The Confederacy and Britain

June 28, 2013


Hatfield House in Hertfordshire boasts a very English interior, accompanied by a beautiful garden. It is owned by former leader of the opposition in the House of Lords, Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 7th Marquess of Salisbury. It has been in the Cecil family since the 17th Century. Among its occupants was former Prime Minister, Robert Cecil. And in Hatfield House, remains a painting of Cecil’s hero; Confederate General Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson.

June 1861. Two months had passed since secession and skirmish turned into full blow civil war as the shots rang out through Fort Sumter. Three months earlier, civil war was a possibility, but not a reality. Federal buildings had fallen into Confederate hands without a declaration of war, and though supplies to the Fort had been prevented by the odd skirmish out of South Carolina, it was not enough to provoke all out conflict. That all changed as President Lincoln took the initiative to begin hostilities whilst putting that particular ball firmly in the Confederate court by letting the Confederacy know that he was indeed going to reinforce Sumter, but not violently, and that war would be initiated if supplies were prevented from reaching the Fort. Reinforcing Sumter was of course provocative after the previous unsuccessful attempts in January 1861, and Lincoln knew it’d end violently, but it would be the Confederacy that fired the first shot after a tense stand off, and so appearing to be the aggressors.

James Bulloch arrived in Liverpool, England, two months after the attack on Fort Sumter and the beginning of the United States Civil War. His job; Chief Foreign Agent of the Confederate States of America. His task; to procure British ships in order to aid the Confederacy. His name is unknown to most, but his influence kept the Confederacy going, shook President Lincoln’s confidence, and almost brought Britain into the conflict on the side of the Confederacy. The Union State Department Officials referred to Bulloch as “the most dangerous man in Europe“.

Lincoln knew that sympathy in the UK for the Confederacy was intricately linked to high flying members of the British establishment (though, class doesn’t seem to play too high a part in support for either side). He sent a letter of thanks to Manchester workers who issued a proclamation of support for the Union. A statue of Lincoln now resides in Manchester. Lincoln thus played a very cautious game with the British. He was up against members of the Palmerstone government with obvious sympathy and suspect ties to the Confederacy, as well as newspapers such as the Glasgow Gazette and Manchester Weekly Budget. It’s true that most MPs and Lords and in fact, people in general, distrusted both sides.

President Lincoln thus sent Charles Francis Adams as United States Ambassador to Great Britain. Adams was the grandson of President John Adams, and son of President John Quincy Adams, and thus, had a degree of notoriety in the UK. He was tasked with making it abundantly clear to Great Britain, that with British possessions scattered all over the World, and US power increasing, that Britain should be careful about recognising the Confederacy, or sending ships to the Confederacy, or any other policy that could “set a dangerous precedent“. Washington was worried. Eduard de Stoeckl, the Russian Minister to Washington expected Britain to declare for the Confederacy at any moment, stating:

“The Cabinet of London is watching attentively the internal dissensions of the Union and awaits the result with an impatience which it has difficulty in disguising.”

Adams was worried, by 1862, that the British were considering brokering a peace deal between the North and South. Adams further worried, that brokering peace, meant offering concessions to the South.

Great Britain was officially neutral during the Civil War. It was in Britain’s interest not to throw its lot in with either side. Unofficially, there were those in high places handing out favours to both sides. Companies in the UK took advantage of the US civil war. Whilst it’s true that the Confederacy, despite its lack of strong industrial base that the North had, managed to produce some impressive arms, they also imported much from Britain. Especially rifles. It’s suggested that around 900,000 rifles were imported between 1861-1865, almost all made in Enfield.

Bulloch took advantage of this, knowing that British companies noted a brand new war market. He engaged with a company in Liverpool called Fraser, Trenholm Company; a large shipping company specialising in buying – and thus, bankrolling – the Confederate cotton industry, located in a rather unimpressive part of Liverpool close to the Thistle Hotel. From the offices of Fraser, Trenholm, Bulloch managed to purchase the CSS Alabama, despite British neutrality. CSS Alabama was built in secret though the Prime Minister knew, in Birkenhead. Bulloch managed to sneak Alabama out of Liverpool, and over to the the Confederacy, though the ship never docked in any Confederate port. For the next couple of years, it managed to raid 450 Union vessels, burn 65 Union merchant ships, and take 2000 prisoners. CSS Alabama (along with other ships out of Liverpool, including the CSS Shenandoah) was key to the Confederate war effort. It is also notable that Prime Minister Palmerstone most probably knew that the ship was headed for the Confederacy, and yet, he still let it depart pleading ignorance to where it was headed. Following the war, the US claimed damages for the destruction caused by the Alabama. Senator Sumner (a radical abolitionist) wished the claim to include the Canada becoming a part of the USA. In the end, the matter was settled for $15.5m.

In 1862, William Gladstone, then Chancellor under the Prime Ministership of Palmerstone, angered both his boss, and Queen Victoria with a speech made in Newcastle, in which he stated:

“….there is no doubt that Jefferson Davis and other leaders of the South have made an Army; they are making, it appears, a Navy; and they have made — what is more than either — they have made a Nation.”

– It is also rumoured that Gladstone had purchased Cotton bonds from the Confederacy also. It was a great deal at the time. Jefferson Davis policy was to hold back cotton from Europe, because he believed Britain especially was so reliant on Southern cotton, that they’d eventually have no choice but to back the Confederacy. And so, whilst holding back cotton, the South tried to strengthen their position by attracting European investors for such a sought after product in purposely short supply. Bankers from Paris were involved in the underwriting of cotton bonds – floating a loan of $3,000,000, redeemable in cotton at sixpence a pound – secretly authorised by the Confederate Congress in order to raise funds for arms. As Britain remained neutral, Gladstone appeared to be both a vocal supporter of Jefferson Davis, and a financier of the Confederate cause.

