Congress still plans to give the President absolute power to wage war anywhere, on anyone, without getting authorization from Congress -- indeed, without having to establish that a threat to the United States exists. And "anywhere" includes here, in America. And "anyone" includes American citizens. You think it won't be you, until a President Inhofe gets sworn in and promptly starts shooting anyone who uses environmentally-friendly dish soap, or a President Clinton gets sworn in and promptly ships all of Dan Burton's constituents to Guantánamo-Nebraska. You'd think Congress, with all its inane posturing recently over THA CONSTITUSHUN RULEZ BITCHAZ!!!, would want to hold on to its war-making powers in Article I. Maybe they're just so lazy that they're happy to give absolute power to that Nazi Socialist Communist Kenyan anti-colonialist "usurper" in the White House. (Mr. Obama, for his part, opposes having absolute war-making power, but let's not give him too much credit, as he hasn't exactly been quick to give up all the other powers Mr. Bush claimed for him.) CREDO helps you tell Congress not to make the President a dictator.
Meanwhile, the aforementioned Mr. Obama still plans to send all three Bush Mobb-era "free" trade deals to Congress, so Public Citizen helps you send a "Don't Screw America" postcard to your House Reps. I was happy with screwing-as-metaphor for what Congress will do to us if they approve any of these deals, but turns out the metaphor is more apt than that -- the U.S. International Trade Commission predicts that the metal products industry, which makes screws, will be among the hardest-hit by the South Korea "free" trade pact, which will cost us almost 160,000 jobs over the next few years. Note well that you'll have to print out this postcard, preferably with a color printer, and address it to your House Rep yourself; tools for finding your House Rep's address are, as always, in the upper left-hand corner of this page. (If you don't have a color printer, save the document to a thumb drive, and take it to your local copy center; they should be able to print it for you.)
If you haven't sent a public comment to the EPA about its proposed air toxins rule, Repower America provides you with another opportunity to do so. The EPA's rule would significantly reduce mercury and sulfur dioxide gas releases from coal-fired power plants; exposure to these toxins causes cancer, heart disease, respiratory problems, birth defects, and neurological problems, and reducing our exposure would reduce deaths and hospital visits. And reducing deaths and hospital visits would reduce health care costs, you may notice. I wonder why our fearless leaders don't point this out more often -- that not only do robust environmental regulations create jobs, they reduce health care costs. They also reduce the ability of CEOs to gild their plumbing, but a society that places that above the health and welfare of its people is a sick, immoral, and decadent society indeed. You may also remember that the EPA is coming to the Philadelphia area to hold a hearing about the new air toxins rule tomorrow; both CREDO and Penn Environment tell you more.
Finally, I regret to report that Gov. Perdue of North Carolina decided not to veto the nefarious anti-municipal wireless bill we discussed here last week. So the big telecoms, representing no constituency but themselves and their money, opposed by a broad swath of citizens across the ideological spectrum, somehow win again. This has been happening a lot, and I was pretty sure that if the big telecoms couldn't make headway under a Republican President, a Republican Congress (or a Democratic Congress with weak majorities), and a Republican FCC Commissioner, surely they wouldn't be able to make headway under a Democratic President, a Democratic Congress with expanded majorites, and a Democratic FCC Commissioner. Oh, sure, I feared exactly that sort of only-Nixon-could-go-to-China set-up, but I didn't think the politicians would stand so nakedly against the popular will, and I also didn't think the right would go almost completely silent on a cause which used to count Chip Pickering and Trent Lott among its champions. I guess we'll just have to communicate our will even louder next time.