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Defend Dr. Tiller

Dr. George Tiller, one of the few late-term abortion providers in the US, pleaded not guilty last Friday to 19 misdemeanor charges brought against him by the state of Kansas.

The charges revolve around a state law which requires that two legally and financially uninvolved physicians sign off on any late-term abortion procedure--a law that seems to have no other purpose than to make life difficult for abortion providers.

The charges against Tiller brought by Attorney General Paul Morrison allege that in 19 procedures from July to November 2003, the Wichita doctor consulted with Dr. Ann Kristin Neuhaus. The attorney general has said they had a financial relationship, although he hasn't been more specific. As a result, he faces up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine for each of the nineteen charges.

As a comprehensive cross-post by Cara at Feministing.com and thecurvature.com details, Tiller has a long history of being harassed for his work and these allegations are just the latest chapter. He has faced regular protests at his clinic, other trumped-up criminal charges, physical threats, severe vandalism and constant intimidation. He has also been shot.

This new law under which he's been charged is harassment, pure and simple. That's why Tiller's attorneys are challenging the constitutionality of the statute. (A hearing was set for Aug. 10.) Moreover, as Cara rightly insists, "Requiring written approval of any late-term abortion procedure from two independent physicians is not only requiring the abortion provider to seek permission to practice medicine, it's also essentially requiring that the woman get permission to successfully request medical care. Her choice, along with the medical advice of her doctor, is not enough. Late-term abortions, contrary to what anti-abortion activists constantly profess, are not undertaken lightly. The women who receive medical care at Dr. Tiller's facility come from all over the country; Dr. Tiller is hardly going to be their first medical consultation. They seek their abortions either due to health risks to themselves or severe fetal deformity. You'd be hard-pressed to find someone who likes late-term abortion, and that includes the women who need them."

Tiller has been operating bravely for years doing thankless work in the face of constant efforts to drive him away from his practice. The latest charges against him are meant to distract as much as punish and make it financially prohibitive for him to continue his services. So now he needs our help. Please send donations and words of support by mail to the address below.

Women's Health Care Services
5107 East Kellogg
Wichita, Kansas USA 67218

A Gay Debate?

On Thursday at 9PM (ET), Logo (the gay network owned by Viacom) and the Human Rights Campaign are sponsoring a Democratic Presidential forum on gay issues. Barack, Hillary, John, Dennis and Bill will all be there. So will some guy named Mike who was so poor loves gays so much that he originally wasn't invited. Margaret Carlson, Jonathan Capehart, Joe Solmonese and Melissa Etheridge will pose questions. The whole queer klatch will be televised on Logo and streamed live at this website.

[Here at The Nation, we've lined up queer critics Lisa Duggan, Alisa Solomon and Tavia Nyong'o to watch the event from a safe, Melissa Etheridge-free location and comment. Their remarks will be posted after the forum.]

HRC (that stands for Human Rights Campaign in gaycronym, not Hillary Rodham Clinton) has been promoting the debate as an "historic" event, the "first time...the major presidential candidates will address a live GLBT television audience." As Chris Crain points out on his blog, this is a lie. In fact, HRC hosted exactly such an event in 2003, but this is presidential electioneering, so there goes accuracy.

Despite my qualms about HRC (again, that's the gay HRC, not the Wellesley graduate) and my general low expectations for the forum (marriage and gays in the military will likely dominate), I agreed to write up a short piece for Logo's website on what I think the most important issue in this election is for gay people. (Just to preempt sniping, I wasn't paid, and I was free to say what I wanted.) For those who've followed my take on same-sex marriage before, this will be nothing new, but it's cross-posted below.

 


 

From Visible Vote '08:

For years now, I've followed the plight of same-sex couples denied the right to marry. Many of their stories are heartrending. A lesbian couple was forced to sell their home in order to pay huge health care bills because one of them was in an accident and wasn't covered by her partner's health insurance. After his lover died, a gay man was evicted from his apartment because he wasn't on the lease, and even if he was, he couldn't pay for the place on his own. Elderly gays and lesbians have kept working long past the age of retirement, or even taken second jobs, because social security benefits and pensions aren't transferable and often don't cover basic necessities--food, housing, utilities, medication--in the first place.

