Monday, May 23, 2016

Among The Candidates, Who's For War? Who's For Peace? How Can We Even Know? Take South Jersey...


How do you know if a congressional candidate is more or less likely to support war and aggression? Well, generally speaking Republicans, and conservatives in general, are more likely to be willing to rush to war as an immediate option. Democrats often claim they stand for peace, but the claim is often hollow. In the presidential race we have a rabid, neocon hawk on the Democratic side and an unstable, unhinged and impulsive bully on the Republican side.

In Congress, one way to know who stands for war and who stands for peace is by watching how Members vote on amendments brought up and voted on from Oakland Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who was the only member of Congress to vote against attacking Afghanistan in 2001. Last week she offered an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 that would repeal the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force that pretty much allows any president to attack anyone anywhere. (Imagine Trump with this power.)

Lee's amendment lost 138-285. Most Democrats (125 of them) voted for it and they're joined by 13 Republicans. But 228 Republicans-- virtually the whole party-- voted against repeal and 57 Democrats joined them, obviously the Republican wing of the Democratic Party: Blue Dogs, New Dems, warmongers, Military Industrial Complex shills, etc. Out of deference to Obama-- with a blind eye to her own shameless hypocrisy-- Pelosi voted with the Republicans, probably not thinking about a President Trump with this blanket authorization she was voting for.

Among the Democratic congressmembers vying for higher office this cycle, two voted with Lee for peace: Alan Grayson (FL) and Chris Van Hollen (MD). And four decided to join the war camp and vote with the Republicans:
Tammy Duckworth (IL)
Ann Kirkpatrick (New Dem-AZ)
Patrick Murphy (New Dem-FL)
Loretta Sanchez (Blue Dog-CA)
This is a hot topic in the congressional race in south Jersey's first congressional district where progressive Alex Law is challenging warmonger Donald Norcross, the Machine candidate. Norcross, who has a clear pro-war record and voted against revoking the blanket authorization in 2001 and again last week, is the only New Jersey Democrat to do so. He's often the only New Jersey Democrat to cross the aisle and vote with the Republicans on a whole array of core values issues. Bonnie Watson Coleman, Frank Palone, Bill Pascrell, Donald Payne and Albio Sires all voted for peace; only Norcross showed the poor judgment to leave Trump (or Clinton) with the blanket approval to attack without congressional approval. We reached Alex Law as he was out knocking on doors in Cherry Hill this morning and he told us "Representative Barbara Lee's anti-war amendment is a necessary addition to our defense bill. I am proud to stand with all New Jersey Democrats in Congress, with the exception of my opponent who yet again voted with Republicans, in my support of this amendment. I firmly believe that our unchecked military incursions into the Middle East with little or no oversight by the American people has fundamentally radicalized many in the region. Our goal in fighting terrorism is to end terrorism, but our policy of endless war at what ever cost is doing the exact opposite. The only way we end terrorism is through bringing opportunity to the Middle East and working through diplomacy-- rather than drones-- to solve problems. We have been lucky with President Obama that he has not abused his nearly unlimited War powers too severely. But, without this amendment and a potential President Trump around the corner, we could see total war waged in the Middle East without authorization of the American people. That is a reality we cannot accept."

Click to get close enough to read the truck

The primary between Norcross and Law will be on June 7. Currently Blue America has the mobile billboard, pictured above, driving around the district 6 days a week, making sure voters are aware that there is a progressive alternative to Norcross. If you'd like to help, you can chip in for gas money here-- or you can contribute directly to Alex Law's campaign here:
Goal Thermometer

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