Yesterday, I wrote about the vote by 44 congressional Democrats, including the chair of the Democratic National Committee, to stop efforts to block funding for new American military involvement in war in Iraq. These Democrats voted to support efforts to get the USA involved in yet another Iraqi war.
However, these Democrats weren’t the only ones to cross the aisle. 23 Republicans, listed below, voted to prohibit Barack Obama from involving the U.S. military in the Iraqi civil war. They deserve our sincere thanks. We may not agree with these Republicans on most political issues, but on this issue these Republicans were in the right. America can’t afford to enter any new wars, but even beyond the cost, getting involved in the Iraqi civil war would be the wrong thing to do. The USA has had long enough to meddle in domestic Iraqi affairs. American military efforts didn’t bring peace and democracy to Iraq before, and they wouldn’t do so now.
Republicans Who Voted To Block A New American War In Iraq:
Any effective Democratic Party strategy has to include a means of differentiating itself from the Republican Party. There are only two substantial political parties of any size in the USA, after all, and if citizens don’t believe that there is any serious difference between those two parties, voter turnout will drop to absurdly low levels.
Hang on… that’s already happened, hasn’t it? Actually, the Democratic Party has repeatedly failed to differentiate itself from the Republican Party in the eyes of many potential voters, and political apathy is high as a result.
The kind of political activity that has led to the perception of the melding of Republican and Democrat into a mushy center-right blend, leading voters to conclude that they don’t have much of a choice on Election Day, was on display yesterday, as an important amendment to the annual Defense appropriations bill was put up to a vote. Roll Call number 325 shows that a proposed amendment by U.S. Representative Barbara Lee failed, and 44 Democrats helped to kill it.
The amendment would have prohibited any funds from being used to conduct military operations in Iraq, but 44 Democratic members of Congress decided that, despite the disaster of the last Iraq War, it would be a great idea for the U.S. military to be sent off to Iraq all over again.
Prime among these Democrats was the leader of the Democratic National Committee: Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Remember this, progressives, the next time you get a letter or email message from the DNC, asking you for money to defeat the scary Republican Party – the leadership of the DNC favors putting America into yet another war in Iraq. If those Democrats had voted for Barbara Lee’s amendment, a new war could have been prevented, but they decided to give peace a kick in the teeth instead.
The names of the other 43 pro-war Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives who helped the Republicans keep the possibility of a new Iraq War alive are:
If you care about peace, you now know which Democrats not to support for re-election to Congress this year.
Every time I see this sticker on a car or truck in the United States, I roll my eyes:
“Gun Owner — No Bag Limit,” the “terrorist hunting permit” reads. There’s a pistol in the background. The message isn’t too subtle: thanks to the 2nd Amendment and gun ownership rights, those terrorists are on the run, and everyday citizen folk are ready to put some lead right between their eyes, just as soon as…
… as soon as there’s an actual terrorist appearing in front of a gun-toting American, wearing his “I signed up to be a terrorist and all I got was this lousy t-shirt!” shirt (this is how you know they’re terrorists, see). And how many times has this actually happened? How many times has the limitless “bag limit” been invoked? Exactly how many times has an actual citizen shot an actual terrorist with actual handgun in the United States since 2001? X-box games and fictional episodes of 24 don’t count.
The number is zero. This bumper sticker isn’t about actually shooting down terrorists. It’s about posing and roaring.
The stickers are getting old. The posers and roarers need something new to pose and roar with. I suggest lycra suits and superhero names. You know, something like The Handsome Panther:
“Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work we go” — The Seven Dwarves
“Hi ho, Silver, Away” — The Lone Ranger
“Hidey ho” — Cab Calloway
“Hi ho, Kermit the Frog here” — Kermit the Frog
Given all these contexts, what the heck does “hi ho” mean?
Earlier this month, Republican Representative Louie Gohmert used his position as a member of the U.S. Congress to evaluate the quality of a witness summoned to appear before the House Judiciary Committee:
Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert: I’m curious, in your Christian beliefs do you believe in sharing the good news that will keep people from going to Hell, consistent with Christian beliefs?
Rev. Barry Lynn of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State: I wouldn’t agree with your construction of what Hell is like or why one gets there, but the broader question is yes, I’m happy to. When I speak to…
Gohmert: OK, so you don’t believe somebody would go to Hell if they do not believe Jesus is the way, the truth, the life?
Lynn: I personally do not believe people go to Hell because they do not believe a specific set of ideas in Christianity, but I have never…
Gohmert: No, not a set of ideas. Either you believe, as a Christian, that Jesus is the way, the truth, or life or you don’t. And there’s nothing wrong in our country with that — there’s no crime, there’s no shame. It should never be a law against those beliefs, because God gave us the chance to elect to believe or disbelieve, and that’s what we want to maintain is people’s chance for people to elect: yes or no. The chance that we were given. So do you believe?
Lynn: Congressman, what I believe is not necessarily what I ought to justify the creation of public policy for everybody. For the 2,000 different religions that exist in this country, the 25 million non-believers. I’ve never been offended. I’ve never been afraid to share my belief. When I spoke recently at an American atheist conference, it was clear from the very beginning in the first sentence that I was a Christian minister. I was there to talk to them about the preservation of the Constitution, and in fact I said, ‘You know, we can debate the issue of the existence of God for another 2000 years. I want to preserve the Constitution and its effect on all people, believers and non-believers, in the next five years.’ That’s what I talk about, and I never…
Gohmert: So, the Christian belief as you see it is whatever you choose to think about Christ, whether or not you believe those words he said that nobody basically ‘goes to heaven except through me’?
