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Friday, October 21, 2016

WATCH: Tea Party Representatives Link Syria To Benghazi

During Wednesday’s House Foreign Relations Committee hearing to discuss military action in Syria, Tea Party favorite Representative Joe Wilson (R-SC) introduced his conspiracy theory to explain why the president wants to intervene in Syria now, but not when Bashar al-Assad’s regime reportedly used chemical weapons in late April.

“Was it delayed to divert attention today from the Benghazi, IRS, NSA scandals, the failure of Obamacare enforcement, the tragedy of the White House-drafted sequestration, or the upcoming debt limit vote?” Wilson asked

Secretary of State John Kerry didn’t entertain Wilson’s diversion.

“The president didn’t believe it was a compelling enough case to win the support of the American people, as well as the world,” Kerry responded.

The secretary was soon greeted by another Tea Party conspiracy theory enthusiast.

“The same administration that was so quick to involve the U.S. in Syria now was reluctant to use the same resources at its disposal to attempt to rescue four brave Americans that fought for their lives in Benghazi,” Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) said.

To make his point, the congressman held up a photo of Tyrone Woods, a Navy SEAL who lost his life in Benghazi.

Here, Kerry lost his patience.

“We are talking about people being killed by gas and you want to go talk about Benghazi and Fast and Furious,” he said.  “This is not about getting into Syria’s civil war. This is about enforcing the principle that people shouldn’t be allowed to gas their citizens with impunity. And if we don’t vote to do this, Assad will interpret from you that he’s free to go and do this any day he wants to.”

The secretary concluded his response: “So let’s draw the proper distinction here, Congressman, we don’t deserve to drag this into yet another Benghazi discussion. And the real issue here is whether or not the Congress is going to stand up for international norms with respect to dictators that have only been broken twice until Assad — Hitler and Saddam Hussein — and we give license to someone to continue that shame on us.”

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  • sigrid28

    At today’s hearing in Washington, Secretary Kerry’s response to Tea Party Republicans, braying about Benghazi, echoed the president’s own words, spoken today at his press conference with the prime minister of Sweden. The Red Line, both Kerry and the president stressed, is not just some invention of Barack Obama’s. It represents universal horror at an act against humanity–the use of weapons of mass destruction–which has been proscribed via international treaties since the cessation of World War I, treaties joined by the U.S. and most other countries in the world, and ratified by Congress.

    Visually, our biracial president standing beside the white prime minister of Sweden conveys a more subtle, nonverbal message. Like President Obama, the people Assad gassed are people of color. The president insists, without saying as much, that their lives are no less important than the lives of white Americans and Europeans, or Russians who are also caucasian–white people who so far, for a variety of reasons, racism among them, find it easier to refuse to honor the Red Line humanity has drawn against this kind of slaughter when those who die are people of color. This is an uncomfortable truth that many, so far, refuse to acknowledge.

    The situation reminds me of a subtle point made in “The English Patient” (1992) by Sri Lankan-Canadian novelist Michael Ondaatje. I cite Wikipedia’s succinct summary for simplicity’s sake: “The story deals with the gradually revealed histories of a critically burned English accented Hungarian man, his Canadian nurse, a Canadian-Italian thief, and an Indian sapper in the British Army as they live out the end of World War II in an Italian villa.”

    In the novel, Kip, the Indian sapper (or expert bomb detonator), leaves Europe and returns to Asia in disgust, shortly after atomic bombs are dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. In the novel, Ondaatje makes clear, as its famous film version does not, that Kip is horrified by the casual acceptance–even the unalloyed joy expressed in Europe–at the horrific deaths of so many, people of color like himself. President Obama came as close as he dared to articulating the distinction Ondaatje makes without reservation in the novel: We ought not to care less for those who suffer because they are not white. By emphasizing the international character of the Red Line, President Obama is putting countries like Sweden and Great Britain on notice, nations that so far refuse to join the U.S. despite unambiguous treaty commitments regarding this sanction, in Sweden’s case, hiding behind the ambivalence of the U.N.

    At the same time, the president is addressing the American public, in particular, members of the GOP, a party that does not hesitate to promote a racist agenda within the United States. The call for congressional approval of any action taken against Assad, gives Republicans in the House and Senate an opportunity to appease their racist base on two fronts. First, they can once again express racial animus against the president himself by refusing to approve the sanctions he proposes. Second, this refusal satisfies racists in the Republican base who do not want to see American resources “wasted” on the people of Syria, who happen to be people of color. Once recognized for what it is, the racial component of this controversy over human rights is probably as impossible to ignore as it is to address, without things becoming ugly.

    • Michael Jon Barker

      The U.S. Military Dumped 20 Million Gallons of Chemicals on Vietnam from 1962 – 1971. Remember Agent Orange?

      The racial component of human rights has always existed in America starting with the creation of the Declaration of Independence that gave rights to White people but left everybody else out.

      The constitution is about property rights. And those included owning other human beings when it was created. The Declaration of Independence, though lofty in ideals, only applied to poor white people which back then were mostly indentured servents. Washington, being the largest landowner and slave holder, need to throw some crumbs to get poor people to fight for “liberty”. The Washington’s and Adams ect were from English aristocracy and weren’t from the peasant class.

      And then comes Lincoln who “liberated” the slaves but only because he wanted to consolidate power in Washington. Prior to Lincoln State habeas corpus had more clout then federal habeas corpus. Lincoln was the beginning of the Federal government. The Declaration of Independence was in a sense a document of succession from the British and the South wanted to continue to own humans and declared their independence based on the principles of succession.

