Why the Senate Sucks

This:

An amendment that would prevent the government from working with contractors who denied victims of assault the right to bring their case to court is in danger of being watered down or stripped entirely from a larger defense appropriations bill.

Multiple sources have told the Huffington Post that Sen. Dan Inouye, a longtime Democrat from Hawaii, is considering removing or altering the provision, which was offered by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and passed by the Senate several weeks ago.

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. The Senate is considering taking out a provision known as the Title VII claim, which (if removed) would allow victims of assault or rape to bring suit against the individual perpetrator but not the contractor who employed him or her.

“The defense contractors have been storming his office,” said a source with knowledge of the situation. “Inouye either will get the amendment taken out altogether, or water it down significantly. If they water it down, they will take out the Title VII claims. This means that in discrimination cases, they will still force you into a secret forced arbitration on KBR’s (or other contractors’) own terms — with your chances of prevailing practically zero. The House seems to be very supportive of the original Franken amendment and all in line, but their hands are tied since it originated in the Senate. And since Inouye runs the show on this bill, he can easily take it out to get Republicans and the defense contractors off his back, which looks increasingly likely.”

A supermajority voted for the amendment, as it passed 68-30, but big business can come in and grease the palms of one Senator and the will of the people is thwarted. And politicians wonder why people have no faith in government or think the government isn’t looking out for the little guy.

Who needs Republicans with folks like this?

111 replies
  1. 1
    cleek says:

    and they say Democrats are opposed to capitalism!

  2. 2
    Funkhauser says:

    Can we start a “I Support the Franken Amendment” petition? That would be, I think, a good use of the left side of the internets.

  3. 3
    Bob K says:

    I always harken back to Eisenhower’s “Military Industrial Complex” speech. A popular GOP talking point is – “We want our country back!!!” Well – hate to tell you it was bought years ago by corporate America and good luck
    trying to get it back at this point. K street has done more
    harm to this country than any terrorist ever will

  4. 4
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    It says he’s considering it. One thing about the Senate, you will seldom know what they will end up doing until they do it.

    And with 68 votes for it previously, Inouye will be hard pressed to remove or water it down at this late date and looking like he’s sanctioning rape without consequences, though he’s old guard in giving patronage to big bidness, so we shall see. And if it doesn’t pass this time, it will be attached to the next bill. The 4 lady wingnuts will insist with the rest of the liberal dem caucus. they have the votes.

  5. 5
    Ash Can says:

    I saw this on the GOS a little while ago, and I think this is the link you want (yours doesn’t work).

    All I can say is, I hope the HuffPo’s “multiple sources” are all wet. But I’m not optimistic. Inouye is a safe-seat Senate fossil and a BFF of Ted Stevens, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see him put lobbyists first.

  6. 6
    Max says:

    Why the Senate Doesn’t Suck…

    Matthew Shephard Hate Crimes Bill just passed 68 / 29.

  7. 7
    fliegr says:

    After all the public option dithering, the refusal to include accountability with bailout money and this, anyone who thinks their representatives aren’t representing solely their lobbyist and corporate interests needs to do another bong rip. That’s all folks, representative democracy was a fantastic experiment.

  8. 8
    WyldPiratd says:

    It seems increasingly clear that voting is an exercise in futility.

  9. 9
    Martin says:

    I forget where I read/saw it but someone pointed out that there’s a legitimate problem here. Defense contractors don’t always know what subcontractors write into their contracts, and don’t want to lose funding for something out of their control.

    The proposed remedy was to make the bill bigger, not smaller, by making it illegal to force certain crimes into arbitration in any contract anywhere. I liked the sound of that better, personally.

  10. 10
    Reason60 says:

    I don’t know which is worse- that Senator Inouye’s vote can be bought- or that the price is so low. I read where the amount he has taken from the military contractors over the span of his entire 40 years is less than $300,000, or less than $10 grand per year.

    Jesus- willing to sell out the nation for what is a rounding error on KBR’s yearly budget.

    There needs to be serious pressure brought to bear on this guy- petitions, emails, protests- I would love to participate.

  11. 11
    Stooleo says:

    Here is a nice clip of Franken taking down a health insurance flack.

  12. 12
    Sue says:

    Those poor defense contractors! Overly exposed and at constant risk! How vulnerable they must feel, at the mercy of others who may not have their best interests at heart. Perhaps they should discuss their fears with some of their own employees, get an idea of what’s coming, that kind of thing.

