Please join us for our 9th annual Founders Dinner, featuring a buffet with your choice of Chicken Gumbo with Sausage (not too spicy) inspired by Orange County Chef Edna Lewis or a delicious vegetarian entrée, both with salads, sides, beverages and Jan Richter’s famous brownies & berries for dessert.
Recently, Senator Ted Cruz from Texas asked the Pentagon to clarify its intentions with military exercises in Central Texas called “Jade Helm 15.” The Pentagon’s response follows:
Dear Senator Cruz:
Thank you for your inquiry into whether the Jade Helm 15 military exercise is the first wave of a federal takeover of Texas, the Trojan Horse, as it were, of the end of sovereignty in the Lone Star State. Our response, contrary to the long tradition of official correspondence and military bureaucracy, is concise: no.
But that’s just what you would expect us to say, isn’t it?
Perhaps, then, you would prefer not an official proclamation but a reasoned answer. As a master debater in college (Princeton, right?), you surely appreciate the reliability of logic, your public statements over the past few years notwithstanding. If you are disinclined to take the United States Armed Forces at their word when we promise no ill intentions towards Texas, then perhaps your considerable and vaunted intellectual powers, which once posited the regrowth of hymens as a guard against unauthorized incursions in domestic affairs, could be swayed by incontrovertible fact.
I know you think highly of our capabilities. Why else would you advocate for a short war with Iran? If we are indeed that powerful, we could probably launch an attack from any of the 15 U.S. military bases already within Texas’ borders. While Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher may have found it necessary, even attractive, to invade countries that can easily be overrun, the present DoD considers such lopsided contests at best unsporting.
As someone who was not born within the borders of this country, it might interest you to know that Texas is already part of the United States. In fact, Texas has twice joined the Union. The first time your adopted state joined the USA in 1845 it set in motion events that led to the Mexican-American War. Later, when Union troops conquered the Southern rebellion, Texas rejoined the Union. It is not, therefore, farfetched to think that Texas’ relationship to the rest of the United States could involve war, but please also keep in mind that when we refer to the United States of America, Texas is being implicitly included. We thought about calling it the United States of America and Texas, but we were afraid people might think Texas was a retrograde backwater of reactionary lunatics who think Moses was a Founding Father and laugh at you. This is way better.
Please also consider there are a great many things about Texas and Texan culture that could be threatened by another unnecessary armed conflict between Texas and the United States. We like Texas barbecue. That Green Beret who carried the flag out for the Texas Longhorn football team? That was pretty cool. The wildflowers along the highways are no joke. The late Texan Chris Kyle, the “American sniper,” is a hero to many. Texas gave the world Lyndon Johnson, a staggering gift for which America was perhaps not entirely prepared. Without the Lone Star State, the Western swing band Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys would have appeared under the performing name Robert Wills and His Playboys, which is ghastly, or not have existed at all, a possibility that DoD has officially classified as “too awful to contemplate”. And we really dig the self-awareness, the love of self that, while occasionally metastasizing into paranoid delusions such as those that motivated your original query, also make Texas a culture with an indelible sense of place.
But, we reiterate, that place is in the United States. On previous visits, we noticed that many of your residents enjoy Social Security and Medicare (you’re welcome), volunteer for the armed services, treasure federal parks, wildlife preserves, and wilderness areas, and earn and spend currency backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. With a quick Internet search, I also learned that nearly a third of Texas’ total revenue is from Federal funding. In fact, millions of your schoolchildren pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America almost every day. And unlike yourself, they apparently mean it.
There is a fundamental misapprehension that we feel is at the root of your query about our intentions was revealed in a recent comment you made to the press.
We are assured it is a military training exercise. I have no reason to doubt those assurances, but I understand the reason for concern and uncertainty, because when the federal government has not demonstrated itself to be trustworthy in this administration, the natural consequence is that many citizens don’t trust what it is saying.
If, Senator Cruz, you believe that the United States military is a political tool of its civilian leadership, you have reached a conclusion unsupported by fact, history and good sense. The troops swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States. To besmirch their loyalty to the country, even in the service of making hackneyed political points in the Republican primary, does not make you a patriot, but a partisan. Even a Princeton and Harvard Law man should know the difference.
Also, it makes you the rudest Canadian we’ve ever run across.
Professors Martin Gilens (Princeton University) and Benjamin I. Page (Northwestern University) looked at more than 20 years worth of data to answer a pretty simple question: Does the government represent the people?
Their study took data from nearly 2000 public opinion surveys and compared it to the policies that ended up becoming law. In other words, they compared what the public wanted to what the government actually did. What they found was extremely unsettling: The opinions of the bottom 90% of income earners in America has essentially no impact at all.
This video gives a quick rundown of their findings — it all boils down to one simple graph:
Gilens & Page found that the number of americans for or against any idea has no impact on the likelihood that congress will make it law.
“The preferences of the average American appear to have only a miniscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”
One thing that does have an influence? Money. While the opinions of the bottom 90% of income earners in America have a “statistically non-significant impact,” Economic elites, business interests, and people who can afford lobbyists still carry major influence.
CONTACT: Morgan Finkelstein, firstname.lastname@example.org
Comstock Added to NRCC Most Vulnerable List One Day After Voting To Invade Women’s Privacy and Health Care Rights
One-Term Wonder Congresswoman Barbara Comstock found herself added to the NRCC’s most vulnerable members list just one day after voting to invade women’s privacy and their personal health care decisions.
Comstock joined her Republican colleagues to advance their anti-women’s agenda by overruling a common-sense law in the District of Columbia that would protect women from invasive questions and discrimination from their employers based on their personal health care decisions.
After months of trying to hide her true stance on issues important to women, Comstock’s actions have proven that her values are completely out of touch with the women of Northern Virginia.
“If you thought Comstock’s votes for mandatory invasive ultrasounds and personhood amendments were the last of her attacks on women’s reproductive health, yesterday’s vote shows there is no end in sight,” said Meredith Kelly of the DCCC. “It’s clear from the NRCC adding her to their list of vulnerable Republicans that they know she is perilously out of touch with her constituents.”
COMSTOCK VOTED AGAINST DC REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS
Comstock Voted In Favor Of Resolution Disapproving DC Law Protecting Employees From Discrimination Based On Their Reproductive Health Decisions. [HJ Res 43, Roll Call #194, 4/30/15]
Oversight Committee Approval Marked First Time In More Than 20 Years That Legislation To Overturn DC Law Reached Chamber Floor. “Behind Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), the Oversight panel approved the measure 20 to 16 along strict party lines, marking the first time in 23 years that a House committee has sent legislation overturning a D.C. law to the chamber floor.” [The Hill, 4/30/15]
Comstock-Backed Bill Could Allow Employers To Discriminate Against Employees Who Use Birth Control Or Have Abortions After Rape. “Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), senior Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, warned this month that Black’s resolution ‘would permit District employers to fire a woman because she had an abortion after being raped, demote a man because his wife chooses to use a birth control pill, pay an employee less because his or her teenage daughter became pregnant out of wedlock, and impose a host of other penalties based on ideologies that discriminate against certain reproductive health decisions.’ ‘Far be it from me to give Republicans political advice, but this is a new low,’ Cummings said.” [The Hill, 4/30/15]
COMSTOCK HAS CONSISTENTLY OPPOSED REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOM
Comstock: “I Have Been an Activist in the Pro-Life and Pro-Family Community for 25 Years.” In February 2008 on CNN, Comstock said, “I have been an activist in the pro-life and pro-family community for 25 years.” [CNN Newsroom, 2/04/08]
Voted to Mandate Medically Unnecessary And Invasive Transvaginal Ultrasounds Before Abortion. In 2012, Comstock voted in favor of House Bill 462 and Senate Bill 484 that would amend informed consent law to mandate transvaginal ultrasounds before an abortion. [Washington Post, 2/28/12; HB 462, 2012 Session,3/01/12; SB 484, 2012 Session, 2/22/12]
Voted for Personhood Bill. In February 2012, Comstock voted in favor of House Bill 1 which provided that “unborn children at every stage of development enjoy all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of the commonwealth, subject only to the laws and constitutions of Virginia and the United States, precedents of the United States Supreme Court, and provisions to the contrary in the statutes of the commonwealth.” The bill passed 66 to 32. [Washington Post, 2/13/12; HB 1, 2012 Session,2/14/12]
ACOG: Personhood Measures “Would Limit Or Eliminate Contraceptive Options.” According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, personhood measures “would limit or eliminate contraceptive options.” They elaborated: “Some of the most effective and reliable forms of contraception—oral contraceptives, intrauterine devices, and other forms of FDA-approved contraceptives—could be banned in states that adopt ‘personhood’ measures.” [American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 2/20/13]
Roanoke Times: HB 1 was “The Foundation for Outlawing Abortions.” In February 2012, a Roanoke Times editorial called HB 1 “the foundation for outlawing abortions should the U.S. Supreme Court reverse Roe v. Wade.” The editorial board wrote that the bill could make criminals of doctors who perform abortions to save the life of the mother and could restrict contraceptive options. “Critics rightly fear the impact of Del. Bob Marshall’s ‘personhood’ bill on women’s health care. Obstetricians are worried that it could make criminals of doctors who perform abortions in cases of ectopic pregnancies […] a leading cause of first-trimester maternal deaths,” the Times wrote. The editorial board also said supporters of the bill “dismiss concerns that giving fertilized eggs legal status as persons would open the door to outlawing some forms of contraception. Yet some commonly used methods work by preventing embryos from implanting in the uterus.” [Roanoke Times, Editorial, 2/19/12]