Another subscriber to the Confederate cotton loan program was John Arthur Roebuck, the Liberal MP from Sheffield. His reasons for supporting the Confederacy, like Gladstone, seem to be entirely related to profiting from the cotton loan program. It is no shock then that Roebuck was a member of the UK’s Southern Independence Association, and that he raised a motion in Parliament for the House of Commons to officially recognise the independence of the Confederacy. Roebuck, in proposing full recognition of the Confederacy, also strongly advocated sending arms and aid to the rebels. Roebuck overstepped the mark, perhaps delivering the biggest blow to the Confederate cause in the UK, on his visit to France in order to try to convince Napoleon III to support the Confederate cause. Roebuck returned to England insisting that the French Emperor had agreed to recognise the rebel States. This was a fabrication. The Emperor had completely rejected to idea. The fabrication was soon discovered, and used to ridicule Roebuck’s cause. The Confederate offensive in the UK Parliament, had been dealt its deathblow. A Confederate agent in Britain, Henry Hotze, charged with helping to lead the cause for recognition noted after the withdrawal of Roebuck’s motion:

“All hope of Parliamentary action is past. Diplomatic means can no longer avail. Everybody looks to Lee to conquer recognition.”

– At around this time, sympathy for the Confederate cause in Britain was drying up.

Colonel John Lewis Peyton of Virginia was sent to Britain in 1861, sent with instructions to buy arms for the Confederacy. He docked at Southampton, and resided in Jermyn Street, adjacent to Piccadilly in Westminster. He quickly became a member of Pall Mall’s Reform Club – a club that still runs today and boasts members such as Prince Charles and former Mi5 Director General, Stella Rimington. Peyton managed to secure a deal worth 1760 Enfield rifles which reached Confederate troops in South Carolina, in 1862.

One of London’s most famous Confederate guests was Matthew Fontaine Murray. His bust currently resides at the ‘Hall of Fame for Great Americans’ in New York City. His statue presides in Richmond Virginia. Murray was a great oceanographer, nicknamed ‘the pathfinder of the seas’, a wonderful astrologer, and great navy man. He landed in Liverpool, with his son, in November 1862, met with Bulloch, and then onto London to advance the Confederate cause. He made lasting friendships with high members of British society including Lord Wrottesley and Roberts Fitzroy, the captain of HMS Beagle, of Charles Darwin fame. Along with a distant cousin, Murray worked to establish ties that would supply the Confederates with support, and arms, whilst trying to give credit to their cause by mixing with those of important standing.

Peyton and Murray were just two of many agents sent to London, and other parts of England, to mix with high ranking officials, to use cotton bonds for funds and arms used to kill Union soldiers and prolong a vicious civil war. Confederate operations in London, were extensive; this included the business World, the journalism World, and deep inside the corridors of power in Parliament and Whitehall. John D Bennett, in his book “The London Confederates” notes of the South’s agents in England:

“For four years their efforts helped the Confederacy maintain its armies in the field; and without them the South would almost certainly have been defeated much earlier.”

A small Confederate community began to occupy Royal Leamington Spa in Warwickshire – and about 30 minutes from my house – including Major Norman Stewart Walker, a Confederate officer, who was sent to Britain with Confederate bonds to buy arms. Another visitor to the Royal Leamington Spa Confederate community, was youngest officer on board the CSS Alabama, Irvine Bulloch; whose nephew went on to become President of the United States; Theodore Roosevelt. James Murray Mason – grandson of George Mason known as the “father of the Bill of Rights” – stayed in Leamington Spa, sent by Jefferson Davis himself, to try to win over the British by appealing to the necessity for cotton. Writing to Confederate Secretary of State Judah Benjamin about the town, he remarked on the:

“…large circle of Confederates in this retired town”

– Thus, the town has a unique history in Britain with its links to the Confederacy. Many more Confederate agents were sent to Britain to procure arms, investment and support for the Confederate cause, knowing the CSA had quite a strong presence already.

The Confederate agents didn’t stand too much of a chance of succeeding in bringing Britain over to their corner. Loss of US grain supply, war with the US, potential loss of Canada, a rise in tariffs and risking aggravating large groups of pro-Union working class Brits, especially in the North, was too big a risk for the British to take for very little return.

Agents of the Confederate States of America flooded the shores of Britain during the war, in order to secure weapons and aid for the Confederate war effort, and whilst Britain publicly remained neutral and showed very little desire to recognise the Confederacy on an international state level; in private many of the country’s high ranking members of society gladly aided the Confederacy in big, and small ways. Wealthy Brits saw the US civil war as a great time to profit from death. This makes Britain – specifically in relation to keeping the Confederacy armed and dangerous, in which hundreds of thousands died – intrinsically linked to the attempts to both perpetuate and nationalise African American slavery in the US, far more so than most Brits care to admit.

Bad Day for Bigots III: DOMA Struck Down.

June 26, 2013

Cheers rang out across America today. Firstly, the wonderful filibuster in the Texas State Senate by Senator Wendy Davis, defeating the anti-women bill, and secondly, the Supreme Court has just struck down The Defence of Marriage Act as unconstitutional, 17 years after President Clinton signed it into law. Most recognise the incredible step forward for human equality and progress and the right to love that SCOTUS has affirmed today. Predictably, certain people were not too pleased with the ruling. I thought I’d post some of my favourite right winged meltdowns from the World of social media. And what better place to start than Fox News:

– This overly dramatic nonsense is brought to you by Fox News’ Todd Starnes, who seems to be under the impression that his definition of ‘God’ has the right to legislate, in a secular democracy. Not only that, but he seems to be complaining, whilst completely clean shaven. This of course being in direct contradiction – or, direct overruling – of God’s law found in Leviticus 19:27. Theocrats tend to ignore Biblical rules not pertaining to discriminating against same-sex couples.

Here are a few of my favourite post-DOMA freakouts:

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– “Becoming Sodom and Gomorrah” (a place that didn’t actually exist) needs to be added to my list of terrible things same-sex marriage will lead to according to conservatives. This list so far includes; marrying your duck, marrying your computer, a lesbian Queen with an artificially inseminated heir, and a US radio DJ vomiting continuously.

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– Another that relies on a Christian interpretation only of the word ‘marriage’. So culturally narrow, and so wrong to impose this one religious concept of marriage on a secular nation. Marriage, of course, has many different definitions throughout history (as I note here). Enshrining a Christian definition only, institutionalising a Christian understanding of marriage, completely shatters the wall between Church and State, and could not be any more anti-constitutional if it tried. Theocracy is not an American value.

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– Massive population losses? Because heterosexual people will all now decide they’re gay?

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– Are the Supreme Court Justices not aware that we should be basing all rational discourse on dust man and rib lady myths? If not, why not?

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– As well as dust man and rib lady myths, why aren’t the Supreme Court framing law around principles of IKEA furniture assembly?

