A difficult day for all of us, but the fight is not over

Good for Rep Louise Slaughter being the only House Rep get out into the netroots today. I would also like to add that MyDD poster Adam Conner is joining the Slaughter team on Monday, as the director of online communications for the rules committee. Jerome

Friends,

In light of the passionate comments I've read on MyDD today, I wanted to give you my direct thoughts about what is occurring today in the House concerning the Iraq supplemental funding.

Let me say up front that what happened today was the result of a Presidential veto and a Republican minority that doesn't care that the American people want to end this war. That's the context, as I see it. Now, let's talk about the specifics.  

There are two issues here. The first deals with the process by which the bill is being handled, and the second deals with the content of the legislation itself.

Let's talk about process first, seeing as that has been receiving a great deal of attention. I've read that "we are watching the rise of the Dick Cheney Democrats" who "endorse governing in secret and hiding the public's business from the public itself."

Considering that today's vote on the rule was entirely public, I don't see any way in which our work can be remotely compared to a man who prides himself on rejecting the people's right to know where he is or who he is meeting with.  

But I don't actually think that those who have made the comparison believe it at that level. They are angry at the content of our rule itself. So let's take a look at it.

First, the rule guarantees that a modified version of the McGovern redeployment bill that received 171 votes recently will be considered during the upcoming debate on the 2008 supplemental defense spending. In other words, we are guaranteed to have another chance to vote for rapid redeployment, no matter what happens.

This rule also contains two amendments from Rep. David Obey, the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. The first amendment contains all of the critical domestic spending that the Republicans and the President had derided as pork when it was brought up the first time. What we are talking about is an increase in the minimum wage, an increase in funding for military health care and veterans' health care, and critically needed funding for agricultural disaster aid, children's health care, and recovery from Hurricane Katrina, among other things. We are going to have a chance to pass all of it today.

The second amendment provides funding for the war as requested by the President, along with 18 voluntary benchmarks put in place by Senator Warner.  

Both of the amendments discussed above will receive public debate and consideration on the House floor, and both will be voted on independently. All of those votes, obviously, will be public as well.

Now, the point of contention as I see it, and why Democrats are being accused of dishonesty here, is that by approving the rule, we allowed the funding bill to be debated - and because virtually all Republicans will vote for it (along with some Democrats), it will pass. People are therefore saying that it doesn't matter if we vote against the supplemental spending amendment (which many of us will). All that matters is that we allowed it to be considered to begin with.

What people wanted was for us to kill that amendment entirely. Specifically, they wanted the Rules Committee, which I chair, to shut it out.

So now, we are getting back to the real matter here - whether the Democrats should allow the House to consider legislation that funds the war without timelines and without mandatory benchmarks.

Considering I voted against the war authorization in 2002 (as did a majority of Democrats) and seeing as we have been the party that has opposed the war since its beginning, I hope that you will believe me when I say that I and my Democratic colleagues view this war as a tragic mistake that must come to an end.  

The first opportunity we had to end it after November came with this bill. Our first version conditioned any future support for the conflict upon proof that our efforts there were bearing some fruit, and it would have ended the war by August, 2008 at the very latest. After the Senate weighed in, we sent the President a stronger bill that would have ended the war by March, 2008.

As you know, President Bush vetoed it. What is more, the Republicans in this Congress willfully and deliberately ignored public opinion and supported that veto. They made it impossible for us to overturn it. They kept this war going between 2003 and 2006, and they kept it going again with that vote.

As such, we had a choice. We could send Mr. Bush the same bill, or allow something to pass that wouldn't be vetoed. And we elected to let something pass - to let Republicans, if they so choose, fund their own war.

Considering that 90% of the Out of Iraq Caucus was with us in this decision, there must have been at least some reason for it. In fact, there are two in my opinion. With this White House, and with this Republican minority, it is safe to say that a standoff with the Administration would have meant that our troops would be left in harm's way, only now with even less funding to back them up. I don't think that would have been right to do - to make them do even more with even less. The President doesn't seem to care how much our troops suffer. All evidence indicates that he will make them fight if they have needed funding or not.

Secondly, a standoff would have allowed the President to keep using our soldiers as pawns, accusing Democrats of abandoning them while it is really his war that has left them to fend for themselves.

There is one way to stop this war, and that is to force Republicans to stop ignoring their own constituents. 70 percent of the public wants a change of course in Iraq, but not enough voters in Republican districts are willing to force their Representatives and Senators to vote that way. If two-thirds of the American people want to bring this war to a close, then two-thirds of the Congress should too. Democrats need to work with the overwhelming majority of the American people to make that happen.

I'm hoping that today's vote won't break that link between us and you - because we will only succeed if we work together.

I'm looking forward to your comments on this. I understand your frustration and anger at the situation we have all been placed in, and I promise you I share it.

Today, we did the only thing we felt that we could responsibly do. Tomorrow, with the help of this community, what isn't possible now will be well within our grasp.

In continuing solidarity,

Louise

UPDATE:

I just want to stress the point that the vote on the actual Iraq spending amendment will only pass (if it does) because of Republican votes. It is going to face strong opposition from many, many Democrats - we'll see how many soon, and all the votes will be made available. With the Congress divided the way it is, our only other choice was to present nothing. We have to make Republicans in Congress respect the will of the people. We need 60 Republicans in the House. 11 recently went to the White House to criticize the President's conduct. Others are on the fence. Our pressure is changing the composition of the House on this issue.

   * Louise

Tags: louise slaughter democrats house iraq supplemental (all tags)

Comments

65 Comments

Re: A difficult day for all of us,

What is lacking in your strategy is the realization that not only do YOU need US to put pressure on the Republicans, but WE need YOU to do the same and the way you do that is to be willing to compromise but not capitulate.  If the Party would listen to the people and suddenly turn around and not approve this because of the upcry of the people then our strength is increased.  

by dougdilg 2007-05-24 12:29PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us, but

Secondly, a standoff would have allowed the President to keep using our soldiers as pawns, accusing Democrats of abandoning them while it is really his war that has left them to fend for themselves.

Why are you afraid of a President with an approval rating of 28-30%?

by jallen 2007-05-24 12:41PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us, but

I did not support this war to begin with. I am furious about this bill. So I'm not answering your question as an apologist for the war, or as a Lieberman clone, or whatever. That said:

There is an answer to the question: why be afraid of a President with a low approval rating? The answer is: any President, with any approval rating, still has the power to execute policy. I would not put it past this particular President to use that power to leave our troops high and dry for political purposes: to actually let them run out of ammunition, or food, or something.

No normal person, and no decent person, would do that, given that there are alternatives, like using the funds he'd have if he didn't get new appropriations to bring the troops home, or at least do something to keep them safe. But we are not dealing with a decent or normal person. We are, essentially, playing chicken with other people's bodies, and the person we're playing against is capable of things that no decent person would contemplate -- like using the lives of the troops to score political points.

