Congress Closely Divided on Afghan Vote: Altmire Sides with Long War Republican Bloc

House Democrats Clamor for U.S.

to Speed Withdrawal from Afghanistan

David Lightman and William Douglas
Beaver County Peace Links via McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON, May 26 2011 – Democrats in House of Representatives sent President Barack Obama a strong message Thursday — speed up U.S. troop withdrawals from Afghanistan.

Though the House’s bid to push Obama to expedite the U.S. exit failed, it lost by a surprisingly close 215-204 vote. The outcome, and the fiery debate that preceded it, made it clear that the president’s party, as well as a growing number of Republicans, is growing impatient with the almost 10-year-old war as the 2012 election campaign approaches. In all, 178 Democrats and 26 Republicans voted to pressure Obama. Eight Democrats, most from more conservative districts, and 207 Republicans were opposed. Leading the charge to prod the president were the House’s top Democratic leaders.

“Americans are paying a big price there, we want to make sure we’re getting a return on that investment, and time is a very important factor,” said Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. “It’s time for our troops to come home.”

Continue reading Congress Closely Divided on Afghan Vote: Altmire Sides with Long War Republican Bloc

Why We Need Watchdogs on Politicians AND Regulators!

Texas politicians knew agency hid the

amount of radiation in drinking water

By Mark Greenblatt
KHOU 11 News – Houston

May 19 – HOUSTON— Newly-released e-mails from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality show the agency’s top commissioners directed staff to continue lowering radiation test results, in defiance of federal EPA rules.

The e-mails and documents, released under order from the Texas Attorney General to KHOU-TV, also show the agency was attempting to help water systems get out of formally violating federal limits for radiation in drinking water. Without a formal violation, the water systems did not have to inform their residents of the increased health risk.

“It’s a conspiracy at the TCEQ of the highest order,” said Tom Smith, of the government watchdog group Public Citizen.  “The documents have indicted the management of this commission in a massive cover-up to convince people that our water is safe to drink when it’s not.”

Smith is talking about what happened to residents who live in communities served by utilities like Harris County Municipal Utility District 105.  For years, tests performed by the Texas Department of State Health Services showed the utility provided water that exceeded the EPA legal limit for exposure to alpha radiation.

However, the TCEQ would consistently subtract off each test’s margin of error from those results, making the actual testing results appear lower than they actually were.  In MUD 105’s case, the utility was able to avoid violations for nearly 20 years, thanks to the TCEQ subtractions.

Continue reading Why We Need Watchdogs on Politicians AND Regulators!

No More Excuses: Bring Our Troops Home!

Dear Friends,

Bin Laden is dead. The US military killed him. Some people rejoiced in the streets. Others felt relief because the manhunt was finally over. And, still others felt a sense of foreboding. We all wonder, "What will happen next?"

Exit AfghanistanBin Laden was an angry, violent man who reaped what he sowed. Now that we have our pound of flesh, we, too, will reap what we’ve sown in the War on Terror unless we tether the dogs of war now and exit Afghanistan, as soon as humanly possible.

This long-awaited event will, as Martin Luther King said, "bend the arc of history." But in which direction? Let’s do everything in our power to bend the arc away from vengeance and towards peace and environmental, economic, and social justice.

We no longer have a mission in Afghanistan. We can expect the war hounds to bark out new excuses to stay in Afghanistan and even escalate. We must keep reminding Congress that the mission has ended: It’s time to bring our troops and war dollars home. Click here to send a message to your member of Congress.

Please, mark your calendars for the Brown Bag Lunch Vigil (BBLV) on Wednesday, May 18. We are challenging Congress to bring our troops home now and asking them to support:
HR 780: Rep. Barbara Lee’s Responsible End to the War in Afghanistan Act
HR 676: Rep. John Conyers’ Expanded and Improved Medicare For All Act
HR 870: Rep. John Conyers’ Humphrey-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment and Training Act

Pro-war voices in Washington are many and well represented. We must be persistent in our demand to get out of Afghanistan. Email your member of Congress, go to a May 18 BBLV, and stay tuned for the next action!

For Healthcare NOT Warfare,

Tim Carpenter
PDA National Director


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