Violent, chauvinist attitudes to women aren’t confined to Indian politicians.


Violent and abusive men often use their power to obstruct reforms that would protect women. Incredibly, 260 Indian politicians charged with violence against women are fighting off a proposal to make them step down. Only a global, coordinated effort to make candidates like these pay at the polls can banish them from office. Avaaz will collect donations only if we raise enough to win — pledge to chip in $4 now:

Pledge now!

It’s the same story all over the world — abusive, violent men are in charge of making the laws that are supposed to protect women. And they use their power to fend off challenges from victims or voters — but now we can change that.

When a 23-year-old student was brutally gang-raped on a bus in Delhi, citizen protests caught fire across the country and the world erupted in outrage. India commissioned an official review, but this week the government brazenly says it will ignore the review’s recommendation that politicians charged with rape or similar violence against women must step down. The 260 Indian politicians accused of such offences are fighting tooth and nail, and so far they are winning!

The only way to turn this round is a concerted, people-powered effort to banish men like this from office. If 25,000 of us pledge to donate now, Avaaz will be able to create a campaign war chest to take on the worst politicians. They depend on their reputations, and we’ll expose them in the news and social media, including through ads and polls. We’ll start in India — the world’s largest democracy, which is gearing up for national elections — and then stand ready to intervene wherever there are opportunities to change politics and end the war on women!

Avaaz will only process the pledges if we get 25,000, enough to make a real difference. Click here to pledge $4 now:

Here’s the plan: Avaaz will identify elected representatives or election candidates who are known violators of women’s rights. We’ll choose elections which, when we win, will get massive attention and encourage other abusive men to stay away from public office. Then we’ll lay down the gauntlet! We’ll go in hard to kill their chances of clinging to power or getting elected. This could include:

  • running opinion polls to encourage their parties to choose other candidates;
  • organising actions in their local area;
  • encouraging local and national reporters to cover their crimes;
  • releasing ads in major print, TV and radio outlets;
  • hiring lawyers to ensure their victims aren’t intimidated into silence;
  • running hard-hitting campaigns to end the war on women.

Violent, chauvinist attitudes to women aren’t confined to Indian politicians. Italy’s former PM Silvio Berlusconi could be elected again this month despite facing trial for sex with a minor. Morocco just let off an MP sentenced for a year for raping a civil servant… then laid charges on the rape survivor! Berlusconi owns a tonne of Italy’s media, so gets off lightly there, while in Morocco and other countries, powerful people can lean on judges and media bosses. So people-powered campaigns are the only way to end the culture of impunity!

Worldwide, 1 in 5 women will become a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime according to UN studies. Until men like these are kicked out of power, we’ll never get the changes to laws and attitudes that women need. Our power multiplies when these guys are at their most vulnerable: when they’re running for office and need every vote they can muster. We’ve seen how much positive change pro-women politicians — male and female — can bring to our societies, so let’s make room for them! Help reach the goal — pledge to chip in $4 now:

We know this strategy works. A few months ago when Republican front-runner for US Senate Todd Akin suggested some rapes are “legitimate”, savvy bloggers and campaigners turned the story into his worst nightmare. The firestorm they created cost him the race, and the Republican Party, calling his remarks “insulting and inexcusable”, pulled his funding and asked him to step aside. It sparked a conversation about sexual violence that’s still going on in the US.

We can ensure that men like Akin can no longer get into office anywhere. If enough of us pledge to donate a small amount now, we can launch rapid-response campaigning that could flip elections like Akin’s across the world and get other political parties to think again. Pledge your support now so we can get started:

Time and again, Avaaz members have risen to the challenge of defending women’s rights: in Afghanistan, we helped protect Lal Bibi when she spoke out about her horrific rape; in Honduras, we fought alongside local women against a law that would jail women for using the morning-after pill, even if they’ve been raped. Now we can address these issues at the source, by changing who sits in parliaments and ministries, making decisions about women’s lives!

