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ACTION ALERT: Demand Afghanistan Exit in "Defense: Authorization Bill

June 25, 2009
David Swanson / After Downing Street

Rep McGovern's amendment (HR 2404) to the Defense Authorization bill calls for an "exit strategy" to end US military involvement in Afghanistan. Although the right strategy remains to collect co-sponsors for the stand-alone bill, it is this amendment that will actually be voted on. Increasing the number of co-sponsors for HR 2404 will help raise visibility of the issue and make it more politically safe for Members to vote in favor of the amendment. Vote due today: Thursday!


• Call your Representative at (202) 224-3121 and:
1. Urge her/him to co-sponsor Rep. Jim McGovern's Afghanistan Exit Strategy bill – H.R. 2404,

2. Vote for Rep. McGovern's amendment to the Defense Authorization bill (H.R. 2647).

• Read more and watch video at Open Left.

UPDATE from Ryan Anderson on Wednesday:

(June 23, 2009) — The latest list of Cosponsors and targets is attached. There are currently 91 cosponsors and, with your help, I think we'll be able to get that over 100.

Status Update:
The language of McGovern's bill has also been introduced as an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill and, although the right strategy remains to collect co-sponsors for the standalone bill, it is this amendment that will actually be voted on. Increasing the number of co-sponsors for the standalone bill (HR 2404) will help raise visibility of the issue and make it more politically safe for Members to vote in favor of the amendment.

The Defense Authorization bill (HR 2647) is scheduled for debate on the floor of the House this afternoon. The bill itself will have 1 hour of debate followed by the amendments in order. The full list of amendments that will be considered (69 in total) is attached - McGovern's amendment will come 3rd and gets 10 minutes of debate in total, 5 minutes for each side.

We've heard, however, that this schedule might be pushed back, with the leadership possibly delaying debate on the bill and amendments. Republicans also seem to be planning plenty of shenanigans to throw off the schedule — there was a vote at 10:40 this morning on a Republican motion to adjourn.

The wise money seems to be betting on consideration of the McGovern amendment sometime this evening or even as late as tomorrow.

First Last ST D# Notes

Jim McGovern MA 3
Neil Abercrombie HI 1
Tammy Baldwin WI 2
Roscoe Bartlett MD 6
Shelley Berkley NV 1
Marion Berry AR 1
Bruce Braley IA 1
Corrine Brown FL 3
Lois Capps CA 23
Mike Capuano MA 8
André Carson IN 7
Donna Christian-Christensen VI AL delegate
Yvette Clarke NY 11
William Lacy Clay Jr. MO 1
Steve Cohen TN 9
John Conyers MI 14
Jerry Costello IL 12
Danny Davis IL 7
Peter DeFazio OR 4
Bill Delahunt MA 10
Lloyd Doggett TX 25
John Duncan
Donna Edwards MD 4
Keith Ellison MN 5
Sam Farr CA 17
Chaka Fattah PA 2
Bob Filner CA 51
Barney Frank MA 4
Alan Grayson FL 8
Raúl Grijalva AZ 7
Luis Gutiérrez IL 4
Phil Hare IL 17
Alcee Hastings FL 23
Jim Himes CT 4
Maurice Hinchey NY 22
Mazie Hirono HI 2
Paul Hodes NH 2
Rush Holt Jr. NJ 12
Jesse Jackson Jr. IL 2
Sheila Jackson-Lee TX 18
Tim Johnson IL 15
Walter Jones
Steve Kagen WI 8
Marcy Kaptur OH 9
Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick MI 13
Mary Jo Kilroy OH 15
Dennis Kucinich OH 10
Barbara Lee CA 9
John Lewis GA 5
David Loebsack IA 2
Ben R. Luján NM 3
Eric Massa NY 29
Doris Matsui CA 5
Jim McDermott WA 7
Mike Michaud ME 2
Gwen Moore WI 4
Grace Napolitano CA 38
Eleanor Holmes Norton DC AL delegate
Jim Oberstar MN 8
John Olver MA 1
Ed Pastor AZ 4
Ron Paul
Donald Payne NJ 10
Tom Perriello VA 5
Chellie Pingree ME 1
Jared Polis CO 2
Mike Quigley IL 5
Laura Richardson CA 37
Dana Rohrabacher
Steve Rothman NJ 9
Bobby Rush IL 1
Tim Ryan OH 17
Jan Schakowsky IL 9
Kurt Schrader OR 5
José Serrano NY 16
Joe Sestak PA 7
Carol Shea-Porter NH 1
Pete Stark CA 13
Betty Sutton OH 13
Mike Thompson CA 1
John Tierney MA 6
Edolphus Towns NY 10
Niki Tsongas MA 5
Nydia Velázquez NY 12
Tim Walz MN 1
Maxine Waters CA 35
Diane Watson CA 33
Henry Waxman CA 30
Peter Welch VT AL
Ed Whitfield
Lynn Woolsey CA 6
John Yarmuth KY 3