  13. 13
    Paul L. says:

    Where does the link go?
    I read the Franken amendment removed arbitration completely.
    So would you settle for no arbitration for any crime committed on a individual. Or do you want no arbitration whatsoever?

  14. 14
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    What has Obama done good lately, you O-bot worshipers of the failure.

    Well, this

  15. 15
    Reason60 says:

    @9 Martin
    A good point, but I also made contracts for my company, for subcontractors who in turn had contractors and vendors under them.
    There is a way to make all contracts and subcontracts down the line be subordinate to the prime contract; it is the way that prime lenders stay in control of things, especially military contractors. The DoD binds the prime, on condition that his contracts carry certain clauses, and all subs on the next tier do as well.
    Obviously nothing can be done about contracts in place, but the notion that contractors have absolutely no way to police or control their subs and vendors is nonsense.

  16. 16
    Max says:

    @General Winfield Stuck: But, Hillary would have done it faster and twice better.

    /snark :)

  17. 17
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    So would you settle for no arbitration for any crime committed on a individual. Or do you want no arbitration whatsoever?

    For crimes, we call arbitration a trial in this country. What do law and order goopers call it?

  18. 18
    JGabriel says:

    Can anyone tell me why there’s a “Free Newt!” banner at the top of my browser? Is Gingrich in prison for corruption?

    Because that would be SO kewl!

    .

  19. 19
    JGabriel says:

    Paul L.:

    I read the Franken amendment removed arbitration completely. So would you settle for no arbitration for any crime committed on a individual. Or do you want no arbitration whatsoever?

    The state has an interest, outside of the involved parties, in prosecuting crimes and maintaining law and order. So, of course no arbitration over crimes should be recognized or honored by the federal gov’t.

    Arbitration is for contractual disputes, not crime sprees.

    .

  20. 20
    linda says:

    maybe as a bonus, danny gets a videotape of the gang rape.

  21. 21
    Will says:

    Where the hell is NOW, and why aren’t they tearing Daniel Inouye’s balls straight off?

  22. 22
    Craig says:

    “All in favor of the amended Springfield/pervert bill.”
    “NAY!”
    “Bill defeated.”

  23. 23
    cleek says:

    @JGabriel:

    it’s there because you’re not running Adblock.

  24. 24
    Demo Woman says:

    @JGabriel: The ad that I have wants me to support Pat Toomey. Yeah right! No complaints from me though since they help pay for the site.

  25. 25
    Violet says:

    @Martin:

    The proposed remedy was to make the bill bigger, not smaller, by making it illegal to force certain crimes into arbitration in any contract anywhere.

    It’s shocking they have to write a bill to make this happen. Why the hell do crimes with these contractors get forced into arbitration? Who made them so special? I thought crimes were crimes – and entitled you to a trial in a court with a jury of your peers.

    It sounds like a good idea to make the “no arbitration” thing happen, but WTF is wrong with our country that we allowed it to happen in the first place?

    No sympathy for the big fat contractors.

  26. 26
    Terri says:

    @Will
    They’re too busy condenming David Letterman. You know, the really important shit.

  27. 27
    Fwiffo says:

    If he’s willing to bend over because contractors and Republicans are calling his office and giving him shit, maybe he’ll change his tune if Americans start calling to give him even more shit. If I’m not mistaken, Americans who oppose rape outnumber defense contractors and hill Republicans.

    If we aren’t able to raise 10 times as much hell, we deserve exactly what we get.

  28. 28
    Maude says:

    @cleek: Oh, phew! I have Adblock and I don’t have to see Newtie. Makes me queasy.

  29. 29
    Comrade Dread says:

    Shorter Defense Contractor: If you take away our right to rape employees without consequence, the terrorists have won.

    I seriously can’t believe this is an issue or there is even a possibility that this amendment won’t get passed. I mean, you’d think everyone would be pretty much against rape and would want to give a victim every chance to have some legal remedy for such an intensely personal crime against their body.

  30. 30
    kay says:

    @JGabriel:

    Not to mention the victim isn’t a party to the state’s case.

    State v Defendant, is the deal. No victim in there at all.

    That is never, ever happening. Nope. I don’t think we’ll let job seekers contract away the right for the state to bring a criminal complaint.

    Because that would be completely insane, and, um, contrary to public policy.