With hope,

Mia, David, Jooyea, Michelle, Alex, Ricken, Alaphia, Emily and the whole Avaaz team


For politicians, shaming rapists should start at home (Firstpost):

The Government vs. the Committee (WSJ):

Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock fall to Senate defeats (Guardian):

How widespread is violence against women? (UN):

Miscarriage of justice: MP Accused of Rape Acquitted, Plaintiff Arrested (Morocco World News):

Savior ?

By ThinkProgress War Room

Marco Rubio: Just More of the Same

As we discussed earlier this week, the GOP is in the process of trying to rebrand itself without actually changing any of its policies. Due to his starring role in the immigration debate, youth, Hispanic background, and obvious interest in higher office, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is often touted as the future of the GOP. This week’s TIME magazine cover even bills Rubio as “the Republican savior.”

A closer look at Rubio’s record and views, however, reveals that aside from immigration, Rubio rarely departs from GOP orthodoxy on any major issue. In fact, his record is really more of the same extreme conservatism we’ve unfortunately come to know well in recent. ThinkProgress’ Igor Volsky rounds up eight reasons why Marco Rubio is not, in fact, the GOP’s savior but is rather just more of the same:

1. Refused to raise the debt ceiling. Rubio voted against the GOP’s compromise measure to temporarily suspend the debt limit through May 19 in order avoid defaulting on the national debt. In a statement posted on his website, Rubio insisted that he would hold the debt ceiling increase hostage “unless it is tied with measures to actually solve our debt problem through spending reforms.”

2. Co-sponsored and voted for a Balanced Budget Amendment. “Now more than ever, we need a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” Rubio proclaimed in 2011. A Balanced Budget Amendment would force the government to slash spending during an economic downturn, driving up unemployment and making the downturn worse, in a vicious cycle. If the amendment were in place during the last financial crisis, unemployment would have doubled.

3. Signed the Norquist pledge. Rubio pledged to never raise taxes under any circumstances and even voted against the last-minute deal to avert the fiscal cliff, since the deal included $600 billion in revenue. “Thousands of small businesses, not just the wealthy, will now be forced to decide how they’ll pay this new tax,” Rubio noted in a statement.

4. Backed Florida’s voter purge. Rubio defended Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) attempted purge Democratic voters from the rolls, brushing off its disproportionate targeting of Latino voters. He also defended Florida’s decision to shorten its early voting period from two weeks to eight days by pointing to “the cost-benefit analysis.” After Election Day, several prominent Florida Republicans admitted that the election law changes were geared toward suppressing minority and Democratic votes and researchers found that long voting lines drove away at least 201,000 Florida voters.

5. Doesn’t believe in climate change. During a recent BuzzFeed interview, Rubio claimed has “seen reasonable debate” over whether humans are causing climate change. Scientists have long agreed that the debate is now over.

6. Opposed federal action to help prevent violence against women. Rubio voted against the motion to proceed to debate the Violence Against Women Act, noting that he disagrees with portions of the bill. Rubio claims he supports a scaled-back version of the legislation.

7. Believes employers should be able to deny birth control to their employees.Rubio co-sponsored a bill — along with Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) — that sought to nullify Obamacare’s requirement that employers provide contraception to their employees without additional co-pays by permitting businesses to voluntarily opt out of offering birth control.

8. Recorded robo calls for anti-gay hate group. Rubio has previously boasted the endorsement of anti-gay hate groups like the Family Research Council and during the election recorded robocalls for the National Organization of Marriage urging Americans to deny equal rights to gays and lesbians. He recently wouldn’t take a position on legislation that would prohibit employers from firing employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identify and wouldn’t say “whether same-sex couples should receive protections under immigration law.”

BOTTOM LINE: From LGBT rights to women’s rights to the rejection of basic science, Marco Rubio holds a variety of extreme views — the same extreme views that were soundly defeated at the ballot box last November. If Rubio is the GOP’s future, that future is going to look very much like the past.

