- Our Party
Resolutions Approved at the County Convention
April 8, 2006
1) Single Payer Universal Health Care
WHEREAS over 45 million Americans have no health care coverage, yet 15% of our GDP is devoted to a wasteful system that enriches insurance companies;
WHEREAS health costs are forcing major corporations like General Motors into bankruptcy and jobs offering adequate health coverage are harder and harder to find;
WHEREAS our infant mortality rate ranks as one of the highest among the western industrialized nations;
WHEREAS insurance and pharmaceutical companies profit without suitable accountability;
WHEREAS expensive medical procedures are the luxury of a few while emergency rooms are jammed with those who have no coverage and wait until the problem becomes an emergency;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Orange County Democratic Party calls upon the federal government to:
Establish single payer universal health care from cradle to grave as a national priority and encourage education of healthy lifestyles and prevention;
Ensure care of pregnant women and their offspring and thereby help reduce the high neonate costs;
Negotiate favorable prices with pharmaceutical companies, without middle men;
Include Medicare, Medicaid and VA health services as part of the universal health care system.
THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Orange County Democratic Party urges Congressman David Price to co-sponsor the United States National Health Insurance Act (HR 676).
2) Nuclear Proliferation
WHEREAS Article VI of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty proclaimed by the U.S. President on March 5, 1970 and entered into force on that date states that “Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue … complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”;
WHEREAS the United States maintains an estimated 5,735 operational and 9,962 stockpiled nuclear warheads and spends $4.5 billion per year to maintain these weapons, (NY Times 1/29/2006 );
WHEREAS substantial numbers of nuclear weapons exist in the Russian Federation, the states of the former Soviet Union and other countries and are not well secured;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Orange County Democratic Party calls upon the federal government to:
Adhere to and support the existing Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty including the reduction of the number of the United States’ operational and stockpiled nuclear weapons;
Set an example for the rest of the world by renouncing the development of new nuclear weapons and the testing of nuclear weapons;
Prioritize and provide adequate funding for the Cooperative Threat Reduction program of the Department of Defense, the Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Program of the Department of Energy and similar related programs of other Federal department and agencies to work with the Russian Federation and the states of the former Soviet Union to dismantle nuclear warheads, reduce nuclear stockpiles, and secure nuclear weapons and materials, and prevent the outflow of nuclear weapons expertise;
Replicate in other countries and regions of the world the Cooperative Threat Reduction program, the Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation program, and similar or related programs of other Federal departments and agencies;
Pursue diplomacy, enhanced inspection regimes, and regional security arrangements to reduce proliferation;
Work to ensure that highly enriched uranium is stored only in secure locations around the world by providing adequate funding for the Global Threat Reduction Initiative of the Department of Energy to provide for the removal, or temporary adequate security where removal is not yet feasible, of highly enriched uranium from its many locations around the world.
3) Fiscally Responsible Federal Budget
WHEREAS the current administration has recklessly mismanaged and obfuscated our national fiscal affairs when responsible leadership and candor are required to control our growing fiscal crisis;
WHEREAS the budget surplus inherited by President Bush has become a deficit, from a projected surplus of $5.6 trillion for 2001-2011 to a deficit of $2.2 trillion 2001 -2006;
WHEREAS the national debt has risen from $5.8 trillion in 2001 to $8.2 trillion today;
WHEREAS the current budget proposal stresses defense and domestic security ($537 billion) and does not even include the $70 billion requested for Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Bush defense budget, since his first term, has increased more than 45%;
WHEREAS 52% of the budget proposal is for broadly supported mandatory expenditures (including Social Security and Medicare) plus 9% for payment of the national debt, only 18% remains for non-military discretionary spending including education;
WHEREAS tax cuts, guided by a private minority agenda to starve the government from necessary revenues needed for health, education, etc., were originally enacted to last five years, but the Bush administration now proposes to make them permanent and thereby balloon our national debt after they leave office;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that all Democrats and individuals who understand some of the real threats to our society and rest of the world
Unite to return our country and its government in Washington to a more responsible course of action;
Help our representatives in Congress to bring a change of ideas, knowledge and competence in leadership;
Expand the discretionary funds in the Federal Budget to meet the most critical issues facing our country;
Roll back tax cuts for the wealthy and redirect such cuts to the middle and lower classes;
Eliminate military expenses for sophisticated and unneeded weapons such as two proposed high tech naval cruisers, Star Wars, and maintenance of unneeded nuclear war heads;
Employ Americans in public works including the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast;
Demand GAO oversight of private military contracts to cut out waste;
Establish an independent oversight commission to review, evaluate, and bring under control the defense budget.
WHEREAS the Administration misled us into a war with Iraq which is now in its fourth year, based on false intelligence causing over 2,240 deaths of Americans and thousands of Iraqis’ deaths;
WHEREAS the Administration continues to torture and violate civil liberties of detainees;
WHEREAS the Administration retaliates against critics and violates laws in surveillance of Americans;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Orange County Democratic Party calls upon the federal government to:
Declare now our intention to end within six months our participation in the war;
Turn over all our bases to Iraqis;
Provide for reparations to rebuild Iraq;
Renounce all claims to Iraq’s petroleum resources;
Invite Iraq to seek UN help with advancement of peace.
5) Energy and Global Warming
WHEREAS the generation of greenhouse gas from profligate use of fossil fuel has caused the highest global temperatures in recorded recent history;
WHEREAS President Bush has totally rejected the concept of Global Warming;
WHEREAS our dependency on foreign sources for more than 45% of our oil increases our trade deficit and thereby decreases funds available for alternative uses in the United States;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Orange County Democratic Party calls upon the federal and state governments to:
Require production of cars and trucks with greater fuel efficiency;
Encourage the research for and deployment of sustainable alternative fuels, including solar energy, wind power, bio-diesel fuel, and methane from land fills;
Eliminate the import duty on ethanol;
Increase the availability and use of public transportation, especially in the Triangle Area;
Create a purchase tax on low fuel efficiency vehicles, with the money collected used to provide greater transportation choices through investment in public transit, bike, and pedestrian safety improvements.
6) Public Financing of National Elections
WHEREAS funding of elections by special interest groups has led to unprecedented abuse of political power by those groups;
WHEREAS special interests have received enormous financial windfall advantages at the expense of the public as a result of its campaign gifts;
WHEREAS special interests have benefited directly by tax forgiveness, increased profits, direct subsidies, and outright gifts, while also being allowed to raise the cost of their services to increase already bloated profits;
WHEREAS such practices are contrary to the public welfare in that they deprive the national treasury of funds to which it would otherwise be entitled while raising the cost of essential good and services;
WHEREAS many of the special interest groups have flourished as a result of the stable government and infrastructure paid for by the general public, a fact which should be acknowledged by a requirement that they pay their fair share of taxes, rather than transfer them to the public;
WHEREAS ordinary citizens are at a serious disadvantage in competing with well-funded special interests for direct access to and influence with their elected representatives;
WHEREAS the current systems of election finances has seriously eroded the very power of the people and true democracy in the most basic meaning of the word;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Orange County Democratic Party is committed to the public financing of elections for national public office.
