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Crossposted from MY LEFT WING


I am convinced that by the time you make it to national office in the government of the United States of America, the chances are extremely good that you will have lost virtually every scintilla of principle, every shred of idealism, every iota of fervid desire to serve the public good that ever existed in your once-eager soul.

Witness the boilerplate response of one prominent Senator to an email sent by one of his truly concerned constituents, regarding the GENOCIDE in Sudan:

(Again, please bear in mind that we're talking about a GENOCIDE. Wherein hundreds of thousands -- many of them children -- have been tortured, dismembered, roasted alive on bonfires, raped, gang raped, raped to death... Please keep this in mind. These acts are taking place on a daily, hourly basis, these acts to which we now so casually and matter-of-factly refer as "GENOCIDE.")

Thank you for contacting me regarding Sudan.  I appreciate hearing from you.

As many as 300,000 civilians have been killed and nearly 2 million have been displaced in the Darfur region since April of 2003.  Both the Senate and the Secretary of State have characterized the atrocities in the Sudan as "genocide."  You may be interested to know that the Iraq-Afghanistan Supplemental Appropriations Act (P.L. 109-13), which became law on May 11, 2005, provided more than $350 million for Southern Sudan and the Darfur Province.  In addition, I voted to provide an additional $300 million for humanitarian relief in Sudan and $95 million in emergency funding for assistance to refugees in Sudan and Chad in 2004.

I also supported the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act (S.1462), which unanimously passed the Senate on November 18, 2005.  This bill authorized increased logistical aid to the African Union forces already on the ground in Darfur, and by pushing for limited NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) reinforcement of those forces.  It also supports the introduction of a U.N. Security Council resolution supporting an expansion of the African Union's efforts in Darfur.

You may also be interested to know that the President's fiscal year 2007 budget proposes more than $440 million for the U.N. mission in Sudan, a $66 million increase from last year.  It also proposes approximately $236 million for overseas assistance in Africa, some of which would assist Sudanese refugees to get resettled.  Please be assured that I will keep your concerns regarding the situation in Sudan in mind as I continue to monitor this important matter.

Again, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me.  

For more information about my work for [insert state here], my role in the United States Senate Leadership, or to subscribe to regular e-mail updates on the issues that interest you, please visit my Web site at http://_____.senate.gov.  

I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

My best wishes to you.

Sincerely,

PROMINENT SENATOR
United States Senator

Those elected to offices of national prominence in this country are, I am sure, perfectly decent human beings. At least, they must have been, at some point. No one comes out of the womb so totally deadened to devastating human suffering and GENOCIDE as to refer to it as an "important matter" which he will "continue to monitor."

Surely, in the privacy of dinner with friends, this Senator relaxes that Senatorial sphincter just enough to admit to all present, "I am at my wits' end trying to behave in a civilised manner with regard to the GENOCIDE in Sudan. Sometimes it feels like there's a timebomb ticking inside me, and in 30 seconds I'm just going to burst out of my Senatorial Chair and my Senatorial Suit and run screaming up to the dais, "STOP THE GENOCIDE IN SUDAN! STOP THE GENOCIDE IN SUDAN!"

Probably not. But wouldn't it be something? Something to behold, to be sure -- and it would be SOMETHING. As opposed to NOTHING.

I'm a little nauseated by the structure and tone of the Senator's letter, to be frank. Yes, I understand that it's procedure to answer a constituent's query with a list of what YOU are doing about the issue, with information you feel might enlighten your concerned constituent...

But let's face it. That's a fucking form letter, with facts and stats inserted in the appropriate places with respect to the subject.

Here's what I just don't get: "I WILL CONTINUE TO MONITOR THIS IMPORTANT MATTER?"

I'm a naive fool, I guess, because when I imagine a Senator taking effective action with regard to GENOCIDE, I like to picture her bringing all US government work to a halt, using her microphone to call on ALL governments to bring their work to a halt -- Say! We could create, oh, I dunno, let's call it a Union of Nations, to directly intervene on behalf of those being, you know, SLAUGHTERED.

So, let's say thousands of us did write and/or call our Senators and Representatives in the House... and that most of us received in reply a form letter much like the one quoted above.

What to do now?

Do it again.
DO it again.
DO IT AGAIN.

And keep doing it until the form letter says "Cease and desist."

Then turn your attention to, perhaps, another state's Senators and Representatives in the House.

Make so much noise they cannot turn away.

AUDIO LINK


I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's worth; banks are going bust; shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter; punks are running wild in the street, and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there's no end to it.

We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat. And we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that's the way it's supposed to be!

We all know things are bad -- worse than bad -- they're crazy.

It's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't go out any more. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we're living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, "Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials, and I won't say anything. Just leave us alone."

Well, I'm not going to leave you alone.

I want you to get mad.

I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to riot. I don't want you to write to your Congressman, because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street.

All I know is that first, you've got to get mad.

You've got to say, "I'm a THESE ARE HUMAN BEING[S], GODDAMNIT! My life has THEIR LIVES HAVE VALUE!"

So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell,

"I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"





The Senator in question, incidentally (and it IS incidental), is Senator Harry Reid, responding to a constituent who emailed me his response.


Update [2006-3-7 15:39:21 by Maryscott OConnor]:

That's not the point. Of course he sent a form letter. I am not excoriating Senator Reid with this essay. His was merely the motivating factor TODAY for my writing something about Sudan. It could as easily have been something else. Please do not mistake this as a screed against Reid, or, indeed, against ANYONE.

THIS IS ABOUT SUDAN, this is about DARFUR, this is about GENOCIDE. And what the HELL can we do about it. Well, all I know is, when the representatives get inundated with phone calls and letters, they get moving.

People are being killed and tortured and raped and starved to death. Children, for god's sake! The LEAST we can do is write a fucking letter.


Originally posted to My Left Wing on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 12:00 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Please call your Senators (4.00)
    and representatives and any news outlets with which you are acquainted.

    And recommend this diary if you think you can make a difference.

  •  MaryScott (4.00)
    Here's a naive question . . . I really really hope you photoshopped that picture at the top.

    That's kind of horrifying, ya know?

    "In the beginning the universe was created. This has been widely criticized and generally regarded as a bad move." -- Douglas Adams

    by LithiumCola on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 12:04:21 PM PST

  •  Thank you (none)
    Thank you for calling attention to this urgently important matter.
    •  Odd source of inspiration today: (4.00)


      "... a lot of drops make up an ocean. If people would stand up and say what they believe in maybe we can make a difference.

      Helping one person is better than nothing.

      Just do something."

       Rachel Weisz
      Born on this day in 1971




      •  Or maybe not so odd (4.00)
        I heard her speak after a small NYC screening of The Constant Gardener.  She was very endearing in person and quite passionate about the damaging effects of poverty and corrupt political gamesmanship between Western countries and African nations.  The film's crew (it may have been the director's idea, I don't recall) committed to building a school in the region where most of the filming happened and she reported that they were encouraged enough to raise funds for more school-building.

        And she was gracious and extremely self-effacing in talking about this effort -- it was in a response to a direct question.  Her statement at the Academy reminded me of that immediately.  Its ridiculous to worry about the significance of the impact we can make; rather, we must just DO.  Do something.  Do anything.  

