The June Fight Over Student Loans

Today President Obama is joining college students at a White House event launching a new push to keep student loan rates from doubling in July. Among the various plans offered, Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s plan is the most affordable for students, while the Republican plan tries to “make money” off of students using fluctuating “market rates.”

Student Loan Rates Set To Double

Student loan rates for more than 7.4 million students with federal “Stafford loans” are scheduled to double July 1 from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent if nothing is done. The amount of student loan debt is massive. U.S. students currently owe almost $1.1 trillion in student loan debt, and this amount is increasing at a rate of about $2,853.88 per second. This amount is greater than total credit card debt currently owed. Thirty-five percent of people under 30 are near default on their student loans, and approximately 32 percent of those between the ages of 30 and 49.

Continue reading

Senators – Before You Vote Ask The Public What They Think A Filibuster Is

Senators, before you vote today on the “make them talk” proposal, go ask members of the public what a filibuster is.

The public thinks a filibuster is senators talking all night. It is not a “nuclear option” to change the rules to what the public thinks the rules already are.

The purpose of the filibuster is to allow senators to hold up legislation that they think is just wrong. Standing in the senate chamber and talking lets senators make the case, and argue why they think the legislation violates the rights of a minority. This gives their supporters time to rally their forces. This dramatic act gets news, and alerts the public to pay attention. Then the public can contact their senators and let them know if they should go ahead or stop.

This is all these rule changes will do, bring back this system that protects the minority in a way that makes it a rare event. It is the rarity of the event that gives it its value.

Once again: The public thinks a filibuster is senators talking all night. It is not a “nuclear option” to change the rules to what the public thinks the rules already are.

People – call your senators now.

The Terrible Cost of Not Fixing the Filibuster Sooner

Senate Democrats were all about getting things done, and that kept them from getting anything done. They didn’t take on the filibuster head-on, so now obstruction is the expected norm. There have been more than 380 filibusters and the public (and apparently the media) doesn’t know there has been even one. It is time to MAKE THEM TALK if they want to filibuster a bill.

380 Filibusters – The Public Doesn’t Know

Under Lyndon Johnson there was one filibuster, and the public knew about it because a Senator had to talk all night. In the last few years there have just a few been more than one and the public doesn’t know about it at all. How many filibusters have there been? Harry Reid writes in Politico: “Since Democrats took control of the Senate in 2006, Republicans have mounted 380 filibusters.”

If you talk to the public you will find people do not know about this. Most people do not believe there has been even a single filibuster because they haven’t seen it happen. To the public a filibuster is a dramatic event, a big deal, involving Senators talking all night until they fall down from exhaustion.

Here’s the thing. The public hates obstruction, and would apply the right amount of pressure if they knew about it. That is how democracy is supposed to work. But the public does not know that obstruction is occurring. The silent filibuster tactic has been successful because people don’t see it. And that means that democracy isn’t working the way it should.

The Senate Made A Mistake

In the 1970s the Senate changed rules that required a filibuster to be a spectacle and a talkathon. Instead they wanted to be able to move on and get things done so the “silent filibuster” was enabled. Nobodye could have predicted that a corporate/conservative minority would later use the new “silent filibuster” tactic more than 380 times to keep anything from getting done. The filibuster is now so abused that the media tells the public that Senate rules require 60 votes to pass any bill.

Senate Democrats have been irresponsible in allowing this to continue, because democracy wants the public to be alerted to obstruction. In their wish to get things done and get along with the other side they have been accomplices in the obstruction strategy. They have resisted making a big deal out of each and every obstruction, resisted using theater tactics like “bringing out the cots,” resisted “making waves” by changing the rules, and tried to just keep the Senate moving along and getting along. But the result of accommodating the conservatives is they have enabled a take-no-prisoners minority to just block everything. Since the public is largely unaware of this minority obstruction they are not applying the pressure that a functioning democracy requires.

Basics:

  • People believe a filibuster is senators talking all night.
  • People have not seen any senators talking all night.
  • People do not believe there have been any filibusters.
  • But there have been more than 380 filibusters.
  • Democracy suffers because the public does not understand that these filibusters are occurring.
  • We, the People are not getting from our government what we want and need.
  • Conclusion: Make. Them. Talk.

A Simple Fix – Make Them Talk

Make. Them. Talk.

