The House is really stinking up the joint this week -- aside from their multitudinous attacks on things our government does well (and their refusal to fix what our government doesn't do well), they're seriously considering giving the President the authority to wage war whenever and wherever he likes. Of course they're planning to slip that authority into a must-pass Defense Authorization bill. And while the Authorization to Use Military Force Congress passed during the Bush Mobb years required that the President respond to an actual threat, what Congress proposes presently does not -- the President could attack any nation, at any time, for no good reason. And here I was, thinking that the Founders gave Congress the power to declare war so they could keep the Executive branch from being too powerful. And at a time when well over half the country has wanted to get out of the "good" Bush war for years, you might be tempted to think Congress is tone-deaf or stupid. They're not, of course -- they're evil, so evil they're considering giving this power to the Nazi-Socialist-Communist-Kenyan-anti-colonialist President they hate so much. Hell, I wouldn't even give this power to Ralph Nader. The ACLU helps you oppose this monstrosity.
Of course, if you want another demonstration of executive-power-gone-mad, just watch what's happening in Syria, where the army and security forces have killed well over five hundred of its own citizens. They fire into crowds; they fire into funeral processions; they arrest hundreds of people without warrant at a time; they detain folks without food or water or access to counsel; they cut off electricity and water supplies. And what have the good citizens of Syria done to deserve this? They decided they wanted to get rid of a government that was oppressing them, just as many other Middle Eastern nations have done. Syria's oppression of its citizens is fairly obvious -- they've been under a "state of emergency" since 1963, which governments interpret to mean they can do pretty much what they like to their people, and that includes political arrests, torture, unfair trials, and mistreatment of minorities and women. So Amnesty International helps you demand that the Syrian government stop treating its people like crap.
Meanwhile, back on the ranch, you recall that we couldn't get a decent whistleblower protection bill out of the last Congress, but now we're about to get an absolute crap whistleblower bill from this one. Rep. Grimm (R-NY) is working on a bill that would actually force whistleblowers to go to their employers before going to the Securities and Exchange Commission with their complaints -- because employers would never, ever retaliate against employees who catch them up to no good! The bill would also end the mandatory rewards whistleblowers get, when I might not even call them rewards, but compensation for the lost jobs and careers they face. The bill also prevents whistleblowers from hiring attorneys on a contingency fee basis, and even redefines the word "retaliation" so that it doesn't include, you know, getting fired. Yikes, you'd think we didn't just have a Wall Street meltdown or something. This is our Republican party, folks -- their only constituency is corporate power. And Mr. Grimm is supposed to be one of the party's moderates! The National Whistleblowers' Center helps you oppose the Grimm bill.
Finally, Mr. Boehner addressed the Economic Club of New York on Monday, and suggested that Congress should be "looking seriously at a territorial tax code," in which American corporations would never pay taxes on offshore profits. Of course Citizens for Tax Justice finds this to be a terrible idea. Long story short: corporations can too easily shift around their profits so that profits earned in America can be "earned" overseas; corporations already get to "defer" their offshore taxes indefinitely; corporations would have an incentive to send even more of their actual operations overseas, and that means America loses jobs, again. Sometimes I wonder whether John Boehner hears the opposite of the question he's asked, and thus consistently proposes solutions that would make problems worse. Of course Mr. Boehner would probably prefer that I thought such a thing, because then I might not think he's evil. And almost on cue: this "territorial tax code" has made it into Sen. Toomey's "kinder, gentler" budget, an "alternative" to the Ryan plan which isn't so much better than the Ryan plan that we shouldn't treat it like the Ryan plan.