The Republican Congress cannot even compromise with itself

John Boehner listens as Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address last month

No compromise: the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, listens as Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address last month. Photograph: Getty Images

Recently, in an effort to embarrass Republicans pandering to their scientifically challenged base, Senate Democrats proposed a series of votes on climate change. While most Americans and the overwhelming majority of scientists believe climate change is real and people are the primary cause of it, Republican voters are evenly divided on whether it exists at all, and reject the idea that we are responsible.

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Ferguson, Selma and a mood for change

protests washington dc

Demonstrations in Washington DC after the decision not to prosecute police officer Darren Wilson, who shot dead Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

When the film trailer for Primary Colors, based on a novel about the election campaign of a philandering southern Democratic president, came out in 1998, the Monica Lewinsky scandal was in full bloom. I saw it at a movie theatre in Virginia, and when the announcer boomed, “At a cinema near you”, a man in the audience shouted, “It’s already here!”

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American Sniper: a jihadi in uniform

Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle in American Sniper.

Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle in American Sniper. ‘What makes the west different is the force with which it simultaneously makes its case for superiority and contradicts it.’ Photograph: Keith Bernstein/Allstar/Warner Bros

Say what you like about the film American Sniper, and people have, you have to admire its clarity. It’s about killing. There is no moral arc; no anguish about whether the killing is necessary or whether those who are killed are guilty of anything. “I’m prepared to meet my maker and answer for every shot I took,” says Bradley Cooper, who plays the late Chris Kyle, a navy Seal who was reputedly the deadliest sniper in American history. There is certainly no discursive quandary about whether the Iraq war, in which the killing takes place, is either legal or justified. “I couldn’t give a flying fuck about the Iraqis,” wrote Kyle in his memoir, where he refers to the local people as “savages”.

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