There is a simple fix that will stop obstruction — except when obstruction is appropriate. This simple fix is to change the rules back to what people think the rules already are: make them actually filibuster in the way the public understands. They should make them talk all night if they want to obstruct a bill.

Here is why making them talk all night is the best solution. While getting rid of the ability to silently and secretly obstruct action it retains the ability of the minority to make their point, and does it in a way that brings that point to the attention of the public. By killing the “silent filibuster” and making Senators engage in the public theater of a dramatic event, where they stand in the Senate chamber and talk and talk, Democrats can actually restore a functioning democracy and engage the public in our democracy.

But when something is happening that is truly egregious and the minority wants to bring the public’s attention to this, they can alert the press and their supporters and get started in a dramatic talk-all-night theater event. They can launch an actual filibuster, just like the movie. It will be big news. The news channels will all make a big deal of this, and people can contact each other and organize a response.

Making them talk gives the public time to get involved. In fact it invites the public to get involved. Or not. It gives the public the choice, which is why we have those first three words in our Constitution.

The Cost Of Filibuster Abuse

The core principle of our government is that We, the People make the decisions. We are supposed to have self-government by majority rule. But in the last few years this has been turned on its head by this silent filibuster obstruction. Nothing gets done, and the public doesn’t understand why not. The cost to We, the People has been staggering.

How many things that the people and our economy want and need have been blocked in the last few years? Well, aside from literally everything, I mean. This abuse of the rules even keep us from learning who or even what country (Disclose Act) is paying for the abuse of the rule.

Just a few examples: Here are just a few examples — just a few out of 380+ filibusters — from Dylan Matthews in the Washington Post, in 17 bills that likely would have passed the Senate if it didn’t have the filibuster,

  • DREAM Act
  • DISCLOSE Act
  • Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA)
  • Public option
  • Paycheck Fairness Act
  • Permanent middle-class Bush tax cut extension
  • Rescinding of the upper-income Bush tax cuts
  • Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act
  • Emergency Senior Citizens Relief Act
  • Creating American Jobs and Ending Offshoring Act
  • American Jobs Act
  • The Buffett rule
  • Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act of 2011
  • Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act
  • “Shared Sacrifice”
  • Withholding Tax Relief Act of 2011
  • Burmese import restrictions
  • Appointments – [click through to see the whole list]
  • Again, those are just a few of the things that We, the People want and need, that were blocked by Republican filibusters. JOBS. The public option. Stopping tax breaks for outsourcing. Ending the huge tax breaks for the oil companies and the billionaires.

    A big one: Labor: This week’s anti-union vote in Michigan shows us that one cost to We, the People was that reforming labor law was blocked. Blocked by filibuster in 2007, Senate Democrats dropped this in 2009 because it could not get past a nother filibuster — just one of 380.

    June, 2007, GOP Senators Filibuster Employee Free Choice Act,

    A majority of Senators voted in favor of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) today, but the vote was nine votes short of the 60-vote requirement to break a filibuster of the bill by a handful of obstructionist Senators.

    Then in 2009, (again from 17 bills that likely would have passed the Senate if it didn’t have the filibuster above), Democrats were trying to get the Employee Free Choice Act passed,

    But at the time, well over Democratic Senators had indicated their support of the bill, which also got 51 votes and passed the House in 2007, when Democrats had fewer seats, meaning it was especially likely to pass in 2009.

    And of course, never forget climate change. Action has been obstructed and obstructed and obstructed…
    So many solutions to our country’s problems have been obstructed by corporate&billionaire-funded minority filibusters!

    Things You Can Do

    Fist, be aware that the filibuster does exist and has been used 380 times, even though you haven’t seen anyone talking all night.

    Call the offices of both of your state’s senators and tell them you want them to fix the filibuster and make them talk all night if they want to block a bill. You can use this number: 1-877-782-8274.

    Visit Fix the Senate Now and sign up for updates.

    There is a Fix the Senate Now Facebook page. “In the US Senate, back room deals and filibuster rules allow a handful of senators to stop the rest from making any progress. Let’s fix the Senate, now.”

    Follow @FixTheSenate on Twitter.

    Start your own Fix the Senate online petition; Use an online petition tool like SignOn.org to start your own petition to ask your Senators to reform the Senate rules. You can get ideas for language to use at http://fixthesenatenow.org/page/s/signthepetition/.