        JUST DO.

        •  Voice (none)
          I love her. I thought the Mummy and Mummy II were great popcorn flicks and she carries her self well in the movies and in life.

          What object is served by this circle of misery and violence and fear? It must tend to some end, or else our universe is ruled by chance, which is unthinkable.

          by Carnacki on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 04:42:57 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Who's the Senator? (none)
    Why should he or she have anonymity here if you are so outrageed about it? Put their name up here so we can all show our outrage to him or her for their insensitive response.
    •  How is it insensitive? (4.00)
      Because its a form letter? Frankly, I dont want my pols writing me originals on topics that they must get contacted about frequently. They have better things to do with their time.

      If there's one thing I've learned, it's that life is one crushing defeat after another until you just wish Flanders was dead.

      by ablington on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 12:14:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ask that of the diarist who put it here. (none)
         because I'm sure yopu disagree with her too, right? And OK, then, "boilerplate" response as it was described. I would then like to know who it is regardless. And frankly, responding like a robot doesn't exactly show me you care. And yeah, they have much to do. Enabling Bush is hard work.
        •  I dont disagree with MSOC's emphasis that Sudan (none)
          is a clusterfuck, but dont think this form letter is necessarily rage-worthy in its own right. Harry Reid is a busy guy, whether he's enabling Bush or not.

          I couldnt tell what your take was, if you thought it was insensitive. Im still not sure.

          If there's one thing I've learned, it's that life is one crushing defeat after another until you just wish Flanders was dead.

          by ablington on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 12:28:05 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  a busy guy? (4.00)
            Too busy to be a human being?  

            Not a rhetorical question, btw.

            ...But Achilles, weeping, sat down at a distance far from his companions, beside the whitening waves, his eyes fixed upon the boundless sea.

            by weeping for brunnhilde on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 12:30:15 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  too busy to handwrite letters to constituents (none)
              about broad subjects that he most likely gets asked about quite a bit. HEnce the invention of the form letter, whether the contents are about parking tickets or genocide.

              If there's one thing I've learned, it's that life is one crushing defeat after another until you just wish Flanders was dead.

              by ablington on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 12:40:35 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Additionally, (none)
                if a form letter exists for this subject, maybe letter writing ISNT the best way to evoke change....?

                If there's one thing I've learned, it's that life is one crushing defeat after another until you just wish Flanders was dead.

                by ablington on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 12:55:55 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  It's clear that Bush is too busy (none)
              planing the upcoming bombing campaign/invasion of Iran.
          •  I'm not raging at Reid. (none)
            Not at all.

            I am simply talking about Sudan, and the form it took today was my response to Reid's response.

            Please do not mistake this as a screed against Reid. It ain't.

            •  It IS incidental who the Senator is, I agree. (none)
              I dont think this is a bad form letter, personally.I also think that most of our politicians (even a couple Pubs) DO care about this and grapple with the power they may or may not have to change things. Its a clusterfuck all the way up the money chain to the UN and beyond...throw in a dose of govt corruption and mob mentality and crippling poverty and it renders a situation that makes us (behind our keyboards, fat & warm) feel helpless and guilty.

              But its important to remember that its just a form letter at the end of the day. You may as well toss it in the trash. Im not even sure the answer to this issue rests with our govt beyond money and military intervention. I just dont know.

              If there's one thing I've learned, it's that life is one crushing defeat after another until you just wish Flanders was dead.

              by ablington on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 12:45:21 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  but ablington... (none)
                ...why should we be complacent that political engagement has degenerated into something we "may as well toss in the trash?"

                I'd urge you to consider the implications of this state of affairs to the larger problem of alienation from the democratic process.  

                Why the complacency?

                ...But Achilles, weeping, sat down at a distance far from his companions, beside the whitening waves, his eyes fixed upon the boundless sea.

                by weeping for brunnhilde on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 12:54:44 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Here's my point, I think... (none)
                  If a form letter exists about about the genocide in Darfut, maybe letter writing isnt the besy way to affect change.

                  Its not about complacency and/or outrage, its about efficiency. I dont have answers, but this seems futile.

                  If there's one thing I've learned, it's that life is one crushing defeat after another until you just wish Flanders was dead.

                  by ablington on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 12:58:35 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Here's MY point: (none)
                    It's better than NOTHING.

                    Ya dig?

                    •  Of course (none)
                      but then we have to expect the form letter, and the cycle of crap continues.

                      Theres gotta be a better way. I think it starts with general awareness. We'd be better off writing letters to Bono. No matter how hard our Govt may or may not work on an issue, most of the country tunes them out anyway.

                      I just want our limited rage reserves to be properly channeled by subject.

                      If there's one thing I've learned, it's that life is one crushing defeat after another until you just wish Flanders was dead.

                      by ablington on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 01:10:18 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  ablington (none)
                        The problem isn't that it's a form letter, per se.  The problem is the nature of the form.

                        It's written to promote a passive citizenry rather than an active one.  

                        Please see my longer comment on this matter downthread.

                        ...But Achilles, weeping, sat down at a distance far from his companions, beside the whitening waves, his eyes fixed upon the boundless sea.

                        by weeping for brunnhilde on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 01:28:27 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I did. (none)
                          I would argue the problem has nothing to do with the form, and that getting mad at it (and by extension our govt) is rather a waste of time. Whether or not you are a passive or active citizen is hardly influenced by the language in a letter from a Senator, especially when you consider that most people dont pay ANY attention to politics.

                          This lack of attention by our citizenry to govt is in itself a big problem, yes, but draws off topic. To stop this genocide the energy we spend has to mean something, and Im not sure where that is best spent for the quickest results. We need to brainstorm.

                          If there's one thing I've learned, it's that life is one crushing defeat after another until you just wish Flanders was dead.

                          by ablington on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 01:38:51 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  thanks for your response (none)
                            I think we disagree in fundamental ways about the (rightful and de facto) scope of politcial process.  

                            I'd love to engage more on this but I feel like there are way too many unexamined premises involved so we'll just continue talking to cross purposes.

                            The last point I'll make is the following:

                            Whether or not you are a passive or active citizen is hardly influenced by the language in a letter from a Senator, especially when you consider that most people dont pay ANY attention to politics.

                            I think that such a letter is both cause and effect of a passive citizenry.  In itself it may seem benign, but as I say, seen in context I think it's a symptom of the larger problem which thereby serves to perpetuate that problem by conforming to its pattern.

                            Perhaps our paths will cross in future and we'll have more time to understand each other because as I say, I feel like we live in two different universes.  

                            I'm eager to hear any final thoughts you may have if you so desire to share them, otherwise, cheers.

                            ...But Achilles, weeping, sat down at a distance far from his companions, beside the whitening waves, his eyes fixed upon the boundless sea.

                            by weeping for brunnhilde on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 04:47:30 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  I hereby nominate Bono (none)
                        to be Gen. Awareness.

                        LMAO.

