A response to Ron Suarez’ A New Ann Arbor City Council Resolution to End the War in Iraq?
Note: the antiwar resolution mentioned on Ron’s site was passed by the Ann Arbor City Council in March, 2007.
I received this request from Michigan Peaceworks to support a new Ann Arbor City Council resolution that would hopefully push Congress to bring an end to the war in Iraq…
Here is their [Michigan Peaceworks] Proposed wording for a City Council Resolution:
We urge Congress to move in a bi-partisan way to address war policies in the Middle East. The United States now spends more on military defense than all other nations combined, but the world is less safe than when we embarked on our present policies. It is time for Congress to provide leadership by:
* re-establishing its on-going, joint authority with the President over war powers and war expenditures
* using Congressional appropriations authority to protect our troops by establishing conditions for their mobilization and deployment, conditions and time-lines for their return home, and needed assistance to veterans of our recent wars
* providing international humanitarian leadership
* developing a humanitarian budget to meet non-military needs of the worlds’ people, including our own
* using Congressional oversight to help strengthen international cooperation in peace-building
…But, I could use help identifying other government officials who could use a nudge in the correct direction.
John Dingell. He often wears red.
His recent antiwar resolution, HR 3938 sounds good at first in that it reportedly withdraws the use of force authorization. The full text was not yet on Thomas when I wrote this. But the 2009 timeframe is too long. And this is a political cover for Dingell in that it distracts from what matters, which is his votes for the appropriations for the wars. Dingell’s resolution won’t pass both houses, and if it did it would be vetoed. He knows that.
If a majority of the House would refuse any more defense authorizations the war would end. Soon. Maybe some mainline Democrats want the war to continue. It is good for the business of the people who give them money. One hopes Dingell would not be in this category.
We need to focus in the short term on amending or defeating war appropriations. Resolutions like the proposed council resolution and HR 3938 give political cover to mainline Democrats who feel pressure from an increasingly frustrated public. But they don’t end the war. They give it political cover to continue.
What does Peaceworks mean that Congress should “move in a bi-partisan way?” Isn’t that kind of like a three-legged sack race? Seriously are the Democrats supposed to wait to defund the war until the Republicans turn into a pro-peace, anti-war party? This is a poor idea at best.
The Peaceworks resolution’s reference to “joint authority” between the president and Congress over “war spending and war powers” is inaccurate. The Constitution reserves these powers to Congress alone.
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; ….
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years; …
The president is an executive of the People, who acting through their Legislature, make the laws and raise taxes. We rely on the President to obey and fairly enforce the laws, not to ignore, make, or break them. The president is not a sovereign. Bush is not “King (or warlord) of America”.
HR 2638: Making appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008, and for other purposes, in committee.
HR 2642: Making appropriations for military construction, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008, and for other purposes, in committee.
And we need to oppose any more continuing resolutions like Democratic sponsored H.J.RES.52: Making continuing appropriations for the fiscal year 2008, and for other purposes, which Bush signed September 29, 2007.
Bush and the House and Senate Democrats like Dingell and Stabenow are pretending to disagree over the war to appeal to their base constituencies, while they are collaborating in continuing to fund it. I don’t have the same issue with Carl Levin, he and John Rockefeller have been fighting very hard behind closed doors on the war, concentration camps, and surveillance issues for a long time now.
What’s the cost to the citizen? Tens or hundreds of thousands of Iraqi dead; Thousands of American casualties; Military suicides and fragging incidents on the rise; America’s democracy and reputation in ruins; and $8,000 per person in the US through the next ten years. Or, if you want to look at it another way, $80,000 per person in Iraq. We could have bought all of Iraq intact for less than what it is costing to destroy it.
Feel-good resolutions without the force of law are a distraction and an impediment to holding our legislators accountable for real effective actions to end this garrison state of permanent war and neoconservative-neofascist oppression.
Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy
Open Letter to an architect about drilling for geothermal heating system in our alley
The alleyway behind my downtown Ann Arbor, Michigan office has been turned into a mini-Mordor for the last few weeks with deafening drilling and pumping, effusions of grayish, slimy “slurry” and general disruption and using of the place as trash pit and dumping ground. This is an edited and reformatted version of my original e-mail letter to various parties:
Dear Jan Culbertson and Whom It May Concern:
I am a part-time faculty member at a local college.
In conjunction with that task, I maintain a small office at [address elided].
I am presently dissatisfied with the manner in which the planning, approval, and construction phase of this “Alley Drilling” project has been carried out.
In particular, I am having difficulty understanding why one occupant of an adjacent building, [apparently] with neither property rights nor parking spaces in the alley in question, was allowed to hijack the public right of way for private gain.
Were there any public hearings?
Were any announcements published in any paper of record?
How were my rights and interests as a commercial tenant taken into consideration and respected?
I note the following permits on register with the city which may pertain to this project:
Permits, Enforcements, Certificates
10 Permit(s) found.
Number Type Status Category Applied Issued Expired â
PRW072233 Right of Way ISSUED Right of Way 09/17/2007 09/26/2007 09/25/2008
PS070130 Sign ISSUED Sign 09/28/2007 09/28/2007 03/26/2008
PM071698 Mechanical ISSUED Mechanical 09/18/2007 09/18/2007 03/16/2008
PM071699 Mechanical ISSUED Mechanical 09/18/2007 09/18/2007 03/16/2008
PM071700 Mechanical ISSUED Mechanical 09/18/2007 09/18/2007 03/16/2008
PM071701 Mechanical ISSUED Mechanical 09/18/2007 09/18/2007 03/16/2008
PM071702 Mechanical ISSUED Mechanical 09/18/2007 09/18/2007 03/16/2008
PM071703 Mechanical ISSUED Mechanical 09/18/2007 09/18/2007 03/16/2008
PB071537 Building ISSUED Commercial, Add/Alter 06/20/2007 08/14/2007 02/10/2008
PB071324 Building ISSUED Commercial, Add/Alter 06/06/2007 06/15/2007 12/12/2007
source: City of Ann Arbor
WELLSPRING LAND COMPANY L.L.C. 210 E HURON ST
per Matt Naud of the City of Ann Arbor Systems Planning Unit.
The permit which seems to be associated with the past several weeks of drilling activity is PRW072233
I note that this permit, though applied for on September 17, 2007, was apparently not issued until September 26. Yet it is my best recollection that the work proceeded before this date. If so, on what theory or pretext did this occur?
I am given to understand by several city employees that there may be an agreement regarding the use of the alley right-of-way signed on behalf of the city by Mr. West, and that this document may be available from the City Clerk’s office. I would like to know under what theory the city’s right-of-way for the purpose of vehicular traffic or public utilities extends more than 400 feet deep into the earth for the purposes of the private benefit, public relations, and financial advantage of one private entity in an adjacent structure?
I do not regard this project as creating “a special downtown green space”. I regard it as a deafening, prolonged, violent rape of the earth with 400 foot poles filled with potentially toxic liquid for personal gain, public relations advantage and private profit.
On the last point, I was told several times by city officials and representatives of this project that the tubes would be filled with propylene glycol (propane-1,2-diol). I was told that this substance is “completely non-toxic”, “harmless” and “approved by the FDA to use in food… you could eat it.”
First I would point out that throughout the world there have been a number of poisoning incidents due to imported diethylene glycol being mislabeled as propylene glycol. For instance, the New York Times reported on May 19, 2007 that 136 people were killed in a 2006 diethylene glycol poisoning incident involving toothpaste in Costa Rica.
I strongly suggest that the city or another government agency independently test and assure us that the “completely safe” substance in the tubes is actually what it is represented as being (food-grade propylene glycol) and is in fact, safe and non-toxic. Methods of testing are documented in a US FDA publication from the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Guidance for Industry: Testing of Glycerin for Diethylene Glycol.