7) Resolution on NC Health Care Reform
WHEREAS almost one third of North Carolinians (2.5 million people) are without health insurance coverage during at least part of each year and another million North Carolinians have inadequate health insurance coverage;
WHEREAS nearly half of individual bankruptcy filings are related to medical bills;
WHEREAS the uninsured receive fewer health care services and are more likely to suffer from preventable health problems;
WHEREAS most uninsured adults have jobs but cannot afford health insurance;
WHEREAS very many of those families with health care insurance could
quickly lose it due to unemployment resulting from a layoff or a serious accident or illness;
WHEREAS the insured end up paying for health care for the uninsured anyway;
WHEREAS more than 25% of health care expenditures paid to private insurers are for administration and overhead;
WHEREAS the Bush administration has proposed nothing which will even begin to address this crisis and instead is cutting Medicaid payments;
WHEREAS the federal government has been blocked for decades by the power of special interests from passing serious health care reform;
WHEREAS it is therefore incumbent upon the North Carolina General
Assembly to immediately address this crisis which threatens the health and undermines the security of millions of North Carolina citizens;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Orange County Democratic Party asks
the District and State Democratic Party, as a matter of the highest priority, to communicate with Governor Easley and our members of the North Carolina General Assembly and urge them in the strongest terms to support Representative Verla Insko’s Bill on the Right to Health Care which would give the voters the opportunity to decide by referendum whether the North Carolina Constitution should be amended to guarantee that residents of our state enjoy the right to health care just as it does the right to education. If this bill passes it would mandate the General Assembly to pass a plan to bring about affordable health care for all in the state.
8) Resolution on UNC Medical Center Collection Practices
WHEREAS the University of North Carolina Medical Center is the premier public teaching hospital in the State;
WHEREAS almost one third of North Carolinians (2.5 million people) are without health insurance coverage during at least part of each year and another million North Carolinians have inadequate health insurance coverage;
WHEREAS the priorities of the UNC Medical Center have shifted from service to profit;
WHEREAS nearly half of individual bankruptcy filings are related to medical bills;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Orange County Democratic Party
urges its state legislators to introduce or cosponsor legislation to prohibit the personnel review of the administrators of the University of North Carolina Medical Center from being contingent on the profit or loss of the Medical Center; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this legislation prohibit aggressive bill collection by the Medical Center and provide specific humane guidelines for prepayments and bill collection.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Orange County Democratic Party is opposed to paying large cash bonuses as a reward for profitability.
9) 2006 North Carolina Energy Future Resolution
WHEREAS North Carolina is at a critical energy crossroads;
WHEREAS applications for the construction of new nuclear, coal, and
gas generating plants are being submitted;
WHEREAS comprehensive energy conservation and efficiency policies can greatly reduce or replace the need for new nuclear and coal generating plants;
WHEREAS renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and biomass are becoming economically competitive with conventional, more polluting and more dangerous, generating technologies;
WHEREAS the current rate structure rewards electricity production only, and not energy saved;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Orange County Democratic Party urges
it’s state legislators to introduce or cosponsor legislation to commission a comprehensive study that determines the “least cost mix of generation and demand” as required by GS 62-2(3a); and that the recommendations of such a study:
Include all costs of each energy system, including public health, environmental and other external impacts of the full fuel cycle including the costs of all federal and state taxpayer subsidies;
Place an equal premium on human health and environmental quality as it places on low cost and reliability;
Be completed within twelve months;
Include a plan to put demand reduction achievement into the utility rate base;
Be applied to all future decisions concerning the technologies for both supply (nuclear/coal
vs. wind/solar/biomass) and demand reduction (conservation and efficiency);
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the legislation require that the state Utilities Commission grant no licenses or permits for new nuclear, coal, or gas generating plants except as consistent with the recommendations of this study.
10) Resolution on Proposed New Reactors at the Shearon Harris Nuclear Plant
WHEREAS Progress Energy has announced its intention to apply to the
Nuclear Regulator Commission for a combined operating license for up to two new nuclear reactors at the Shearon Harris Nuclear Plant;
WHEREAS, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Harris
Plant is among the nation’s worst in terms of a number of critical safety indicators, including fire safety;
WHEREAS recent allegations by guards at the plant of lax security practices by Progress Energy have resulted in an ongoing investigation by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission;
WHEREAS the Harris plant already has one of the largest stockpiles of high-level nuclear waste in the nation;
WHEREAS even if the stalled Yucca Mountain high-level waste facility is completed, this waste will remain at the Harris Plant for decades;
WHEREAS the National Academy of Sciences and other experts have
determined that a high-level waste fuel pool fire could be caused by a terrorist attack and could cause thousands of deaths while making much of North Carolina uninhabitable for hundreds of years;
WHEREAS the Nuclear Regulator Commission, which has oversight of nuclear plants, is widely regarded by independent experts as highly influenced by the nuclear industry at the expense of public safety and security;
WHEREAS aggressive energy efficiency measures combined with investments in safe renewable energy sources can greatly reduce or eliminate the need for new plants to meet electricity demand;
WHEREAS adoption of such a sustainable energy approach represents a much faster, surer, and less economically risky approach to restraining greenhouse gas emissions than nuclear power;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Orange County Democratic Party strongly urges the Orange County Board of Commissioners as well as the county’s local governments to go on record opposing the licensing of any new nuclear reactors at the Shearon Harris Plant and that they communicate these resolutions to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the State Utility Commission, the other potentially impacted local governments and Progress Energy.
11) Orange County Public Library
WHEREAS the Orange County Public Library is housed in a building not designed to serve as a library;
WHEREAS the present building lacks adequate shelving space, public and staff restroom facilities, convenient and safe access to books and magazines (some shelves being over eight feet tall), sufficient work space for members of the library staff, easy access by physically challenged persons, sufficient parking, space and programs to serve
all the citizens of the county, especially teen-agers;
WHEREAS neighboring towns and counties are building new libraries or expanding existing ones, thereby casting serious doubt on Orange County’s claim to being a progressive leader in cultural and educational affairs;
WHEREAS the library houses materials, such as papers and books on the history of Orange County, that are not housed elsewhere;
WHEREAS the library annually serves 72,000 users from both inside and outside the county;
WHEREAS the allotted budget of $684,000 represents approximately $8.00 from each Orange County taxpayer, an amount restricting acquisitions, staff positions, and services;
WHEREAS the Orange County Public Library should be a source of pride rather than of embarrassment
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Orange County Democratic Party call for the building of a first-class public library facility in Hillsborough.
