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No Permanent Bases: Passed Both Houses, Removed in Conference Committee


By David Swanson

When the House and the Senate pass similar but not identical bills, they create a conference committee to work out the differences. When they both passed amendments to the "emergency supplemental" spending bill stipulating that none of the money could be used to build permanent bases in Iraq, the conference committee, behind closed doors this week, resolved that non-difference by deleting it.

This would appear to be a blatant violation of the rules of Congress and an unconstitutional voiding of the will of the people as expressed by their Representatives and Senators. But it can't appear that way to a people that knows nothing about it. And it does not appear that way at all to the journalists who inform the public of its government's doings. Even the minority members of the conference committee and the leaders of the minority party in Congress seem entirely comfortable with this course of events, although Congresswoman Barbara Lee has denounced the Republicans for it.

The House was the first to pass the "no permanent bases" amendment, back in March. Only one media outlet in the nation reported on the matter, the San Francisco Chronicle, which wrote:

"Lee's amendment, which would bar the use of any funds in the new spending bill to establish permanent bases, passed on a voice vote, with no one speaking in opposition. President Bush and some top administration officials have said the U.S. military has no interest in permanent bases, the prospect of which is among the causes of anti-American unrest in Iraq. Leaders of the Republican majority also may have chosen to avoid a debate and recorded vote on Lee's proposal because they didn't want to go on record endorsing a permanent military presence in Iraq when polls show Americans oppose the war. Opponents also may try to strike the amendment when leaders of the House and Senate reconcile their bill for final passage. 'In adopting this amendment, we can take the target off our troops' backs by sending a strong and immediate signal to the Iraqi people, the insurgents and the international community that the United States has no designs on Iraq,' Lee said on the House floor."
In response to this, I wrote at the time:
"That's quite a story: an issue so touchy that the majority party goes against its own wishes in order to avoid going on record, and a reporter, with his editor's approval, anticipates that they will likely reverse that position behind closed doors. Won't that be an even bigger story! Well, no. Not if no one has heard about this one. And not if no one has even heard that bases are being built or that Iraqis are killing Americans because of it."
Then the Senate did the same thing. They passed "no permanent bases" on a voice vote with no opposition. And the media was silent. Everyone knew what was coming, but nobody felt the public should hear about it.
Now the newspapers are full of stories about things the conference committee did yesterday. None of the stories that I've seen mention the removal of the language about permanent bases. Instead, most of the articles focus on the idea that the conference committee saw its job as reducing spending. It stripped out money for American farmers and other useful spending.
But what would those farmers think if they knew the committee had spent their money on multi-billion-dollar permanent military bases in somebody else's country, bases never explicitly authorized by Congress, bases built as part of an ongoing occupation never authorized by Congress? Would the farmers be dangerously overcome with joy to learn that? Is that the reason they must not be told?
If nobody knows and nobody cares, I guess it can't be treason.
Here are two people who would be interested to hear your opinion on the topic: Senator Thad Cochran (202-224-5054) and Congressman Jerry Lewis (202-225-5861), the pair of Republicans in charge of the conference committee. Feel free to give them a call and tell them what you think.

Oh, and one other public servant would love to hear from you. The public has been demanding for many months that Congress at least hold an open debate on the Iraq War, a lengthy debate allowing Congress Members from both sides of the aisle to introduce amendments and have them voted on. Instead, House Majority Leader John Boehner (202-225-6205) has announced that he'll allow a short debate next week, with no amendments allowed, and discussion limited to a phony bill the Republicans slapped together in secret this week on a napkin.

OK, I admit I don't know if it was on a napkin. But I guarantee it will sound like it when you read it.

My advice for next week, if you want to keep some sanity, is to ignore the House and watch the Senate, where Senator Russ Feingold will introduce an amendment on the floor requiring that all US troops in Iraq be "redeployed" by December 31.