This guy is entertaining all by himself. He appears to be having a homophobic meltdown. One of those “he’s protesting a lot…… perhaps he has something to hide” sort of meltdown:
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And he continues, in a somewhat more flirtatious style:
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– Southern States were pretty overruled in the 1860s too. Are we going to suggest that shouldn’t have been the case? Institutional bigotry is acceptable, if the majority who benefit from it say so? Really? Denying equality under the law based on biological differences like race, or gender, or sexuality, is not a States Rights issue. Conservatives do not get to decide the superiority of one race, or gender, or sexuality. Permitting the same rights that they themselves have always enjoyed, to another group, takes nothing away from their rights. And of course, the repeal of DOMA simply means States now rule on same sex marriage. So, a victory for States Rights as well as equality.

– Yes! Exactly! You must be exactly what you support. Support women’s suffrage? You must be female. Are you pro-life? You must be a fetus! Support 1960s civil rights movement? You must be a racial minority. Support funding for NASA? You must be an astronaut! That’s how supporting things works.

Here’s a few more overly dramatic, end times tweets to enjoy:

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And my absolute favourite of them all:

From the bigoted, to the ridiculous, to the incredibly funny, we see that progression, is still met with mind blowing overly dramatic, conservative meltdowns. We should check back with them in a years time to note if any of their marriages have failed due entirely to same-sex marriages, or if Jesus has returned, wrapped in a Confederate flag, unleashing end times on California. Naturally, God will take revenge through right winged commentators, insisting that perfectly natural weather cycles are actually His wrath.

Today is a wonderful day, for liberal, progressive, secular, Constitutional America. It is a wonderful day, for the battle for equality, and natural human rights. But it is a terribly bad day for bigots.

For ‘Bad Day for Bigots’ part I, click here. For Part II, click here.

The Elephant in the Womb

June 25, 2013

If the Republican Party left 2012 hoping to start afresh – following a President election defeat that quite comically they were certain that they’d win – in an attempt to broaden their base, inclusive of both the Hispanic community, and women that abandoned them in huge numbers; by mid 2013, they’ve failed horrifically on both of those counts.

As noted yesterday, in my article on immigration reform, the obvious attempts by a few outspoken Republicans to put a halt on legalising 11,000,000 undocumented workers only works to narrow their base even further. They appear wholly antagonistic, when they need to be appearing far more inclusive. It seems they’ve learnt nothing in past seven months.
67 votes in the Senate yesterday secured proceeding with the immigration bill on the basis of the Border security amendment.

Today, the focus is on their renewed war on women. The 21st Century Republican Party appears to be based on one simple sentence: “Get Government out of everything (except a woman’s womb)“. Yesterday, Republicans in the Texas State House of Representatives cowardly voted to restrict access to abortion by 97-33 on an anonymous Bill made up of past Bills that had failed in the House during the regular session. The Senate had already passed the Bill, but the Amendment to restrict access to abortion was added at the last minute by House Republicans. The Bill was voted on and passed at 3:23am. It must now return to the Senate. Cries of ‘Shame on you’ could be heard as the Bill was passed in the dead of night by cowardly Theocrats.

State Democratic Senators have today announced they will filibuster the vote in the Senate until Midnight tonight, when the session officially ends. If that happens, Governor Perry, a pro-life advocated, but on whose watch 250 people have been killed by the State’s death penalty, which he so shamefully boasted of during the Primary debates, could call for a special session of the Legislature to take place, for further discussion of the Bill. We shouldn’t be surprised if he does this.

If the Bill were to pass, it would threaten the running of abortion clinics across the State. Many may close. Again, Republicans promoting very dangerous anti-women policies.

The bill to restrict safe access to abortion is quite obviously not the first time Republicans have taken aim at women. It is a growing trend for the GOP. We see the nature of the debate on abortion from the right winged fringes, when presented with campaign literature like this:
– I’m not even sure what he’s suggesting here? Give guns to cells? Maybe just a knife to sperm, in an attempt to stop masturbation? Linking guns and children probably isn’t the most sensitive of campaign slogans the Republicans have ever came up with. But then, ‘National Association for Gun Rights’ and ‘Gun Owners of America’ are two of Stockman’s key campaign contributors, so it shouldn’t surprise us.

Stockman goes one further. He doesn’t just take aim at women, but also the transgendered community, and why he believes the Violence Against Women Act should not include them:

“This is a truly bad bill. This is helping the liberals, this is horrible. Unbelievable. What really bothers—it’s called a women’s act, but then they have men dressed up as women, they count that. Change-gender, or whatever. How is that—how is that a woman?”

Similarly, in 2010 Medina County Republicans put out a leaflet that included this little gem:

It isn’t just Republican men that are obsessed with both patronising, and controlling women. Republican women seem to be just as awful. Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO) wants to recruit women to the Republican cause in 2014. She says:

“Women need to be asked. They have to be told of the opportunity and be encouraged to run.”

– That’s right! Women need to be told of the fact that they can run for public office. Really slowly. So the pretty things can understand. Perhaps their minds are too filled with getting dinner ready for the man of the house, in between thinking of kittens and flowers.

Ann Coulter, reflecting a general Republican anti-women stance once said:

“If we took away women’s right to vote, we’d never have to worry about another Democrat president. It’s kind of a pipe dream, it’s a personal fantasy of mine, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. ”

– Even female Republicans, are anti-women. Some, cloak their inherent anti-women sentiment, behind creative, and horrendously offensive statements. The level of debate in the Texas House of Reps can be summed up quite wonderfully, by the statement of State Rep. Jodie Laudenberg (R):

“In the emergency room they have what’s called rape kits, where a woman can get cleaned out,”

– Cleaned out? Really? That’s what you’re going with? Let’s also not forget that beyond the horrendous sentiment, she’s also entirely wrong. A ‘rape kit’ is used primarily to collect evidence, it isn’t used to perform an abortion. She is using the issue of rape, in order to pass an amendment, by blatantly lying.

A couple of days ago, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) stated that problems with the US education system began, when women started working outside of the home.

During the debate, Texas Congressman Michael Burgess (R) told us we should ban abortion, because fetuses cannot stop masturbating:

“Watch a sonogram of a 15-week baby, and they have movements that are purposeful … They stroke their face. If they’re a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs. If they feel pleasure, why is it so hard to believe that they could feel pain?”

