Dean Obeidallah

Dean Obeidallah

Dean Obeidallah is a former lawyer turned political comedian and commentator. Dean has appeared on numerous TV shows including CNN, Comedy Central's "Axis of Evil" Special, Current TV's "The Young Turks," ABC's "The View," MSNBC's "Up With Chris Hayes," NBC's "Rock Center," and ABC's "Nightline." Dean has written articles for CNN.comThe Huffington Post, BBC Radio and written jokes which have appeared on NBC's "Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update" segment and CBS' "The Late, Late Show." He is also co-director of the soon to be released "The Muslims Are Coming!" Twitter: @deanofcomedy

Website URL: http://www.deanofcomedy.com

Why isn’t the Colorado shooter considered a Terrorist?

22 July 2012 Published in Blog

James Holmes is a terrorist.

You would think this would be undisputed. But it’s not. Why? Two reasons keep coming up: 1. He had no overt political agenda for his attack and/or; 2. He is not a Muslim.

I’m sure some are saying: Why does his religion matter? Let us be honest: If James Holmes had instead been named Jalal and was Muslim, the response by the media and most Americans would be different. The presumption would be that he’s a terrorist. The political reason for the attack many say is currently missing would be a given simply because of his Muslim faith.

There would be calls to increase police surveillance of American-Muslims and justifications offered for racial profiling. People like Representative Michelle Bachmann would likely claim that the attack was part of the Muslim Brotherhood’s campaign to destroy America. After all, just last week Bachmann claimed that the Muslim Brotherhood was infiltrating the US government. (I personally wish that Bachmann’s brain would be infiltrated by intelligence.)

But the facts are clear that the greatest threat to the lives of Americans is not Muslim terrorists. Indeed, in 2011, approximately 14,000 Americans were murdered on US soil. How many were killed by Islamic terrorists? Zero. 

Despite this fact, Representative Peter King, chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, continues to solely focus on the “radicalization” of American-Muslims, instead of the radicalization of any American. It’s about time that Peter King stop demonizing Muslims for political gain and start using his committee’s work to save American lives.

So why do I believe Holmes is a terrorist? First and foremost, because of Holmes extensive planning. The Aurora, Colorado police chief described the attack as being designed with "calculation and deliberation." Several months ago, Holmes apparently put his plan into action when he purchased a handgun and shotgun from a local store. Holmes later purchased a third weapon–-an AR-15 assault rifle--from another store about one mile from the theater where he committed his bloody assault.

Holmes also purchased 6,000 rounds of ammunition over the Internet. In addition, on the night of his terrorist attack, he donned a Kevlar helmet, a gas mask, a tactical bullet-resistant vest, bulletproof leggings, a neck and groin protector and special tactical gloves.

And Holmes, not content to just kill the people in the theater, even rigged his apartment with jars of liquids, explosives and chemicals. The intention being to kill or maim any person who entered his residence after the attack.

This is truly Terrorism 101. It is as evil as the people who attacked our nation on 9/11.

Finally, I don’t subscribe to the view that you need an overt political agenda to be labeled a terrorist. In fact, neither does US law.

Federal law defines the term "domestic terrorism" to mean activities that:

         (A) Involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;

         (B) appear to be intended -

           (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;

           (ii) to influence the policy of a government by Intimidation or coercion; or

           (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and

         (C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

Consequently, a person can be found guilty of “domestic terrorism” if he/she: 1. Engages in acts dangerous to human lives which violate US/State law – in this case shooting people; and 2. The action “appears to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population.”

There is a strong argument that James Holmes goal was to achieve just that. He wanted to instill terror in the hearts of Americans. To make us all fear that in the friendly confides of our neighborhood movie theater, another killer could be lurking in the darkness waiting to open fire.

Some say in Holmes defense that he was crazy. I honestly think we would prefer to believe that as opposed to labeling a fellow American a terrorist.

But there are simply no signs of insanity. Holmes has shown no prior incidence of mental illness. He has no prior criminal history. He has been described as a brilliant young man who excelled at science. The only blemish in the glowing description of Holmes was that he was a loner.

While it’s painful for some, we must as a nation come to the realization that terrorism does not come from just one religion, race or ethnicity. Terrorism knows no such bounds.

However, there is, of course, still a chance that Holmes is insane. Most undoubtedly would prefer to give Holmes the benefit of the doubt on that issue. However, I doubt most would apply that same standard if Holmes were Muslim.

