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Congress & The Darfur Issue

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Mistletoe Angel
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0 posted 08-19-2006 04:15 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

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http://darfurscores.org/

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I have found this new interesting site which shows how all members of Congress have voted and behaved toward ending the Darfur genocide issue to date, and then compiles average grades for each state based on the representatives' voting histories.

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http://darfurscores.org/champions-of-darfur

The representatives with the best records on resolving the crisis are:

Sam Brownback (R-KS)
Richard Durbin (D-IL)
Tom Tancredo (R-CO)
Donald Payne (D-NJ)
Michael Capuano (D-MA)
Tom Lantos (D-CA)
Frank Wolf (R-VA)


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The representatives with the worst records are:

John Cornyn (R-TX)
George Allen (R-VA)
Robert Byrd (D-WV)
Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Ted Stevens (R-AK)
Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
Daniel Inouye (D-HI)
Daniel Akaka (D-HI)


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http://darfurscores.org/darfur

A brief summation of the Darfur humanitarian crisis can be read at the link above, which I believe virtually all Americans care most deeply about this issue and sympathize with the victims of this humanitarian traged, but with the issue receiving scant, minimal coverage across our mainstream media to date, I find it crucial to continue reminding everyone of the extent of this heartache just for good measure.

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Mind you that I don't believe any of the representatives with lousy average grades on the issue currently have no heart at all or have no ounce of compassion in their bodies towards the affected families and children, as I believe they too mean well and they themselves wish for a better world for all cultures. I'm simply suggesting that they may not be taking the issue as seriously as they should, whether their minds are distracted on other issues currently or haven't fully researched the conflict.

I consider Darfur one of the most important and most blatantly-ignored issues in our mainstream media, and this site can serve both as a sort of educational indicator in where we've made progress but still have further progress to achieve in gathering a loud collective call to aid in stopping the tragedy, and as an icebreaker for those who feel their state's representatives have not taken this issue as seriously as they should and to either encourage their representatives to open their eyes wider, or to consider possibly electing someone better-suited and mindful of the crisis.

May we continue to pray for the hundreds of thousands of victims in Sudan, pray that not only will help continue to be on the way, but better days for them are on the horizon as well, which are always made possible with the altruistic spirit of the human heart and community!



Sincerely,
Noah Eaton


"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa
Mistletoe Angel
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1 posted 08-19-2006 06:22 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

Here's a further story on the progress report:

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Christian News Wire: August 17, 2006

Report: Congress Falls Short in Effort to End Darfur Genocide

First-of-its-Kind Legislative Scorecard Highlights Champions -- and Failures -- in House and Senate

Potential Presidential Candidates Get Mixed Grades

Despite 2004 Declaration, Majority of Congress Has Done Little



WASHINGTON, Aug. 17 /Christian Newswire/ -- The first-ever "scorecard" grading Congress on its efforts to end the genocide in Darfur, Sudan shows that a large majority of legislators have failed to follow through with a unanimous congressional resolution in 2004 calling for an end to the genocide.

According to the report released today by the nonpartisan Genocide Intervention Network, both the US House of Representatives and the US Senate earned an overall grade of "C" based on the members' performance on a number of key legislative items intended to aggressively address the crisis. The scorecard, available online at www.DarfurScores.org,  also recognizes a bipartisan coalition of representatives and senators vigorously supporting civilian protection for endangered civilians in Darfur. An executive summary and description of each state delegation's grade is available at the same link.

Congress made history in July 2004, by becoming the first governmental body in US history to declare genocide while it was actually occurring. Unanimous resolutions recognized that the atrocities in Darfur, in which as many as 400,000 civilians have been killed and more than 2.5 million have been displaced, constituted ongoing genocide backed by the Sudanese government.

"In 2006, less than half of the House and Senate effectively stood up for Darfur," GI-Net Executive Director Mark Hanis says. "To ensure protection for Dafurians in the future, an overwhelming majority of Congress must commit themselves to ending genocide and making 'never again' not just a promise we make, but a commitment we keep."

Members of both parties applaud the scorecard. "The Genocide Intervention Network's scorecard is an important reminder that there will be accountability for members of Congress when it comes to ending the genocide in Darfur," says Sen. John Kerry (D-MA). "I will continue to support and advocate for strong U.S. government initiatives to achieve this as I join so many in praying for the safety of the people of Darfur."

