University of Georgia graduate and current Georgia House member Paul C. Broun (GA-10) released a statement which included his bid to run for United States Senate. Announced on Feb. 6, Broun will run to take the seat of retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R) in the 2014 race.
Holding a rally in Atlanta, Broun said his intent to run arose as a result of the “out-of-control spending in Washington DC,” with such unnecessary spending having become “our nation’s enemy.”
A campaign spokesperson for Broun said spending cuts is the first and foremost priority for his campaign.
“He believes firmly in advocating to stop the wasteful in Washington,” she said, “and he believes he will be the only candidate in this race to focus on cutting spending and shrinking the size and scope of the federal government.”
The Magnitsky Act, passed recently by the United States Senate, may have been of little interest to Americans, but its impact and aftermath in Russia has been tempestuous.
The act, put very briefly, bars Russians who are implicated in human-rights abuses from entering the United States, and freezes their American bank accounts. Its adoption was accompanied by furious and threatening statements from Russian officials. This week, in a retaliatory move, the Duma, Russia’s lower house, voted almost unanimously for further constraints on non-government organizations that have even the faintest connection to America. Another amendment in the same package introduced a flat ban on the adoption of Russian children by parents in the United States.
This piece of legislation, informally referred to as “anti-Magnitsky bill,” was promptly branded by critics as a “scoundrels’ law” (zakon podletsov remained the most popular hashtag on Russian Twitter earlier this week). It has divided Russian society in a manner unheard of in the past decade. Novaya Gazeta, a non-government newspaper, called for people to sign a petition against the amendment; in just a few days, over a hundred thousand people had signed. The outrage went far beyond the usual suspects—liberals and what can be vaguely described as the community of protesters. Some of the highest-ranking officials, such as the foreign minister and the speaker of the upper house, expressed their disagreement with, or at least doubts about, the ban on adoptions. Even the Russian Orthodox Church is split: Archpriest Dmitry Smirnov, in charge of the Church’s relations with the armed forces, expressed ardent support for the ban, while Bishop Panteleimon, in charge of the church’s charities, suggested that decisions having to do with children had been guided by “political opportunism.”
Some officials appeared to be split even within themselves. On Tuesday, the chairman of the President’s Council for Human Rights said that it was “unethical” to link a response to Magnitsky act to “sick Russian children.”
Two truths are all too often overshadowed in today’s political discourse: Public service is a most honorable pursuit, and so is bipartisanship.
I have been immeasurably honored to serve the people of Maine for nearly 40 years in public office and for the past 17 years in the United States Senate. It was incredibly difficult to decide that I would not seek a fourth term in the Senate.
Some people were surprised by my conclusion, yet I have spoken on the floor of the Senate for years about the dysfunction and political polarization in the institution. Simply put, the Senate is not living up to what the Founding Fathers envisioned.
During the Federal Convention of 1787, James Madison wrote in his Notes of Debates that “the use of the Senate is to consist in its proceedings with more coolness, with more system, and with more wisdom, than the popular branch.” Indeed, the Founding Fathers intended the Senate to serve as an institutional check that ensures all voices are heard and considered, because while our constitutional democracy is premised on majority rule, it is also grounded in a commitment to minority rights.
Yet more than 200 years later, the greatest deliberative body in human history is not living up to its billing. The Senate of today routinely jettisons regular order, as evidenced by the body’s failure to pass a budget for more than 1,000 days; serially legislates by political brinkmanship, as demonstrated by the debt-ceiling debacle of August that should have been addressed the previous January; and habitually eschews full debate and an open amendment process in favor of competing, up-or-down, take-it-or-leave-it proposals. We witnessed this again in December with votes on two separate proposals for a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution.
Why is Wikipedia blacked-out?
Wikipedia is protesting against SOPA and PIPA by blacking out the English Wikipedia for 24 hours, beginning at midnight January 18, Eastern Time. Readers who come to English Wikipedia during the blackout will not be able to read the encyclopedia. Instead, you will see messages intended to raise awareness about SOPA and PIPA, encouraging you to share your views with your representatives, and with each other on social media.
What are SOPA and PIPA?
SOPA and PIPA represent two bills in the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate respectively. SOPA is short for the “Stop Online Piracy Act,” and PIPA is an acronym for the “Protect IP Act.” (“IP” stands for “intellectual property.”) In short, these bills are efforts to stop copyright infringement committed by foreign web sites, but, in our opinion, they do so in a way that actually infringes free expression while harming the Internet. Detailed information about these bills can be found in the Stop Online Piracy Act and PROTECT IP Act articles on Wikipedia, which are available during the blackout. GovTrack lets you follow both bills through the legislative process: SOPA on this page, and PIPA on this one. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to advocating for the public interest in the digital realm, has summarized why these bills are simply unacceptable in a world that values an open, secure, and free Internet.
Why is the blackout happening?
Wikipedians have chosen to black out the English Wikipedia for the first time ever, because we are concerned that SOPA and PIPA will severely inhibit people’s access to online information. This is not a problem that will solely affect people in the United States: it will affect everyone around the world.
Why? SOPA and PIPA are badly drafted legislation that won’t be effective at their stated goal (to stop copyright infringement), and will cause serious damage to the free and open Internet. They put the burden on website owners to police user-contributed material and call for the unnecessary blocking of entire sites. Small sites won’t have sufficient resources to defend themselves. Big media companies may seek to cut off funding sources for their foreign competitors, even if copyright isn’t being infringed. Foreign sites will be blacklisted, which means they won’t show up in major search engines. And, SOPA and PIPA build a framework for future restrictions and suppression.
It is showdown time in the United States Senate for friends and foes of S.968, aka the IP Protect Act, which sets up a fast track system for removing websites that rightsholders deem to be “dedicated to infringing activities.” On Saturday, senators filed a motion of cloture on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) motion to proceed to the bill.
Cloture puts a time frame on deliberation of any Congressional action item. The point is to defeat procedural efforts to block the legislation. The blocker in question took note of this move on Saturday. Six months ago Ron Wyden (D-OR) placed a “hold” on the proposed law. According to senate lingo, a hold is an “informal practice by which a Senator informs his or her floor leader that he or she does not wish a particular bill or other measure to reach the floor for consideration.”
Now Wyden promises to filibuster the legislation when the Senate returns in January.
“As one of a bipartisan group of Senators who strongly objects to proceeding to this bill I believe it is important to begin to outline the very real dangers posed by this bill,” his statement warns.