War Crimes....Not that anyone cares anymore

Crossposted at The Motley Moose

so now that we have the election season in full swing and political stunts by the "Grand Ol' Party" with McCain trying to hit the "reset" button every 2 days, I know this will get buried.

But it shouldn't.  Because the GWB administration will be continued with a McCain administration.  Because McCain USED to be honorable and was against torture, but now he is for it.

War Crimes.  The LA Times reports:


Her written statement to Senate investigators is the first official high-level acknowledgment of meetings that led to harsh methods such as waterboarding.

By Greg Miller, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 25, 2008

WASHINGTON -- Senior Bush administration officials held a series of meetings in the White House in 2002 and 2003 to discuss allowing the CIA to use harsh interrogation methods on Al Qaeda detainees, according to a written statement Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently provided to Senate investigators.

Rice's written response to investigators on the Senate Armed Services Committee marks the first time a high-ranking White House official has formally acknowledged the White House discussions, which led to the CIA's use of waterboarding and other coercive methods.

Did Bush and Cheney know?  Well, the buck has to stop somewhere, but Rice refuses to disclose who attended those meetings.


Rice did not disclose who at the meetings, but said that she had "asked Atty. Gen. [John] Ashcroft personally to review and confirm the legal advice" being prepared by the Department of Justice on the CIA's interrogation plans.

Other senior officials who routinely attended so-called principals meetings included then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld; Alberto R. Gonzales, then the presidential counsel; and David S. Addington, the vice president's counsel.

What a sad day in America.  Where was this story in any lead-off in the news cycle today?  Will it be tomorrow?  I guess I can't fault McCain for not being able to multi-task when our own MSM cannot seem to do the same thing.  Rachel Maddow, as far as I know, was the only one to mention this tonight - but it was buried near the end of her show and only for 5 minutes.

War Crimes.  And we won't do a damn thing about it.  This administration is getting away with it all and because these types of stories are buried, we might (although I think not and hope not) have another 4 years of this type of behavior under McCain/Palin.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/ washingtondc/la-na-interrogate25-2008sep 25,0,1828234.story

Updated to add: someone remarked my "pessimistic" commentary was unnecessary and distracting. Considering that the American people have not seen the clear difference between Obama and McCain, if polls are to be believed, I don't believe it is "pessimistic". It is reality. I am full supporter of Obama. Whoever I voted for and supported in the primaries is a moot point. Why do people still think it is? Hint: It is so easy to click on my name and see my diaries and my comments. I am out there, talking to people, donating money and plan to drive folks to the polls here in MA. So, don't tell me that I am not drumming up support for my candidate.

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Lies and the Lying Liars who tell them**

Well, after all, Al Franken ** wrote a whole book on it.  Now it seems he could write a whole book on the last two weeks alone.  Now another lie from the McCain campaign.  

Remember how Palin has been outside of our own country?  That the republicans touted her visit to Iraq and has been to Ireland?

well, Gov. Palin and Senator McCain, a pit-stop is NOT the same as visiting a country.

Another lie:


WASILLA, Alaska -- Aides to Gov. Sarah Palin are scrambling to explain details of her only trip outside North America -- which, according to a new report, did not include Iraq, as the McCain-Palin campaign had initially claimed.

Palin made an official visit to see Alaskan troops in Kuwait in July of 2007. There, she made a stop at a border crossing with Iraq, but did not actually visit the country, according to a new report in the Boston Globe.

Earlier, McCain aides had said that Palin visited Iraq, and expressed indignation at questions about her slim foreign travel.

The campaign also said she had been to Ireland; that turned out to have been a refueling stop.

In her ABC interview, Palin said she had also been to Canada and to Mexico, where her advisers said she went on vacation.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/the-tra il/2008/09/13/report_palin_did_not_visit _ira.html?hpid=topnews

Drinking shots in Cancun - well, to be honest I don't know where she went in Mexico - does not equate to "foreign" experience.   Going to Canada on vacation does not equate to "foreign" experience.

If that was the case, I would really have racked up the foreign experience since I have been to many countries.  

Some of you may say, this is a non-issue.  Well, maybe you are correct.  However, you are missing the point.  Add this little tidbit (i.e. LIE) to the slew of other LIES and a disturbing pattern emerges

Lies and more lies from liars who are trying to distort the truth ON PURPOSE to get your votes.  And they are not even hiding it well.  Any person with an internet connection can look this stuff up.