Is Mitt Romney actually “Stupid”?

18 July 2012 Published in Blog

Could Mitt Romney be “stupid”?

That’s the question CNN’s Erin Burnett posed on her show this past Monday when discussing Romney’s refusal to release his past income tax returns. Actually, she hypothesized that there were three possible reasons Mitt refused to release them:

“One, he had a lot more money in tax shelters in prior years than he does now."

"Two, he did something shady.”

“Or, three, he's stupid."

Could Mitt’s refusal to release these documents--which are clearly hurting his campaign—be because of stupidity?

Look, there’s no doubt Mitt is very book smart. He earned two graduate degrees from Harvard--an MBA and Law degree-which he received after cramming 5 years of studying into 4 years. Only about 12 people per year achieve this feat at Harvard. 

But in the immortal words of “Forrest Gump:” “Stupid is as stupid does.” Which means that even if you have the best education in the world, and are a multi-millionaire, if you do stupid things, you’re stupid. It’s that simple.

Maybe the dictionary can help us decide this issue.  Merriam-Webster dictionary.com’s tells us that the most appropriate definition of the word “stupid” is: “Given to unintelligent decisions or acts.”

So, is withholding tax returns an “unintelligent decision” aka "stupid"? It would seem to be when polls indicate that 61% of Independent voters think Romney should release his returns from the last 12 years. (To date, Romney has only released his 2010 returns and an estimate for 2011.)

Add to that, Republican leaders have been increasingly calling for Romney to release these returns, including Congressman Ron Paul, Texas Governor Rick Perry, and Alabama Governor Robert Bentley.

And, add even to that, well-known conservatives in the media such as George Will, Bill Kristol, and “The National Review” have, too, called upon Romney to be more forthcoming and release returns for additional years.

It's true that presidential candidates are not legally mandated to release their tax returns. Yet candidates since FDR have voluntarily released them. These candidates--Democrats and Republicans alike--understood that this is about transparency. We, the people, are entitled to know how our possible future president made their income, how much taxes they have paid as well as to know what and where they have invested.

That is why Mitt Romney’s own father--George Romney--released 12 years of his tax returns when he was seeking the 1968 Republican Presidential nomination. Bob Dole--the Republican presidential nominee in 1996—released 30 years of his past returns, while George W. Bush released nine years and Barack Obama seven.

And when presidential candidates refused to be forthcoming in releasing tax returns, such as in the case of Democratic presidential candidates Michael Dukakis and Bill Clinton, the media hammered them until they were released.

Lets state the obvious to make the stakes clear: Mitt Romney is seeking to be the head of the biggest economy and most lethal military in the world. He will in essence be the leader of the free world and one of the most powerful people on this planet. Thus, we deserve to know as much as possible about him and certainly information regarding facts which are solely within his possession--like his tax returns.

This growing controversy is reminiscent of the one started by the right that President Obama was not born in the United States. These “birthers” kept pressing this issue until it became a distraction to President Obama’s agenda. Consequently, President Obama had no other way to put the issue to rest than to finally release his long form birth certificate in April 2011.

Mitt Romney is obviously aware of both the birther issue and the past “taxer” issues. And just as in those instances, this issue is becoming a distraction to his campaign and an ever-expanding albatross around his neck.

This brings us back to the original question: Could Romney be stupid? Very doubtful. But not releasing his tax returns is stupid. It will plague him through the campaign until Election Day. However, despite this obvious downside, Romney still refuses to release the returns.

To quote another iconic line from "Forest Gump:" “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." Well, only Mitt Romney knows what’s in his income tax returns and he’s certainly fully aware of what he’s “gonna get” in response if he releases them.

It appears that Romney would prefer to be labeled “stupid” than release his past tax returns. Could it be that the consequences of releasing his returns are far worse?

Mitt Romney is not a flip-flopper

18 July 2012 Published in Blog

(CNN) -- "This is a man without a core, a man without substance, a man that will say anything to become president of the United States."

Rudy Giuliani uttered these harsh words when describing Mitt Romney eight months ago. But then, four months later, Giuliani endorsed Romney.

Is Giuliani correct? Is Romney truly a man "without a core"? The simple answer: No. Romney has a distinct core -- not that of a politician, but of a CEO.

What do I mean? We have become accustomed in these highly partisan times to politicians who adhere rigidly to their ideological positions. They don't change their views to attract supporters. Rather, they want voters to agree with the positions they advocate.