– What’s most worrying about this, isn’t the level of stupidity that public debate has seemingly fallen to, but the fact that Burgess is a doctor of obstetrics and gynecology. Here is what the GOP would call an expert in their ranks, on the subject of reproduction. Would anyone let this man check you over?

It seems pretty obvious, private citizens do not want Republican Senators and Representatives taking ownership of their wombs.

In 2012, Wisconsin voted to repeal the Equal Pay Enforcement Act; a law that helped to address the growing pay gap between men and women. Upon repeal, Republican State Senator Glenn Grothman said:

“You could argue that money is more important for men. I think a guy in their first job, maybe because they expect to be a breadwinner someday, may be a little more money-conscious.”

And then we have the mouthpiece of mad, ranting, misogynistic, Tea Party Republicans, Rush Limbaugh. When it comes to women, Limbaugh said:

“So Miss Fluke and the rest of you feminazis, here’s the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.”

– Wealthy, white, conservative, male attitudes to women are simply a reactive response against a growing modern, progressive, liberal inclusive culture that they very much dislike, because it threatens their unjustifiably privileged position in life. Whether they’re consciously aware of that or not. We can attach this reactive response to almost every group conservatives take aim at. They are a threat to privilege, and Republicans are the protectors of archaic and regressive privilege.

Republicans apparently agree with Rush, given their 2011 attempts to not just cut levels of funding to, but completely cut Title X. Title X offers family planning funding and services including breast and cervical cancer screenings and preventative healthcare to millions of low income women and families. The Republicans, not content with trying to cut Title X entirely in 2011, then sought to ban Title X funds reaching the Planned Parenthood Program. A program that also offers: contraceptives; emergency contraception; screening for breast, cervical and testicular cancers; pregnancy testing and pregnancy options counseling; testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases; comprehensive sexuality education, menopause treatments; vasectomies, tubal ligations, and abortion. Naturally, because of the last in that list, the Republicans believe Planned Parenthood deserves no funding whatsoever, for any of its services. Some States have already completely defunded Planned Parenthood, including Tennessee, despite no State money going to support Planned Parenthood abortions. In Wisconsin, nine of the State’s 27 Planned Parenthood clinics were completely defunded by State Republican legislatures. The nine clinics provided 12,000 uninsured women with low cost, and easily accessible health care. The Women’s Health Program in Texas receives 90% of its funding from Planned Parenthood… Texan lawmakers reduced its funding from $111 to $37. Wealthy State Republicans took that away. And they ask themselves why women have a problem with Republicans?

In 2011, Republicans also wished to cut funding to The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. A program designed to help low income mothers, and pregnant women. Despite WIC funding leading to lower infant mortality, and higher birth weights, the GOP are unhappy with it, and demanded a cut of $747 million. This, alongside a $50 million cut to the Title V Maternal and Child Health Block Grant, which helps millions of impoverished and low income women and children every year. That’s not all. They demanded a $1 billion cut to Head Start, $39 million from Child Care Development Block Grant. 368,000 estimated to lose learning support in their early years, along with those mothers who rely on child care, in order to work.

When political and religious ideologies are used to not just tell others, but force others to live their lives according to that ideology, and especially when it pertains to that individual’s body, your Party cannot then claim to be a Party dedicated to individual liberty. You are a Party dedicated to control.

From Mitt’s “binders full of women” to Akin’s “legitimate rape” to Chambliss almost whimsically shaking off the seriousness of sexual assault in the military by claiming it’s simply down to young men’s “hormone level created by nature“, to the anti-women bills and underfunding of important health services; the GOP really has a problem. It isn’t just the perception that they are anti-women. They can’t just ‘re-brand’ and hope people will forget. The things they say and do, are so blatantly anti-women, that there is no other possible perception. The GOP has an extremely long road ahead of it if it wishes to be an electable force again. At the moment, an all out, relentless attack on women’s health and reproductive rights, renders the GOP the same fringe Party of mad bigots that it was before the Presidential election.

Yearning to breathe free

June 24, 2013

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free;
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless,
Tempest-tossed to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

The Senate is very close to voting in favour of a huge historic overhaul to the US immigration system. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is sure that the Bill is close to reaching 70 votes in the Senate.
And then there’s Rand Paul.
An interesting figure.
One of the many Republicans who think too highly of themselves, seem to be under the impression that they have the House, Senate, and White House under their personal control, and that the country is entirely painted – not just red – but with his face on it. But also a Republican who uses the term ‘border security‘ as shorthand for ‘I don’t want 11 million undocumented workers to have a pathway to citizenship because they’ll definitely vote against my Party for our history of prejudice against them…… can we stop gays voting too?

Four days ago, Paul introduced an amendment to the Immigration Bill in the Senate, designed to take away the pathway to citizenship and make it just as difficult as ever for undocumented workers to apply for citizenship. The amendment, would allow undocumented workers the right to be in the US, and to apply through the new Registered Provisional Immigrants visa, but they would be treated as if they were the same as someone wishing to immigrate, living in their home country.

As a UK citizen myself, I hope one day to be afforded an opportunity to emigrate to the US (Seriously, someone employ me!) though I accept that I certainly shouldn’t be afforded the same opportunity as those already in the US, who have contributed to the US over the years, who consider themselves American, who escaped to a better life in the US, and simply want to be treated the same under the law as Rand Paul.

Yesterday, Rand Paul told CNN that he will vote against the Immigration Bill, because it doesn’t provide the border security he wishes to see. This, despite concession after concession made to Republicans obsessed with derailing a pathway to citizenship for workers that they consider a threat to their party. The concessions include a significant raising from 21,000 border agents in the original bill, to 40,000 border agents in the new bill; a massive increase in funding for surveillance including aerial drones; and 700 extra miles of border fence, at a cost of $30bn; apparently this doesn’t count as expanding the role of big government.

One wonders what exactly Paul wishes to see, what added security? Mines? The military patrolling the border? Paul is simply moving the goalposts. His latest demand – which received unanimous cross-party rejection from the 8 members responsible for the Bill – was to see Congress be responsible for deciding whether the border was more secure, year on year, for a five year period. Moving the goalposts. The concessions made provide the border security that Republicans complained was missing from the original bill. Border security is now ramped far more than before, despite increases in funding for border security over the past decade and half, proving ineffective at best.
As always, Republicans get their concessions, but wish to concede nothing themselves.