Republican Targets
Mike Castle DE AL
Bob Inglis SC 4
Tom Petri WI 6
Howard Coble NC 6
Mark Kirk IL 10
Steve LaTourette OH 14
Fred Upton MI 6
Mac Thornberry TX 13

Progressive Caucus Targets
Xavier Becerra CA 31
Bob Brady PA 1
Emanuel Cleaver MO 5
Elijah Cummings MD 7
Rosa DeLauro CT 3
Marcia Fudge OH 11
John Hall NY 19
Mike Honda CA 15
Eddie Bernice Johnson TX 30
Hank Johnson GA 4
Carolyn Maloney NY 14
Ed Markey MA 7
George Miller CA 7
Jerrold Nadler NY 8
Charles Rangel NY 15
Lucille Roybal-Allard CA 34
Linda Sanchez CA 39
Louise Slaughter NY 28
Bennie Thompson MS 2
Mel Watt NC 12
Robert Wexler FL 19

Other Democratic Targets
Rob Andrews NJ 1
Michael Arcuri NY 24
Tim Bishop NY 1
Earl Blumenauer OR 3
Leonard Boswell IA 3
Bobby Bright AL 2
G. K. Butterfield NC 1
Joe Courtney CT 2
Kathleen "Kathy" Dahlkemper PA 3
Susan Davis CA 53
Diana DeGette CO 1
Mike Doyle PA 14
Eliot Engel NY 17
Anna Eshoo CA 14
Brian Higgins NY 27
Patrick Kennedy RI 1
Dale Kildee MI 5
Ron Kind WI 3
Jim Langevin RI 2
Sander Levin MI 12
Stephen Lynch MA 9
Carolyn McCarthy NY 4
Betty McCollum MN 4
Jim Moran VA 8
Chris Murphy CT 5
Richard Neal MA 2
Earl Pomeroy ND AL
David Price NC 4
Nick Rahall WV 3
John Sarbanes MD 3
Allyson Schwartz PA 13
Adam Smith WA 9
Chris Van Hollen MD 8
Anthony Weiner NY 9
David Wu OR 1

Amendments in Order for H.R. 2647,
The Defense Authorization Bill:

• 1. Skelton (MO) Would 1) make technical fixes to the Bright-Hunter amendment adopted at full committee mark-up, is a technical fix for the Rep. Ortiz request, 2) make a conforming change to statutory limitation of non-dual status technicians, 3) extend the deadline from 30 days to 90 days after the date of enactment for the report on Miranda warning required by SEC 1036, 4) disaggregate NAVY/Marine Corps Procurement in SEC 1505 in line with similar disaggregation for ARMY (SEC 1502) and Air Force (SEC 1506) Procurement, and 5) fix other technical issues. (10 minutes)

• 2. McKeon (CA)/ Skelton (MO) Would express the sense of Congress that the Honorable John M. McHugh has served the House of Representatives and the American people selfless and with distinction and that he deserves the gratitude of Congress and the Nation. (10 minutes)