12) Resolution on Taking an Active Stand on Issues
WHEREAS major and highly informative studies of public opinion released right before the election, notably by the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations (CCFR) and the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland (PIPA) have found that a large majority of the American public believe that the
U.S. should accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court and the World Court;
U.S. should sign the Kyoto protocols;
U.S. should allow the UN to take the lead in international crises;
U.S. should rely on diplomatic and economic measures more than military ones in the “war on terror.”;
U.S. should resort to force only if there is “strong evidence that the country is in imminent danger of being attacked,” thus rejecting the bipartisan consensus on “pre-emptive war” and adopting a rather conventional interpretation of the UN Charter;
U.S. should favor giving up the Security Council veto, hence following the UN lead even if it is not the preference of U.S. state managers;
U.S. should not have gone to war if Iraq did not have WMD or was not providing support to al Qaeda, yet, nearly half in the U.S. still say the war was the right decision” (Stephen Kull, reporting the PIPA study he directs). The decision to go to war “is sustained by persisting beliefs among half of Americans that Iraq provided substantial support to al Qaeda, and had WMD, or at least a major WMD program,” and thus see the invasion as defense against an imminent severe threat;
the UN, not the U.S., should take the lead in matters of security, reconstruction, and political transition in Iraq;
the U.S. should remove American troops from Iraq unless they are under independent UN direction;
the federal government should expand on domestic programs: primarily health care (80 percent), but also aid to education and Social Security;
WHEREAS Other mainstream polls report that 80 percent favor guaranteed health care even if it would raise taxes—in reality, a national health care system would probably reduce expenses considerably, avoiding the heavy costs of bureaucracy, supervision, paperwork, and so on, some of the factors that render the U.S. privatized system the most inefficient in the industrial world.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Orange County Democratic Party will articulate the people’s concerns on the issues they regard as vitally important
1) by creating a position paper for the party that includes, both, the concerns described above and concerns as described within the OCDP platform and resolutions and,
2) by describing candidates both within the primaries and the general elections
13) Resolution For Congressional Investigation of Impeachable Crimes Committed by the Bush Administration
WHEREAS The United States Constitution Art. II, Sec. I, Cl. 8 requires the President to take the following oath or determination: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
WHEREAS Art. V requires members of Congress and “all executive and judicial Officers…of the United States…shall be bound by oath or affirmation to support this Constitution…”
WHEREAS Art. VI, Paragraph 2 provides: “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States, which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the Supreme Law of the Land…” The United Nations Charter, other charters, and international instruments or treaties made under US authority are part of “the Supreme Law of the Land.”
WHEREAS Congress and the public are entitled to a thorough, independent investigation to determine whether George W. Bush, holder of the title of US President, and the civil officers of his Administration have led the United States into aggressive war against the nation of Afghanistan and the nation of Iraq in violation of the United Nations Charter Art. 24, the Nuremberg Charter, and other international instruments and treaties, without declaration of war as required by the Constitution of the United States.
WHEREAS To accomplish this pre-emptive war, the Administration has been accused of committing numerous unlawful acts, including making false statements to Congress, the United Nations, and the American public, stating publicly that it was attempting to find a peaceful solution while secretly intending to go to war all along, accusing Afghanistan and then Iraq of having relationships with Osama bin Laden and support for the 9/11/2001 terrorist attack; accusing Iraq of possessing weapons of mass destruction; of constituting an imminent threat to the safety of the USA, its peoples, and property, and its interests elsewhere in the world, which alleged threat they knew to be false or for which they knew they had no reliable evidence; acting to deprive US citizens and legal residents of their constitutional rights; authorizing direct attacks in Iraq on civilians, civilian facilities, and locations where civilian casualties were unavoidable, including the use of cluster bomb! s, designed to spread small explosive devices at substantial distances from the putative target, and illegally using white phosphorus as a chemical weapon. The Administration’s acts have caused and continue to cause numerous Coalition and Iraqi casualties.
WHEREAS The following documentation supports these charges.
A. The Administration classified or deleted sections of the Congressional Report on 9/11 intelligence, classifying 27 pages describing the Saudi Arabian government’s role in the provision of money and aid to the alleged September 11th hijackers, and hundreds of millions of dollars to al Qaida and other terrorist groups (AP News Service, reprinted in the SF Chronicle August 2, 2003).
B. Bush and other senior members of his Administration have made numerous claims that the then government of Afghanistan supported Osama bin Laden (despite the fact that none of the alleged 9/11 hijackers were Afghan and were primarily Saudi Arabian), and that Saddam Hussein had readily deployable weapons of mass destruction (WMD). These claims, among numerous others, were used to justify the attack on the nation of Iraq. To date, no WMD have been found, no credible evidence has been presented that they exist, no evidence that they were ready for use when the United States attacked Iraq, no evidence that they were in fact used, and no reliable evidence that they have been hidden in other countries, has been presented. Thus the Administration has presented no substantial evidence concerning WMD (CBS News August 6, 2003).
C. Lying to Congress is a felony under Federal anti-conspiracy law 18 USC 371, making it a felony to “defraud” the government, and The False Statements Accountability Act of 1996 (18 USC 1001), making lying to Congress a felony. Bush allegedly lied to Congress during his 2003 State of the Union address and when told Congress that its October 2002 decision on the requirements for authorizing the invasion of Iraq had been met by March 18 2003.
D. The Administration attempted to provoke war with Iraq by increasing the bombing of Iraq that has been going on since 1991. This has been verified and was also verified by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld July 23, 2002 in the Downing Street Minutes (available at www.afterdowningstreet.org): “the US had already begun “spikes of activity” to put pressure on the regime.”
