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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Chewed up and spit out

From Obbie and RoZ:

We just read two very moving letters by Cindy Sheehan. The first, written this morning, was a message of disgust at the Dummycratic party and its inability to stand up to Emperor Bush and stop the war. Then as the day ground on, she apparently suffered from a lot of abuse from all directions, and threw in the towel on her activist efforts.

The political bureaucracy has done what it seems to be designed to do: it has taken another good-hearted person and worn her down to the point that she has nothing left to offer:
I am going to take whatever I have left and go home. I am going to go home and be a mother to my surviving children and try to regain some of what I have lost.

Please read both letters. There’s a lot written between the lines
that this country needs to learn.

http://www.counterpunch.org/sheehan05282007.html
http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2007/5/28/12530/1525

More discussion here...
http://blog.purplearth.net/?p=48

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Just say no

Well, that didn't take long.

All that sputterin' and fist shakin' and big talkin'. All that hope that the Democrats would come through and change things.

Well, yeah. Sure.

They changed things all right. It's like sending your five year old into a poker game to play for next month's rent. It's like thinking that scarecrow is really going to keep the birds out of the corn. It's like hoping there really is enough gas in the tank to get to the job interview.

We don't want more billions spent on the conquest of Iraq. Period. How clear is that? How clearly did voters tell Ron Kind, WE DON'T WANT MORE BILLIONS SPENT ON WAR WITH IRAQ. Did he listen? No.

Well, you have to keep trying, right? You have to keep emailing Ron Kind or calling him (local office, 782-2558) even though you know damn well he couldn't give a fig for your opinion, desire, concern or demand. You can email Feingold and thank him for keeping up the fight. And you can email Kohl to see if he's ready to do anything yet.
But, really, it's not going to help. As long as the noise machine keeps equating spending billions of dollars on weapons and Iraqi lawmakers' two month vacation with "supporting the troops" and as long as Ron Kind and his buddies keep voting against their constituents' interests and wishes, it's really an exercise in futility.

New party, anyone?

I noted on another list that the Republican party grew from anti-slavery Democrats who were outraged that their party supported the disastrous 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act. That same year, the fledgling party was forming (in Ripon, by the way) and by 1855, Republicans, including Cadwallader Washburn, (and other opposition party members) controlled the House of Representatives. By 1860, Republican, Lincoln, was elected president.

Were those folks smarter? more passionate? better organized? Can anti-war stir the same passion and sentiment as anti-slavery? Can't our internets, cell phones, myspaces, automobiles get as much done? Or are we so Anna Nicole Paris Angelina'd that a rat could gnaw off our pinkie toe and we'd never even feel it?

I don't know. I'm one of those idiot liberals who doesn't go for this new-fangled reverse reverse reverse psychology. We have to fund the war to stop it. Doesn't this sound like something from George Orwell?

We have to stop funding the war to stop it. That's the message. If you're up for it, tell them that.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What kind of people are we?

[UPDATE: Common Chemicals Pose Danger for Fetuses, Scientists Warn]

Who would poison their food for generations to come and not even think about it?

* A new study of hundreds of existing studies and databases concludes that chemicals we put into our environment cause breast cancer. "The researchers named 216 chemicals that induce breast tumors in animals. Of those, people are highly exposed to 97, including industrial solvents, pesticides, dyes, gasoline and diesel exhaust compounds, cosmetics ingredients, hormones, pharmaceuticals, radiation, and a chemical in chlorinated drinking water."

* For years now, we've been warned against eating fish because of mercury contamination. "Federal and state advisories focus on how much and what species of fish can be hazardous to women and children, but there are increasing signs that adult men, and women beyond childbearing age, are also at risk."

* Our oil gluttony knows no limits. No matter what, we must have oil. More, more, MORE! "In violation of Peruvian law, Oxy dumped an average of 850,000 barrels per day of toxic oil by-products from the extraction process, known as 'produced waters,' directly into rivers and streams used by the Achuar for drinking, bathing, washing, and fishing, totaling approximately 9 billion barrels over 30 years of operation."

* Fluoridated water should not be used to mix infant formula. Who knew?

* Chemicals linked to birth defects in canned foods and the consultants tasked to oversee for safety found to have worked for the chemical's manufacturer.

* Globalization means we now get food from anywhere and everywhere. Do they use banned pesticides? Do they follow safe handling rules? Do they wash their hands? Who knows? Who cares?
And while there are a few bright spots, they turn out not to be after all, " U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer in a published order said his initial injunction against planting more of Monsanto's herbicide-resistant Roundup Ready alfalfa should stay in place until government studies on its environmental effects are concluded.

The ban is nationwide. An estimated 220,000 acres of Roundup Ready alfalfa have [already] been planted.

Who would do such a thing?

Friday, May 11, 2007

The bill that should have passed


Rep. James McGovern (MA) (no relation to former presidential candidate, George McGovern) proposed a real "support the troops" bill in the House on Thursday: HR 2237, to provide for the redeployment of United States Armed Forces and defense contractors from Iraq.