    She seeks the right to bring a civil complaint on the underlying assault, I do believe. She agreed to mandatory arbitration on money damages.

    It’s in the Constitution, so I’m “for” allowing those harmed to seek compensation. Conservatives are contra? Why am I not surprised.

  31. 31
    Zifnab says:

    That’s not a problem with big business, it’s a major structural flaw in the Senate. Look back a few years with the whole Bridge To Nowhere mess and the other boondoggles of the Bush Decade. You saw this fast and loose stuff thrown around all the time. An amendment gets voted in, and the chair just strips it out. An amendment gets voted out, and the Majority Leader slides it back in before the final vote.

    No Child Left Behind – a bill Kennedy championed – was absolutely gutted during passage. One of the biggest fuck you moments in the Bush Admin.

    That’s why the majority, the chairmanships, and the leadership positions are so powerful and coveted. Grassroots groups can lobby a bill through Congress for decades, lean on Congresscritters left and right in both Houses, and when it finally gets ready for passage a single anonymous hold or leadership verbage rearrangement throws the whole bill on its ear.

  32. 32
    Fwiffo says:

    And really, the complains from the Pentagon/contractors are such crap. Whiny bitches. “Oh, it’s gonna be hard to enforce, I might lose my contract, waaaaah…” Ya know what? Tough shit. If you weren’t so busy creating these fucked up contracts for the purpose of covering up rape, maybe this all wouldn’t have been necessary. If you want to work with the senate to make a workable enforcement mechanism or something, fine, but I really don’t want to hear your whining, you worthless tools.

  33. 33
    Paul L. says:

    Arbitration is for contractual disputes, not crime sprees.

    Then how do you explain this?

    The reasoning behind the amendment can be traced to the story of Jamie Leigh Jones, who was brutally raped by co-workers and locked in a container under armed guard on order of her employer, KBR.

    Jones says she identified one of the men who attacked her after he confessed, but that Halliburton/KBR prevented her from taking legal action against him or the company by pointing to a clause in her contract requiring disputes to go to arbitration.

  34. 34
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    Harry Reid grows a spine? Barack Obama moving for checkmate with Knight and Queen? You decide.

    “I keep hearing there is a lot of leaning toward some sort of national public option, unfortunately, from my standpoint,” said Nelson, a key swing senator. “I still believe a state-based approach is the way in which to go. So I’m not being shy about making that point.”

    Nelson’s comments underscore what has appeared to be a significant movement in recent weeks towards the public option. If Reid and the White House included a public option in the Senate bill, it would signal remarkable shift from where Democrats and Republicans thought the debate was headed after the tumultuous August recess.

    I was also reading that Reid/Obama were leaning heavily toward the Opt out/states direction, which would, I think, put a lot of pressure on red state politicians now and in the future to opt in as voters see opt in states covering more people with lower prices. Meanwhile, Max Baucus reportedly became “apoplectic” at the news.

    was apoplectic when Reid told him he wanted to include the public option. “Baucus went to DEFCON 1,” said a source familiar with the negotiations, referring to the alert level the military uses for an imminent attack on the homeland.

    “Defcon 1”
    Smile.

  35. 35
    Jonny Scrum-half says:

    Regarding the requirement that claims concerning certain crimes be resolved through arbitration, I would be very surprised if the arbitration requirement prevented any criminal prosecution by whatever jurisdiction might have the power to prosecute.

    Instead, I would guess that it only requires that civil claims for damages against the company (for failure to maintain a safe work place, or for sexual harassment, for example) be handled through arbitration.

    I think that the issue is more complicated than the story and comments makes it appear. It’s not uncommon for employers (not just defense contractors) to seek to handle employment disputes through arbitration, rather than in the courts, because arbitration is often cheaper.

    The story claims that “in discrimination claims” the “forced arbitrations” would be on terms that give the employee no chance of winning. I don’t see how that’s possible — even in an arbitration you still have a human being (or multiple human beings) acting as an impartial judge deciding the case.

  36. 36
    grape_crush says:

    Inouye must be proud that he lost half of his arm in World War II in the struggle to secure the rights of American…military contractors…everywhere.

    Oh well, he earned his Medal of Honor already. No need to prove yourself any more after that, right?

