Saturday, May 29, 2010

War Budget Passes The House-- Bad Deal All Around


Click here to watch the video

Tomorrow at 10:06am, according to the National Priorities Project's Cost of War counter, we will have spent a cool trillion dollars on the pointless and tragic wars against and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. Yesterday at 4:19pm the House passed Obama's war budget (although the disgraceful supplemental budget to continue funding these two catastrophic boondoggles by borrowing money we don't have because our political "elite" doesn't have the will-- conservatives-- or the guts--progressives-- to raise taxes of the wealthy to a point where they might be paying even a reasonable percentage of their fair share, comes after they get back from their little vacation. The Pentagon budget passed 229-186, nine Republicans voting with the Democrats, 26 Democrats voting with the Republicans. In a moment I want to take a look at the Democrats who crossed the aisle and see if we can get some insight into the horrors of this burdensome bill.

First, please recall that when the White House was trying to figure out how to shove the shit sandwich of a supplemental down our throats, they decided to offer a sweetener (bribe) of helping strapped local governments prevent the firings of public school teachers. After the Blue Dogs starting howling they're fine with paying for more war but would not countenance spending more taxpayer dollars on educating a bunch of unwashed masses who couldn't even afford private school, the Democrats buckled and replaced that sweetener with the removal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, a great idea that should have stood on it's own. On top of taking out the $29 or so billion from the upcoming supplemental for education, to get Blue Dog support they also had to gut parts of the unemployment insurance extension legislation that passed today. What a deal! Conservatives won! Lucky we elected Obama and a Democratic House and Senate!

Even with all the disgusting kowtowing to Blue Dogs and conservative swine, only 9 relatively mainstreamish Republicans bit (Ros-Lehtinen, Cao, Kirk, Castle, Biggert, Djou, Reichert, Dent and Bono Mack), while raving reactionary Blue Dogs-- all bitter, vicious homophobes who love the troops less than the hate the gays-- Bobby Bright (AL), Travis Childers (MS), Lincoln Davis (TN), Jim Marshall (GA), Colin Peterson (MN), and Gene Taylor (MS)-- voted with their real leader, John Boehner against the bill. Meanwhile 19 Democrats who really oppose the war (or, at least 18 plus an opportunistic Waxman) voted "no" as well: Judy Chu (D-CA), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Steve Filner (D-CA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Mike Michaud (moderate anti-war Blue Dog-ME), George Miller (D-CA), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Dave Obey (D-WI), John Olver (D-MA), Donald Payne (D-NJ), Pete Stark (D-CA), Mel Watt (D-NC), Henry Waxman (D-CA), Peter Welch (D-VT) and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA).

Last night John Aravosis explained why tossing progressives a (crappy, partial) bone on DADT shouldn't or should have been enough of a reason to vote for this historically hideous bill. Aravosis, probably like most gay people-- this one not included-- felt progressives had no choice but to accept this stinky compromise that could backfire entirely. He might be right; he would have voted yes. I would have voted no. Raúl Grijalva, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, did vote yes, splitting with the 19 progressives from his caucus listed above. He weighed it and seems to have felt the progressive-- however puny and tentative-- on repealing DADT made it palatable.
This is a landmark day for the cause of civil rights, and a meaningful step toward realizing our national ideal of equality. The end of DADT will be a civil rights advance on par with the racial integration of the Armed Forces in 1948.
At the same time, I must be clear on the precise nature of the measure passed in the House. The Murphy Amendment does not guarantee a future repeal of DADT. Rather, it allows repeal in the future, pending a Pentagon review and separate findings by the President and the Secretary of Defense.
When the Supreme Court struck down segregation, the decision wasn’t conditioned on two ifs and a when. These conditions and delays are not my preferred course of action, and I will be actively working to make sure the promise of this measure is quickly fulfilled. In the meantime, I call upon the President to place an immediate halt to any further discharges of soldiers serving honorably based solely on DADT.

General Douglas MacArthur said, “The untruthful officer trifles with the lives of his countrymen and the honor and safety of his country.” DADT forces our soldiers to be dishonest about their very identity, and the corrosive effect of this policy on truth, honor and unit cohesion is unacceptable at any time. It is especially counterproductive in a time of war.
In this case, we do not have to choose between justice and security. By repealing DADT, we will advance both of these vital national interests. That’s why the American people, and our men and women in uniform in all four service branches, support allowing gay Americans to serve their country by overwhelming majorities.
I am glad to see the nation’s elected officials, soldiers, and families all across this great nation moving forward together to make this a safer and more just nation. Today we are closer to becoming a united, indivisible nation.

Maybe... I don't trust the Pentagon and I don't trust Obama. I doubt we're necessarily any closer to anything-- except killing more innocent Afghanis and making our own country less safe.

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At 2:57 PM, Anonymous DeanOR said...

Memorial Day Weekend. Photo by DeanOR. Portland, Oregon
Memorial Day weekend

At 7:35 PM, Anonymous glcolic peel said...

I could probably go into sales for you. Definitely worth the investment. I can’t tell you how happy I am with budget.


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