Scanlyze

The Online Journal of Insight, Satire, Desire, Wit and Observation

Letter to the youth of America

Next year, some of you will die. Horribly. In the war.

Not all of you. But the draft will start again, and your generation will be drenched in blood.

You will become victims, and victimizers.

You will kill, rape, pillage.

You will laugh, cry, and die calling for your mother.

Your friends will be taken away, and never return. Or their body will come back, but they won’t. Someone else will be there in their place, looking through the prison of their eyes at a world which no longer makes sense.

I went to a pancake breakfast this morning honoring the senior member of the US House of Representatives, John Dingell. The event was a fundraiser for the University of Michigan College Democrats at a local brewpub in Ann Arbor, MI. There were easily more than a hundred people there, including the mayor, state legislators, council members and a former congressman.

John Dingell is a great politician. He looks right at you (unless he wants you to vanish) and he is a very good listener. He remembers names and faces and events with great precision. His father sat in Congress before him, and he’s been there more than 50 years now.

He gave a nice speech recognizing the usefulness of the flying squads of students who helped in swing districts when the Demos swept the governorship and legislative bodies. He spoke nicely about the local officials there. He said not word one about Iraq.

Then his wife Debbie spoke. More platitudes, less substance even than John.

When the mic went back to the student MC, I said loudly Tell us about your plan to stop the war, John!

People started shushing me and saying be quiet.

I said, While we have been happily stuffing our faces and congratulating ourselves, another 8 people have died in Iraq. Two were children. That’s right, your pancakes are drenched in the blood of the children of Iraq!

Some guy was grabbing me and pulling on me and I told him Let go of me or I will call the police and ask that you be charged with assault and battery. There was a minor-to-medium uproar (which is to say, no chairs or fists flying).

Dingell got kind of red in the face and looked pissed but he came back to the mic and said I’ll answer that.

Dingell said that he had met with Bush before the war and told him to his face that the war would be a disaster, that there was no planning for the post-war situation. He voted against the war authorization. He had done all he could within the Congress against the war. But there were divisions within the Democratic caucus. He said there was no simple solution to the war. He said if you have a better idea I’d like to hear it.

I said I do have a better idea. (people shouting)

He said if I had a better idea he wanted to hear it.

I said are you [the students] going to let me speak or will you carry on like a bunch of Young Republicans?

Yes, Congressman there is a simple answer, you just don’t want to acknowledge it. Don’t vote for any more war appropriations! You must not vote for a two-year appropriation for an illegal aggressive war which was authorized based on lies, lies, propaganda, and more lies. Tell us you won’t vote to pay for war any more!

He said that Bush was the worst President of his lifetime, perhaps of all time. He said I think something to the effect that his [Bush’s] people are amateurs. (very noisy at this point much chaos)

I didn’t persist and they ended the event. Several people including one councilperson and some party officials came to thank me for what I said and a few students also said they respected my right to speak out but most of them wouldn’t meet my eye. They were all mostly wearing identical blue tee shirts which said, “Democrats make better lovers” on the front and “who ever heard of a good piece of elephant” on the back. Way to go dudes and dudesses. When I was a teenager it was about peace and love. Now its about tits and ass, apparently.

You people are so square (the students I mean, not the old radicals turned politicians) if you rubbed your head you would cut yourself on the corners. We old radicals are still trying to deal with this mess of neocons left by Reagan and Nixon, why don’t you rebel and give us a hand a bit. Having everyone look and act the same, that is not democracy, that is fascism. It is also very boring.

People think Iraq is as bad as it can get, but it isn’t, not nearly. It is not even near as bad as Korea or the Second Indochina War (what people call in the US, the Viet Nam War). The US has lost 3,135 killed in Iraq so far. In Korea or Viet Nam, that figure was over 50 thousand. And most of those dead will be you, the students, who will be enslaved by the draft and forced to become war criminals and murderers.

You must demand today that John Dingell and the rest of the US Congress stop voting money for this illegal war, or else tomorrow it will be you and your friends who will be murdering and dying in a foreign land where everyone hates you, and you hate yourself as well.

Please wake up and demand an end to funding this war before it escalates still further.

If you want to support someone, don’t fund sending them somewhere to be killed!

Continued funding for this war is both stupid and evil. It must stop now.

More Action Necessary?
Kicking Ass Ann Arbor
University of Michigan College Democrats

Oh, BTW if someone has video of the event they could send me, I’d love to post it here as well as get a better transcript of what was said rather than my approximate paraphrases above.

