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3 Years Ago, 5 Years Ago, 7 Years Ago: History Circles Back on Us

Some things change with the passage of time, but much remains the same.

Seven years ago today, President George W. Bush spoke before a national Boy Scout Jamboree, praising its practice of kicking out Boy Scouts when it finds out they are gay or don’t believe in God. This week, eagle scouts from across the country returned their medals to the Boy Scouts of America after the organization reaffirmed its discriminatory practices.

Seven years ago today, oil industry officials blamed a rise in oil prices on the death of Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd while on the way to record profits they happily accepted new subsidies from the federal government. Last month, the Energy Information Administration released data showing that the latest spike in oil prices wasn’t coming from too little oil production — it was coming from increased consumption.

Five years ago today, the pastor of the Walnut Creek Community Church in Windsor Heights, Iowa admitted that he had explicitly used his tax-exempt perch to campaign for the election of Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. This is a violation of the promise to stay out of politics that the Walnut Creek Community Church made when it voluntarily sought to avoid paying taxes. Last month, Nathan Cherry announced that in October, churches across the country will break the promises they made when applying for the privilege of not paying taxes. These churches while continuing to refuse paying taxes, will issue a wave of church-based political endorsements just before Election Day.

Five years ago today, the Walnut Creek Community Church held on tight to national political attention, declaring that good Protestant Christians could not possibly vote for Sam Brownback because Brownback was Catholic. Last month, the hosts of the national Wallbuilders Live! radio program declared that not voting for Mitt Romney would be a sin.

Three years ago today, Democratic Representative Dennis Kucinich attended a rally with Green Party representatives to oppose Democratic Party foot-dragging on universal health care, leading to speculation that Kucinich might run for President in 2012 as a Green. Today, Dennis Kucinich is off the presidential campaign scene and is preparing to leave the Congress. But the Green Party has gained ballot access in three more states over the past week, laying the groundwork for Jill Stein’s Green presidential bid.

Three years ago today, Congress passed an appropriations measure that expanded the military budget to a full 58 percent of discretionary spending. Today, Republican senators are heading out on a four-state tour, campaigning to protect the military budget from a “$500 billion cut.” But it’s not a “$500 billion cut” to the military budget that’s being proposed — the $500 billion sum is spread across ten annual military budgets. For the annual military budget, there’s only a $50 billion sum being considered. Besides, the $50 billion spending reduction isn’t actually a cut — it’s a reduction in the rate of growth of the military budget. The reality of military spending three years ago and today is that the United States spends more on its military than the next 10 biggest military spenders — China, Russia, the UK, France, Japan, Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and India — combined.

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