21 CFR § 589.1001 says that “Use of propylene glycol in or on cat food causes the feed to be adulterated and in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act”. Propylene glycol is toxic to cats.
The World Health Organization sets the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) of 1,2-propylene glycol acetate for a human being to 0-25 milligrams per kg of body weight. (1)
21 CFR § 184.1666 indicates,
Sec. 184.1666 Propylene glycol.
(a) Propylene glycol (C3H8O2, CAS
Reg. No. 57-55-6) is known as 1,2-propanediol. It does not occur in
nature. Propylene glycol is manufactured by treating propylene with
chlorinated water to form the chlorohydrin which is converted to the
glycol by treatment with sodium carbonate solution. It is also prepared
by heating glyercol with sodium hydroxide.
(b) The ingredient meets the specifications of the Food Chemicals
Codex, 3d Ed. (1981), p. 255, which is incorporated by reference. Copies
may be obtained from the National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Ave.
NW., Washington, DC 20418. It is also available for inspection at the
Office of the Federal Register, 800 North Capitol Street, NW., suite
700, Washington, DC 20408.
(c) The ingredient is used as an anticaking agent as defined in
Sec. 170.3(o)(1) of this chapter; antioxidant as defined in
Sec. 170.3(o)(3) of this chapter; dough strengthener as defined in
Sec. 170.3(o)(6) of this chapter; emulsifier as defined in
Sec. 170.3(o)(8) of this chapter; flavor agent as defined in
Sec. 170.3(o)(12) of this chapter; formulation aid as defined in
Sec. 170.3(o)(14) of this chapter; humectant as defined in
Sec. 170.3(o)(16) of this chapter; processing aid as defined in
Sec. 170.3(o)(24) of this chapter; solvent and vehicle as defined in
Sec. 170.3(o)(27) of this chapter; stabilizer and thickener as defined
in Sec. 170.3(o)(28) of this chapter; surface-active agent as defined in
Sec. 170.3(o)(29) of this chapter; and texturizer as defined in
Sec. 170.3(o)(32) of this chapter.
(d) The ingredient is used in foods at levels not to exceed current
good manufacturing practice in accordance with Sec. 184.1(b)(1). Current
good manufacturing practice results in maximum levels, as served, of 5
percent for alcoholic beverages, as defined in Sec. 170.3(n)(2) of this
chapter; 24 percent for confections and frostings as defined in
Sec. 170.3(n)(9) of this chapter; 2.5 percent for frozen dairy products
as defined in Sec. 170.3(n)(20) of this chapter; 97 percent for
seasonings and flavorings as defined in Sec. 170.3(n)(26) of this
chapter; 5 percent for nuts and nut products as defined in
Sec. 170.3(n)(32) of this chapter; and 2.0 percent for all other food
(e) Prior sanctions for this ingredient different from the uses
established in this section do not exist or have been waived.
[47 FR 27812, June 25, 1982]
Where in the federal code is the specific use contemplated by A3C and the City permitted?
Henry Edward Hardy
[email address elided]
Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy
Open Letter to the Ann Arbor Democratic Party
Surely the right to enthusiastically applaud a political speech is Constitutionally protected speech; if not then there is no freedom of speech whatever left in this country.
We are a Democratic Party, and many of us would call ourselves Liberals; but where even the mildest and most socially unexceptionable forms of dissent such as applauding a political speech are suppressed then there is neither Liberty nor Democracy.
Henry Edward Hardy
Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy
An Open Letter to Rich Sheridan regarding the proposed insertion of spam by the Wireless Washtenaw Project
The following was written in response to the pricing plan for Wireless Washtenaw.
Rich Sheridan has served on the steering committee of the Wireless Washtenaw Project for some time. Rich is someone for whom I have done work in the past and I am surprised by his poor judgment and lack of knowledge of the issues in this particular instance.
