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How NOT to write about Africa

January 23, 2013

Breaking News:

Why is France in Mali? -

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Ukrainian Ex-PM Tymoshenko Facing Murder Charges -

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Increased U.S Military Presence in Africa: Why Now? -

Monday, January 14, 2013

Did Armstrong Use Taxpayer Funds For Doping? -

Sunday, January 13, 2013

UAE paying men to marry women over 30 -

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Demand A Plan to End Gun Violence -

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Call To Action: FiliBust!

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)

If you think you’re disgusted now……just wait.

Here it is, everyone:  Without filibuster reform, there is quite likely no gun legislation,  or new immigration policy, or meaningful debate on climate change and other crucial environmental issues,  or much of anything else, really.  Is anyone out there listening?  Friday, January 18, 2013 – FiliBust your Senator!  Tell Harry Reid to use his majority! 

Raise your hand if you’ve never, ever called a Senator’s office about issues important to you.  Today, I’m asking those of you with your hands in the air, and those of you with your arms at your side, alike, to join me in doing just that.  This is a Progressive Press call to action 

On Tuesday, January 22, 2013, the Senate will re-open for business; this will be the 113th Congress’ first and last opportunity – on this one day – to take up meaningful filibuster reform.  This means that, if the Senate does not vote to change the filibuster rules (ie: adopt the resolution being pushed by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tom Udall (D-NM) and Tom Harkin (D-IA), the next two years will make the previous two look like child’s play.  Archaic parliamentary rules have turned our Senate into Dysfunction Junction.  It has been operating not as a deliberative body taking up “the people’s work”, but one of pure obstruction.  You may have heard Senators Merkley and Udall or any number of their allies (Elizabeth Warren most recently) talk about the so-called Constitutional Option.  I’m not sure why it’s “so-called”.  It is an option the option – and rest assured, there is no compromise to be made here.  This reform must be full-bore and we must be so loud as to convince Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to call this option into play if (when) necessary.

Article I, Section V of the U.S. Constitution clearly states:

“Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.”

Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings.  Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings.  Each….House….may determine….the Rules of its Proceedings.  Yes.  Yes, please.

I won’t mention obstruction of The Dream Act, or the Zadroga Bill aiming to provide for 9/11′s First Responders.  I won’t mention the multitude of judicial or legislative appointments railroaded; I won’t mention the “insourcing” bill that would have closed the book on tax breaks for American companies shipping jobs overseas.

If these instances are not enough to turn your stomach, then stick with me.  I have written about this ad nauseum, but recently came across one of the most damning investigative studies I’ve seen on our Senate and its relation to the filibuster.  This month, the Public Campaign Action Fund, a watchdog group focusing on money in politics, published a report titled “Cashing in on Obstruction”, laying out in crystal clear terms why Senate Republicans (specifically, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell) have turned the filibuster reform fight into a brass-knuckles-only brawl.  The correlation between money and this obstruction is something to behold.  From the study:

“Since Republicans lost the majority in 2006 and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) became minority leader in 2007, the United States Senate has seen an unprecedented level of filibustering and obstruction. McConnell has been at the helm of a scorched earth policy of blocking nearly every bill and nominee that comes before the Senate, imposing an anti-democratic super-majority requirement to advance any legislation or appointment.  This has meant little to no work on a wide range of lingering problems from anemic job growth to unwarranted giveaways of tax dollars to oil companies to the highest rates of inequality since the Gilded Age.”

Mitch McConnell is the minority leader.  Mi-no-ri-ty.  So why does he hold so much power?  Why do we see and hear so much more from him than of Harry Reid?  The answer:  Harry Reid.  The Democrats, who now hold 53 Senate seats – 55 including Independents Bernie Sanders (VT) and Angus King (RI), have a maddening recent history of not using their power, and Reid is the ringleader.  No matter what you’ve “heard”, no matter the noises made by Reid over the last month about how it’s high time for change in “the way the Senate does business”, the fact is that Reid has been negotiating directly with McConnell on a filibuster deal.  Come Tuesday – and I have never wanted to be so wrong in my life – my prediction is that the Senate will adopt the toothless, dressed-up-with-nowhere-to-go McCain-Levin “compromise”, unless we let ‘em hear it between now and then.

If you think your one little email or phone call to your Senator won’t make a difference – think again.  And again.

How’s this, from Daily Kos, for slightly enhanced encouragement:

“Do this and we can ignore Mitch McConnell for two years.” – Daily Kos (on Filibuster Reform)

I would only add “And then, Ashley Judd swoops in”.  In addition to Daily Kos, the Fix The Senate Now campaign has been possibly the loudest ally in the quest for filibuster reform.  They have provided a clean, simple place for outreach that allows readers to enter a zip code, locate their Senator and send them a direct message with a single click.  It takes all of 20 seconds to complete this task.  Here is the link.  And if you’d prefer to vent a little to a Senate staffer, you can locate phone numbers here.

If you care about the future of our country – even if your party is not currently in the majority – then you must care about filibuster reform.  You must care about holding your Senator’s feet to the fire; there is much at stake.  Most crucially, it begins with the debate on the future of our public’s safety (I will not use the term gun control, I will not use the term gun control, I will not use the term gun control).

Who out there can send their Senator an email or put in a call?  We would love to hear by show of hands (comments).  Which Senator did you contact; did you do so by email or phone (or both), and if phone, what was the result?

We can do this, people!  Let’s make some noise.  TODAY.