    New Mexico Senator Tom Udall has a special Senate Rules: Common Sense Reform website with a lot of resources and recent press coverage, as well as all of Senator Udall’s past statements on rules reform.

    Because it is time to Make. Them. Talk.


    This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
    Sign up here for the CAF daily summary

    Filibuster Changes Would Bring The Public Back In

    This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
    We all want to see the Senate start working again, and be more democratic. We have all lived through the breakdown of the Senate and the damage this has done to our democracy and the public’s faith in government because of the abuse of the current rules. There is a vote likely tomorrow and we want to see real changes. There is a way to fix the problem and restore public interest in government at the same time: make them talk!
    Background
    On the first “day” of a Senate session the rules can be changed. The Senate met January 5 but did not adjourn the session, which means that the first “day” continues. The Senate reconvenes tomorrow. There is likely to be a vote on rules reform tomorrow. And if the vote is not tomorrow, the Senate can go into recess instead of adjourning for the day, and continue in the “first day.”
    Rumors
    There are rumors in every direction about what they might do about the dysfunction of the Senate. Rumors aside, one month ago every Democrat in the Senate signed a letter in support of changing the rules to require Senators to actually talk. This is the best outcome and there is no reason at all not to do this. If another “compromise” against democracy occurs, the public will be further demoralized. The country does not need another blow against trust in government.
    Restore Public Interest
    The public thinks this is how it is done. The movie “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” has cemented this in the minds of everyone. Unfortunately it isn’t how it has been done, and the result is that the public does not even know that the Senate is broken. They only know that “government” doesn’t work for them, and the change they need just does not happen.
    If the Senate required Senators to actually stand up and talk, in the conventional understanding of what a filibuster is, it would restore public interest. It would be dramatic. People would notice. It is a show, with a purpose. When Senators stand up and talk and don’t stop the public wants to know why and they want to get involved. People would want to weigh in. This is the right way to fix the Senate. Just as in the movie, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, the public will have a chance to rise in support of the effort, or let Senators know they oppose it.
    Please visit Fix The Senate Now for more information. And CALL YOUR SENATORS to tell them you support reforming the filibuster!
    Sign up here for the CAF daily summary.

    They Even Filibustered The Public Printer!

    This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
    The Senate is considering changing the rules for the “filibuster” and this is an opportunity for you to do something that can make a difference. The filibuster has been abused and the Senate is broken. Call your Senators and tell them you want this fixed!
    “Abuse” does not adequately describe what has happened with the filibuster and “broken” does not adequately describe what has happened with the U.S. Senate. Two years ago We, the People voted for change, but in the Senate change and everything else was blocked. Everything was filibustered as part of a strategy to demoralize people and undermine democracy. Everything. Important bills, judges, agency heads, ambassadors and all the things that constitute “everything.” And the strategy worked.
    They even filibustered the Public Printer!
    What is the Public Printer? The Public Printer heads up the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO). The GPO manages our country’s public documents. They print but also electronically distribute the Congressional Record, Supreme Court decisions, passports, tax forms, internal government documents, and agency publications. (They don’t print the money.)
    Benjamin Franklin served as the Public Printer when we were a colony, though the current office was established by Congress in 1861.
    I am unable to locate any stated reason why the nomination of the Public Printer was filibustered, leaving me to assume that this particular filibuster came under the classification of “everything.” Therefore the Public Printer was filibustered.
    So now the Senate is considering whether to change their system. They are voting on January 24. They are considering making Senators actually filibuster instead of being able to block things from a nice table at a nice restaurant. This way the public will be aware that this tactic is being used to block things and can respond accordingly.
    This is why you should call your Senators – both of them – today, and tell them that you want the Senate to reform the filibuster.
    If you do this, some of them will say “Uh oh, they’re on to us.” They depend on the public not understanding what is going on, but if you call they will know that you are hip to their bag of tricks.
    Others will say, “Hey, I don’t have to be afraid to change things, they are paying attention!” These Senators will know that they have support and will be nudged toward voting to fix the problem, which will help make it so they can fix the rest of the problems.
    Either way, calling WILL do some good. So call. Today. And tell others to call.
    This is Annie Hill of the Communication Workers Union, with an overview of Senate Rules Reform:

    Warning: If you are not a political junkie you might want to stop reading now and go call your Senators and say you want the filibuster reformed. The following content might be unsuitable for normal audiences.
    Ezra Klein, with one of the best blog post titles in a long time, If you read only one John Kerry speech today …,

    I’m not going to summarize it here, because I think it’s actually worth taking five minutes to read it in full. But the whole thing is below the fold:

    Yes, if you like to read John Kerry speeches you should click through to read the whole thing, but just in case you are the rare individual who does not live to read John Kerry speeches here is “the meat,” (and keep in mind that I, a vegetarian, had to actually read the speech to find “the meat” for you),

    John and I considered postponing this speech, which had been planned for some time. But serious times call for serious discussions. And after some reflection, both of us felt that not only should this speech not be postponed, but that, in fact, it was imperative to give it.

    Oh, wait, that’s apparently not the interesting part. This is, about 115 paragraphs into the filibuster talk.,

    Sometimes, as John Kennedy once said, “party asks too much.” Sometimes, party leaders also ask too much, especially if they exploit the rules of the United States Senate for the sole purpose of denying a President a second term. But that is what we have witnessed the last two years; Republicans nearly unanimous in opposition to almost every proposal by the President and almost every proposal by Democratic colleagues. The extraordinary measure of a filibuster has become an ordinary expedient. Today it’s possible for 41 Senators representing only about one tenth of the American population to bring the Senate to a standstill.
    Certainly, I believe the filibuster has its rightful place. I used it to stop drilling for oil in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge because I believed that was in our national interest –and 60 or more Senators should be required to speak up on such an irrevocable decision. But we have reached the point where the filibuster is being invoked by the minority not necessarily because of a difference over policy, but as a political tool to undermine the Presidency.
    Consider this: in the entire 19th century, including the struggle against slavery, fewer than two dozen filibusters were mounted. Between 1933 and the coming of World War II, it was attempted only twice. During the Eisenhower administration, twice. During John Kennedy’s presidency, four times– and then eight during Lyndon Johnson’s push for civil rights and voting rights bills. By the time Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan occupied the White House, there were about 20 filibusters a year.
    But in the 110th Congress of 2007-2008, there were a record 112 cloture votes. And in the 111th Congress, there were 136, one of which even delayed a vote to authorize funding for the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps during a time of war. That’s not how the Founders intended the Senate to work– and that’s not how our country can afford the Senate not to work.

    If only I could move to DC so I could listen to speeches like this every day instead of just reading them.

    Sign up here for the CAF daily summary.

    m4s0n501

    Dear Senate: ROLL OUT THE COTS! People Need To See Cots!

    The latest obstruction: Senate Rejects Fed Nominee
    This is bullshit. “The Senate” didn’t “reject” the Fed nominee, ONE Senator placed a “hold” on the nomination. Pure obstruction. There have been over 100 filibusters since President Obama took office!
    The public just isn’t getting it that the things they want and need are being blocked by a few obstructionists. The public does not like filibusters or obstruction, but do not KNOW that filibuster and obstruction are occurring. And they aren’t going to know unless it is driven home to them, repeated, pounded and dramatized.
    Dramatized! That is what the public understands! ROLL OUT THE COTS! The public understands cots! They need to see COTS!

    This is another opportunity for theater. Cots! Set up a giant “Filibuster Counter” that shows how many filibusters there have been so far! Roll out the cots! Just bring out a bunch of cots, set them up in the Senate where photographers can get pictures! Set up an “Obstruction Livecam” that shows Senators sitting on the cots, sleeping overnight. It doesn’t have to have anything to do with actual Senate proceedings, it just has to dramatize that everything is being obstructed.
    filibuster_xl
    Cots!
    Roll out the cots!
    Cots!

    Harry — Roll Out The Cots! Again And Again And Again!

