Protecting big cats: Cline votes NO

On Friday the House of Representatives approved the Big Cat Public Safety Act to prohibit keeping tigers, lions and other big cat species as pets, and ban direct public contact.

All Democrats and and 63 Republicans voted for the bill. Congressman Cline was among the 134 who voted NO.

According to the Humane Society, which supported the bill:

Big cat ownership is an epidemic in the U.S. Untold numbers of captive big cats live in shoddy roadside zoos or as pets living in homes. More often than not, these large, dangerous, wide-roaming apex predators are kept in small, barren cages where they can barely turn around. They are improperly fed, are not provided with appropriate veterinary care, and have no means to express their complex emotional and behavioral needs. Cubs are ripped away from their mothers to be offered to paying customers for feeding and petting sessions and for photo ops. Keeping big cats in these settings is not only inhumane but is also a serious public safety issue.

So Cline maintains the “perfect” record of opposing legislation protecting animals from cruelty that earned him a ZERO rating from the Humane Society’s Legislative Fund.

Of course this law would protect humans too.

Cline will join racist Hungarian PM at CPAC in Dallas

Last year at a Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas, Congressman Cline delivered a speech so cringe-inducingly bad (see for yourself) that I was sure he would never be invited back.

Shows how much I know about rightwing tolerance for awfulness on their own side.

Cline will be a featured speaker at next month’s CPAC bash in Dallas, along with (of course) Donald Trump and Cline’s dubious pals Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz.

Also on the speakers’ list is Viktor Orban, the authoritarian prime minister of Hungary, who has cultivated a long list of rightwing American admirers with his anti-immigrant policies and his support for “illiberal democracy.” In May Orban hosted a CPAC meeting in Budapest that included— in addition to a number of prominent American conservatives– Zsolt Bayer, an antisemtic Hungarian journalist.

In 2011, furious at criticism of Orban’s newly imposed restrictions on media, Bayer singled out three Jewish critics — Andras Schiff, the noted Hungarian pianist, Nick Cohen, a British journalist, and Daniel Cohn-Bendit, a French politician — as “stinking excrement” and suggested it was “unfortunate” that more Jews were not killed in a 1919 massacre of Hungarian communists.

That broadside was the basis in part for the Holocaust Museum’s rebuke of Hungary’s government in 2016 when Bayer, who co-founded Orban’s Fidesz party, was awarded Hungary’s Order of Merit.

“Bayer has a long record of racist speech and has written highly provocative antisemitic and anti-Roma articles in the Hungarian media,” the museum said at the time. Bayer, who is close to Orban, has said Roma are “not fit to live among human beings.”

A number of figures who had received the Order of Merit returned it, including a Hungarian Jewish leader. Bayer’s broadsides continued unabated; last year he attacked Antony Blinken, the U.S. Jewish secretary of state, as “rootless,” an antisemitic euphemism for Jews.

Earlier this month Orban drew attention to himself with a speech in which he denounced the mixing of races.

“Migration has split Europe in two — or I could say that it has split the West in two,” he said, after commending to his listeners a 50-year-old racist treatise. “One half is a world where European and non-European peoples live together. These countries are no longer nations. They are nothing more than a conglomeration of peoples.” He went on to contrast that with “our world,” in which “we are willing to mix with one another, but we do not want to become peoples of mixed race.”

That was too much even for Orban’s longtime adviser Zsuzsa Hegedus, who resigned and lambasted the prime minister for “a pure Nazi speech worthy of Goebbels.” She said the speech could “please even the most bloodthirsty racists” and suggested he was “advocating an openly racist policy that is now unacceptable even for the Western European extreme right.”

Again: this condemnation came not from some leftwing opponent of Orban but from his longtime adviser.

While I don’t expect Cline to cancel his CPAC gig in protest of Orban’s appearance– he has proven time and again that he lacks that kind of integrity– it would be nice if he took the opportunity to speak to the prime minister about what Hegedus correctly called his pure Nazi speech.

Anyone think that will happen?

Research on cognitive effects of COVID: Cline votes NO

The Hill reports:

The House passed a bill on Tuesday to allow a government agency to award grants into the cognitive effects of COVID-19.

The legislation, titled the Brycen Gray and Ben Price COVID-19 Cognitive Research Act, passed in a 350-69 vote, with all opposition coming from Republicans. Eight Republicans and four Democrats did not vote.

The measure calls on the director of the National Science Foundation to award grants to eligible entities — including higher education institutions or other groups made up of universities and nonprofit organizations — to assist them in researching “the disruption of regular cognitive processes associated with both short-term and long-term COVID-19 infections.”

Research eligible under the bill includes studies on the effects COVID-19 infections have on cognition, emotion, and neural structure and function as well as the influence coronavirus-related psychological and psychosocial factors have on the disruption of cognitive processes.

The grants should be awarded on a competitive, merit-reviewed basis, according to the bill.

In a statement announcing the bill in October, Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), a co-sponsor of the measure, cited research from The Lancet Psychiatry that says roughly 1 in 3 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 received a neurological or psychiatric diagnosis in the six months after their positive test.

The legislation is named after Brycen Gray, 17, and Ben Price, 48, both of whom died by suicide after experiencing mental health issues following their bouts with COVID-19.