Again, I'm not saying this to be an apologist for anything. I'm furious right now. But I do think it's worth remembering that Bush has options open to him that in no way depend on poll numbers.

by hilzoy 2007-05-24 04:03PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us, but

But we are not dealing with a decent or normal person.

Have the Democrats in Congress figured that out yet? Because you'd think that by now they'd know that. And just as you wouldn't want an irrational person to take care of your children, you sure as hell wouldn't want them to run your country. Or, in the case of Iraq, someone else's country.

Sure, it's hard work being a Congressperson, but if they truly think Bush would leave the troops in Iraq without food or ammunition for political gain, as you suggest, then they would have to think that he's crazy. And if he's crazy, he can't be left in charge of the country. Only a crazy person would agree to have another crazy person in charge of their country.

by darrelplant 2007-05-24 11:05PM | 0 recs
Codependency

"A psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (as an addiction to alcohol, heroin", [or power]

Collegiate Dictionary, 10th ed., Mirriam Webster, Inc., Springfield, MA; 1998; p. 221.

by liberal elite 2007-05-25 07:41AM | 0 recs
This was covered and hashed over on KOS

It wasn't received very well there.

You have turned on the will of the American people, find some courage somewhere.

Send it back, and send it back again - John Edwards is right.

End the war bring the troops home.

A difficult day is watching you buddies blown up by an IED or seeing the smeared bodies of your friends on the dirt roads of Iraq.

You Representative do not know what a difficult day is.

by dk2 2007-05-24 12:46PM | 0 recs
Re: This was covered and hashed over on KOS

As of this comment 1,028 comments, almost all negative.  

I feel we are being taken for granted. This is summer 2002 again. Shame.

by magster 2007-05-24 04:26PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us, but the fight i

Hi,

The details for how this came to pass are appreciated, and this seems on the surface to be an honest and fair depiction of what is going on. But you have to understand that it is difficult to take statements like yours here seriously when elsewhere in the media we see the Democrats describing this same situation as a "compromise"-- when it is clearly nothing of the sort, since the only side making concessions in this version of the bill is the Democrats.

If it is indeed, as you seem to be saying, simply the case that the Democrats lack the position to win any concessions at this time, and the Democrats are just cutting their losses and anticipating they'll be able to do better in the next funding fight (when will that be, around Septemberish?)... well, then I can imagine some people would still get upset, but this would be possibly understandable. The problem from my perspective is that this is not how the current failure is being sold to us. It's being sold to us as something it's not-- as a "compromise", as something in which the Democrats have actually managed to wring some degree of victory. The bill is being presented to the public as something the Democrats (even if grudgingly) did, not just something the Democrats failed to stop. And it's being presented this way not just by the media, but by the Democratic Party apparatus itself.

After all, you might be posting this diary here on MyDD where no one is looking, but in actual public, in the media, the person (almost the only person, near as I can see) speaking for the Democrats is Rahm Emanuel. Mr. Emanuel is pushing this bill as an imperfect and limited but still positive step forward, as a two-sided "compromise", and nobody is stepping forward to contradict him-- the only serious attacks on the bill have come from corners like Edwards and Dodd and Maxine Waters, who in doing so are speaking more as outsiders to the Democratic party establishment than as people in a position to drive it. It might well be that when this bill passes it will be passing almost exclusively by Republican votes, but right now, the bill is being presented to us with Democratic endorsement. And when that endorsement is being communicated through major, public channels like newspapers and cable television while the countervailing message of "we don't support this but were so far powerless to stop it" is only being communicated through brief posts on specialty websites, the first message comes across as much more credible.

And that's the crux of the thing. A lot of words like "betrayal" are being batted around here, but the the real problem here is for most people, I think, credibility.

As I read your post, you are expecting us to understand that the extent to which that the Democrats are in a difficult position and lacked the effective ability to do more at this time, but trust that this entire supplemental fight puts you in a position to get something done next time. I would very much like to believe this is the case. But the problem is that we are being given little or no reason to believe it. The degree to which the Democratic leadership failed to achieve anything substantial here undercuts your (as you are, after all, a part of the Democratic leadership) credibility in convincing us it's not as bad as we're inclined to think it is.

What reason do we have to believe that when the fight in September occurs, that it will go any differently than the fight did just now? What reason do we have to believe that the tactics Bush and the Republicans used to prevent the Democrats from gaining any ground this month-- distract, delay, guilt-- will be any less effective in September? If we are to look past what's happening right now and support the Democrats in focusing on longer-term goals, then surely it is reasonable to expect some evidence this support is not being given in vain.

by Silent sound 2007-05-24 01:00PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us, but the fight i

What reason do we have to believe that when the fight in September occurs, that it will go any differently than the fight did just now?

Yes, Rep. Slaughter, how will you answer this?  

by CTvoter 2007-05-24 03:13PM | 0 recs
Democrats sell us out!

Let me say up front that what happened today was the result of a Presidential veto and a Republican minority that doesn't care that the American people want to end this war. That's the context, as I see it. Now, let's talk about the specifics.

Please.  The Democrats sold us out on trade, immigration and the war.  They just gave us a triple FU, and you helped.  Rangel with secret trade deals peddling lies about how Bush gave the environment, unions, and middle class everything when he laughs in your face about everything.  Immigration bill at a cost of 126 billion (CBO figures)dumping cheap labor and huge increases in H-1B visas on Americans.  And this war!  Fund the troops and cut off the contractors; and it will over in 5 minutes.  You Democrats caved and sold us out so don't come spinning us at the blogs.  We got your number.

by dkmich 2007-05-24 02:18PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us, but the fight i

Thanks for posting here.  Good to have the chair of the rules committee engaging the site directly.

You are right that we need to get the Congress voting the same way that the American people feel about this war, and that winning over more republican votes and getting them in line with the public and away from the President's head-in-the-sand position.

But you are absolutely wrong on the strategy for doing that.  Compromise, delay, retreat, no matter how you spin it, none of it gets us any closer to those votes.

You had the opportunity in this fight to stand on high ground.  To circle a weak president with the American people at your back and gradually - if painfully bring along the Republicans in Congress.

What I think you have done is this.  You have decided that a fight is risky, that time is the only way to get those republican votes.  You are going to take John Boehner at his word that the Fall will be a calculus changing time for the republican caucus, and that the war itself will deliver you the votes.

This bill is simply a stalling device that provides some cover, does nothing on the war, does move some of the domestic agenda, and puts off the fight to a time when you think you can win.

Maybe there is some wisdom in that strategy.  

We will never know.  The soldiers who stand and fight every day will never know.  Those of us who fought for regime change in the Congress will never know.

The decision to put off a fight until the fall was made so quickly and with so little fight by the caucus.

Here is the history we could debate on the alternative outcome.  In the 104th Congress, a newly emboldened Republican Congress took on a relatively week President Clinton on domestic policy.  President Clinton fought back and used his bully pulpit.  That fight cut the legs out from under the republicans in Congress, ended the revolution and restored a high ground and a victory to President Clinton.

You could argue that the Congress will always lose to a president - even a weak one.