    This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
    Dear Senate Majority Leader, you are letting the public down. We, the People need you to get things done but everything is being blocked by a minority. The public doesn’t understand that everything is being filibustered, so they are not applying the pressure that could break the tactic. That is your fault, not theirs: you have to show them. You owe it to the public, in the name of democracy, to let them know what is going on. There is a clear way to do that: Roll out the cots!
    The country has so many things wrong that need fixing. A majority of the Congress, elected to make changes, is trying to get things moving for the people, but a corporate-sponsored minority is blocking almost everything. Their strategy is to frustrate the public and they count on misinformation to confuse people as to who is responsible for the logjam. As a result the public doesn’t see that there is a strategy of pure obstruction at work here.
    The obstructionists have help in spreading the confusion. Newspaper stories rarely use the word “filibuster.” Many in the media tell the public that Senate rules require 60 votes to pass bills. Other stories blame “partisan bickering” for the lack of progress. So the public blames “both sides” because they don’t know what is really going on.
    But you are helping spread the confusion too. You are not drawing a clear contrast and repeating it. You are not telling a simple story in a clear, understandable way. It is not getting through to the public that the hated filibuster is being used over and over. You need to put on a show that breaks through the haze and informs the public. There is a way to do that: roll out the cots! The public gets that. They associate cots with filibusters. It is theater but the public needs to have the information and without the theater – yes, the circus – of rolling out the cots again and again and again, the public is, in effect, having that information withheld from them.
    Ever since the movie, “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington” the public has believed that a filibuster is about Senators staying up all night, talking. If that is what they believe, then that is what you have to give them. You have a responsibility to democracy to find ways to break through the media filter and help the public to understand what is really going on. You need to roll out the cots, and do it again and again, until the point is made with the public that what is going on is not the normal operation of the Senate, but instead is pure obstruction, used as a strategy to prevent the public from getting what they need, to demoralize them and keep them from voting.

    Look what happened in April when you did roll out the cots! The cots were only part way down the hall when the obstructors held up their hands in surrender! That was a clue, Harry!
    A Senator might (probably would) say, “But Senate Rules don’t recognize the circumstances unless there is an amendment to an amendment that meets a motion from the designated parliamentarian over the division of the rule to the committee and the amendment amends the amdenment to amend, and we have to suspend the rule by consent to amend the amendment before the amendment can be amended.”
    I would respond, “ROLL OUT THE COTS.” Roll out the cots every single time they try to filibuster. Every single day. Cots. Cots. Cots. Park a truck out front of the Capital, filled with cots, and every time any Senator starts to say “No” workers should be starting to unpack the cots from the truck.
    After a while the public will get it. You owe it to them to do this. Roll out the cots.
    Cots.

    filibuster_xl

    Cots.
    Sign up here for the CAF daily summary.

    Will Jobs Filibuster Be Reported As Emergency It Is?

    This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
    If a filibuster happens in the forest and no one is told about it, did it really happen?
    The GOP is said to be ready to filibuster the bill extending jobless benefits today. Will this be reported as the national emergency that it is? Will this be reported as a filibuster? Will this even be reported?
    HuffPo: Jobless Benefits Filibuster By GOP Senators Looking Increasingly Likely

    A Republican filibuster appears increasingly likely to kill long-sought legislation extending jobless benefits and a host of other spending and tax measures, despite a new round of cuts to the measure Wednesday that reduced its deficit impact even further.

    Then, of course, rather than bring in the cots, require everyone to talk all night, hold press conference after press conference and bring it up again and again until the public understands, … nothing. These tactics worked last time, in April, when the Republicans immediately caved over filibustering Wall Street Reform after the Democrats threatened to make a big deal out of it. Doing the same thing against build momentum toward victory. So why not do it again?
    According to the report,

    Democrats would then abandon the measure.

    But none of this matters to anyone, right? You won’t see headlines across the country. You won’t see coverage break into regular programming.
    Also from the report,

    Failure to pass the bill would mean about 200,000 jobless people a week would lose benefits that average more than $300 a week because they would be unable to reapply for additional tiers of benefits enacted since 2008. Governors denied help with their budget woes are likely to lay off tens of thousands of state workers.

