A fair response to David Sirota's latest hit piece; Buy my support, too!
Sirota claims that the Progressive Caucus needs to distance itself from what he calls the "Professional Protest Industry". I don't know any well paid anti-war demonstrators, but I think there is something to that... there is a kind of protest chic that rubs some people the wrong way, but a far larger number of antiwar activists that are not transexuals dressed head to toe in pink and angling to get into every camera shot. More and more protests include newcomers, normal people who haven't given up everything to join the movement and travel nationslally from protest to protest, peaking engagement to sit-in. I don't even have a book deal, yet. I guess I am still a protest amateur, and there are lots of us.
I think that more members of the Out of Iraq and Progressive Caucuses are getting support for their positions from a far broader segment of the population than what is represented by the turn out at mass marches and other antiwar media spectacles.
More people who disagree with the President on the War, and yet neither believe that Cindy Sheehan or David Swanson perfectly speak for them need to directly contact their Senators and their House reps and say they would support fully funding withdrawal, but not this kind of predictably failing, toothless anti-war measure snarled up in around $100 billion dollars in extra-budgetary militarism.
I could think of a lot of progressive good that could come from the same amount of money actually spent on appropriately training our troops, truly ensuring their health care, in avoiding the next watr with Iran, and creating energy independence in a carbon neutral fashion. I don't see any good from authorizing the Bush Administration's request for this emergency Iraq war supplemental. Not this request, not this bill.
I have to admit though, that all of the bribes look pretty tempting. I'd probably shut up if they packed in another $75 million dollars for:
* biodiversity conservation,
* reforestation with native plants in Aceh in the tsunami zone,
* exploring fair-trade initiatives for natural rubber,
* research towards village scale biodiesel production from rubberseed oil in Aceh and Nias.
This $75 million would be allocated primarily to NGOs like Fauna & Flora International, the IDEP Foundation, WWF Indonesia/Philippines program and some 10-15% could go civilian technical partnership between USFWS, USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service, USAID and the National Science Foundation in direct partnership with Indonesian national agencies like LIPI/Kebun Raya Bogor, Department Pertanian research stations, and also the provincial governments Dinas Pertanian, etc.
Probably, I'd allow myself to be bought off in this fashion. Maybe not. Slip that into the bill and we'll see what happens :P
But something like that could pass on its own merits anyway.
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