I believe that a strong Congress with the support of the people could have beaten this president.

Again, we will never know because you chose not to fight.

Shame.

by Orlando 2007-05-24 02:20PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us, but the fight i

I already posted my thoughts over at dKos on this matter. While you should be commended for being able to face the music, it doesn't make the stance that you and your fellow Democrats have taken in the House any better.

by PsiFighter37 2007-05-24 02:23PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us, but the fight i

Arguing that you ditched your principles because you would be attacked in the media if you stuck to your them is not a compelling argument.

by sterra 2007-05-24 02:26PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us, but the fight i

the only compelling argument that makes is for being cowards

by Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle 2007-05-24 04:28PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us!!!

Your explanations seem tailormade for 2yr. olds, who are you trying to convince?

I am also a big fan of John Edwards lately, as he was the only Dem Candidate who came out critically.  And notice what asses Clinton & Obama have made out of themselves for not taking a stance one way or another on the night of the vote???

Did anyone see John Boehner R (Ohio) on CSPAN?  What a Bonehead!!!! :)  Crying, oh, oh, I'm a little republican girl, oh, oh!!!!  Please pass this bill!!!

by valmeow 2007-05-24 03:06PM | 0 recs
the only one???

How does posting something and not sticking around to interact (I think there is a term for that) make her the only one when both Jerry McNerney and Pete Stark did extensive outreach to local bloggers (and I'd be surprised if there weren't more).

And unlike Slaughter, McNerney and Stark actually get it.

What I liked best was McNerney reaching out last night for ideas on what to do and say today.

by Bob Brigham 2007-05-24 03:06PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us, but the fight i

I really thought that most of the Democrats got the message in November '06 that we want them to fight this evil (and that is NOT too strong a word) and corrupt administration tooth and nail.

Instead, we're Charlie Brown getting the ball pulled out from under us again by Lucy.

by Oregonian 2007-05-24 03:09PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us, but the fight i

Louise:

Thanks for this post, but you are very carefully avoiding what you - as Chairman of the Rules Committee - know quite well is the crux of the issue. Everyone who knows anything about Congress knows that the power of Congress rests in its rules, and in the majority bringing rules to the floor with their own underlying bill.

The rule you passed today had no real underlying bill. Instead, it allowed two votes - one on much-needed domestic priorities (which I have no problem with) and one on a Republican plan to give President Bush a blank check. Not only did you not start the debate with an underlying Democratic bill that includes any kind of binding timelines, you didn't even allow a vote on an alternative to the Republican bill.

What you did, in other words, was behave exactly as David Dreier would have behaved had he still been House Rules Chairman and wanted to give President Bush a blank check. Having worked in the House for five years, this is what the GOP did. They passed rules allowing only up-or-down votes on Republican legislation, with no votes allowed on Democratic alternatives.

What you could have done - had you honestly wanted to end the war - was brought legislation that included timelines to the floor. If you felt generous, you may have coupled that legislation with a rule allowing the Republicans a chance to offer an amendment to strip out the antiwar language (but I stress that you didn't have to do that either, as Republicans showed during their rule of the House). If you had proceeded this way, the debate would have started on Democrats' turf. If you really wanted to pass it - as you did the original supplemental which was vetoed - you may even have attached the minimum wage to it directly, so as to make it that much harder for Republicans to vote again. Let me say again - THIS IS PRECISELY WHAT YOU DID WHEN YOU PASSED THE ORIGINAL BILL WITH TIMELINES SO WE ALL KNOW YOU KNEW WHAT YOU WERE DOING DIFFERENTLY TODAY.

But as I said, that's not what you did. You passed a rule allowing the House to consider only the Republican blank check. That is beyond a travesty. For a majority party to use its rules power to give the minority party an up-or-down vote on a bill that runs counter to the election mandate that brought the majority to power - and to allow that up-or-down vote to occur without even the possibility of an alternative - is, in a word, unprecedented.

by David Sirota 2007-05-24 03:11PM | 0 recs
Thanks for this

I knew the Rules were used by our majority party against their own interests, but this is the most coherent explanation of how we were sold out I have read anywhere.  Thank you, Mr. Sirota.

by TeddySanFran 2007-05-24 03:31PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us, but the fight i

I completely disagree that we were supposed to abuse the rules of the House the same way the Republicans would have.

This was a fair and honest up-or-down vote.  I wish it had gone differently, but that's democracy.  Now we know who is on our side and who isn't.

This bill had clear majority support, as the vote demonstrates.  I reject the notion that we were supposed to use procedural trickery to prevent it from ever coming up for a vote in this form.

140 Democrats voted the right way on this legislation.  86 voted the wrong way.  We have enough work to do changing those votes, through persuasion or primaries, without engaging in the sort of sophistry that lumps both groups together.

by Steve M 2007-05-24 04:23PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us, but the fight i

No one asked them to abuse the Republicans. Bring a real bill with real timelines to the floor, and allow the Republicans to try to kill it - fine. That's what happened last time, but that's not what happened today. Instead, progressives were abused. A Republican bill was brought to the House floor and a progressive alternative was actually BLOCKED from being offered.

by David Sirota 2007-05-24 07:43PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us, but the fight i

Right on David.

We have at least three powerful points with which to hammer the Republicans, and all Democratic Members of Congress should have been doing this all year.

(1) The Pentagon's own Inspector General's Report found that Rumsfeld's rump "intelligence" agency, the Office of Special Plans, sexed up the case for invading Iraq while ignoring evidence for continuing to use sanctions on Saddam Hussein. The Pentagon ITSELF admitted it lied about Saddam's "WMD" and Saddam's "connection" to al Qaeda. The Pentagon ITSELF admits it lied us into this war. We need to have that line pounded in EVERY media venue all the time.

(2) We have sustained nearly 4,000 American dead, tens of thousands of Americans wounded, and (according to the Johns Hopkins Medical School Epidemiology Department, and published in Britain's most prestigious medical journal, The Lancet) 650 THOUSAND IRAQI DEATHS. The liars betrayed our soldiers, sent them to die for nothing, and by causing innocent Iraqis to die have stained American honor.

(3) President Bush preened about the Iraqis who defied sectarian violence and held up their purple fingers after their Parliamentary Elections. Well, now 144 of 275 of Iraq's democratically elected Members of Parliament, signed a petition asking the United States to leave Iraq. We are now an illegal occupier who defies the will of Iraq's own elected representatives. Operation Iraqi Freedom must now be renamed.