The more of these stories I hear, the more they sound like the stories coming out of the "other America"--married, heterosexual America.

Take Donna and Larry Smith, featured in Michael Moore's documentary Sicko. Married for over 30 years, the Smiths worked hard and raised six children in South Dakota. They had each other, and they had health insurance, but that wasn't enough when cancer and artery disease struck. Facing massive debt from expensive medical treatments, they filed for bankruptcy, sold their home and were forced to move into a cramped storage room in their daughter's house.

Or take my grandmother. When my grandfather, her husband, died, she was entitled to his social security benefits. But still, as a single widow, her total household income shrank dramatically. For the last few years of her life, social security was the only check she got, and it wasn't enough at that. Her experience is common; women live longer than men and so often age alone. Almost a third of all unmarried elderly women rely on social security as their sole source of income, and if it weren't for social security, 54 percent of all elderly women would be living in poverty.

Whether from gay or straight, married or unmarried Americans, stories like these are powerful reminders of the human costs of growing economic inequality in this country. For the last 30 years, the incomes of the wealthiest Americans have skyrocketed while incomes for the bottom 50 percent have remained essentially static. According to 2005 IRS data, the top tenth of 1 percent of Americans (300,000) made almost as much as the bottom half (150 million). The income gap hasn't been this bad in our country since 1928.

All of this news is kind of a downer, and nowhere near as cheery as thinking about Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards or any of the other candidates presiding over festive gay weddings or civil unions. But the hard-boiled economic reality is that as long as the class gap continues to grow in America, the rights of marriage will be of little consolation to the millions of gays and lesbians who find themselves unemployed, sick, downsized, outsourced, homeless or just plain down on their luck. After all, marriage didn't protect happily betrothed folks like my grandparents or Donna and Larry Smith from feeling the economic squeeze.

This is why, for me, the increasingly stark gap between the super rich and everyone else is the most important issue in the next election. Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards has talked about the "two Americas" in his 2004 campaign and now again in this election. Other candidates have piled onto the populist bandwagon, and most propose meager economic reforms (a slight increase in minimum wage, closing tax loopholes, college loan reforms). But in my opinion, none have announced a real economic agenda that would halt the widening gap between the mega-wealthy and the rest of us, much less begin to reverse the trend. It will be important to see which of them come closest.

I've argued in The Nation that gays and lesbians should think beyond the issue of same-sex marriage as a legal right and get at many of the underlying economic issues (healthcare, housing, job security) that make married and unmarried people alike vulnerable in the first place. According to recent census data, the majority of Americans now live in unmarried households. Some live this way because they are legally banned from marriage, but most people, including many gays and lesbians, do so by choice. Beyond marriage then, what are the economic policies that will help all households (including single people) live better, less deprived, less financially anxious lives?

The Divider

When asked by George Stephanopoulos in the Sunday Republican debate to list his mistakes, Rudy Giuliani replied, "George, your father is a priest. I can explain it to your father, not to you."

To help the Mayor's memory for his meeting with Father Stephanopoulos, I thought we should offer up a few suggestions for his list.

1. Informing his former wife, Donna Hannover, that he was divorcing her during a press conference.

2. Alienating his children to the point where his son refuses to campaign for him and his daughter announced on Facebook that she supported Barack Obama for president.

3. Pitching scandal ridden Bernard Kerik as Homeland Security Chief, or for that matter giving Bernard Kerik a job in the first place.

4. Putting the Emergency Command Center in 7 World Trade Center building, despite the 1993 WTC bombing.

5. His handling of the Amadou Diallo shooting. In fact his handling of all race relations in the city.

I could go on and on. But I encourage you to add your thoughts on this message board and/or in the comments section below. Rudy has a way of claiming credit for everyone else's successes while shuffling off blame for his own. Let's call him out on it.

Bush to Karzai: Will You Just Shut Up About Iran?

Things got a little testy at the Camp David Summit between Afghan President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan and American President George Bush.

Karzai, who when he is in the U.S. is expected to act as a puppet of the Bush administration, made the mistake of actually speaking his mind. In a CNN interview broadcast Sunday, the Afghan president said terrorism in Afghanistan is getting worse, that the hunt for al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is at a standstill and, then, he described Iran as a positive player -- "a helper and a solution" -- in the region.