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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17 February, 2007 Posted by | America, Ann Arbor, appropriations, breakfast, Bush, college, Congress, Constitution, democrat, democratic, Dingell, dissent, draft, essay, events, funding, fundraiser, government, House of Representatives, Iraq, media, Michigan, military, news, pancakes, peace, politics, protest, scanlyze, students, university, University of Michigan, US Congress, US Constitution, USA, war, youth | 14 Comments

Follow-up on Resolution calling for Ending the Iraq War by Ann Arbor Democratic Party

Here’s a follow-up to Resolution calling for ending the Iraq War:

This is the text of the letter sent to Senators Levin and Stabenow and to Congressman Dingell on or about January 20 as provided to me by Susan Greenberg, Ann Arbor Democratic Party Chair [minor reformatting to fix word-wrapped lines from email–HH]:

Date: Saturday, January 20, 2007 4:04 PM -0500
From: [address removed for privacy reasons]
To: stabenow@senate.gov
Subject: Ann Arbor City Democratic Party urges end the war

Ann Arbor City Democratic Party, P.O. Box 4178, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106
734/480-4986, aadems@comcast.net

January 20, 2007

The Honorable Debbie Stabenow
133 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Stabenow:

It is now time for the Iraq War to end. Despite the election results in
November 2006, the Bush administration seems hell bent on implementing the
McCain Doctrine ? a serious escalation in the number of US troops deployed
in Iraq. The American people, the people of the state of Michigan and
the people of the 15th district in Michigan support an end to this conflict
forthwith.

The Ann Arbor City Democratic Party asked me as chair to send this
letter to ask you to strongly and publicly support an end to the Iraq war. No
good can come from the continued US presence in Iraq. No good can come
from the additional loss of life an escalation in the war is likely to
cause.

Due to the malfeasance of the Bush administration, the US has no viable
option other than to as swiftly as possible end US military involvement
in this most misguided engagement.

We strongly encourage you to use all tools at your disposal to compel
the US government to end our nation’s involvement in the Iraq war.

Sincerely,

Susan Greenberg, Chair
Ann Arbor City Democratic Party

I called Senator Levin and Senator Stabenow in Washington to see if they had received, read and responded to the resolution and letter from the Ann Arbor Democratic Party organization regarding the Iraq War. Neither senator’s staff seemed to know what I was talking about.

I got a big run-around from Stabenow’s people, had to call three times and was told the first two that they were too busy to look for the resolution or tell me if Senator Stabnenow had yet seen it or replied. I had to remind them that I worked as a campaign volunteer for the Michigan Coordinated Campaign for six months last year helping to re-elect the Senator and ask if they would prefer that I table a resolution censuring her or asking for her expulsion from the party at this month’s State Convention before they suddenly found the motivation to locate the letter from Chairperson Greenberg they had had for almost two weeks.

Still waiting to hear from Justin at Levin’s office.

Dingell I know got our message because his wife Debbie was there to represent him at the meeting on Jan. 13 and endured some somewhat rough handling on his behalf. She also read a long letter from him which I’ll see if they can/will provide for posting here.

I wrote down some of the things said during the debate (paraphrased and mostly unattributed unless someone can provide me the names):

We support our young men and women in the Army and Navy.

Our children are dying.

I am losing my students to this war.

We urge that this war be ended this year.

No public involved in war wins — both sides lose.

Armies cannot establish democracies or establish societies.

We need to replace US troops with an international force.

We [Democrats] don’t want to own this war.

We ask that you rescind the Iraq War Authorization Act, PL 107-243 [that was me–moving to strike and replace language calling for immediate halt to funding–motion failed]

We ask that the United States government utilize diplomatic means to resolve international issues.

Any mother mourns the loss of her son or a daughter in war equally; wherever she lives; in Iraq or America, be it a grand palace or a hut so rude. [That is my poor paraphrase from memory from a very moving speech from former Congressman Ray Clevenger, D-Mich].

I’d also say many of us had tears in the eyes during this debate and I do now again thinking of it.

We debated passionately for two hours until we were told our room reservation was up and the University of Michigan was kicking us out. Then we voted in the affirmative, with the no votes split about equally between those who thought the resolution too strong and those who thought it too weak. My motion for unanimous consent was shouted down.

I would like to give credit to Dana Barton, Tim Colenback, Kathy Linderman; and Carlos Acevedo; who submitted the two draft resolutions we used to forge the resolution which was passed. And thanks to Susan Greenberg for getting me the copy of her letter as sent.

see also: Resolution calling for ending the Iraq War

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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3 February, 2007 Posted by | Ann Arbor, archives, Army, Congress, democratic, Dingell, funding, Iraq, letter, Levin, media, Michigan, military, Navy, news, peace, politics, protest, resolution, scanlyze, Senate, Stabenow, US Congress, US Senate, war | 1 Comment

With Reporters Like BBC Washington Correspondent Justin Webb, Who Needs Republican Spin-Doctors?

With Reporters Like BBC Washington Correspondent Justin Webb, Who Needs Republican Spin-Doctors?

The BBC’s Washington correspondent Justin Webb is truly a fount of misinformation and undigested, regurgitated White House talking-points. Consider this effusion from the BBC website dated January 6, 2007:

Democrats step up Iraq pressure

But in a letter to the president, Senate Democratic Leader, Harry Reid, and House of Representatives Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, said adding more combat troops would stretch the US military to breaking point with no strategic gain.