  37. 37
    Zifnab says:

    @kay: The case with the Halliburton girl was a tricky one though. She wasn’t in the US so the state couldn’t touch the assailants. And Iraqi law had blanket immunity granted to contractors. The only recourse the girl had was civil litigation (which can be pressed in US Court, although it’s harder if the plantiff never plans to return to the states). The civil litigation rights were voided by the arbitration agreement. So the girl had absolutely no way to press any sort of charges. It was, functionally, legal rape.

    Franken’s amendment doesn’t nullify the arbitration agreement. It doesn’t extend criminal laws to contractors serving overseas. All it does is forbid the US from granting contracts to companies that require employee arbitration agreements for federal crimes. As big a deal as this looks, it’s still the fucking bare minimum any reasonable American would expect.

    Fucking horrible.

  38. 38
    Tsulagi says:

    Why the Senate Sucks

    Yep.

    @Paul L.:

    I read the Franken amendment removed arbitration completely.

    No doubt you’ve also read Muslim time traveling sleeper agents from planet X stole Obama’s original Kenyan birth certificate. The Franken amendment doesn’t ban arbitration, it bans mandatory arbitration as sole recourse.

    Imagine that, giving a gang rape victim who afterwards was locked up in a container by her employer the choice of opting for arbitration OR having her day in court.

  39. 39
    Elisabeth says:

    Completely OT but I just registered to vote for Little Bitsy. I had to do a name search and, dude, you own someone big time. The poor other Bitsys don’t have a tenth of the votes and, I have to say, there were some cuties.

  40. 40
    kay says:

    @Zifnab:

    Thanks so much. I read that the criminal issue was muddled by the Iraqi US-imposed “rules” but I didn’t realize there could be no criminal prosecution.

    I don’t like arbitration clauses as a practical matter, because they’re everywhere, and no one knows what they’re signing away, but I had no idea she had no state action recourse.

    Rape is one of the Big Three, in US law, along with murder and armed robbery. It doesn’t get more serious than that.

    I will do what I always do, which is write Sherrod Brown. I might need a better strategy, huh?

  41. 41
    Zifnab says:

    @Paul L.: Yes. This is the core case. We are stating that arbitration should be for contractual disputes and not for crime sprees.

    You are arguing that… it should be for crime sprees?

    Paul L – proudly defending the unrepresented gang rapist from the oppressive lobby of Big Mutual Consent.

    You’re fucking scum, you know that, Paul?

  42. 42

    I think I am going to be physically sick. I knew I shouldn’t have read this thread.

  43. 43
    Cat Lady says:

    RIP Ted Kennedy. You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.

  44. 44
    LD50 says:

    @Zifnab: As a Republican, Paul L has predictably gotten it into his head that if liberals are defending the rights of a rape victim, then it’s his duty to stand up for the rapists. I predict Makewi will wander in here and do something similar within the next hour or so.

  45. 45
    celticdragon says:

    Jones says she identified one of the men who attacked her after he confessed, but that Halliburton/KBR prevented her from taking legal action against him or the company by pointing to a clause in her contract requiring disputes to go to arbitration.

    You know..I think I just might hire a professional to take care of that guy.

    Seriously.

    What the hell are you left with when your employer actually imprisons you after you have been raped…your assailant is free to keep doing it to others…and federal law enforcement refuses to touch the matter while the Army turns over your rape kit evidence to the company and it disappears.

    You really are getting into just cause for personal retribution at this point. It truly is a form of absolutist tyranny. We actually broke ties with our mother country for matters less outrageous than this shit.

  46. 46
    freelancer says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    My question, being a constituent of Nelson’s, is what exactly would be the mechanism whereby states decide to opt in or opt out? That corporate shill isn’t deciding for me. (I want a bunch of low-info, shit-kicking, redneck dittoheads in my area code to decide for me.)

    Seriously, if you ever come to Nebraska, don’t leave the 2nd district. It’s seriously WTF territory out there.

  47. 47
    Surreal American says:

    Paul L – proudly defending the unrepresented gang rapist from the oppressive lobby of Big Mutual Consent.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, the Party of Law and Order at work.

  48. 48
    Jorge says:

    Look Cole,
    I’m in the middle of reading Nixonland cause of you. That’s got me pretty vulnerable – now little by little you’re taking the same critical eye that caused you to leave the Republicans and looking into the Democrats. Lexapro only comes in so many doses before it gets toxic, you know?

  49. 49
    gwangung says:

    You know..I think I just might hire a professional to take care of that guy.

    I’d contribute to a collection.