An Open Letter to Rich Sheridan regarding the proposed insertion of spam by the Wireless Washtenaw Project:
Thanks for the interesting conversation today regarding Wireless Washtenaw. You told me, “The Internet was built by business”. When I disagreed and asked you if you had ever heard of Prof. Jon Postel, you finally (after asking the third time) admitted you had not heard of him. Here’s a link to the wikipedia article on Prof. Jon Postel.
When Jon died, he received the some of the most moving tributes from around the world that I have seen for any person, recent or historical. Many of the founders of the Internet are among the eulogists recorded at the Internet Society pages about Jon.
The Internet did not come about through the profit motive. Not at all. The Net is possibly the single most complex and valuable piece of engineering ever accomplished by humans, and it came about through the efforts of selfless individuals working for the betterment of all mankind. People like JCR Licklider, Bob Kahn, Larry Roberts, Steve Crocker, Vint Cerf, and Dr. Postel are the people we should be seeking to emulate personally and professionally.
To take the surplus value in the Net created by all these selfless patriots and try to monetize it in the way that 20/20 is doing through the public face of the Wireless Washtenaw project, is not a good thing. Having third parties who just happen to own one of the dozen or so routers between sender and receiver insert into the datastream their own or third-party ads degrades the Net for both sender and receiver, and breaks the unwritten compact whereby anyone with an upstream router on the Net passes along third-party traffic in a manner similar to a common carrier, without intercepting or interfering by, for instance, adding spam advertising content to that communication. This principle is sometimes referred to as “Net Neutrality”.
There are also legal issues revolving around this approach to funding Wireless Washtenaw regarding the Electronic Communications Privacy Act 18 USC § 2510.
Also pertinent is the General Prohibition Against Traces and Traps 18 USC § 3121.
I also think this deliberate insertion of spam into the network may fall afoul of the Michigan statue Fraudulent Access to Computers, Computer Systems, and Computer Networks, MCL 795.791 et passim.
What you all are talking about doing with this Wireless Washtenaw “free” service is filling the web browsers of people using the free, public service with third-party spam. Adding banner ads to a content provider’s web page without their consent or inserting interstitial ads between content provider and subscriber is leveraging the intellectual property of that content provider without their permission. This is analogous to sneaking into the Washtenaw News warehouse on S. Industrial and slipping additional advertising into the Sunday Times inserts without their permission. This Wireless Washtenaw “free” service with spam added is not a public service at all, but a fundamental attack on the integrity, security and utility of the Net itself.
Henry Edward Hardy
Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy
My Reply to a Letter from US Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) on the Iraq War
I wrote back on February 3 in this space that I had called Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) regarding an anti-war resolution passed by the local Ann Arbor Democratic Party organization in January 2007. I got this letter in the mail from her today:
UNITED STATES SENATE
Washington, DC 20510-2204
March 12, 2007
…for contacting me about the war in Iraq. I share your deeply-held concerns and appreciate hearing your views on this important matter.
In 2002, I was one of only 23 Senators to vote against the Iraq War Resolution. The decision to go to war is one that should be made with great trepidation when out country is at risk and all other options have been exhausted. From day one, the reasoning for this war has been flawed and inconsistent. Our men and women in uniform deserve better.
I believe it is a serious mistake to increase the number of American troops in Iraq. We must do everything we can to support those serving out country. Sending more Americans into combat without a strategy for success will not improve the situation on the ground in Iraq, and it will not bring our armed forces home any sooner. I joined 56 of my colleagues in voting for a bipartisan resolution opposing the President’s escalation war plan, and I am extremely disappointed that it was filibustered by the minority in the Senate.
A free and stable Iraq can only be secured by the Iraqis. They must embrace responsibility for their collective future and decide that living and dying at the hands of sectarian violence is not the future that they want for their children or grandchildren. We cannot substitute American troops for Iraqi resolve.
I am supporting legislation, recently introduced by Senator Harry Reid, that will require the President to begin phased redeployment within 120 days, and a full redeployment of all American combat troops in Iraq by March 31, 2008. We can no longer follow the same failed strategy in Iraq. I remain committed to changing the course that has been set and bringing our service men and women home safely.