C. Relative to the foregoing, the following claims were made by Bush, or senior members of his Administration, to buttress these claims.
i. President Bush falsely claimed in his State of the Union address in January 2003 that Iraq had tried to purchase yellowcake uranium ore from Niger, reported in the Washington Post July 13th and 15th of 2003. This claim had been removed from speech delivered by Bush earlier, October 7, 2002 (Newsday, July 23, 2003). Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson was sent to investigate claims that Niger had sold yellowcake uranium to Iraq, and was unable to substantiate this information.
ii. National Security Advisor Condolezza Rice claimed that aluminum tubes found in Iraq after the US invasion demonstrated that Iraq had been pursuing a nuclear weapons program. The tubes, Rice said, “are only really suited for nuclear weapons programs, centrifuge programs” (CNN September 8, 2003). In January 2003 it had already become clear that Rice’s assertions lacked credibility (Washington Post January 23, 2003).
iii. Rumsfeld continues to claim that a strong link between Iraq and al-Qaida, which resulted in the 9/11 attack, when the UN and other credible fact finders have refuted that claim numerous times (UPI July 23, 2003 and NYT July 15, 2003).
iv. The Administration’s “Special Plans” section has refused to acknowledge or act upon evidence that contradicts their assumptions or rationalized the assumptions so that it allowed the Administration to accomplish its predetermined goals (New Yorker May 12, 2003, CBS News July 31, 2003). That this was planned is also suggested by the July 23, 2002 official Downing Street Minutes, which asserted that “the intelligence and the facts were being fixed around the policy” of remov[ing] Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD.”
v. Richard Cheney, holder of the title US Vice President, claimed in September 2002 irrefutable evidence existed that Hussein had reconstituted his nuclear weapons program, a claim he repeated in March 2003 just prior to the Coalition invasion (NBC March 16, 2003). These claims were refuted by former Ambassador Wilson and the CIA long before March 16th (see source for point ii.).
vi. Former Ambassador Wilson’s wife (see item C.i.), Valerie Plame, was revealed to be a CIA officer on July 14, 2003 by neoconservative pundit Robert Novak. “Mr. Novak has recently written that the identity of Ms. Plame was made known to him in an almost offhand way, that the C.I.A. never told him beforehand that disclosing her name would endanger anyone, and that he would not have named her if he thought there would be any danger” (NYT October 2, 2003). The White House is pursuing an agenda of denial and smear tactics against Wilson rather than making serious attempts to find the senior official who Novak stated supplied the information. White House political operatives are attempted to keep Republican legislators from calling for special counsel to investigate this felony charge (NYT October 2, 2003).
vii. Secretary of State Colin Powell claimed in February 2003 with “confidence and virtual certainty,” before the UN Security Council that “Iraq today has a stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons agent. That is enough to fill 16,000 battlefield rockets?” (UN Address, February 2, 2003).
viii. Rumsfeld claimed on March 30th 2003, in reference to WMD, “We know where they are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north of that” (The Guardian (UK) May 30, 2003).
ix. Bush said during a trip to Poland on May 30, 2003, “For those who say we haven’t found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they’re wrong. We found them” (Washington Post May 31, 2003, CNN May 30, 2003).
x. The claims about WMD in the May 30th speech were controversial when made. Doubts existed early on within the intelligence community, as noted in the following article: “Engineering experts from the (US) Defense Intelligence Agency have come to believe that the most likely use for two mysterious trailers found in Iraq was to produce hydrogen for weather balloons rather than to make biological weapons, government officials say” (NYT August 9, 2003, The Observer (UK) June 8, 2003).
D. Bush claimed that the War began because Iraq would not admit UN inspectors, when in fact Iraq had admitted the inspectors and Bush opposed extending their work (Washington Post July 15, 2003).
E. WMD were only a convenient excuse to wage a pre-emptive war on Iraq in violation of the Geneva Convention and other international treaties. As the Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz stated, ”For bureaucratic reasons we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction, because it was the one reason everyone could agree on” (Indepwndent (UK) ).
F. Wolfowitz maintains that the USA can pre-emptively attack other nations of the basis of “murky intelligence” (Washington Post, July 27, 2003).
G. Rumsfeld minimized reports of antiquities looted from Iraqi museums (Nightline April 19, 2003). He maintained that only fifty or so items were looted from the Baghdad museum when in fact at least six thousand to as many as thirteen thousand were looted (Boston Globe July 23, 2003). US military activities have also damaged or intentionally destroyed Iraqi historical sites and antiquities, violating international law (www.globalresearch.ca November 26, 2005).
H. The Iraq War has killed as many as 100,000 Iraqi civilians, about 2100 US soldiers, and many soldiers from allied nations. It has cost the US hundreds of billions of dollars which could have improved security and been used for other purposes of benefit to the American people.
I. The Administration has illegally rewritten the constitution and laws of Iraq during the occupation.
J. The Administration has tortured Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison, arrested family members of suspected resistance fighters, destroyed houses belonging to suspected resistance fighters, and used illegal chemical weapons, such as shells containing white phosphorus.
K. Reporters of the Al Jazeera and Abu Dhabi television stations have been targeted by the US military in Iraq under this Administration. A British government document says Bush told Prime Minister Tony Blair that he wanted to bomb the headquarters of Al Jazeera in Qatar in response to unfavorable coverage of US policies.
L. The Administration has allowed the targeting of hospitals and civilian medical personnel in Iraq, such as during the second attack on the city of Falluja.
WHEREAS The Administration fomented and morally supported a coup in Venezuela to topple the elected government of President Hugo Chavez. The Venezuelan government alleges that this campaign against the Chavez government is continuing.
WHEREAS The Administration worked with other countries to remove the elected president of Haiti, President Jean Bertrand Aristide, during an armed uprising possibly fomented and supported by the US, and now participates in the violent occupation of Haiti, which has killed --- Haitian civilians.
WHEREAS The Administration has admittedly used, continues to use, and defends using the National Security Agency to wiretap US citizens without warrants, violating the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Act.
WHEREAS The Administration has impeded Congressional oversight and tried to prevent independent Congressional investigation of Cheney’s Energy Taskforce, the 9/11 attack, the Hurricane Katrina disaster response, and other issues.
WHEREAS The Administration has tried to legalize torture and allegedly uses it extensively in prisons in Iraq, Afghanistan, Romania, and Poland. Foreign citizens, some of whom allegedly have been killed, were taken, sometimes by kidnapping, to countries that allow torture. This was done in part using planes based at an airport in Johnston County, North Carolina (see The Guardian/UK “Afghanistan: ‘One Huge US Jail’”).
WHEREAS The Administration indefinitely detains citizens and non-citizens, sometimes secretly, without access to lawyers, without charges, and without the ability to challenge that detention in a court of law. Bush also advocates trying detained non-citizens before a military tribunal, capable of ordering execution of detainees.
WHEREAS The Administration advocates assassination of civilians and tried to assassinate Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
WHEREAS Ordering the seizure of the assets of people in the USA without due process, if the Administration claims these people have any contact with groups the Administration declares to be “terrorist.”
WHEREAS authorizing surveillance of people and groups engaged in legal political activities.
WHEREAS the Administration might have been complicit in electoral fraud committed on its behalf in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections.
WHEREAS the Administration has still not answered all questions about what it knew and when about the circumstances of the 9/11 attack, and has worked against full and independent investigation of that terrorist act and how it was used to advance the Administration’s goals.