Get C-Span and watch it, because the media will not tell you about it. They will not tell you for two reasons. First, Feingold is running for president, and the warmongers have already deemed him unacceptable. Second, Senator Hillary Clinton will vote against the amendment, and the warmongers have already deemed her the appropriate peace candidate to lose the 2008 election.

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Giving today's democRATS control of the Hill in November will bring no real change.

BUT THIS WILL.

Check it out and pass it on to everyone you know.

John Perry

Demand accountability.
http://www.johnperryonline.com

I came here to read something pertinent about the most important story of day month year - the disintegration of our constitutional process. I hate to respond to a totally off-topic post, but come on ...

"We’re a movement to take our country back from polarizing politics."

So why did you choose a derogatory slur for the party not in power? That's not polarizing?

This is just another repiglican ruse.
Having sown the seeds of hate politics, now they claim they want NO democrats to reciprocate.
Impeachment for NOT committing a crime, the election theft of 2000, the Brooks Brothers Rioters, the 11 hour lines in Ohio's cities, the untraceable unverified, easily manipulated Diebold 'vote counting' and now they claim they want us all to 'make nice' by creating a third party to avoid a clean sweep of repiglicans from office in November.
Who, exactly, is fooled by this ... charade?

Lets get it together Dems all the way! Most imporant is getting rid of electronic voting machines!

The idea of ditching Repugnantcans with a third party sounds like one of those "Rovian" plots. That's the ticket! Some deeply-committed neo-con will pose as third party stuff, get elected; and then, just like "One of the guys," (you remember old Georgie Boy's speech about bringing morals and ethics back to Washington?) this new-kind-of-leader will pull out all the stops and we'll be back to the facist, right wing warring we've so enjoyed the past 5 1/2 years. "Oops, sorry... it's all the fault of terrorism that we're deleting your Constitutional rights. Oops, those terrorists have big weapons sitting on top of their oil and we have to make them a democracy to save them from it."

Read the script. It's not as informal as my silly-sounding little conjecture but it clearly identifies the plan and the reasons for militarization. PNAC- The Project for the New American Century has not gone away.

Third Party, huh? As I've often heard, "Be careful what you ask for." Make sure your third party is not PNAC or Neo-Con; wolves in disguise. They'll eat your grandma.

sallyb36 says:

"The idea of ditching Repugnantcans with a third party sounds like one of those "Rovian" plots."

Do I sound like a "Rovian" plot to you?

http://www.smallgov.org/?p=293

I, and the Libertarian Party to which I subscribe, have been around a lot longer than Mr. Rove, to whom you allude,has had any influence on the course of Washington politics.

The Green Party is an international organization, respected and in good standing in most of the democratic first world.

The only "Rovian" plot involved here is the one you are allowing yourself to be misled by.

Before you so cynically discount dedicated people who are striving for real change as Republican fronts, please at least pick up the phone and call your nearest third party organization. It doesn't matter what you discuss; just give yourself an opportunity to open-mindedly form an impression from what you hear, reading between the lines.

Then call us Republican fronts. Much to the contrary, if you would look at the history of the American two-party system, you find that when it was healthy and properly functional, third partys served as a vital check against the insular attitude we now observe in Washington.

The problems of collusion between the Republicans and Democrats, which has reached a level at which the distinction is a sham, are due directly to their success in shutting out third partys in recent times.

if we were a "Rovian plot", then why are the Republicans and the democrats cooperating to shut us out?

http://www.gp.org/press/pr_2006_02_09.shtml

"Some deeply-committed neo-con will pose as third party stuff, get elected..."

The flaw in your logic, aside from the improbability, is that your Manchuruian candidate theory works just as well without the employment of a third party. Moreover, as long as the contemporary attitude (historically, a recent development) you express pervades, it can be employed more effectively through one of the established partys.

"...you remember old Georgie Boy's speech about bringing morals and ethics back to Washington?) this new-kind-of-leader will pull out all the stops and we'll be back to the facist, right wing warring we've so enjoyed the past 5 1/2 years..."