  50. 50
    celticdragon says:

    @kay:

    That’s right. No recourse at all.

    Fact: Not one criminal complaint was pursued by US Marshals or any other agency for crimes committed by contractors before 2007…including literally dozens of instances of rape and sexual assault.

    Rapist? You have a wide open field in Iraq. Like to shoot up civvies? No problem.

    The more you know, the angrier you get, but remember!

    Peggy Noonan says we should just keep walking…

  51. 51
    Mnemosyne says:

    I’m pretty sure this is (literally) a call for help from the anonymous sources. Time to call Sen. Inouye’s office.

  52. 52
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @freelancer:

    As a practical matter of good public policy, I would bet that the Opt in/out scenario is about as clusterfuck an idea as anything out there. But we don’t live in a country where good sense for public policy prevails very often. We have the wingnuteous idiotosis species in droves whose lizard brain operates on instinct to oppose stuff just cause libtards are for it. So, on a political level, the opt in/out thing makes sense because it brings choice into play which is always harder for knuckleheads to oppose.

  53. 53
    R-Jud says:

    You know, I came over here to wash my brain out after watching the British National Party leader leave a trail of slime all over BBC Question Time, and what do I get? This. I’m having a beer and going to bed.

  54. 54
    Fulcanelli says:

    I’d love to know if that woman in Alabama who owns a defense contracting company is one of the ones wailing at Inouye to strip the Franken amendment out.

    You know, the one who coughed up $63,500 to E-Bay to win a dinner date with Sarah and Todd Palin?

    Inquiring minds need to know these things…

  55. 55
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Paul L.:

    I think the fact that KBR destroyed the evidence against them points to a bit of a problem with that system, don’t you? Unless, of course, you think that employees should be allowed to rape other employees at will on company property and the victim should have absolutely no recourse to either the criminal or civil justice systems because, well, she shouldn’t have been so stupid as to let herself be raped in the first place.

  56. 56
    trollhattan says:

    @LD50 #43

    Hey, it’s just like the Duke lacrosse team. Did I mention the Duke lacrosse team? No? Let me also mention the Duke lacrosse team, which proves my point. Also.

    Then there’s the seven points of light aka liberal edyoukashun thingies. In what way, Charlie? In every way.

  57. 57
    Kryptik says:

    One senator is bought and paid for, and the whole of sanity suffers.

    The very fact that he’s considering ripping the amendment out, blatantly because of lobbying from jackasses who basically want the right to legally rape you under their employ, is just sick shit. It was sad that 30 Republicans voted against it. It’s depressing that it might just take one Democratic Senator to kill it, after the fact.

  58. 58
    geg6 says:

    Al Franken is the best thing I’ve seen in the Senate in, well, forever. More please. Especially if it takes out asshole dinosaurs who should have their medals stripped from them for shit like this like Inouye. The Franken amendment says that the government simply cannot contract with contractors who have these sorts of arbitration agreements for cases like rape. If the contractors want their employees to be free to rape, they can do that. But they don’t get tax payer money to do it. And the idea that they can’t oversee what their subcontractors do is laughable on its face.

  59. 59
    gizmo says:

    The answer here is for Franken to forego the tradition of Senate good old boyness and go batshit on Inouye. Hold a press conference, and embarrass his sorry ass.

  60. 60
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    Senator Merkely just gave the PO a 95% chance of getting through the Senate, something about momentum. We’ll see.

  61. 61
    Zifnab says:

    @Mnemosyne: We could always let the free market sort it out.

  62. 62

    Shit. I won’t even by a car from a dealer that requires me to sign a purchase agreement with an arbitration clause. These military contractors are really no different than the Wall Street gangs: a criminal enterprise with enough money to shape the law and make horrible practices legal.

  63. 63
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jonny Scrum-half:

    I don’t see how that’s possible—even in an arbitration you still have a human being (or multiple human beings) acting as an impartial judge deciding the case.

    Almost. You have a human being who’s paid by the corporation acting as a judge. A human being who knows that if s/he decides against the corporation, s/he will not be hired as an arbitration judge by them again. Haven’t you ever heard the old phrase about how difficult it is to get someone to understand something when their paycheck depends on their not understanding it?

  64. 64
    Fulcanelli says:

    With his er, previous background, Franken could probably turn a press conference into a nice hatchet job on Inouye.

    Popcorn anyone?

  65. 65
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    Carper: Senate Bill Will Include A National Public Plan With An Opt Out

    Carper is an important voice and vote.

