendment. Note that Sessions' constitutional argument against the amendment was shot down in flames because it would then apply to any of the restrictions that the Fed government puts on the use of its money.

But the finishing touch is the argument that arbitration is better than going to courts because it is cheaper and quicker. Anyone want to lay money on Sessions sticking with this argument if the person who gets to chose the arbitrator is the person filing the claim rather than the company being sued?

Posted by: Texas Aggie on October 7, 2009 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

I was going to make a joke but any joke about rape isn't a joke.

Voting against this doesn't even make sense, even if I flip it upside down and read it reverse.

If there was any sort of speculation if the majority of GOP are pro-business, regardless if it harms Americans, here is your proof America.

Note those who voted yeah, the Female Republicans, along with many in states that went for Obama.

Posted by: mike from Arlington on October 7, 2009 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK
...but what possible rationale could three-fourths of the Republican Senate caucus have for voting against this?

Constituent service.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on October 7, 2009 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK
All Franken's measure would do is allow victims of rape and discrimination to have their day in court -- not exactly controversial stuff.

Ah, but it is. Remember McCain's comment about the Ledbetter Fair Play Act:

. . . this kind of legislation, as is typical of what's being proposed by my friends on the other side of the aisle, opens us up to lawsuits for all kinds of problems. This is government playing a much, much greater role in the business of a private enterprise system.

Discrimination bad. Lawsuits, apparently, worse.

Posted by: noncarborundum on October 7, 2009 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

Since ACORN promotes sexual violence ...

Jesus Christ, you people get dumber all the time.

Posted by: JM on October 7, 2009 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Vitter and Ensign voted against giving exploited or harassed women rights. Shocking. (Really, I mean it - from a PR perspective I'd have thought they'd have gone the other way on this.)

I am glad Grassley did one non-embarassing thing this week, however.

All politics aside, this is a really sick, twisted bunch that voted no. I am surprised at Alexander, Gregg and Johanns who, while conservative, have in the past seemed not entirely insane.

Posted by: zeitgeist on October 7, 2009 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

ATXDem: But it's still kind of interesting schism, don't you think?

With the exception of McCain, who as everyone's come to realize is very calculating in where he chooses to express his supposed maverickyness
[& as a corollary way more often than not ends up voting for deeply ignorant, inhuman, insensitive even insane positions, just to maintain his membership & prop up his standing in the Party of Know-No], the Mob of 30 seems to my nose a really revelatory list of how deeply the Senate Republican caucus is in the thrall of Teh Fundamentally Unsuited -- whereas in contrast, the other side of the schism, the Anxiety of Eight if you will, represent no less than 80% of the only Republicans in the Senate a Democrat would ever possibly be at least arguably justified in expending a single word on in meaningful discussion.

Posted by: labdancer on October 7, 2009 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

Gregg isn't insane, but he knows which side his bread is buttered on. And perhaps more importantly, which side his brother's bread is buttered on. But I digress. IMO the man is an embarrassment to NH on par with our pet LaRouchies.

What I'd like to know -- I'm not sure if anyone has the answer -- is why Specter didn't vote and if he had, what his vote would have been?

Posted by: zhak on October 7, 2009 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

Mike, not a big fan of dead baby comedy? Everything is a joke. In these times, you should take your laughter wherever you can get it. Everything is a joke. Life is a joke. If you stop laughing, you're already dead. We don't live in a time where can justify not laughing wheneve

Posted by: soullite on October 7, 2009 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

Privatizing immorality

Yes to all the points you make Steve...
But overarching all this is the privatization of Armed-forced tasks to corporations that can't even spell the word "accountability."

The organizational morality of the US military is nonpareil. It is far more of a meritocracy than anything we have in business or academia. It will be even more a paragon of success when gays can serve without fear of reprisal. We will be there soon enough.

But there are some that argue that Haliburton, KBR, or Xe can do a better job than our US forces. Time and time again we see this is bullshit. What happened to Jamie Leigh Jones is one example. But there are hundreds more.

I have begun to collect them.

For example did you know that supplying translators to the Army has been privatized? Read about the story of "Brooklyn" and her privatized employer in this Op-ed that appeared in the NYT's on 9/21/09:

Brooklyn told me that the occasional grumpy officer wasn’t her only problem. She also complained about Mission Essential Personnel’s sloppy management, saying that the company tended to hire elderly interpreters, unsuited for rough travel in a war zone, just because they passed a language test. She said the contractor was unresponsive to complaints of sexual harassment and mistreatment.

Everybody knows socialism is a failed idea. But the opposite side of the coin needs to be similarly put to the grave. I am talking about the dumb republican talking point that "all privatization is good."

That intellectual bullshit is a failed idea too.
Yet it continues to maliciously rape our country...

Posted by: koreyel on October 7, 2009 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

It is shocking that the MSM media is not on this.

Posted by: Bob M on October 7, 2009 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

The campaign contributions from rape victims are miniscule compared to those from defense contractors. There are 30 Republican senators who are betting their souls there is not a just and righteous God.

