Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Just In: Five U.S. Presidential Candidates Discuss Their Views of Israel

As reported here, the Jerusalem Post has published the responses of 5 U.S. presidential hopefuls to questions about how they view U.S.-Israeli relations. All champion Israel, and only a few mention the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.  We need to press candidates more on what they would do to restart this process and bring about a just two-state peace in Israel-Palestine –as well as their overall views on Middle East peace.  Candidates who blindly support Israel in everything should not be rewarded with votes.  Hat tip to Melissa Rogers for this item.

May 25, 2007 Posted by | foreign policy, Israel, Israel-Palestine, just peacemaking, U.S. politics | 3 Comments

Iraq War Funding: How They Voted

Well, as expected, the “compromise” (i.e., blank check) bill funding the Iraq war through September passed both the House and the Senate.  In the House, the vote was 280 for and 142 against with 11 abstaining or not voting for other reasons.  140 Democrats voted against this bill (including, surprisingly, Speaker Pelosi (D-CA); surprisingly, because just the previous day she seemed to indicate she would go along with this “compromise”). The 2 Republicans who voted against this debacle were Rep. John Duncan (R-TN) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), a Libertarian-leaning longshot presidential candidate–the only Republican presidential candidate to oppose this war.  I am proud to say that my freshman Congressman John Yarmuth (D-KY) voted against the bill, as, of course, did Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH), longshot presidential candidate who is a near pacifist and proposes a U.S. Department of Peace.  But that leaves 86 Democrats in the House who sided with the Republicans in supporting the continued funding of the war, including Rep. Ben Chandler (D-KY), all of whom are up for election in ’08.  Peace groups and progressive caucuses are already making plans to field primary challenges to every one of those traitors.

In the Senate, the vote was 80 in favor, 14 opposed, and 6 not voting.  Of the U.S. Democratic Presidential candidates in the Senate, Senators Barack Obama (D-IL), Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), and Christopher Dodd (D-CT) voted noSenator Joseph Biden (D-DE) voted to keep funding the war–and this ought to end his campaign immediately, and lead to a challenge for his senate seat.  John Edwards (D-NC) is no longer a serving senator, and Bill Richardson (D-NM) is governor of New Mexico, so they could not vote on the measure, but both spoke out strongly against it.  Edwards is organizing peace protests this weekend (politically risky on Memorial Day, the U.S. holiday which honors those who died in military service) with signs saying to support the troops by bringing them home.  Richardson is continuing a petition drive to convince Congress to rescind authorization of the war.

If you are a U.S. citizen, find out how your Representative voted here and how your senators voted here.  Then, let them know how you feel about that.  It’s long past time that these yahoos remember that they work for us–and we can bring their tenure to an end!

UPDATE:  Of the 80 senators who voted for this monstrosity, here are the ones up for re-election in ’08:

Alabama: Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL).

Alaska: Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK).

Arizona: Both Republican senators voted for the war funding. Neither is up for re-election in ’08, but Sen. McCain (R-AZ) is running for U.S. president as the most hawkish of a very hawkish GOP lineup. He should be denied the presidency and turned out of the Senate when he is up for re-election in ’10. Politicians count on citizens having short memories–prove them wrong.

Arkansas: Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR).

Colorado: Sen. Wayne Allard (R-CO) is retiring in ’08.  As Daniel Schweissing remarked in the comments section, Rep. Mark Udall (D-CO), a usually progressive Rep. is campaigning to replace Allard in ’08, but voted for this war funding.  Colorado voters should express their displeasure with Udall and, if he continues down this path, mount a pro-peace challenger for the Democratic primary.  This will be an open seat, so there is no reason to give it to a “lesser of evils.”

Delaware: Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE). Should lose both his presidential bid and his re-election to the senate.

Georgia: Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA).

Idaho: Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID)

Illinois: Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL)

Iowa: Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA).  This is sad since Harkin is one of the best friends that Labor and the poor have in the U.S. Senate.

Kansas: Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS).  Presidential hopeful Sen. Sam Brownback (D-KS) is not up for senate re-election until ’10, but he wisely refrained from voting.  This keeps him from alienating his base by voting against the war, but, he cynically hopes, will allow him to appeal to enough independents to win in a general election.  I don’t think so.

Kentucky: Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the Senate Minority Leader who kept Democrats from winning enough Republican support for an earlier version of this bill, with a timetable for withdrawal, to override a presidential veto.  It’s long past time to “Ditch Mitch.”

Louisiana: Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA). Her terrible handling of the Katrina aftermath was probably already going to lead to a primary challenge. This should ensure one.

Maine: Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME).

Michigan: Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) has been a longtime opponent of this war, but he caved to vote for this–influenced by the GOP talking point of “not depriving money needed by the troops.”

Minnesota: Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN), already facing a strong chance of being defeated in ’08, abstained from voting on this bill.

Mississippi: Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS)

Montana: Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT)

Nebraska: Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NB)

New Hampshire: Sen. John Sununu (R-NH)

New Jersey: Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)

New Mexico: Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM)

North Carolina: Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC).

Ohio: Both senators voted for this and neither is up for reelection in ’08, but Ohio voters should really give an earful to freshman Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), who was specifically elected on an anti-war ticket!

Oklahoma: Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK).  Voters should should send thank-yous to Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), one of only 3 Republican Senators to vote against this terrible bill, even though he is not up for re-election until ’10.

Oregon: Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR).

Rhode Island: Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI).

South Carolina: Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC).

Tennessee: Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN)

Texas: Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)

Virginia: Sen. John Warner (R-VA). Virginia voters should also send angry messages to freshman Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) who was elected to end the war, not to continue funding it.

West Virginia: Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV).

Tomorrow, back to some theological reflection.

May 25, 2007 Posted by | Iraq | 11 Comments