In contrast, a CEO is not shackled by ideology. A CEO's success is measured by the bottom line, not by how many principles he or she sticks to.

To the CEO, if a product is not selling, you don't stick with it until the product destroys your business. Instead, you tweak it. You rebrand it. You try a new slogan or new packaging. And if people are still not buying it, like New Coke, you drop it. You regroup, come up with a new product and then start selling again.

To continue reading this article, please click HERE to visit CNN.com


Super Tax the Super PACs

01 July 2012 Published in Blog

The rich and powerful just got more powerful--and most likely richer.

While all eyes have been focused on the Supreme Court’s healthcare ruling, the Court quietly released a decision last Monday that could impact even more Americans.

The Supreme Court had a chance with this new case to reverse its infamous 2010 Citizens United decision. By way of brief background, the Citizens United ruling, together with the federal appeals court decision in Speechnow.org vs. FECgave birth to the monstrosity known as Super PACs--independent political action committees which advocate for or against a specific candidate. And worse yet, these rulings ended restrictions Congress had imposed on the amount of money corporations, unions and wealthy individuals could contribute to these "independent" political committees. 

But instead, the Supreme Court decided to increase the flow and influence of corporate money in our political system by striking down Montana’s Corrupt Practices Act, a law which had been enacted in 1912 to end the corruption caused by the “copper kings”--the big mining companies--which had been essentially buying politicians with large donations and bribes. This Montana law had banned corporate donations to political organizations for 100 years until the Court struck it down and declared that States--in addition to the US Congress--could not enact legislation barring corporations from contributing to Super PACs.

Who could oppose guarding our political system from potential corruption and increase corporate influence over our political system? Well, at least the five Justices who voted to strike the Montana law down. (Anyone surprised that these five Justices were all appointed by Republican Presidents?)

There are currently 640 Super PACs and, in 2012 alone, these groups have already raised over $240 million. In this year’s election cycle, millions of dollars are being thrown around like a drunk stock broker in a high-end strip club “making it rain” by tossing fifty dollar bills at strippers.

Lets be honest: How can a politician supported by millions from a wealthy individual or corporation ever say “no” when asked by them to vote a certain way or take a position on an issue? If you say they can't, then you're among the 77% of Americans who believe politicians will stand with the big money contributors over the public interest. 

Where is this heading? Can you say: “Citizens-gate”? (Okay, I’m not sure of what we will actually call the scandal, but I'm pretty sure the suffix will be "gate.")  Our politicians are dangerously in peril of returning the dark days when they were up for sale to big money donors like the crooked “Nucky Thompson” in HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire.”

And this development has not gone unnoticed by American voters. A recent poll found that 70% of Americans believe that the current Super PAC system will lead to corruption. And just last week, Senator John McCain echoed this gloomy prognosis when speaking of the Citizens United decision: "I think there will be scandals as associated with the worst decision of the Supreme Court in the 21st century.”

What’s astounding to me is that opposition to Super PACs is one of the few things that unite people from both political parties. Indeed, a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 69% of Americans want Super PACs to be illegal.  

The rise of Super PACs is also resulting in a very alarming consequence: polls indicate that 65% of Americans now trust the government less because big donors have more influence than the average voter. And worse, 26% percent of Americans now say they are less likely to vote because of Super PACs. That number will undoubtedly increase as more Americans feel that that our political system is being controlled by the wealthy and big corporations.

The stakes are clear: the Super PACs are a threat to our democracy. I’d say a “clear and present” danger but I don’t want to be overly melodramatic--but it's truly close to that. The pitfalls of the current Super PAC system are clear: Increased  chances for corruption, undermining confidence in our political system and Americans checking out of the process because they feel the system is unfairly rigged in favor of the wealthy and big corporations.

The question is what can be done? We have few options:

1. Amend the US Constitution to impose limits on these types of contributions. This could work but would take years;

2. Stop paying the Supreme Court Justices until they reverse their decision. Okay, I’m kidding with this one but I bet it would have an impact; or

3. The most immediate and practical solution is Congress imposing a tax on the Super PACs. And not just any tax, but a Super tax. (There would no doubt be a court challenge to this tax, but as we observed this past week with the healthcare ruling, the Supreme Court is very deferential to Congress' power to impose taxes.)

