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I first became aware of Pete Stark shortly after the invasion of Iraq.  These were heady days of mainstream media manufactured euphoria in which few Americans were even thinking about the long term consequences of this incredibly stupid policy.  One morning, seemingly out of nowhere, I saw Congressman Stark on CNBC, interacting with a bunch of pompous, gloating talking heads who were practically orgasmic over the "victory" in Baghdad.  Stark got highly indignant and correctly predicted the disaster to come.  He went as far as to call George W. Bush a "jerk".  CNBC's Steve Liesman responded: "I resent that remark".  Stark practically laughed at him and told him to resent it all he wanted.  I practically stood up and cheered.  Ten more reasons to love Pete Stark are below.  

!. Stark was a successful businessman in the banking industry and a Republican who switched to the Democratic party as a result of the Vietnam War.  He placed a giant peace sign on the roof of his Bay area bank and printed peace signs on the bank's checks.

  1.  Stark is the only declared "nontheistic" member of Congress, and has stated that he is "a unitarian who does not believe in a supreme being".  He has verbally opposed the promotion of religion in the military, marriage contracts and science.
  1.  Stark is the longest serving member of Congress from the state of California.
  1.  Stark was an opponent of the Iraq war even before the invasion and called for a reinstatement of the draft, saying "If we are going to have these escapades, we shouldn't do it on the backs of poor people and minorities."
  1.  Until the end of the Republican Congress in 2006, Stark voted against every single bill to appropriate additional funds for the Iraq war.
  1.  In July of 2003, Stark got into an altercation with Republican Scott McInnis.  The occasion was an attempt by Ways and Means chairman Bill Thomas to ram through a Republican written budget without allowing Democrats on the committee to even READ it before hand.  Stark called McInnis "a little wimp" and "a fruitcake" and challenged him to a fight.  Stark is in his seventies, McInnis was fifty years old at the time.
  1.  In 2003, the ACLU rated Stark at 100% per cent in their scorecard devoted to ranking the votes of members of Congress.
  1.  In a similar process in 2005, James Dobson's Family Research Council rated Stark at 0%
  1.  Stark is a veteran having served in the Air Force in 1955 to 1957
  1. Stark participated in a lawsuit against George W. Bush over the federal budget.  The suit brought by eleven congressman was ultimately dismissed.

Pete Stark is a breath of fresh air.  If we had 100 members like him, the Democratic party would take back this government in a landslide.  If anyone owes anyone an apology, it's Speaker Pelosi to a courageous and outspoken American public servant, Pete Stark.

Originally posted to Travis Bickle on Sat Oct 20, 2007 at 09:39 AM PDT.

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