Posted by: J. Frank Parnell on October 7, 2009 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo: Jesus Christ, you people get dumber all the time.

One person made the stupid comment to which you're referring.

Posted by: Tom K on October 7, 2009 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

With the exception of McCain, who as everyone's come to realize is very calculating in where he chooses to express his supposed maverickyness ...

Well, I don't know. The bill seems aimed at women being able to sue if they've been attacked in some heinous way & said attack having to do with whom they work for.

I don't think McCain has a very positive view of women. Does his voting on women's rights related items reflect otherwise?

He comes across like a misogynistic, angry old fart, fwiw.

Posted by: zhak on October 7, 2009 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

You mean Franken isn't "The god damn devil" ?

Nice to see him on something important. The whole contractors running wild in other countries has rubbed me wrong since day 1. No one has really put work into this issue. Jones isn't a soldier, but she was there helping our military in a time of war, and out government basically threw her away and ensured it happen to more women and men.

I wish the women and men who have been raped get together and seriously take it to KBR, financially. I can not imagine working for a company that thinks breaking the law and breaking this young woman is something to conceal.

And for or the record, misogynists are a-holes, but these clowns are violent felons. Quit equating the two, it devalues the true nature of this crime.

Posted by: ScottW on October 7, 2009 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

This is Republicans doing what they do - being guard dogs for corporations.

I think the Obama administration is doing a stellar job of dragging the Republicans out into the light where we can all see that they truly are "The Party of No." Democrats have long been the defenders of the people, while the Republican would push your mama down the stairs if it would save a few bucks. Amazing that they didn't say a word when Bushie funneled billions to corporations/his friends under the pretense of "protecting" us.

Posted by: Limbaugh's Diabetes on October 7, 2009 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

I would love to share some of your articles on Facebook, but there is no link. If I try to share using Foxfire's share link, I get ads in my post. Can you add a share button?

Posted by: Lal on October 7, 2009 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

I'm just glad that one Texas Senator had a little bit of sense this time around and voted yea...kudos go to you Kay Bailey Hutchinson. As for Cornyn, he's been a lost and hopeless case for a very long time.

Posted by: whichwitch on October 7, 2009 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

One person made the stupid comment to which you're referring.

... and I was referring to people of his ilk, the panicked crackers who use ACORN as code for n-----s.

Sorry I didn't make that clear.

Posted by: JM on October 7, 2009 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

And for or the record, misogynists are a-holes, but these clowns are violent felons. Quit equating the two, it devalues the true nature of this crime.

Nobody equated them. The epithet "misogynist" was directed at the people in Congress who cover for the violent felons.

Posted by: shortstop on October 7, 2009 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

I believe the Big Fear is that criminal acts in Iraq might be tried in U. S. Courts.

It is the Military-Industrial Complex, remember? Patriotism must extend to the Corporation, too.

Posted by: deejaayss on October 7, 2009 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

One person made the stupid comment to which you're referring. -Tom K

I believe Disputo was generalizing said troll and their ilk, not addressing the general commentariat.

Posted by: doubtful on October 7, 2009 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

You mean Franken isn't "The god damn devil" ?

Nice to see him on something important. -- Scott W, @16:24

Yup. An interesting in general. I've noticed -- observing my own (VA) two -- that Dem newcomers to the Senate seem to take one of the two paths to recognition. One is Franken's (and Webb's): find an overlooked but serious problem and work hard to fix it. The other is the one that Warner (and some other recent additions, like the one from Alaska and Colorado) has taken: make yourself into an obstructionist "centrist" and see your importance grow.

I know which way *I* admire more.

Posted by: exlibra on October 7, 2009 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

"It is shocking that the MSM media is not on this."
Posted by: Bob M on October 7, 2009 at 4:17 PM

Shocking, yes.
Surprising, not at all.

Posted by: smartalek on October 7, 2009 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

I am glad Grassley did one non-embarassing thing this week, however.

Honestly, I'm not. I want that lying corporate whore out of office. This might have pushed the women of Iowa over the edge. Expect to see me cross the river to campaign against him next year.

Posted by: shortstop on October 7, 2009 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

And yet, when the Senate considered a measure yesterday to give rape victims who work for U.S.-subsidized defense contractors a day in court, 30 out of 40 Republican senators said, "No."

This is disgusting, though entirely unsurprising. I hope somebody remembers this disgrace and uses it in a campaign commercial.

Posted by: electrolite on October 7, 2009 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Limbaugh's Diabetes hit the nail right on the head. The GOP always been trying for years to help protect corporations from lawsuits? This is just another manifestion of that.

Mandatory arbitration is being written into more and more contracts and agreements, including credit cards, medical insurance, employment contracts, etc.

You'd be surprised at how little recourse the avreage citizen now has to pursue redress through the courts.

Posted by: mfw13 on October 7, 2009 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

All the more reason for ACORN to register and arm voters against the predatory internal enemy of the United States: the Republican Party.