All of these statements are objectively true.

But George Bush does not deal in the realm of truth. And he certainly does not like his puppet presidents getting off their strings.

On the eve of the summit, Karzai told CNN that:

1. "The security situation in Afghanistan over the past two years has definitely deteriorated. The Afghan people have suffered. Terrorists have killed our schoolchildren. They have burned our schools. They have killed international helpers."

2. "We are not closer (to catching bin Laden), we are not further away from it. We are where we were a few years ago."

3. "So far, Iran has been a helper (in the fight against terrorism)."

All of those statements, made by Karzai in an interview with Wolf Blitzer on the eve of his trip to Camp David, were corrected by Bush upon the Afghan president's arrival.

On the security situation, Bush told Karzai not to believe what he was seeing on the ground in Afghanistan. "There is still work to be done, don't get me wrong," Bush said. "But progress is being made."

On the bin Laden search, Bush spoke of how the hunt is progressing and declared that, "With real actionable intelligence, we will get the job done."

On Iran's positive role in the region, Bush again told Karzai not to believe his own experience but instead to accept the neoconservative version of events. "I would be very cautious about whether or not the Iranian influence there in Afghanistan is a positive force," the American president pointedly told the Afghan president.

So there you have it, a meeting of the minds Bush-style.

A foreign leader from a region of supreme interest to the United States comes to Camp David to brief the American president on what is going on. The foreign leader speaks his mind, offering his best assessment of the experience he is living. Then the president tells the visitor from abroad that he is wrong.

As Bush famously declared at a policy session in 2005, "See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda."

And it is just so damned inconvenient when a puppet who is supposed to help spread the propaganda instead messes everything up by talking about what is really happening.

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John Nichols' new book is THE GENIUS OF IMPEACHMENT: The Founders' Cure forRoyalism. Rolling Stone's Tim Dickinson hails it as a "nervy, acerbic, passionately argued history-cum-polemic [that] combines a rich examination of the parliamentary roots and past use ofthe 'heroic medicine' that is impeachment with a call for Democraticleaders to 'reclaim and reuse the most vital tool handed to us by thefounders for the defense of our most basic liberties.'"

Mea Culpa Time

It's a bad Sunday when I don't agree with Frank Rich. His brilliant, elegant New York Times column has consistently and mercilessly exposed the cruelty, folly and hypocrisy of government and media war supporters.

Yesterday, in an otherwise superb column, Rich praised a New York Times Magazine piece by former war supporter Michael Ignatieff as an "eloquent mea culpa." Judge for yourself.

I read Ignatieff's August 5 piece of repentance--""Getting Iraq Wrong: What the War Has Taught Me about Political Judgment"--as an apology that features everything except remorse. As a friend wrote me this morning, the piece reads like "a positioning statement for the political aspirations of Mr. Michael Ignatieff; advice to the reader on the exceptional connections and insider's knowledge enjoyed by Mr. Michael Ignatieff; expressions of disdain for the academic discipline that Mr. Michael Ignatieff used to take money for teaching. And why was this serious, honest, morally profound Ignatieff so wrong about the Iraq war? Actually, he doesn't say. He just accuses the people who were right for having had the wrong reasons. We didn't really know anything, you see. We were just being ideologues."

A new report by Oxfam out last week reveals that the war has produced a huge rise in poverty, disease and malnutrition. Some 43 percent of Iraqis live in absolute poverty; a third of the population depends on emergency aid, but over 30 percent of the people who have been displaced by fighting or sectarian murder have lost access to the subsidized food rations on which they used to rely. Some two million have fled their homes to neighboring countries, the entire region is thrown into bloody chaos, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed or maimed, close to 4,000 US men and women are dead and thousands more grievously wounded.

Yet it wasn't Ignatieff's fault but ours--those who opposed this unnecessary and disastrous war, those who, as he puts it, "correctly anticipated catastrophe but did so not by exercising judgment but by indulging in ideology."

It was a keen sense of history and clear judgment--not the ideology displayed by neoliberal hawks like Ignatieff--that led this magazine and other war opponents to understand how disastrously it would end. Mr. Ignatieff--time for a real "mea culpa"?