  66. 66

    How is it that there are 64 comments, and nobody points out to John that his link doesn’t exist?

  67. 67
    ericblair says:

    My theory with small-state senators is that they are basically like Caribbean tax havens for finance. They’re small and easy to buy, but they have all the legal power of the big senators/countries. So big companies can come in, buy up a senator/country for peanuts, and abuse all the authority of the state and the big boys can do little about it.

  68. 68
    daryljfontaine says:

    OT, but of interest: Bitsy leads by ~30. The social networking wars have heated up, with various contenders resorting to virtual loot bribery in the final week, and lots of flaming and trolling in the discussion boards. A *whole lot* of pimping for specific dogs, so keep an eye on:

    Rufus
    Huckleberry and Doodle
    AC PUP

    D

  69. 69
    geg6 says:

    GWS: Merkley just said that the PO has a 95% chance on The Ed Show. Carper saying it tells me we got the big month going here. I think we may actually get a bill. I’ve avoided saying that for months, but I’m going to finally come down to optimism. Opt out isn’t perfect, but it’s good enough.

  70. 70
    Zifnab says:

    @Gary Farber: QUIET YOU! You’ll make us look bad.

  71. 71
    geg6 says:

    Damn the lack of edit here! The BlackBerry turned “big mo” into “month.”. Shit.

  72. 72
    chuck says:

    The larger contractors have nothing to worry about as their subcontractors go. There are all kinds of regs that contractors and their subcontractors already have to comply with. If a subcontractor fails to be eligible for a contract, then they simply don’t get the contract. If they fail to be in general compliance to do any business whatsoever with the government, they don’t get any contracts at all.

    The law has no “gotchas”, and isn’t a kill switch that instantly cancels all contracts — the big contractor simply has to put themselves into compliance, and that means demanding subcontractors comply or be fired.

  73. 73
    Gwangung says:

    @geg6: We’re still making sausages here. Good news, but keep the pressure on until a bill is signed. Our great weakness is not seeing the process through.

  74. 74
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    REp Allan Grayson on Cheney. Has all that blood dripping from his teeth — Does he just makes like a bat and fly away.

  75. 75
    Reason60 says:

    FYI, as pertains crimes by military contractors- does anyone in here recall the incredibly underreported cases of Dynacorp in Bosnia having 12 year old sex slaves? and no one was ever prosecuted for it?

    I may call Andrew Breitbart and see if they can get some interest in it….

  76. 76
    geg6 says:

    Gwangung: Oh, no taking the eye off the ball here. I just haven’t allowed myself to feel even a frisson of optimism until now. It’s starting to look good though. Plus how awesome is it that I found a way to use a cool Frenchie word like “frisson?”

  77. 77
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Max / 5:40 pm

    *Hillary would have done it faster and twice better.*

    Backwards, wearing high heels.

  78. 78
    freelancer says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    WHERE? I need a link to that. It’s gonna be my ringtone.

  79. 79
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    REp Allan Grayson on Cheney. Has all that blood dripping from his teeth—- Does he just makes like a bat and fly away.

    I like the way Grayson just ignored Matthews question and made Cheney jokes.

  80. 80
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    Next up for Tweety. A seg on “Is Obama just like Nixon”

    I shit you not.

  81. 81
    geg6 says:

    SiubhanDuinne @76: While being shot at. Also.

  82. 82
    freelancer says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Goddamnit, y’all are gonna make me watch Tweety? Ugh.

  83. 83
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @freelancer:

    It was on Hardball. Tweety about had a cow.

  84. 84
    Emma Anne says:

    @Mnemosyne: I’m pretty sure this is (literally) a call for help from the anonymous sources. Time to call Sen. Inouye’s office.

    Yes. This hasn’t happened yet. The reason we are being told about it now is so that it won’t happen.

  85. 85
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @General Winfield Stuck: He’s prolly gonna get a stern talking-to from the ghost of Tim Russert for not having Republican-friendly Democrats on.

  86. 86
    geg6 says:

    GWS and JSF: Did you guys catch Ron Reagan? That was pretty awesome, I must say.

  87. 87
    freelancer says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    Exactly, because someone making jokes about the former Vice President is automatically not a ‘serious person’, but at the same time, a news-making congressman who knows his shit is a ‘serious person’. I’m surprised he didn’t have head ‘splody time.