Posted by: John Thullen on October 7, 2009 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

"Stay classy", the Republican mantra!

Posted by: Trollop on October 7, 2009 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

Nice to see "Rape-Gurney Joe" Lieberman vote "aye"....

Posted by: phoebes-in-santa fe on October 7, 2009 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

gop 2009: putting Jamie Leigh Jones and others like her...

in their place..

for freedom..

Posted by: mr. irony on October 7, 2009 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK
One person made the stupid comment to which you're referring. -Tom K
I believe Disputo was generalizing said troll and their ilk, not addressing the general commentariat.

For my part I thought Dave was snarking in the first place.

Posted by: noncarborundum on October 7, 2009 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

Note that all the female senators, Republican and Democrat, voted for the amendment.

I noticed that too. It reminded me of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, where five Republicans crossed party lines to vote in favor: future Democrat Arlen Specter and all four female Republicans, including otherwise hardcore right-wingers Lisa Murkowski and Kay Bailey Hutchison.

It's not that Republicans don't have empathy. They just don't have any for anyone they can't personally identify with.

Posted by: cminus on October 7, 2009 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

I say run the story and flash the faces of every Senator that voted against this. It happened. Its relevant. Report it for chrissake. I think we all can use a break from 'Jon & Kate'! Who's gives a shit?!?!?

Posted by: John Henry on October 7, 2009 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

Right about Colorado...the obstructionist have been so disappointing.

Posted by: maggie on October 7, 2009 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

Tom K wrote

Disputo: Jesus Christ, you people get dumber all the time.

One person made the stupid comment to which you're referring.

That wasn't me. Looks like some idiot is pretending to be me again. Fortunately, it also looks like the Mod deleted the post.

Posted by: Disputo on October 7, 2009 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

Everyone should be against a crime as disgusting as rape! Well, except all the left wingers defending Roman Polanski. But, of course, that's different. He's a great artist and they should be allowed some excentricities.

Posted by: Alwaysright on October 7, 2009 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK

Well, except all the left wingers defending Roman Polanski. But, of course, that's different. He's a great artist and they should be allowed some excentricities.

"Left wingers" aren't defending Polanski. Some actors and directors inexplicably are, just as some actors and directors defended Elia Kazan, to the fury of virtually all of the liberal rank and file in both cases.

If you can show me a liberal blog or blog comment thread that contains a discernible level of support for Polanski, I'd like to see it.

While you're looking for those links, I'll note that actors and directors aren't legislating policy that affects the lives of rape victims. But perhaps you, in your house of false equivalences, aren't able to recognize the difference?

Posted by: shortstop on October 7, 2009 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: Alwaysright
Well, at least Polanski can spell "eccentricities".
You're talking out of your ass when you imply that all on the left support Polanski. On the other hand, you had three-fourths of the Republican Senators stand up for consequence-free rape.
But, keep talking: the misogyny,racism and general nihilism that's become a staple of the GOP assures that you'll go the way of the Whigs and the No-Nothings.

Posted by: Dennis-SGMM on October 7, 2009 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

Polanski worked for KBR in Iraq and can't be prosecuted under the status of forces agreement? Why doesn't anyone tell me these things?

Posted by: Mnemosyne on October 7, 2009 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

It may be obvious, but ...

For years Republicans have been protecting companies who rape their employees. It's just usually over compensation pay & benefits.

Posted by: MarkH on October 7, 2009 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

Congratulations, Al Franken. You are the breath of fresh air the corrupt Senate needs.

Posted by: rrk1 on October 7, 2009 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

What possible rationale could three-fourths of the Republican Senate caucus have for voting against this?
-------

They think that rape victims aren't worth protecting and corporate profits are.

Simplest explanation that fits the facts.

Posted by: Fleas correct the era on October 7, 2009 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

Since ACORN promotes sexual violence ...

Jesus Christ, you people get dumber all the time.

You really need to recognize sarcasm when you see it. This is an obvious parody of the right wing talking points.

Posted by: Texas Aggie on October 7, 2009 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

How about we see the whole bill for ourselves! Franken voting for a good thing? The guys a loser, with more issues then a crack head put in a round room and told to pee in the corner! How about those Donks diverting Troop funds to pet projects; $20M for Ted Kennedy institute...Yeah,..that's what they do,..hate on America, freedom and hard working Americans, BTW,...those donks are taking our tax dollars and doing lord knows what with them, maybe since the donks are richer then Republicans, maybe they keep our money in the freezer too!

Posted by: Chris on October 15, 2009 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

Credit card rules changed mostly for the better for consumers as I understand because now credit card companies have to notify us before they change rates. Also they cant change rates before 60 days.. am I correct? Well, regardless, due to before the laws changed I am still in debt and definitely need debt relief. Debt Free Counselor gives free consultations for any consumers with financial and medical hardship and they have an A rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Posted by: Credit Debt on November 1, 2010 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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