No, that's what the Democrats have promised you, don't you even listen to them?

Remember what your "anti-war" Democrat Presidential nominee was going to do about Iraq?

If David Cobb or Michael Badnarik were President today, there would be no American troops not merely in Iraq, but anywhere other than the U.S.A.

Who did you vote for? I sure don't have to apologize for my vote.

Your saintly Democrats promise to do a better job of "fighting" the "war" on terror. But the war on terror is a scam by the Rep/Dems; it doesn't need to be "fought", it just needs to be stopped from this end where it was initated:

http://www.smallgov.org/?p=188

The Democrats are going to do this? Give me a break.

'Third Party, huh? As I've often heard, "Be careful what you ask for."'

Take your own advice. You're not being careful, you're just being cynical.

None of us that is dedicated to promoting third partys is asking you to hand us anything, other than a fair hearing.

"Make sure your third party is not PNAC or Neo-Con; wolves in disguise. They'll eat your grandma."

Thats very ironic and good advise. We seem to have developed that very problem in the Libertarian Party:

http://www.smallgov.org/?p=168

The party convention is July 1st-2nd. We'll see who wins out.

The small government blog is dedicated to maintaining the Libertarian Party's strict adherence to principles. We expect to earn our title, "The Party of Principle". You may not agree with our ideology, but we expect to earn your respect by staying true to it:

http://www.smallgov.org/

---The Bikemessenger

by Anonymous on Fri, 2006-06-09 22:11.

"This is just another repiglican ruse."

"...and now they claim they want us all to 'make nice' by creating a third party to avoid a clean sweep of repiglicans from office in November.
"Who, exactly, is fooled by this ... charade?"

I don't usually respond to cowardly "Anonymous" postings here. But this requires an exception.

I am not a "repiglican" ruse.

My name is Robert Noval. I'm "The Bikemessenger", you know, the one that rides around red-state downtown Miami with the signs that say "Impeach bush and Cheney" on his bike:

http://www.smallgov.org/?p=169

No, we don't want you to "make nice" by "creating" a third party. We want you to support the third partys that have been in existence for quite some time.

Something you, apparently, are too ignorant to be aware of, the MSM having done their jobs on you by pretending we don't exist.

Third partys are not about "making nice", we're about making trouble, BIG TROUBLE.

Like this: http://gp.org/impeachbush/

Of course, that's a bit mild by my standards:

http://www.smallgov.org/?p=154

Cowards like you that just stick your head in the sand, and mindlessly obey the Democrat faction's elite, such as Howard Dean, who tells you when you get them elected, they'll have "better" things to do than consider impeachment, or Nancy Pelosi, who unequivically rules it out.

"...a third party to avoid a clean sweep of repiglicans from office in November."

But there's no "clean sweep" to be had by removing the Republican faction and installing the Democrat faction of the War Party.

In fact, there is, in effect, no sweep at all.

It is only a mild over-simplification to suggest that the "winners", in your scenerio, take their seats in congress, while the "losers" become lobbyists.

Then back to business as usual. So you don't like the Repulicans?

I've got news for you, the Democrats work for the Repulicans, not for you.

So your "solution" is to reverse their roles?

The Democrat faction is not your party,fool. It's Joe Lieberman's party. It's War Queen Clinton's party, who's husband committed atrocities against the Iraqi people comparable to those of the current White House war criminal.

"Who, exactly, is fooled by this ... charade?"

Where do you get off calling dedicated people who are trying to enact real, fundamental change a "charade"?

You're the one who is being fooled by a charade, an ongoing charade that's I've watched the War Party's two factions put over on creampuff sheep like you for decades.

What's not clear is if that's more your lack of mental clarity, abject ignorance, or cowardice.