"The scorecard will keep the pressure on Congress, reminding them that while progress has been made, more needs to be done," agrees Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS). "Although the Senate took action this year to address the genocide taking place in Darfur, as many as 2 million people remain displaced and up to 5,000 people die each month from violence."

The scorecard measures whether each member of Congress supported and voted in favor of significant Darfur legislation introduced in the 109th Congress. The scorecard also recognizes extraordinary actions, such as sponsoring key legislation and congressional visits to the Darfur region.

In the Senate, Sens. Sam Brownback and Dick Durbin (D-IL) earned an "A+" for their efforts on behalf of Darfur. Eleven other senators also received this grade for their efforts.

In the House, Reps. Donald Payne (D-NJ), Frank Wolf (R-VA), Tom Tancredo (R-CO) and Michael Capuano (D-MA) earned the top grade. Out of the entire House of Representatives, only seven other representatives earned an "A+."

Members of Congress who may run for president received mixed grades. Earning an "A+" were Sens. Brownback, Obama (D-IL), Hillary Clinton (D-NY), John Kerry and Rep. Tancredo, with Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) earning an "A." Earning a "B" were Sens. Evan Bayh (D-IN), Joe Biden (D-DE) and Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN). Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) garnered a "C."

"Senators and representatives who received failing grades in 2006 must be reminded throughout the coming year of their responsibility to protect civilians from genocide," GI-Net Director of Advocacy Sam Bell says. "Members of Congress who received high marks should be thanked and encouraged to continue their vital work."

Bell says the first commitment Congress could make to protect civilians in Darfur would be to support the incoming UN peacekeeping mission. "Our immediate priority is a congressional appropriation to ensure that UN peacekeepers have the capabilities to stop genocide," he says.

The scorecard also gives constituents the tools to contact their members of Congress about their records and potential future actions on Darfur.

The Genocide Intervention Network is working to build the first permanent anti-genocide constituency in the United States, mobilizing the political will to stop genocide when it occurs. Accessible online at www.GenocideIntervention.net,  GI-Net empowers individuals with tools to stop genocide through education, fundraising for civilian protection and advocacy efforts.


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Sincerely,
Noah Eaton


"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa
Alicat
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2 posted 08-19-2006 07:32 PM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

I agree that something positive needs to be done in Darfur, but what exactly does the US Congress have to do with it?  There's the African Union, European Union, United Nations, and the International Red Cross and Crescent.  What are they doing to stop the genocidal rampage of militant Islamic warlords?  Sending humanitarian aid is all nice and good, but there's no guarantee it will reach the intended recipients.  More often than not, militias and warlords seize all incoming goods and shipments and spend everything on themselves and their soldiers.  An 'international' converance against genocide, or whatever they end up calling themselves, will be about as effective as a UN resolution.  How many such were made against Saddam's Iraq?  How many were followed?  Lemme answer that one for you: ZERO.  How will this organizaiton put a stop to genocide wherever it exists?  Sanctions?  Harsh rhetoric?  Placation?  Military?  None of those guilty of genocide are going to give themselves up willing or without a fight.  They have everything to lose.

It would be nice if such idyllic organizations could affect real change, but it just doesn't work that way.  And having the US Congress be the global lawmaker isn't going to fly very well either, not to mention it being yet another waste of taxpayer dollars.  How many millions have gone towards Darfur?  How much of what was stolen, squandered and wasted could have helped our own needy?

I'm reminded of all the feel good benefits during the 80's and early 90's.  We Are The World, Live Aid, Africa Aid and sundry.  They raised enormous amounts of cash, which was sent on to help the needy and starving in other countries.  Know what it produced?  The despots in power got a little bit richer, the military supporting them got a little bit beefier, and the little that trickled down to the peons only made more starving children.  And American entertainers got a little bit wiser.  Now when they do a benefit concert, they make sure to get receipts.
Mistletoe Angel
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3 posted 08-19-2006 08:19 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

That's actually a good question, Alicat, as I myself am well aware that indeed this is a massive struggle, and one I don't expect to be resolved overnight or even in the immediate future. Despite that, I believe there is more we can do to, on both legislative and symbolic levels, to strive toward raising awareness to the two million of innocent civilians misplaced in the region.