Rand Paul, in voting against the Bill, is voting against Senator Brian Schatz’s (D-HI) amendment, that would allow those people displaced by climate disasters, who are rendered stateless, to be granted conditional legal status in the US. Schatz explained the amendment:

“We have an obligation not to deport people back to a country made uninhabitable by sea level rise and other extreme environmental changes that render these states desolate.”

– For me, this seems perfectly reasonable, compassionate, and based on humanitarian concerns. This is most notable, given that according to World Resources Institute estimates, almost 30 percent of cumulative carbon dioxide emissions since 1850, is the responsibility of the US. Islands across the globe are threatened with extinction through climate disasters. Rand Paul does not believe the USA, with its history of affording, what Emma Lazarus so beautifully referred to as “your huddled masses”, has any responsibility for protecting the most vulnerable.

A recent study by the Hamilton Project on the economics of immigration reform, shows that the reforms have significant benefits, not just for immigrants, but also for American citizens. They note:

“…immigrants create average wage increases of between 0.1 percent and 0.6 percent for American workers.”

They continue:

“The most recent academic research suggests that, on average, immigrants raise the overall standard of living of American workers by boosting wages and lowering prices. One reason is that immigrants and U.S.-born workers generally do not compete for the same jobs; instead many immigrants complement the work of U.S. employees and increase their productivity. For example, low-skill immigrant laborers allow U.S.-born farmers, contractors, or craftsmen to expand agricultural production or to build more homes—thereby expanding employment possibilities and incomes for U.S. workers. Another reason is that businesses adjust to new immigrants by opening stores, restaurants, or production facilities to take advantage of the added supply of workers; more workers translate into more business.”

They continue:

“Taxes paid by immigrants and their children—both legal and unauthorized—exceed the costs of the services they use. In fact, a 2007 cost estimate by the Congressional Budget Office found that a path to legalization for unauthorized immigrants would increase federal revenues by $48 billion but would only incur $23 billion of increased costs from public services, producing a surplus of $25 billion for government coffers.”

They continue:

“Today’s immigrants possess a strong entrepreneurial spirit. In fact, immigrants are 30 percent more likely to form new businesses than U.S.-born citizens.”

– So, people wishing for a better life, an on average wage increase for American workers, new businesses, a rise in overall living standards of American workers, and an increase in Federal revenues by $25bn. They help to boost economic activity, they help to create jobs, they help with economic stability, and they themselves live better lives. it would seem that the only reason to keep moving the goalposts on immigration reform, is for the sake of votes. Rand Paul, with his idea to allow undocumented workers to stay, but insist they apply in the same way as someone who has never even been to the US but may wish to emigrate, is clutching desperately at straws, to save votes. He is playing with lives, for the sake of Party politics. He wishes to be allowed to keep on benefiting economically and socially from immigration, from people who have been exploited for years to help build American businesses….. Paul insists his plan will indeed allow those people to stay (how lovely of him) but not to gain a pathway to citizenship. The only reason to be so, not just mean spirited, but horrendous spirited, is for the sake of votes. Perhaps this desperation would not have been necessary, had the GOP a better record on its treatment of minorities.

One would think that any GOP attempt to derail the bill either in the Senate or the House, will only result in further alienation of Hispanic voters. I’d suggest it could also lead to widespread anger and political activism aimed at the Republicans, at a time when they need to be showing even a little progression and modernising. Killing the Bill could prove to be far more politically toxic, than letting it pass. It would be political suicide.

Let’s be clear, Rand is not prepared to derail such an important bill, simply because he wishes to see Congress in control of deciding whether the border in more secure year on year. That’s a smokescreen. His issue, is votes. This will also be the hidden reason the House Republicans kick up a fuss in the coming months.
Those who opposed immigration reform based solely on border security, no longer have that to hide behind. They must now admit that this is about citizenship. And there really is no reasonable excuse to oppose a pathway to citizenship.

The US immigration system is broken. It may be that the border needs strengthening. Perhaps so. But primarily, it is about people, and families, and lives. There are millions who simply wish to live a better life, and provide a better existence for their family. They wish to reunite with family. They did not ask to be born in countries that do not afford them the opportunities they so desperately wish for. They do not seek climate disaster. They did not seek poverty, nor lack of basic human needs or infrastructure. They did not seek corrupt governments and political irrelevance. They wish for America, to find work, to start businesses, to raise families, to pay taxes, to contribute to an economic recovery, to contribute culturally. They wish to be the people that the grandparents and great grandparents of American citizens were, 100 years ago and before. They should not face exploitation at the hands of employers wishing to gain advantage. They should not be split from family. They should not feel that due to their place of birth, they are less than worthy to be called American. It makes sense to offer a path to citizenship for them and their families, and to offer the stability they need to set down their roots in a country that they wish to be a part of. It is about people. It should not be about votes.

Now, someone in the US employ me.

A list of things gay marriage leads to….

June 23, 2013

When it becomes very clear that rational argument and debate is over; when one side has clearly won, the other side has two choices. Firstly, they can give up. They can admit defeat, and move on. Their argument wasn’t strong enough, the facts were not with them. The right thing to do, is to admit this. Secondly, they can choose to become hysterical. This is usually accompanied by presenting prejudice as factual. Conservatives, when it comes to the same-sex marriage debate have lost the argument. And so, they choose the latter option. They become hysterical. Fallacy after fallacy is employed. We are treated to their creative ingenuity on quite a spectacular level when attempting to present prejudice as factual. Allow me to summarise their creative arguments against same-sex marriage, and what legalising marriage for same-sex couples will inevitably lead to in the minds of conservatives:

  • A Marxist-Leninist coup designed to bring down British culture and government. here.
  • Marrying your dog: Here.
  • Marrying your brother or sister. Here.
  • A father marrying his son for inheritance tax purposes.Here.
  • A generation of barbarians. Here.
  • God destroying the World Here.
  • Marrying your computer. Here.
  • The legalisation of child molestation. Here.
  • Making destroyed children commit all sorts of terrible crimes. Here.
  • Gay propaganda Disney films. here.
  • Granting special rights to people who sleep specifically with St Bernards. Here.
  • The 2008 Financial crash. Here.
  • Michael Savage puking, continuously. Here.
  • ‘Sexual anarchy’ that will destroy the soul of America. Here.
  • Marrying a lot of people. Here.
  • Everyone becoming gay and not having children, leading to human extinction. Here.
  • Churches forced to hire Satan Worshippers and Cross Dressers. Here.
  • Marrying a turtle, a goat, a duck, or a dolphin. Here.
  • Children’s minds being raped by a ‘homosexual mafia’. Here.
  • The normalisation of paedophilia. Here.
  • Poverty. Here.
  • The reason for the collapse of the Roman Empire and Weimar Republic. Here.
  • A lesbian Queen with an artificially inseminated heir. Here.