• 3. McGovern (MA)/ Jones (NC)/ Pingree (ME) Would require the Defense Secretary to report to Congress, not later than December 31, 2009, on a U.S. exit strategy for U.S. military forces in Afghanistan participating in Operation Enduring Freedom. (10 minutes)

• 4. McGovern (MA)/ Sestak (PA)/Bishop, Sanford (GA)/Lewis, John (GA) Would require public disclosure of students and instructors at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. (10 minutes)

• 5. Hastings, Alcee (FL) Would prohibit the recruitment, enlistment, or retention of individuals associated or affiliated with groups associated with hate-related violence against groups or persons or the United States government. (10 minutes)

• 6. Hastings, Alcee (FL) Would provide statutory authority for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to have access to detainees at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. Such access is pursuant to ICRC’s protocols and agreements reached between the ICRC and the appropriate authorities at Bagram Air Base. (10 minutes)

• 7. LoBiondo (NJ)/ Delahunt (MA)/ Coble (NC) Would authorize civil legal assistance for Coast Guard reservists. (10 minutes)

• 8. Sanchez, Loretta (CA) Would allow the Air Force Secretary to establish the nonprofit Air Force Academy Athletic Association to support the Academy's athletic programs. (10 minutes)

• 9. Franks (AZ)/Cantor (VA)/Sessions (TX)/Broun (GA)/Roskam (IL) Would provide that it is U.S. policy to continue missile defense testing. It would increase funding for the Missile Defense Agency by $1.2 billion. Offsetting reductions would come from defense environmental cleanup. (10 minutes)

• 10. Kratovil (MD) Would modify the report on progress toward security and stability in Afghanistan by requiring information on agreements with NATO ISAF and non-NATO ISAF countries on mutually-agreed upon goals, strategies to achieve such goals, resource and force requirements, and commitments for troop and resource levels. (10 minutes)

• 11. Kratovil (MD) Would allow federal facilities to receive financial incentives from statewide agencies, Independent System Operators, or third party entities for energy efficiency and energy management measures undertaken by the federal facility. (10 minutes)

• 12. Turner (OH) Would limit funds for reduction in U.S. strategic nuclear forces pursuant to a treaty with Russia after enactment to situations where the treaty provides methods for verifying compliance, the treaty does not limit ballistic missile defense or space capabilities of the United States, and the NNSA budget is sufficiently funded. (10 minutes)

• 13. Bright (AL) Would allow U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) to procure special operations-peculiar material and supplies for units engaged in Overseas Contingency Operations by using certain non-competitive procedures to secure follow-on contracts for the same items. (10 minutes)

• 14. Adler (NJ) Would require the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to report to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and the congressional defense committees on the potential foreign military sales of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). The report would include a detailed analysis of the costs, timeline, benefits and drawbacks of building and selling the Littoral Combat Ship to foreign allies. (10 minutes)

• 15. Akin (MO)/Forbes (VA) Would require the Defense Secretary to submit to Congress a report on any non-disclosure agreements signed by DOD employees regarding their official duties (except those relating to security clearances). The report would describe topics covered by the agreements, the number of employees required to sign such agreements, the duration of agreements, the types of persons covered, reasons for requiring such agreements, and the criteria for determining such information should not be disclosed. (10 minutes)

• 16. Bishop, Sanford (GA) Would broaden the potential funding authority of the Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment to include development of public infrastructure. (10 minutes)

• 17. Blumenauer (OR)/ Brown-Waite (FL) Would require the Secretary of Defense to develop methods to account for the full life-cycle costs of munitions, including the effects of failure rates on the cost of disposal, and report to Congress recommendations for reducing these costs, unexploded ordnance, and munitions-constituent contamination. (10 minutes)