                        "For the first time ever, everything is in place for the Battle of Armageddon and the Second Coming of Christ." -- Ronald Reagan (Methinks he miscounted)

                        by grndrush on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 01:35:07 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

          •  yes it was... (none)
            otherwise I wouldn't have typed it. Again, typing back robotic responses doesn't endear me, and I think writing Congress now is frankly a waste of time. And please, busy? This is the substance of what they should be busy about. I'm busy too, but I still give a damn.
      •  not because it's a form letter (none)
        but I think the line

        Please be assured that I will keep your concerns regarding the situation in Sudan in mind as I continue to monitor this important matter.

        is a little insensitive. It's a little late to monitor the situation. Something needs to be done now. And something other than money because apparently that isn't working.

        "I remember when the answer seemed so clear. We had never lived without or tasted fear." The Monkees

        by kisler1224 on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 12:19:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ding ding ding ding ding! (none)
          You win the prize.

          Bingo.

          "I will continue to monitor this important situation..."

          Got a satellite filming the murders, do you?

          <seethe>

        •  Well, that too (none)
          I guess that negates the request in the diarist's former diary on that about contacting Congress?
        •  Kinda (none)
          like flying over the Katrina ravaged area in Air Force One or playing a guitar while citizens drown? The fact is the people in Congress, no matter how much the political posturing don't give a rat's ass about Africa unless there is oil involved. Hell most can't concern themselves with the average American citizen, unless there is a political advantage or photo op in it for them.

          "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent." Thomas Jefferson

          by llih on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 01:05:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, I think it's more complicated. (4.00)
            Anything bad that comes out of Africa re-inforces a prejudice.  The purpose of prejudice is to foster social cohesion.  So, when one attacks an opinion enshrined in prejudice, one is challenging the social order.
            When the Senator's lackey pens a response which says, "I will continue to monitor," that's an expression of openness to being persuaded to chuck the prejudice over-board, but only if there's a social consensus that the prejudicial attitude is wrong.
            What difference would that make?  Well, given the prejudice about Africa, the murder of hundreds of thousands merely registers as confirmation that sub-human behavior is rampant.  Absent the prejudice, the slaughter of hundreds of thousands would register as yet another example of man's effort to rule by dispatching disposable people as an example to those who count.
            The impulse to dominate can only be realized by exterminating a population one doesn't care about because exterminating people one desires to rule is counter-productive.
            Of course, the members of populations that are systematically exterminated logically conclude that they are hated.  That they're simply disposable doesn't occur to them and, because other populations miss that its disposableness that's determinative, the process occurs over and over again.  Innocent people keep being killed because we miss that it's their very innocence that makes them convenient targets for evil.

            Forget "GOD, GUNS, GAYS, GIRLS & GETS"

            by hannah on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 02:43:23 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  ablington (4.00)
        Here's what I wrote at the MLW version:

        It's a profoundly alienated and alienating letter.  Barely a whiff of an idea that these are real people and that something atrocious is happening.  It's as if you'd written demanding, demanding, god damn it, that something be done about to address the proliferation of potholes you've been noticing as you drive home from the mall.

        I wonder if it's a deliberate strategy, to exclude any and all humanity from official correspondences or whether, as you suggest, they simply have no humanity to convey.

        But I think the lack of anger, indignation, emotion is more than merely an issue of symbolism.  Because in stiffling these reactions in himself, he's de-legitimating them in us.  It's exactly, exactly as you say: Genocide in Sudan?  Don't let it get you down, it's not Your problem.

        No populace like a docile, alienated, desensitized and complacent populace.

        'Cause God forbid, if you're allowed or even encouraged to be indignant about the plight a bunch of darkies in Black Africa whom you've never met, you  might allow that indignation to vent itself on your own life, you own society.  And then, as surely as the night follows the day, you'll be gunning for Prominent Senator, Prominent Industrialist, and finally, God forbid, the pillars of Western Civilization!

        ...But Achilles, weeping, sat down at a distance far from his companions, beside the whitening waves, his eyes fixed upon the boundless sea.

        by weeping for brunnhilde on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 12:21:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  where's the outrage (4.00)
        that's what gets me. Whether in this form letter or on TV or in the newspaper, whether over this or the war or reproductive rights - where's the outrage? I am just on apathy overload right now and what may have normally passed as an acceptable reaction now seems devoid of all emotion - because nobody seems to care about anything.  

        That's just my personal opinion, of course.

        First they came for MY privacy...

        by sassy texan on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 12:21:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  you wanna know "where's the outrage"? (none)
          they don't make enough tranqs to deal with all the crap on the list of THINGS WE SHOULD REALLY BE ANGRY ABOUT RIGHT NOW ... disconnect is a means of coping ... helps us focus on efforts toward resolving something (just wish we could do a better job on our shortlist)

          BushIsWeak.com ... somebody really ought to register this domain name ...

          by wystler on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 02:13:25 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I think that many, if not most, politicians care. (none)
    That form letter is pretty thorough for a form letter, IMO.

    If there's one thing I've learned, it's that life is one crushing defeat after another until you just wish Flanders was dead.

    by ablington on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 12:13:38 PM PST

    •  it's not about being thorough (4.00)
      It's about being empowering.

      It's about being engaged.

      It's about creating a sense of common pupose.

      It's about calling a spade a spade, not a pothole.

      Bureaucratic alienation is one of the things that makes atrocities possible in the first place: hiding behind bureaucratic language is a way of exonerating oneself of the deep responsibility to end suffering.

      One takes comfort or is complacent in the knowledge that procedures are in place and Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job.

      Alienation must be overcome in order to achieve justice.  We need to actively and all the time empathize with real human beings, not objectify them, deprive them of their humanity as this letter does.

      We were given emotions for a reason and I think it's high time we use them to productive ends.

      ...But Achilles, weeping, sat down at a distance far from his companions, beside the whitening waves, his eyes fixed upon the boundless sea.

      by weeping for brunnhilde on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 12:26:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  an autopen signed version (none)
      of this form letter would have showed he cared even more.
  •  well done (none)
    When I read this Senator's response my first thought was to figure out how they would change the form letter for someone who supports the genocide in Sudan. It was just too fucking formal and that bugged me and made my mind all twisty. That's probably not going to make any sense unless all this fucked up shit has made your mind all twisty too. Surreal man, just surreal.

    First they came for MY privacy...

    by sassy texan on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 12:16:38 PM PST

  •  Just out of curiosity, MSOC (4.00)
    What would you have your senator do? Thanks to the budget-busting moron in the White House, we're so far in the hole that our grandchildren's grandchildren are going to be paying off the debts we leave them. And thanks to that same baboon, our military and support forces are stretched perilously thin, due to their participation in Georgie's Big Iraqi Adventure.

    So if we can't send money and we can't send troops and we can't send materiel, what's left? My heart bleeds when I see those pictures, but right now I'm a little more focused on getting things put back right here at home. We're less than 90 days from the start of hurricane season, and FEMA is, if anything, even more fucked-up than it was in the days after Katrina relocated whole swathes of the Gulf coast inland. Here in the Midwest it's Severe Weather Awareness week, and our in-house forecaster is already warning of the possibility of some truly horrific severe weather just to the south of us later this week. In March. We've already had our first tornadoes of the season...last month, in February. We're also, fortunately, looking at the possibility of getting the biggest slug of rainfall we've had in the last three years--which will make the farmers feel a little better, presuming it doesn't all come down in one fell swoop and wash their fields right into the watersheds and down the Mississippi.