If we pounded the truth -- and it is very simple and easy to commumicate -- we can beat Bush on the airwaves and in the Congress.

by sunlight7 2007-05-24 07:23PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us, blah blah

My representative is Elijah Cummings. He voted for more war; and in the 2008 primary, I'm voting for his opponent.

by Gary Sugar 2007-05-24 03:18PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us, blah blah

Cummings voted 'no'.

by dblhelix 2007-05-24 03:54PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us, blah blah

Thanks. I was confusing an amendment with the bill. I was looking at this roll call that David Sirota linked to. He calls it "the most important vote, because it deliberately sets the stage to give president Bush a blank check for the Iraq War." I'll have to learn more about it.

http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2007/roll418. xml

http://www.workingassetsblog.com/2007/05 /update_house_dems_vote_for_ira.html

by Gary Sugar 2007-05-24 04:40PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us, blah blah

Gary, we were SUPPOSED to be confused.  I was too.  They engineered it that way.  You are to be forgiven, because you are among some of the smartest activists/writers that got confused too.

by laserflight 2007-05-26 01:39PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us, blah blah

Thanks. I was confusing an amendment with the bill. I was looking at this roll call that David Sirota linked to. He calls it "the most important vote, because it deliberately sets the stage to give president Bush a blank check for the Iraq War." I'll have to learn more about it.

http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2007/roll418. xml

http://www.workingassetsblog.com/2007/05 /update_house_dems_vote_for_ira.html

by Gary Sugar 2007-05-24 04:41PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us

Thanks. I was confusing an amendment with the bill. I was looking at this roll call that David Sirota linked to. He calls it "the most important vote, because it deliberately sets the stage to give president Bush a blank check for the Iraq War." I'll have to learn more about it.

http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2007/roll418. xml

http://www.workingassetsblog.com/2007/05 /update_house_dems_vote_for_ira.html

by Gary Sugar 2007-05-24 04:41PM | 0 recs
Sorry, no dice

Thanks for stopping by, Chairman Slaughter, and thank you for your service to the United States.  But...

No sale at dKos; no sale here, Congresswoman.

Eighty-six Democratic representatives bought our party an illegal and immoral occupation today.  Had you brought the previous bill to the floor and gotten another Presidential veto, do you really fear a President at 28% in the polls?  You shouldn't -- every time he opens his mouth, he loses credibility!  Even his own base is abandoning him based on his immigration proposal.

Democratic leaders had a real chance to grab the megaphone today -- and you flinched.  You'll be painted as weak, breaking the promises you made to end this war.  And you'll be called inconsistent, for bringing a bill to the floor that the Appropriations Chair voted against.

You would have been called bad names by President Bush no matter what -- but we would have defended you, had you stood your ground against a rogue Executive who's waging an illegal and immoral occupation, in the face of outraged American and world opinion.

American servicemembers and Iraqi children will die for your actions today.  For shame.

by TeddySanFran 2007-05-24 03:21PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us, but the fight i

Dear Rep Slaughter:

I say this with great difficulty as I have been one of your supporters, but I don't believe this is a particularly "difficult day" for you - unless you're pretending it's "difficult" for you to betray the people who voted for you and to betray the troops.

I'm not convinced by your arguments and I'm ashamed of you all who vote for this travesty - this RUBBER STAMP FOR BUSH. You're no better than the REPUBLICANS - and they're REALLY REALLY BAD!

As has been said, at least 1,000 of our troops will DIE because of your "difficult" day. Poor you...

by Firefly4625 2007-05-24 03:29PM | 0 recs
listen to your constituents over the weekend

just listen, for God's sake listen.

by pjv 2007-05-24 03:30PM | 0 recs
Elections

Here's my problem. This isn't an isolate event. You, as a Congress, have rolled on many of the important issues of substance not just to progressives, but also the American people, since you have been elected.  Elections have consequences. Unless, of course, it's a Democratic win, and then, it becomes fear has consequences. You know what scares me- that many of your fellow Congress members don't get the difference.

by bruh21 2007-05-24 03:32PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us?

You're kidding, correct? A difficult day for you? Oh, and your colleagues?

Take the comments you've been getting from here & Kos (although I don't hang there much) and show them to your colleagues so you'll have an idea of the level of anger.

You have no flippin' idea how PISSED & DISAPPOINTED I am in you all. And then! The president has a press conference and invokes how we were invited into Iraq with a heavy, heavy dose of fearmongering telling at least two lackeys (aka, stenographers) for the 'mainstream media' (MSM) that "our enemies" are coming for their children.

I don't know how else to get this across to you and the other Democrats in Congress.

Oh - and for the record, Hoyer & Emmanuel (out!). It was Howard Dean who sparked my return to involvement involved in grassroots, and it was his 50-state strategy that damned near turned parts of my state around, not Rahm Emmanuel. Maybe in D.C., but not out West. Get real.

by Wordsmith 2007-05-24 03:41PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us, but the fight i

Everyone who voted yes today has betrayed the American people and the Democratic Party.  You all should be ashamed of yourself.  You were faced with a challenge to do what was right and what was easy and you chose what was easy.  I hope you can live with the blood of the hundreds of additional soldiers Congress's inaction and cowardice has condemned to death today.  You are all cowards, afraid of a President with approval ratings in the 20's.  I will donate money to as primary challengers I can to get you people out of office in 2008.  Congress disgusted me today.  

by yitbos96bb 2007-05-24 03:43PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us,
With all due respect Rep. Slaughter, you miss the point. The Democrats are not abandoning the troops the President is.  The Democratic anthem shopuld be "We funded the troops. The President cares so little for them he vetoed it. We will continue to try and fund the troops until the Presidents sees the light and supports those brave young men and women fighting for us."
You should have also added to the bill a 15% pay raise for all military personnel and $15K bonus for any troop in Iraq or Afghanastan after each withdrawal benchmark. You forget that Bush thinks that our soildiers are pawns and do not derserve to be paid like contractors.  Unfortunaltey Dems have drank the same Kool-aid.  It is a very disappointing time to realize that neither party is willing to risk their perks to saves thousands of lives.
by larrycpa 2007-05-24 03:46PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us, but the fight

The day after the 2004 election, I told friends and family that it was the first time in my life I was ashamed to be an American.

This is the second time.

While I appreciate your willingness to come here and converse, I hope that you know, deep down how saddened we all are by this, and how dissapointed.

by benjamink 2007-05-24 03:54PM | 0 recs
A difficult day for all of us...

Thank You Congresswoman Slaughter for coming, but as you can see, we're not idiots and we were expecting at least some checks and balances from our Party, or at least some principled voting.

Sad day!

by SandThroughTheEyeGlass 2007-05-24 03:58PM | 0 recs
A few points...

Rep. Slaughter says:

The first amendment contains all of the critical domestic spending that the Republicans and the President had derided as pork when it was brought up the first time. What we are talking about is an increase in the minimum wage, an increase in funding for military health care and veterans' health care, and critically needed funding for agricultural disaster aid, children's health care, and recovery from Hurricane Katrina, among other things. We are going to have a chance to pass all of it today.

The public HATES omnibus legislation. Instead of lumping all of these elements together why can't you pass them one at a time and force votes? I'd rather have a less than perfect minimum wage bill credited to the Democrats, a less than health bill credited to Democrats, a less than perfect Katrina bill credited to Democrats, a less than perfect agricultural bill credited to Democrats, than have all of the above lumped into what is being properly reported as a soft, weak Iraq Bill. You've succeeding in muting all of the credit for the good non-Iraq things with a show of weakness on the Iraq front - IT'S THE WORST OF BOTH WORLDS. Why can't you keep the apples and oranges separate in Congress? Rep. Obey sounds proud of the fact that he leverages support for his approach to Iraq with unrelated matters.

