Tuesday, March 14, 2006

"For sometimes when I am feeling as big as the land with the velvet hill in the small of my back"

First off, both Mike and I have added Law and Disorder to our links. For a number of reasons, including that we both feel like too much is left for C.I. to do, we're trying to increase our own efforts at raising awareness. If you're not familiar with Law and Disorder, I hope you'll make a point to check it out. I know Rachel, Micah and Jonah read my stuff and they are already listen to Law and Disorder via WBAI in New York. If you're not familiar with it, it's a one hour weekly show that brings together four attornies to discuss current events. Ruth loves the show and maybe that will encourage you to check it out? Please visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's thoughts on today's news.

Bush Vows to Turn Over Most of Iraq to Iraqi Troops By Year's End (Democracy Now!):
On Monday, President Bush vowed for the first time to turn over most of Iraq to newly trained Iraqi troops by the end of this year. It is unclear how this will happen. Just last month the Pentagon admitted there are no longer any Iraqi battalions capable of fighting without U.S. support.

As Bully Boy attempts to be the new Nixon of the millenium, he even apes the "I've got a peace plan" lies of Tricky Dick. Like Nixon, he will leave office in disgrace. John Dean's book Worse Than Watergate maintained sometime ago that Bully Boy was worse than Nixon and that was based only on the first three years of his administration. Now that we know about the warrantless spying on Americans, Dean could probably write a sequel though I have no idea what he'd call it. 10 Times Worse Than Watergate?

This weekend, what will you be doing to mark the third anniversary of the start of the illegal war? Some people are already doing things. Lloyd noted one such event to C.I. and with Lloyd and C.I.'s permission, I'll note it here.

"Love the solider, hate the war" (Tim Wagner, The Beacon News):
BATAVIA -- A row of black, tattered boots line a portion of Wilson Street, running parallel with makeshift coffins -- each draped with an American Flag -- across the way. Located diagonally from the boots is a display of civilian shoes.
Collectively, they represent the casualties of the war in Iraq:
• 91 pairs of boots for the number of Illinois troops killed.
• 23 coffins -- one for every 100 American soldiers killed.
• And hundreds of shoes, each tagged with specific names -- from small children to senior citizens -- collected to show support of all the Iraqi citizens who have lost their lives during the war.
The Anti-War Majority, a coalition of more than 20 community, peace, faith and labor groups from northern Illinois, is holding a week-long vigil in downtown Batavia to mark the third anniversary of the war in Iraq.
"The whole thing we're doing out here," said Dave Martin of the Anti-War Majority, "is trying to memorialize those who've died."
Beth Johnson, of Batavia, braved Monday afternoon's cold, gale-force winds and stood post on the corner of Wilson and River streets where she hung on to a giant, wooden sign that read: "We mourn the dead .... we call for peace."

91 lost from one state. If you're wondering the physical cost for your state, you can click here.
Bully Boy's adopted state of Texas has lost 206.

New Poll: 36% Approve Bush; 60% Say War is Going Badly (Democracy Now!):
Bush made the announcement during a speech that launched a new public relations campaign to win greater support for the war in Iraq and his presidency. The latest USA Today/CNN poll shows the president's approval rating is at just 36 percent. And 60 percent of the country says the war in Iraq is going badly.

He's not going to win greater support. If I steal from you and you don't know it, you may think we're good friends. Once you find out that I've tricked you, I might not ever win back your trust. If I were to win it back, it would be through honesty and hard work. Bully Boy's incapable of either. He is our vacation warrior. I don't think we even bother to count his vacations at this point. Maybe we're just all breathing a sigh of relief that he hasn't shot anyone the way Cheney did? Or maybe we've accepted how useless he is and just want to mark time until he's out of office?

We don't have that luxury. People are dying in his illegal war so we need to really be motivated this weekend and use our voices like never before. I hope you'll take part in rallies or protests this weekend but, if that's not a possibility for you, I hope you'll start your own speak out. Throw a party Saturday night to speak out. Talk about the war to your friends. Make this story of our lives and Iraqi lives the kind of topic that the corporate news should be making it. (See "The war coverage (and lack of it)" if you're not aware of how bad a job the corporate news is doing and how important it is that we carry our weight and then some.)

Brenda had noted an event to C.I. and she knew that I am a strong supporter of United for Peace & Justice so she let C.I. pass it on to me. Mike and I are both going to be doing that because C.I. can't note everything at The Common Ills. There's not enough time and there's not enough space. So thank you to Brenda.

"Legislative Action: Keep the Pressure On" (United for Peace & Justice):
Take Action!
Unless Congress votes to end the war, the fourth year of fighting will begin on March 19. The costs so far ...
over 28,000 Iraqi civilian lives (and some estimates are as high as 100,000 lives)
over 2,300 U.S. military lives
over 4,000 Iraqi police and military deaths
over 16,500 U.S. troops wounded in combat
$251 billion spent to date
$1.3 trillion estimated long-term bill
Call your Representative and Senators at 888-355-3588 today, and tell them: Not one penny more for war!
If your members of Congress haven't signed on to any legislation against the war, you need to have a serious conversation with them.
Give them a call: Call Congress at 202-224-3121.
Pay them a visit: Members of Congress are not in Washington all the time; call your Representative and Senators' local office to find out when they are home, and when you can meet with them.
Join our campaign to keep the pressure on Congress -- receive updates, legislative alerts and invitations to particpate in monthly conference calls and briefings.