    These are the people I live around. They go to my church. I see them around town. I work with many of them. I see them every day. An awful lot of them are working crappy, Wal-Mart-style jobs (sometimes more than one) and trying to make ends meet while George and his buddies get rich privatizing all the government services they don't eliminate outright. I'm just about compassioned out dealing with the people I see on a regular basis. Which doesn't leave an awful lot left, I'm sorry to say, for people I'll never see, halfway around the world.

    •  Get on the Senate floor... (4.00)
      And start talking about Sudan.

      Talk about Sudan to the press. Talk about it at inappropriate moments, at dinners, at cocktail parties,

      MAKE SUCH A NUISANCE OF HERSELF THAT PEOPLE START PAYING ATTENTION.

      Till it makes the nightly news... NIGHTLY.

      Until people start asking the right questions and bugging their representatives and their friends and everyone they know.

      I really don't CARE anymore that I'm alienating my friends and relatives. This is GENOCIDE. Remember this?

      Rwanda, Never Again, Never Again, by God!

      Riiiiiiiight.

      I defy anyone to tell me I SHOULDN'T be doing whatever I'm doing. So, I picked on a poor widdle Senator? Forgive me if I can't spare my elected representatives any tears -- I'm a little LOW right now.

      •  And again I ask (none)
        To what end?

        Harry Reid could make a nightly speech on Darfur on the floor of the Senate, and it would attract less attention than one of Jake Gyllenhaal's farts. And in the unlikely event that all 100 of our senators got on board, that would only leave you with 275 million more people to convince.

        Darfur is half a world away--which might as well be on the other side of the moon as far as the average American is concerned. We're in a clusterfuck of galactic proportions in Iraq. The only thing bigger (and expanding faster) than George W. Bush's lust for Phenomenal Cosmic Power is the federal deficit. We've got no troops to send in. We've got no money with which to support other troops. We've got no supplies we can send. So what ae we supposed to do? View With AlarmTM? And if that's all we can do, aren't we just as guilty of what's got your knickers in a twist here, doing little more than talking about an atrocity that should disgust us to the very depths of our souls?

        By all means, feel free to vent your spleen at your senator (or anybody else). That's your right, and you're damn good at it. But don't you dare get on your high horse and tell me I'm scum because I don't feel the same level of outrage you do. For one thing, it's not really an effective tactic. For another, my outrage meter gave up the ghost about five years ago.

        The list of things that disgust me to the depths of my soul is getting nearly as long as the list of the mistakes G. Dumbya has made since illegally seizing office in 2000--and many of the items on the latter list are on the former as well. Since I work in higher education, I haven't benefitted from Bush's reverse Robin Hood approach to tax policy, and since he's so thoroughly fucked the economy, my wages have been effectively stagnant for the entire time he's been in office. I wish I could say the same for the Consumer Price Index.

        In the last fifteen months, I've endured the re-(s)election of the Worst. President. Ever, and a passel of political scandals that would make even Tricky Dicky blush. My stepfather had cardiac bypass surgery--while I was three thousand miles away in France, paying good money I don't really have to do research for a graduate degree. My mom had rotator cuff surgery. I buried my very dear friend and spiritual director of more than 20 years, and also my last living grandparent. I've had to watch while a beautiful and historic city I  haven't gotten to visit in way too long was all but wiped off the map due to the callous disregard of the Bush White House. One of the candidates I just interviewed for an administrative position at the university where I work told the search committee that he and his family had just gotten back into their house, post-Katrina, on Christmas Eve--and they're the lucky ones. "My" government has decided that I really shouldn't have civil rights or be able to serve in the military, all because I'm a guy with a dick and I like guys with dicks. "My" government has decided that it's OK to violate laws and treaties on a whim, because to do otherwise would violate the powers of the "unitary executive." "My" government has decided that torture is just fine and dandy, despite being a signatory to a convention prohibiting its use. "My" government has decided to spy on its own citizens--whenever it wants, for whatever reason it wants or for no reason at all--and doesn't admit that this is even a problem. "My" government has just appointed and confirmed two of the most reactionary jurists ever to sit on the bench of the Supreme Court, and most members of "my" party sat on their asses and let it happen. I was actually amazed that nobody, in the course of an entire month in France--a country with which we have been on friendly terms more or less since this nation was founded, and which has come in for more than its fair share of abuse from the present misadministration of this country--gave me any shit about being an American.

        Darfur is absolutely on my list of things to be pissed off/concerned/upset about. But that's a damn long list, and it's getting longer by the second. By all means, do your thing. But don't you dare imply that I care any the less, or that I'm any the less of a decent human being, because I'm not frothing at the mouth the way you are.

    •  I Guess You're Right (none)
      Darfur will produce more babies some day - so why not let the genocide continue eh?  

      Let them keep hacking off limbs and raping young girls and boys.  

      So what if they're burned alive as their parents were the night before?

      Starve them out - who gives a shit right?

      No money is a poor excuse.  If we demand better then maybe the morons on the Hill will stop feeding the monster with appropriates for war, and tax giveaways to the filthy rich, and send some of it over to stop this genocide.

      Just a thought.

      Bloggin' with a bar of soap and my car window IMPEACH -8.75 / -6.10

      by Alegre on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 12:34:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wait a minute (4.00)
        I don't think obliquely accusing musing of not giving a shit is at all warranted.

        Unless you've snatched a few moments away from fending off the murderers and brutal rapists in Sudan to write your screed, then we're all pretty much in the same boat. We care but we're not quite sure what to do about it.

        I agree with MSOC that every US politician could at very least be vehemently denouncing the tragedy in Sudan every single day. Every genocide is a vile, traumatic assault on the fabric of humanity and an affront to the international community - to say nothing of the horrendous personal misery being endured by its direct victims.

        But there are some very legitimate questions about how to best deal with genocide taking place in remote countries. Do we use the levers of state, and to what degree? If the leaders of our nation simply refuse to put the full weight of our country's diplomatic effort behind organizing a solution, do we rise as concerned individuals and move to stop genocide through international organizations? And wouldn't a true commitment to that, at some point, require ultimately moving to Sudan, at least temporarily, to provide aid and protection to helpless victims there?

        Being mightily offended by, and pissed about, genocide is the easy part. The harder part for remote witnesses to these atrocious horrors is to figure how to make wise and meaningful commitments to crashing the murderous party.

        The soul that is within me no man can degrade. - Frederick Douglass

        by Kimberley on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 01:40:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  That's wierd... (none)
      most people I know who are truly empathic, have no limit on their compassion and this creates problems for them at times.  If you are telling me your compassion ends at the borders of your town then I doubt it really is compassion and more of a survival instinct.