---The Bikemessenger

we need to change out the entire government somehow, get independent's in there in every spot we can elect them into. the people are hungry for a new day, they've begun to get the flavor of 'fascism' and 'dictatorship' to the point where it's starting to stink like the rotting carrion it is. replacing the republican's without tossing out the 'republican lite' bastards and bitches is a biological imperative if this patient, our democracy, is ever going to be resuscitated. at the present time, it's like watching the EMT's half-assedly administer New York CPR on your body as you float out of it, you knew it wasn't going to bring anything back. Need to get rid of the DINO'S or nothing changes. nothing.

When you bring a third party in we "WILL" lose to the Neo Coms. We are fighting for our rights and the constitution. This is war in our own country. People get together and vote only Demo. The most important stand we must all take is to get rid of ALL ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINES!!!!!!

Congress is now officially irrelevant.

You may as well fire the whole lot of them and reclaim their wages in tax money. I'm sure you could build a shiny new bomb or two out of the reclaimed money.

DonP Oh,come on people grow up. Permanent bases in Iraq have been a part of every "agreement" the U.S. has forced the Iraqis tosign off on since Bremer wrote the Constitution for Iraq. No charade my our "elected' leaders will mean any more that a charade by the "elected" Iraqui government.

"...the conference committee, behind closed doors this week, resolved that non-difference by deleting it.

This would appear to be a blatant violation of the rules of Congress and an unconstitutional voiding of the will of the people as expressed by their Representatives and Senators."

So what David? What do you suggest doing about it? Do you really think enough people will actually follow your advice?

First of all, a sufficent number of people will not find it practical to engage in the necessary degree of oversight you suggest.

"First, Feingold is running for president, and the warmongers have already deemed him unacceptable. Second, Senator Hillary Clinton will vote against the amendment, and the warmongers have already deemed her the appropriate peace candidate to lose the 2008 election."

Your "warmongers", as you so aptly describe them, are in control of the Dem/Rep power structure. you accomplish nothing by trying to acquire a controling influence in one of the two factions. Even if successful, your efforts are doomed to be coopted and subsumed by the elite of the power structure that franchises the false facade of the two-partys-only system. Just as they do now, to whatever degree of influence you may achieve, they will find a way to appear to accommodate you, while effectively frustrating you.

That is because the nature of the matters you seek of alter are matters of fundamental principle; not subject of compromise.

As we say at the small government blog,

"Marketing Small Government is better than compromising it. COMPROMISE IS A LAST RESORT, NOT A STRATEGY".

But the processes you propose to engage in are the processes of compromise.

Please put this matter in it's proper historical perspective. What was once a healthy, functional two party system has degenerated into a perversion that only wears the trappings of two distinct partys as a false veneer.

What's wrong is an essential, intrinsic element of the former viable two party system has been effectively removed; there is no solution other than to resurrect it.

That effectively missing element is the tradition of third partys. A third party, within the parameters of the American two party system is an institution distinct in structure and purpose from the two major partys. (See my critque of the "reformer" faction of the Libertarian Party for details):
"History Shoots Down The Reformers"

http://www.smallgov.org/?p=305

The missing quality that allows the degeneration we are observing is the absence of effective competition. The nature of said competition requires it's application from without the sphere of the established two partys.

This is the historic roll of the third party. Richard Winger has followed the progress of contemporary third partys, and studied their history in detail. He writes:

"Contrary to claims from those who assert the introduction of third parties into our political system would only worsen the existing problems of gridlock, American history shows that third parties actually enhance the positive consequences of a two-party system.

Using the criteria of higher voter turnout, the absence of gridlock and the exchange of power between two major parties, we see that our two-party system was healthy in the 1870s, 1880s and 1890s.

A key reason for this vibrancy was the existence of many vigorous and powerful third parties. Some examples are the Greenback Party, the Union Labor Party and the Peoples Party. These groups forced the major political parties to pass significant anti-monopoly legislation as well as important labor legislation.