Am I naive to think that legislation is supposed to pass or fail based on the merits? Tying all these unrelated appropriations together let's individual members escape resonsibilty for their vote - like so many squid in a cloud of ink. Why not have straight up and down votes on important legislation? I'll never understand it.

Rep. Slaughter says:

In fact, there are two in my opinion. With this White House, and with this Republican minority, it is safe to say that a standoff with the Administration would have meant that our troops would be left in harm's way, only now with even less funding to back them up.

This makes sense. But why did the Democratic Leadership abandon Rep. Murtha's 'short leash' for what I can only guess is Rep. Hoyer's 'long leash' approach. Instead of making a concession to the President on the 'clean bill' aspect and funding only 2 more months and losing the Out-of-Iraq caucus on the vote (which you will do anyway on this vote) my perception is Leadership caved for voluntary benchmarks while winning over ZERO Republican supporters to opposing the Iraq War.

I'm not suggesting that Democrats don't have to compromise because of the reality of who occupies the White House or the rules of the Senate but Democrats persuaded exactly NOBODY from the GOP caucus with their approach.

Sen. Gordon Smith, Sen. Hagel, Rep. Walter Jones, Rep. Wayne Gilcrest are mostly on-board for forcing an end to the Iraq War. Meanwhile there are scores of Democrats who would continue the war indefinitely because they lack the courage to call the war a mistake and cut our losses. All service to country is noble but our efforts in Iraq are sunk costs to this point. No additional costs should be undertaken in some bogus argument that we need to keep fighting in Iraq so that those lost did not die in vain. All service is noble. All leaders are not.

The strategy of trying to pin reponsibility for funding on Republicans in Congress is weak. Why not put Rep. Jones front and center and try to give the Republicans credit for trying to end the war. Ending the Iraq War is far more important than the '08 Congressional elections and if any in Congress believe otherwise they are morally digusting.

The 109th "Do-Nothing Congress

Congressional Democrats need to stop viewing improvement over the last Congress as victory. The 109th Congress was one of the worst in history. Why not try to be in session THE MOST in history instead of merely more than last Congress. Why not hold oversight hearings like the Truman Commission EVEN IF YOU CAN'T PASS the bill in the Senate. I heard a lot of talk in the last Congress from Democrats about a new Truman Committe but I see NOTHING like the kind of effort brought forward by the Truman Comittee. From the National Archives, "The committee earned a high reputation for thoroughness and efficiency. From its creation in 1941 until its expiration in 1948, the committee held 432 public hearings and 300 executive sessions, went on hundreds of field trips, and issued 51 reports....The media showered the committee with favorable publicity." Instead of providing an alternate and easy to follow narrative of working FOR THE TROOPS by getting out in the field and conducting hearings EVERY DAY, Democrats have folded out of fear of being called names by the media and Republicans. Newsflash - they're going to call you names anyway.

Rep. Slaughter you are one of my favorite Reps. and I've read all your reports on open government and the abuse of process in the 108th and 109th Congress. I believe you are acting with a good heart and in good faith always. But the Congressional leadership got it so wrong on Iraq in this supplemental it hurts.

Until Democrats can convince a single Republican beyond the 4 named above or fight effectively the narrative that 'Democrats aren't supporting the troops' all of the Iraq debate is just so much spitting in the wind. You will lose every time and we will lose another 1,500 lives before a damn thing happens in January '09.

Like Rep. Tim Ryan says - we need more backbone and less wishbone in Congress.

I know you've got as much backbone as anyone Rep. Slaughter but I don't think counting on Republicans to see the error of their ways in September is anything other than a display of wishbone.

In continuing solidarity,

joejoejoe

by joejoejoe 2007-05-24 04:01PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us, but the fight i

    The Democratic Party leadership and House members have not learned the lessons of 2002 and 2004.  Those who gave Bush a blank check on the war were attacked as unpatriotic, soft on Al Quaida, and were defeated.  That's why we don't see Senator Carnahan, Senator Cleland,Senator Daschle and President Kerry.  The fear of the Who lost China debate plagued Democrats in the sixties,seventies, and eighties.   Washington Democrats have recycled that fear with the Who lost Iraq ghost. They don't believe that telling the truth works, even when the polls show that Americans have figured out that fighting as another militia in another country's civil war is senseless.

   Mencken said that if a good newspaperman stayed too long in Washington his brain turned to mush.  It happens to politicians who are not smart enough to realize that the Washington Post hasn't done anything decent since Watergate.  

by darrow 2007-05-24 04:05PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us, but the fight i

Today, 86 Democrats behaved like co-dependent wives with abusive alcoholic husbands.  link here

And if just 17 more Democrats had joined with the 7 who voted no on the procedural resolution , this bill would not even have come up for a vote (as I understand it).

The only piece of "good" news in all of this is that we now know who in the House stands with us in a bar fight.  

And everyone knows we have primaries next year.

by Airpower 2007-05-24 04:08PM | 0 recs
The Fight is Not Over

I can't wait till I'm thirty or so, and get in on this (Assuming things work out for me -  I want to run for assembly at 22 and work up to state senate and then keep moving from there).  I heard something interesting on the news the other day.  Chris Matthews referred to this as "Political Guerilla Tactics."  As in confront Bush, retreat, confront Bush, retreat, in order to build up unhappiness in a hit and run fashion whether it's Iraq, Gonzales, etc.

The way to top off this strategy, of hitting and running, would be if the Democratic congress (Which is NOT that smart as they've easily proven to us.)  planned for the Dems in the senate to have a 41 member hold.  In order to fillibuster this bill straight to hell.  

That way you're killing time while the Dems appeal to multiple angles of the base and moderates while continuing to ratchet up pressure on the administration to cut more slack.  

If the Dems vote for this bill, they are cutting and running from Bush.  All those ads from 2006 were almost right.  We need real leadership in congress and soon enough, the white house.  Accountability just isn't enough for Iraq anymore, it's too little too late.  

by JeremiahTheMessiah 2007-05-24 04:18PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us, but the fight i

Madam Chairman,

Thank you for your explanation and participation in this forum. There is one specially disturbing statement in your UPDATE: "With the Congress divided the way it is, our only other choice was to present nothing."   This is precisely the Republican framing, which you have swallowed hook, line and sinker.  As David Sirota pointed out, you could have brought this bill AND Democratic alternatives, with timelines, to the floor.   But, no, that have would have been risky -- you could have been painted as "defunding the troops" -- which would have presented a golden opportunity to fight the President throughout Memorial day.  No, we don't dare fight; we run from the playground, afraid of the bully.