      I am so far to the left I can almost see the right again.

      by beagleandtabby on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 12:56:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not weird to me (none)
        As an empath, I long ago learned the lesson--the hard way--that the only way to have anything left over for taking care of others is to ensure that one takes care of oneself first. And right now, at this particular moment, I'm full up. I'm flying on fumes. I go to bed exhausted and wake up more tired than I was when I went to bed the night before. I've got all I can handle trying to take care of me, my job, my graduate studies, my parents, my family, my friends, and what's going on right here, right now--locally, at the state level, and nationally.

        I'm not trying to suggest that Darfur isn't a problem, or that we shouldn't be concerned about it. But I do think there are better ways of encouraging people to do those things than the one that Maryscott has chosen--especially in a world chock-full of people whose outrage meters were pegged years ago, and whose reserves of charity and altruism are at all-time lows. Everywhere you look, it's another outrage, another disaster. Sure, I'd like to help with each and every one. But if I did that, I'd have nothing left for me, and I'd need other people to give me money to pay my bills.

  •  Maryscott (none)
    at least he has a form letter on the subject and at least he has committed to monitoring the situation.  I know it isn't enough, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if you were to call any number of the GOP Senators their responses would be much less organized - because maybe they really don't care - on the other hand theirs might be better because they really don't give a god damn and they just want to get you off their backs and make you think they are doing something.  

    I don't think the letter has a lot to do with the sentiment of the sign.  

  •  I was at an Academy Award Watching party (none)
    last Sunday, here in San Antonio.  It was a really fun one - the hosts had red carpet leading to their apartment door, and paprazzi hanging out to record our entrance.  The food was plentiful, as was the booze.  The company was warm, funny, and silly.  When there came a section of clips that included the famous one from Broadcast News in which the anchor (who is screwing Faye Dunaway) goes berserk on the live set and tells his watchers to put their heads out the windows and yell "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore"; the crowded apartment in steamy San Amtonio errupted as every single guest screamed along with the character, including the lone youngster, still in high school.  It was a wonderful affirmation that there really is a reality-based community.
    •  It was Network (4.00)
      not Broadcast News.  The 30th anniversary DVD is out now - as your penance for getting it wrong you better buy it.

      http://www.amazon.com/...

      •  And the anchorman wasn't (4.00)
        screwing Faye Dunaway, aw what the hell just buy the DVD, buy the DVD
        •  And a bunch of cosseted drunks ... (none)
           ... PLAYING THE ROLE OF OUTRAGE is a symptom, not a solution (as is posting it here, expecting huzzahs).  Getting the title wrong and the love story wrong seems par for the course, but this

          "It was a wonderful affirmation that there really is a reality-based community."

          is missing the point too glaringly.  Bite your lip until it bleeds and taste the salt -- that might begin to affirm the reality-based community.

          (As a flower, I send my ignorance:  perhaps half the people there woke up the following morning and picked up their LTE pens and returned to making phone calls and speaking on street corners and helping progressive candidates.)

          George Bush: LIAR, LOSER, WASTREL, TRAITOR, TORTURER. Worse than the Worst President Ever.

          by Yellow Canary on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 01:01:17 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for Another Great Call to Action MSOC (4.00)
    I used to work on the Hill and - sad to say - this is your generic response written by a clueless Legislative Correspondent and approved by some moron of a supervisor.  It's a fill-in-the-blank BS letter where you note activity in the Senate, how the boss voted on it, and what's in the pipeline.

    Important issue, and I'll keep your views in mind are standard blurbs in these letters.

    You're right - we need to keep bugging the hell out of those sobs until their santized words turn in to a battle cry like yours.  Until we see them stand up next to us and demand that people take note of the genocide taking place right now - and do something to stop it.

    Peace

    Bloggin' with a bar of soap and my car window IMPEACH -8.75 / -6.10

    by Alegre on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 12:30:27 PM PST

  •  Mary Scott (none)
    What will happen:

    Billions for the next war on Iran.  Why?  Because of oil.

    Nothing for the genocide.  Why?  Fill in the _______.

    "I just had the basic view of the American public -- it can't be that bad out there." Marine Travis Williams after 11 members of his squad were killed.

    by Steven D on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 12:30:39 PM PST

  •  Slaughter = Abuse in Bush's World (none)
    "I talked to Kofi Annan about this very subject this week," Bush said two weeks ago, referring to the U.N. secretary-general. "But it's going to require, I think, a NATO stewardship, planning, facilitating, organizing, probably double the number of peacekeepers that are there now, in order to start bringing some sense of security. There has to be a consequence for people abusing their fellow citizens."

    In Bush's world, beheadings, rape and slaughter = abuse.
    http://www.belleville.com/...

  •  The Darfur Diaries in the Bay Area (4.00)
    http://www.darfurdiaries.org

    After watching woefully inadequate media coverage on
    the crisis in Sudan, a team of three independent
    filmmakers trekked to Darfurian refugee camps in
    eastern Chad and, with the help of the rebel movement,
    snuck across the border into Darfur. They interviewed
    hundreds of refugees and displaced people, civilians
    and fighters resisting the Sudanese government,
    teachers, students, parents, children and community
    leaders.

    March 15th 2006 Wed. 7:00pm
    St. John's Presbyterian Church - San Francisco
    Arguello Boulevard & Lake Streets Info: 415.387.2920
    Suggested donation $5
    Info: 415.387.2920

    March 17th 2006 Fri. 7:00pm
    Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists Social
    Justice Committee Conscientious Projector Series
    1924 Cedar St. at Bonita - Berkeley
    Suggested donation $10
    Info: 510-528-5403

  •  Quick reminder (4.00)
    Everyone, please read the title of this piece.

    It might help frame your understanding of Maryscott's point in writing.

    Perhaps everyone should spend a moment or two to consider what a "dessicated soul" is or might look like and whether you might have one and how you might begin to answer that question.

    I think that would be productive.

    ...But Achilles, weeping, sat down at a distance far from his companions, beside the whitening waves, his eyes fixed upon the boundless sea.

    by weeping for brunnhilde on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 12:37:00 PM PST

  •  AIPAC is meeting this week (none)

    Maybe one Senator could stand up at the AIPAC meeting and say something like:

    "This great organization is dedicated to the proposition that there must be a land where Jews can live as Jews without living in fear of genocide, and that never again can the world be permitted to remain silent while genocide occurs. And I do not believe that any of you would disagree with either of those statements. Yet -- and it saddens me deeply to say this --  I must tell you that genocide is occuring again. Today. In the Sudan. And I, like many of you, have been remiss. Three hundred thousand have already died. Millions are displaced. Some will say that this is not the time or the place.

    I say to them that we can not be silent any longer. I say to them that we are strongest when we defend those who are weakest. I say to them that we secure our own existence when we secure the existence of those who are defenseless. I say to them that I hope that every one of you, in every community in America, in every legislature, in every party caucus, on every editorial page in this country will join me in telling the American public that we will not stand by while what was done to our grandparents is done to the people of the Sudan."

    It only takes one match to start a prairie fir.

  •  MSOC, a question (4.00)
    First, a declaration: I love your stuff, so this is asked with utmost respect.  What would you have us do?  Please don't say intervene, for God's sake.  Not with this president, and this band of soulless demons around him.