An Overwhelming Vote for Waste, Earmarks and Corruption

In a Congress where it has become fashionable to gripe about earmarks of a few hundred thousand dollars to pay for small-town museums and urban parks – and, until last week, for construction and repair of bridges – the most expensive waste and corruption is always contained in the annual Department of Defense appropriation. Nowhere in the whole of the budgetary blueprint for allocating tax dollars could a serious observer of federal programs find more bloat, inefficiency, hidden excess and overt overspending that in the Defense plan.

Yet, while members in both parties preach from their bully pulpits about the need to do away with earmarks, the House with virtually no debate on Sunday approved $459.6 billion in new money for the Pentagon. You want earmarks? "This bill has more than 1,300 earmarks. The notion that these had proper review is simply not reasonable," said Arizona Congressman Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican who gave a good speech but still joined the overwhelming majority of House members in voting for every one of those earmarks – and the rest of the $459.6 billion in spending.

Of course, that amount does not include the extra $147 billion in Iraq war funding that the Bush administration has demanded that Congress approve when the Congress returns from its August recess.

Nor does it include the include the various and sundry additional requests to cover nuclear weapons costs, international FBI expenses, the rising demands of the General Services Administration's National Defense Stockpile and Selective Services requirements. Add on debt costs attributable to defense spending and, according to authoritative Center for Defense Information estimates, U.S. taxpayers will dole out at least $878 billion to cover military costs in 2008.

As CDI notes, the final total "will probably be even more."

The key word there is "probably," because even the most skilled analysts can never place a precise figure on what the Pentagon is or will be spending.

What is certain is the fact – confirmed by conservative and liberal analysts – that the bloated defense budget contains waste on a scale unimaginable to even the most ardent earmarkers.

So why was there no serious debate on the Pentagon budget? It's not just that the Bush administration and its Republican allies in Congress continue to use the war on terror as an excuse to enrich defense contractors such as Dick Cheney's Halliburton. As Winslow Wheeler, a veteran of 31 years working with mostly Republican senators on defense issues and a former assistant director of evaluations of national defense programs with the U.S. Government Accountability Office, "Now in control of Congress and having made multiple promises to restore oversight of the war in Iraq and the executive branch in general, the Democrats have been successfully rolled by the White House, the military services, and the big spender pundits."

Adds Wheeler, who now directs CDI's Straus Military Reform Project, "Knowing a patsy when they see one, the defense contractors are now piling on…" And they are getting a lot more "free money" than any of the communities across the U.S. that hope for a tiny earmark here or there to pay for a new bike path or a polka museum.

So how many members of the House refused to get rolled? Not many. The final vote on the Pentagon appropriation for the 2008 fiscal year was 395-13. The "no" votes came from: California's Bob Filner, Barbara Lee and Lynn Woolsey, Georgia's John Lewis, Massachusetts' Barney Frank, Minnesota's Keith Ellison, New York's Nydia Velázquez, Oregon's Earl Blumenauer; New Jersey's Donald Payne, Ohio's Dennis Kucinich, Washington's Jim McDermott and Wisconsin's Tammy Baldwin – all Democrats – and a single Republican "fiscal conservative": Michigan's Vernon Ehlers.

Twenty-four additional members, 14 Republicans and 10 Democrats, did not vote. Two Republican presidential candidates were among their number: Texan Ron Paul and Colorado's Tom Tancredo.

Kucinich, it should be noted, is running for the Democratic presidential nomination.

So far, he is the only contender for the presidency to actually come out against the most excessive and irresponsible spending in the federal budget.

Other presidential candidates – Democrats Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Chris Dodd an Joe Biden and Republicans John McCain and Sam Brownback – will have a chance to vote on the Pentagon spending bill after the August recess.

How they vote will tell Americans everything that needs to be known about who is "fiscally responsible" and who is not.

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John Nichols' new book is THE GENIUS OF IMPEACHMENT: The Founders' Cure forRoyalism. Rolling Stone's Tim Dickinson hails it as a "nervy, acerbic, passionately argued history-cum-polemic [that] combines a rich examination of the parliamentary roots and past use ofthe 'heroic medicine' that is impeachment with a call for Democraticleaders to 'reclaim and reuse the most vital tool handed to us by thefounders for the defense of our most basic liberties.'"