Register now to become a member of UFPJ's Legislative Action Network.
Click here to find out who your Representative and Senators are, or to get local contact information.
Legislation to Stop the War:
In the Senate, there is one lone bill:
S.Res.171, introduced by Russ Feingold (D-WI), only one co-sponsor: Sen. Barbara Boxer

Calls on the President to submit a report to Congress within 30 days describing the remaining mission of the Armed Forces in Iraq, a current estimate of the timeframe required to accomplish that mission, and a timeframe for the subsequent withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
In the House of Representatives, a few courageous members of Congress have introduced legislation to end the war. UFPJ has endorsed the following legislation:
H.R. 4232 -- End the War in Iraq Act of 2005, introduced by Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA)Cuts off all funding for U.S. military action in Iraq, but would allow spending on reconstruction. This is the strongest piece of legislation against the war.
Current list of co-sponsors.
H.J.Res. 73 -- Re-Deploy U.S. Forces from Iraq, introduced by Rep. John Murtha (D-PA)Calls for the immediate end to the deployment of U.S. troops in Iraq and declares that the U.S. shall pursue security and stability in Iraq through diplomacy. Calls for an "over the horizon" presence of the marines in the region.
Current list of co-sponsors.
H.Res. 543 -- Withdrawal of United States Armed Forces From Iraq, introduced by Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI)This is a discharge petition for H.J.Res. 55. If 218 members sign the discharge petition, the bill will be brought to the floor for debate and a vote. H.J. Res. 55, also known as the "Homeward Bound" bill, calls for the President to announce a plan for the withdrawal of all United States Armed Forces from Iraq, and to begin withdrawal by October 1, 2006. Signing the petition does not mean that the member of Congress supports H.J.Res 55, only that they agree to allow it to come up for debate and a vote. This may be our best chance to have a full debate about the Iraq War on the floor of the House.
Current list of petition signers.
Additional Legislation:
H.Con.Res. 197 -- No Permanent Bases in Iraq, introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)Prohibits the U.S. from entering into any military base agreement with Iraq that would lead to a permanent U.S. military presence in Iraq.
Current list of co-sponsors.
H.R. 551 -- Student Privacy Protection Act of 2005, Rep. Honda (D-CA)HR551 makes a simple change to the No Child Left Behind Act, forbidding schools from sharing student contact information with military recruiters unless parents request that information be shared. Currently, the military has access to student information unless families sign a form requesting that information not be released.
Current list of co-sponsors.
Join UFPJ's Legislative Action Network"People are dying while Congress dithers." --a member of UFPJ's Legislative Action Network on a recent conference call.
We are fed up with Congress and are mounting a campaign of continuous pressure to force Congress to act against this immoral war. You can be a part of this campaign! Join UFPJ's fast-growing network of member groups and activists engaged in legislative action.
Register now to be a part of our Legislative Action Network. You will be joining with others in your congressional district and state to keep constant pressure on legislators until they bring this war to an end.
Questions about legislation, Congress or our Legislative Action Network? Contact Sue Udry, UFPJ Legislative Coordinator: 301-565-4050 x315 or
Iraq Scorecard: Find out how your Representative has voted, and what legislation they have co-sponsored (Excel File)
Grassroots Lobbying Materials (in MS Word Format)
What we're asking the House to doWhat we're asking the Senate to doCosponsor list for key legislationTactics to Use With Pro-War LegislatorsTactics to Use in Pro-Peace Districts
Talking points: Why we should get out of IraqTalking Points on H.R.4232 - End the War in Iraq ActRep. John Murtha (D-PA) Statement on Iraq WarSenators Demand Answers on Iraq from Bush (PDF File)
UFPJ Legislative Alerts and Updates
Minutes from Meetings and Conference Calls (in MS Word Format)
Legislative Action Network Conference Call, 12/19/05Legislative Action Network Conference Call, 2/6/06
Congressional CalendarAs you can see from this calendar, members of Congress will be spending a good deal of time in their home offices this spring and summer. This is a great opportunity for you to pressure them: Ask for meetings, hold vigils or protests at their offices, demand answers about Iraq at public meetings they attend. (Members of Congress are also in their districts most weekends from Thursday night or Friday morning until Monday night or Tuesday morning.)
Scheduled "in-district work periods" for House and Senate:
February 20-24--Presidents Day Recess

March 17-24--St. Patrick's Day Recess: ** 3rd anniversary of start of war ***
April 10-21--Easter Recess
May 29-June 2--Memorial Day Recess
July 3-7--July 4th Recess
August 7-September 4--August Recess
October 6--Target Adjournment

Still reading? I hope so. Susan e-mailed wondering if I could put up what I'm listening to these days?

Right now in my stereo, I'm listening to James Blunt's Back to Bedlahm and Judy Collins' Wildflowers just went off. I think the next disc is going to be Melanie's Beautiful People: The Greatest Hits of Melanie.

"Peace Will Come" (words and music by Melanie)
For sometimes when I am feeling as big as the land
With the velvet hill in the small of my back
And my hands are playing the sand
And my feet are swimming in all of the waters
All of the rivers are givers to the ocean
According to plan, according to man
Well sometimes when I am feeling so grand
And I become the world
And the world becomes a man
And my song becomes a part of the river
I cry out to keep me just the way I am
According to plan
According to man, according to plan
According to man, according to plan
Oh there's a chance peace will come
In your life, please buy one
Oh there's a chance peace will come
In your life, please buy one