      Wilson and the Progressive movement, which focused on economic and social regulation, ushered in the Federal reserve, the income tax as well as Jim Crow laws and the institutional racism that is still with us today. It was during Wilsons term in office that the second movement of the Ku Klux Klan was formed with the presidents blessing. It was the Wilson white house that segregated their bathrooms and believed “that federal segregation was an act of kindness”. The economic reforms the progressives pushed were political movements that created economic rents for the benefit of white people specifically. Occupational licensing reduced the number of people who could do certain business and this was used to restrict the number of blacks from competing against whites. The minimum wage was used against blacks as a way to keep “undesirable groups” from gaining employment. “A minimum wage was seen to operate eugenically through two channels: by deterring prospective immigrants and also by removing from employment the “unemployable” who, thus identified, could be, segregated in rural communities or sterilized.” (Sindny Webb, Journal of Political economy, 1912) Something called the Flexner Standard was implemented in 1910 “for better trained Doctors, who would be educated at University’s instead of for profit medical schools”. This cut the number of Black medical collages from seven to two. The Railroads were Unionized this allowed Whites to weed Blacks from their ranks.

      The civil rights era arrived but has anything substantially changed?

      So we have a situation in America where we have a biracial president, black members of congress and the greatest public service representation of African Americans in American history yet the incarceration rate of POC continues to climb and the African American community remains marginalized. You think the Republicans are the only racists in town? lol

      The Republicans who are against Syrian intervention are the same ones who vote against Obama for everything else. If a Republican was in the White house they wouldn’t be waiting around for the U.N. to sanction the bombing. In this case it’s not about race it’s about politics.

      You need to be looking for the racism in our government, in our criminal justice system and in the natural prejudice of the American people.

      • sigrid28

        OK, I’ll bite. I appreciate the time you took to create this response, which is very articulate. In some respects, I feel as though you are preaching to the choir, particularly in your final sentence. Where we fall out, is in your penultimate sentence, where you claim that “it’s not about race it’s about politics.” Where have I heard this before? I’ll tell you. Fox News.

        Most notably, Republican members of Congress refused to participate in the commemoration of the March on Washington. I wonder why? The Republican base, which puts candidates in office, are racist. Why risk losing an election for a one day photo op?

        When I look “for the racism in our government,” I do not have to look very far before I come across ALEC’s legislative templates adopted whole hog in Red states, particularly laws designed quite clearly to limit the voting rights of people of color. I wonder why? Because voters of color as well as most voters of good conscience will no longer vote for Republicans. The GOP leadership knows it can only continue to win elections by rigging voting, that is, by cheating.

        Republican members of Congress will be principally responsible for the failure of immigration reform and the demise of those within their ranks who promoted the idea. I wonder why? The Republican base will no longer elect senators and representatives who do not accept a racist agenda that continues to oppress over 11 million people of color living in the United States. The Republican base is openly racist, the Republican platform refuses to address immigration meaningfully, and Republican candidates are convinced they have lost the Latino vote, perhaps for good. They are probably right.

        The only consolation I take in making such points is that the racism within the Republican party’s base will eventually die on its poisoned vine, as our population in the U.S. becomes, gradually, more golden and finally a satisfying blend of many shades of brown. I find it ironic that white racists–many needing food assistance and with no health insurance–can nevertheless afford an addiction to tanning booths. It is so in our little corner of Iowa. They are the poor man’s version of our Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner. To these Republicans in the base I say, just wait. Your wish will come true. In the not so far future, we will all be tan–people of color.

        • Michael Jon Barker

          “it’s not about race it’s about politics.”
          I would agree with that. Their is a denial that race is an issue or that racism is a hierarchy. Even within the true ideological Libertarian/Anarchism camp it seems people only want to see the hierarchy’s they wish to see. This group is pro immigration and are for open boarders and aren’t Tea Partiers. Their are some market anarchists like Antonio Buehler of the Peaceful Streets Project that recognize race and misogyny but the tendency is to ignore it and pretend that the elimination of Statisim and ending the predatory strain of Capitalism will fix it some how.

          The Ron/Rand Pauls claim to be “Libertarian” but their view is a kind of Christianized “individualism” that is responding to White Americas slide from privilege. They appeal to a frustrated middle class that has seen their net worth decline and wish for a return to by gone days. Expect a growing prejudice from White America as their economic dominance declines. And I think this will happen across party lines.

          My point was that If a Republican like McCain was in office we would probably be already bombing Syria and these Republicans who oppose Obama would be cheering him on.

          I think race is always framed in a context that is woven into politics and economics and that the domination of resources is usually what determines policy. Racism as I see it is the economic domination of one group over another. It is the uniform of the ruling Empire.

          I would agree that the Red states will use voter suppression in their favor. The Supreme Court rules in favor of the Corpratacracy on a regular basis. I’m in the Anarchist camp and have given up on the two party system.

          The only way to end institutionalized racism is to shut down the Empire.

          • sigrid28

            Have you ever watched a sitcom called “The Mindy Project”? In my favorite episode, Mindy, a progressive obstetrician and gynecologist, makes a house call to a twenty-something patient at home and tries to fit in by sitting on a bean bag chair. Of course, she falls off in every way possible. I think trying to take Republicans at their word these days is like trying to sit in a bean bag chair–no way to get your balance.

  • docb

    Desperate screaming little white male baggers playing the only game they have – deflection and diversion through lies and ignorance. Water seeks it’s own level..the repub swamp is reeking and fetid…roiling detritus.

  • midway54

    What lunatic Teabagger stooge would not make the connection?