    Strangely, none of this has happened in Canada, who legalised same-sex marriage in 2003 through the courts and 2005 nationwide. Perhaps the Marxist-Leninist, homosexual mafia like to wait over a decade before striking at the heart of the ‘soul’ of a nation and forcing churches to hire cross dressers.

    Once all of these grievances have been aired in public, conservatives then tend to get defensive. They insist, after all of that, that they aren’t the bigoted ones after all. Their hysteria, leads to defensiveness. We are trying to silence them, they shout, as if the rhetoric of a Marxist-Leninist coup of crossdressing Priests represents a genuine threat. I guess it is a coping mechanism for subconsciously accepting that their hysterical arguments are intensely ridiculous. They insist that it is in fact the pro-same sex marriage majority – with our pesky historical and scientific facts – who are the bigoted ones, for not taking seriously the idea that gay marriage will lead to marrying a computer, or cross dressing Satan worshippers leading Sunday prayers, or a lesbian Queen with an artificially inseminated heir, or Jeremy Irons marrying his son, or a homosexual mafia raping children’s minds, or God destroying the World. And why would we not take those arguments seriously? They all seem mightily well thought out arguments to me. Hysterical conservatives. A gift that keeps on giving.

  • To flee Syria: From hell to hell.

    June 21, 2013

    The Syrian crisis poses an intense amount of questions for lawmakers across the Globe, with each question just as important and as crucial to the process of peace than every other. Do we arm the rebels? If not, then what next? If we are to provide arms to the rebel groups, which rebel groups to provide arms to? How to know and ensure those arms won’t fall into Islamist hands? How to ensure a peaceful and stable democracy upon the fall of Assad? What balance to strike with regard diplomacy with the Russians? How to deal with unwanted intrusions of Iran? These are all grand scale, legitimate questions that rightly require thoughtful and decisive action from the international community. There is however, one major and shocking crisis that we seem to hear very little about, and that is the refugee crisis. And within that crises, is the crisis of the truly horrendous exploitation of female Syrian refugees.

    It is of course obvious that Syria faces a humanitarian disaster, as the rest of the World struggles to find any sort of political, and humanitarian solution. As of June 3rd 2013, 472,764 people have fled Syria, into Jordan. A further 1.2 million have fled to other countries since the beginning of the civil unrest. A recent report by UN Women, shows the scale of exploitation of Syrian female refugees, particularly in Jordan, but also Egypt. This crisis is often engulfed by the question of arms to rebels, and Russian/Western diplomacy.

    Syria itself is a hotbed of sexual exploitation right now, and one of the key reasons for fleeing, is the protection of children from sexual exploitation, and the hope of protection in neighbouring Nations. Stories from refugees of the crisis tell of the shocking abuse they suffered inside Syria. Roadblocks in Syria are often used to kidnap, and rape young women. The International Rescue Committee was told of roadblocks in Syria in which girls were taken, raped, and murdered. Others were left to wander alone, often naked, after being raped. Some media outlets, for some reason, ask “Is this policy of the Assad regime? Or punishment for Assad supporters?” It is neither. It is sexual exploitation. It is rape. And so it has no political motive.

    Sexual exploitation is given as one of the key reasons for fleeing Syria, in attempts to get away quickly, and to find protection, especially in refugee camps administered by international AID agencies.

    And yet, many only make it just across the border before the exploitation begins. The border towns in Jordan, right into Amman are now home to Syrian women pushed into prostitution, as well as pushed into marrying their children to older Syrian men, simply to survive. More find themselves and their children thrown into very tightly packed refugee centres, and treated as prisoners. The tented refugee community of Za’artari in the north of Jordan, a place supposed to protect the vulnerable and overseen by UNHCR, is treated like a toy shop for exploiters, as well as being completely underfunded, lacking basic resources, under prepared for the extreme weather conditions, and under protected. Those who work within the camp from aid agencies face an uphill struggle every day. One Syrian refugee, who fled to Jordan with her children, and is now in Za’artari told the BBC of conditions back home in Syria:

    “They come into our homes. They rape us, and they kill, in front of our eyes.”

    – To flee this appalling situation, only to find yourself in an equally as appalling situation, having been under the impression that you would be protected by the international community, is unimaginable. From hell, to hell.

    Fathers in the camp, who fled with very little money, and very little way to support their families find themselves and their families now living in a far more patriarchal and dangerous situation, especially for their female children, than before. Abu Sanad, a father in the camp said:

    “People from Jordan, from Saudi Arabia, from Qatar, they come and ask: ‘Do you want to give your daughters for marriage? What do they see us as? A market place for selling? Like selling sheep.They see we don’t have money. They want to exploit us. Give me your daughter for 200,000 lira or 100,000 lira. ”

    In Jordan, Syrians are pushed to the brink, and so believe that selling their child into early marriage offers their child a form of security and protection. It is desperation. A desperation no parent should ever feel forced to consider. Their children, and their bodies, are treated as commodities.

    One teenage girl, whose eyes appeared red from fatigue, and heart breakingly teary throughout her interview, told the BBC that she was forced into marriage to support herself, noting:

    “I can’t describe him as a man. The way he treated me. He treated me savagely. He was a monster. He was hitting me so much. The bruises are still on my body. He said ‘I do not love you. I only married you for my pleasure’ “.

    – This is the reality of the humanitarian disaster facing Syrian female refugees every day, and it is caused by other human beings.

    In the camps, what tends to be the case, is that wealthy men, almost predominantly from Saudi Arabia or Qatar, are allowed into Zaatari, under the guise of charity, but who are looking mainly for young girls to exploit. They offer charity, in exchange for a wife. The girls are promised everything they could wish for, and protection for their families, but within days are often found wandering in Jordanian streets having been viciously abused, and dumped. Their ‘honour’ is thus considered to have been destroyed. Nour, a Syrian refugee now in Jordan, told that after being chained up, and raped for two months, inside Syria, in a detention centre, her family issued a death certificate for her. She told how they now consider her disgraced, and dead. Her husband fled with her children.

