Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Republicans Against Expanding Scope of ‘Violence Against Women Act’; No One Sure What They are Thinking

Actually Everyone Is Sure They Are Not Thinking

In what everyone would think is surely a no brainer the Senate is debating the extension of a 1994 law labeled Violence Against Women.  And to the surprise of no one, Conservatives seem unalterably opposed.

With emotions still raw from the fight over President Obama’s contraception mandate, Senate Democrats are beginning a push to renew the Violence Against Women Act, the once broadly bipartisan 1994 legislation that now faces fierce opposition from conservatives.

Ok, what exactly is their opposition based on?  Well proponents of continuing the very radical idea that government should actually protect citizens from harm, and provide special protection for the most vulnerable of citizens want to expand the act.  Expand it how, well here are the “terrible freedom robbing” provisions that Conservatives object to.

The legislation would continue existing grant programs to local law enforcement and battered women shelters, but would expand efforts to reach Indian tribes and rural areas. It would increase the availability of free legal assistance to victims of domestic violence, extend the definition of violence against women to include stalking, and provide training for civil and criminal court personnel to deal with families with a history of violence. It would also allow more battered illegal immigrants to claim temporary visas, and would include same-sex couples in programs for domestic violence.

See, in the minds of Conservatives women who are illegally in this country shouldn’t have protection against domestic violence, heck maybe Conservatives think that they should be battered as punishment for being in this country illegally.  And same sex couples, well they certainly don’t deserve protection, just think what they are doing.

Republicans say the measure, under the cloak of battered women, unnecessarily expands immigration avenues by creating new definitions for immigrant victims to claim battery. More important, they say, it fails to put in safeguards to ensure that domestic violence grants are being well spent. It also dilutes the focus on domestic violence by expanding protections to new groups, like same-sex couples, they say.

Now remember that this is the party of ‘family values’.  And just once, if it’s not asking too much could the party of family values actually practice and support family values?  Support of the bill so far has five, count em, five Republicans so far but the Republicans in the Judiciary Committee all voted against the bill.

The latest Senate version of the bill has five Republican co-sponsors, including Michael D. Crapo of Idaho, a co-author, but it failed to get a single Republican vote in the Judiciary Committee last month.

Actually re-authorization of the bill was initially a non political event

The third reauthorization effort of the legislation started off in November the way the previous efforts had, with a bipartisan bill and little controversy. The measure, authored by Senators Crapo and Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, attracted 58 co-sponsors, including Republicans Susan Collins and Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, Ms. Murkowski, Mark Steven Kirk of Illinois and Scott P. Brown of Massachusetts.

But then the ultra Conservatives jumped into action, they being opposed to almost anything government does except cut taxes and reduce regulations.

Janice Shaw Crouse, a senior fellow at the conservative Concerned Women for America, said her group had been pressing senators hard to oppose reauthorization of legislation she called “a boondoggle” that vastly expands government and “creates an ideology that all men are guilty and all women are victims.”

Last month on the conservative Web site Townhall.com, the conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly called the Violence Against Women Act a slush fund “used to fill feminist coffers” and demanded that Republicans stand up against legislation that promotes “divorce, breakup of marriage and hatred of men.”

And yes, The Dismal Political Economist is confused about how protecting women against domestic violence promotes divorce and the breakup of marriage (people like Ms. Crouse and Ms. Schlafly apparently being in favor of battered women staying in a marriage) But they are right on one point, the Dismal Political Economist does admit that he hates men, the qualifier being he hates men who physically and emotionally batter women.  But to Conservatives that must be a denial of basic rights,  those basic rights belonging of course to the 13th Century.

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