What is saddest here is the triump of "bitch-slap politics" -- where after years of brutal treatment at the hands of Republicans, our Democratic leaders become cowardly slaves to their former master's bidding.  The spectacle is nothing short of repulsive, and given the life and death stakes involved, obscene.

by camilow 2007-05-24 04:25PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us, but the fight i

Sounds like you've taken a page out of George "I create my own reality" Bush's book.

Voluntary benchmarks are literally nothing to Bush and Co.  They've broken laws all over the place.  They have and still are spying on the American people.  You called, Condi ignored you.  Torquemada Gonzales sits there with a straight face saying he doesn't remember and hasn't lost a single day of being the Attorney General.  

The war did belong to Bush and the republicans.  As of today's surrender, the general public has had the image of democrats as having no backbone has been confirmed.  As of today's surrender the Iraq war also belongs to you.  And if George takes a fancy to go ahead and attack Iran while he's still in the Gulf, that's going to belong to you also because you refused to stop him in any way.  No one is going to believe that garbage about "it will only pass if the republicans vote for it" except you folk in D.C.  The rest of us are neither that gullible or naïve.  

Consider the link broken.  From now on, I'm giving money only to local candidates and will still be voting democrat on the local level to build the grassroots that we so clearly need in order to replace you and everyone else who voted for this and the other monstrosities that you people passed today.  I'm ticked.  National level donations?  Forgetaboutit.      

by zippetydoodah 2007-05-24 04:26PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us, but the fight i

Rep Slaughter:

I guess, after seeing the comments about your pathetic justifications at Dkos and your copy and paste here, you realize you've lost yourself a whole lot of support today - the support of REAL democrats/progressives/Americans who REALLY care about this country and about our troops - and DOING THE RIGHT THING. (You're not the only one who lost our support, of course, but you're included fershure.)

Keith Olbermann just said you "democrats" betrayed your party and  your promises because you were AFRAID of leaving for the Memorial Day holiday and giving Bush the chance to say bad things about you (my words). Is this junior high school?

This is a sad, sad day for democracy and for America. And you "democrats" have yourselves to thank. You sold out your party for a kiss from Bush and the republicans - who will laugh at you in public and call you weak - and it will be repeated on every show from now until forever - like the Iraq War Authorization - remember that one? So, is this a proud day for you?

We will work night and day to defeat WEAK, DISHONEST DEMOCRATS. And we won't forget...

by Firefly4625 2007-05-24 04:29PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us, but the fight i

There is no way to put a good face on this day of shame and cowardice by the Democratic Congress. Not even the 170 reps who voted for the McGovern amendment were faithful to their vote. Shame on all of you for this betrayal of our troops who will be sent to their deaths for no good reason and shame on you for betraying your constitutents who elected you to stand for conscience and integrity.

by cmpnwtr 2007-05-24 04:31PM | 0 recs
groupthink in Out of Iraq caucus

Some groupthink must have been happening in the Out of Iraq caucus, as everyone else that wants to end the war thinks that the path you have chosen was a poor one.

by aip 2007-05-24 04:32PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us, but the fight i
Cong. Slaughter, thanks for posting here.
by robliberal 2007-05-24 04:33PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us, but the fight

Your statement...

And we elected to let something pass - to let Republicans, if they so choose, fund their own war.
is as disingenuous and two-faced a statement as I've heard recently from a Democrat.

This war is not a Republican War...it's OUR war and OUR sons and daughters blood is unaffiliated with any particular party. It's also OUR money...@$9,000,000 per hour...being poured down the toilet in Iraq.

You people CHOSE to let this continue.  You should have heeded John Edward's advice...send the original bill back again and again...and again.

The DNC will not see another penny from me.   I'm going to contribute only to those I know will have the courage to vote the will of the people.

by bogey 2007-05-24 05:03PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us, but the fight

This wasn't the DNC. It was the DCCC and the DSCC if you want to know who to be mad at.

by RDemocrat 2007-05-24 09:04PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us, but the fight i

I just found out that my Rep. Brian Baird from Vancouver Wash. voted on this gutless piece of crap bill in the afirmative. I will now take an active role in the Democratic Party in Clark County Wash. to try and get some worthy Dem. to chalenge this GUTLESS PUKE in the 08 Primary. I can't for the life of me figure ouy WHY the House and Senate (Leadership????) allowed this bunch of JERKS in the administration with their 28% approval rating stampede them into caving in on this. The American people sent these people a message last Nov. to get us out of Iraq, apparently they aren't listening.

by Bob Moon 2007-05-24 06:29PM | 0 recs
The Lesson of the Day

The lesson of today is the functionaries of the Democratic party will betray their constituents and the mandate they have been given. They are more interested in appeasing George W. Bush than those of us who were naive and stupid enough to think they really were serious about keeping more young Americans from going to their maiming and deaths.  I'm not interested in political parties. I'm interested in progressive movements of change. Even Louise Slaughter will give us a song and dance to protect her colleagues from criticism rather than earn the respect of those who empowered her. Time to stop giving your money, time, and energy to the party and directly to progressive candidates only.

by cmpnwtr 2007-05-24 06:29PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us, but the fight i

I just found out that my Rep. Brian Baird from Vancouver Wash. voted on this gutless piece of crap bill in the afirmative. I will now take an active role in the Democratic Party in Clark County Wash. to try and get some worthy Dem. to chalenge this GUTLESS PUKE in the 08 Primary. I can't for the life of me figure ouy WHY the House and Senate (Leadership????) allowed this bunch of JERKS in the administration with their 28% approval rating stampede them into caving in on this.

by Bob Moon 2007-05-24 06:30PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us, but the fight i

This is the key. We need to respond to our so-called representatives' treachery by putting resources and energy behind people who will run as true progressives and then act as true progressives, not cave like the majority of Democrats did yesterday.

I hope enough of these turn-coats get ousted in the primaries to send the party a signal it will never forget.

by Oregonian 2007-05-25 12:24PM | 0 recs
What a sad sad post Louise

At least you aknowledge the truth that you are afraid of a "standoff with the administration":

"...it is safe to say that a standoff with the Administration would have meant that our troops would be left in harm's way, only now with even less funding to back them up...

Secondly, a standoff would have allowed the President to keep using our soldiers as pawns..."

Why are you afraid of George Bush Louise? That's sad.  And right there for all to see.

But the way saddest part of all is that these are GOERGE BUSH's own talking points you're using!

Why are you using George Bush's talking points Louise?  Why are you suggesting that Democratic moves to end the war would put American troops "in harms way"?  Why are you saying that?

That is so incredibly sad!  

by jeffuppy 2007-05-24 06:33PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us

What a sad sad post Louise

At least you acknowledge the truth that you are afraid of a "standoff with the administration":

"...it is safe to say that a standoff with the Administration would have meant that our troops would be left in harm's way, only now with even less funding to back them up...

Secondly, a standoff would have allowed the President to keep using our soldiers as pawns..."

Why are you afraid of George Bush Louise? That's sad.  And right there for all to see.

But by far the saddest part of all is that these are George Bush's own talking points you're using!

