What’s Happening Now

Yes, the Senate has voted to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and I understand all that’s left to make it so is President Obama’s signature.

Republican senators who voted “yes” were Richard Burr of North Carolina, Mark Kirk of Illinois, John Ensign of Nevada, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, George Voinovich of Ohio, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska (take that, teabaggers) and Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine.

The DREAM act has died, however. Dems voting against cloture were Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and both Montana Democrats, Jon Tester and Max Baucus. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, who was known to be opposed, played hooky from the Senate and missed the vote.

John McCain

Senator John McCain Before the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Vote

They’re still working to ratify the START treaty. Earlier today Republican senators John McCain and Bob Corker were threatening to derail START if DADT was voted on, but it appears not all of the GOP marched behind them on that.

Then McCain wanted to change the language of the START treaty, and the Senate shot that down, 59-37.

John McCain has been having one pout after another these last few days. A few years ago he was the Senate’s happy maverick. More recently he was the old man who yells at kids to get off his lawn. But he’s turning into the Senate’s Miss Havisham, bitter and weirdly living in the past. He needs to retire.

In another brilliant move, House Republicans came out in favor of forced marriages of girl children. I understand the International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act would have provided some funding and a plan to discourage forced marriages of girl children. The bill had already passed in the Senate.

The bill’s defeat in the House Thursday left Durbin fuming.

“The action on the House floor stopping the Child Marriage bill tonight will endanger the lives of millions of women and girls around the world,” Durbin said in a statement after Thursday’s House vote. “These young girls, enslaved in marriage, will be brutalized and many will die when their young bodies are torn apart while giving birth. Those who voted to continue this barbaric practice brought shame to Capitol Hill.”

Who would not want to save those poor children? Why, wingnuts, of course, who spotted the bill as a clever ploy to fund abortions.

Just before the vote, Republicans distributed a memo to pro-life House members arguing that the bill could ultimately end up funding abortions.

“The bill provides little structure or oversight on how the money may be spent,” the memo read. “The President is authorized under this bill to provide assistance through nongovernmental organizations that are charged with the promotion of ‘health’ of girls and women. It is possible that some of these NGOs may view abortion as health care and promote abortion services as a part of that health care.”

So it’s OK if those little bodies are torn apart in childbirth, as long as those little girls aren’t allowed to have abortions! Priorities, you know.

14 thoughts on “What’s Happening Now

  1. McCain as Miss Havisham!!

    That is literately delicious! And so, so apt. I hope I don’t have nightmares featuring McCain in a moldy wedding veil.

    Hm. Perhaps the right-wing is more comprehensibly seen when viewed through Dickensian glasses…

  2. Miss Havisham – me likey!
    Yeah, Senator McVapors blathered on and on about some Marine vets in Walter Reed who lost their limbs right before the DADT vote.
    Uhm, Senator McVapors, if they’re Marines, wouldn’t they be in Bethesda NAVAL Hospital? You might think a Senator who graduated from The Naval Academy might know that. But Senator McVapors is an endless font of no-knowledge lately.

    As for that legislation about child marriage, what was that called? The RepubliConfederate “Old Enough to Bleed, Old Enough to Breed” Act? Sure, better married and with a child as soon as you pass puberty, lest you have a choice, and decided to try for a normal life, and not one where you’re buried under diapers when you’re 13 or 14. The term ‘thoughtless cretins’ pops into mind, but it’s far too mild.

  3. Senator McCain, indeed seems to have lost it, This is why we have retirement.

    The repeal of don’t ask don’t tell spooks me on several levels.
    The main reason is the conscription base will widen significantly, and the sabers are rattling at Iran and tensions on the Korean Peninsula are reaching the breaking point.I don’t see the Pentagon having a new found fondness for gays without an alterior motive playing in the backround.
    I’m not buying the notion that the military wants to give gays the equal opportunity
    to fight and die in Afghanistan.More meat for the beast makes more sense.

