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Let’s Keep Up the Heat


I have some news on a couple of fronts, and I want to ask you readers to help with your actions:

First, I want to applaud John Edwards' call yesterday for people to push their members of Congress to just say "no" to Bush's escalation in Iraq, and even more, against Iran and Syria. Senator Carl Levin has been particularly disappointing, and I urge his constituents to tell him so. 

Reported by both the New York Times and the Washington Post , Levin favors a toothless, symbolic non-binding resolution against escalation, rather than Murtha's approach to tie new funding for any escalation to the explicit approval and oversight process of the Congress.  The last election results clearly spoke against more rubber stamp cowardice in the face of Bush's unaccountable "unitary executive" despotism, and someone needs to remind Senator Levin and his allies of all this.  Oh, and all you presidential hopefuls:  we're watching you very closely on this.

I'm not endorsing Edwards' candidacy, or anyone's, at this point, but this is the right thing to say and do, particularly on Martin Luther King Day:

As he put it then, there comes a time when silence is a betrayal — not only of one’s personal convictions, or even of one’s country alone, but also of our deeper obligations to one another and to the brotherhood of man.

That’s the thing I find the most important about the sermon Dr. King delivered here that day. He did not direct his demands to the government of the United States, which was escalating the war. He issued a direct appeal to the people of the United States, calling on us to break our own silence, and to take responsibility for bringing about what he called a revolution of values.

A revolution whose starting point is personal responsibility, of course, but whose animating force is the belief that we cannot stand idly by and wait for others to right the wrongs of the world.

Second, there has been some evidence DHS is feeling the heat on its immigrant concentration camps, but not quite enough, not yet.  Latina Lista reports:

Rebecca writes: Many of you have probably heard that since the protests held in December, the Williamson County Commissioners toured the T. Don Hutto Facility and certified as humane and decent. What you probably haven?t heard is that, probably as a result of the protests and related media attention, the conditions in the facility have changed. We know that the education, in particular, has received a major overhaul, and children are now receiving four hours of education a day, instead of just one hour. We also know that at least some of the detainees are reporting that the food has improved, at least a little bit.

This is not the required result:  America must turn back from its concentration camp policy.  We don't want kinder, gentler camps:  we want familes back in their homes.  Please talk to your members of Congress about this as well.  For more background on America's new concentration camp policy, our country's war on brown people, and on what a sensible, moral approach to immigration looks like, see here, here, here, here and here.

It's the new year, folks.  Time to get back on the phones, the faxes, the letters to the editor, the meetings with local congressional office staffers.  We have Congressional majorities now, and our representatives need to know we expect results, not just platitudes, non-binding resolutions or statements of good intent. 

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Pachacutec did not, as is commonly believed, die in 1471. To escape the tragic sight of his successors screwing up the Inca Empire he’d built, he fled east into the Amazon rain forest, where he began chewing lots of funky roots to get higher than Hunter Thompson ever dared. Oddly, these roots gave him not only a killer buzz, but also prolonged his life beyond what any other mortal has known, excluding Novakula. Whatever his doubts of the utility of living long enough to see old friends pop up in museums as mummies, or witness the bizarrely compelling spectacle of Katherine Harris, he’s learned a thing or two along the way. For one thing, he’s learned the importance of not letting morons run a country, having watched the Inca Empire suffer many civil wars requiring the eventual ruler to gain support from the priests and the national military. He now works during fleeting sober moments to build a vibrant progressive movement sufficiently strong and sustainable to drive a pointed stake through the heart of American “conservatism” forever. He enjoys a gay marriage, classic jazz and roots for the New York Mets.