    The reason I ask is that it is my firm belief, as a matter of morality, that our first task is to STOP the affirmative bad acts of our own government, rather than force the government to act to mitigate the bad acts of someone else.  That's not to say that we have no obligations when it comes to humanitarian disasters not of our making, but questions such as this are among the hardest to answer in the realm of foreign policy, from both a political and moral perspective.  The problem with figuring out what to do almost always comes back to what should be the first principle to guide us: do no harm.  It is not clear that actions beyond humanitarian assistance for refugees and the like -- actions such as aggressive political or military intervention -- will not violate that first principle.

    I am eager to hear and consider suggestions for action.

    "When the intellectual history of this era is finally written, it will scarcely be believable." -- Noam Chomsky

    by scorponic on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 12:43:22 PM PST

    •  I say this with all earnestness: (4.00)
      What I would have YOU do is not what I would have US, as a country, do.

      YOU? All YOU should do is call and write and talk about it till you're blue in the face.

      Because, let's face it, YOU don't intervene. The country might, but WE as individuals rarely really have a say in it.

      But if the US did intervene... could it POSSIBLY be WORSE than NOT intervening? I sincerely do not see how.

      HOWEVER... I am SO not interested in discussing what we OUGHT to do while doing nothing. I think it's enough, at this wretched juncture, to make the noise. These politicians will not be soliciting our opinions as to whether we shuold use US forcers or UN forces or AU forces... fuck, you know how GLAD would be to be at THAT point?

      It's all the sitting around saying to each other, "Well, what would we do? Intervene? We can't be the world's policeman, you know..."

      Ad nauseum, my friend. Heard it all during Rwanda. Then I heard the risible and infamous words, "Never Again" -- abot RWANDA.

      Well, hmm. Did they mean we'd never let it happen again in RWANDA?

      Because it's HAPPENING AGAIN -- in SUDAN.

      You get my meaning? I'd be THRILLED to have the debate, if someone actually had any goddamned plan whatsoever.

      Please don't ask me to propose solutions. I cannot. But does my inability to solve the problem render me ineligible to POINT OUT the problem? To shriek holy hell about the problem? I should hope not.

      •  I see your point (none)
        ...and share your outrage.  I'm not as sanguine as you, I guess, that intervention wouldn't make things worse.  It did in Somalia.  I'm a firm believer that it did in Kosovo, as well.  One of the few instances I can think of where it didn't make things worse was when Vietnam intervened in Cambodia and stopped the genocide there, but that's an exception that stands out in stark relief to the usual results.

        I would urge people not to call for US intervention, at least, but instead call for massive humanitarian assistance and full-on political, financial and logistical support for UN and African Union efforts.

        "When the intellectual history of this era is finally written, it will scarcely be believable." -- Noam Chomsky

        by scorponic on Wed Mar 08, 2006 at 02:38:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Language, language (none)
    it is our salvation.

    Just God forbid don't call anybody a "pussy" - they react as if you were committing genocide.

    By the way did you see this Fox caption?

    Genocide in Darfur - is it a good thing?

    Your outrage is outstanding and well placed.

  •  Not a screed? (none)
    "I am convinced that by the time you make it to national office in the government of the United States of America, the chances are extremely good that you will have lost virtually every scintilla of principle, every shred of idealism, every iota of fervid desire to serve the public good that ever existed in your once-eager soul.

    Witness the boilerplate response of one prominent Senator to an email sent by one of his truly concerned constituents, regarding the GENOCIDE in Sudan:"
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Then who is this addressed to? And why are you backing down regarding holding Reid's feet to the fire about it after typing this? Doesn't he have a choice in what he writes back if he really cares instead of having a staffer send out a form letter? Don't they all? Gee, so sorry they are too busy schmoozing with lobbyists and other special interests to give a damn about genocide. Really, if you are going to walk on eggshells now about it, what was the point of putting the letter here at all? It isn't going to then change no matter how many times you write.

  •  Call, write...bang your cups against the bars (4.00)
    of your jail cell, but for as long as the Khartoum government is Bush's ally in the global war on terror, all the US congress is going to do is throw money at the problem.

    If there was a serious effort on the part of the White House or the State department to be engaged with respect to the Sudan, then both the ambassadorships would not be vacant (here and in Sudan) and John Bolton would not be running willy-nilly through the halls of the UN being his tyrannical, obstructionist self.

    Money is not the solution to this problem, only political pressure to solve problems internal to this country's government and expansion of educational opportunities and jobs to the people will bring about any lasting change.

    They have an trade surplus in goods that are attractive to the west...oil and vast mineral and ore holdings.

    This is another case of western imperialism gone bad (independence from UK in 1956), followed by two civil wars pitting Muslim vs. Christian factions, and now, corruption over the things that the west covets.

    MSOC, I share and appreciate your passion on this.  We need to at the very least try to keep the spotlight on Darfur while working toward a solution, but as another anonymous politician once said about Darfur:  "We
    can't 'lift our boots from their necks', because that's what helping them would actually mean isn't it?"

    Totally sad, but then so was the global response to the G8 meetings last year.

    Claws beat Skin Take Back America

    by polydactyl on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 12:50:48 PM PST

  •  BTW (none)
    Let's give some props to the writers and producers of E.R., who set much of last week's episode in Darfur.

    It was too Hollywood for my taste, but it did make a good attempt to show viewers what's going on and provoke their outrage.

    Of science and the human heart, there is no limit. -- Bono

    by saucy monkey on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 12:56:27 PM PST

  •  Mary (none)
    Out of curiosity, if you were the Senator, what steps would you take to stop the genocide in Darfur, which has several unique challenges?  

     

    My body is not a condo!

    by GunsCantHug on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 12:59:08 PM PST

    •  If I were a Senator... (none)
      it would obviously be the END TIMES and Darfur wouldn't matter anymore.
    •  put it in my standards speaking engagmenet... (none)
      ... speech.

      Help there be a debate.

      This is a deep issue, what can we do about the rest of the world... did we go to Iraq to save people from Saddam's cruelty, no, but evidently that's the idea a lot of people got. That makes the idea of helping the rest of the world look a little problematic.

      It's a messy issue really, it needs to be sorted out.

      And once sorted out, maybe we can do something, as the world, mind you, do something about things like these massive genocides.

      or for that matter, do something for africa, which will help us as well, I believe.

      •  Do you think we should send in troops? (none)
        And what about the problem of resources and supplies being picked off by warlords? What happens if you send in troops, and we're seen as occupiers?

        My body is not a condo!

        by GunsCantHug on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 02:06:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  can't send troops with this CinC (none)
          and it would have to be UN troops.

          That is not the next step, but it's on the table.

          With this CinC there is little we can do but make awareness high and hope to get the international community get in on it.

  •  Random brain fizz about Darfur (4.00)

    When I think about Darfur, I try to keep a few things in mind:

    1. With Pokey McBoingBoing playing snugglecovers with his puppets in New Delhi ("I'm Sari, so Sari, but I Gotta Getta Legacy") and Islamabad ("Peres ... that's Mexican, ain't it?"), it's a pretty sure bet that his spin crew isn't spending a millisecond worrying about the Sudan, but is instead trying to figure out how to turn a two-pawn strategy into a six-move checkmate.