Did you know that Super PACs don’t pay taxes on the contributions they receive? Unbelievable, isn’t? These Super PACS are no doubt businesses but the contributions are not taxable because they are considered “gifts” under federal tax law. C’mon, a gift is a bouquet of flowers or a tie, not $2 million with the hope of changing public policy to help your corporation or personal investments.

The contributions to Super PACS should be deemed income. The money is given for a service, namely that the Super PAC will use the funds to lobby the American people on behalf of the donor. And for contributions over the current limit an individual can contribute to a federal political candidate – $2,500 – I propose a fifty percent flat tax be imposed which doesn’t allow deductions.

The funds raised from this “super tax” can be used to reduce the deficit or to increase the amount presidential candidates are offered for public financing.

At some point there will again be limits imposed on contributions by wealthy individuals and corporations–-the question is do we first need another “Watergate” type scandal to make that happen?

Why it's actually good for Obama if Supreme Court Strikes Obamacare

24 June 2012 Published in Blog

(New York, NY) This is a HUGE week! For those who follow politics, you know why.

For the rest of you, let me put it in perspective: This news is bigger than Snooki getting pregnant or Justin Bieber beating up a member of the paparazzi. It's even bigger than the finale of “Dancing with the Stars” and “The Biggest Loser”-- combined!

This week, the United States Supreme Court is expected to decide the fate of the Affordable Health Care Act- also known “affectionately” as Obamacare.  

Will the law be upheld or will it be struck down in whole or in part? It’s like trying to guess the identity of the person Kim Kardashian will marry next (and then quickly divorce)--everyone has an opinion and there are no wrong answers. (My view is that the Supreme Court will uphold the law, deferring to Congress, thus allowing the issue to be resolved in the political arena.)

To me, the most intriguing part of this impending decision is its political implications. The prevailing wisdom – if “wisdom” is even a word that can be applied to anything involving our politics today –is that if the Supreme Court strikes down the law, it will be a big blow to President Obama and will negatively impact his reelection campaign. I completely disagree.

Even though this law is President Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment, it’s very unpopular. Recent polls indicate that only one third of Americans support it and, worse yet for Obama, only 21% of Independents.

Mitt Romney views the law as such a liability for Obama that he made it a central part of his very first campaign commercial after effectively securing the Republican nomination. In this ad, Romney sets out what he would do “Day One” of his presidency, which includes his boast that he would dismantle Obamacare. In contrast, if I were elected President, on my first day in office, I’d be more focused on picking out the best closets in the White House and locating the good Chinese restaurants in the area.

But if the Supreme Court strikes it down, it pulls the rug out from under Romney on this line of attack. Can Romney truly hope to attract voters by saying: “Remember that health care law we didn't like, well if it was still in effect, I would get rid of it.” It would be like “Captain America” coming to save us from a monster that has already been killed by “The Hulk.”

While that doesn't help Romney's campaign, he arguably an has even bigger problem if the Supreme Court finds this law unconstitutional. Romney has claimed that if Obama is reelected, he will be: “unrestrained by the demands of re-election,” meaning Obama can run amuck and do whatever he wants in his second term. Who knows what Obama might try: Ban guns? Impose communism? Force straight people to marry gay people?

However, the Supreme Court striking down Obamacare undercuts this fear tactic by Romney because it proves that the checks and balances enshrined in our Constitution work. If one branch goes too far, another branch will rein them. This is the express purpose of having three branches of government--it creates a checks and balance system to avoid tyranny as James Madison famously stated in The Federalist Papers.

If the healthcare law and the "Fear factor" Romney is peddling regarding Obama are gone, guess what he's stuck with running on: The economy. While that may sound appealing, it isn't--not only because when Romney was Governor of Massachusetts, his State was 47th in job creation--but because as a new poll released this week found, almost 60% of Americans believe that the President has little impact on job creation. We are now collectively grasping that issues beyond the President's control--such as the European economic crisis and oil prices--greatly impact our economic well being.

Bottom line: Mitt Romney has to be rooting for the Supreme Court to uphold the health care law and especially the unpopular individual mandate portion. (Which ironically is the same mandate Romney championed in Massachusetts when he was Governor.)  

In any event, a recent poll found that 77% of Americans want Congress to start work on a new health care bill if this law is struck down. Meaning that this issue is not going away even if the court strikes it down. Perhaps striking it down gives Obama another shot a health care law that will be effective and popular with the American people. (And if the Court upholds the law, President Obama needs to start better explaining the positive aspects of the law so that we are all  better informed on the full scope of this law--as of now, the negative voices are driving the narrative despite polls showing a solid majority of Americans support many key parts of the law.)