WHEREAS Bush has allegedly expressed explicit contempt for the Constitution he is pledged to uphold, for example: “Stop throwing the Constitution in my face. It’s just a goddamned piece of paper” (Capitol Hill Blue December 9, 2005).
WHEREAS the administration has neither acted to study and prevent nor disproven the existence of human-induced climate change, which threatens the ecosystems, people, and economy of the USA and the world.
WHEREAS the oath sworn by Rep Price to support the Constitution, as well as the good of the American public and the world, requires full investigation of these charges and impeachment of Bush or other officials who are found to be at fault.
WHEREAS this resolution upholds and defends the Constitution and laws of the U.S., promotes respect for the rule of law, contributes to the movement for government accountability. It also reflects the will of over half of the American public, who according to recent polls, are for impeaching George W. Bush if he lied to argue for attacking Iraq and if his warrantless wiretapping policy is illegal.
THEREFOERE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Orange County Democratic Party calls upon Rep. David Price to co-sponsor H. Res. 635 (creating a select committee on the grounds for impeachment) H Res 636 (censuring President Bush), and H. Res 637 (censuring Vice President Cheney).
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Rep. Price should sponsor or co-sponsor legislation to create an independent commission or special counsel to investigate these and other offenses and report to Congress on the merit of these charges, if H. Res 635 is not passed or does not result in a full and independent investigation of these charges.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the OCDP supports S. 398, Resolution to Censure the President, introduced by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI).
14) A Resolution Calling for the Protection of Civil Liberties and Opposing the Patriot Act
WHEREAS The Bill of Rights in the United States Constitution and the Declaration of Rights in the North Carolina Constitution affirm inalienable liberties of the people which are secured against the powers of our federal and state governments, respectively;
WHEREAS hundreds of citizens of North Carolina religious congregations, civic groups, Bill of Rights Defense Committees, the North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers, and the North Carolina American Civil Liberties Union find the erosion of civil rights to be an alarming threat to the democracy and freedom which define the United States;
WHEREAS the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on September 11, 2001, prompted the federal government to declare a "war on terrorism," which encompassed the rushed passage of sweeping federal legislation known as the USA Patriot Act;
WHEREAS we believe that the following inalienable rights of the people, found in the Bill of Rights in the United States Constitution and in the North Carolina Constitution, respectively are now directly threatened by reauthorization of many provisions of the “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001” (USA Patriot Act):
The First Amendment, which provides that no law shall be made “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances;”
The Fourth Amendment, which declares, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized;”
The Fifth Amendment, which states that no person “shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;”
The Sixth Amendment, which guarantees defendants “the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense;”
The Eighth Amendment, which states, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted;” and
The Fourteenth Amendment, which prohibits the government from denying “to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws;” and
WHEREAS we believe these inalienable rights are now directly threatened in the following ways:
The USA Patriot Act’s ambiguities and vast scope greatly expand the government’s power to invade and control the everyday lives of citizens and non-citizens alike, in that this Act:
Inhibits constitutionally protected speech through vague and overly broad definitions of “terrorism” and creation of the new crime of “domestic terrorism,” the interpretation of which resides exclusively in the hands of the Attorney General and the President (Sections 411, 412, 802, 808);
Virtually eliminates judicial supervision of telephone and internet surveillance (Sec. 216);
Greatly expands the government’s authority to conduct secret searches (Sections 209, 213, 215, 218-220);
Grants the FBI broad access to individual medical, mental health, financial, employment, and educational records without having to show evidence of a crime and without a court order; and
Permits the FBI to track individual book borrowing in libraries and book purchases and video rentals in stores and makes it a crime for librarians and vendors to reveal their knowledge of such tracking (Sec. 215);
Federal Executive Orders and federal government actions since September 11, 2001, have been implemented to:
Permit wiretapping of conversations between federal prisoners and their lawyers (Justice Department, Bureau of Prisons, 28 CFR 501.3 October 31, 2002);
Eliminate Justice Department regulations against illegal COINTELPRO-type operations by the FBI – covert activities that in the past targeted domestic groups and individuals (Attorney General’s Guidelines, May 30, 2002);
Establish secret military tribunals for terrorism suspects, including both citizens and non-citizens (M.O., 11/13/01);
Permit thousands of men, mostly of Arab and South Asian origin, to have been held for many months in secret custody, most without any charges filed against them, with publication of their identities and location, and without confidential access to counsel or meaningful access to the federal courts (28 CFR 501.3, 10/31/02), including those held at Guantanamo Bay; and
Limit the release of public documents and records in many subject areas which have previously been available under the Freedom of Information Act (Attorney General’s Memorandum, October 12, 2001); and
WHEREAS the provisions of the Constitution apply in wartime as in peace; and to violate or depart from them, under the plea of necessity or any other plea, is subversive of good government;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Orange County Democratic Party affirms that the USA Patriot Act, and a number of recent federal Executive Orders, contain provisions which taken together, constitute an assault with few historic precedents upon the civil liberties and human rights established for the people of the United States of America; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the OCDP maintains that the United States Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, is the ultimate legal authority whenever its provisions conflict with those of the USA Patriot Act, or federal Executive Orders; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the OCDP urges Congress to repeal the provisions of the USA Patriot Act that violate civil rights or liberties as specified in the Bill of Rights, the U.S. Constitution, or the North Carolina Constitution and urges appropriate officials in the federal government to repeal related executive and military orders and directives that erode our civil liberties; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the OCDP urges the Governor of North Carolina and the General Assembly carefully to review and evaluate the USA Patriot Act in light of infringements of the rights and liberties of North Carolina citizens and non-citizens.