They instead urged a phased redeployment of US forces, starting in four to six months, with a re-emphasis on training, logistics and counter-terrorism operations in Iraq.

The BBC’s Justin Webb in Washington says this is an aggressive move from the Democrats, setting the stage for a huge political battle.

Mr Bush cannot be prevented from sending more troops [emphasis mine–HH], our correspondent says, but he may pay a big political cost if the deployment is carried out amid fierce congressional opposition.

(no byline but attributing these views to Webb)

This is wrong constitutionally, factually, and historically. The US Constitution, Article I, Section 7 provides that:

All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other Bills.

Article I, Section 8 further provides,

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States…

To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations;

To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;

To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;

To provide and maintain a navy;

To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;

To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress…

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

US Constitution

Both the raising of taxes and the war-making power belong to Congress alone (it is this author’s view that the War Powers Act is an unconstitutional surrender and delegation of these powers to the Executive).

Further, as a practical matter, both the Second Indochina War (“Vietnam War” to Americans) and the US incursions into El Salvador and Nicaragua were stopped by Congressional action to disapprove or not approve funding for unauthorized war actions by the executive.

Compare Mr. Webb’s misinformation with this from CNN posted January 30, 2007:

GOP senator challenges Bush on war powers

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Senate Republican on Tuesday directly challenged President Bush’s declaration that “I am the decision-maker” on issues of war.

“I would suggest respectfully to the president that he is not the sole decider,” Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania, said during a hearing on Congress’ war powers amid an increasingly harsh debate over Iraq war policy. “The decider is a shared and joint responsibility,” Specter said.

The question of whether to use its power over the government’s purse strings to force an end to the war in Iraq, and under what conditions, is among the issues faced by the Democratic majority in Congress, and even some of the president’s political allies as well.

No one challenges the notion that Congress can stop a war by withholding the money to pay for it. [emphasis mine–HH]

In fact, Vice President Dick Cheney challenged the Democrat-controlled Congress to back up its objections to President Bush’s plan to put 21,500 more troops in Iraq by zeroing out the war budget.

Few expect such a drastic move, but there are other legislative options to force the war’s end, say majority Democrats and some of Bush’s traditional Republican allies.

The alternatives range from capping the number of troops permitted in Iraq to cutting off money for troop deployments beyond a certain date or setting an end date for the war.

[Note: not a permalink: article has changed since the above was quoted]

This is not the first time I have noted Mr. Webb spouting his pro-Republican fantasies, see:

Prophetic Words

And my previous comments to Justin Webb on the BBC:

Balderdash, Rot, and Poppycock

The peculiar assertion by Justin Webb that the Democrats will somehow be blamed for the reputed actions of the Republican Congressman Foley is lacking in any factual basis. This piece is so poorly written it even fails to identify Congressman Foley as the subject, nor does it mention the allegations and evidence pertaining to the issue.

This blog entry is neither news reporting nor news analysis; it is blatant propaganda, pro-Republican pandering and “spin”. Such a preposterous assertion would require more proof than the off-topic quote from a conveniently unnamed and therefore unverifiable “former staffer in the Clinton White House”.

Justin Webb’s reporting is a disgrace to the BBC and to all journalists everywhere and he should resign, or be made redundant immediately.

It is, however, neither the alleged actions of one individual congressman nor of one partisan, biased reporter which will be determinative of the races in other contested Congressional districts. Rather, it will be the fact that the US is bogged down in a war it is losing (Afghanistan) and a war which is already lost (Iraq), coupled with the ongoing assault on the Constitution and the Geneva Conventions and the rolling collapse of the economy and de-industrialization of the US which will drive the American people to vote Democratic this November.

–Henry Edward Hardy, posted at bbc.co.uk 6 October 2006

And:

Bush: No room to hide

“I predict that the Democrats will get the blame for this [Foley scandal] in the end and not quite know how to avoid it.” –Justin Webb, Oct. 6, 2006

Mr. Webb, please have the courtesy and intellectual honesty to admit how wrong you were in writing those words and how utterly foolish, partisan and ill-informed they look in the aftermath of the Democratic landslide.

–Henry Edward Hardy, posted at bbc.co.uk 10 November 2006

See also:

Move Over Scott Mclellan, Justin Webb Has Drunk The Kool-Aid
Webb blogurl:biased-bbc.blogspot.com
Why the internet will revolutionise politics
We are Biased, Admit the Stars of BBC News
Justin Webb [BBC biography]
On The Lam

With “reporters” like Justin Webb, who needs spin-doctors?

Copyright © 2006, 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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30 January, 2007 Posted by | BBC, Bush, Justin Webb, news, politics, power of the purse, scanlyze, separation of powers, television, US Congress, US Constitution, war, web | Leave a comment