Thank you again for contacting me. I hope you will join me in keeping our soldiers and their families, as well as the people in Iraq, in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Please contact me again when I may be of assistance to you or your family
United States Senator
Having met Senator Stabenow in October, 2006 in Ann Arbor and having briefly discussed with her, her support for the atrocious “Military Commissions Act,” I think it is fair to say that she does not share all of my concerns.
“Our men and women in uniform deserve better.” This is very odd and specious reasoning. In a democratic society, the nation doesn’t exist to serve the military, rather the reverse. If a violent gang was overrunning a neighborhood and destroying it, killing and torturing hundreds of people, we wouldn’t put up signs saying “support our Mafia” or “bring home our Crips”. We wouldn’t say, “our gang members deserve better”.
“A free and stable Iraq can only be secured by the Iraqis”. If this is true, it certainly cannot be accomplished while the country is under hostile foreign domination. No Iraqi government can be regarded as anything but a Quisling, puppet front for the US under the current occupation. The Iraqis didn’t smash their country to ruins, we did. And we then emplaced by force a factionalized and corrupt government and instituted a reign of terror perhaps even worse than Saddam’s, killing, raping, torturing and imprisoning without trial tens of thousands of people. The Iraqis, and the US occupation, even use some of the same prisons, torture facilities, “rape rooms” and execution chambers as the old Iraqi regime.
All the service men and women are not going to be brought home safely. Delaying the withdrawal for another year or more will condemn thousands more Americans, and tens of thousands more Iraqis, to mental trauma, crippling injury, and death. If we wait until the Green Zone collapses and is overrun, thousands of Americans may be held prisoner and be tortured in concentration camps as happened to the French after the surrender at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. As it stands, US forces will have to fight their way out under difficult circumstances even if they started withdrawing today. The sooner the US forces are withdrawn, the better for Iraq and the US both.
There is no mention here in Stabenow’s letter of negotiation. Like it or not, we must negotiate with our enemies. That’s with whom one has negotiations to end a war. Not only is this the best way to salvage something from a disaster, it also provides useful information about the resistance leadership, capabilities, and intentions.
The United States has suffered a stinging strategic defeat in Iraq. There were unforced, critical errors. There were no substantial stockpiles of weaponized NBC agents found, thus undermining the pretext for the war and undercutting any tenuous basis in international law expounded to the UN by former US Secretary of State Colin Powell. Disbanding the Iraqi army rather than continuing to pay them to remain in their barracks was an idiotic mistake. And the de-Baathification law, while laudable in purpose, served to marginalize, alienate, impoverish and radicalize the middle-class and intelligentsia, paving the way for very nasty, regressive and atavistic factions to take power.
The United States accomplished its stated war aims in Iraq some time ago. There were few illicit weapons found in Iraq. And Saddam is dead. Yet the US stays on. There is no further strategic objective there to “win”. The United States can either withdraw in as good order as possible now, or stay in Iraq and Afghanistan until it “loses”.
Stabenow once again presents a moral inversion in her closing paragraph where she encourages “thoughts and prayers,” for “our soldiers and their families, as well as the people of Iraq”. The people of Iraq didn’t do anything to the US to deserve 4 years of bombing, rape, and torture. Why do they deserve second billing in our prayers only after those who are oppressing, raping, and murdering them?
Stabenow and the other right-wing Democrats want the US public to believe they are moving to end the war even though, in fact, they are moving to fund it for at least another year, and laying the groundwork for a permanent US occupation “to fight terror”. Will they fight jealousy, envy, rage, grief and sorrow as well?
It is the US troops in Iraq and the men who sent them there who are the “evildoers” as far as initiating an illegal aggressive war on the basis of lies and propaganda. Do they really deserve our sympathy, or our support? Or should the responsible civilian and military leaders of the US forces be tried for war crimes such as “waging an aggressive war,” “genocide” and “crimes against humanity”?
Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy