Not one of the 30 Republican senators who voted against Sen. Al Franken’s anti-rape amendment agreed to explain their rationale when MSNBC came calling, news host Rachel Maddow told her audience Wednesday evening.
Jamie Leigh Jones, the woman whose alleged gang rape at the hands of co-workers at defense contractor KBR was the inspiration for the amendment, appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show Thursday night to laud its passing in the Senate earlier this month. The amendment prohibits the government from contracting with companies that refuse to allow employees to pursue rape allegations in court.
As Jones explained to Maddow, that was the case with KBR — then a subsidiary of Halliburton — when the company responded to Jones’ allegations of rape by locking her in a shipping container and refusing to give her access to medical treatment or contact with the outside world.
“I cannot even understand the reasoning as to why anyone would vote against” the Franken amendment, Jones told Maddow. “I’m thrilled it’s gotten as far as it has gotten.”
But, according to a report at the Huffington Post, the amendment — though considered to be wildly popular — may have trouble getting any further. Reporter Sam Stein cites “multiple sources” who told him Sen. Daniel Inouye, Democrat of Hawaii, is considering watering down the amendment, or eliminating it altogether, when it goes to a vote on the Senate floor as part of a defense appropriations bill. Stein reports:
Inouye’s office, sources say, has been lobbied by defense contractors adamant that the language of the Franken amendment would leave them overly exposed to lawsuits and at constant risk of having contracts dry up.
As Rachel Slajda reported at TalkingPointsMemo, despite the horrible optics of appearing to be in favor of rape, both the White House and the Pentagon are opposed to the amendment, at least in its current form.
The [Pentagon] argued that it and its subcontractors “may not be in a position to know about such things,” i.e., whether contractors employ the mandatory arbitration clauses. “Enforcement would be problematic,” the note read, because contractors may not be privy to what’s in their subcontractors’ contracts.
The department suggests that “it may be more effective” to seek a law that would prohibit the clauses in any business contracts within U.S. jurisdiction.
A White House spokesman told Slajda that President Obama supports “the intent of the amendment,” and is working with legislators to rewrite the amendment so as “to make sure it is enforceable.”
But even as the wheeling and dealing over the Franken amendment continues inside the Beltway, on Main Street the GOP’s opposition to it has been turned into a powerful talking point for Democrats and progressives. A Web site entitled Republicans For Rape has sprung up, satirizing the 30 senators’ opposition to the amendment.
On her show Thursday night, Maddow listed the names of all 30 senators who voted against the amendment, and suggested she continues to hope they will eventually speak up about their vote.
“Senators, I want you to know, the invitation [to appear on the show] remains open,” she said.
The following video was broadcast on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, October 22, 2009.
Obama draws straight line from ‘birther’ paranoia to the rise of Trumpism: analysis
On Saturday, writing for The Intercept, Murtaza Hussain broke down how former President Barack Obama's new book connects the dots directly between the racist "birther" conspiracy theories surrounding his presidency, and the rise of the political movement surrounding Donald Trump.
"Obama does not spend much time directly discussing his experience of race while in office, but, to the extent that he does, he makes a convincing case that the anti-intellectual populist movement now known as Trumpism began in part as a racial backlash to his own presidency — specifically, Trump’s conspiratorial campaign to establish that Obama had been born in a foreign country and was thus ineligible to hold office," wrote Hussain.
Here’s what Trump could do to tank the economy out of pure vengeance
Less than a week before the 2020 election, I interviewed a number of psychologists who speculated that if President Donald Trump lost to former Vice President Joe Biden, his narcissism might cause him to lash out by deliberately tanking the economy. Now it seems like that prediction might have been correct — although the reasons may have as much to do with the Republican Party's longstanding traditions as Trump's individual flaws.
This article first appeared in Salon.
Anti-vax groups online are helping to radicalize the QAnon movement
The alliance between anti-vaxxers and QAnon followers is rapidly increasing as they continue their efforts to spread massive amounts of disturbing misinformation amid the pandemic. One glaring example centers around one incident that occurred last week.
Facebook opted to nix a massive anti-vaccination propaganda group with more than 200,000 members last week. However, the group was not shut down for the dangerous public health misinformation its members posted, but rather, the disturbing promotion of QAnon, reports Huffington Post.