Lynn: We could have a very interesting discussion some time, but probably not in a Congressional hearing, to talk about scriptural passages.
Hell actually has some pretty yummy snow cones, but that’s beside the point. The point is that when you vote for Republicans in national government, you get a majority that uses government power to question and judge people on the basis of their religion. If you don’t want that to continue, you probably ought to stop voting Republican.
“We must reinvigorate the role of values in our country,” Senator Marco Rubio said in a speech at a conference of the Faith and Freedom Coalition yesterday. He accused Democrats of failing to support values, saying that “they completely ignore the importance of families with values in our society.”
Values? Having values means having the conviction that some things are important.
Marco Rubio wants to reinvigorate the role of values in the United States of America? Well, that’s kind of vague, isn’t it? In saying that values are important, Rubio is only saying that he thinks that it’s important for people have have opinions about what’s important, and what’s not.
Eventually, Rubio did get a bit more specific in his speech. He said that he wants to prevent Democrats from using the power of government to address the policy concerns that derive from people’s values. He accused the Democrats of coming up with plans for values and families to “be replaced by laws and government programs.”
How legislation could stop people from valuing things and ideas, Rubio never made clear. Rubio also never managed to identify any specific piece of Democratic legislation that would abolish the family.
But then, maybe Rubio doesn’t think he needs evidence to back up his assertions. Maybe he thinks that he can just govern on the basis of values, so that if he is elected President, he’ll just come into the Oval Office and think really hard about what’s valuable, and then, presto, a whole bunch of good stuff will happen.
Certainly, a President Marco Rubio wouldn’t actually do anything in the White House. That, after all, would require creating government programs. No, to remain true to his values, a President Rubio would probably just spend his time at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue taking lots of naps.
If you listen hard to recordings of Rubio’s speech, you can hear his aides in the background, scribbling down slogans for the Rubio for President 2016 campaign:
Rubio for President: Because It’s Important To Think That Stuff Is Important
Rubio 2016: Elect him so that he won’t do anything
Rubio for America: If you don’t vote for him, your family will cease to exist
Back in 2002, when Congress was debating giving George W. Bush expansive authorization to go to war in Iraq, one of the main concerns of skeptics was that the authorization could be used by the White House to engage in acts of war in the future that had only a tangential relation to the supposed purpose of the invasion of Iraq: To capture and destroy Iraq’s massive stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons.
Those stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons turned out to be completely imaginary, but Congress voted to give the White House authorization to go to war in Iraq anyway, without any time limit or specific objective that was to be achieved. Congress brushed aside all concerns, chanting the mantra United We Stand… United We Stand…
Indeed, that authorization for war in Iraq never went away – not even when Barack Obama finally removed American soldiers from Iraqi soil.
So, even though it’s eleven years after the American invasion of Iraq began, and George W. Bush has been out of office for more than five years, the White House still claims the power to go to war in Iraq whenever it wants to.
This week, President Barack Obama has asserted that he can send the American military to go fight in the Iraqi Civil War without any permission from Congress – because he already has all the permission he needs.
Nobody claims that the current Iraqi Civil War has anything to do with the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, or with weapons of mass destruction, the original justifications for American involvement in Iraqi wars. None of that matters now, because Congress gave the White House war powers with few limitations.
All that Congress can do to stop Obama from taking America back into war in Iraq is to pass legislation that prohibits him from doing so. That’s something that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans seem to have enough political courage to do.
So, the foolish, faulty pro-war hype that was pushed for political reasons a dozen years ago continues to hold sway. Will the next American president send the American military into Iraq again, still using these old war powers? Will war in Iraq become an Oval Office tradition?
Ah, yes. Thank you, town elders. I have to admit I’ve made the mistake myself. In my foolish youth I often smoked cigarettes while lying down. No, I say to America’s youth, no longer. This practice shall not continue for another generation! The coals and ash will only fall in your eyes! Sit up to smoke, children.
Yesterday, as many members of Congress urged the Obama White House to bring the American military back into Iraq to get the USA involved in the Iraqi civil war, one member of the U.S. House of Representatives urged restraint, saying, “Today, we are less than 4 percent of the world’s population, and we have a national debt of a mind-boggling $17.6 trillion. We simply cannot keep sending megabillions to corrupt governments all over the world. We should have trade and tourism with other countries, cultural and educational exchanges, and, of course, diplomatic relations; but the people in Iraq and Afghanistan are going to have to solve most of their problems themselves. We cannot do everything for them and still do what we should do for our own country and own people.”
Without going to the Congressional Record to check, can you guess the which U.S. Representative gave this short speech?
I’ll reveal the name of this politician tomorrow.
When Coca Cola thinks of soccer, this is the image it has in mind:
A person walks into Coca Cola’s marketing building – the Casa Coca Cola – behind the new Maracana stadium in Brazil, sits on a bench and has a weird box harnessed over their heads. The box, a virtual reality console, beams an image of a pretend soccer field into the person’s eyes, showing what it might look like to score a goal in the World Cup. Then, the person takes a big hit of sugar, drinking down a bottle of Coca Cola. The combination of lack of physical exercise and a sudden burst of sugar into the body takes the person closer to the goal of type 2 diabetes.
Is that what soccer looks like to you? It gives new meaning to the idea of a header, that’s for sure.
What the Coca Cola World Cup marketers’ virtual reality experience doesn’t show is that the eviction of Brazilians from where the stadium and the Casa Coca Cola now stands. Attacks by police against Brazilians protesting against the World Cup are also left out of the virtual reality display.
That’s why Coca Cola’s vision of World Cup soccer is referred to as virtual.