Defamation in the Congressional Record, hoorah!

Well here’s a nice tactic: take an otherwise innocuous legislative amendment designed to exempt grandmothers and Greyhound drivers from liability for transporting a minor across state lines for medicinal purposes, and rewrite the summary to say the amendments are all about protecting rapists and pedophiles. Attempts to change the summaries back to something halfway accurate failed in the Rules Committee on a party-line vote. As Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY) put it:

At least five amendments to this bill, which were designed to protect the rights of family members and innocent bystanders from prosecution under this bill, were rewritten as amendments designed to protect sexual predators from prosecution and were then included in the committee report as if that was the original intent of the authors. The thing is, sexual predators were not mentioned anywhere in any of these amendments.
We can argue over how well [a bill or amendment] has been written or what language it should include to be more effective. But regardless of how that debate turns out, the caption on the top of that bill or amendment serves to instruct the American people as to what original intent of that legislation was.

It serves as an unbiased reading on what that amendment aims to accomplish.

To falsify and rewrite that description as a political attack, is not only unprecedented, it is fundamentally dishonest and it is an abuse of the power given to the Majority by the American people.

The Democrats had better get cracking on those retaliatory bills to provide for veterans and prevent maniuplation of the energy market.

And, dude, legislators have diaries on Daily Kos? Dude.

Tippy-hatty to Rana and Bitch Ph.D.


  1. Rana wrote:

    I love that she posted on Kos. If you go into the comments, you can see that she’s even posting _while on the floor_.
    How cool is that?
    (I have to find _something_ nice in all of this, as I am about to blow a mental gasket thinking about all the rest of it.)

  2. yami wrote:

    Yeah. Hard to say whether it’s comforting to know that this was done for nakedly political purposes because that means they don’t honestly think driving someone to the abortionist is an act of sexual predation, or chilling because they think we won’t notice or care, or chilling because they just have no fucking respect for democracy.

  3. Rana wrote:

    I’m thinking of even writing a letter to the American Historical Association to see if I could get them interested in it — they’re a not inconsequential lobby, and have a considerable investment in Congressional records being accurate. Hmm. Must investigate further.

  4. yami wrote:

    Sounds like a good idea to me.

  5. edwardpig wrote:

    Sensenbrenner needs to be taught shame. I think the best way to do this is to provoke newspapers in his home state of Wisconsin to bang away at this story.
    I’ve taken the time to look up contact info for six Wisconsin newspapers, for anyone who’s interested.

  6. yami wrote:

    Thanks, edwardpig!
    It’s probably a good idea to flog this in the home districts of all the Republican members of the Rules and Judiciary Committees, actually: Judiciary for writing the false summaries in the first place, Rules for refusing to overturn them.

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