So, my hat goes off to the team of McCain/Palin.  Usually, politicians will tell their lies spaced out over a span of time.  Here, we get a plethora of lies within the same day.  And they are easy to debunk.

The newsprint media is doing their job.  Now, how can we get the people to read?

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Fair Game - Bristol and Young Teen Moms in need

Like Senator Obama, I believe that personal and private lives of candidates, especially when it involves their children, should be off-limits.  I do not have any issues with Gov. Palin being a working mom - I applaud her for that, as she does "break" that 1950-ish image of a republican woman.  I do not have any problems with her having a child in her 40's - the trend is that more women are having children later in life.

I don't have any problems with her daughter being pregnant;  it isn't my business and it isn't my life.  Gov. Palin and her family are making the best choices for their family.

But what I DO have a problem with is Gov. Palin's total disregard for teens who are in the same situation as her daughter but are even worse off, because they do not have a loving and caring family that supports them through this difficult time.

ST. PAUL -- Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee who revealed Monday that her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant, earlier this year used her line-item veto to slash funding for a state program benefiting teen mothers in need of a place to live.

After the legislature passed a spending bill in April, Palin went through the measure reducing and eliminating funds for programs she opposed. Inking her initials on the legislation -- "SP" -- Palin reduced funding for Covenant House Alaska by more than 20 percent, cutting funds from $5 million to $3.9 million. Covenant House is a mix of programs and shelters for troubled youths, including Passage House, which is a transitional home for teenage mothers.

According to Passage House's web site, its purpose is to provide "young mothers a place to live with their babies for up to eighteen months while they gain the necessary skills and resources to change their lives" and help teen moms "become productive, successful, independent adults who create and provide a stable environment for themselves and their families."

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/the-tra il/2008/09/02/palin_slashed_funding_to_h elp.html

Gov. Palin's personal and private life is her own business and should be off-limits.  But when she takes away from others who are less fortunate than her daughter, those that are in the same difficult situation AND who are choosing to carry the baby to term - instead of applauding these young girls FOR their difficult choice and supporting them - it makes me so angry.

It makes me angry that there are people here and on other boards whining (yes, I am using that dreaded word) about sexism - watch it, they say.  It will backlash on us.  They say they are disgusted with the democratic party.

THIS should make you feel disgusted.  THIS should make you want to hit Palin and hit her hard.  Yes, it might mean bringing up Bristol, but Bristol is a very lucky young lady.  

I don't know the girls that were directly affected by the cuts by Gov. Palin.  I do know this - they aren't as lucky as Bristol

and THAT should make you angry and disgusted.

This is an issue that can be raised.  As well we should

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A Game...

I am listening to CNN tonight and the pundits talking about Sarah Palin as the veep choice for McCain.

I fell off my couch laughing when I heard this gem from Bay Buchanan - I am paraphrasing her, as I don't have the exact quote just yet...

She just stated that Palin's son is going to be deployed and that is the first step for Palin's Foreign Experience!

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sorry, I had to compose myself after I typed that perfect gem.

This isn't much of a diary, but a game for us to listen and post the most lamest excuses that the talking heads give us about Palin.

So, I just gave the first one.  Who is next?

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So, I was at Firestone Tires this morning.....

I took today off to get some work done on my car - blech - it was more work than I had expected.  How long are rotors supposed to last anyway?  It seems I replace them every other year!!

At any rate, I was at Firestone for 4 frigging hours.  I was outside, moping around, when another customer walked up to me and started talking to me.  He was an elderly gentleman, I would say in his late 70's.  Very nice man - he also got hit with more repairs than he had expected and we were complaining about the high cost of parts.  Which led to gas prices, which led to who is to blame.  

He blamed Bush for a lack of energy program.  He mentioned JFK and how when JFK stated we would put a man on the moon in 10 years, damn it, the US did it.  He stated why didn't Bush make a statement about energy independence and spurring the growth in research and development sectors.

I mentioned Reagan, telling him about the solar panels that Carter had installed in the WH and how Reagan tore them out.  He hadn't heard that story before and asked rhetorically "Why did Reagan take them out?" We talked about global warming and how it would be a cultural mindset change in the United States, as everywhere you go, everything seems to be bottled, packaged, wrapped, and shipped in plastic.  

This nice man began talking about Obama - he was scared of him.  He felt that Obama was a very intelligent man whose claim to fame was his really wonderful speeches, but was scared of and didn't buy into all of the "change" and "yes, we can" speeches.

