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The Referendum To Nowhere BY ARNAUD AND NAJA GIRARD
Can you stand another channel widening article? This one will surprise you – we promise.
Interviews with representatives of the US Army Corp of Engineers and NOAA/Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary revealed that nearly everything we have heard so far about the $ 3 Million dollar dredging feasibility study has been wrong. There won’t be a study about local economic impacts. In fact, there is not even going to be a study, regardless of the outcome of the referendum on October 1st.
As it stands, Sanctuary regulations prohibit dredging. As long as regulations prohibit dredging in the Sanctuary, “I do not believe that Corps of Engineers will commit study funds to do the study,” says Eric Bush, Chief, Planning and Policy Division, USACE, Jacksonville. Bush says the Army Corp will not pursue a study unless they get a ‘head nod’ from those in charge of the Sanctuary.
So the next question is: Will Sanctuary officials move to change the law? “Our role,” says Sean Morton, Superintendent of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, “is to manage and protect Sanctuary resources. Typically regulatory changes result in tightening up resource protections, not loosening them. We have zero plans to initiate a change in regulations that would facilitate this dredging project.” Morton says, “There will be no ‘head nod’”.
Let’s see if we understand this correctly: [...full article]
I sent in this comment to the article:
Consider – Since when did something being illegal ever deter Key West?
3 years ago I organized Florida Keys “Hands across the Sands” against Off shore Oil drilling. I cannot believe that this issue is still coming up after all these disasters we witnessed….http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziSXRpuv26M
Do you have Jan’s phone number, I emailed her a few days ago and haven’t heard back.
I’m moving into a place in KW as we speak. Sandy Downs, on Cudjoe Key, said Miss Kitty can stay with her and her family, in a little while I’m going to take Miss Kitty down there – they don’t have a cat currently.
Miss Kitty relocated earlier this evening, I’m moving into the home of a KW friend where I have stayed several different times. She views me as family, is glad I’m coming back. Rent reasonable for KW. Made two trips already, moving stuff. Last moving trip should be in morning, after closing at 11 a.m. I heard back from Jan via FB, she said she’s covered up right now, can’t take on new cat, so it looks, so far, that it worked out okay for Miss Kitty.Sandy’s home far enough away from US 1 and on a canal and plenty of wrap-around deck upstairs and trees and if Miss Kitty bonds there, she should be in meow heaven, waiting on Sandy’s fisherman son to come home each evening with morsels from the sea.Sandy’s 15-year-old son Marshall promised he would look after Miss Kitty; he’s a good kid, I know him pretty well. He’s going to keep her locked up in his room for three days, which should help her bond there. She has her brand of cat food, water, litter box, which she used while I was there, hopefully that was a good sign. She hasn’t used a litter box in over two years, I weaned her from it and she became go to the bathroom outside cat, and I imagine that will continue after the three day break-in period.I thought I would cry driving home, but so far, no tears. Miss Kitty’s feral boyfriend cat came by tonight and into the trailer to eat her cat food with her just watching on, and he saw right away she wasn’t here and he was looking for her, then he left. Another female feral cat I have been feeding since I moved back here in 2010. She looked terrible back then, but as she ate the same cat chow as Miss Kitty – Friskies Seafood Sensations, her coat filled out, a terrible open wound on her right front leg healed, she gained some weight, she took to living under the trailer, I can’t imagine the shock she will experience after having her last meal here this evening. Marshall has all the Miss Kitty cat chow now.
Yes, Columbia situation is a sad state of affairs. I published something about it about a week or ten days ago, but I’m getting reminders so maybe its time to go there again.
Ari: And what about other weapons we have in our stockpile? For example, depleted uranium ammunition?
Alan: Yes, I mean, the examples can go on and on about weapons that are generally regarded as abhorrent, that are still employed by the military-industrial complex in the United States. For example, that would be land mines. Another example of that would be cluster bombs. I mean, it’s really not my desire to indict the military-industrial complex. For the purpose of this interview, I do think that unless there is absolutely unequivocal evidence that the Syrian military deliberately used these weapons, I don’t even know why we are having this conversation. And if we did have this conversation on that basis, then I think I would have to come back to the question of, where is the vital interest of the United States? When it comes to intervening in yet another country, can’t we just finish our wars? Why do we have to start new ones, before we [even] end the old ones? It seems really odd to me; I don’t know.
Ari: Well, it seems like we can’t wind down anything without starting a new one up.
Alan: Right, and you know that there could be consequences, or as they like to use the term in the military industrial complex, “blowback.” Let’s suppose that the President goes ahead and uses military forces in Syria. Then let’s suppose that Syria stages some attack against, oh, I don’t know, U.S. tourists, journalists; I don’t know what exactly the best possibilities from their perspective might be. How are we then going to condemn them for that?
Ari: Well what is strange to me is the people who seem that think that this decision is easy, “Oh, we’ll just lob some cruise missiles and be done with it.” When in fact the author of that strategy was interviewed by ForeignPolicyMagazine.com today and said that’s not a good strategy for dealing with this — the very author of the strategy.
