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Imagine how radically different the current debate over the Giant Debt Ceiling Monster would look if we moved it to one of those nations we're bombing into a democracy. Imagine us all still U.S. residents with the same views we have now, but imagine that our representatives in Washington, D.C., were obliged to give a damn what we thought.
How often have we been told that we can't have a serious nonviolent movement resisting our government's destructive path as long as the Democrats are better than the Republicans?
How often have we been told that we can't back third-party candidates as long as the Democrats are better than the Republicans?
This week has seen an inordinate number of realizations that the Democrats are as bad as or worse than the Republicans. And what has the response been?
Activist groups are proposing not to donate money to President Barack Obama. Some have even suggested declining to volunteer for him. Most responses have been even weaker than that. Citizens have transformed themselves into pundits and announced that Obama will not be reelected.
To highly resolve that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the United States of America.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
July 12, 2011
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the Start Doing Our Damn Jobs Act of 2012.
SEC. 2. STOP KILLING PEOPLE
"The fiscal good has to outweigh the pain," a nameless Democrat told the Washington Post regarding President Obama's latest proposal to massively cut Social Security, against the wishes of the vast majority of Americans, in order to fund a military 670% larger than the next largest in the world, keep in place tax cuts for billionaires, fail to tax corporations or estates or investments or carbon, and balance a budget that nobody gives a rat's ass about balancing when Wall Street comes asking for handouts.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors has just done something it hasn't done since Vietnam, passing a resolution that supports efforts to speed up the ending of our current wars and calls on the President and Congress to "bring these war dollars home to meet vital human needs."
Events are snowballing. The President is about to announce whether he will violate his commitment to a significant withdrawal from Afghanistan in July. The House of Representatives is passing amendments blocking funding for the Libya War, and 10 congress members have sued the president in court to end it. Iraq, we are told, may soon "request" a continued occupation into next year. A CIA war in Yemen is ramping up, along with that in Pakistan.
Enough is enough. Robert Gates just told the New York Times these are wars of choice. Let's make a different choice.
For years there was debate on Capitol Hill over whether or not Congress could end a war by cutting off the funding. Despite the Constitution's clarity, and the clarity of numerous precedents, Senator Russ Feingold was obliged to hold hearings to explain to his colleagues what the power of the purse is. That debate is over.
Those who pretended for years they didn't have the power to cut off the dollar spigot have dropped the pretense. Now it's purely about whether they have the will. The reason for this shift, of course, is that they are actually close to having the will.
Unless Rahm Emanuel talks them out of it over the weekend, come Monday the US Conference of Mayors will vote to pass its first resolution since Vietnam calling for the end of war and the re-allocation of all that money to something useful.
Here's the New York Times:
The first mayor to sign onto this resolution other than the original sponsor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles was Charlottesville, Va.'s Dave Norris. Norris signed on immediately upon being asked, and his name helped encourage others to join the list of sponsors.
Eventually 21 mayors signed onto the resolution prior to the commencement of the conference now underway in Baltimore.
Here is the resolution that will make news on Monday, just as President Obama appears likely to violate his commitment to a major withdrawal from Afghanistan, and just as Congress is moving to cut off funding for the unauthorized war in Libya:
CALLING ON CONGRESS TO REDIRECT MILITARY SPENDING TO DOMESTIC PRIORITIES
WHEREAS, the severity of the ongoing economic crisis has created budget shortfalls at all levels of government and requires us to re-examine our national spending priorities; and
WHEREAS, the people of the United States are collectively paying approximately $126 billion dollars per year to wage war in Iraq and Afghanistan; and
WHEREAS, 6,024 members of the US armed forces have died in these wars; and at least 120,000 civilians have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since the coalition attacks began.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors supports efforts to speed up the ending of these wars; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors calls on the U.S. Congress to bring these war dollars home to meet vital human needs, promote job creation, rebuild our infrastructure, aid municipal and state governments, and develop a new economy based upon renewable, sustainable energy
Credit where it's due.
Thank your Mayor, Charlottesville!
We're years behind Tunisia and Egypt in public understanding of how government of, by, and for the people works, but some in the United States have been inspired and begun forming a path that has real potential. In New York City, students, academics, activists, and workers have joined together to resist the global-national-local agenda of plutocracy being pushed by Mayor Bloomberg.
The numbers are small, but the alliance joining workers with students important. And the approach is exactly right. This group is attempting to interfere with the work of City Hall until City Hall comes to represent the people of New York City. And they are attempting to do this, not for an hour or a day, but until they are satisfied that the tide is turning in a better direction.