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A Call to Link Arms

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Message Ramon Puga
A Call to Link Arms

The need for a coalition of peace, human rights, and environmental causes requires that we look at the interrelation of the problems and how we can coordinate common solutions. Viewing problems as part of interlocking webs, seeing the connections, will give rise to solutions with wide ranging effects. A proposed solution to one invariably will reflect and affect the other two. Coordinating efforts can only strengthen outcomes.

An environmentalist alarmed by the looming catastrophe of global warming will understand we have to curb our use of fossil fuels. The acquisition of oil resources leads to war for dwindling resources. The massive deficit, due to military spending on 737 bases in 130 countries and two ongoing wars, drains public funding for social programs. A campaign for universal health care should be aware of the interrelated reasons to join forces with efforts for peace and ecological sanity. The triple catastrophes of inevitable climate change, looming federal bankruptcy with a national debt of $8.96 trillion, and perpetual warfare must be addressed across a broad front to be effective in dealing with dwindling health care availability.

The big oil companies support the administration's resource war in Iraq and oppose limiting CO2 emissions with new fuel consumption standards. Exxon/Mobile spends $19 million of its windfall profits on propaganda denying global warming and the administration is orchestrating a campaign to mislead the public about climate change. Federal scientists reporting climate change have been censored by a political appointee, Phillip Cooney, a former oil company lobbyist coached by Exxon/Mobile, appointed head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. A public boycott of the largest oil company would have repercussions reverberating throughout governmental, financial, and military establishments. A call for a national boycott of Exxon/Mobile should be proposed by a coalition of peace, human rights, and environmental groups.

A look at the parallels between government policy in New Orleans and the war in Iraq will reveal striking similarities of national disgrace. The Army Corps of Engineers underestimated the construction of the levies due to budget constraints. The levies failed to hold back the surge of Katrina water. The Army Corps of Engineers dredged shipping channels through the bayous destroying their fragile ecology and the resulting lose of bayou protection allowed the storm surge to inundate New Orleans with toxic sludge. The poor people of New Orleans were blamed for their own negligence in not following evacuation orders even though no public transportation was available. Thousands of internally displaced citizens are still refugees in neighboring states. Public services such as water, sewage and electricity are still not repaired in the poorer neighborhoods outside the "French Quarter". Public housing is not being repaired and health services are lacking.

In Iraq, Iraqis are blamed for the ongoing chaos of war and occupation. Civilian infrastructure has been destroyed by our army in its "Shock and Awe" campaign. Water, sewage and electricity are still not repaired outside the "Green Zone" bunker headquarters of the occupation forces. The army has used uranium 238 extensively in its weapons and contaminated vast areas of the country forever. Health services of Iraqis are in total breakdown. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are being made refugees fleeing to neighboring countries.

Our government's efforts toward reconstruction are the same in many cases. No-bid contracts are awarded to politically connected Haliburton, $10 billion with little accountability for very rudimentary progress towards reconstruction. Blackwater Corp provided mercenary forces to patrol the streets of Baghdad and New Orleans with orders to shoot to kill in order to provide security, while bodies laid rotting in the streets. These were also billion dollar no-bid contracts awarded to an administration political contributor. There are limited funds available for the reconstruction due to massive corruption involving politically connected private defense contractors. While the Katrina disaster and the war in Iraq caused oil prices to spike, Exxon/Mobile made unprecedented windfall profits of $39.5 billion and the government granted them tax breaks for disaster relief.

We need a united front to fight back seemingly omnipotent forces against efforts to protect the environment, provide social justice, and develop peaceful solutions to global conflicts. It will only get worse in the coming years. A focused boycott of the greediest, socially irresponsible, big oil corporation corrupting this administration would send a strong signal that the citizenry is not having it anymore. In the Gandian tradition, the people united, will not be defeated. BOYCOTT EXXON/MOBILE - CAN YOU HEAR US NOW!
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veteran, teacher, peace activist
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