    IRIN News reported that a Syrian mother, named Um Sarah, of two daughters ages 14 and 15 told:

    “As a single mother, I cannot support them. I cannot feed them. I wanted to make sure they are OK, so I asked around if people know of good Syrian men they could marry. They rape girls who are as young as her in Syria now. If they raped a nine-year-old girl, they can do anything. I will not feel OK if I do not see her married to a decent man who can protect her,””

    – The heavy reliance on men, who will only provide a young and vulnerable girl with any assistance if he is able to sexually exploit her, speaks to the heart of two problems. Firstly, the Syrian crisis itself, and secondly, the patriarchal societies that patriarchal religions and the men that control them create and perpetuate, which inevitably leads to the very dangerous myth that women require men for survival. Um Sarah, no doubt as a result of both desperation, and of regional biases, believes that her daughters are safer in the hands of men who will marry them, in order to sexually exploit them (we know this, because the majority of young girls who enter into child marriages are pregnant soon after marriage), rather than those who actively seek out women to abuse without the promise of protection and food. Not only that, but rape is only named so, when the rapist isn’t married to the victim. It is also considered a dishonour to the family of the victim, if she is raped, and so marriage apparently safeguards the family against dishonour. This is the result of empowering one gender, and crushing the other. Both of those two groups of men, are vicious abusers, exploiting the appalling situation refugees are finding themselves in.

    Similarly, in Egypt, we see Syrian female refugees finding that they have in fact fled a hostile environment, only to be presented with a new hostile and extremely dangerous environment of people that see them as vulnerable and so easily exploitable. Life in refugee camps is horrific, but life outside of refugee camps, can often by far worse. Refugees in cities often squat in broken buildings, living in squalid conditions, suffering terrible illnesses that they have no access to even the most basic of healthcare. They often take out loans from dubious sources, and with no real income, turn to prostitution, and again, marrying their children young in exchange for a dowry. The International Rescue Committee spoke to Syrian refugees inside Egypt and found numerous accounts of women turning to sex, to pay rent, and to feed their children; children who are threatened daily with exploitation, unless they’re married off. Islamist preachers in Egypt actively encourage Egyptian men to marry young and vulnerable Syrian girls. The Syrian activist Lina Al-Tiby works in Cairo with Syrian female refugees in order to keep them away from sex trafficking and horrendous exploitation, noted:

    “Egyptian men tell Syrian women they will marry them to help them and their families, but… can’t these men help Syrian women without marrying them?”

    – Under Syrian law, the legal age for marriage is 16 (though so-called “informal” marriages allow girls as young as 13 to marry and have children, if “religious leaders” deem it acceptable). Under the new Egyptian charter, thrown together by horrendous Islamist child abusers, the legal age has been dropped from 18, to 13, with Islamists inside the Morsi supported Brotherhood calling for the age to be dropped further, to 9. Couple this with the apparent ‘dishonour’ a young girl is supposed to feel if she is raped, and so the Syrian refugee crises marks a perfect opportunity, in Middle Eastern countries run almost predominantly by men, for men, to lawfully exploit the most vulnerable people – who need the most support – for the perverted fantasies of Brotherhood child and women abusers.

    UNICEF Jordan Representative working at Za’artari noted in January this year:

    “The resources we raised in 2012 have been exhausted, and no fresh funds have come for this year. We urgently appeal to the international community and donors in general to commit fresh funding as soon as possible.”

    – Conditions at the camp are only likely to deteriorate further as more and more Syrians flee across the Jordanian border.

    UN Women are working hard to change conditions, and fight for international recognition of the problems in Za’artari and beyond.

    The camp at Za’artari falls under the responsibility of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and yet is slowly diminishing into a hotbed of sexual exploitation of women and children. The camp at Za’artari is also accused of a severe lack of resources for abuse victims, including counseling services and a lack of knowledge of those services that do exist in the camp, with 83% of Syrian refugees completely unaware that any services like that exist at all. This is not the fault of the aid workers in the camp, it is the fault of massive underfunding by our governments. It is a humanitarian catastrophe on so many levels, right down to the most basic of humanitarian concerns; protecting children from sexual exploitation. Medical care, food and water supplies dwindle, they are not protected from harsh climate conditions, and this naturally exacerbates fears from refugee parents that their children will suffer the most, which pushes them into the arms of abusers promising protection. Western politicians can argue daily on the subject of who to provide arms to, in the hope that the country will sort itself out, but the crisis that absolutely needs our full attention, and funding, is on the humanitarian level.

    The situation in Za’artari and elsewhere is shameful to the international community as a whole. It also highlights the most telling flaws in a society that promotes one gender above another, based on religious principles. This is why a political solution, as well as being democratic, must not be allowed to institutionalise patriarchy. It must move past this archaic phase. The empowerment of women, must be one of the key aspects to any solution in Syria.

    Buying Mitch McConnell.

    June 20, 2013

    By United States Senate ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

    Mitch McConnell, By United States Senate ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

    “The people of the state of Colorado hereby find and declare that large campaign contributions to political candidates create the potential for corruption and the appearance of corruption; that large campaign contributions made to influence election outcomes allow wealthy individuals, corporations, and special interest groups to exercise a disproportionate level of influence over the political process”
    – Article XXVIII, Section I, Colorado Constitution.

    The Kentucky Republican Kingmaker and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, is perhaps not a name too many of us are all that familiar with over here in the UK. We may have heard his name banded about occasionally but we really have to delve a little deeper into the murky World of US politics to come across anything of significance, and when we do, we’re presented with a self created ‘maverick’ image of a lone senator willing to be a voice for the Constitutional rights of massive Corporate campaign finance. A worthy cause, I’m sure none of us would agree.

    Why, you may ask, does McConnell care so deeply about thwarting any attempts – supported by both Parties at different times – to regulate campaign finance? Well, the Senate Republican filibuster timings, along with McConnell’s own campaign finance, are all rather telling. McConnell’s work blocking legislation at times appears to reflect periods in which he is receiving massive campaign contributions from Corporate titans.

