Wednesday, June 14, 2006

National Call in Day to the Senate for Weds. & Thurs (on Iraq)

On KPFA's Evening News tonight, the issue of tomorrow's House debate (or 'debate') was addressed. Leigh Ann Caldwell:

About a third of the House of Representatives has been pushing for a debate on the war in Iraq. They will get what they asked for tomorrow when all day will be dedicated to the war. But some lawmakers plan to boycott tomorrow's debate. Ron Paul, Republican from Texas: "If this resolution comes to the floor, I will not participate."
Neil Abercrombie, Democrat from Hawaii: "Because it lends creedence to the idea that we're actually having a debate and will allow for discussion to take place back and forth with the expectation of people who are tuning into it who are observing it that we'll actually be voting on the things we're discussing and we're not going to do that at all. My suggestion is that the Democratic caucus, and for those who wish to join, I hope that there would be Republicans as well, that we go out on the steps of the Capitol and indicate that we want to have a substantive debate on this and to make suggestions as to how we might deal with the question in Iraq and elsewhere."
They and other lawmakers say the context of the scheduled debate is irrelevant. Representative Ike Skelton, Democrat from Missouri, and ranking member of the Armed Services Committee: "I'm deeply disturbed that the resolution that will be before us attempts to confuse two wars. The war in Afghanistan, which is the war against terrorists, terrorists had its genesis there, we did the right thing, of course, by going in there and fighting terrorism around the world, al Qaeda and their minions, and the second war is the war in Iraq. These are insurgents. Guerillas. Their goal is not the same as a terrorist to create a fundamentalist Muslim caliphied all across the Middle East, their goal is different. Insurgents want to topple the existing government in Iraq and establish their own."
The Republican written resolution declares that the United States will win the global war on terror and also the struggle to protect freedom from the terrorist adversary. According to House rules, the Democrats will not be allowed to offer their own version.
House Speaker Dennis Hastert, from Illinois, says that terrorists are in Iraq: "What we're fighting in Iraq today are al Qaeda. And we're winning that war. And we'll stand up a free Iraq, a democratic Iraq, we will stand up troops of their, of Iraqi nationality, and a police force and as that happens we'll be able to bring our troops home but not until we do that."
When a reporter asked if al Qaeda would be in Iraq if the US had never occupied the country, Hastert dismissed the question as speculation. "We don't know but the fact is we are fighting this war against the al Qaeda in Iraq. I'd rather we be fighting it there then the streets of Washington or New York City or Chicago, Illinois."
Marty Meehan, Democrat from Massachusetts, says the real issue is being avoided and the resolution supports the status quo: "So I think at a minimum with the situation deteriorating, with insurgencies that are growing we ought to have an honest, candid discussion about the challenges that we face in Iraq and what we're going to do to change policy to meet those challenges. "
Meanwhile in the Senate, Senator John Kerry, from Massachusetts, plans to introduce his resolution to set a timeline and a deadline to withdraw. The Democratic leadership plans to offer a seperate amendment that urges the President to come up with an exit plan.
Peace groups have called for a national call in for today and tomorrow -- for people to call their senators to urge a withdrawal of troops. For Free Speech Radio News, I'm Leigh Ann Caldwell.

Consider that a rush transcript. I've cleaned up stammers (the worst were Hastert and Skelton). "Rush Transcript," rush. Also reported on was Russ Feingold comments about where ever he goes around the country, he hears the same question: "When are you guys going to stand up? When are you going to stand up for principals?" He added, on avoiding the issues, "There will not be progressive change in this country this year or any other year if we think we can win by default or by just running out the clock." (Clip's much longer. You can use the archives to hear the broadcast.) Contact your senators? From United for Peace & Justice:

ACT NOW: Tell the Senate to Vote to End the War!
Congress has spent years avoiding responsibility for Iraq. But this week, the Senate will vote on several different proposals to bring the troops home and end the war, calling for measures that range from immediate withdrawal to a gradual withdrawal stretched out over 18 months.
This is an important moment in the work of the peace movement -- we have made it impossible for Congress to avoid the issue any longer.
Tell your Senators: The war in Iraq must end immediately and all of the troops must be brought home now!
Call, fax or email both of the Senators from your state today urging them to support legislation to bring all the troops home immediately.