I looked him in the eye and stated "you know, I voted for Hillary in the primaries." He responded "I did as well".  And I went on stating that we talked about the cultural mindset change about habits with oil and plastic products.  I mentioned that I didn't buy into all of the rhetoric, but Obama did inspire a lot of people.  He retorted by stating "By justing stating the word change?" I replied, well, Obama is more than just words - sure, it started out like that to me, but I have read up on his plans, and although I may not agree with some of them, he does have ideas.  And just as JFK inspired people, I reminded him of his words earlier to me, Obama inspires a lot of folks as well, and that hopefully, will enact the mindset of changing our culture.

He nodded and stated, yes, Obama was a hell of a lot better than McCain, and if Obama tries to push something that is unpopular, the Congress will push back.  And I grinned and stated that is the beauty of our system.  Checks and balances.  

We chatted some more and I felt good about talking to this man - a person who voted like me in the primaries, has some doubts, a little nervous, but in the end, we both felt good about the democratic nominee - even if he wasn't our first choice.

I am not the best spokesperson for Senator Obama, as I stated I am an unenthusiastic supporter.  However, I think this was a plus today.  I was not an eager beaver, not spouting talking points, expressing my disappointment over Hillary's loss, but I was able to bond with this man because of that.  I know that both he & I will vote for Obama this fall.  

The point of this story?  Perhaps the way to reach people like him is to have people like me share my story with him.   Sometimes, really enthusiastic supporters can turn off a person with doubts and the way to reach them is to have someone who has the same backstory and can provide the empathy and bond over the loss and to bond together in our support for the democratic nominee and to win in the General Election.

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I support Hillary's cause

Up front, for those who don't know me.  I am a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton.  I will still strongly call out those who keep stating Obama is the nominee, as he is quite not there yet.  And I will still defend her and what she stands for.

I have no illusions, however.   I believe that Obama will be our Democratic nominee this upcoming week.  He will get the SD's to swing over.  I also believe once that happens, Hillary will concede and rally her supporters to follow her lead as she endorses Obama.  Hillary has NEVER gave anyone any indication that she would not support the Democratic nominee.  Her campaign has been stating that this primary is over once one of them reaches the magic number, despite the talk of Denver. Of course, they are going to mention Denver.  That's politics.  Since she hasn't conceded, of course they aren't going to state they are giving up.  

However, they have given themselves an out - with reaching the required number of delegates.  Hillary will not be seen as a quitter or loser, but hopefully, as a strong candidate who went to the finish line, but missed it by "that much".  

I have no doubts about the Clinton's - they have spent their whole life in Democratic politics and have strongly supported many Democrats, even some that didn't endorse them in this year's primary.  If we have learned anything, thru Bill Clinton's style, they really know that this is politics.   And politics is about supporting each other, even when there are some bitterness or disapproval.  Hell, I don't even think that the Clinton's or the Obama's really dislike each other, or that they have such bitterness towards each other.  If Tip O'Neill and Ronald Reagan could get along and respect each other, why on earth do people think that these folks, who share the same ideals and goals, would not?

What is the point of this diary and my ramblings?  I am sick.  Sick to death of seeing things like
a) Hillary should run as an independent.  Sorry, Charlie.  Look at Hillary and Bill's whole history.  They are not leaving the Democratic party until they are dead.

b) McClinton Voters.  Sigh.  That is the ULTIMATE disrespect towards Hillary I have ever seen.  Sure, at one point, I was thinking of not voting or voting Nader - briefly.  However, the thought of voting for John McCain just because Hillary may not be our Democratic nominee is a slap in her face.  You may think this is the ultimate sign of loyalty, but it isn't.

Loyalty:  Loyalty is faithfulness or a devotion to a person or cause. 

I get it - I am loyal to Hillary as well.  But what or who is Hillary loyal to, in terms of this years' General Election, if she is not the nominee?  The cause.  The ongoing cause to promoting our democratic and progressive ideals, such as getting out of Iraq, Universal Health Care, Education, economy, Social Security and so many other issues that are judged on the Supreme Court - Roe V Wade is a biggie.  How we conduct ourselves here at home and around the world;  regaining respect.

This is what Hillary's cause is.  It is the same as Obama's.  Note, I stated the cause, not how we get there.  UHC is one of the issues that I want Hillary to lead in an Obama presidency.  I hope he recognizes her passion and conviction in this area, and will use her and Elizabeth Edwards - Hillary to be the uniter in the Senate (she is damn good at that) and wonk, and Elizabeth to promote it, as she is a shining star and I don't know anyone that doesn't love Elizabeth.