We need third parties more than ever to introduce new ideas into the system, provide an outlet for people unhappy with current government policy, and make it possible for some third party to grow into a new major party, replacing one of the existing parties."

Richard Winger is the editor and publisher of Ballot Access News.

Complete article at:

http://www.ballot-access.org/winger/wwbbo.html

John P.:

You're mistaken about "Unity '08"; this is just the opposite of what we need. Libertarians take one look at that and we know intuitively that it has no validity. The reason being that it presents no distinct, specific agenda or ideology; only the vague suggestion of "unity" towards an unspecified purpose. Any success here will of necessity go the way of Perot's Reform Party, also lacking in a clear, comprehensive ideology or agenda. Therefore subject of opportunist exploitation to ruin. Leaving those who invested in it frustrated and cheated.

The process you described here:

http://www.smallgov.org/?p=293#comment-2237

Is inexorable, save a return to the third party tradition; organizations from outside the power structure, motivated by civic duty, not lust for power. Of course, for the sake of clarity, I should note the use of the term "motivated" in this context is derivative,i.e.,the abstract structure of the organization lends itself to the motivations of those who lust for power, and is concomitantly and reciprically hostile to those acting in good conscience.

A perfect living, breathing example of the indispenable value of third partys is demostrated by the Green Party's candidate for the House seat from Delaware, Michael Berg.

Berg has an understanding of the nature of peace which clarity is extraordinary. A clarity not exhibited by even the most consistent and vehement war opponents in congress such as Kucinich or Paul. A clarity, I submit, achieveable ONLY from outside the beltway.

Berg demostrates a mastery of the entity-based nature of causation and applies it to establishing a practicable definition of the term "peace" that consitutes a watershed epiphany.

We who advocate peace should study it carefully.

Here's a transcript of Berg's "interview" with CNN's Soledad O'Brien:

http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/06/08/berg.interview/index.html

Actually, Berg spanks the White House propagandist as a miscreant child; as fun to watch as it is enlightening.

---The Bikemessenger

"...the conference committee, behind closed doors this week, resolved that non-difference by deleting it.

This would appear to be a blatant violation of the rules of Congress and an unconstitutional voiding of the will of the people as expressed by their Representatives and Senators."

So what David? What do you suggest doing about it? Do you really think enough people will actually follow your advice?

First of all, a sufficent number of people will not find it practical to engage in the necessary degree of oversight you suggest.

"First, Feingold is running for president, and the warmongers have already deemed him unacceptable. Second, Senator Hillary Clinton will vote against the amendment, and the warmongers have already deemed her the appropriate peace candidate to lose the 2008 election."

Your "warmongers", as you so aptly describe them, are in control of the Dem/Rep power structure. you accomplish nothing by trying to acquire a controling influence in one of the two factions. Even if successful, your efforts are doomed to be coopted and subsumed by the elite of the power structure that franchises the false facade of the two-partys-only system. Just as they do now, to whatever degree of influence you may achieve, they will find a way to appear to accommodate you, while effectively frustrating you.

That is because the nature of the matters you seek of alter are matters of fundamental principle; not subject of compromise.

As we say at the small government blog,

"Marketing Small Government is better than compromising it. COMPROMISE IS A LAST RESORT, NOT A STRATEGY".

But the processes you propose to engage in are the processes of compromise.

Please put this matter in it's proper historical perspective. What was once a healthy, functional two party system has degenerated into a perversion that only wears the trappings of two distinct partys as a false veneer.

What's wrong is an essential, intrinsic element of the former viable two party system has been effectively removed; there is no solution other than to resurrect it.

That effectively missing element is the tradition of third partys. A third party, within the parameters of the American two party system is an institution distinct in structure and purpose from the two major partys. (See my critique of the "reformer" faction of the Libertarian Party for details):
"History Shoots Down The Reformers"

http://www.smallgov.org/?p=305

The missing quality that allows the degeneration we are observing is the absence of effective competition. The nature of said competition requires it's application from without the sphere of the established two partys.