15) A Resolution Calling for Ending United States Sponsorship of Torture
WHEREAS the systematic use of torture as a policy of governmental control is a crime against humanity;
WHEREAS the right to be free of torture is a fundamental human right recognized in both constitutional and international law, and all government-sponsored acts of torture, regardless of circumstance, are immoral, unjustified, and illegal;
WHEREAS United States-sanctioned torture is not justified by national security needs as it engenders hatred against the nation, does not keep the country safe, and the United States practice of torture shames the nation and endangers United States troops abroad and citizens at home;
WHEREAS acts of torture violate United States criminal laws, specifically the federal Anti-Torture Statute and the Federal War Crimes Act of 1996, and they violate international treaties to which the United States is a party, including the Geneva Conventions, the Convention Against Torture, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
WHEREAS two bills crucial to ending such torture practices, the Convention Against Torture Implementation Act (S. 654), introduced on March 17, 2005, by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and The Torture Outsourcing Prevention Act (H.R. 952), introduced on February 17, 2005, by Representative Edward Markey (D-MA), with David Price the only North Carolina cosponsor, sit in committee;
WHEREAS these bills would expressly ban “torture by proxy,” or extraordinary renditions, which are violations of both international treaties and domestic laws;
WHEREAS United States policy or official -- not the attorney general, not the secretary of defense, not the president -- is above the rule of law, including laws against torture and this time-honored principle of respect for law is intended to prevent governmental corruption and the abuse of power;
WHEREAS the Orange County Democratic Party firmly rejects the use of detention, incarceration, and interrogation techniques by agents of the government of the United States that can be construed in terms of law or common morality as torture and cruel or degrading punishment;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the OCDP calls on the national leadership to eradicate current torture practices by the United States, charges United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, former Central Intelligence Agency director George Tenet, and United States Attorney General Alberto Gonzales with aiding, abetting, ordering, and conspiring to commit the illegal physical and psychological torture of detainees in the custody of the United States in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo, as well as secret United States-controlled prison facilities elsewhere, and further charges these officials with the illegal transport, or extraordinary rendition, of certain detainees to countries known for their systematic torture of prisoners; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the OCDP calls on US Senators Elizabeth Dole and Richard Burr, US Representative David Price, Governor Michael Easley, and the NC Delegation in Raleigh to support both national and state proposed legal restraints to US policies and practices of torture and those activities by contractors of the US and state governments that are facilitating the violations of US and international law, such as Aero Contractors Limited and Blackwater USA.
16) Resolution to Extend In-state College Tuition to Undocumented Non-Citizens who Graduate from North Carolina High Schools.
WHEREAS in-state college tuition at the North Carolina university and community college system should be available to all graduates of North Carolina high schools;
WHEREAS access to in-state college tuition is currently denied to undocumented non-citizens who graduate from our high schools;
WHEREAS this restriction poses a heavy financial burden on such students, who are generally residing in North Carolina as undocumented non-citizen minors due to their parents’ actions rather than through any fault of their own;
WHEREAS it is in the best social and economic interests of the state to maximize the educational possibilities of all its residents;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the right to in-state tuition be extended to any undocumented non-citizen who graduates from a North Carolina high school.
17) Resolution to Maintain Coastal Zone Setbacks
WHEREAS ongoing global climate change and consequent rises in sea level and increased intensity of hurricanes result in an ever-increasing risk of coastal flooding;
WHEREAS current North Carolina coastal zone regulations provide reasonable setback requirements for building in the coastal zone;
WHEREAS building in flood prone areas increases risk to human life and imposes a financial burden on taxpayers through flood insurance payments and rescue efforts;
WHEREAS it has been proposed that the Coastal Resources Commission rules be changed to decrease setback requirements and render more near-shore lots buildable, which would result in increased development in flood prone areas to the detriment of public safety and finances;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Orange County Democratic Party asks the members of the North Carolina General Assembly to oppose any weakening of setback requirements for development in the coastal zone, including case by case variances.
18) Resolution on a Living Wage
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Orange County Democratic Party
Calls for our local government bodies to extend the living wage requirement to employees of firms contracting with them, and subcontractors thereof, and will work with other community organizations to campaign for this purpose;
Calls on the State legislature to pass a state minimum wage law to insure that anyone holding a job in this state receives a living wage, above the poverty level, and periodically adjusted for inflation;
Calls on Congress to pass and the President to sign legislation increasing the national minimum wage at least to adjust for the inflation of the last decades.
19) Resolution to Require Hospitals to Offer and Dispense Emergency Contraception (EC) to Victims of Rape and Incest.
WHEREAS emergency contraception (EC) is a safe and effective FDA-approved method of preventing pregnancy after unprotected sex;
WHEREAS EC is time sensitive and must be taken within 72 hours;
WHEREAS the American Medical Association, the American College of Emergency Physicians and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists all recognize EC as a standard rape treatment;
WHEREAS 30% of NC hospitals do not provide EC on-site to victims of rape and incest;
WHEREAS 12% of all women experience sexual assault in a lifetime and 4.7% of those assaults result in pregnancy;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the NC General Assembly should require all NC Hospital emergency rooms to offer and dispense emergency contraception on-site to victims of rape or incest.
20) Resolution on Jim Black
WHEREAS the Democratic Party is legitimately criticizing the national Republican Party for apparent improprieties in party donations and lobbying and called for all individuals with the appearance of wrong-doing to resign;
WHEREAS the Speaker of the NC House, Jim Black, is also being investigated for similar violations of donation and lobbying regulations;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Orange County Democratic Party asks Dr. Black to step down as House Speaker until he is cleared of wrong-doing.
21) No Child Left Behind
WHEREAS the federal No Child Left Behind program has never been funded at a level sufficient to provide the resources required to truly leave no child behind;
WHEREAS many public schools across North Carolina and the nation are being judged as “failing schools” because, despite great effort on the part of the school administrators and staff, they do not have sufficient resources to bring up the achievement of every child;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Orange County Democratic Party recommends that the NC Dept. of Public Instruction, Gov. Easley and Rep. David Price and the rest of our congressional delegation, encourage the federal Department of Education to undertake immediately the reexamination, restructuring and adequate funding of the No Child Left Behind program.
22) Resolution on State Ethics Reform
WHEREAS North Carolina State Democratic Party Chair Jerry Meek has proposed a ten-point plan for government ethics reform in North Carolina, specifically:
1) Legislation creating an independent ethics commission. Currently, a Legislative Ethics Commission (codified at N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 120-99 et. seq.) exists. However, the Commission is composed of members of the legislature, rather than private citizens, independent of the legislature. In addition, since the State Ethics Board was created by Executive Order, rather than statute, it is virtually powerless.
2) Legislation prohibiting candidates from transferring funds to another candidate or any candidate’s committee. Seventeen other states already have similar legislation in place.
3) Legislation banning the conversion of campaign funds to personal use.
4) Immediate implementation of Session Law 2005-456 (Senate Bill 612). Session Law 2005-456 created new reporting requirements for lobbyists but currently will not become law until January 1, 2007.
5) Legislation establishing a one year waiting period, after the ! expiration of their term of office, before members of the General Assembly or the Council of State could register as lobbyists. Current law establishes a six month waiting period.
6) Legislation banning the use of special provisions in the State Budget.
7) Legislation reducing the cap on individual contributions to political campaigns from $4000 per election to $2000.
8) Legislation banning all gifts from lobbyists to legislators, key executive branch officials, and their families.
9) Legislation prohibiting the use of public funds to employ or contract with a lobbyist.
10) Legislation requiring a three-day period to elapse between distribution of a proposed State Budget to members of the State House and Senate and the first vote on the proposed budget.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Orange County Democratic Party urges our legislative delegation to introduce or co-sponsor such legislation in the next session of the General Assembly.
