Home > Republican Stupidity, Right-Wing Hypocrisy > Republicans Furious that They Are Being Criticized for Being Pro-Rape

Republicans Furious that They Are Being Criticized for Being Pro-Rape

December 3rd, 2009

Okay, I have to blog on this. If the story is familiar with you, jump to just below the video.

Remember about a month and a half ago when Al Franken proposed an amendment concerning rape and government contractors? Some contractors have a clause hidden in the small print which forbids female employees raped by their colleagues overseas from suing the rapists in court. The rapists are never prosecuted because they commit the crime in Iraq (although hundreds of cases of rape have been reported, not a single one has been prosecuted, despite the DoD having the power to do so), so a civil suit back home is the victim’s only recourse. Their employers, however, forbid this with the contractual small print, forcing the women to submit to binding arbitration that will favor the rapists.

The case came to light when Dawn Leamon, a KBR (formerly Halliburton) employee attempted to get the courts to allow her to sue her rapists. Ms. Leamon was drugged and then brutally raped and sodomized by her co-workers in Iraq. KBR employees told her to keep quiet, warning her that she would be in danger if she pressed the case, and tried to get her to sign a non-disclosure form. Her laptop was confiscated and her movements were restricted, while her rapists walked about free without any repercussions. Eventually, KBR tried to enforce the clause forbidding a civil suit.

Hearing of this, Al Franken was incensed. Franken has, for a very long time, been an ardent supporter of U.S. troops, having done multiple tours for the USO. On his radio show, the one thing that would make him genuinely furious and would even move him to tears would be the mistreatment of the troops. This is not some flash publicity thing for Franken, it is instead a core value very close to his heart.

As a result, Franken proposed an amendment to a Defense Appropriations bill which would forbid such terms in contracts written by government contractors. Immediately, Republicans attacked the amendment. Republican Senator Jeff Sessions claimed that “Congress should not be involved in writing or rewriting private contracts,” something that Jon Stewart highlighted as rank hypocrisy considering the GOP’s mission to do exactly that where ACORN is concerned. Sessions further classed Franken’s amendment as “a political attack on Halliburton,” despite KBR no longer being a part of that organization. One KBR Iraq rape victim said that the amendment “means the world to me…It means that every tear shed to go public and repeat my story over and over again to make a difference for other women was worth it.”

When the amendment came up for a vote, no fewer than 30 Republican senators callously voted against it. Stewart did a cutting piece on the matter:

OK, so that’s the story. 30 Republicans vote against victims of brutal rape, and vote for KBR to shield gang rapists from lawsuits. Naturally, this will, without any doubt, lead to criticism that these senators are pro-rape. That may be unfair–they may just be pro-military-contractor, and incidentally be pro-rape. But they had to know that the criticism would be forthcoming, or else they are unimaginable idiots.

So, when the criticism naturally came, what was their response? Blame Al Franken. Why? Because he’s not doing enough to suppress the criticism. Seriously. You can’t make up crap like this.

Despite the fact that Franken himself is not doing the criticizing, it is rather interesting how his GOP colleagues are dumping this directly on him:

The Republicans are steamed at Franken because partisans on the left are using a measure he sponsored to paint them as rapist sympathizers — and because Franken isn’t doing much to stop them.

“Trying to tap into the natural sympathy that we have for this victim of this rape —and use that as a justification to frankly misrepresent and embarrass his colleagues, I don’t think it’s a very constructive thing,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said in an interview.

And so what will they do about it? Cornyn continues:

“I think it’s going to make a lot of senators leery and start looking at things he’s doing earlier on, because I don’t think it got appropriate attention ahead of time.”

So. Franken proposes an amendment to help victims of brutal rape. Republicans politicize it, and vote with the contractors and the rapists, giving hypocritically flimsy justifications. Republicans are very rightly criticized as not protecting rape victims. Republicans then blame Franken and threaten him.

I am sorely tempted to say, “So, what else is new?”

  1. Tim Kane
    December 3rd, 2009 at 19:26 | #1

    So, it turns out the rookie is a natural.

    I said it many times during the Minnesota recount, one Franken is worth several pedestrian Senators.

    It’s like he’s the newest inmate, and the lifers thought he’d be a patsy.

    Presumably, to become a Senator you have to have a brain, and you are savy when it comes to politics. Only a friggen idiot would have voted ‘pro-rape’. These people have been inside the political bubble so long they’ve lost all sense of decency. They respect power and money so much that they are totally blindsided to the real issue they were voting for – and then they blame Franken, as he should know that they are really power craven mongrels who’ve lost their own sense of decency.

    This is their first ‘contact’ with Franken. The smart ones should know not to mess with him. But the Bubbas will keep coming back like Yosemite Sam trying to out fox Bugs Bunny. Is that Senator Cronyn I hear saying “I’s hates rabbits”.

    It’s like we’ve got a decent one of us on the inside… a decent one of us who is an expert at satire and using it in a jujitsu manner.

    Franken is gonna be a thorn in their side for years to come.

    In the mean time we’ve got a Senate filled with Republicans that think it’s okay for employers to use their supperior bargaining power with employees to tolerate rape in the work place.

    Thank you Senator Franken.

  2. Luis
    December 3rd, 2009 at 19:45 | #2

    In Franken’s case, I don’t think he needs his cutting irony, nor do I think he uses it. All he has to do is be himself–a smart, decent guy prone to do the right thing–and so by automatically opposing him, Republicans will do the dumb, indecent thing every time.

    I know it sounds corny, but Franken in Washington calls to mind “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”–except Franken lacks the Jimmy-Stewart innocent naivete. But everything else is there–the down-home guy with respect for the ideal of America, running into the powerful graft-powered machine.

  3. Tim Kane
    December 3rd, 2009 at 21:01 | #3

    I agree. Wish there were a hundred more just like him.

  4. Roger
    December 5th, 2009 at 02:31 | #4

    “I think it’s going to make a lot of senators leery and start looking at things he’s doing earlier on, because I don’t think it got appropriate attention ahead of time.”

    Sounds to me like they truly weren’t paying attention. Not surprising for Congress members, actually. (considering how few read the bills they vote on) Their natural instinct was to protect the military contractor – and they probably felt they didn’t have to look any deeper. Simply the fact that Franken will drive them to work harder has got to be worth something.

    “Congress should not be involved in writing or rewriting private contracts,”

    They’re not at all shy about getting involved when the contracts are related to marriage or end of life arrangements. Evil creeps.

    It occurs to me that GOP motivations are very instinctual and primitive:
    1) reproduction at all costs
    2) tribalism/nationalism/dominionism to protect “us” at all costs
    3) money – to secure personal power and status within the tribe

    Human rights and personal rights are a distraction from each of these.

  5. Roger
    December 5th, 2009 at 02:39 | #5

    Here’s a really cynical thought… the case of KBR endorsed rape brings together a perfect storm of GOP values. Support of military industrial complex (values 2 & 3) to allow rape (value 1 – through forced reproduction – being that they are against abortions any circumstance).

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