    I don’t understand how a bill passed in The U.S. can help stop girls from being forced into marriage in far flung areas of the world, as noble as the idea may be.
    Is the bill mostly symbolic, or are specific nations to be targeted for sanctions/ pressure? Is this a problem in China?
    We all have heard of the horrible treatment of children in parts of the far east, and child soldiers in certain African nations.
    Perhaps I’m just grumpy this morning……….

  4. Point of fact, DADT is not repealed — this is the “compromise” that begins the process of repeal, which won’t happen until the Pentagon is ready. From everything that Sec. Gates has said, he’s in no hurry. It looks as though it will take us at least six more months to accomplish what other militaries have done in less than six months from start to finish with great success, assuming they move on it at all. It is, after all, very complicated to figure out how to allow people who are already serving to admit that they’re there.

  5. Here’s a brief piece on McCain by the great Ta-Nehisi Coates, with a short video:
    In the video, McCain talks about a repeal of the repal. And he mumbles about “Gold Stars” around the country. It’s sad, in its own way. Actually, it’s pathetic.
    John McCain, I think, sees of himsef as the only man in America who’s left to speak for the military.
    John McCain knows better than the President, the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chief’s Of Staff, and even the men and women in the military.
    That great maverick, John McCain, the last man standing between America and an All-Poofter military.
    John McCain, protecting this great nation from having a Judy Garland Division in the Army, the Bette Midler Marine Corp, a Richard Simmons Navy Carrier Group, and the Rock Hudson Strategic Air Command.
    John McCain, a former pilot, probably has nightmares where the the act of a B-52 getting refueled in the sky by another plane, once a Freudian dream symbol of heterosexual coupling, now looks like the final penetration after an airborne homoerotic pas-de-deux.
    To watch John McCain over the last decade plus is to watch a man ‘de-evolve.’ From the proud maverick (at least in his and MSM’s minds) of 2000, to the sad and beaten cur hugging W. in ’04, to the angry old man picking a trophy wife as his VP candidate, to todays pathetic loser trying to stem the flow of progress in the only way he still has – to stand up in The Senate and make a fool of himself.

    There’s a great line from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby:”
    So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
    I think that describes John McCain and the rest of the Republicans quite nicely, don’t you?

  6. Let me get this straight

    SO it is somehow a progressive victory to enable gays to open join today’s military-industrial-media-complex, become brainwashed into accepting endless wars in the middle east without any clear objectives, and kill civilians – people of color, by the hundreds of thousands.

    More than i million innocent civilians have been killed in Iraq alone – mostly women and children. And there is no end in sight.

    This is so sick on so many levels – obama has consistently failed to deliver to he base. This bill is meaningless. It is a bone being thrown to some of his supporters that he has been flipping the bird to on virtually everything else.

    If you must, enjoy your bone – but please also think of the blood and bones of the innocent children that have been killed and maimed

    • SO it is somehow a progressive victory to enable gays to open join today’s military-industrial-media-complex, become brainwashed into accepting endless wars in the middle east without any clear objectives

      It isn’t the troops in uniform who send themselves into the Middle East without any clear objectives. It’s the bleeping civilian leadership that does that. Don’t make the mistake of blaming the troops for what the President and Congress choose to do with them. Keep that straight. And don’t repeat this nonsense and make me say what I think of the intelligence level of people who can’t keep that straight.

  7. Maha, Evidently I am not the only one tickled pink by your comments on Senator McCain. That one paragraph alone should get you nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for excellence in political blogging. You have my official nomination. The fact that much of what happens in Washington can be readily compared to Dickensian times is food for thought. Not good food mind you…

    Question: Are there actaully any moderate Repubs whom one could deem as “normal’ in a political sense?? Call me naive…..but once hopes…….

  8. Senator McCain, indeed seems to have lost it, This is why we have retirement.

    Amen!…McCain should be listening Springstein’s “Glory Days” on his record player rather than his Abba records. He’s a has been who can’t come to grasps with the fact that age renders us all to irrelevance. Give it up ,John!