Why are you using George Bush's talking points Louise?  Why are you suggesting that Democratic moves to end the war would put American troops "in harms way"?  Why are you saying that?

That is so incredibly sad!  

by jeffuppy 2007-05-24 06:36PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us,

Think of what every one of the Democrats in either chamber did to the red state volunteers and contributors who worked so hard to eek out slim victories in close races. They put their sweat and took a lot of heat some places to get the message out that our party would fight for what they believe in. With all due respect a stab in the back is a stab in the back.

Now, until election day in 08 my money goes to the Democrat who isn't afraid of being a Democrat, John Edwards. I will also be taking part in efforts to recruit primary candidates in every race possible where a Democrat voted for this bill. When we get some of those, then I will be sending them any money I can and helping them.

John Edwards said, "Silence is betrayal". What Congress did today was worse than silence. It was speaking out for madness. If you wanted to get us a concession, why didn't you get something done on Campaign Finance Reform? That is what we need so we can have more primary candidates to bring more of the elites off their high-horse.

by RDemocrat 2007-05-24 09:16PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us

Codependency--"A psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (as an addiction to alcohol, heroin", [or power]

Collegiate Dictionary, 10th ed., Mirriam Webster, Inc., Springfield, MA; 1998; p. 221.

by liberal elite 2007-05-25 07:42AM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us

Codependency--"A psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (as an addiction to alcohol, heroin", [or power]

Collegiate Dictionary, 10th ed., Mirriam Webster, Inc., Springfield, MA; 1998; p. 221.

by liberal elite 2007-05-25 07:42AM | 0 recs
I wonder...

Do the Democrats not realize their base pretty much hates this completely, or do they just not care?

by LnGrrrR 2007-05-25 07:51AM | 0 recs
Re: I wonder...

I think the Dems must be in the same corporate pockets as the Repubs: oil, AIPAC, I don't know what all else.  There's a payoff for them.

We "netroots" can't give them the kind of money they get from the corporations, so I guess they just put on this show for the media and so far most Americans are too TV/I-Pod glazed not to buy it.

by laserflight 2007-05-26 01:49PM | 0 recs
Stand Up for What Is Right

..a standoff with the Administration would have meant that our troops would be left in harm's way, only now with even less funding to back them up. I don't think that would have been right to do - to make them do even more with even less. The President doesn't seem to care how much our troops suffer. All evidence indicates that he will make them fight if they have needed funding or not.

If the President is a madman, you should impeach him, not give him $100 billion to wage a war.

...a standoff would have allowed the President to keep using our soldiers as pawns, accusing Democrats of abandoning them...

This is the Republican frame: "Democrats want to stop funding the troops." The response is not to give the President $100 billion to wage a war, but to say "We are cutting off funds for the war. The President needs to bring the troops home now."

And we elected to let something pass - to let Republicans, if they so choose, fund their own war.

You helped the Republicans fund the war. You set up a bill that would pass with the Republicans voting for it and some Democrats voting for it. You enabled the Republicans to fund the war. You enabled this. This is why we are mad at you and don't like your excuses.

Of course, we are mad at the Republicans too. But that does not give you a free pass for doing the wrong thing.

Next time, don't enable the Republicans to fund the war, stand up for what is right. And fight! Otherwise, why should we fight for you?

by RandomNonviolence 2007-05-25 11:33AM | 0 recs
You are Repeating Cheney Propaganda when you say

the following:
"it is safe to say that a standoff with the Administration would have meant that our troops would be left in harm's way, only now with even less funding to back them up."

SIMPLY NOT TRUE, Louise.  Read on.

Congressional Memo: Pentagon War Funds Need Not Urgent
By Richard Cowan
Reuters

Friday 30 March 2007

Washington - The U.S. Army has enough money on hand to finance the
Iraq War through most of July, according to a congressional study that
challenges President George W. Bush's assertions that an infusion of
funds is needed more urgently.

According to a Congressional Research Service memo dated March 28
and sent to the Senate Budget Committee, "The Army could finance the
O&M (operations and maintenance) of both its baseline and war
program ... through most of July 2007" by shifting around money in
existing accounts.

The memo said it based its projections "using Army and other
data."

That assessment was at odds with Bush and some of his war
managers, who have said that Congress could undermine U.S. troops and
the war in Iraq if it did not approve approximately $100 billion
within weeks.

"The Democrats are distorting and hiding behind a CRS memo on the
eve of Congress' spring vacation to distract from their failure to
send the President a responsible bill he can sign," said White House
spokesman Tony Fratto. "It's time for the Democrats to send the
president a bill that funds the troops without forcing retreat,
handcuffing our commanders, or adding billions of dollars in pork
spending."

Fratto warned that a delay in funding was already affecting
troops.

"Yesterday, the Department of Defense notified Congress that in
order to meet the force protection needs of the Marine Corps and the
Army, we are borrowing funds from other important Marine and Army
procurement programs," Fratto said.

Bush requested the emergency funds in early February and Congress
is in the process of writing bills providing more money for the war
than the president requested.

But Democrats have added conditions to the money, including
setting timetables for withdrawing all combat troops from Iraq. Bush
wants the money without the conditions and has threatened to veto
either bill passed by the Senate or the House of Representatives.

Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, told
a House panel on Thursday that after April 15, without emergency
funding, the Army would have to begin curtailing some troop training,
which "could over time delay their ability to go back into combat."

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said that if the funds were not
approved by May 15, the Army might have to extend some soldiers'
tours, because other units would not be ready, and reduce equipment
repair work, among other things.

Time-Consuming Process

If Congress sends Bush a bill that he vetoes, lawmakers would then
have to go through a potentially time-consuming process of rewriting
and passing a new war-funding bill.

The administration tried to turn up the pressure on Congress on
Friday, when White House spokeswoman Dana Perino criticized lawmakers
for taking a spring vacation without making adequate progress on the
emergency war funds.

"Every day that the Congress fails to act on this request causes
our military hardship and impacts readiness," Perino said.

But according to the memo, "the Army could finance its O&M
expenses through the end of May by tapping $52.6 billion in O&M
funding already provided by Congress."

Furthermore, with congressional approval, the Pentagon could
temporarily transfer money out of other accounts, giving the Army
"almost two additional months" to conduct its regular operations and
the war.

Since invading Iraq in March 2003 to depose then President Saddam
Hussein, the Bush administration has refused to include in annual
budgets the full estimated cost of the war each year. Instead, it has
submitted "emergency" requests that many lawmakers complained have
made it difficult to do proper oversight of the war.

---------------------------------------- -----------------------------------­ ;-----
Additional reporting by Kristin Roberts.
-------

Jump to today's Truthout Features:
Today's Truthout Features -------------- Scandal Gives

by laserflight 2007-05-26 06:55AM | 0 recs
You won't benefit from recent Supplemental stunt

sent to Slaughter, Pelosi, Obama, Schumer, Clinton, and Obey:

Please consider the truths below in considering whether to participate in any more secretive deals to engineer more funds for Bush to misuse in Iraq and Iran, while trying to appear "anti-war".