  88. 88
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @geg6:

    GWS and JSF: Did you guys catch Ron Reagan? That was pretty awesome, I must say.

    Yeah, I’ve never seen Ron Reagan lose his cool and start screaming like that. And when he told Gaffney to watch his mouth at the end when Gaffney invoked his dad, that was nice. It’s too bad they weren’t both in the studio to throw down.

  89. 89
    annie says:

    @Martin:

    As someone who deals with contractors and subcontractors, contractors can review and agree to subcontractor contracts. Contractors should know what subcontractors write into their contracts. Ultimately, contractors are responsible for subcontractor behavior. And, that is how it should be. Otherwise, the contracting process sucks. Contractors are ultimately responsible for the behavior of subcontractors. I have been on both sides of the process. And, I can tell you that contractors have the ultimate responsibility and should be held accountable.

  90. 90
    Emma Anne says:

    @Jonny Scrum-half: I don’t see how that’s possible—even in an arbitration you still have a human being (or multiple human beings) acting as an impartial judge deciding the case.

    That is often true – if the clause says something like the arbitrator will be mutually selected by the parties from the American Arbitration Association. But these clauses aren’t like that. The contractor chooses the arbitrator. The employee loses.

  91. 91
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Yep, between Ron Reagan calling Cheney an un-indicted war crimimal and Grayson calling Cheney a Vampire, Tweety may have some spaining to do to the powers that be.

    But now he his noddling Obama as being like Nixon with an enemies list, with whining wingnuts Lamar Alexander and Boener having a fainting party over the mean Chicago thug Obama, this has been quite the afternoon on MSNBC.

  92. 92
    annie says:

    Yet, we can go after ACORN.

    What is not discussed is the whole contractor/subcontractor process. The defense industry thrives on this. And, this is what should be reviewed. Contractors take a huge chunk of the change, and then subcontract. Depending on the subcontractor, they take another huge chunk of the change. Overhead costs, salaries, etc. Subcontractors then subcontractor to local firms, who get a small piece of the pie to actually do the work. By then, a huge amount of the original funds already are distributed. What the final local firms hire are individuals with limited skills and incentives to do quality work. We saw that in Iraq, over and over again. Why isn’t this investigated? What portion of the original funds actually go to doing the work that the contract was orginally supposed to do?

  93. 93
    John D. says:

    @Gary Farber: Um, comment #5 pointed it out.

  94. 94
    freelancer says:

    But now he his noddling Obama as being like Nixon with an enemies list, with whining wingnuts Lamar Alexander and Boener having a fainting party over the mean Chicago thug Obama, this has been quite the afternoon on MSNBC.

    But he’s like the weakest, liberal, pussy, wimp, appeaser ever?!

  95. 95
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @annie:

    You have touched on something that hasn’t gotten much media play, and that is the Bushies thoroughly criminal enterprise surrounding contracting, especially thru the Defense Department. It is a cesspool of lawlessness that I truly hope the DOJ is wading through. It is what will snare Herr Cheney into an indictment, if anything does. Here is just one article among many on the topic. The lady Bunnatine Greenhouse who the Bushies canned is a prime witness.

  96. 96
    valdivia says:

    one more reason I love BJ you guys watch Tweety so I dont have to *and* make the snarkiest comments about it so the idiocy of the TV goes down better. Thanks!

    so anyway to get Kos to frontpage Bitsy? I think I saw a diary earlier today but I did not see it make it up the list.

  97. 97
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @freelancer:

    But he’s like the weakest, liberal, pussy, wimp, appeaser ever?!

    That’s only only Tuesdays and Thursdays. The rest of the time he’s a thug dictator.

  98. 98
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @General Winfield Stuck: It can’t be too difficult for someone that is purportedly able to be both black and white at the same time.

  99. 99
    DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal) says:

    Yeah, I’ve never seen Ron Reagan lose his cool and start screaming like that. And when he told Gaffney to watch his mouth at the end when Gaffney invoked his dad, that was nice. It’s too bad they weren’t both in the studio to throw down.

    If they had been in the same studio I think Ron would have stood up and got right in Gaffney’s Skeletor’s face, boy was he ever pissed! I wonder if Nancy will have anything to say…lol! Her and her hubby may not agree with their son and his politics but what Gaffney Skeletor did was a cheap shot at Ron and the only reason he did it was because Ron had just ripped him a new asshole in front of everyone.