    2. With foreign policy now fully ensconced in the West Wing under hermetic seal and the State Department pretty much turned into Bleak House, the career types over there on the Africa Desk are likely just sitting around playing pencil hockey and waiting for their job contacts to call with offers.

    3. Last time the world had a whinging binge over Darfur, diplomats everywhere, led by Colin Powell, spent all of their time trying to define "genocide," then decide whether the mass killings in the Sudan qualified. Meanwhile, people, unimpressed with the debate, just kept dying ... horribly and in shocking numbers.

    4. Foreign policy leaders from Jack Straw to whoever whispers the script into Condosleezy's ear are pursuing the vaunted "Don't Piss Off China" gambit in western Africa. The Chinese are desperate for oil and we're terrified of them, so we've ceded the Sudan into Beijing's sphere of influence while they accept the reality that they'll have to listen to the yanks yelp once in a while about currency devaluation or Taiwan, but will never really be challenged on any of it as long as they remain gargantuan and are sitting on a ton of paper that represents a large chunk of our national debt. Meanwhile, it's generally understood that no one's going to draw any lines in the dirt and that we need them to keep the lunatics in Pyongyang in check.

    5. Jed's Dumber Brother doesn't need to worry too much about the Sudan (and, now, fortified with Chad to give you that stronger, new and improved regional nightmare!) looming over his failed presidency like another dark, angry cloud because it's outside his scope of concerns and many Americans are happy to buy that. No Americans outside of aid workers in western Sudan are going to be harmed by the janjaweed militias and that makes it OK to ignore everything from dead, maimed black kids covered with flies to the recent Senate voice vote asking (Nay, demanding!) that something be done. He'll scratch his nose and wiggle his fingers a little, but, unless someone has figured out some way to cancel China's de facto ownership of the Sudan, nothing substantive will take place.

    6. None of this is to suggest the situation's hopeless. What I think I mean is, if something is to be done, don't wait for it to be spearheaded at first by the government. It will have to come from the streets, the churches, the campuses and the workplaces and homes of Americans who are royally fed up at watching Bush studiously not care because it's only expendable surplus dark people dying in Africa's wasteland.

    7. I'm outraged by Sen. Reid's response for the same reason Maryscott was, because it was little more than a lifeless recitation of dollars spent in search of a policy we have yet to see. Where's the human response? Where's the pasion, the anger or the call to action? Someone once asked asked a Vietnam Era politician how he planned to get the troops home from that war. "In ships and planes," was his answer. The physical solution to the killing fields of Darfur may be difficult, but there should be no ambiguity in the outrage of anyone with hands as close to the apparatus of state as Sen. Reid's. That part is simple.
  •  Last April, Ken Silverstein wrote a piece (none)
    on the CIA's relationship with the Sudanese government in the fight against the "war on terror". As long as we are allied with this government, this will go on.

    Another article in the Village Voice on the subject by Nat Hentoff.

    ... we now know a lot of things, most of which, we already knew... (-dash888)

    by Tirge Caps on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 01:16:36 PM PST

  •  Médecins Sans Frontières (4.00)


    Hell, I can get you a toe by 3 o'clock this afternoon... with nail polish.

    by Page van der Linden on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 01:19:34 PM PST

  •  Really Monitor It, Senator (4.00)
    would be my response to all the political non-speak in that letter.

    Get off your butt, sir (or madam) and go on over there and get a good long look (and smell) at what genocide looks like close up.

    Then see if you can continue to generate form letters like this one.

    After you make that trip, sir (or madam), then spend a week ripping moldy sheetrock off of Katrina damaged homes in the southern U.S.

    See what that brings on for you.

    Rub your noses in the suffering and then see if you can blow off your constituents with some staffer-generated polticobabble of a response.

    Cripes.

  •  Senator X doles out the cash, washes his hands (4.00)
    I've just read the letter again and one clear mark of total alienation and disengagement is that it's all about him.  "I've appropriated this money, my work is done here."

    Duly exonerated, he can sleep at night.  

    Did anyone notice the lack of any kind of assessment  as to the benefits of those appropriations to the problem of genocide, or any kind of a forecast, however tentative, as to when this will end or even which steps are necessary or might be necessary in tackling this issue?

    He can send a fucking form letter that's designed to engage his reader rather than just brush him off.  

    There's no sense of process, that the citizen now has an obligation to pressure the government to take the next step or anything.  

    That's what's wrong with this letter.  Its insidious effect is to allay the citizen's outrage without drawing him or her closer to the actual issue.  

    This is why we have a nation of sheeple; because politicians do nothing to reach out to citizens qua citizens!

    This letter wasn't just a form letter, it was totally apolitical!

    It's written as to a consumer, not an active citizen in a democracy!

    For Christ's fucking sake, people, I'm sorry, but doesn't this trouble you at least a little?  

    It's part of a much larger pattern of political disaffection!

    Open your eyes!

    ...But Achilles, weeping, sat down at a distance far from his companions, beside the whitening waves, his eyes fixed upon the boundless sea.

    by weeping for brunnhilde on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 01:26:24 PM PST

    •  yeah, that's it (none)
      I don't really know what to say as I read all this... but I think that's it weeping, the dry part is the idea that something has been done.

      Now that's a ton of money... I didn't know about that appropriation.

      However, I wouldn't assume just because it's money it'll do good, what is needed are the philosophical and rhetorical aspects. We need a will... we need  will on things like this.

      Instead we have a feeling of being overwhelmed.

      •  yup (none)
        The money thing: it's evidence divorced from argument.  The money is martialed as evidence, but of what?  

        There's no effort made to place that infusion of cash into a dynamic context that tells us what differences we can realistically expect that money to make or whether that's just one part of a larger plan or anything.

        It's downright dismissive.  "Here's a dollar, kid, go buy yourself something."

        It's just a total brush-off, which is fine, if at least he could admit it's a brush-off.  He could say, "Look, I'm enraged and deeply committed about this but right now I feel my hands are tied and it looks really, really bleak so don't expect much and etc. etc."

        Instead it's just more dishonest bullshit.

        ...But Achilles, weeping, sat down at a distance far from his companions, beside the whitening waves, his eyes fixed upon the boundless sea.

        by weeping for brunnhilde on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 04:53:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  the saddest thing I can think of (none)
    this is totally fucked. However, given the meanness, cruelty, and undiluted EVIL of the motherfuckers (and yes, I suspect that is LITERAL), I think that the people of Sudan and Chad may actually be worse if we started trying to help. My reasoning is that the only thing Bush can do is drop bombs, and they certainly don't need that.

    We need help from the zillionaires, and NGOs, they actually have a chance of helping. I'm afrain the world will have to wait until winter 2009 before anything constructive can get done. We're too busy shitting out own pants right now.

    You can't get away with the crunch, 'cuz the crunch always gives you away

    by dnamj on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 01:28:24 PM PST

  •  that church (none)
    Is that a REAL church sign?  Where is it?  I can not believe (well I CAN) that these fuckers would put that up on the roadside and own up to it.
  •  Oil Dessicates the Soul (4.00)
    The title should be "The Dessicated Soul of a Politic Nation"

    Darfur, Sudan is ALL ABOUT OIL AND CHINA.