• 18. Brown-Waite (FL) Would expand the eligibility for the Army Combat Action Badge to those soldiers who served during the dates ranging from December 7, 1941, to September 18, 2001, if the Secretary determines that the person has not been previously recognized in an appropriate manner for such participation. (10 minutes)

• 19. Cohen (TN) Would require the Defense Secretary to report to Congress on the potential effects of expanding the list of persons under 10 U.S.C. section 1482(c) who may be designated by a member of the Armed Forces as the person authorized to direct disposition of the remains of the member of the Armed Forces. (10 minutes)

• 20. Connolly (VA) Would provide that section 526 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (Public Law 110-140) does not prohibit an agency from entering into a contract to purchase a generally-available fuel that is not a synthetic fuel or predominantly produced from a non-conventional petroleum source if the contract does not specifically require such a fuel. The purpose of the contract is not to obtain such a fuel, and the contract does not provide incentives for upgrading or expanding refineries to increase fuel from non-controversial petroleum sources. (10 minutes)

• 21. Connolly (VA)/ Nye (VA)/ Perriello (VA) Would protect servicemembers and their families from early termination fees on family cellular plans should they have to relocate out of the service area due to deployment or change of station orders. It also would make protections in the Leases of Premises section of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) consistent with those in the Leases of Motor Vehicles section. (10 minutes)

• 22. Costa (CA) Would require the Secretary of Defense to carry out a study and submit to the congressional defense committees a report on the distribution of hemostatic agents to ensure each branch of the military is complying with their own policies on hemostatic agents. Also expresses the sense of Congress that all members of the Armed Forces in combat zones should carry life-saving resources with them, including hemostatic agents.
(10 minutes)

• 23. Cummings (MD) Would expand the military leadership diversity commission to include reserve component representatives. (10 minutes)

• 24. Cummings (MD) Would require the Secretary to provide embarked military personnel on board U.S.-flagged vessels carrying Government-impelled cargoes in regions at high risk of piracy. (10 minutes)

• 25. Davis, Geoff (KY) Would add a section 1039 to require the President to commission a study by an executive agency of a program to develop “national security professionals” across the departments and agencies in order to provide personnel proficient in planning and conducting national security interagency operations. (10 minutes)

• 26. DeFazio (OR) Would require the Department of Defense to conduct a study on the total number of subcontractors used on the last five major weapons systems in which acquisition has been completed and determine if fewer subcontractors could have been more cost effective. It would require GAO to review the study. (10 minutes)

• 27. DeLauro (CT)/ Courtney (CT)/McMahon (NY)/Teague (NM) Would require the Defense Secretary, in consultation with the Veterans Affairs Secretary and Health and Human Services Secretary, to conduct a demonstration project, at two military installations, to assess the feasibility and efficacy of providing servicemembers with a post-deployment mental health screening conducted in person by a mental health provider. (10 minutes)

• 28. Driehaus (OH) Would require GAO to submit a report to Congress on the (1) impact of domestic violence in families of members of the Armed Forces on the children of such families and (2) information on progress being made to ensure such children receive adequate care and services. (10 minutes)

• 29. Flake, Jeff (AZ) Would require the Defense Secretary to report to Congress on the competitive processes used to award earmarks listed in the joint explanatory statement for the FY2008 defense appropriations bill. If competitive processes were not employed in making such awards, the decision-making process and justifications as to why should be cited in the report. (10 minutes)

• 30. Grayson (FL) Would require within 90 days of enactment that the GAO submit a report to Congress on cost overruns in the performance of DOD contracts in FY2006 through FY2009, including identification of the contractor and the covered contract involved, the cost estimate of the covered contract, and the cost overrun for the covered contract. (10 minutes)

• 31. Hare (IL)/ Braley (IA)/Tonko (NY)/Murphy, Scott (NY) Would extend the authorization for the Arsenal Support Program Initiative (ASPI) through Fiscal Year 2011 (the existing authority is set to expire in FY2010). (10 minutes)