Firstly, ever since the Bush Administration made a genuine effort earlier this year to secure a peace agreement in Darfur, unfortunately violence has been escalating in the months since then. Symbolically we must show that we remain united in firmly continuing to implement this agreement, and Congress can send that message by calling on President Bush to go the next step forward and agree to send a presidential envoy to the region. Senator Lieberman introduced a bill known as S. Res. 531 that if passed will allow just that.

Voice Of America: August 9, 2006

Secondly, by the first of October, it is hoped that we'll have a United Nations peacekeeping force deployed there, to continue to strengthen what was formerly a 7,000 strong African Union mission in the region that's capable of more competently dealing with their limitations at the moment. In strengthening the mission, we strengthen the potential in controlling this conflict. We've got to see to it this effort happens before its deadline, and moreover make the Darfur Peace & Accountability Act law, as it remains stuck in a conference committee at this time.

Sudan Divestment Campaign

Thirdly, as you earlier questioned rightfully, we need to tackle the diverting of aid dollars to Sudanese government officials that themselves play passive roles in the conflict and guerrillas, by backing a new addition to the Darfur Peace & Accountability Act known as Section 11, which basically allow states, cities, and universities to divest their holdings from Sudan without the threat of an impending lawsuit, which is the first step in attempting to stamp out this slippery stream.

Finally, for the time being, we have to make sure that these peacekeeping operations don't become underfunded. Our country has always done a wonderful job in being the provider of more than 25% of all UN peacekeeping units, but as of late they've fallen a little behind, and there is a proposal right now to contribute an additional $100 million for the 2007 budget to help fund and stabilize these operations.

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But, yes, Congress is certainly not alone in this, and itself cannot single-handedly mend the crisis. As the cliche goes, "Think globally, act locally". It is largely up to us to decide how large this social awareness movement can grow, and at the link below shows ten basic ways you can lead toward building concern to the issue at hand:

Genocide Intervention: Ten Things You Can Do Right Now

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Sincerely,
Noah Eaton

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa

Alicat
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4 posted 08-19-2006 10:44 PM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

That's if everyone in that region is on the same page.  It might be easier now than a few years ago when Chad and Sudan signed a cease-fire.  Libya under Quaddafi was trying very hard to overthrow the Chad government through Sudan by giving tactical, military and economic help and funding, as well as weapons, armaments and munitions.  Quaddafi had a master plan to make everything across the Sahara up to the Mediterranean Arab and Muslim, and part of that was making sure the Africans or Blacks (I forget the Sudanese word for them; just as well since it's a slur) were compelled to leave from in-state sanctions, pogroms, forced relocation and other hardships.  Another factor is Somalia.  True there's been a shattered civil war there since 1993 when US forces, under auspices of the UN to spearhead a peacekeeping force, took heavy losses at the hands of militant Muslim ambushes and were withdrawn by President Clinton.  In May of this year, Islamic militants seized the capital of Mogadishu and there's speculation they may also move against the de facto UN controlled capital.

So there's a lot of players and everyone needs to be on the same page to solve this.  But I really don't see that happening any time soon, the end of this decade, or the end of the next.
Mistletoe Angel
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5 posted 08-20-2006 03:34 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

I absolutely agree, Alicat. As I previously agreed, I realistically don't expect this conflict to end abruptly overnight, or even in a year; it's a process that'll take years and likely generations to fully mend.

But I do absolutely believe it's essential that we encourage Congress to continue to symbolically show that we stand in awareness of the atrocities happening in the region, and in sympathy toward playing an magnanimous role in striving for a better future for the few million displaced.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa

Mistletoe Angel
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6 posted 09-28-2006 06:16 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

In response to the embarassingly minimal coverage of this developing potential humanitarian crisis all across the mainstream media, next week I will be debuting during the KBOO Community Radio Evening News a new weekly segment dedicated completely to the Darfur conflict, both from social, political and artistic standpoints, titled "Salvation In Slow Motion".

I will include links to each broadcast here each week it airs.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa

ChePacifica
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7 posted 09-30-2006 03:08 PM       View Profile for ChePacifica   Email ChePacifica   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit ChePacifica's Home Page   View IP for ChePacifica

"Salvation In Slow Motion"

thats a great title - excellent

good luck with your radio show
 
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