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July 31, 2013

Breaking News:

Here’s Why The Zimmerman Verdict Matters -

Sunday, July 14, 2013

BREAKING! UK Government Spied On Allies At TWO G20 Summits (Video) -

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Swiss Support Tougher Asylum Legislation as Refugee Numbers Spike -

Monday, June 10, 2013

American Woman Killed in Syria Fighting for Terrorists, Syrian TV Claims (Video) -

Friday, May 31, 2013

CO2 in the Air Reached its Highest Level in Human History -

Friday, May 10, 2013

Terms of the New Abortion Bill Agreed by Irish Cabinet -

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Boston In Lockdown As Manhunt Intensifies -

Friday, April 19, 2013

2 Dead, Dozens Injured After Boston Marathon Bombing -

Monday, April 15, 2013

Fast Food Workers in New York Stage Surprise Strike -

Saturday, April 6, 2013

N. Korean Rhetoric Provokes Missile Shield Deployment -

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Eyewitness Accounts from Meiktila Massacre -

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Sudan to Free All Political Prisoners -

Monday, April 1, 2013

A New Free Press In Burma Juxtaposed With Genocide: The World Will Be Watching -

Friday, March 29, 2013

Pressure Builds to End Ethnic Violence in Myanmar -

Friday, March 29, 2013

Activists Demand Action As Further Genocide Looms -

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cyprus Reaches Last-Minute Bailout Deal With EU -

Monday, March 25, 2013

Myanmar Muslims Brace for Possible Genocide -

Sunday, March 24, 2013

IMF Chief Lagarde’s Home Searched over Tapie Scandal -

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Cyprus Crisis Deepens as the Country Rejects Bailout -

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

HSBC Faces Criminal Charges in Argentina -

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Dear Heidi, Please Advise: What Makes You A Democrat?


I feel the need to call a massive FAIL.

This past week, newly elected Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) made some pretty terse, disturbing statements – not just for a Democrat – but for a “newly elected” official, regardless of party, speaking in the wake of the murder of 20 children and their teachers.

In an interview with This Week’s George Stephanopoulos on January 6th, Heitkamp, a freshman on The Hill, had this to say:

“I think you need to put everything on the table, but what I hear from the administration – and if the Washington Post is to be believed – that’s way, way in extreme of what I think is necessary or even should be talked about.  And it’s not going to pass.”

The Senator, “A” rated by the National Rifle Association (not unprecedented for a Democrat, though no newly elected member has been as vocal in opposition to the proposals calling for sane and reasonable restrictions on assault weapons), continued:

“Let’s start addressing the problem.  And to me, one of the issues that I think comes — screams out of this is the issue of mental health and the care for the mentally ill in our country, especially the dangerously mentally ill.  And so we need to have a broad discussion before we start talking about gun control.”

Try again, Senator. While the mental health aspect of this discussion is huge, make no mistake about that, there will be no waiting this time. Because what happens when we say “not now” are incidents like Virginia Tech and Aurora (times two), and Oregon and Sandy Hook and Taft Union High in Central California.  Further, you have offered no – as in, zero – cogent argument in support of your statements. Just because, with a side of water-throwing, that’s your answer?  This debate will happen with or without you, and how nice it would have been to see you harness the privilege of the office with which you’ve been entrusted, not only as one of 20 women now in the Senate, but as a leader and a compassionate human being.  If Joe Manchin (D-WV), a died-in-the-wool “gun guy” from West Virginia, can have a complete change of heart and agree with what is being proposed – that is, to tackle first this issue of assault weapons – then what say you?

Turns out, the Senator did have something else to say: a C-Y-A statement of sorts, tinged with a little spite.  The very day after Heitkamp’s remarks to Stephanopoulos, The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, springing into action, unleashed a stinging condemnation of the new Senator.  A statement, followed by a hard-hitting series of ads in Washington and North Dakota newspapers, read, in part:

“No parent should have to send their children to school wondering if they will come home.  Shame on you, Senator Heidi Heitkamp……”

Welcome to D.C., Senator.  Make no mistake – this message was received.  The following day, Heitkamp’s office issued a press release, ever so slightly walking back her comments, while gingerly threading her bulwark support for the gun lobby.   You can read the Senator’s entire statement here.

This episode and Heitkamp’s comments are extremely unsettling to me, foremost, as a Democrat.  To be clear, yes, I knew roughly the kind of Senator I thought she would be. Yes, I knew she was a longtime player in North Dakota politics. Yes, I most definitely knew that she was “better than the alternative”, in this case, Rick Berg (R) a one-term GOP Representative with shady business dealings.  And, she’s done some incredibly important things for her state, specifically in agriculture (she was also just appointed to the Senate’s Agriculture Committee). What I did not fully understand, however, was the extent to which Heitkamp is a card-carrying member of the “good ole’ boy’s club”.  

In addition to her stance on guns, the good Senator has no real public views on abortion, other than “opposes public funding for“.  AND – she believes that marriage equality is “better left to the states“.

Where is the extremely disappointed button?

As Democrats, we believe that the federal government does in fact play a role in bettering the lives of our citizens.  We already know that Senator Heitkamp will be a lost cause to us when the time comes to vote on a gun bill; we cannot count on her.  And with the troubling signs in her social policy, coupled with the hitching of her wagon to the most dangerous lobbying group in the history of lobbying – the question is, will Ms. Heitkamp be a Ben Nelson, or a Ben Nelson?

Here are the 49 Senators who hold “A” ratings with the NRA (a few too many Democrats on it for my comfort, and note, Heitkamp is the only female with a “D” next to her name):
•Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
•Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)
•John Barrasso (R-WY)
•Max Baucus (D-MT)
•Mark Begich (D-AK)
•Roy Blunt (R-MO)
•John Boozman (R-AR)
•Richard Burr (R-NC)
•Robert Casey (D-PA)
•Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
•Tom Coburn (R-OK)
•Thad Cochran (R-MS)
•Bob Corker (R-TN)
•John Cornyn (R-TX)
•Mike Crapo (R-ID)
•Ted Cruz (R-TX)
•Joe Donnelly (R-IN)
•Michael Enzi (R-WY)
•Deb Fischer (R-NE)
•Jeff Flake (R-AZ)
•Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
•Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
•Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
•Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
•Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
•Dean Heller (R-NV)
•John Hoeven (R-ND)
•James Inhofe (R-OK)
•Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
•Mike Johanns (R-NE)
•Ron Johnson (R-WI)
•Tim Johnson (D-SD)
•Mike Lee (R-UT)
•Joe Manchin (D-WV)
•Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
•Jerry Moran (R-KS)
•Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
•Rand Paul (R-KY)
•Rob Portman (R-OH)
•James Risch (R-ID)
•Pat Roberts (R-KS)
•Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
•Richard Shelby (R-AL)
•Jon Tester (D-MT)
•John Thune (R-SD)
•Patrick Toomey (R-PA)
•David Vitter (R-LA)
•Mark Warner (D-VA)
•Roger Wicker (R-MS)

KL Johnson (25 Posts)

KL Johnson is a Los Angeles based writer/blogger/journalist and a native of Rayne, Louisiana. She is a graduate of McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana (B.A., Mass Communications/Broadcast Journalism) – go Pokes! – and is very fond of sharks, basketball and boxing. In her spare time, she runs a small civil rights legal practice with her longtime partner, Karen, and brings to the table 10+ years of looking at current events through the prism of her writing and legal background, usually from the perspective of the “little guy”. In 1992, she voted for Ross Perot. It is still her most curious act. Twitter: @KLnotrhetorical