Blogging While Female

So far today I've watched Hillary Clinton take unscripted questions in a small room, seen Barack Obama wow a separate crowd of inquisitors, had Mike Gravel smartly answer something I asked him about eminent domain and was among a crowd of about 1,500 who witnessed an entertaining debate among the Democratic contenders (minus Joe Biden).

But, by far the most interesting and worthwhile thing I saw today at the Yearly Kos Convention, the largest gathering of political bloggers to date taking place this weekend in Chicago, was a panel on blogging while female organized and moderated by The American Prospect's Garance Franke-Ruta. Featuring Jessica Valenti, Amanda Marcotte and Gina Cooper, the panel asked what happened to the long-lost idea that gender was of no consequence on the Internet--that voice and content were all that mattered. The ensuing conversation cut to the heart of critical issues facing users (and abusers) of the Internet, especially, but not only, women. It was also funny, entertaining, inspiring and, most importantly, intent on continuing to build on the strong foundation these pioneers have laid for the coming generation of female political bloggers.

There was relief that the debate has moved beyond the silly question, "Where are the women bloggers?" The answer is that they've been around as long as blogs, it just took their male counterparts a little while to recognize and start linking to them. And, now, as Cooper, the lead organizer for the convention explained, women are well-represented in leadership positions at Yearly Kos as well as at many A-List blogs.

So the issue currently is how to best band together to thwart the obstacles to the continued deployment of the promise of the medium for empowerment. The detailing of countless efforts by unnamed cyber-idiots to try to silence these voices was sobering--Valenti even made the point that online harassment, in important respects, can be more threatening than the off-line variety as you can't gauge its seriousness--but their stories of push-back were transcendent.

I wish I had more time to recount all the many insights of the panel but the Teamsters are hosting a BBQ and I'm late. (Parties are paramount here at Yearly Kos, as at most political conventions!) Those of you well-versed with the liberal blogosphere will be familiar with the online exploits of the panelists. But many Nation readers probably don't regularly read Marcotte on Pandagon, Valenti on Feministing, Cooper at her eponymous blog as well as at Daily Kos and Franke-Ruta at Tapped and TheGarance.com. Check them out if you don't already. Their sites are a great place to steer anyone still inexplicably wondering about the supposed dearth of females in the blogosphere.

Lieberman v. Feingold and the Constitution

During Friday's debate in the US Senate on various proposals to alter the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, Connecticut's sort-of-Democrat, sort-of-Independent, but always loyal to the Bush White House when it comes to debates on how to conduct the War on Terror senator angrily objected to the fact that the chamber was even discussing the difficult challenge of balancing the need to gather intelligence with the requirement that civil liberties be protected.

Joe Lieberman, who in an appearance last Sunday on ABC's This Week referred to efforts to assure that any reform of FISA take into account the right of American citizens to be free from unwarranted government surveillance as "nonsense," told the Senate on Friday that he regretted his colleagues were debating the issue.

In Lieberman's view, congressional oversight of Bush-Cheney Administration moves to expand spying programs amounts to "fiddling" at a time when he just wants to "figure out how to pass a law to modernize this electronic surveillance capacity." The Connecticut Senator's no fiddler. He gruffly told the Senate that it must enact a plan, crafted largely by the White House to dramatically expand President Bush's authority to eavesdrop on suspected foreign terrorists without court warrants.

Lieberman got most of what he wanted, in the form of a six-month expansion of presidential spying powers. That happened because Lieberman and a number of other members of the Democratic caucus voted to cede the authority of the legislative branch to that of the executive branch on a 60-28 division.

The House failed to do the same, however, so the debate that so frustrates the Connecticut Senator continues.

Lieberman's impatience with the dialogue is rooted in the legislator's dismay that matters usually discussed behind closed doors by shadowy men with the highest security clearances--and a few friendly senators --were being reviewed in an open and transparent matter.

Lieberman is a lawyer. Indeed, he is a former state Attorney General.