We Hillary supporters can ensure her political career isn't over;  we can support her in NY when she comes up for re-election again.  We can support her by telling us what we think and what is important to us, as her supporters.  

I support Hillary Clinton.  I also support HER cause.  And that cause is to make sure a Democrat is elected to the White House this year.

Update [2008-6-1 19:46:34 by colebiancardi]: Please note that NONE of Hillary's causes will happen if McCain is president. Remember that when you think of loyalty.

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Twelve Years in the Wilderness

Twelve Years in the Wilderness....

Some people today call GWB a "monster".  Well, he is, but to me he is a cartoon monster.  It is out there in the open;  he doesn't have a glib, suave speaking style and he is moronic.  But what gave birth to GWB and nurtured him?   Who allowed the republican party to be hijacked by a bunch of hypocritical fundies and allowed their agenda to be thrust onto the American people?   President Reagan.  He is the granddaddy of all monsters and he is actually worse that GWB.

What, you say?  Come on.  Nope, he is - because Reagan is still looked upon favorably by many and the MSM adores him.  He is worse than GWB because Reagan wore a mask that hid his true features.  Some of you are too young to remember those years or perhaps you were not yet born.

I came politically aware in the 1980's.  I was sixteen years old when Reagan took office.   I saw him with his "trickle-down" economics that trickled down shit to the middle class and the poor.  I saw him dismantled the Department of Education, making it harder for middle class kids, like me, to go to college.  I saw a President who actively thrust himself into worker's rights, taking the wrong side and busting up PATCO.  The employees only sought better working conditions, better pay and a 32-hour workweeks.  What a far cry from FDR, who supported and promoted Unions.  

I saw an administration that cuddled up with Saddam Hussein, knowing what they knew about him.  I saw Reagan playing the Middle-East like a game of chess, stating one thing, while dealing to the other side - Iran-Contra.  Horrific.  An impeachable offense, which never happened.  

I saw Reagan's support of the Saving and Loans with deregulation, which caused the U.S Savings and Loan crisis in the late 1980's and early 1990's.  John Kenneth Galbraith, an economist,  called it "the largest and costliest venture in public misfeasance, malfeasance and larceny of all time." It cost 160.1 billion, of which 124.6 billion was paid BY the US citizens.  

I saw Reagan promote the "Welfare Queen" myth, using a woman from the South Side of Chicago as an example - "She has 80 names, 30 addresses, 12 Social Security cards and is collecting veteran's benefits on four non-existing deceased husbands. And she is collecting Social Security on her cards. She's got Medicaid, getting food stamps, and she is collecting welfare under each of her names." Of course, there was never such a person.

He ignored the AIDS crisis, because he could not say the word gay or homosexual.  It wasn't until grandmothers got infected that he mentioned it.  It wasn't until 1987 - when 36,058 Americans had been already diagnosed with AIDS and 20,849 had died.  By that time, the disease had spread to 113 countries, with more than 50,000 cases.

Reagan talked about the "Evil Empire", when in fact, he was truly evil.  But with his glib style and his folksy way of speaking, people ignored it.  Even today, republicans want to put Reagan on Mt. Rushmore and replace Ike with Reagan on the dime.  Reagan is the true monster because he wore a mask which hid his true face.  When you opened the doors to enter "Shining City upon a hill", the corrosive stench would knock you out.  

Those people that worked in the Reagan/Bush I administration came out to play in the GWB administration.  Reagan created the monster.  And his legacy is GWB.

What does Reagan have to do with 2008?  Twelve years in the wilderness.  That is how long the Reagan/Bush I years lasted before a man from Hope took back the White House.  Some of you are critical of President Clinton, but understand this - after 12 years of republicans fucking with our country, President Clinton had to FIX it.  With a house that was hostile to him, even when Democrats had the majority.  He didn't get all that needed to be done, but he managed to undo a lot of the damage those 12 years inflicted on this country and its people.

Whoever is our Democratic nominee, I will support them.  They will face the same challenges that President Clinton faced - to undo the horrific damage done to this country.

I am supporting our Democratic nominee - whoever he or she may be.  For those who state "I hated their tactics" or "Candidate XX is not a TRUE democrat" or "McCain isn't THAT bad".....think about this - Twelve FUCKING years in the wilderness.  Senators Obama and Clinton are not evil, they are not the enemy.  You may disagree with some of their policies - hell, I do.  You may disapprove of their campaign tactics - hell, I do.  But in the end, they are on the same team.  The differences between Obama and Hillary can be typed up, double-spaced, 20 point font and 3 inch margins all around, on one piece of 8 1/2 by 11 paper.  Whoever is the nominee will have the other's back and strongly support them.