So America, set your DVR's and invite your friends over to watch the US Supreme Court announce the decision of the decade live on TV! Oh yeah, you can’t watch it live on TV because the US Supreme Court won’t let cameras in. Parenthetically I think this is a mistake – I could envision a new popular reality TV series: “The Real Judges of the Supreme Court.”

If the health care law is struck down this week, President Obama will undoubtedly be disappointed. But watch Mitt Romney ‘s response closely to see if you can detect if he, too, is unhappy. He should be.

Where are the good Christians?

22 June 2012 Published in Blog

(CNN) -- Christianity in America is being hijacked. The faith known for Jesus Christ's teaching of "love thy neighbor as yourself" is in danger of being redefined by the far right as: "Hate the gays, Mormons and Muslims."

Just this past weekend, Christian missionaries -- including members of the organization Bible Believers -- traveled to one of the biggest Arab-American festivals in the country to taunt Muslims. These so-called Christians held up a pig's head while spewing hateful words about Islam. In the past, they have also attacked Catholicism as a "false doctrine."

 If they were the only Christians spewing hate, they could simply be ignored. But they are not. Alarmingly, some well-known Christian leaders and pastors have articulated thoughts that range from intolerant to truly hateful.

 One of the worst offenders is Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, a Christian organization whose astounding level of anti-gay rhetoric resulted in it being designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Fischer recently said on his radio show, "It is altogether right to discriminate against homosexual behavior" because it should not be acceptable to "any rational society." He has called for gays to be disqualified from public office and went so far as to claim that Hitler used gay storm troopers because straight solders would never engage in the brutality of the Nazis.

To continue reading this article, pleas click HERE for CNN.com



What's behind dissing of the president?

21 June 2012 Published in Blog

(CNN) -- A reporter from a right-wing media outlet heckled President Obama -- not once, but twice -- on Friday as he was unveiling a new immigration policy. If this shocks you, you haven't been paying attention. This is simply the latest page from the right's playbook to delegitimize Barack Obama's presidency.

Some may dismiss it as an isolated incident, but it's not. It goes much deeper. Believe me, I know hecklers -- I'm a stand-up comedian. If someone heckles me once, it can be a mistake: too many drinks, overcome by emotion, etc. But when you heckle twice, you have an agenda.

Neil Munro, the Irish born reporter who heckled President Obama, was not just from some random publication. He works for The Daily Caller, a right-wing website whose editor-in-chief is the bow-tie wearing Tucker Carlson. (You may recall Carlson as the guy who famously sparred with — and was taken down by -- Jon Stewart on CNN years ago.)

Munro's first heckle occurred while President Obama was in midsentence, with Munro yelling out: "Why do you favor foreigners over Americans?" Obama responded: "Excuse me, sir, but it's not time for questions." Munro countered: "Are you going to take questions?"

To which the president answered: "Not while I'm speaking."

Later, Munro again interrupted the president in midstatement. Obama kept his cool; he simply finished his statement. If I had been president, I would have deported Munro back to his country of origin.

To continue reading this article, pleas click HERE for CNN.com


Obama, Romney: time to debate, and curse?

16 June 2012 Published in Blog

(CNN)  Fact: Americans love to curse. We, the people, use profanity every day. Some will deny this reality, but those people are [expletive] kidding themselves.

Cursing is in our movies, TV shows, books and magazines. It's also a big part of our daily conversations -- especially when we get passionate about something.

However, for some bizarre reason, we demand that our elected officials not speak like the rest of us. We condemn them for even the slightest bit of swearing in public.

For example, about a week ago, House Speaker John Boehner was rebuked for using these words when speaking to Republican House members: "Let's call bulls--- bulls---"

President Obama raised more than a few eyebrows when he stated in a 2010 television interview that he wanted to know "whose ass to kick" to get the cleanup of the BP oil spill moving faster.

And Vice President Joe Biden came under fire for saying to President Obama during the signing ceremony of the health care law: "This is a big f---- deal!"

We need to stop being so hypocritical in holding our politicians to a ridiculously prudish standard of communication. If we get worked up about an issue, we wouldn't just use the King's English to explain how we really feel -- we'd be adding some French.