23) Precinct and County Energy Descent Action Plan
WHEREAS The scientific community consensus is that Global Climate Change is real;
WHEREAS All energy experts agree that oil extraction will peak within the next twenty years, if it hasn’t already;
WHEREAS representational democracy has effectively become non-existent at higher levels of government not just at the corporatocratic American empire global level (e.g. United Nations inability to make Iraq war illegality binding) but, also, within the U.S. as evidenced by the failures in legitimacy of the past two general elections (see http://uscountvotes.org ), and the influence of money and corporate media on the democratic system;
WHEREAS adequately addressing the catastrophic consequences of Global Climate Change, Peak Oil and the protection of the sanctity of democracy have been proven beyond the ability of higher levels of government. And, as a consequence, local grassroots action and democracy has acquired a renewed momentous importance;
WHEREAS a long term goal of the Orange County Democratic Party (OCDP) as expressed by the OCDP Strategic Plan is to support precincts in their precinct level actions;
WHEREAS the town of Chapel Hill and the University of North Carolina are working together in auditing their conjunctive energy usages as a first step in implementing the Carbon Reduction initiative that both have signed on to so as to reduce CO2 emissions by 60% by 2025.
WHEREAS an Energy Descent Action Plan is: a geopolitical-level (neighborhood, precinct, town, county) model that is sectioned into components of sustainability (Food, Transportation, Local Energy, etc..). “Each section begins with a brief look at the current situation in a geopolitical-level with regards to the subject in question. This introduction summarizes the issues involved in a way that is both succinct and relevant. This is then followed by the Vision. The Vision is our idea of how Precinct or County could be in 2021, if the steps suggested have been taken. The Vision aims to give an idea of the potential result of the recommendations, and how the recommendations could be a step forward from where we are now rather than a retreat.
Then come the actual recommendations. These are laid out in chronological order, from the present day until 2021. The proposals are practical and realistic, and where their implementation involves the input of a particular body this is included. The proposals are laid out in a clear and easy-to-read format so that they are easy to follow. Each area is then concluded by a section of resources, places you can find out more about some of the ideas that have been discussed. These include books, websites, organisations and so on.” (quoted from Rob Hopkins editor of Kinsale Energy Descent Action Plan)
WHEREAS achieving a society of sustainable energy usage entails a communal lifestyle.
WHEREAS the precinct and the county Democratic Parties are having trouble maintaining volunteer interest and energy during off election years due to a lack of community and community promoting projects.
WHEREAS space where local democratic discourse can take place is rare and
WHEREAS homogenous national corporate and public media dominance act as dampers on the diversity required for the healthy expanded range from which a responsive and dynamic reality may emerge.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Orange County Democratic Party will support precincts in their Energy Descent Action Plans as a means for mitigating the effects of Global Climate Change, Peak Oil, and achieving grassroots action that will re-affirm precinct community.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Orange County Democratic Party promote and participate in a county Energy Descent Action Plan.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that for the year 2006 the Orange County Democratic Party, in recognition of the 2006 election year priority of GOTV, make as a first contribution towards an Orange County Energy Descent Action Plan (OCEDAP) the humble identification of one county level action (i.e. county energy/sustainability related film festival, car pooling commuter county network, county farm/ sustainability resource center, solar farm/wind farm, county carbon emissions self-taxation, etc..) for the OCDP to execute in 2007.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the 2006 identified OCDP county level OCEDAP action will be available for ratification at the 2007 county convention for implementation during the off election year of 2007.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a resolutions in the spirit of the “Precinct and County Energy Descent Action Plan” be made for passing on to the district, state, and national Democratic Party Conventions.
24) Biological Warfare Defense Research in Populated Areas
WHEREAS private companies and universities in North Carolina are increasingly engaging in biological warfare defense research;
WHEREAS Duke University will now host a major biodefense research consortium which includes researchers at UNC at Chapel Hill and other universities (the Southeast Regional Center of Excellence for Emerging Infections and Biodefense) and also includes a new 38,000 sq. ft. biocontainment lab;
WHEREAS biodefense research (including the consortium’s research at Duke) involves working with highly dangerous pathogens such as smallpox, monkeypox, anthrax and plague;
WHEREAS biodefense research is inherently “dual purpose” in nature—that is, offensive capabilities are necessarily produced in the process of testing or creating defensive measures---and many doctors and scientists have stated this research poses a health hazard to citizens, especially in or near populated areas, due to risks of accidental leaks or deliberate sabotage/releases by terrorists or mentally disturbed individuals;
WHEREAS in 2001 the U.S. DOE's Office of Inspector General cited research scientists and lab administrators across the country for systematic carelessness in handling the highly toxic organisms such as anthrax, bubonic plague and botulism;
WHEREAS biodefense work entails the transport of pathogens through mail or truck deliveries exposing citizens to even greater risks via accidents or deliberate sabotage;
WHEREAS North Carolina in 2002 enacted a version of the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act addressing deliberate or accidental biocontamination that may compromise civil liberties ( Article 22 of Chapter 130A entitled A Terrorist Incident Using Nuclear, Biological, or Chemical Agents);
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that to ensure the protection of the health and safety of citizens as well as their civil liberties, the North Carolina Legislature shall call for an independent committee to examine and address the risks of biodefense research in or near populated areas as well as an independent committee to conduct an in-depth review of legislation provisions triggered by biocontamination to ensure protection of civil liberties in event of an accidental or deliberate release of pathogens.
25) Resolution on Hog Farms
WHEREAS in North Carolina alone, farm hogs produce 19 million tons of feces and urine every year. This waste puts our health and environment at risk. Research has identified five new technologies that are more environmentally sound than the lagoon systems currently used;
WHEREAS last year, a bill was introduced that encourages better hog waste technologies. The Clean Hog Farms Act of 2005/HB 1532 would assure that this waste is managed responsibly so that hog farms remain a sustainable part of the state economy;
WHEREAS stronger regulations are needed;
WHEREAS HB 1532 would strengthen these standards by making permanent the swine farm animal waste management system performance standards that the general assembly enacted in 1998 and by phasing out the use of lagoon and spray field animal waste management systems for swine farms;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Orange County Democratic Party asks the District and State Democratic Party, as a matter of the highest priority, to communicate with Governor Easley and our members of the North Carolina General Assembly and urge them in the strongest terms to support the Clean Farms Act of 2005/HB 1532.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the OCDP supports the inclusion of provisions for the development and deployment of technologies for the recovery and use of methane from hog farm lagoons.
