Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

Friday, May 28, 2010

PLENTY OF $$ FOR MORE WAR

The Democrats control the Senate but yesterday they joined the Republicans in a big way to pass the $33.5 billion war supplemental bill for the remainder of 2010. The vote was 67-28. (Only two Democrats in the Senate voted no - Russ Feingold and Ron Wyden.) Doesn't say much for the party that got into power by running against Bush's wars.

Next it goes to the House for a vote sometime in early June.

Our local Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (under severe pressure throughout the 1st District in Maine to vote against more war $$) sent a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi asking her to allow a clean vote on the war spending bill instead of fattening it with Haiti aid funds and other pork. Pelosi is not likely to respond. So the question is what will Pingree do next? Her letter to Pelosi did not say that she was going to vote against war $$ no matter what Pelosi does.

My guess is that Pingree sent the letter to cover her back side here in Maine and will then turn around and vote for the war supplemental telling us that she had to because it was loaded with all this other good stuff that she had to support.

I notice that she has not posted her letter to Pelosi on her web site homepage. Instead she has a link to a bunch of stories about her fighting to get funding for Pratt-Whitney in Maine to make the jet engines for the F-35 fighter plane. She's in a dog fight with General Electric and Rolls Royce who are trying to keep an “alternative engine” program alive. What about scrapping the whole damn F-35 fighter program anyway? What do we need them for? Jobs in Maine, Pingree responds. Why not convert the weapons plant and make mass transit systems instead? Not on Pingree's agenda - far too controversial for her kind of "go along-get along" brand of politics.

I was told by a mayor of a major Maine city that Pingree would never stand and fight on the war $$ issue and I'm afraid the mayor was right.

But I could be reading this all wrong - we shall she which way she goes in the next week or so. But first the House will come home for the holiday and Pingree will be in Maine raising funds for her reelection bid in November. Rumor has it that a write-in candidate will be running against her on the war $$ issue.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are wrong, as usual. The amendment was to prevent $485 million from being spent on an engine that the Pentagon doesn't even want. It was a good amendment, but unfortunately, the House rejected it.

You should spend more time trying to defeat people that actually oppose your position, not nipping at the heels of one of the few people in Congress who gives a damn about ending the wars.

5/28/10, 5:23 PM  
Blogger Bruce Gagnon said...

I am quite certain that this message above from "Anonymous" is from one of Rep. Pingree's staff members who I know reads the blog. You can see that this person does not have the courage of their conviction to sign their name as they react in anger to our calling their boss out on being a full-bore Pentagon funding promoter.

You see the Democrats believe they should get a pass because they say they oppose wars (even if they keep voting to fund them).....

Hey "Anonymous" let me ask you this question - how will the Congresswoman vote on the 2011 Pentagon appropriation that will include $159 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan?

By the way, did you hear that the state of Massachusetts is going to lay off 1,900 teachers? What say you about that?

5/28/10, 8:48 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

When I called Chellie Pingree's DC office to complain about her vote on the House Armed Service Committee to send the Pentagon appropriations bill to a vote, the staffer there told me I was mistaken also. "The Congresswoman voted to pass the bill out of committee, BUT SHE HASN'T SAID YET WHETHER SHE WILL VOTE "YES" ON THE FINAL BILL" (emphasis mine)

I suppose this kind of bullshit answer works with many people. And congressional staffers are bound to be irritated when they come across a constituent who correctly understands the maneuvering.

I believe the complicated fashion our House and Senate use to conduct business is designed to fool the public while serving corporate interests. It has worked splendidly, for the most part.

5/29/10, 4:29 AM  

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