Let's see, how did Ron Kind, the guy who heard from his constituents in the strongest of terms that WE WANT OUT NOW, support the troops???? Was he a co-sponsor? No.
But did he vote for the bill - the bill that doesn't just call for a pullout of U.S. troops but also demands that we remove contractors, transfer permanent bases to Iraq and help Iraqi refugees (in fact, a plan close to one offered in 2006 in a book by former presidential candidate George McGovern, Out of Iraq)?

Well, ... no.

So, all of us who took time off work, arranged for a sitter, left our comfy routines to go to a Ron Kind (not) listening session, hats off for another useless effort to hold this "representative" to vote in the best interests of his constituents and his country.

In fact, according to Meteor Blades, a regular DailyKos diarist,
A surprisingly large number of House Democrats, 169 – including Iraq war veterans and a few Blue Dogs, including hawk Jane Harman – voted Thursday for the nine-month withdrawal plan, so many that Jim McGovern, the Massachusetts Democrat who was the chief sponsor of the proposal, was amazed. "This is proof that the United States Congress is getting closer to where the American people already are."

Who will run against Ron Kind in 2008?

Here's the text of the bill that should have passed (and that Ron Kind rejected in favor of this war FUNDING bill.)

H.R. 2237: To provide for the redeployment of United States Armed Forces and defense contractors from Iraq.

Commencement of Redeployment- Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Defense shall commence the redeployment of units and members of the Armed Forces deployed in Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom and contractors operating in Iraq and funded using amounts appropriated to the Department of Defense.

(b) Completion of Redeployment- The Secretary of Defense shall complete the redeployment of the Armed Forces and defense contractors from Iraq within 180 days beginning on the date of the commencement of the redeployment required under subsection (a).

(c) Prohibition on Use of Funds To Increase Armed Forces Serving in Iraq- Funds appropriated or otherwise made available to the Department of Defense under any provision of law may not be obligated or expended to increase the number of members of the Armed Forces serving in Iraq in excess of the number of members serving in Iraq as of January 1, 2007, unless the increase has been specifically authorized in advance by an Act of Congress.

(d) Authority To Determine Locations Outside of Iraq for Redeployment- Nothing in this section shall be construed to restrict the locations outside of Iraq to which units and members of the Armed Forces redeployed from Iraq may be transferred, including redeployment to an adjacent or nearby country at the invitation of the government of the country or redeployment to bolster military forces deployed in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

(e) Authority To Retain Armed Forces in Iraq for Limited Purposes- The Secretary of Defense may retain in Iraq members of the Armed Forces for the purpose of providing security for the United States Embassy and other United States diplomatic missions in Iraq; protecting American citizens, including members of the Armed Forces; serving in roles consistent with customary diplomatic positions; engaging in targeted special actions limited in duration and scope to killing or capturing members of al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations with global reach; and training and equipping members of the Iraqi Security Forces. At the request of the Government of Iraq, the Secretary of Defense may retain in Iraq members of the Army Corps of Engineers and defense contractors engaged in reconstruction projects in Iraq, to the extent necessary to complete such projects.

(f) Availability of Funds for Safe and Orderly Redeployment- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, funds appropriated or otherwise made available in any Act are immediately available for obligation and expenditure to plan and execute a safe and orderly redeployment of the Armed Forces and defense contractors from Iraq, as required by this section.

(g) Transfer of United States Military Facilities in Iraq- The President of the United States shall transfer to the Government of Iraq all right, title, and interest held by the United States in any military facility in Iraq that was constructed, repaired, or improved using amounts appropriated to the Department of Defense and occupied by a unit of the Armed Forces.

(h) Prohibition on Use of Funds To Further Deploy United States Armed Forces to Iraq- Beginning on the date of the completion of the redeployment of the Armed Forces from Iraq under subsection (b), funds appropriated or otherwise made available under any provision of law may not be obligated or expended to further deploy units or members of the Armed Forces to Iraq, including through participation in any multinational force in Iraq, except as provided under subsection (e) or unless such deployment of units or members of the Armed Forces is specifically authorized in advance by an Act of Congress.

(i) Assistance to Iraqi Security Forces and Multinational Forces in Iraq- Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit or otherwise restrict the use of funds available to the Department of Defense for the purpose of providing financial assistance or equipment to the Iraqi Security Forces or multinational forces providing security or training in Iraq at the request of the Government of Iraq.

(j) Continuation of Diplomatic, Social, and Economic Reconstruction Activities in Iraq- Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit or otherwise restrict the use of funds available to any department or agency of the United States (other than the Department of Defense) to carry out diplomatic, social, and economic reconstruction activities in Iraq at the request of the Government of Iraq.

(k) Asylum or Other Means of Protection for Iraqi Citizens - Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit or otherwise restrict the authority of the President to arrange asylum or other means of protection for Iraqi citizens who might be physically endangered by the redeployment of the Armed Forces from Iraq.

(l) Definition- In this section, the term `Armed Forces' has the meaning given the term in section 101(a)(4) of title 10, United States Code.