26) Resolution for “The Blackwoods”: A County Farm and Community Revitalization Center
WHEREAS agriculture has been continuing its rapid decline in North Carolina and in Orange County. Since 1996 Orange County has lost over 11,000 acres of active cropland, its family farms are disappearing and developments popping up everywhere;
WHEREAS many children rarely experience hands-on learning, are over weight, and have “Nature Deficit Disorder”;
WHEREAS small-scale, integrated businesses characteristic of healthy local living economies have also been declining, replaced by large chain retailers that drain more tax revenues than they produce, while sending profits back to and leaving the community dependent on distant owners;
WHEREAS restoring local and regional self-reliance and revitalizing local economic networks (farming, value-added processing, and farmers markets) will recreate the kind of mutual-benefit, rural-town partnership networks that once made America strong (New Localism);
WHEREAS a long term goal of the Orange County Democratic Party (OCDP) as expressed by the OCDP Strategic Plan is to support precincts in their precinct level actions so as to encourage a sense of community;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED The OCDP is in support of small-scale, sustainable agriculture, the kind the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association and Organic Farming practices encourage as well as sustainable local living economies as advocated by the Institute for Local Self Reliance.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the OCDP supports the creation of a network of local farms including the 2nd county-owned Blackwood farm, Spence’s Community Educational Farm and other available farms and undeveloped lands that can be used to incubate and model a variety of sustainable practices and build a system of local enterprise, both agricultural and value-add.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that, with the network of local farms, the OCDP supports the creation of a Community Corporation that can own, develop and lease the land & facilities to appropriate groups who would together carry out the vision of a sustainable future.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED the Orange County Democratic Party will be a co-sponsor in the establishment of the Annual Blackwood Heritage Farm Festival as a first-step means for identifying partnerships toward building the foundation and network for diverse community involvement in “New Localism”.
27) Immigration Reform Resolution
WHEREAS the Orange County Democratic Party is committed to supporting the rights of all people regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation, color, religion, ancestry, or national origin;
WHEREAS the United States of America were founded upon the hopes and dreams, heritage and history, labor and sacrifice of immigrants who have come from around the world in answer to America’s promise;
WHEREAS the United States of America have an undocumented population of over eleven million immigrants, including around 270,00 who reside in North Carolina;
WHEREAS Orange County’s undocumented immigrants fill key roles in our economy such as filling essential jobs in our labor market, paying taxes (including contributions to Social Security that will not be returned to them), raising families, and contributing to our economy, schools, churches, neighborhoods, communities, and culture;
WHEREAS our current immigration system contributes to long ongoing backlogs, labor abuses, families that are forced to live apart, unreported domestic violence, exploitation of minors, deaths on the border, and vigilante violence and is in dire need of reform to meet the challenges of the 21st Century;
WHEREAS any comprehensive reform must involve a path to citizenship for these hardworking immigrants, as well as reunification of families, and a safe and orderly process for enabling willing immigrant workers to fill essential jobs in our economy and ensure full labor rights;
WHEREAS U.S. Senators Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts and John McCain of Arizona offer a comprehensive U.S. immigration reform law known as The Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act;
WHEREAS this immigration initiative punishes illegal employment practices while creating a path to earned permanent legal status for individuals who have been working in the United States, paying taxes, obeying the law and learning English and protecting workers by ensuring the right to change jobs, join a union and report abusive employment situations;
WHEREAS House Resolution 4437 and similar initiatives punish the victims of illegal employment practices and make felons out of a hard-working people and their families and create irreparable harm for a large segment of the immigrant population;
WHEREAS the harsh measures of H.R. 4437 could deprive 3 million children born in the United States of their undocumented immigrant parents,
WHEREAS H. R. 4437 and similar initiatives not only criminalize undocumented immigrants but also local social service providers, religious and civic groups, and compassionate individuals who provide food, shelter, medical care, or other assistance to undocumented immigrants,
WHEREAS any proposed guest worker program must adequately protect the wages and working conditions of U.S. and immigrant workers, allow workers to change jobs, provide for adequate enforcement of the program’s rules and existing labor laws, protect law-abiding employers from unscrupulous competitors, and provide a path to permanent status through sponsorship;
WHEREAS national security is only served when our laws are realistic and enforceable. A comprehensive overhaul will make our immigration laws more realistic, permitting a enforcement regimen that should include meaningful inspections and screening practices, fair proceedings, efficient processing, and strategies that focus on detecting and deterring terrorists and cracking down on criminal smugglers and lawbreaking employers;
WHEREAS modernizing our outdated and dysfunctional immigration system effectively will uphold our nation’s basic values of fairness and equal opportunity, provide for a feasible and orderly immigration process, and restore our tradition as a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Orange County Democratic Party does hereby support comprehensive immigration reform and urges the passage of The Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act of 2005 (SB 1033 and HB 2330) or similar legislation that allows every hardworking, law-abiding individual to achieve the American Dream while making our country more secure; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Orange County Democratic Party deplores the punitive and deficient measures proposed by H.R. 4437, S. 2454 and similar initiatives and urges a fair, humanitarian, and orderly solution to the difficult and complex issue of immigration reform that includes but is not limited to: protecting wages for American and immigrant workers by raising the minimum wage for all workers and penalizing non-compliant employers, stream-lining the family immigration backlog in order to reunite and stabilize families in our communities, securing our borders through enforceable and effective laws, and supporting international trade agreements that reduce the necessity for people of other countries to seek jobs in the United States.
28) DREAM Act Resolution
WHEREAS the North Carolina Orange County Democratic Party is committed to promote access to affordable education for all students residing in North Carolina, regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation, color, religion, ancestry, or national origin;
WHEREAS the DREAM Act sponsored by Senators Orrin Hatch of Utah and Richard Durbin of Illinois would repeal section 505 of the IIRIRA Act of 1996 which denies the children of undocumented immigrants legal residency status;
WHEREAS immigrant students with good moral character who grew up in our communities and who have graduated from North Carolina High Schools should be able to qualify for in-state tuition by obtaining a conditional permanent resident status;
WHEREAS immigrant students who have used this opportunity to further their education successfully should be able to obtain regular lawful resident status and become eligible for citizenship since they are clearly an asset to our communities;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Orange County Democratic Party does hereby support repealing section 505 of the IIRIRA Act of 1996 and urges the passage of the DREAM Act that gives deserving young immigrant students the same opportunities to go to college as their American classmates and, in addition, offers them a path toward permanent legal status and citizenship.
29) Resolution on Genetically Modified Crops
Be it Resolved that the Orange County Democratic Party requests the Senate and House of the NC State Legislature take the following aciton on the matter of genetically modified crops; authorize a Legislateve Study Committee to hold open and honest public dialogue on the risks and benefits of genetically modified crops, and to determine the impact of genetically modified crops on the co-existant non-GMO markets, specifically the growing organic market.