But we have neutered our politicians' intensity and passion by limiting their choice of words. And then we wonder why so many of our elected officials -- and especially our presidential candidates -- seem so bland and hard to relate to.

To continue reading this article, please click HERE for CNN.com.

Liberals want Obama to be a king, not a President

14 June 2012 Published in Blog

(CNN) Can liberals ever be happy? I keep asking myself this question as I hear an increasing number complaining about President Obama.

There seems to be a Greek chorus of liberal whining: "I'm disappointed by him." "I expected more." "I thought he would be different."

Earlier this week, singer Jackson Browne, a vocal 2008 Obama supporter, lamented that President Obama is "...just as beholden to the people who put him in office as any of the Republicans would be."

Matt Damon, who had very publicly supported Obama in 2008, has now very publicly attacked President Obama. Damon even went so far as to heap praise on former President Bush, saying: "I would kiss George W. Bush on the mouth" in appreciation for his work fighting AIDS in Africa. Although Damon did note his kiss of Bush would be limited to: "Three seconds, no tongue."

Others turning on Obama include John Cusack, comedian/actor Jon Lovitz, and even the distinguished professor Cornel West, who called Obama: "A black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats."

A new Gallup Poll released this week found that President Obama's support among liberals was at its lowest point in seven months, although it's still a solid majority of 70%.


To continue reading please click HERE to see the full article on CNN.com

Do Women REALLY Deserve to be Paid the Same as Men?

05 June 2012 Published in Blog

What do you think the pay would be for two people working in the same workplace, doing the same job, for the same length of time? If your answer was “the same,” odds are you would be wrong if one of those two employees was a woman.

Women in America are in general paid less than men. That is a fact. And not just a few cents less, but women on average earn only 77 cents for every dollar a man is paid for the equivalent job. Think about this for a moment: Women will be paid almost 25% less than their male co-worker doing the identical job – not because one is better at the job– but simply because one is a woman.

It’s even worse for women of color. African-American women only earn approximately 62 cents and Latinas only 53 cents for each dollar earned by a White male co-worker.

That’s the bad news. Here’s the worse news. The US Senate is considering legislation that could finally remedy this injustice. You might be thinking: Why is this news worse news? It's because the Republicans in the US Senate vowed to prevent a vote on this proposed legislation.

Here’s my simple question: How can anyone be opposed to ending income discrimination based on gender? Do Republican Senators actually believe that America’s working mothers, wives and daughters are inherently less valuable than men? When the Republican Senators were raising their daughters, did they tell them that they should dream big, but because of their gender, they don’t deserve to be paid the same as a man?

Senate Republicans oppose this proposed law for the simple reason that they stand with big business over the average American women. Taking their lead from the US Chamber of Commerce and other big business groups, they complain that this proposed law would create additional government regulations. Indeed, the Chamber of Commerce states that they “vigorously oppose” the law while claiming they have “no tolerance for discrimination.” This only makes sense in the bizzaro world-how can you oppose discrimination and then oppose a law that would eliminate that very thing?!

The legislation at issue is entitled the “Paycheck Fairness Act” and was introduced by Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski. The proposed law simply seeks to update the original 1963 “Equal Pay Act” which first addressed this issue. While the gender pay gap has closed a bit since then, this law would close loopholes to further reduce -and hopefully eliminate-unfair pay practices.

If enacted, the law would provide, among other things, increased penalties against employers for violations including providing a statutory right for women to seek punitive damages, it would clarify the acceptable defenses for employers, and prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who reveal their income level.

President Obama has been vocally in favor of this law. So what about the presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney? This bastion of “leadership” has not taken a position on this legislation. Instead, he’s ducking the issue the best he can. This truly speaks volumes about the man who says he is the best candidate to be leader of the free world, yet refuses to stand up for the women of America. I have seen single cell amoebas with more of a backbone than Mitt Romney.

I propose that every Senator who opposes this legislation be paid only 77 cents for each dollar paid to their Congressional counterparts who support the law. I know that this reduction in pay will not have a real impact on their lives since the estimated median net worth of a U.S. Senator is $2.56 million, but it could be a teaching moment. Perhaps if these Senators understood the feeling of frustration and powerlessness caused by discrimination, they would fight to eliminate it.

The Republicans in the Senate – and Mitt Romney – need to make it clear that they unequivocally oppose income discrimination based on gender. This is their moment to decide if they will stand with big business or our nation’s women.