But he is anything but a Constitutional scholar, let alone a senator who takes seriously the oath he swore to "support and defend the Constitution"--a document that, it should be noted, includes an amendment reading: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Thankfully, another member of the Senate, Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold, feels himself duty-bound to respect the Constitution, and to preserve the rights it outlines.

After Lieberman lodged his complaints, Feingold addressed the Senate.

"Mr. President, let me just respond a bit to what the Senator from Connecticut just indicated.," said Feingold, who was the only member of the chamber to vote against the draconian USA Patriot Act in the Fall of 2001, and who now proposes censuring President Bush for abusing civil liberties and Constitutional requirements in the years since then. "At times of war we don't give up our responsibility in the U.S. Senate to review and make laws. The notion that we simply defer this to the Director of National Intelligence and whatever he says is an abdication of our duties especially in time of war."

To Lieberman's expression of frustration with the fact that intelligence initiatives, such as the Administration's spying program, were being discussed in an open forum, Feingold replied, "The senator regrets we're debating this and some of these very important matters that are generally kept secret are being discussed; I agree, but why aren't they secret? Because the administration was conducting an illegal wiretapping program, and somebody inappropriately blew the lid on it. That wasn't the doing of anybody in this body. That was due to the incompetence and inappropriate conduct of this administration in the first place."

Feingold sees himself as a senator, as as such as a member of a branch of government that is co-equal with the executive branch. It was in that role that he objected to the decision of the chamber to give in to the president's demands for more spying authority. "The day we start deferring to someone who's not a member of this body ... is a sad day for the US Senate," said the Wisconsinite, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on the Constitution. "We make the policy--not the executive branch."

On that point, unfortunately, Feingold was wrong--at least temporarily.

As long as Lieberman can muster the needed Democratic votes to help the White House's Republican allies give the president whatever authority he demands, senators do not make the policy. The White House does. So Friday was, indeed, a sad day--for the Senate, for the Constitution and for the Republic.

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John Nichols' new book is THE GENIUS OF IMPEACHMENT: The Founders' Cure forRoyalism. Rolling Stone's Tim Dickinson hails it as a "nervy, acerbic, passionately argued history-cum-polemic [that] combines a rich examination of the parliamentary roots and past use ofthe 'heroic medicine' that is impeachment with a call for Democraticleaders to 'reclaim and reuse the most vital tool handed to us by thefounders for the defense of our most basic liberties.'"

Exposing Block & Blame Conservatives

No progress on ending the war. No advances on new energy policy. No movement on health care costs. Why is Congress gridlocked?

There has been much smart debate over this vexing question at Yearly Kos, the annual convention of the country's progressive bloggers, currently taking place in Chicago. Different factors prevail but a main one is the GOP's conscious strategy of tying up any potential progress that could come out of Congress as an amusing and effective new video starring Jason Alexander and made by Julie Bergman-Sender suggests.

The video premiered yesterday at the confab with the sponsorship of the Campaign for America's Future. Bergman-Sender is the innovative film producer and media strategist who was responsible for the great Will Ferrell ACT video from two years ago. This time around she's transformed Alexander into a Harry Potter-inspired character called Rovemort who stands at the center of the vast right-wing conspiracy. In her presentation at Yearly Kos Bergman-Sender talked about her hopes that the video will be useful as a tool to pre-empt the Republican contention that this Democratic Congress is a "do nothing" body.

The truth is, as she explained, that as far back as January, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made it clear that he would insist on a 60-vote majority, rather than a simple 50-vote majority, for getting bills through the Senate, claiming that this is "the ordinary procedure." But it's not, as the Campaign for America's Future has painstakingly documented. The reality is that McConnell's abuse of Senate procedures to block the majority will on legislation is "unprecedented" according to CAF. Senate Republicans have launched 43 filibusters on popular reforms in the first seven months of this Congress. That's on pace to triple the previous record. McConnell and Senate Republicans like the filibuster now, but they felt differently when Democrats used it far more sparingly in the 109th Congress against President Bush's most extreme judicial nominees.

Watch the video, pass it on and then click here to tell the Senate obstructionists to stop blocking progress on Iraq, energy policy, health care and more. And check out Ari Melber's Nation reports as well as Garance Franke-Ruta and Ezra Klein at Tapped, among many others, for more on Yearly Kos.