    Google Oil Sudan China

    One of the top returns is this...http://www.hrw.org/...

    The geopolitics and undercover hanky panky are way too complicated for me to understand, much less try to explain.

    The deal that was brokered with one rebel faction last year had to do with that leader getting a cut of the oil revenues.

    The people who have been and are being displaced are from an area that has a lot of oil.

    When Sudan was unable to get their oil development financed by US companies in the late 90's they turned to China. Who was, and is, selling them arms.

    China, as in the 21st Century economic and military superpower... China, as in who is holding our paper and propping up our economy...

    China, who the neocons and other cons are still trying to figure out how to contain, accomodate and make money from without pissing off the tiger.

    Ain't no way, no how Harry Reid or John Kerry or anybody else is going to have any more effect than a fart in a hurricane by protesting this crime against humanity.

    To try to change the Sudanese government means to fuck with China's oil supply. Bush may be stupid, but he and his handlers are not quite that crazy.
     

  •  Its just not on their priority list (none)
    And until it is, the letter coming back to us will be the same.

    I will write in.  I will speak out.

    The root problem though is our representive gov't.

    Which right now is neither.  Gotta change that then we can steer the ship to save the people.  Hopefully that's possible.

    We're gonna explode?! I don't wanna explode! 宁静

    by TalkieToaster on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 02:33:46 PM PST

  •  disconcerting.... (none)
    on senator john cornyn's site, i found this:

    Validation Question Completing the validation question helps ensure that you, not an automated program, are sending correspondence. This reduces system loads and provides better performance from my
    office to serve you. Thank you for your patience and cooperation.

    Please select the pair of words that sound alike from the list of words.*

    the answer (i hope) was:  floor : fluor

    you can click to get a new validation question if you don't know the answer, but this smacks of literacy poll tests, in my opinion...

    you can rearrange my face but you can't rearrange my mind -8.63,-7.28

    by mediaprisoner on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 02:35:45 PM PST

  •  hey msoc (none)
    i did it - wrote to my congressman and both senators.  i said we should use international forces and act unilaterally if necessary.  gah, the irony.

    i wish we could find a practical way to get thc to occur naturally in the air; conflict would become a thing of the past....

    you can rearrange my face but you can't rearrange my mind -8.63,-7.28

    by mediaprisoner on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 02:40:07 PM PST

  •  What can we do? (none)
    Ranting is not going to stop it. The US has no military excess to go in and kick butts (not that I think that that is a good idea at all).

    This should be a UN problem, and of course, we now lack a popular UN ambassador who could help make this a World Mission. Was this planned that way? I don't believe that Darfur is on the radar for this administration.

    If our government refuses to protect poor blacks in our own country it is pretty easy to ignore what is happening across the Atlantic. There are more "important" agendae. Notwithstanding that the massacres are being done by Arab muslims, IIRC.

    Most of Africa is a total mess, between tribal battles, AIDS, poverty, malaria. This continent should be of prime concern for the remainder of the World. But it still is not.

    I share the frustration, MSOC. I am also a federally-funded scientist who may get premature retirement because We cannot afford to do basic research unless it deals with  avian influenza or smallpox.

    All that wasted money in the mideast...

    •  "Ranting is not going to stop it" (none)
      I am doing what I can do.

      It really irks me when people dismiss my "ranting" as a waste of energy and time. As if I've accomplished nothing by getting two diaries about Sudan some facetime on the Recommended Diaries list of the biggest blog in the universe, as if nothing I've ever said in RANT form means a damn.

      I know that's not what you meant, but I've heard it way too much. As far as I can tell, I have made a difference, albeit a tiny one. And while I am not CONTENT with the size of the difference, I am, at least, glad to have made one at all.

      And thus I leave to write another fucking letter and make another fucking phone call and make myself even MORE of an annoying pest to my representatives and yours.

      •  You are correct. (none)
        I did not mean to dis you at all. I am happy that there are people who take on causes that are not mainstream.

        You are younger than I am, your son is younger than my children. I believe that your husband is employed. Mine is not, and we uncelebrated his 59th B-day less than two weeks ago.

        I celebrate those people who can dig their way out of their family situation to really CARE, in a meaningful way, about people that they will likely never meet, even by email.

        But MSOC, what can YOU do? Other than groups like Doctors without Borders, who can we trust to get money (=power???} to the poor people who need so much help?

  •  bushco: Does Darfur (none)
    have much oil to be pumped out of the ground?

    or caucasian people being abused or murdered?

    No?

    sorry, we can't do anything about it. let the UN deal with it.

    "Think of Iraq as a military base with a very large oil reserve underneath.... You can't ask for better than that." Fadel Gheit

    by Superpole on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 03:41:41 PM PST

  •  What is this picture supposed to represent, Mary? (none)
    My folks lived about 15 years in West Africa, working in medicine and refugee work.  My father is an ordained Baptist minister.  I presume, by this atrociously stupid image, you mean to imply Baptists aren't concerned about the problem in Darfur.  Typical slam against religious types.  Or you're making a funny.

    Let me tell you what, Maryscott.  I've been to Chad. And I'm a Baptist. And quite clearly, you haven't been to Chad, and with the exception of boo-hooing about it, I'm not sure you've done a thing.  I've worked with refugees all my life.

    Guess what.  It isn't the Baptists' problem, to be sure.  But they've sorta made it their problem.  

    People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

    by BlaiseP on Tue Mar 07, 2006 at 03:41:57 PM PST

  •  Nite74 (none)
    Couldn't get an e-mail, and am not a member of this forum, so I'm putting this here:
    On this thread on MLW:

    Oh christ
    Another Patriot for Al Gore "I was worried about this before anyone else here" comment-fest... will still recommend it though.  

    "Count the bodies like sheep to the rhythm of the war drum" MJ Keenan

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    by: Nite74 @ March 07, 2006 at 12:07:23 America/Los_Angeles

    [ Parent ]
    ~~~
     What is your handle here, why are you talking about me on MLW when I don't bother anyone there or here, and just what the hell is your problem?  Where did I claim "I was worried about this before anyone else?" Is this a damned contest to you? Because it isn't to me, and all I have done in my own outrage about this here is ask who the Senator was who wrote the response, and alert people to another organization they can also contact. This remark on a site I don't even frequent by someone I don't even know was totally unnecessary. Yes, I'm sometimes a bit pushy in getting information (especially when I am ignored,) but isn't that what we should be doing regarding this? Perhaps you will now have the guts to come here or mail me and respond to this and tell me why you are talking behind my back simply for caring as well when I did nothing to you.

    •  Dude (none)
      That made my morning, needed a good laugh.  

      No problem with you, for the most part.  Your diaries are often well done, I've even rated a comment or two of yours at 4, and I like Al Gore too.  

      But, without fail, when MSOC writes a diary, there are some of the silliest comments I've ever seen sitting right above that Patriot for Al Gore name.  

      I only come to Dkos for headlines and to watch the pie fights.  'Nuff said.  

      "Count the bodies like sheep to the rhythm of the war drum." M.J. Keenan

      by Nite74 on Wed Mar 08, 2006 at 06:35:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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