It should come as no surprise that Congressman Cline– despite his own COVID diagnosis— was among the 69 Republicans voting NO on this important measure to protect the mental health of thousands of his constituents.

Right to contraception: Cline votes NO

On Thursday Congressman Cline joined 194 other House Republicans to vote NO on a bill establishing a nationwide right to contraception.

The Right To Contraception Act, sponsored by Rep. Kathy Manning, D-N.C., would establish a right in federal law for individuals to obtain and use contraceptives. It would also affirm a right for health care providers to provide contraceptives and allow the Justice Department and entities harmed by contraception restrictions to seek enforcement of the right in court.

This follows Cline’s NO vote on Tuesday on the Respect for Marriage Act, which would codify the right to same-sex and interracial marriage nationwide.

Cline sides with Putin against NATO

On Monday the House of Representatives voted 394 to 18 to express support “for the sovereign decision of Finland and Sweden to apply to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as well as calling on all members of NATO to ratify the protocols of accession swiftly.”

The governments of Finland and Sweden applied for NATO membership in response to Russia’s brutal and murderous invasion of Ukraine earlier this year. Expanding NATO to include these two countries with strong military capabilities will strengthen the alliance and send a powerful message of unity to deter further aggression by Vladimir Putin’s regime.

Putin, of course, does not approve and issued his usual blustering threats.

All Democrats and 176 Republicans supported the measure. The 18 NO votes all came from Republicans, and one of them was from Congressman Cline.

If a majority of the House had voted as Cline and the 17 other Republicans did, it would have been a huge victory for Putin. Fortunately that didn’t come close to happening.

This is not Cline’s first anti-NATO vote. One of his first votes in Congress was against a bill to block then-president Trump from withdrawing the United States from the NATO alliance, as Trump had suggested doing. Cline was one of only 22 members of the House– all Republicans– to vote NO.

Then in April he voted against a resolution expressing “unequivocal support” for the NATO as an alliance founded on democratic principles. The resolution was approved by all of the Democrats and 143 of the 206 Republicans who voted.

Perhaps some of the veterans and active-duty service members Cline claims to support, who have worked closely with troops from other NATO countries in our common defense, should ask him about it.

Cline’s reward from Exxon Mobil

For the past several months, Congressman Cline has been blaming rising fuel prices exclusively on President Biden and the Democrats for supposedly restricting oil exploration and drilling in the United States. (Not true, by the way.)

What Cline absolutely refuses to do is to call out major energy companies for raking in record profits while jacking up prices at the pump.

For example:

At the end of April, Exxon Mobil reported $5.48 billion in profits during the first quarter of 2022 – also more than doubling its profits compared with the same period last year. Revenue for the Irving, Texas-based company was $90.5 billion, far exceeding the revenue of $59.15 billion during the same quarter in 2021.

So what is Cline’s reward for focusing the blame on Democrats rather than on Big Oil?

Here it is, from his latest campaign finance report:

And there’s likely to be much more where that came from.

Cline and the “preborn”

Two weeks before the Supreme Court’s decision overturning the right to abortion, Congressman Cline was among the House Republicans who signed onto a resolution calling for a vote on the Life at Conception Act, which declares “equal protection for the right to life of each born and preborn human person” under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The Life at Conception Act– which Cline also signed onto– states:

The terms “human person” and “human being” include each and every member of the species homo sapiens at all stages of life, including the moment of fertilization, cloning, or other moment at which an individual member of the human species comes into being.

No time limits. No age limits. No exceptions.

In other words, this would be a nationwide ban on abortion from the moment of conception for any reason, including rape, incest or protecting the health or life of the mother– applying to 10-year-old girls as much as anyone else.

If Cline thinks I am misinterpreting the language of the bill, I hope he will provide his own interpretation.

Perhaps before the Supreme Court decision, Cline and the other Republicans thought they could support this atrocious bill without having to deal with all of its terrible implications.

No more.

Active shooter alert system: Cline votes NO

By a vote of 260 to 169, the House of Representatives Wednesday approved the bipartisan Active Shooter Alert Act to create an Amber Alert-like system for active shooter situations.

The bill was cosponsored by Democratic Congressman David Cicilline and Republican Congressman Fred Upton.

The measure would allow law enforcement to deploy the alert system in emergency situations and notify the public about active shooters.

Cicilline and Upton said it could be used in situations like what unfolded after the mass shooting in Highland Park, Ill., on the Fourth of July, when the suspected gunman was at large for eight hours and was able to drive to Wisconsin. Another situation when the alert system could have been used was in April, when a suspect was at large for about 29 hours after allegedly shooting people at a subway station in Brooklyn.

In active shooter events, authorities have had to resort to using Twitter and social media to tell the public about the situation, Cicilline said.

“This is terribly inefficient and dangerous,” he said in a statement. “Law enforcement needs and deserves better tools than Twitter to communicate with the community and the Active Shooter Alert Act answers that call.”

Upton said in a statement that the alert system would allow police and first responders “to focus on ending the situation and saving lives.” He said he heard from “law enforcement and police chiefs that active shooter alerts can be a vital tool to provide accurate, real-time information to our communities, and one they believe will help in these dangerous situations.”

Forty-three Republicans and all but one Democrat voted YES. For reasons I can’t even begin to guess, Congressman Cline and 167 other Republicans voted NO.