• 32. Hodes (NH) Would require the Office for Reintegration Programs to establish a program to provide National Guard and Reserve members, their families, and their communities with training in suicide prevention and community healing and response to suicide. (10 minutes)

• 33. Holden (PA) Would require the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to design and issue a Combat Medevac Badge to be awarded to service members who served on or after June 25, 1950, as pilots or crew members on helicopter medical evacuation ambulances and who meet the requirements for the award of that badge. (10 minutes)

• 34. Holt (NJ) Would require the videotaping of all military interrogations, with appropriate security classifications. (10 minutes)

• 35. Johnson, Eddie Bernice (TX) Would amend section 713 (report on health care of military family members) to include the need for and availability of mental health care services with respect to dependents accompanying a member stationed at a military installation outside of the United States. (10 minutes)

• 36. Lee, Barbara (CA) Would prohibit the establishment of permanent military bases in Afghanistan. (10 minutes)

• 37. Lipinski (IL) Would express the sense of Congress that it reaffirms its support for the recovery and return to the United States of the remains of members of the Armed Forces killed in battle during World War II in the battle of Tawara Atoll. It also encourages the Defense Department to pursue new efforts to recover and return such remains. (10 minutes)

• 38. Maloney (NY) Would require the Defense Secretary to submit periodic reports to Congress on progress with respect to the Defense Incident-Based Reporting System. (10 minutes)

• 39. Maloney (NY)/ Honda (CA) Would establish an Overseas Voting Advisory Board that will conduct studies and issue reports and have hearings on the abilities of and obstacles to overseas voting, the successes and failures of the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) under the Department of Defense, and any administration efforts to increase overseas voter participation. (10 minutes)

• 40. Minnick (ID) Would direct the Secretary of Defense to submit to the defense committees a report on health care accessibility for members of the Armed Services in rural areas, including policy or resource recommendations to improve access to health care for such individuals. (10 minutes)

• 41. Sarbanes (MD) Would require the Comptroller General to convene a panel of experts, including officers and employees of the United States and private industry officials and labor organizations, to study the ethics, competence, and effectiveness of acquisition personnel and the governmentwide procurement process. (10 minutes)

• 42. Schakowsky (IL) Would grant access by Congress to the database of information regarding the integrity and performance of certain persons awarded federal contracts and grants created by section 872 of the FY 2009 National Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 110-417; Stat. 455). (10 minutes)

• 43. Schakowsky (IL) Would impose additional reporting requirements for inventory relating to contracts for services which would require an annual estimation of how many dollars each contracting officer is responsible for, as well as a report on how many contracting officers are themselves contract employees. This reporting requirement would begin in FY2011. (10 minutes)

• 44. Schrader (OR) Would, with respect to members of the Armed Forces exposed to potentially harmful material or contaminant as determined by the Defense Secretary, require the Secretary to notify the member or (in the case of a reservist) the state military department of the exposure and any associated health risks. If the exposure occurs while the member is deployed, the notification shall occur while the member is so deployed. (10 minutes)

• 45. Smith, Christopher (NJ) Would require GAO to report to Congress on a cost analysis and audit of the Navy's security measures in advance of the proposed occupancy by the general public of units of the Laurelwood Housing complex on Naval Weapons Station, Earle, New Jersey. (10 minutes)

• 46. Smith, Christopher (NJ) Would require the Department of Defense to report on its actions to prevent intra-familial international abductions affecting military parents and on its actions to assist military parents seeking the return of their abducted children. (10 minutes)

• 47. Souder (IN) Would clarify that section 111 (restriction on obligation of funds for Army tactical radio systems) only affects prospective FY 2010 funds and there is no presumption that this affects prior year funding. (10 minutes)

• 48. Space (OH) Would require the VA Secretary, in consultation with the Defense Secretary, to develop and implement a secure electronic method of forwarding the DD Form 214 (release or discharge from active duty) to appropriate offices. The VA Secretary also shall ensure that the information provided is not disclosed or used for unauthorized purposes and may cease forwarding the forms if problems arise. (10 minutes)