This is the historic roll of the third party. Richard Winger has followed the progress of contemporary third partys, and studied their history in detail. He writes:

"Contrary to claims from those who assert the introduction of third parties into our political system would only worsen the existing problems of gridlock, American history shows that third parties actually enhance the positive consequences of a two-party system.

Using the criteria of higher voter turnout, the absence of gridlock and the exchange of power between two major parties, we see that our two-party system was healthy in the 1870s, 1880s and 1890s.

A key reason for this vibrancy was the existence of many vigorous and powerful third parties. Some examples are the Greenback Party, the Union Labor Party and the Peoples Party. These groups forced the major political parties to pass significant anti-monopoly legislation as well as important labor legislation.

We need third parties more than ever to introduce new ideas into the system, provide an outlet for people unhappy with current government policy, and make it possible for some third party to grow into a new major party, replacing one of the existing parties."

Richard Winger is the editor and publisher of Ballot Access News.

Complete article at:

http://www.ballot-access.org/winger/wwbbo.html

John P.:

You're mistaken about "Unity '08"; this is just the opposite of what we need. Libertarians take one look at that and we know intuitively that it has no validity. The reason being that it presents no distinct, specific agenda or ideology; only the vague suggestion of "unity" towards an unspecified purpose. Any success here will of necessity go the way of Perot's Reform Party, also lacking in a clear, comprehensive ideology or agenda. Therefore subject of opportunist exploitation to ruin. Leaving those who invested in it frustrated and cheated.

The process you described here:

http://www.smallgov.org/?p=293#comment-2237

is inexorable, save a return to the third party tradition; organizations from outside the power structure, motivated by civic duty, not lust for power. Of course, for the sake of clarity, I should note the use of the term "motivated" in this context is derivative,i.e.,the abstract structure of the organization lends itself to the motivations of those who lust for power, and is concomitantly and reciprically hostile to those acting in good conscience.

A perfect living, breathing example of the indispenable value of third partys is demostrated by the Green Party's candidate for the House seat from Delaware, Michael Berg.

Berg has an understanding of the nature of peace which clarity is extraordinary. A clarity not exhibited by even the most consistent and vehement war opponents in congress such as Kucinich or Paul. A clarity, I submit, achieveable ONLY from outside the beltway.

Berg demostrates a mastery of the entity-based nature of causation and applies it to establishing a practicable definition of the term "peace" that consitutes a watershed epiphany.

We who advocate peace should study it carefully.

Here's a transcript of Berg's "interview" with CNN's Soledad O'Brien:

http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/06/08/berg.interview/index.html

Actually, Berg spanks the White House propagandist as a miscreant child; as fun to watch as it is enlightening.

---The Bikemessenger

I am so tired of the repulicans in office, brought to power through stolen votes from Diebold and Ohio diebold executive, Bush campaign leader and Secretary of State Kevin Blackwell. If they aren't stealing the vote why is it that we can have a reciept for every credit card purchase but they can't seem to give us a ballot that could be recounted after an election shows gross anamolies? Wake up america, the reason they do whatever they want is because they aren't worried about losing elections.
Have a nice day.

Amen, right on the mark. Hillary is the Republican Party's favorite racehorse in 2008 as her nomination virtually assures their party's victory. Arguably, the larger questions are why is the media complicit with the gag order Cheney and company have had in force for the past 6 years, will Mark Warner emerge as the viable, and electable option and, if not, why not?

I'd rather see the whole creepy as hell GWB administration get the impeachment pink slip, not just GWB himself; I don't care for anyone serving under such an insidiously shamelessly creepy bombastic commander in creep.

And we ought to ask every legislator, not just Boehner, Cochran and Lewis.

Keep pushing for the answers, David. I'm surprised that you're the only blogger I've found who's covering this and I concur with your efforts wholeheartedly.

Now we know why that DOD said" the new humvees will not get to Iraq until 2008"

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