Evening Brief: Important Stories That You Might’ve Missed

The biggest loser: Karl Rove or the Tea Party?

Alabama GOP advancing bill to close the state’s last abortion clinics.

Key GOP congressman floats plan to create permanent immigrant underclass.

Gun show attendees themselves explain why we need background checks.

Transvaginal probe laws are back.

Another GOP governor decides to expand Medicaid under Obamacare.

The devastating budget cuts that have already happened and those yet to come.

LAPD accidentally shoots two women in the midst of gun killer investigation.

The GOP’s immigration plan is no plan. Team : Commemorates Two Crucial Events

African American History Month presents a special opportunity to learn about the struggles, achievements, and contributions of generations of African Americans.

This year, our nation commemorates two important events: the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation and the 1963 March on Washington.

In an exhibition that runs until September 15, the Smithsonian explores the accomplishments and limitations of these two events and their impact on American history. You can view the exhibition online or visit the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC.

CONGRESS: Republican led House :::::: the Senate led by Democrats


the Senate Convenes: 2:00pmET February 11, 2013

  • Following any Leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of S.47, the Violence Against Women Act.
  • The time until 5:30pm will be equally divided and controlled between the two Leaders or their designees with Senator Cornyn controlling 45 minutes of the Republican time.
  • At 5:30pm, there will be up to 7 roll call votes in relation to the following:
    • Leahy amendment the text of which is at the desk (sex trafficking)
    • Portman amendment #10 (sex trafficking)
    • Murkowski amendment #11 (tribal protections)
    • Coburn amendment #13 (strikes tribal provisions)
    • Coburn amendment #15 (consolidate DOJ rape programs)
    • Coburn amendment #16 (notice to victims)
    • Passage of S.47, the Violence Against Women Act, as amended, if amended


Last Floor Action:
1:48:39 P.M. – The House adjourned pursuant to a previous special order.

The next meeting is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on February 12, 2013.

11:00:00 A.M. The House convened, starting a new legislative day. February 8,2013
11:00:47 A.M. The Speaker designated the Honorable Mac Thornberry to act as Speaker pro tempore for today.
11:01:41 A.M. Today’s prayer was offered by Reverend Brian Chrzastek, O.P., Dominican House of Studies, Washington, DC.
11:02:28 A.M. The Speaker announced approval of the Journal. Pursuant to clause 1, rule I, the Journal stands approved.
11:02:30 A.M. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG – The Chair led the House in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
11:03:00 A.M. The House received a message from the Clerk. Pursuant to the permission granted in Clause 2(h) of Rule II of the Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Clerk notified the House that she had received the following message from the Secretary of the Senate on February 8, 2013 at 10:08 a.m.: That the Senate agreed to H. Con. Res. 11, without amendment.
11:04:20 A.M. PERMANENT SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE – Pursuant to clause 11 of rule X, clause 11 of rule 1, and the order of the House of January 3, 2013, the Speaker appointed the following members of the House to the PERMANENT SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE: Mr. Thornberry, Mr. Miller of FL, Mr. Conaway, Mr. King of NY, Mr. LoBiondo, Mr. Nunes, Mr. Westmoreland, Mrs. Bachmann, Mr. Rooney, Mr. Heck of NV and Mr. Pompeo .
11:04:21 A.M. COMMISSION ON LONG-TERM CARE – Pursuant to section 643(c) of the American Taxpayer Relief Act (Pub. L. 112-240), and the order of the House of January 3, 2013, the Speaker appointed Ms. Judy Brachman, Bexly, OH, Mr. Stephen Guillard, Chatham, MA, and Ms. Grace-Marie Turner, Alexandria, VA.
11:04:56 A.M. The Speaker announced that the House do now adjourn pursuant to a previous special order. The next meeting is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. on February 12, 2013.

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