  9. There was Rolling Stone article on McCain that never seemed to get much play by tv or print commentators. It established that he got by with things throughout his military career only because of family connections, among other feet-of-clay issues. I’m surprised no one has called him on these things.

  10. Although it’s rare for me to agree with the Republicans about anything, I agree with their vote against the “International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act of 2010” (S 987). Of course, as usual the Republicans accidentally did the right thing for entirely wrong reasons. I found the Act here (scroll down):


    There’s nothing in the wording of the Act that I actually disagree with. However, aside from the fact Nigerians (for example) are as likely to obey a US law as much as Americans would obey Nigerian laws, I also take issue with the notion that any girl younger than 18 is an innocent “child.” My experience in the world doesn’t back this up.

    When I was in the army (very long ago), one of my 17-year-old buddies in the barracks had just married his 14-year-old girlfriend, which was legal back then in Texas (with the bride’s consent; it was age 16 without parental consent). I had no reason to believe it was a “forced marriage.” In 1957, then 22-year-old rock star Jerry Lee Lewis rather famously married his 13-year-old cousin (though he claimed she was 15) – these days he’d be put in jail as a pedophile. Their marriage lasted 13 years and produced two children.

    Let’s talk about coerced marriage in the USA. Teenage sex, resulting in a shotgun marriage – I doubt that even half of girls today are virgins at their 18th birthday> Let us not forget Bristol Palin – although the marriage to Levy got cancelled at the last minute, it’s not unusual for unwanted pregnancies to result in forced marriages (forced on both parties) – an excellent reason to keep abortion legal. Or better yet to stop the idiotic abstinence-only sex “education” and instead teach high schoolers about real contraception. Anyway, point is that “children” are genuinely forced into disastrous marriages right here in the USA, often by the wingnut Christians. I personally oppose any kind of forced marriage. No matter if the “children” are age 12, 20, or 30. Coercion is wrong. And the best way to prevent coerced marriage is to make contraception (and knowledge of its use) widely available. But the wingnuts oppose that, and indeed have been working overtime to kill Planned Parenthood’s attempts to bring contraception to the Third World, where it is badly needed.

    Yes, I am aware that in many undeveloped countries, young girls are frequently sold into marriages against their will, and I condemn that. But the Act, as worded, does nothing to help. It’s just more morally-preachy nonsense from those who are not so moral themselves – I’m sure that’s the way undeveloped countries will view it. Now if the Rethugs wanted to really stop child marriage, perhaps they’d attach a billion dollars to the bill, earmarked to provide education and contraception to women in the Third World. I’d gladly support something like that.

  11. The best way to prevent coerced marriage is to make contraception (and knowledge of its use) widely available.

    I’m all for widespread availability of safe contraception, all over the world, but in fact most coerced marriages in the developing world occur for economic and/or cultural reasons, not because the bride is pregnant.

    Republicans usually defend American coerced marriages that also generally don’t involve a pregnant bride (see: FLDS cult and others). I can understand why they’d vote against this bill, since most of them still think girls and women are the property of men; but that doesn’t make the vote right.

    In 1957, then 22-year-old rock star Jerry Lee Lewis rather famously married his 13-year-old cousin (though he claimed she was 15) – these days he’d be put in jail as a pedophile. Their marriage lasted 13 years and produced two children.

    I honestly don’t know what to say to that except, Ye gads. I wish you were snarking, but I know you’re not.

    • When I wrote about the coerced marriage bill I nearly added a joke about making it applicable to Arkansas. Yes, it used to be “normal” for a girl to marry at the age or 14 or so, and that meant she spent a short life of constant work and childbearing, and if she survived to be 50 she was bent and crippled by osteoporosis and probably incontinent. It’s also the case that women who married at 14 didn’t go on to school after they were married and were pretty much stuck in their marriages, no matter how unhappy they were, because they couldn’t earn their own living and there was no where else for them to go. Just because it worked out OK for some women doesn’t mean it was a perfectly benign practice.

      Nearly all states have set 18 as the “age of consent,” meaning that younger teens can’t be expected to make sensible decisions about sex. I’d say that goes triple for marriage.

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