This is only the first step

Bumped because I'm going to start focusing on the progressive caucus. They need to step us and we need to help them step up. Matt


Starting this morning the House will begin to debate the moral issue of our times - our continued military occupation of Iraq.  My colleagues and I will have the opportunity to vote on President Bush's escalation - a failed policy from the start, which will only deepen our engagement in the Iraq, and increase the cost to our country in lives, limb and treasury.  The American public has already overwhelmingly voiced their opposition to the President's plan, and now it is our turn, and our responsibility to have our voices heard.

I will support this week's effort, and will cast my vote against the President's proposed escalation, but you all know that I will not stop there, and neither should my colleagues.

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Americans Do Want Congress to Stop the Escalation

There is a sense among the pundits and even many within the halls of Congress that while the American people are strongly opposed to the Iraq War and specifically to President Bush's proposal to increase the number of American troops in the conflict, voters would not welcome the type of actions required to stop the escalation -- either cutting off funds for new troops or passing legislation limiting the President's ability to widen the war. Not so, however, says new polling (or other polling in the recent and somewhat recent past, for that matter).

A new CBS News survey of American adults in the field Thursday through Sunday with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points finds that a majority of Americans want to see Congress use the power of the purse to block the so-called "surge" in troops, with a 45 percent plurality favoring cutting off funding for more troops and an additional 8 percent backing a complete freeze on spending. This 53 percent combined figure compares favorably to the just 44 percent who support Congress passing a non-binding resolution on Iraq, though it is significantly lower than the 68 percent who disapprove of the President's handling of Iraq, the 67 percent who believe the U.S. military can effectively stop violence between Iraqis and the 63 percent who oppose sending 20,000 more American troops into the country.

The numbers found by CBS jibe well with a Gallup poll of American adults in the field Friday through Sunday, which also had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. According to Gallup, 60 percent of Americans oppose sending more troops to Iraq, with strong majorities favoring a timetable for withdrawal of American troops (63 percent) and capping the number of American troops in Iraq (57 percent). In a question asked slightly differently than asked by CBS, however, Gallup finds less support -- just 40 percent -- for cutting of funds to send more troops to Iraq, but slightly more support -- 51 percent -- for a non-binding resolution condemning the increase in troops.

These numbers fairly clearly show that while there may unfortunately not be the stomach among those in Congress for taking the types of actions necessary to end the war in Iraq in a timely fashion there is such support among the American people. In other words, the American people are ahead of their representatives in Washington on the issue. And while Congress may in the future move forward with attempt to enact more binding legislation in the future, the fate of which seems poor given Senate Republicans' willingness to shill for their unpopular President and his unpopular Iraq policy, the American people are already ready for Congress to start taking real action on Iraq.

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I am sure you thought of this: Senators Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, Carl Levin, et al.

February 8, 2007

To Senators Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, Carl Levin, et al.

I have had my eyes and ears glued to C-Span all this week hoping for an end to the deadlocked Warner-Levin proposal. This haggling back and forth between Democrats and Republicans, like a bunch of bad actors, makes very bad theater for all of America  and the rest of the world to see. Especially,with all the recent pep-talks by the President and both sides of the aisle how important bipartisanship and working together are.I think it's time for a change in how Congress does business.
In the meantime, I strongly support the following two (2) solutions to the problem, assuming Congress decides to go ahead with Bush's surge:

#1 Redeploy the needed troops from the military already serving in Iraq. Simply determine how many soldiers can be spared from each of the occupied areas. They would be best suited for this new assignment and hardly  missed at their present assignments. As an added incentive, offer these men extra combat pay.

#2 Isn't it high time that our friends in the area, such as Eqypt, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, etc., furnish the troops for for this expedition? Or, why hasn't the United Nations been asked to furnish the needed forces?x                                                                The majority of the American people voted against sending more troops to Iraq. Had the American people known what President Bush's intentions were before the Novemeber 7th elections, they would have retired many more Republicans.  


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Tell Specter: No More

PA Action, in partnership with Vote Vets, Move On, Lower Bucks for Democracy, Americans Against Escalation in Iraq and the SEIU wil be holding a press conference today in front of Sen. Specter's Philadelphia office.   The topic will be opposition to escalating the war in Iraq and our demand that Sen. Specter stops filibustering the troops already in harm's way and denying the American people the Iraq War debate they deserve and have long been denied.   

If you can't get to Philly, you can participate by sending a fax along those lines to Sen. Specter's office between 11:00 AM and noon.  Sen. Specter's contact info is:

        Tel: 215-597-7200

        Fax: 215-597-0406

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Escalation: Five Questions and Their "Yes, BUT" Answers

My work as a psychologist suggests that five core concerns often dominate our individual and collective lives. These concerns revolve around issues of vulnerability, injustice, distrust, superiority, and helplessness. Briefly, for most of us nothing is more powerful than the desire to protect and provide security for the people and things we care about (vulnerability). We often react to perceived mistreatment with anger and resentment, and an urge to right wrongs and punish those we hold responsible (injustice). We tend to divide the world into those who are trustworthy and those unworthy of our trust, in an effort to avoid harm from people with hostile intentions (distrust). We frequently aspire to be better than others in some important way--perhaps in our accomplishments, or our morality, or our destiny (superiority). Finally, we strive to avoid the experience of helplessness, and instead do our best to control the important events in our lives (helplessness).

Political leaders should be responsive to these five core concerns in identifying broadly shared goals and pursuing positive social change. Unfortunately, the Bush administration and its supporters have instead chosen to exploit these concerns in an effort to promote their own narrow ideological agenda. Perhaps the most tragic example is the profoundly ill-advised and costly war in Iraq.

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