Another day, another "bipartisan" attempt to find that elusive "balance" between following our Constitution's war-making procedure and letting the President bomb whomever he likes. S.J.Res. 59 would authorize our President to use military force against "the Taliban, al Qaeda, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and designated associated forces," but not just them, not really -- also against anyone else the President designates as "associated forces." Congress would get to reject such designations, but they'd have to do so within 60 days -- can you say "run out the clock," boys and girls? -- and they'd functionally have to reject new inclusions by two-thirds, so they can override the expected Presidential veto. No, terrorists are not "existential threats" -- they don't hurt us anywhere near as much as we hurt ourselves fearing them. So CREDO helps you tell your Congressfolk to reject this attempt to give the President more unconstitutional war-making powers.
Meanwhile, you didn't think I'd forgotten about the nominations of Mike Pompeo to be Secretary of State and Gina Haspel to be CIA Director, did you? Word on the street (as of this writing) is that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will not report Mr. Pompeo out favorably -- the Committee has an 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats, with all Democrats and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) reportedly opposed -- but the full Senate might well vote on, and confirm, him anyway. And if Mr. Pompeo ascends to State, Ms. Haspel will be up for CIA Director; both individuals, as has been well-reported, support torture and generally frown upon privacy and human rights issues, and like other recent Administration hires including Zombie John Bolton, Mr. Pompeo seems anxious to start a war somewhere -- in Iran, he hopes, where he's in line with Administration dogma against the Iran nuclear deal, even though it's working. Hence Demand Progress helps you tell your Senators to reject the Pompeo and Haspel nominations.
In other news, the family of one David Diaz has begun a petition on Change.org which helps you tell California Gov. Jerry Brown to free Mr. Diaz, given the increasing uncertainty surrounding his conviction in a 1997 shooting. The victim of that shooting says Mr. Diaz didn't do it, and no less than three witnesses now say police pressured them into identifying Mr. Diaz as the shooter. Sounds like reasonable doubt to me! If you still think Mr. Diaz should serve out his sentence because "he was 19 and Hispanic so he must've been guilty of something," please do two things: 1) slap yourself and 2) slap yourself again. Maybe a third time, if that's what it takes. Our Founders quite correctly oriented our laws so that the burden of proof rests with the accuser, not the accused, and folks who squeal about law and order all the time when confronted with this fact may want to stop bragging about how much they love our Constitution.
Finally, the House passed its nefarious "balanced budget amendment" last week -- though not by a two-thirds margin, which is what you need to amend our Constitution. So why is the Senate taking it up this week? To be jerks, of course, because if our Senators can do one thing well, it's be jerks. No, our government does not need to "balance its budget like we do," because a) we don't and b) the rest of the world actually has a lot of faith in the credit of the most powerful country on the planet. And a "balanced budget amendment" will result in what, class? Cuts to Medicare and Social Security, that's what. And do we deserve that, after having worked for them and fought for them and paid into them all our lives? No, we do not. Maybe Congress could balance the federal budget better if they stopped giving welfare handouts to the rich and to corporations! Anyway, CREDO helps you tell your Senators to reject the "balanced budget amendment."