We, your constituents, are not stupid, and are insulted by your attempts to cover yourselves politically.  You will not benefit from this stunt.
```````````````````````````````````````` ```````

CBS Exposes Bush Admin's `Outrageous Delay' In Providing Marines With Bomb-Resistant Vehicle
While President Bush has been busy politically demagoging funding for the troops, CBS Evening News highlighted a disturbing report tonight that the administration waited over a year before acting on a "priority 1 urgent" request to send blast-resistant vehicles to Iraq, the so-called Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles.

Calling it "an outrageous delay," CBS noted, "The Marines in the field asked for 1,200 MRAPs in February 2005 -- but so far, they've received less than 100." The report also noted that the problem is widespread and systemic:

A Marine Corps document obtained by the Associated Press says that of 100 requests for critical gear sent in last year, less than 10 have been filled. It blames red tape and the failure of bureaucrats to take risks.

"Unnecessary delays cause ... deaths and injuries," the document says -- and nowhere is it more true than with MRAP.

Watch it:

For American troops in Iraq, the heavy-duty armored vehicle has proven to be a life-saver. As a testament to MRAP's effectiveness, top Marine commander Gen. James Conway said recently, "We have yet to have a Marine killed in the al Anbar Province who is riding inside an MRAP." He added, "How do you not see it as a moral imperative to get as many of those vehicles to theater as rapidly as you can?"

As AmericaBlog noted, the Marine Corps lied about why it had failed to fulfill the urgent request for the priority equipment, claiming it was not "a budgetary decision" when internal documents prove that it was.

In an open letter to President Bush, Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE) urged the administration to publicly make MRAP production a national priority. He wrote, "How is it possible that with our nation at war, with more than 130,000 Americans in danger, with roadside bombs destroying a growing number of lives and limbs, we were so slow to act to protect our troops? ... We need to know how and why this happened so that it does not happen again."

At least 1,419 U.S. soldiers have been killed by roadside bombs in Iraq.

Filed under: Iraq, Military

Posted by Faiz May 25, 2007 8:28 pm

Permalink | Comment (65)

Bush signs $100 billion more for war.
President Bush has signed the controversial legislation that authorizes an additional $100 billion for military operations in Iraq. "Bush signed the bill into law at the Camp David presidential retreat, where he is spending part of the Memorial Day weekend."  May 25, 2007 8:23 pm | Comment (30)

Filed under:

Posted by Nico May 25, 2007 8:23 pm

Permalink | Comment (30)

by laserflight 2007-05-26 09:41AM | 0 recs
8 Ways Dems in Congress Played Victim Over the Sup

Democrats in Congress Cultivate Our Perception of Their Victimhood

Kim Hughes
http://groups.google.com/group/WeThePeop leLeadNow

Like what I believe to be the majority of Americans, I am once again disappointed and angered by two things: 1 - Congress' agreement to continue funding the illegal Iraq occupation, and 2 - the Democrats' apparently deliberate cultivation of a perception that they are helpless victims.

My feelings come up after witnessing the bizarre vote trick they played this week, giving Bush his blank check while some Congresspeople appeared to vote against it, so they could gain points with their huge anti-Iraq war constituency.

One definition of a victim is " a person who is tricked, swindled, or taken advantage of." (American Heritage Dictionary)

In common usage, a victim is also someone who doesn't use the power they have to take actions on their own or others' behalf.

Here are the actions I believe were possible for Congressional Dems to take regarding the Iraq Supplemental (but chose not to):

1 - Speaker Pelosi has the power to disallow this Iraq Supplemental bill to the floor of the House for debate or voting. We know this because of all the Democratic bills that never made the floor when Republicans were in the majority. Pelosi chose not to use this power, without explanation, choosing instead to appear helpless against the situation, saying in her House speech "It's not enough" and voting against the bill she herself brought to the floor.

2 - Louise Slaughter (D-NY), as head of the House Rules committee, had the power to shut out David Obey's tricky "amendments to the rule" from being brought to the floor, and chose instead to allow it, paving the way for some Reps to appear to vote against war funding while actually being assured of its passage.

3 - Any and all Senators who were truly against funding the Iraq occupation could have filibustered the Senate Supplemental vote, as a group or separately.

4 - Democrats in both the House and Senate could have joined Rep. Kucinich in pointing out the fact that one of the "benchmarks" (the Hydrocarbon Law) is actually a threat that Iraqis will cease receiving US $ unless they hand over two-thirds of their oil profits to the five big oil companies, all profits going to US and Britain.

5 - The writers of the Supplemental "benchmarks" could have written them with true accountability. As currently stated, the "benchmarks" do not represent any progress toward holding this President accountable, as they all give Bush the choice to say whether or not they've been met. Another "fox guarding the henhouse" issue.

6 - All along, Democrats could have confronted the lie that not to fund the Emergency Supplemental Iraq War Funding Request is to "abandon the troops." In March the Congressional Research Service printed a report saying that the Request was not in fact an Emergency, and that the Pentagon could have, with Congressional approval, transferred funds for use in Iraq. According to the report, "the Army could finance its O&M expenses through the end of May by tapping $52.6 billion in O&M funding already provided by Congress. Furthermore, with Congressional approval, the Pentagon could temporarily transfer money out of other accounts, giving the Army `almost two additional months' to conduct its regular operations and the war."

7 - In either Supplemental version, Pelosi could have refused to strip the "Bush must get Congressional approval before attacking Iran" language from the bills.

8 - As a whole, the Democratic leadership could have decided to put actually binding timelines for troop withdrawal into either of the Supplemental versions.

```````````````````````````````````````` `````````````````````` Instead, Democrats are acting. Witness Obey's "I hate this bill!" and Pelosi's "This is not enough; but the debate is not over", and Slaughter's "What is more, the Republicans in this Congress willfully and deliberately ignored public opinion and supported that veto. They made it impossible for us to overturn it."

I hear the false note of the victim's whine in each of those voices.

The Democrats are going to have to get used to the fact that the peace and impeachment activists in this country see through their pathetic cries of "We're helpless! We're victims! Don't blame us for supporting this war, even though we're in the majority!"

Hello! Pelosi, Reid, Obey, Slaughter, Clinton, Obama, Schumer, and the rest of you hidden Dem hawks, hear this:

We don't buy that you are victims. That game is now over. If you want votes from us, you're going to have to actually promote peace and accountability, not pretend you tried and were prevented from it by the big bad Republicans.

As mentioned before, the dictionary defines a victim as "a person who is tricked, swindled, or taken advantage of."

We peace constituents are no longer in that category. We are not fooled.

Time to get real, Dems, or be prepared to get out of office.

by laserflight 2007-05-26 01:37PM | 0 recs
Re: A difficult day for all of us, but the fight i

Its Sunday.  Three days later and I'm still angry at the betrayal by our democratic representatives.  Be sure that I will take it out on you in the next trip to the voting booth.  

by zippetydoodah 2007-05-27 02:46AM | 0 recs

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