    The Washington post says that 900,000 people will lose their jobless benefits by the end of the money. Millions are losing their health insurance right now as well. Why isn’t this considered a national emergency. It is certainly an emergency for those people, for the stores where they buy groceries, their landlords or mortgage-holders, their children, their relatives and their communities. What is wrong with Washington that they don’t care/ What is wrong with our elite media that they don’t report this?
    And the Democrats? What is wrong with them that they are not fighting? I have a question. Democrats started with a strong bill that included extending COBRA subsidies, getting rid of that special tax break for hedge fund managers, stong aid to the states, etc. They took piece after piece out, “to attract a few Republican votes.” And now there is a filibuster, which means no Republican votes. So my question: when they took things out to get Republican votes, and ended up with no Republican votes, why didn’t they get a promise of a vote in writing before they sacrificed such important items? And when the votes didn’t materialize why didn’t they put the items back?
    The problem is that millions of people are being put into terrible circumstances by a Congress – Democrats and Republicans – that is failing them, failing the states, and is preserving a huge tax break break for billionaires. They just don’t see this as an urgent problem, with some even calling the unemployed “lazy.” Set aside the Washington games for a minute and look at the humanity. People who cannot find jobs – overwhelmingly older because age discrimination laws are not enforced – lose their heath insurance as the COBRA subsidies — and COBRA itself — expire. They are now losing their unemployment compensation. They of course will lose houses, even apartments.
    Is this how a society treats its people? Is this how a Congress serves its constituents? Is this how a news media covers emergencies?
    Sign up here for the CAF daily summary.

    Senate Republicans Are Obstructing EVERYthing

    This is a call to action. The Republicans in the Senate have blocked pretty much every single piece of legislation since the Democrats took over. How long can this go on? As long as the public lets them.
    You can help bring this to the public’s attention. There is a petition asking Senator Reid to force a real filibuster. This is a dramatic gesture that the public will love, and will bring attention to the fact that the Republicans are blocking everything. See Expose The Obstructionists | Campaign for America’s Future,

    Americans elected a new Congress to get things done. But the conservative minority has chosen a strategy of obstruction in the Senate. They have used the threat of a filibuster to delay or block virtually every major initiative.
    … In its first 40 hours, the new majority of the House of Representatives kept their promise to voters and passed legislation—increasing the minimum wage for the first time in a decade, empowering Medicare to negotiate lower prices on drugs, cutting interest rates on student loans in half, revoking big oil subsidies and using the money to invest in renewable energy—that provided a down payment for a new direction for this country.
    These bills are overwhelmingly popular, and are simply common sense reforms. Yet every one of them—and many more—got held up in the U.S. Senate.
    Conservatives boast about the “success” of their strategy in discrediting the new majority. As Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott, R-Miss., put it, “the strategy of being obstructionist can work or fail. So far it’s working for us.”
    … It’s time to take the gloves off.
    The first step is to expose the obstruction to the American people. Let’s urge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to force a real filibuster. Keep the bills on the floor and force vote after vote, exposing the obstructionists. We’ll organize in states across the country to insure that their constituents know exactly who is standing in the way of progress.
    Campaign for America’s Future is creating a petition to Reid, urging him to expose the obstructionists. Please join the petition. Let’s insure that Americans are clear on who is pushing for change and who is standing in the way.

    Alito “Cloture”

    The Senate voted 72-25 to stop any filibuster of Alito. I fear that putting this guy on the court, with his strong belief in absolute Presidential power (as long as it is a Republican) might be a, if not the, “tipping point” in the erosion of our democracy.
    Bush says he “is pleased” that so many Democrats voted against a filibuster,

    “I am pleased that a strong, bipartisan majority in the Senate decisively rejected attempts to obstruct and filibuster an up-or-down vote on Judge Sam Alito’s nomination,” Bush said in a statement.

    Kerry and Kennedy led the fiulibuster. Others ran like little mice from the idea of doing anything that might make Rush Limbaugh say bad things about them.

    Continue reading

    John Kerry: ‘The vote of a lifetime’

    ohn Kerry: ‘The vote of a lifetime’,

    Many people seem curious or even skeptical why United States Senators believe it’s so important to take a stand against the confirmation of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court — why we’re willing to take on a fight that conventional wisdom suggests we will lose.
    The reality is simple. We care about the future of our country. We care about the millions of Americans who expect Congress to stand up and fight for their rights and their freedoms, and we also know that the Supreme Court, again and again, is the battlefield on which those rights and freedoms are decided.

    Continue reading

    Call Senators

    I’m linking to a post at firedoglake, asking you to go there and get the numbers to call enators and encourage them to support the filibuster of Alito. Go visit Strip Search Sammy Fax Fest Continues to get some numbers to call. Sending FAXes is also good.
    This “Get to work” post by Georgia10
    has phone numbers, advice on what to say, and updates.
    (I was on this call, but only now am starting to have a chance to be on the computer…)