• 49. Thompson, Mike (CA) Would allow the Secretary of the Navy to convey the Ferndale Housing facility of the now closed Centerville Beach Naval Facility to the City of Ferndale, California, at fair market value for the use of providing housing for low- and moderate-income seniors and families. If the Secretary determines the property is not being used as specified, the property shall revert to the United States. (10 minutes)

• 50. Taylor (MS) Would authorize the US Navy to enter into a lease agreement with the Maritime Administration if the United States takes possession of the Hulakai and Alakai High Speed Ferries due to a loan guarantee default. (10 minutes)

• 51. Tierney (MA) Would require that the Secretary of Defense also report on proposed radars when reporting on whether a missile defense system has demonstrated a high probability of operating successfully. (10 minutes)

• 52. Tierney (MA) Would direct the Secretary of Defense to commission a report from the JASON Defense Advisory Panel on the technical and scientific feasibility of U.S. missile defense discrimination capabilities as designed and conceived. (10 minutes)

• 53. Van Hollen, Chris (MD) Would express the Sense of Congress that multiple methods are available to the Defense Department to implement the defense access roads program (23 U.S.C. sec. 210) in the vicinity of the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD, to alleviate traffic congestion. (10 minutes)

• 54. Walz (MN) Would require the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, to submit to Congress a report on the progress that has been made on the establishment, announced by the President on April 9, 2009, of a Joint Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record for members of the Armed Forces to improve the quality of medical care and create a seamless integration between the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs. (10 minutes)

• 55. Weiner (NY) Would require the GAO Comptroller General, within 90 days of enactment, to report to Congress on the costs incurred by cities and other municipalities that elect to cover the difference between an employee's military service when that employee is a member of a reserve component and called to active duty and the municipal salary of the employee. (10 minutes)

• 56. Whitfield (KY) Would amend section 711 (report on post-traumatic stress disorder) to require the report to include the effectiveness of alternative therapies in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, including the therapeutic use of animals. (10 minutes)

• 57. Griffith (AL) Would express the sense of Congress that the Defense Secretary should consider the role of ballistic missile defenses during the quadrennial defense review and the nuclear posture review. (10 minutes)

• 58. Wilson, Joe (SC) Would recognize state defense forces as integral military components of the homeland security effort of the United States, while reaffirming that such forces remain entirely state regulated and will be used for homeland security purposes exclusively at the local level under state law. It also would permit the Defense Secretary to transfer excess property and equipment to state defense forces. (10 minutes)

• 59. Holt (NJ) Would require the Defense Secretary to ensure that members of the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) who have served at least one tour in either Iraq or Afghanistan receive at least quarterly counseling calls from properly-trained personnel to determine the IRR member's emotional, psychological, medical, and career needs so long as the covered servicemember is in the IRR. When necessary, at-risk members would be referred for immediate evaluation and treatment by qualified mental health service providers. (10 minutes)

• 60. Garrett (NJ) Would express the sense of Congress in support of the State of Israel and that the United States should work with Israel to ensure it receives military assistance, including missile defense capabilities, needed to address the threat of Iran.(10 minutes)

• 61. Kirk (IL)/ Larsen, Rick (WA) Would provide the Secretary of Defense with the authority to provide a bonus to a service member who agrees to serve in Afghanistan for six consecutive years, or until U.S. forces withdraw. (10 minutes)

• 62. Sestak (PA) Would provide for the treatment of autistic children of military personnel. (10 minutes)

• 63. Bishop, Tim (NY)/ Shea-Porter (NH) Would require the Defense Secretary to prohibit the disposal of medical and hazardous waste in open-air burn pits for any period longer than 12 months during a contingency operation. It also would require the Secretary to submit a report on the use of such burn pits. (10 minutes)

• 64. Blumenauer (OR)/ Brown-Waite (FL) Would provide that the Defense Secretary shall, in the Defense budget submission, include funding levels for Military Munitions Response Program and Installation Restoration Program and report on progress of such programs in the Defense Environmental Program's submission to Congress. (10 minutes)

