Unless you are a person of privilege, you’ve probably used Medicaid at one point or another in your life… and anyone who has used Medicaid knows how awesome that program really is.
It does not need all the improvements that Bernie admits Medicare would need to provide people with better coverage. It already includes optical, dental, and prescriptions. It also already allows negotiations (forbidden with Medicare), and other financial structures that reduce federal tax burdens. Medicaid, not Medicare for all, is what has always made more sense to me.
Radical Influencers — Meaning: Those who advocate the overthrow of our Liberal Democracy — have been passing around a graphic used in a recent DOJ report about Domestic Violent Extremists, in a way that misrepresents what the report is actually about.
Biden’s alleged “everyone is a radical” legislation does not exist. What people are talking about is a report, not a piece of legislation, about how Domestic Violent Extremists are a threat to the Homeland. The report defines a Domestic Violent Extremist (DVE) as “an individual based and operating primarily in the United States without direction or inspiration from a foreign terrorist group or other foreign power and who seeks to further political or social goals wholly or in part through unlawful acts of force or violence“.
None of this is new. Anti-terrorism laws (18 U.S. Code § 2331) have been on the books for quite some time now. What this report simply does, is draw the line between political activism and terrorism.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the entire Department of Justice will always support peaceful protest – we are sworn to protect the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. But that does not cover committing arson and other violent acts … This conduct is not free speech and is not protected by our constitution; rather, it is criminal.”
For the most part, seeing themselves described in the list of ideological categories known to radicalize people for violent extremism is what’s freaking people out. But having or advocating for these ideologies is not what makes one a Domestic Violent Extremist. The report emphasizes that a person’s speech, alone, does not qualify them as a DVE: “This assessment does not evaluate the actions of individuals engaged solely in activities protected by the First Amendment…”
Nobody is going to get arrested for arguing about ideology, and agitators who promote these ideas won’t end up in prison, even if they use strong rhetoric or express a generalized “philosophical embrace of violent tactics”. But others who are persuaded to commit terrorism and other criminal acts would… if they don’t first get themselves killed during the commission of their ideologically driven crimes.
P.S. Our liberal democracy is not broken. What it is, is imperfect. And it was designed that way. America is an incomplete and unfinished project, on purpose: It was built for improvement, not obsolescence.
Like the 2002 AUMF, the 1991 AUMF is another strand in the tangled web that holds the Forever War together. The 2002 AUMF codified the Cold War Carter Doctrine in US law. The 1991 AUMF codifies it through international law.
It establishes a policy of using UN Resolutions to create, maintain, and perpetuate a standing army of coalition forces to serve as the Forever Military Cops of MENA. The 1991 AUMF is another cog in the Forever War Machine, and repealing it is not “performative”.
Calls to Action
Those who hope to end the Forever War should call or email their congresspersons and ask them to repeal the the 1991 AUMF. Please tell them that the Persian Gulf War is over, and we should start acting like it.
Please call or email Chuck Schumer to make sure the senate measure gets a floor vote soon.
Please call or email your senators and ask them to repeal the 1991 and 2002 AUMF’s. Please tell them: Saddam is dead, there were no WMD’s, and it’s time to put this embarrassing issue to bed.
I don’t suggest that any of us demand they take their war powers back. The awful truth, is that most in congress don’t want that responsibility. It’s why these measures have stayed on the books for so long. But by voting to end apparently defunct war bills, they inadvertently will.
Australian blogger Caitlin Johnstone (@caitoz), who spends all the live-long day educating people about the evils of American Empire, has inadvertently outed herself as a foreign influence Op meant to foment regime change in America.
“The only thing that can cause an end to the oppression and exploitation is an end to the oligarchic empire, and the only thing that can cause the end of the oligarchic empire is direct action by the American people: mass-scale activism, general strikes, and civil disobedience the likes of which the nation has never before seen, in sufficient numbers to bring down the plutocratic institutions which maintain the status quo.”
“Some people call me an Op,” she said, in a Twitter thread warning people about “COINTELPRO-like tactics” that she is convinced the US government is using to discourage leftists from, “getting revolution off the ground”. She encouraged people to not get paranoid about coppers, and to “keep chugging along”. For her part, she said she will continue to amplify worthy “socialist anti-imperialists”.
Who can blame her? Chick’s making bank fucking with our heads.
Of course, it’s a free country… and people can keep soaking up her revolutionary vibe if they want to… but when their asses are in prison for participating in a violent uprising, she’ll be in Oz sipping Sangria.
During this year’s Antalya Diplomacy Forum, Erdogan complained, “We did not get the support we expected from the international community in our efforts to destabilize Syria.”
The jury is out about whether he meant to say “destabilize” or whether it was a Freudian slip, but Anti-Assad “rebels” — who now all fight under the Turkish flag in NW Syria — have indeed lost financial backing from the international community. Zahir Sahlou, who leads the organization widely known as the White Helmets, recently blamed Tulsi Gabbard for it, crediting her for convincing the world that they and the opposition forces are all terrorists… which he claimed was, “Russian propaganda”.
Joe Biden promised that he would end the Forever War if we elected him president, and it looks like this is a promise he actually means to keep. He started working with congress, right after he got sworn in, to repeal all of the AUMF’s associated with our military actions in the Middle East, and yesterday, the House actually passed a measure to repeal the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force against Iraq.
Chuck Schumer has promised that the bill will get a floor vote in the Senate, and we actually have bi-partisan support for it. Republican senators Todd Young, Rand Paul, Chuck Grassley, and Lisa Murkowski are all on board, and there are several conservative interest groups lobbying heavily for it, including Americans for Prosperity and the Heritage Foundation.
I think President Biden may literally weep when he signs this bill into law, and not just because he’s been calling for it since 2007. The 2002 AUMF has cost him a lot. His son Beau Biden fought in Iraq, and the chemicals that he was exposed to there ended up taking his life. So… when he made the promise, on the campaign trail, to repeal it and to end the Forever War, I knew he meant it… because I also knew that this is a very personal issue for him.
Now, some people may think that repealing the 2002 AUMF is an empty gesture… and that this whole thing is just performative. Since the bill authorized the Iraq War, and the Iraq War is over, what is the harm in letting it stay on the books, and why do we need to repeal it? The Biden administration has even said that there isn’t anything that we are doing in the Middle East right now that depends on it for authorization, and repealing it won’t affect current operations. So, what is the point?
It is extremely important to understand that the Forever War wasn’t built with just one bill. It was created by a web of legislation, which is what makes it so difficult to dismantle, and this AUMF is part of that web. For example, Section 3 authorizes the president to use our military, however he deems necessary and appropriate, to defend our national security against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and to enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions regarding Iraq.
There is a multitude of UNSC resolutions related to Iraq, and there will probably be even more in the future. This bill can be applied to just about anything — like the Maximum Pressure campaign against Iran, and the assassination of Soleimani — with just a little bit of language tweaking. It is basically a blank check. And if you read a little bit further, down to the section about required reports, you’ll see that what would be considered appropriate includes … “actions described in section 7 of the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998”.
And what’s in section 7 of the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998? Assistance for Iraq upon replacement of Saddam Hussein’s regime, including support for Iraq’s transition to democracy. The 1998 bill actually only authorized using our military to get rid of munitions and weapons of mass destruction, and as far as democracy building, it only authorized humanitarian assistance. But when we combine the 1998 bill, and the 2002 bill, we end up with an authorization for a military presence in Iraq, for the purpose of building democracy, with no specific end date.
The 2002 AUMF is just one strand of the tangled web that holds up the Forever War, but it may actually be the most crucial one that we need to sever. The most obvious reason would be that it authorizes military force. The less obvious, but more important reason, has to do with one of the “whereas” sections: “Whereas it is in the national security interests of the United States to restore international peace and security to the Persian Gulf region.”
The 2002 AUMF is neither obsolete, nor irrelevant. It codifies a cold war policy established by President Jimmy Carter in his 1980 State of the Union Address, when he said:
“Let our position be absolutely clear: An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”
— President Jimmy Carter
The Carter Doctrine is the foundation of the Forever War. Carter made it policy, and the 2002 AUMF made it law. If we really want to end the Forever War, and keep it from rearing its ugly head again, we need to start by repealing this piece of legislation.
Naomi is a political science researcher and this is her personal blog. She also hyper-tweets on Twitter, publishes more serious articles on SubStack, and dabbles with podcasting on PodBean. Learn more about her here.