Alan: Well, right. Some people scratch their heads and wonder why we have to shut down a dozen different embassies through the Middle East, without ever questioning whether there might be some link between that and over a hundred drone attacks in Yemen alone.
Ari: And then you get people like John McCain who are out there saying, “Well, whatever the President does, it’s not enough, we have to do more.” Why can’t we stop – after the debacle that was Iraq? And, look, you have personal experience in that debacle; you prosecuted some of the war profiteers in court. Why do we still listen to these people?
Alan: I don’t know. Again, one could make arguments in favor of and against whether the United States should somehow be involved in the Syrian Civil War. I can see that, and I can understand why McCain feels the way he does. He thinks that the [rebels are] freedom fighters [against] a brutal dictatorship. I understand that. But what’s actually happened is, first, an enormous amount of muddy thinking about what U.S. interests are involved here or not involved here. And that’s been framed by the President making a very vague statement about red lines being crossed, which really doesn’t help anybody decide what to do about the situation. And secondly, when you actually delve into the evidence, the evidence is genuinely ambiguous. I’ll just give you an example. One example of this is that if, hypothetically, the Syrian government wanted to terrorize its own population into submission, it would say that it was using gas. In fact, the Syrian government has adamantly denied that it’s using gas.There’s no particular benefit to the Syrian government in killing these specific 200 victims. In fact, the victims, to some degree, look like they’re literally innocent bystanders. The reason why people think that gas might have been used is because there’s no indication of any exterior wounds, so it looks like they suffocated. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they were the victims of a gas attack. There are, in fact, other possibilities. Another possibility is that the [Syrian Army] simply made a mistake. They loaded the wrong canister into the wrong cannon, and that happens. If they wanted to use poison gas, they’d be using it every day, they’d be using it every hour, and they wouldn’t be hiding it. And instead what you have, at this point, [is an] isolated situation which has all sorts of other potential explanations. It doesn’t seem to serve any strategic purpose on their part to do one attack against these 200 people and then say they didn’t do it, that it was something else, and then not doing anything else. That’s a very strange pattern of conduct, even for the Syrian government. Second, as I indicated, there are other explanations that actually fit the evidence as well, or better. When you use chemical warfare agents, the victims themselves are dangerous to the people around them, because of the residue of the chemical agents, for quite some time to come. There have been, at this point, numerous contacts between the victims and people who came to rescue them. I’m not aware of reports at this time that there were a substantial number of the rescuers who themselves were hurt by the agents. That implies that it wasn’t actually chemical agents that were used. By the way, I haven’t heard any of these reports from the Administration, and that itself causes me some concern. It seems the Administration is only putting out information that would lead one to believe that the Syrian government deliberately used chemical weapons, rather than what seems to be the intrinsic ambiguity of the situation. I think that’s puzzling and, to me, disturbing.
Ari: Have you been in touch with any members of the Progressive Caucus about any type of action on behalf of Members of Congress who are opposing – would oppose a military action?
Alan: I understand [Rep.] Barbara Lee is circulating a letter. The letter doesn’t oppose military action, but it does call for consultations with Congress beforehand.
Ari: Well, one can hope there can be some breath before we get involved in yet another war, because these things are never as simple as those promoting them would like them to be.
Alan: You know, one thing that is perfectly clear to me in my district, and I think is true in many other districts from speaking to other members, is that there is no desire, no desire, on the part of the American People to be the world’s policeman and for us to pick up this gauntlet, even on the basis of unequivocal evidence of chemical warfare by the Syrian Army deliberately against its own people. Even if there are unequivocal evidence of that, that’s just not what people in my district want. I take the title of Representative seriously. I listen to people. I hear what they have to say. At a time when we are cutting veterans benefits, cutting education student loans, cutting school budgets, contemplating cutting Social Security and Medicare, I don’t see how we can justify spending billions of dollars on an attack like this. I did notice, for what it’s worth, that the manufacturer of the missiles that would be used has had an incredible run on their stock value in the past 60 days. Raytheon stock is up 20 percent in the past 60 days, as the likelihood of the use of their missiles against Syria has become more and more likely. So I understand that there’s a certain element of our society who does benefit from this, but they’re not the people who vote for me, nor the people, by the way, who contribute to my campaign [laughs].
Ari: Not many Raytheon shareholders in your district?
Alan: Right. Nobody wants this, except the military-industrial complex. I think that, if the President is being used by others for their own personal interests, he should recognize that, and rise above it.
Ari: Congressman Grayson, thank you so much for joining us today on The Agenda, and giving us your perspective on this.
Alan: You’re welcome. Thanks for having me.
Congressman Alan Grayson – telling it like it is. Someone sure needs to.
Let’s be real clear about this, bombing Syria has absolutely nothing to do with “national interests.” National interests are the interests of the American people. When politicians use the term it means the interests of banks and corporations like the petrochemical industry and armaments like Lockheed Martin, who ship jobs overseas and don’t pay taxes… but contribute to campaign funds. This is a civil war. How many times do we have to pick up the tab for war profiteers?