• 65. Castor (FL)/ Bilirakis (FL) Would give members of the Armed Forces serving in combat operations a free monthly postal voucher they can transfer to their loved ones, who can then send a letter or package to them at no cost. Members of the Armed Forces could also choose to donate their vouchers to charitable organizations, such as those that send care packages to soldiers. Of funds authorized for Army operation and maintenance, not more than $50 million shall be available for postal benefits. Offsetting reductions are provided from Army Claims, System-Wide Navy Communications, and System-Wide Air Force Communications. (10 minutes)

• 66. McDermott (WA) Would require the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to publish a map of the Democratic Republic of the Congo showing mineral-rich areas and areas under the control of armed groups. Mineral mines in areas under the control of armed groups will be known as ‘conflict zone mines’. The map shall be updated every 180 days until the Secretary certifies that no armed party is involved in the mining, sale, or export of minerals. (10 minutes)

• 67. Schiff (CA) Would allow a federally-funded research and development center affiliated with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to respond to Department of Defense agency announcements. (10 minutes)

• 68. Bordallo (GU) Would add to the bill the text of H.R. 44, the "Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act." It would authorize the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission to settle claims resulting from the occupation of Guam during World War II based on other war claims programs. (10 minutes)

• 69. Grayson (FL) Would require that cost or price to the Federal government be given at least equal importance as technical or other criteria in evaluating competitive proposals for defense contracts, and would require the Secretary of Defense to report to Congress and post on the Internet a list of each waiver issued by the head of an agency during the preceding fiscal year. (10 minutes)


Good grief, people! You really just don't get it, do you? You still think that you are going to "force" some action by playing the game as if USA Incorporated was actually a republic where sovereignty resides in "the people" and whose governance actually is based on the principles of representative democracy.

The truth is very different and it's really quite uncomplicated. In fact, nothing could be more obvious or straightforward. Your so-called "representatives" don't need your phone calls to inform them about what ordinary citizens want, whether it's related to war and peace, universal health care, or the prosecution of war crimes. They are well aware of popular opinion across the entire spectrum of issues. The problem is simply that they are no longer YOUR representatives if they ever really were.

Under the U.S. political system, the electability of any party or individual is very largely determined by the financial support of corporate economic interests -- a "right" that is guaranteed to corporations by their judicially awarded legal personhood along with their singular fiduciary responsibility for maximizing their own profits.

Thus, as with virtually all other aspects of life today, paid sponsorship, rather than the will of "the people", calls the tune for the entire U.S. political system and all of its attendant processes (media coverage, etc.) and will continue to do so as long as the current status of corporate involvement remains in place.

That's it. It really is that simple. Everything else is mere corollary, including all of the consequential public indoctrination and propaganda to persuade people that this paid for representation system constitutes "the greatest democracy on earth" and that it is worthy, not only of defence at home, but of global export to inferior nations (i.e., all others) by force of arms if necessary.

Arguments about which particular corporate interests (partial listing here) have the greatest sponsorship influence with which of the parties are both futile and irrelevant to the main issue. In fact, the most important corollary is that switching from one sponsored politician to another, regardless of the party facades, alters nothing of importance in that broader context.

Only a radical change to the system itself can give meaningful democratic substance to the role of the human electorate as opposed to corporate sponsorship. Whether any such change to the latter's total dominance of the U.S. political process is actually possible and, if so, how to achieve it is for the U.S. citizenry to decide.

Please note carefully that there is a very important distinction between capitalism in the marketplace and corporate financial dominance of a nation's political system. This comment is NOT an argument about the former, neither for nor against. It does, on the other hand, invite consideration of whether the latter is consistent with truely democratic governance ("of, by and for the people") anywhere.

To me, the answer would seem self-evident. In any case, no one should be shocked by the results of repeating the same political responses over and over while the system itself remains unchanged.




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