    Gaffney Skeletor and his ilk like to think they own Reagan and his history, that they speak for him since his passing. I hope Nancy has enough friends left to make Gaffney Skeletor wish he had never said that to Ron.

  100. 100
    Shinobi says:

    Can I just say how much I fucking love Al Franken. I was completely indifferent to the idea of him running, but now that he is in the senate he is doing such an amazing job. Thank you Minnesota.

  101. 101
    Jonny Scrum-half says:

    Emma Anne — Thanks for the information. I haven’t done any exhaustive research on the issue, but I’d be surprised if an arbitration agreement that permitted only the employer to select the arbitrator would be enforceable, regardless of any proposed federal legislation. I did do some looking for some cases, and found case law that appears to hold that the arbitrator-selection process must be fair, and generally can’t be the choice of only one party.

    I also saw a reference to a Halliburton case in which the court noted that both parties got to select the arbitrator.

    In short, I think that everyone is assuming that all arbitrators are biased, but I don’t think that’s a fair assumption to make without specific evidence.

  102. 102
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Paul L.: The arbitration clause is contained in a contract, but apparently directs all claims — even tort claims, like this one — to arbitration. That’s B.S. Indeed, many clauses in take-it-or-leave-it contracts should be invalid as a matter of public policy, because the big companies that write them (e.g., banks writing credit card contracts) have most of the bargaining power, and the individual little to very little.

  103. 103
    ronathan richardson says:

    This is what I want someone to explain to me. Inouye (and lots of other senators, for that matter) doesn’t need any campaign contributions. Defense contractors aren’t a huge employer in Hawaii, unless I’m mistaken. And he clearly doesn’t personally believe in what he’s doing. But yet he caves to the interests of a very small group of people who are way out of the mainstream on this issue. And so many other seemingly decent senators do the same thing, on farm bills or other business regulations/tax code issues, for example–think Charlie Rangel on the loophole for the offshore holding companies.

    Why?

  104. 104
    Silver Owl says:

    Congress is making it known that they do not represent the American people but corporations.

    What will happen is that rather than ensuring American citizens have their day in court and that businesses know that this is an American standard they must meet congress will instead say, “Well since you raped the chit out of our citizens, didn’t allow them their day in court we will fine you a several million dollars while also paying you billions of dollars. Deduct if off the balance sheets. Thanks for hating America so much. We the congress love you for it. When will you buy my next outfit for me?”

    Not sure why Congress feels they are necessary when on just about every issue they go against the American people. The people are becoming more and more aware of it.

  105. 105
    Batocchio says:

    @Gary Farber:

    Gary, take a closer look at comment #5. Ash Can noted it and provided the link.

  106. 106

    […] passed.  Good.  But, today, I read this post over at Balloon Juice.  Apparently, several sources say that Senator Daniel Inouye, (HI-D) is preparing to water down […]

  107. 107
    RememberNovember says:

    “overly exposed to lawsuits”- no more so than the run of the mill company these days. I think it’s time for Senator “In the way” to take a good hard look at the rest of the country and not just Pearl Harbor, Fort Shafter or Kaneohe MAB.

  108. 108
    SenyorDave says:

    Maybe some enterprsing group can spend a couple hundred thosand dollars to put toegther some newspaper ads asking Inouye not to do this.

    On the other hand, maybe the only way to deal with these people is to use Glenn Beck tactics. Beck would probably say (in between crying jags, of course):

    Senator Daniel Inouye is pro-rape.

  109. 109
    TheWatcher says:

    Fun Fact!

    Inouye was accused of rape by his hairdresser!

    Google “senator inouye lenore kwock rape”

  110. 110
    Waynski says:

    @SenyorDave — Beck would say that and that’s what everyone on this thread should threaten him with when they email his office:

    http://inouye.senate.gov/Contact/Email-Form.cfm

  111. 111
    Paul L. says:

    @@Zifnab: Paul L.:

    Yes. This is the core case. We are stating that arbitration should be for contractual disputes and not for crime sprees.

    You are arguing that… it should be for crime sprees?

    Paul L – proudly defending the unrepresented gang rapist from the oppressive lobby of Big Mutual Consent.

    You’re fucking scum, you know that, Paul?

    Nice strawman.
    I agree with you. Jamie Leigh Jones deserves her day in court.
    I was pointing that the Franken amendment bans all arbitration for Military contractors including contractual disputes

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