Cindy notes Tom Hayden's "Abu Musab al-Zarqawi" (Common Dreams) and zeroes in on this section:

I have no reason to believe Zarqawi was an agent, only a misguided Islamic revolutionary. But I still wonder what those British soldiers disguised as Iraqis were planning on the day they were discovered in Basra in September 2004. I wonder if US Special Forces ever dress up as Iraqis and paint their faces...But perhaps I rely too much on the experience of Northern Ireland, where it is documented that British officers continually managed "assets" bent on sectarian killing expeditions, trying to reduce the nationalist struggle to a religious one. The British then dispatched key officers from Belfast to Basra.
It is enough to argue for now that Zarqawi served the purpose of dividing and fragmenting the Iraqi national resistance into bloody sectarian strife. The tensions were built into the power shift from Sunni to Shi'a, and only needed sectarian leadership to unleash the death squads and ethnic cleansing. In doing so, they gave the US a new rationale for intervention, one appealing to guilty liberals and moderates, the need for an occupier to keep the fanatics from killing each other. Permanently. But in doing so, Zarqawi was engulfing Iraqs in a boiling cauldron that promised no end to the killing and no exit for the US. There were many interests who wanted him dead.

Third Party notes Ralph Nader's "Statement by Ralph Nader on the Seizure of the South Central Farm in Los Angeles and the Eviction of 350 Farmers" (Common Dreams):

WASHINGTON -- June 14 -- On this day of infamy, an agrarian revival in the middle of urban impoverishment was stamped out by a developer whose price was met by the City of Los Angeles but whose obstinacy prevailed all the way to the bulldozers he hired to destroy the carefully cultivated little gardens.
The developed has acquired a 14 acre albatross. His destructive behavior is only the opening chapter in a struggle to reacquire this nationally famous demonstration of community self-reliance -- the largest urban farm in America. Between the expected citizen mobilization and the pending legal actions, the developer will have a busy summer. Any corporation showing any interest in building a warehouse there will have to reassess the present valuation of its corporate trademarks and good will.

Please read Wally's "THIS JUST IN! A BULLY BABY IS BORN!" for an example of your tax dollars at waste. Also Mike's "The Beat of Black Wings," Elaine's "Iraqis protest, Take Back America silences protest ," Kat's "Guns & Butter, the war hawk Hillary," Cedric's "Law and Disorder, Dahr Jamail & Amy Goodman on Falluja, the death of two Iraqi women, Ramadi and more, and Jason Leopold." If I'd gotten in at a reasonable hour last night, I'd have noted Rebecca's "jason" then but I'll note it tonight and she's posted tonight ("'the way i see it,' he said 'you just can't win it'"). Beth pointed out that I'd not noted the new content at The Third Estate Sunday Review:

Truest statement of last week
A Note to Our Readers
Editorial: Administration attacks the American Way of Life
TV Review: Windfallen Perry and Gedrick
Strange people (fictional recreation of reality)
New York Times kind-of, sort-of reports the death of civilians
Katha Pollit on Radionation with Laur Flanders today
Radio (online and over the airwaves) highlights

Sunday there were Blogger/ Blogspot problems and I thought I had noted it already. (Thanks for catching the omission, Beth.) Betty worked on the new content. She has started a new job and is still juggling that (and her kids, and life, and . . .). She hopes to post Thursday or Friday.
Bonnie wonders if there's going to be a book discussion (at Third Estate Sunday Review) this Sunday? (A lot of talk of books at various sites.) No, we've got four books we'd like to do (probably in two discussions) but everyone's still reading.

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