McCain of 2008 is NOT McCain of 2000.  Don't trust him.  Otherwise, it will be another 12 years in the wilderness.  Who knows what will be born of the GWB/McCain years?  If Reagan/Bush I spawned GWB, can you imagine what GWB/McCain will spawn?

I am supporting our Democratic nominee.  Will you join me and end our endless wandering in the wilderness?

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A lesson for our daughters

Tonight, I picked up my Sunday Boston Globe (5/25/2008) and read the Opinions section.  I didn't have time this weekend to indulge myself with reading the paper, but I did have time tonight.  I read an op-ed by Joan Vennochi.  Her story about her 14-year old daughter and how this election affected her daughter moved me in a way that nothing else has in terms of unity.  This moving story and a non-judgemental way of looking at the Democratic Primary, without slandering Hillary, has brought me home.  

just some snips from the article - I will post the full link at the end, along with some additional thoughts

WHAT do we tell our daughters after Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign?

"I'm voting for John McCain," mine said, when Indiana's primary returns authorized the punditry to declare Clinton dead and officially deny her resurrection.

She's 14, so my daughter's vote is only theoretical. But her disappointment in the apparent outcome of the fight for the Democratic presidential nomination is real.

My daughter is too young to understand the criticisms of Hillary Clinton as a former first lady who had the nerve to cash in on a relative's power and name, just like a Kennedy or a Bush. She was born during the first Clinton administration, so the scandals and disappointments associated with it are history to be learned, rather than endured.

She did not look at Hillary and see Bill. She saw a strong, articulate female candidate sharing the stage with strong, articulate men, and often commanding it.

We've talked about the focus on Clinton's looks, voice, laugh, and wardrobe. But in our household, we also critiqued the men, from Obama's sometimes sluggish cadence to McCain's wrinkly neck.

The argument that gender can be an obstacle to success doesn't automatically resonate with young women of today. They have parents who encourage them to fight for good grades, slug it out on the athletic field, and pursue whatever dream they choose.

Despite those positives about life in the 21st century, I will tell my daughter what I believe: Sexism hurt Clinton's campaign, but so did Clinton.

Clinton accomplished a lot, as measured by votes cast, money raised, and credibility achieved.

But, when Obama preached change, Clinton fixated on the past. She underestimated the power of hope, a stunning miscalculation, given that Bill Clinton won election as the man from Hope.

She believed her husband was a bigger political advantage than he turned out to be. Someday, she may even conclude his mistakes were not missteps but ambivalence about their quest.

"Brace yourself. Obama's the nominee," I told my daughter the other day.

"I know," she replied. She also knows his success as an African-American is an important breakthrough for the country.

In the end, I may tell my daughter that I've voted for many imperfect men, yet still wonder if an imperfect woman can ever become president.

Since there are no perfect women, I won't tell her what I think that means.

This message moved me.  This story made me think - unlike some who called me a deadender, who bullied, threatened and ridiculed me for supporting Hillary.    I will continue to support Hillary in her nomination for president.  However, if Obama is the sucesssor, I will support him.  I know Hillary will support Obama and would want me, a life-long democrat, whose positions and ideals are so close to hers - as Obama's are so close to Hillary's.

Does it mean I agree with everything Obama proposes?  No.  But I will hope that if he is to be President, I will use my voice, along with Hillary's, to make sure my side is heard.  

Like Joan, I have voted for imperfect men in the past for president.  I will do so again, as there is no such thing as a perfect man.   I do hope that one day I will be able to vote for a woman president, hopefully Hillary in 2016, as she will always be the candidate of my choice.  

Please read the full op-ed.  

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editor ial_opinion/oped/articles/2008/05/25/a_l esson_for_our_daughters/

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Obama's Money Cartel:

Interesting article I found on the black agenda report website.  A few weeks ago here on mydd, I was told I was racist, so I started reading sites that were part of the Afrosphere; to better understand what black Americans were thinking about the primaries and the election.  

So, Obama is clean?  Obama doesn't take money from lobbyists?

I am new to the Afrosphere, so I looked at this site and saw it linked to many other progressive black sites, so I don't think it is a republican site.  How creditable is this claim?  