    A couple of years back, McConnell attacked Democrat attempts to prevent foreign companies from financing US public figures and elections. He claimed laws already exist to stop this from happening. He of course failed to mention that existing laws do not prevent foreign corporations with US subsidiaries from channelling money to preferred candidates. This omittance shouldn’t come as too much of a shock, given that McConnell, from 2005 to 2010, received around $21,000 from BAE Systems Inc. BAE Systems Inc is a US subsidiary of the World’s 2nd largest defence contractor, BAE Systems, based in the UK. In 2010, McConnell asked for $17,000,000 of Federal funds to be earmarked for BAE defence improvements, at the exact same time as BAE was under State Department investigation for alleged widespread corruption (including the bribery of public officials). Of course, any link between McConnell’s apparent passion for outspokenly opposing campaign finance regulation from foreign companies who are under investigation for bribing public officials, at the same time as one of them is funding his own campaign – and in fact funding the Mitch McConnell Centre at the University of Louisville to the tune of $500,000 through a subsidiary – is just speculation.

    So to continue to speculate; according to Oil Change International, McConnell has voted in favour of the big oil companies 100% of the time during the period 2005-2007. In 2011, McConnell decided to push for the extension of the Keystone oil pipeline, by adding it onto the end of a bill designed to extend year-end payroll tax cuts for middle class people and families. Yes. Senate Republicans would vote down tax breaks for struggling people, unless the Obama Administration succumb to Republican demands for the pressing ahead with the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The Senate Republicans insist that they support the pipeline for the sake of American jobs, and energy independence. I’m sure that must be the case. Yes. It can’t possibly be anything to do with the fact that the recipient of the most Oil and Gas contributions in between 2011 and 2012, was Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, racking up an astonishing $583,550. His main contributor, being Exxon Mobil, at $48,000 for that period. In fact, McConnell is the biggest benefactor from Exxon’s generosity in 2011-2012. In 2013, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson publicly urged the Obama Administration to press ahead with the Keystone pipeline extension. Draw whatever conclusions you so wish.

    McConnell is a good friend to big oil. On the actual day of the debate on the so-called “Repeal Big Oil Subsidies Act” – an Act designed to end the tax breaks afforded to the wealthiest oil companies in the World of up to $24bn – in 2012, McConnell received $131,500 from oil donors in Midland, Texas. The Act failed by filibuster. One of many very dubious filibusters promoted by McConnell since the Republicans lost the Senate in 2006. There is no reasonable excuse to filibuster an Act designed to stop unnecessary Federal funds subsidising very wealthy oil companies. A few Republican bloggers insist that the Act is unconstitutional, because it didn’t originate in the House. How desperately naive to believe that’s the point the Senate Minority are most strongly concerned with.

    In 2011, the “Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act” also failed in the Senate – an Act which would have closed loopholes for the main oil companies, including Exxon – due to Republican derailing tactics, despite the revenue raised from the closure of loopholes being earmarked for debt reduction, something the GOP seems to be obsessed with, when it suits their electoral chances. McConnell, like every great Republican, managed to appear as if he cared about actual American people and their concerns (the same people, he thinks don’t deserve a tax break extension unless an oil pipeline is built) by saying:

    “Clearly, this is not a serious effort to address the price of gas at the pump.”

    – As if addressing the price at the pump, is impossible if you close tax loopholes for your corporate donors. Those Senators who voted against closing tax loopholes, allegedly received on average $370,664 from big oil, compared to $72,145 for those Senators who voted against. Again, draw whatever conclusions you so wish.

    Harking back a couple of paragraphs, I wish to reiterate that McConnell and Senate Republicans in general argued that the Keystone XL pipeline, would create real jobs for Americans. This is one of their main arguments. It’s all about jobs. Job creation… for Americans…. in America. And yet, oddly, if we look back to 2010, we note that Republicans including McConnell voted against the “Creating American Jobs and Ending Offshoring Act“, offering payroll tax relief to companies hiring domestic workers, for a three year period. According to a Senate Democrat Aide, there was also a provision that:

    “basically eliminates deferral of taxes for companies that move overseas but continue to sell products back in the United States.”

    – A practical incentive to keep jobs in the US. The GOP opposed it. The Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell opposed it. According to reports, of the companies that lobbied on this Bill, McConnell received over $1,000,000 from executives and the PACs connected to the lobbying companies.

    According to, McConnell’s share of small donations has fallen to just 5%. He is reliant on huge companies, most outside of Kentucky – the State he represents – and companies for whom he coincidentally, votes in favour of, practically any time they will benefit from such a vote.

    According to the same report, in 2004 McConnell was the 41st wealthiest Senator. By 2010, and despite a massive global economic crises, McConnell became the 10th wealthiest Senator. It is McConnell who is responsible for the super-majority tactic that brings the Country to a standstill. He does this, whilst the companies that fund his sordid Political life, continue to gain from unnecessary tax privileges that benefit no one but the companies… and McConnell.

    Any politician who is tempted to sacrifice duties or principles to get more money doesn’t belong in office.
    – Mitch McConnell, 1987

    Dark money, is money spent by political groups who do not have to disclose their funding. McConnell, predictably, isn’t a big fan of the disclosure of dark money, though he hasn’t always had that attitude. In 1997, McConnell said this:

    “Public disclosure of campaign contributions and spending should be expedited so voters can judge for themselves what is appropriate,”

    – And yet, when the Disclose Act was introduced into the Senate in 2010; at a time when campaign contributions are far higher and far more suspect than back in 1997, Mitchell voted against. His 1997 love for transparency, appears to have died by 2010, at a time when he was racing up the richest Senators list, and attracting huge campaign contributions. According to reports, enormous pressure was placed on Republican Senators to vote against the Disclose Act.

    Campaign finance reform seems to have bipartisan support much of the time. Those who oppose it most outspokenly, and most vehemently, appear to be the Senators and Representatives – like McConnell – that have a stake in big monied, campaign finance. And the one reason campaign finance reform, through a deadlocked and Partisan FEC, is so notably difficult to push forward, is because those who lobby against it, pay very good money, to very powerful Senators, who then vote in turn to kill off reform.

    It is so incredibly transparent that certain Senators, who have a terrific amount of power, exist for the benefit of multinationals regardless of the consequences felt by the public at large. The dismissive nature of the GOP in the Senate, and the vicious experiment in Corporate-sponsored political obstruction, occurs for one specific reason; the corruption of campaign finance. GOP obstruction since 2009, has been off the scale. It should be treated for the hellishly radical and dangerous policy that it is. But much of the obstruction exists purely because it benefits the very wealthy lobbyists. Something Mitch McConnell has fought for years to protect.

    Senators like Mitch McConnell, are poisonous to Democracy.