The candidate that claims to be the only presidential contender who doesn't take money from lobbyists is in fact the biggest recipient of lobby-related contributions. Barack Obama rakes in millions from law firms serving the interests of Wall Street, including the financial institutions that gave us the subprime lending crisis. Lawyers that work for firms that earn hundreds of millions of dollars for lobbying may technically not be lobbyists, but they share in their colleagues' earnings as influencers of Congress - a legal loophole that allows Obama to claim his hands are clean of lobby loot. "The top contributors to the Obama campaign are the very Wall Street firms whose shady mortgage lenders buried the elderly and the poor and minority under predatory loans."

So, how should we react when we learn that the top contributors to the Obama campaign are the very Wall Street firms whose shady mortgage lenders buried the elderly and the poor and minority under predatory loans? How should we react when we learn that on the big donor list is Citigroup, whose former employee at CitiFinancial testified to the Federal Trade Commission that it was standard practice to target people based on race and educational level, with the sales force winning bonuses called  "Rocopoly Money" (like a sick board game), after "blitz" nights of soliciting loans by phone? How should we react when we learn that these very same firms, arm in arm with their corporate lawyers and registered lobbyists, have weakened our ability to fight back with the class-action vehicle?

Should there be any doubt left as to who owns our government? The very same cast of characters making the Obama hit parade of campaign loot are the clever creators of the industry solutions to the wave of foreclosures gripping this nation's poor and middle class, effectively putting the solution in the hands of the robbers. The names of these programs (that have failed to make a dent in the problem) have the same vacuous ring: Hope Now; Project Lifeline.

http://www.blackagendareport.com/index.p hp?option=com_content&task=view& id=613&Itemid=1

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Great Lakes and Earth Day

I am new in the diary business, so please forgive me if this is not considered a "diary".  

I got this email from Senator Stabenow(MI) and I thought this was a very important message to share.  I grew up in Michigan and remember fondly of vacationing off of Lake Superior in the UP, near Hancock/Houghton area, visting the locks up at Saul Ste. Maire, the Picture Rocks,   seeing the Sleeping Bear Dunes off of Lake Michigan and making jokes about how all of the UP was Hiawatha National Parks.  

If you live in Michigan or love the Great Lakes State, please share her message on how important it is to save this beautiful area.  Senator Stabenow was the author of the first Federal ban on Great Lakes Drilling.  

Here is her message:

This Earth Day, I'm reminded how important it is to protect our priceless natural resources for our children and grandchildren.

Never before in the 10,000-year history of the Great Lakes have our waters been in so much peril. Climate change, invasive species, pollution and toxic sediments are threatening the Lakes and our Michigan way of life.

Cleaning up the Great Lakes isn't just the right thing to do, it's an economic imperative. A recent report by the non-partisan Brookings Institution found that cleaning up the Lakes would generate up to $50 billion in short-term and long-term economic growth for our region. With the current state of our economy, this is an opportunity we can't afford to miss.

That's why the Great Lakes have been one of my top priorities in the U.S. Senate. In March, I authored key provisions to the federal budget that will pave the way for $175 million in critical investments in fisheries, toxin removal, water quality improvements, and programs that fight invasive species. As a member of the Senate Budget Committee, I was able to secure $77 million more for the Great Lakes than the President had proposed in his budget.

I am also fighting in the Senate to implement the Great Lakes Regional Collaborative Strategy - a comprehensive plan for Great Lakes restoration crafted by over 1,500 representatives from state, local, and tribal governments, the business community, environmental groups, and civic leaders. The economic benefits of Great Lakes cleanup are extraordinary:

Improving wastewater treatment will clean up our drinking water and prevent beach closures. There are over 8 million swimmers in the Great Lakes every year, and reducing beach closures can generate $2 to $3 billion for our tourism industry.
Fighting invasive species and increasing fish populations in the Great Lakes would improve the commercial and recreational fishing industries by up to $5.8 billion.
There are about 17 million bird-watchers in the Great Lakes states. Protecting wildlife habitats could increase tourism by up to $200 million. Conservation would also lead to an increase of up to $100 million from hunters.
Removing toxic sediments could increase property values in coastal areas and spur economic growth by up to $19 billion.
Reducing sediments would also make it easier for water treatment centers to prepare Great Lakes water for drinking. This could save state and local governments up to $125 million that could be better spent elsewhere.

Protecting our Great Lakes is not only critical to our economy, but to the very identity of our state and our nation. This Earth Day, and every day, you can count on me to continue fighting to restore and preserve this priceless natural resource.

If you have never seen the sites I have described in my intro, google around and look at the amazing pictures of the sites that I mentioned.  Michigan is a beautiful state and we should keep it that way!

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